Iranian president pledges to stick to nuclear deal commitments

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

February 17, 2018

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday it would adhere to commitments under its 2015 international nuclear agreement, signed with six world powers to limit its disputed nuclear program.

“We will adhere to our commitments made,” Rouhani said at an event in New Delhi. “After signing a contract, haggling with it is ridiculous.”

Under the agreement signed with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of many sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing for changes to the agreement.

“If the U.S. violates this agreement… you will see that America will regret this decision,” he said adding his country had always adhered to contracts deals so long as other party did not violate the contract.

Rouhani arrived in India on a three-day visit part of efforts to expand bilateral ties and cooperation in economic development.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Alison Williams)

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South African police raid Gupta home, ANC to sack Zuma via parliament

Police raid the home of the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg
Police raid the home of the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/James Oatway

February 14, 2018

By Ed Cropley and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s ANC unveiled plans on Wednesday to sack President Jacob Zuma via a parliamentary no-confidence vote, hours after armed police raided the luxury home of his friends, the Gupta brothers, as part of an anti-corruption investigation.

In his first response to an avalanche of pressure from the African National Congress (ANC) for him to quit, Zuma – who has been dogged by scandal throughout his political life – proclaimed his innocence and said he was being “victimized” by Nelson Mandela’s former liberation movement.

“There’s nothing I’ve done wrong,” a relaxed but indignant Zuma said during a nearly hour-long interview with the SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster. “I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s unfair.”

When asked point-blank if would step aside, he avoided the question and continued to allege a lack of principle in moves by the party’s National Executive Committee to oust him. He did say he would make a formal statement later on Wednesday.

He did not comment on the police raids, which marked a dramatic tightening of the net around the 75-year-old and the political faction around him accused of milking state resources for their own ends.

Even if he refuses to quit, with the ANC backing an opposition-led no-confidence motion on Thursday, Zuma appears to have run out of road after nine years in office marked by political tumult and economic stagnation.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose election as head of the ANC in December marked the beginning of the end of Zuma’s tenure, could be sworn in as head of state as early as Friday.

“After we have voted for the removal of the President of the Republic tomorrow – and depending on the availability of the Chief Justice – we will also elect a new president,” Mthembu told a news conference in Cape Town.

The rand, which has gained ground whenever Zuma has hit political turbulence, soared more than one percent to a 2-1/2 year high of 11.79 against the dollar.

MORE ARRESTS

The speed of Zuma’s demise after two weeks of dithering by the ANC has stunned South Africa.

The early morning raid, which the police’s elite Hawks unit said resulted in three arrests, took place amid reports Zuma was preparing to tell the country he was stepping down

The SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster, said a Gupta family member was among those detained. A senior judicial source said police expected to arrest up to seven more people and that Gupta family members would be among them.

“You can’t bring a matter of this nature to court and not charge the people who have benefited the most,” the source, who has knowledge of the police’s moves, told Reuters.

Zuma and the Guptas, a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen, deny any wrongdoing. A lawyer for the Gupta family said he could not comment on the raid because he had yet to see the search warrant.

Meanwhile, there was chaos and confusion at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, the official seat of government, over reported plans for Zuma to address the country.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said Zuma would speak at 0800 GMT and satellite trucks were in position overnight. However, Zuma’s office denied there had been any “official communication” of an address and the scheduled time came and went.

Adding to the mystery, a copy of an email, purportedly from deputy presidential communications director Shadi Baloyi, circulated on Twitter telling Pretoria police that plans for a “special media briefing” by Zuma at 0800 GMT had been canceled.

“Kindly ignore my earlier request, as the briefing will not take place tomorrow,” Baloyi wrote. Reuters could not confirm the email’s authenticity and Baloyi did not answer her phone or respond to text messages.

Zuma’s spokesman did not answer his phone.

“CRIME SCENE”

Shortly after dawn, a dozen Hawks police officers sealed off a street leading to the Gupta mansion in Johannesburg’s upscale Saxonwold suburb. One blocked access to Reuters, saying: “This is a crime scene.”

Minutes later, an unmarked police van left the compound as residents applauded police officers and hurled abuse at security guards for the Guptas, who have been accused by South Africa’s top anti-corruption watchdog of influence-peddling and swaying the appointment of cabinet ministers.

“Finally something is being done about it. These guys must get out of our country. They must leave us alone. They have done enough damage,” said Tessa Turvey, head of the local residents’ association, standing outside the compound’s iron gates.

Police also raided the Guptas’ Oakbay holding company in Johannesburg’s Sandton financial district, according to a security guard outside the building.

