Martinez welcomes Villa resurgence

first_img Villa cut Latics five points adrift of Barclays Premier League safety with a stunning 6-1 win over Sunderland on Monday, their fourth victory in their last seven outings. But Martinez believes Villa’s run has helped Wigan because it has brought other teams into the scrap and it could take pressure off his side’s final-day clash with the midlanders. Lambert’s side are now level with Sunderland and Newcastle on 37 points with three to play while Wigan, on 32 points, have a game in hand. Martinez said: “We wanted Aston Villa to have a very strong ending to the season.” Wigan boss Roberto Martinez insists he is happy to see relegation rivals Aston Villa hitting form. The Spaniard continued: “The reason for that is I don’t think it would be healthy for any of the teams go into the final game of the season as a final, a showdown, where one of the teams has to get relegated. I think that would be very dangerous. “As it stands now I think it shows the fight goes a bit further than two teams. I think that is only a positive for every team involved in that. It is great for us that the fight to avoid that third place is more open than just two teams.” Wigan were just moments away from claiming a valuable three points when they conceded a last-gasp equaliser – an Emmerson Boyce own goal – to Tottenham last weekend. It was an agonising result but the ever-optimistic Martinez has lost none of his confidence and, with recent performances good despite poor results, remains hopeful of safety. Martinez said: “I think we have played extremely well. You need to remember that against Manchester City and West Ham we never got a point but the performances were very good. “Against Spurs we carried on with that level and I think we did enough to get the three points but, as it happens in games sometimes, you don’t the full reward. “If you perform well enough over the period you are fighting to avoid relegation, the reward will be there. “In football I think you always get what you deserve. Over the course of 38 games you can’t come out and complain or moan or blame other people. You need to accept at the end of the 38 games you will get the points you deserve.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Men’s tennis returns to the court with two home wins

first_imgThe Trojans continue at home tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. with a double header against UC Davis and the University of San Francisco. In the opening match, USC will look to overwhelm a young UC Davis team that has only one upperclassman. It will, however, be a tricky matchup, as the young Aggies have a 6-0 record heading into tomorrow’s matches. USF comes in with an undefeated record as well, although they have only played one match. USC will look to best its result against the Dons last year, when USC won 5-2. The USC men’s tennis team continued its recent success in the ITA Weekend Kickoff Tournament last weekend. After returning from a trip to Australia, the No. 5 Trojans defeated Cal Poly Saturday and defeated UC Santa Barbara in the final on Sunday. USC went up against Cal Poly in the first round and swept them 4-0. All three Trojan pairings started off slow in doubles, with sophomore Daniel Cuckierman and freshman Bradley Frye losing their match 4-6. Juniors Brandon Holt and Riley Smith were able to overcome their slow start, however, and came up with a 6-4 victory. The deciding doubles match came down to the wire, but seniors Laurens Verboven and Jack Jaede were able to clinch the set with a 7-5 win. Holt and Cuckierman both played out their matches and in the end, Holt won his match 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. Cuckierman was the last to finish with a hard fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win. At the end of the day, USC won both of its matches over the weekend and qualified for its 11th consecutive ITA National Indoor Championship, which will be held in Chicago on Feb 15. Smith secured a quick victory once again in singles with a 6-2, 6-2 win. Similarly, freshman Mor Bulis won 6-3, 6-2 in his match. Santa Barbara was able to get 1 point back, as Verboven lost 6-2, 6-3. After Holt and Cuckierman split sets in their matches, all of the attention turned to freshman Jake Sands to clinch USC’s win. Sands stood strong under the pressure and pulled out a gritty 6-4, 6-4 win to give USC the tournament.   The singles matches were much more straightforward, as the Trojans got three straight set wins from Holt (6-4, 6-0), Smith (6-3, 6-2) and Cuckierman (6-1, 7-5). This completed the sweep and secured USC’s place in the championship match on Sunday against the Gauchos.center_img The doubles on Sunday against Santa Barbara proved to be much easier for the Trojans. Holt and Smith dominated with a 6-1 victory, which Cuckierman and Frye followed up with a straightforward 6-2 win. With the doubles point easily secured, the match turned to singles. “As a team, we were all just ready to go, and we are excited for this year,” Smith said. “I think we are going to compete our butts off. I think we really have a chance to just do something special this year. Tournament is nothing different to us, and we are just going to go out there and compete.” The good news continues to come in for the Trojans. It was announced Tuesday that Holt won Pac-12 Player of the Week honors following his undefeated record this past weekend. Women’s tennis junior Angela Kulikov also won the same honor this week, marking the first time since 2015 that USC tennis has had a men’s and women’s player take Player of the Week honors in the same week. Junior Brandon Holt won Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after snagging two doubles and two singles victories in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. It is the second time in his career Holt has earned the honor. (Emily Smith/Daily Trojan)last_img read more