2015 Australian Open: Former world No. 1s to clash in second round

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Two former world No. 1s will face off in a tantalising second round clash on Thursday, after Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozinacki both won their opening matches of the 2015 Australian Open.

Last year’s Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova also won, but only after given a significant scare by Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.

Two-time champion Azarenka progressed swiftly, defeating American Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2.

The Belarussian and former world No.1 accounted for her opponent in just 75 minutes on Hisense Arena, in what was a re-match of their controversial 2013 semi-final at the event.

The world No. 44 was pleased with her first up showing.

“I felt pretty good,” Azarenka told media post match.

“I think from the beginning I started to be pretty focused and just maintained that intensity. So that was a good opportunity to just really at the beginning take my chances because she’s the kind of player that likes to take her chances. There is still a lot to build from here

Having endured a horror 2014, and not shielded by a seeding, she is now confronted by Denmark’s Wozniacki, seeded 8th, after she escpaed from a tight first set against young American firebrand Taylor Townsend to win 7-6 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena.

11th seeded Czech Cibulkova had to come from a set down, before running away from Flipkens to win 3-6 6-3 6-1 on show court three. She will now face Tsvetana Pironkova on Thursday, after the Bulgarian eased past Briton Heather Watson 6-4 6-0.

The seeded women playing on Tuesday largely made safe passage through to the last 64.

Fourth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made light work of Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, rquiring merely 63 minutes to win 6-1 6-4 on Hissense Arena.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain, and Alize Cornet of France, seeded 24th and 19th respectively, both progressed to the second round after comfortable wins early, while Barbora Zhalova Strycova, the 25th seed from the Czech Republic joined them with a straight sets triumph not long after.

The biggest name casualties were German Andrea Petkovic and former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. Petkovic fell despite taking the first set againt American Madison Brengle, with the 13th seed defeated 5-7 7-6 6-43 in 2hr 22mins. 15th seeded Jankovic joined Petkovic on the scrapheap in ignominiousl fashion, downed by Switzerland’s Timea Bascinszy 6-1 6-4 on court 13.

Big names Serena Williams, sister Venus, and Agnieszka Radwanska are also on Tuesday’s card.

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Why Will Genia thinks 2015 will be better for the Reds

Will Genia is happy to be just another number at the Queensland Reds in 2015.
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The Reds halfback will not have the vice-captain tag next to his name in 2015 but that won’t matter to him at all.

“I’ll still be driving standards and still be conducting the play with the likes of Quade (Cooper) and James (Horwill) as well,” he said.

“Those guys who are in that position have committed to the club for another two or three years now and I think they can have certainty around the future with those guys in place.”

With James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt coming into the squad, a fit Chris Feauia-Sautia and the development of Samu Kerevi, the Reds back line will share plenty more of the load than in the past.

Genia said the prospect of greater depth in the backline, where much of the responsibility has been left to himself and mercurial playmaker Quade Cooper, was a welcome change.

“The way we want to play is a little bit different to the way we’ve played the last four or five years, it gives more responsibility to everyone else as opposed to myself and Quade,” he said.

“In the past, opposition teams have shut down the nine and 10 and more often than that you shut down the game, so now that we have more threats across the park and guys who attract attention it’ll only be good things for the guys.”

“That takes pressure off in the sense that we can just do our thing and sit back and play how we normally play rather than trying to control everything.”

Genia is one who has grown up within the Reds walls, having come to the club out of school in 2007 and now in his ninth season, preparing for the birth of his first child in the coming weeks.

“It’s a very different feeling now that I’m older, I mean I’m 27 now and about to have a kid,” he said.

“I’ve been here since I was 18. My life’s been here.”

Genia said he had noticed a marked change in his former Walabies teammate, O’Connor, who recently admitted he was on his last chance in Australian rugby.

“He’s come back a lot more mature and a little bit more humble,” he said.

“He’s more quiet, he sits back and listens as opposed to being the loudest person in the room.”

The Reds play their first trial game on January 31 against the Melbourne Rebels in Cairns.