On Tuesday, the ANC ordered Zuma to step down as president of the country, giving him no firm deadline but saying the party was sure he would comply and “respond” on Wednesday.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said the raid was part of an investigation into influence-peddling allegations that are also the focus of a judicial inquiry into wider corruption involving the Guptas, dubbed “state capture” in local media.

“We’re not playing around in terms of making sure that those who are responsible in the so-called state capture, they take responsibility for it,” Mulaudzi said.

He declined to give details of what was seized or if the business premises of the Guptas, whose commercial empire stretches from mining to media, would also be raided. Under South African law, suspects cannot be named until they appear in court.

(Additional reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Tanisha Heiberg and James Macharia in Johannesburg and Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by William Maclean and Janet Lawrence)

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ECB concerned about U.S. political influence on exchange rates: Nowotny

ECB Governing Council member Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna
European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member and OeNB governor Ewald Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

February 11, 2018

ZURICH (Reuters) – The European Central Bank is concerned that the United States is exerting “political influence” on exchange rates and will make this a theme at upcoming G20 meetings, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said in an interview on Sunday.

“We in the ECB are certainly concerned about attempts by the United States to politically influence the exchange rate,” Nowotny told Austrian broadcaster ORF.

“That was a theme of economic discussions in Davos, where the ECB addressed this, and it will certainly be a theme at the upcoming G20 summit.”

The next G20 summit will be held next month in Argentina.

Nowotny’s comments echo those he made earlier this month when he said the U.S. Treasury department was deliberately putting downward pressure on the dollar.

A weaker dollar tends to benefit large U.S. multinational companies, but it can also make imports more expensive and hurt consumers. The dollar has fallen 2 percent this year and declined 10 percent in 2017.

Positive economic signals in the United States including low unemployment, robust growth and tame inflation do not stem from President Donald Trump’s policies, Nowotny said, but rather those established by his predecessor, ex-President Barack Obama.

“You have to view the economy over a longer period,” he said. “What the United States is currently experiencing is the inheritance from the previous government, as well as Fed policy,” he said.

Trump “started with a good inheritance”, Nowotny said.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Walmart makes push to sell online goods at $10 and up to capture elusive e-commerce profit

A woman shops at Walmart as the store prepares for Black Friday in Los Angeles
A woman shops at Walmart as the store prepares for Black Friday in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

February 8, 2018

By Nandita Bose

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc is asking vendors to supply it with more merchandise priced at $10 and up, as part of a major push to finally turn a profit at its online business, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The new focus at the world’s largest retailer is on dry grocery products such as sauces, soaps and general merchandise items such as toys and home furnishings, the sources said.

Walmart’s goal is to see higher profit margins selling these more expensive items given the built-in cost of delivering goods purchased online, according to the people familiar with Walmart’s new strategy.

Shipping Gillette Mach 3 Disposable Razors at $6.97, for example, costs the same as Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide Men’s Razor Refills at $12.97.

In meetings last week with suppliers including Procter & Gamble Co, Unilever PLC, Kimberly-Clark Corp and Clorox Co, Walmart’s e-commerce chief Marc Lore said Walmart.com wants to focus on merchandise priced at least $5 and preferably, more than $10, the people said.

“Walmart has started to understand it cannot make money if they offer the lowest prices online on every item and then spend $4 or $5 trying to ship it over,” said one supplier present at the meetings. “It is not sustainable and more importantly their shareholders won’t allow it.”

Walmart’s directive to suppliers marks a shift in strategy. The retailer for years has squeezed suppliers for pennies to drive the lowest prices for shoppers, both online and at its brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart will continue to press for bargain-priced items to sell at its 4,700 stores. But in addition, it will now implore suppliers to provide it with more expensive goods for sale online.

This new emphasis on more higher-priced goods at Walmart.com comes after the retailer acquired Jet.com in 2016 and is investing billions of dollars to make its online business more competitive.

Walmart declined to comment on the meetings, but affirmed its commitment to “Every Day Low Prices” and offering the best prices online.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our assortment with new items, and want to ensure that the items we add to the assortment are a great value but also make economic sense for the channel,” a Walmart spokeswoman said.

Two people present at the Walmart meetings in Bentonville, Ark. – who were not authorized to speak on the record – said Walmart wants to avoid selling products online at a loss like rival Amazon.com Inc, where there is much less of a focus on retail profit. Seattle-based Amazon profits on many but not all transactions, depending on price-matching, an order’s size, shipping speed and other factors.

While Amazon has pressured suppliers for discounts usually given to bigger retailers, a person familiar with the matter said, it has been happy to sell popular items at cost or even at a loss if it means winning customers’ loyalty over the long term.

