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Thursday's Sport: Final spots up for grabs in Melbourne

It's women's semi-finals day in Melbourne at the Australian Open on Thursday, while there's quality jumps racing from Gowran Park and Copa del Rey action from Spain later on in the day.

The last four in Melbourne looks wide open and it's tough to call the semi-finals.

Thyestes Chase Day is always a treat at Gowran Park and can be followed via the bet365 Live Sports Streaming Service, while the Snooker Shoot Out continues in Leicester.

Australian Open: Rybakina no certainty to see off Azarenka

WhatElena Rybakina v Victoria Azarenka
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When08.30, Thursday 26th January
How to watchEurosport, Discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsElena Rybakina 4/9, Victoria Azarenka 7/4

Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina faces off against two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the first semi-final, while the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw - Aryna Sabalenka - takes on Poland's Magda Linette immediately afterwards.

Sabalenka has yet to win a Grand Slam, but she is the 1/1 To Win Outright, with Rybakina next at 13/8. Azarenka is 9/2 to claim her third Australian Open crown, while Linette is the outsider of the quartet at 12/1.

Rybakina was a surprise winner at Wimbledon last year, but the Kazakh travelled to Melbourne having done little since then to suggest that a second Grand Slam title was within her capabilities.

As a Grand Slam champion she took some umbrage at being placed out on Court 13 in round one, but that appears to have spurred her on to subsequent wins over former finalist Danielle Collins, world number one Iga Swiatek and former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.

She is 4/9 to win her semi-final but faces a tough opponent in 7/4 Azarenka, the 33-year-old still more than capable of landing the title in Melbourne on Saturday.

Sabalenka, meanwhile, is the strong favourite at 1/5 for her clash with Linette. The pair have met twice before and Sabalenka dominated both clashes, winning 6-1 6-3 in Tianjin, China, in 2018 and 6-2 6-1 at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Copa del Rey: Madrid derby in last-eight

WhatReal Madrid v Atletico Madrid
WhereSantiago Bernabeu, Madrid
When20.00, Thursday 26th January, 2023
How to watchbet365 live Sports Streaming Service 
OddsReal Madrid 10/11, Draw 13/5, Atletico Madrid 3/1

The second pair of Copa del Rey quarter-finals take place on Thursday evening and the standout is the Madrid derby, with Atletico travelling to the Bernabeu to race Real.

Real will be hoping for less of a rollercoaster ride when city rivals Atleti come calling, Carlo Ancelotti's side having had to come from 0-2 down at Villarreal in the previous round.

Atleti, meanwhile, battled to victory away at Levante. They are underdogs for this one at 3/1, with the hosts 10/11 in the Full Time Result market. Neither club has tasted Copa del Rey glory for some time - with Real last raising the cup in 2014, a year after Atleti beat them in the final.

An hour before this one, 9/5 Valencia host 17/10 Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla. 

Snooker: Jester in action in Leicester

WhatMark Selby v Mark Davis 
WhereMorningside Arena, Leicester
When19.00, Thursday 26th January, 2023
How to watchEurosport, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsMark Selby 8/15, Mark Davis 6/4

The Snooker Shoot Out continues at the Morningside Arena in Leicester and if the home crowd have anything to do with it, Mark Selby will be advancing in this unique format. 

The Jester is very much the hometown boy here and he's 8/15 to get the better of 6/4 Mark Davis at 19.00 in their one-frame showdown. 

With a shot clock in play and just ten minutes to decide every one-frame match, this is quite far removed from traditional snooker and the audience participation makes it even more so. Selby will have plenty vocal support on his side. 

Later, former world champions Stuart Bingham and Reanne Evans (20.30) do battle while the clash between Ricky Walden and Gary Wilson is another that is too close to call.

Horse Racing: Thyestes Day at Gowran Park

WhatGoffs Thyestes Handicap Chase
WhereGowran Park, Co Kilkenny
When2.50, Thursday 26th January, 2023
How to watchRTE, Racing TV & bet365 live Sports Streaming 
OddsEspanito Bello 13/2, Pencilfulloflead 7/1, Escaria Ten 15/2, Carefully Selected 9/1, Punitive 11/1, Gabby Cross 12/1

The Thyestes Chase (2.50) is the big race of the season at Gowran Park – the closest racecourse to Willie Mullins' base at Closutton – and Ireland's champion trainer has won it four times since 2012.

He counts 9/1 Carefully Selected, the mount of Paul Townend, amongst his hopes here, though Gordon Elliott has a whopping nine runners in the field of 18 contesting for the €60,000 top prize.

Earlier, Elliott's Teahupoo bids to follow up his Hatton's Grace defeat of Honeysuckle last month by winning the Galmoy Hurdle (2.15) over three-miles. Victory there could see him headed for the Stayers' Hurdle in Cheltenham, a race he is 7/1 to win.

Look out too for the Daly Farrell Chartered Accountants Beginners Chase (3.25) where Cheltenham Festival-winning novice hurdler Sir Gerhard makes his debut over fences for Mullins.

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