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Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny’s tour in jeopardy after every venue pulls out of hosting her seminars

US anti-vacciniation campaigner Sherri Tenpenny’s Australian tour is in jeopardy after every venue cancelled her appearance. Photo: Facebook US anti-vacciniation campaigner Sherri Tenpenny’s Australian tour is in jeopardy after every venue cancelled her appearance. Photo: Facebook
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US anti-vacciniation campaigner Sherri Tenpenny’s Australian tour is in jeopardy after every venue cancelled her appearance. Photo: Facebook

US anti-vacciniation campaigner Sherri Tenpenny’s Australian tour is in jeopardy after every venue cancelled her appearance. Photo: Facebook

A high-profile anti-vaccination campaigner’s tour of Australia is in jeopardy after every venue booked to host her controversial seminars pulled out.

Sherri Tenpenny, an American osteopath who says vaccines are not safe and effective for children and that they are linked to conditions including autism, was booked to speak at 11 venues in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in February and March.

According to the organisers of her “Birth Baby and Beyond” and “Raising Healthy Children Naturally” talks, hundreds of tickets have been sold for up to $200 each.

But after a pro-vaccination group’s campaign to stop the tour, all of the venues have cancelled.

An organiser of the events and anti-vaccination campaigner, Stephanie Messenger, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

However, a note on the website selling tickets for the events says the venues cancelled due to “bullying by vested interests who do not believe in informed consent, free speech and respect for other’s rights, and who appear to support censorship of thought and science”.

Melbourne surgeon and spokesman for Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network, John Cunningham, said the cancellations were a “testament to corporate ethics”.

“Ethically, the public deserve more, and demand the truth, and the truth is simply that vaccinations are safe, effective, and save lives,” he said.

Dr Cunningham had called on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton not to allow Dr Tenpenny into Australia because she posed a threat to public health and safety. But the minister has not commented on whether he would use his powers to ban her entry.

Dr Tenpenny, the author of Saying No to Vaccines, was expected to be joined by Australian homeopath Isaac Golden, who promotes the use of natural products to prevent infectious diseases.

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Coronation Street actress Katie Redford sacked after lying about her age

Sacked actress Katie Redford was due to join the Coronation Street cast as Sarah-Louise Platt’s daughter Bethany. Photo: Facebook Sacked actress Katie Redford was due to join the Coronation Street cast as Sarah-Louise Platt’s daughter Bethany. Photo: Facebook
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Sacked actress Katie Redford was due to join the Coronation Street cast as Sarah-Louise Platt’s daughter Bethany. Photo: Facebook

Sacked actress Katie Redford was due to join the Coronation Street cast as Sarah-Louise Platt’s daughter Bethany. Photo: Facebook

Soap operas aren’t known for being very realistic, but for British series Coronation Street casting a 25-year-old to play a 14-year-old was one step too far.

Actress Katie Redford was fired from the long running soap opera this week after it was revealed she had lied to producers about being 19.

Fans reportedly discovered the actress’s real age just days after UK television network ITV announced Redford would play the role of Bethany Platt, a rebellious 14-year-old returning to Coronation Street.

At age 25, Redford is only two years younger than her Coronation Street mother Sarah-Louise Platt, played by Tina O’Brien.

Public records and a former online CV listed Redford’s date of birth as March 2, 1989. Her Twitter username was also changed from ‘katieredford89’ to ‘katieredfordtlc’.

Redford’s agent Jo McLintock told The Daily Mail that the actress was upset by the decision.

“We were at fault as we let her go in there without the producers knowing her age,” McLintock said.

“She is being re-cast and casting was adamant that they would not be using us again unfortunately.

“She is a brilliant young actress and very talented. We ill-advised her, but she just went in there and acted much younger than her age.

Fans and at least one former co-worker took to Twitter to offer Redford support. Appalled @ the sacking of @Katieredfordtlc. Shame on you @ITV. If her real age really mattered, u should have asked for ID @ the casting.1/2 — Chiara Wilde (@chia_ra_ra) January 19, 2015

Redford gained acting experience with London-based charity program National Youth Theatre. Her role in the 2013 film Pitfall saw her nominated for best actress at The Underwire Film Festival.

The character Bethany left Coronation Street in 2007 when her mother moved to Milan to work with Gail Platt’s half brother.

Meanwhile Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride – who played the part of Deirdre Barlow – has died.

Kirkbride, 60, who starred in the long-running British soap for 44 years, died in a Manchester hospital after a short illness.

A statement on the ITV website said her husband David Beckett and the program’s cast and crew are “heartbroken and deeply saddened”.

Executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “There are no words to describe the sense of grief we feel at Anne’s passing.

“She will be greatly missed by the Coronation Street team who share happy memories of working with her.”


– with PA  

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India’s media take aim at David Warner over Rohit Sharma bust-up

The fallout from David Warner’s ill-conceived run-in with Rohit Sharma on Sunday has continued with India’s media lining up to take aim at the explosive opener.
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Wisden India’s deputy editor R Kaushik didn’t mince his words in criticising Warner’s track record of unsavoury behaviour both on and off the field.

“David Warner is also the perfect example of a man fighting for all the wrong causes, however strong his conviction might be that he is doing the right thing,” Kaushik wrote.

“He doesn’t suffer from white line fever so much as define it. One day, it will come back to bite him very badly where it hurts.

“In a roundabout manner, Warner did concede he was in the wrong, but in an interview to a radio station, he harped more on the fact that Rohit spoke in Hindi than about his own confrontational approach to a presumed breach of the spirit of cricket that actually didn’t even happen.”

The “presumed breach” in question was Sharma picking up overthrows from Warner’s shy at the stumps which Warner believed deflected off Sharma’s pads. TV replays later showed that the ball did not touch Sharma’s body or bat.

Kaushik also had Australian coach Darren Lehmann’s “hard but fair” mantra in his sights.

“Australia have made ‘playing hard but fair’ one of the most laughable cliches in the cricket world,” Kaushik wrote.

“By their estimation, everything they do is ‘hard but fair’, but everything the opposition does is unfair.

“They call it the Australian way, and forever it would seem, they have gotten away with it.

“If the ICC does confirm the fine Warner says he has been slapped with [50 percent of his match fee], it won’t be a moment too soon because for too long now, Australia have stretched the boundaries of acceptable behaviour without paying a commensurate price.”

Amitoj Singh, a writer for New Delhi Television Limited, also weighed in on the debate describing Warner as a “serial offender, aggressive, unapologetic and controversy’s favourite child”.

However, Singh contends that Cricket Australia officials aren’t really bothered by all of that as long as Warner, who has hit four international tons this summer, keeps producing the goods.

“The Australians seem to have cracked the Warner code,” Singh wrote.

“James Sutherland, Cricket Australia CEO, may tell the reporters, ‘I have told Warner he needs to stop looking for trouble’. However, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that what’s really being told to Warner in the dressing room is, ‘Go out there and be yourself’, because the think tank knows what’s needed to ignite the pocket dynamo.”

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Tony Abbott prepares for another ‘long, hard slog’ in 2015′

Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke to the media after a roads announcement in western Sydney. Photo: Simon BennettNew year brings new approach for Joe HockeyCalls to delay university reforms
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott predicts his government will face another “long, hard slog” in the Senate to pass budget savings but says he has not lost his drive for difficult policy reform.

Mr Abbott returned from holidays on Tuesday with a vow to push ahead with plans to introduce more price signals into the health system and deregulate university fees.

Mr Abbott also acknowledged there had been “vigorous discussions” within cabinet’s powerful Expenditure Review Committee about a proposed $20 rebate cut for short GP consultations.

Reports on Sunday said Treasurer Joe Hockey and former health minister Peter Dutton opposed the cuts but Mr Abbott overruled them during a heated exchange.

The government ultimately dropped the cut last week following a revolt from Liberal backbenchers, Senate crossbenchers and the Australian Medical Association.

“We’ve taken this particular element of a series of proposals off the table pending further consultation with the medical profession – that’s the sensible thing to do,” Mr Abbott said.

“We’ve got to protect our great Medicare system and over time that does mean more price signals in the system.”

Mr Hockey on Monday raised the prospect of people living until 150 when selling the case for cuts to government benefits and consumers paying a greater share of their health costs.

Mr Abbott said: “We got the fundamentals right last year. Yes, it’s been a long, hard slog with the Senate, and I dare say that long, hard slog will continue.”

The government’s higher education reforms – including a 20 per cent course funding cut and a full deregulation of fees – would be “front and centre” of the government’s agenda when Parliament resumes in February, Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said former Labor MP Maxine McKew’s call for Labor to strike a compromise deal to boost university revenues showed the need for reform.