For a graphic, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2BGby73.

Amazon has a diverse array of profitable businesses to offset its retail losses, including commissions for third-party sales on its site, advertising sales and a business handling large enterprises’ computing needs in the cloud.

Amazon accounted for 43.5 percent of U.S. e-commerce sales in the 12 months to October 2017, compared to Walmart’s 3.6 percent, according to digital research firm eMarketer.Walmart.com has tripled the items it sells to 70 million in the past year. It is looking to grow that fast, as it plays catch up with Amazon’s more than 300 million products for sale.

Walmart.com already had begun to raise prices on some items sold online last year. By now enlisting suppliers to provide it with higher priced goods, it is taking that strategy a step further.

The move to offer more $10-and-up merchandise for sale online carries significant risk if bargain hunters reject the push and seek lower-priced goods elsewhere. A majority of Walmart’s low-income customers still tend to shop at its brick-and-mortar stores.

But the retailer, with $485 billion in annual sales, is trying to attract a slightly more affluent audience to Walmart.com.

For some suppliers, Walmart’s directive will entail going back to the drawing board and coming up with new items to sell on Walmart.com. That, in turn, will require planning and investment in new product design, packaging, marketing and sales. One Walmart vendor said that more than 95 percent of its merchandise currently for sale on Walmart.com is priced between $3 and $8.

Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever declined to comment. Clorox did not respond to requests for comment.

“They are no longer saying ‘give us the lowest priced product for dot com,’” said one person present at the meetings, referring to Walmart.com. “They want items that retail for more than $10; those are the products that make money for them online.”

(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Edward Tobin)

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Activist files contempt of court case against Kenya government over TV closures

Kenyan activist Okiya Omtatah files a lawsuit seeking the arrest of two Kenyan ministers and a senior official for contempt of court, at the Milimani Court in Nairobi
Kenyan activist Okiya Omtatah files a lawsuit seeking the arrest of two Kenyan ministers and a senior official for contempt of court after the government ignored a court order to reopen three television channels shut down over their political coverage, at the Milimani Court in Nairobi, Kenya, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

February 5, 2018

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI (Reuters) – An activist filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking the arrest of two Kenyan ministers and a senior official for contempt of court after the government ignored a court order to reopen three television channels shut down over their political coverage.

The case moves Kenya, East Africa’s wealthiest economy and regional powerhouse, one step closer to a possible showdown between the government and judiciary over the unprecedented decision to shutter the three stations.

Kenyan police used teargas to disperse a crowd of more than 100 demonstrators demanding the reopening of the channels, whose closure has also prompted vocal criticism from the United States, the United Nations and ex-colonial ruler Britain.

“The government cannot ignore the ruling of the court,” the activist, Okiya Omtatah, told Reuters as he filed his papers. “I am waiting to get a time when my petition might be heard.”

Omtatah said he was seeking the arrest of the interior minister, the information minister and the director of Kenya’s communications authority for flouting last Thursday’s order.

No one from the government was immediately available for comment.

Kenya’s latest political crisis has its roots in a disputed presidential election last August. President Uhuru Kenyatta won by 1.4 million votes, but the Supreme Court later nullified the results on procedural grounds.

DISPUTED ELECTION

In an October re-run Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote after opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted it, complaining it would not be fair. Odinga claims he was the real winner of the August election, although he has not produced any conclusive evidence to back his claim.

Last Tuesday Odinga held a symbolic inauguration of himself as president of Kenya. On the same day the government took three private television channels planning to screen the event off air.

In the past few days, the government has also briefly detained three opposition politicians who took part in Odinga’s ceremony.

One, firebrand lawyer Miguna Miguna, was due to appear in court on Monday but authorities did not produce him or charge him despite a judge’s order.

Instead, the judge ordered the chief of police and director of criminal investigation to appear on Tuesday to explain Miguna’s absence. The police routinely flout such orders.

At Monday’s demonstration the 100 or so protesters had been trying to march on government offices in central Nairobi when police fired the teargas at them, a Reuters witness said.

“We are tired of what is happening. Detention without trial is back, like what has happened to opposition leaders, lack of respect for court orders,” said one demonstrator, Wilfred Olal.

“Unfortunately despite having notified the police, despite the constitution giving us the right to picket, demonstrate and assemble, they still stopped us with teargas.”

Odinga’s opposition alliance has not yet announced his next plans. He failed to show up at a rally on Sunday, leaving his allies to explain that they would outline their plan next week.

