Sports news in brief (Jan 4-10)

Woz awaits draw
Caroline Wozniacki is ninth favourite (40/1 with Ladbroke’s) for the first grand slam event of the year, the Australian Open, which begins on Monday January 14. Having reached the quarter-finals last year, the world number 10 heads into the tournament knowing a failure to match that performance will probably see her slide further down the world rankings. The draw is due to be announced on Friday. 

World crown beckons
Denmark are the fourth favourites (5/1 with Ladbroke’s) to win the Men’s Handball World Championship, which begins on Friday January 11 in Spain. Denmark are in the same group as Qatar (game on Saturday), Russia (Sunday), Chile (Tuesday), Iceland (Wednesday) and Macedonia (January 18). The top four from each group then qualify for the final 16 knockout stage. The final is on January 27.

Kessler awaits deadline
The Carl Froch camp have until Tuesday January 15 to complete their negotiations regarding the IBF super middleweight champion’s defence against the mandatory challenger, Canada’s Adonis Stevenson. Froch has made it clear that he wants to fight Mikkel Kessler, who narrowly beat him in 2010, but needs an IBF waiver to fight the Dane before the Canadian. Should the fight go ahead, it is expected to net each fighter 18 million kroner. 

Ultimate tick for Olesen
2012 Årets Fund winner Thorbjørn Olesen, 23, has signed a lucrative multi-year sponsorship deal with Nike Golf to use and showcase the manufacturer’s equipment. It means he has officially become part of Nike Golf’s tour staff – a stable of players that includes Tiger Woods and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. “We know he will make a great addition,” Nike’s Mark Thaxton told media. 

Youngster tipped for Villa
Frederik Sørensen, 20, a central defender who has made nine appearances for Bologna so far this season, has been linked by Italian media to a move to Aston Villa, an English Premier League club currently rebuilding its team with a focus on youth. Meanwhile, one of Villa’s local rivals, Wolves, has sacked its Norwegian manager Ståle Solbakken, the former coach of FC Copenhagen, after just five months in charge. 

TV2 Sport relaunced
Following TV3’s takeover of TV2 Sport – which saw Modern Times Group, the Swedish-based owner of Viasat, acquire TV2’s 51 percent stake in TV2 Sport to become the sole owner – the channel was relaunched on Monday as TV3 Sports, promising viewers 8,000 hours of live sport over the next year. On February 5, it will be joined by TV3 Sports 2, taking Viasat’s total number of sports channels to five.