The government’s reform package is “very important for our universities, it’s very important for our future as a creative, dynamic society and economy and that’s why we are absolutely persisting with these important reforms”, he said.

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Where to eat andouillette: France’s stinky, urine-smelling sausage

A truly regional food: Andouillette.
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A truly regional food: Andouillette.

A truly regional food: Andouillette.

Weirdly, the smell turns me on, rather than off – it’s like a slow dance of death with a knife and fork. I’m talking about eating andouillette, an ancient French regional sausage made from the large intestines of the noble pig. Crisped under a grill and served with a smooth, velvety potato puree and a creamy mustard sauce, it’s utter heaven on a plate. That’s if you can get past the aggressive aroma of stale urine mixed with sweet spices and pork fat. Millions can’t, but those who can are hooked for ever more.

I’ve been obsessed with this pissy, stinky snag for 30 years now. Once I’d read about it, I had to have it. My first was in a bistro opposite the railway station in Lyons, a city known as “the stomach” of France.  It was milky, nutty, sweet, savoury, delicate and powerful. Back home, I studied andouillette and attempted to make my own. I bought pig’s intestines, cleaning the long, snaking tubes of pig’s innards by sending great whooshes of water through them that sprayed half the house and most of my wife with their smelly contents. It guaranteed that I would henceforth seek out those better qualified to do so.

Luckily, a group of French andouillette lovers formed the Association Amicale des Amateurs d’Andouillette Authentique (AAAAA) in 1988, to protect standards and to honour those establishments serving the true, original andouillette. The “Five A’s” above a restaurant’s doorway have always meant more to me than Michelin’s “Three Stars”. I have chased those little AAAAA’s throughout Paris and across France, and most recently to Troyes, a crazy-beautiful little medieval town of cobble-stoned streets and gothic churches in the Champagne-Ardennes district, where the andouillette tradition remains strong.

There, I studied with andouillette master Christophe Thierry of Charcuterie Thierry, home of the finest artisanal andouillette since 1969. I learnt to cut the intestines into long strips and wind them into loops like skeins of wool, then thread them onto a little string and pull them with great sleight-of-hand into an intestine casing to create the pale, lumpen sausage of my dreams. It is this labyrinthine structure that virtually explodes onto the plate when the skin is pierced that is the sign of the true andouillette. For three days, I literally stuffed my own intestines with intestines at every meal, necessitating countless bottles of the local Champagne, Rose de Riceys, and beer.

I fear for the future of the andouillette, however, because the people who love it and fight for it are disappearing. It belongs to another age, when respect, quality, tradition and pride meant more than celebrity and status; when the provinces of France were like different countries with their own cuisines and cultures, and when truly regional foods existed.  TIPS FOR SAUSAGE-SEEKERS

* Go to Paris and track down a genuine AAAAA-rated andouillette made by the renowned Christophe Thierry in Troyes. Try Racine, 8 Passage Panorama 2nd, and Le Verre Vole , 67 rue de Lancry, 10th.

* Take the train from Gare de L’Est in Paris and make the 90 minute trip to Troyes to check out where it all began. Worship at the shrine of Charcuterie Thierry, 73, avenue Gallieni, Sainte-Savine. Then go straight to Au Crieurs de Vin, a great little natural wine bar run by Jean-Michel Wilmes and Nicholas Vauthier at 4 Place Jean-Jaures, and order your andouillette. Die happy. See en.tourisme-troyes上海龙凤419m; aube-champagne上海龙凤419m.

* Can’t get to France? In  Melbourne try the excellent andouillette Parisienne with mustard sauce at France-Soir, 11 Toorak Rd, South Yarra. See france-soir上海龙凤419m.au

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Terror alert level lifted for Australian police amid attack fears

Police could be the target of a terror attack, according to the Australian Federal Police. Photo: Jason SouthThe terrorism threat level for potential attacks on police has been changed to “high” following the emergence of fresh intelligence, police have said.
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A statement by the Australian Federal Police on Tuesday said that the threat level for police is being brought into line with the rest of the community following the raising of the alert by the government to “high” in September 2014.

“As a result of intelligence information and discussions with our partners, the terrorism threat level against police is assessed as high, which is commensurate with the broader threat level for the community,” the statement said.

Despite recent arrests and an active effort by state and federal police to disrupt known terrorism networks, the dangers that led to the raising of the general threat level in September remain, the statement said.