(additional reporting by Katharine Houreld and Humphrey Malalo; writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Gareth Jones and Ed Osmond)

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Alibaba backs Indian online grocer BigBasket in $300 million fundraising

February 2, 2018

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s leading online grocer BigBasket has raised $300 million in a funding round led by China’s Alibaba, giving it more firepower to compete with U.S. rival Amazon.

An Alibaba unit invested $146 million, subscribing to compulsorily convertible preference shares, BigBasket said a filing to Indian regulators.

BigBasket, which sells everything from vegetables to frozen meats to soap and shampoo, gave no breakdown of the fundraising but said it would use the funds to build farmer networks and expand deeper into Indian cities where they operate.

“BigBasket is delighted to receive this funding from Alibaba, which will essentially be directed towards growth and consolidation. The multinational e-commerce retailer fits in best with what we believe in,” chief executive Hari Menon said.

Bengaluru-headquartered BigBasket, which researcher Forrester estimates accounts for roughly 40 percent of India’s $750 million online grocery market, is competing with SoftBank-backed Grofers and Amazon’s India unit for a bigger slice of the market.

Founded in 2011, BigBasket has more than 6 million registered customers and operates across 26 Indian cities.

Alibaba, through its units, holds various investments in India’s fast-growing online retail space, including a stake in the parent of top digital wallet firm Paytm.

Sands Capital Pvt Growth Ltd, International Finance Corp and Abraaj Basket I Pvt Ltd also invested a total of $50.8 million in BigBasket as part of the latest round, according to the filing.

It was not immediately known who invested the remainder of the total $300 million.

BigBasket and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Devidutta Tripathy and Alexander Smith)

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Lebanon’s Aoun urges stability after street protests

Lebanese President Michel Aoun speaks during a meeting in Rome
Lebanese President Michel Aoun speaks during a meeting in Rome, Italy, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

January 30, 2018

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday called on leaders to assume their responsibility in protecting the country’s stability and security after a political row involving his son-in-law triggered street protests.

Supporters of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a long time political adversary of Aoun, set ablaze tyres and blocked roads on Monday in protest against comments made by Aoun’s son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who had called him “a thug”.

In one incident, gunfire erupted near offices of Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) east of Beirut. The FPM and Berri’s Amal movement traded blame over the incident.

“What happened on the ground is a big mistake based on (a previous) mistake,” Aoun said in a statement.

(Writing by Tom Perry, Editing by William Maclean)

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Pro-Russian president, academic challenger face off in tight Czech presidential vote

Incumbent president Milos Zeman casts his vote as his wife Ivana watches at a polling station during the second round of the presidential election in Prague
Incumbent president Milos Zeman casts his vote as his wife Ivana watches at a polling station during the second round of the presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic January 26, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny

January 27, 2018

By Robert Muller

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Czechs wrapped up voting on Saturday in a presidential election run-off where pro-western academic Jiri Drahos is trying to oust incumbent Milos Zeman, who has split the nation by courting Russia and China and leaning towards far-right groups.

The election is seen as a referendum on Zeman, 73. The last prominent figure among active politicians from the country’s transitional period in the 1990s, he has pleased some but alienated others by publicly belittling opponents ranging from the last prime minister to intellectual elites and the press.

The vote, expected to be almost even, reflects the divisions between liberals and conservatives seen elsewhere in Europe and the United States. Zeman has taken a tough stance on immigration and backed Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Czech constitution gives presidents limited executive powers, but Zeman has not hesitated to test the boundaries. In 2013, for example, he appointed a caretaker government of his allies for five months against the will of parliament.

While the last poll put Drahos, 68, three percentage points ahead of the incumbent, betting odds showed the opposite, slightly favoring Zeman.

A victory by Drahos could bring a voice more in tune with the European Union into Czech politics and help set it apart from its ex-communist peers Poland and Hungary, which have locked horns with the EU.

“Zeman never questioned the Czech membership in the EU, but on the other hand he said he would welcome a referendum on exit and in practice he significantly deviated from both EU and NATO,” said political analyst Michael Romancov.

“It is clear that Jiri Drahos is unequivocally pro-EU and an euro-Atlantic candidate.”

Zeman has benefited from rising Czech hostility to immigration, especially from Muslim countries, although the country received just 116 asylum applications between January and November last year.

The country has a Muslim minority of just several thousand but warnings of security risks and loss of identity feature strongly in public debate.

Both Zeman and Drahos have rejected the EU’s refugee quotas, but unlike Zeman, Drahos has said his country should differentiate between economic migrants and war refugees and follow its asylum procedures.