“The security environment remains increasingly complex and challenging. Recent events in France, Canada and Australia serve as a sobering reminder of the risks associated with policing.”

Two police officers were killed by the gunmen who attacked the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Two Melbourne police officers were also attacked and wounded by a young man Numan Haider late last year.

“While relatively small, there are increasing numbers of Australians who are connected with or inspired by overseas terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with the intent and capability to conduct an attack against police,” the AFP police statement warned.

It added that police across the country had “thoroughly reviewed their security and risk management strategies and made necessary adjustments to their protective security policies and practices”.

The policies remain under review, the AFP said.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said she issued a warning to every police officer in the state on Tuesday asking them to be more vigilant both on and off duty.

Officers have been told to keep social media profiles discreet, while security has been ramped up at local police stations and officers have been told they must log in to mobile tracking devices in police cars whenever they leave the station.

Western Australia’s acting top cop says he will no longer hang his blue shirt in the back of the car when driving to and from work, due to the raised terror alert.

A statement issued by Victoria Police said the state’s acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright had written to all police officers, protective services officers and police public servants urging them to “be vigilant and pay extra attention to their own safety and security and that of their colleagues and their premises”.

Mr Cartwright had given instructions and advice to make sure that police security was as good as it could be and that there was a smooth flow of information to counter-terrorism operations and investigations, the statement said.

It urged people not to be “unduly concerned” and to “go about their lives as normal”.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said there were no specific threats to Queensland police or the wider community in that state.

“I believe that we have taken appropriate action, as has every other jurisdiction in Australia today, to ensure that we remind our officers of the need to ensure their safety because our officers need to be safe in the way that they go about their job so they can [can keep] the community safe and secure,” he said.

With Rachel Olding, Brendan Foster

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Nike designs fluoro range for male tennis stars

Spain’s Rafael Nadal sports pink. Photo: Eddie Jim Spain’s Rafael Nadal sports pink. Photo: Eddie Jim
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Spain’s Rafael Nadal sports pink. Photo: Eddie Jim

Spain’s Rafael Nadal sports pink. Photo: Eddie Jim

Loud: Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in pink and green. Photo: Andy Brownbill

Brilliant: Nick Kyrgios in fashion-conscious white and green. Photo: Hannah Peters

Dazzling: Australia’s Bernard Tomic’s eye-catching top. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Undimmed: Swiss Roger Federer went for bright green. Photo: Clive Brunskill

Loud: Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in pink and green. Photo: Andy Brownbill

Brilliant: Nick Kyrgios in fashion-conscious white and green. Photo: Hannah Peters

Dazzling: Australia’s Bernard Tomic’s eye-catching top. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Undimmed: Swiss Roger Federer went for bright green. Photo: Clive Brunskill

Loud: Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in pink and green. Photo: Andy Brownbill

Brilliant: Nick Kyrgios in fashion-conscious white and green. Photo: Hannah Peters

Undimmed: Swiss Roger Federer went for bright green. Photo: Clive Brunskill

Loud: Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in pink and green. Photo: Andy Brownbill

Brilliant: Nick Kyrgios in fashion-conscious white and green. Photo: Hannah Peters

Dazzling: Australia’s Bernard Tomic’s eye-catching top. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Undimmed: Swiss Roger Federer went for bright green. Photo: Clive Brunskill

It was a case of a banging LCD-fuelled-rave rudely interrupted by a game of tennis.

Australia’s top-ranked male tennis players took to the Australian Open court on Tuesday night wearing top-to-toe fluoro in various shades of eyecatching – or eyewatering, or eyemelting colour. Pick your own adjective.

“It’s exciting seeing young fit tennis players dressed for a Wham! revival,” opined Elle Australia deputy editor Damien Woolnough upon seeing the clothing choices of Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Thanasi Kokkinakis and co.

“The fluoro trend is perfect for centre court and distracting attention away from people who insist on wearing face paint in the crowds,” Woolnough said.

The Nike-designed range, which will be worn by the brand’s huge troupe of performers at the Open, is apparently inspired by Melbourne’s laneway street art – and designed to make an “unapologetic visual statement” and give wearers a competitive advantage via “disruptive patterns”.

Flag-bearer Nick Kyrgios managed to look as though his whole lower half had been dipped in glow-in-the-dark paint, with matching fluoro boots and shorts, and a shirt that graded from fluoro green (the more fashion-forward observers are speculating it’s actually a shade of chartreuse) through to a nice sensible white. On top, a fashionably-grooved eyebrow.

Bernard Tomic sported a shirt that combined green, pink, and a pattern reminiscent of those Magic Eye eye-puzzles that, if stared at for long enough, reveal a hidden picture. At deadline, that picture remained stubbornly hidden.

But it was five-set thriller Thanasi Kokkinakis who really stole the show, pairing fluoro green and pink with a fantastic pair of forearm sweatbands.

Nike are using the tournament to advertise the new range.

“The spring 2015 Nike Tennis collection was conceived to utilise striking colour choices and disruptive patterns as a competitive advantage for performance tennis,” says the brand’s website.

A spokeswoman for the brand revealed Nike’s design team visited Melbourne a year ago to begin work on the palette for this year’s tennis range, where they became enamoured with street art as the perfect symbol of the city.

“This constantly-evolving art which is an perpetual state of change, perfectly reflected the drive and newness found in the city as a whole.

“The chrome trim on Roger and Rafa’s shorts elevates their look and style, originating from the bright sun reflected in the city around the time of the tournament.

“The faded print that appears on court we named Tag, was inspired by the tags thrown up around the city.”

For his part, young Kokkinakis, fresh from a win over the 11th seed Ernests Gulbis, can afford to be a little cocky.

“They were like, we only give this to a few. If you’re up for it, wear it,” he said. “I wore the stripes last year, but that was nothing compared to what I wore this year. … I was like, ‘surely in this outfit I’ve got to get the win’.”

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Highway vigilante confiscated car keys from tourists in New Zealand

The Lindis Pass close to where the altercation took place. Photo: WikiMedia CommonsAn Australian family was left stranded on a desolate strip of road in New Zealand after a local man pulled them over and confiscated their hire car keys because he says they almost caused a head-on collision.
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The Queenstown man pursued the family of seven’s rental car after he allegedly saw them try to overtake someone and nearly cause a collision.

The man, who asked not to be named, performed a U-turn and sped off after the tourists. He then flashed his lights and beeped his horn but said the Australian tourist had “no intention of stopping”.

“I like to think I know what I’m talking about,” the New Zealander told the Otago Daily Times. “It’s just hard to put it into words just how close it was.”

Deciding to take things into his own hands, he forced the car to stop. After snatching the car keys from the ignition, the New Zealander told the driver he would call police when he had mobile phone reception.

The tourists left stranded on the remote Lindis Pass on Sunday evening had no food, water or mobile phone reception and were not sure how far they were from the nearest town.

The driver of the hire car, who also asked not to be named, holds a full Australian driver’s licence. He said the incident should never have happened.

“We were just driving [from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo] and all of a sudden someone came and blocked us and just ran to us and pulled the key out of the car,” the man said. “We were stranded there without doing anything [wrong].

“There is no right for any other person to stop someone else’s car with a family and just take the key and make them stranded on the road … anything could have happened.”

But the New Zealand man held a different viewpoint, saying he was just doing his bit to prevent a certain car crash.

“As far as I see it, I just took the ammunition out of the gun,” he said. “A car’s a weapon in the hands of an idiot like that.

“Would you rather have distressed kids sitting in the back of the car, or dead kids splattered across the windscreen?”

A Gold Coast resident, Mason Brown, was driving with his own family when he saw the family inside the rental car try to flag him down for help.

“They were visiting from Sydney, so they weren’t sure why the person had pulled them over and taken their key,” Mr Brown said. “So they were just really freaked out about what had happened.

“No other traffic had stopped to help. It was raining and one of the rental car’s electric windows was down, there were three young children and an elderly diabetic man among the group of seven. The wife of the driver was very distressed.

Mr Brown said the New Zealand man’s actions had created other hazards and effectively inflamed the situation.

“I’ve heard that people were hailing this person as a hero but … I just think the way that it was handled was not particularly appropriate,” he said.

“Because of where it was, it was incredibly dangerous and stressful for that family and for other drivers. The car was off the road but it could have been more safely pulled off the road.”

The Sydney tourist will appear in the Alexandria District Court onJanuary 28 charged with careless use of a motor vehicle.

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