GOVERNMENT FORMATION

Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a billionaire businessman who has ruled as a caretaker since his minority cabinet lost a confidence vote in parliament last week, is backing Zeman.

Zeman also backs Babis. Zeman’s term ends on March 7, but he has pledged to give Babis a second chance to form a government regardless of the election result. He even said that the process would be accelerated if he lost to Drahos so the new president could not make his own pick.

The two candidates are as dissimilar personally as they are politically. Zeman is brash, with a self-advertised appetite for alcohol and tobacco. His health is a concern – he suffers from diabetes, which makes him walk with a cane. Drahos is a soft-spoken chemistry professor.

And by the same token, voters are split between those who see Zeman as an embarrassment, and those who think Drahos is colorless and lacking strong views.

“I did vote for Mr. Drahos because he is clever, I think he will represent our country well,” said Eva Simakova after voting in Prague. “Mr. Zeman is already in bad health and we have to confess the he is a bit of shame for us abroad.”

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Additional reporting by Jiri Skacel; Editing by Larry King and Mark Potter)

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Swiss marchers protest against Trump, break through Davos security cordon

People attend an Anti-Trump demonstration to protest U.S. President's coming to the World Economic Forum of Davos, in Geneva
People attend an Anti-Trump demonstration to protest U.S. President’s coming to the World Economic Forum of Davos, in Geneva, Switzerland January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

January 24, 2018

By Michael Shields and Fedja Grulovic

ZURICH/DAVOS (Reuters) – Anti-capitalists marched through Swiss cities on Tuesday to protest a planned visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and broke through a security cordon in Davos.

Leftists organizers called for the protests under the mottos “Trump Not Welcome” and “Smash WEF!”

Trump is due to speak on Friday at the WEF in the Alpine town of Davos, an annual meeting of global business and political leaders where protests have been banned.

About 20 demonstrators broke through security to reach the Davos Congress Centre, holding banners and shouting “Wipe out WEF” before they were peacefully disbanded by police.

“Trump is just one of the other people we disagree with. We’ve been protesting every year now against the World Economic Forum and if Trump comes or not we don’t care. Trump is just, maybe he’s just the best symbol of this world,” protester Alex Hedinger told Reuters TV in Davos.

More than 4,000 Swiss soldiers have deployed to guard Davos alongside 1,000 police and a no-fly zone is in place.

Police estimated that there were 2,000 demonstrators in Zurich.

They carried flags and anti-globalist and environmentalist placards such as “No Trump, no coal, no gas, no fossil fuels” as they marched toward Zurich’s financial district, where bankers had been warned to stay clear of the approved demonstration.

Swiss television RSR showed a sign that read “Who was the shithole?”, in reference to reported remarks by Trump about Haiti and African countries, which he has denied.

Several hundred protesters also marched in public squares in Geneva, Lausanne and Fribourg. Geneva signs read “World Economic Fiasco”, “racist sexist capitalist” and “Don’t touch women’s rights”.

Geneva demonstrator organizer Paolo Gilardi told Reuters TV: “While the Swiss Federal Council (Swiss cabinet) is about to welcome and unroll the red carpet for Mister Trump, well we think that the population has something to say.”

“This policy is unacceptable because the goal … is to reduce the planet to fire and blood and to assure the powerful people’s domination over the rest of the world.”

Earlier in Geneva, protesters laid a wreath at the entrance of the U.S. diplomatic mission in memory of Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, amid clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters last August.

After the rally, Trump inflamed tensions by saying there were “very fine people” on both sides, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white supremacists.

Earlier this month, demonstrators also protested against Trump’s visit in the Swiss capital of Bern.

That march was peaceful, unlike violent anti-WEF protests in several Swiss cities in the early 2000s.

(Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich, Fedja Grulovic in Davos and Cecile Mantovani in Geneva; writing by Michael Shields and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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Tennis: Dimitrov holds nerve to end Kyrgios’s run

January 21, 2018

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov kept his cool in the Rod Laver Arena maelstrom to knock home favorite Nick Kyrgios out of the Australian Open in a fourth-round thriller on Sunday.

Third seed Dimitrov absorbed 76 winners and struck 64 of his own to edge a scintillating duel 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(4).

Kyrgios fought until the end, breaking back when Dimitrov served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set but Dimitrov booked a quarter-final spot in the night’s third tiebreak when he fired a sublime forehand winner.

Defeat for Kyrgios means Australia’s long wait for a men’s champion at their home slam will extend to a 43rd year.

Dimitrov will play British player Kyle Edmund for a place in his second successive semi-final in Melbourne.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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