• We have suspended our quest for a collectible pair of Kobe Bryant sneakers after learning that Nike has suspended all sales of Bryant-related merchandise.

    In true writer fashion, we could not afford to make a purchase. WE had to resort to buying some generic discount store tennies and use a Sharpie to write “KB” on them.

    When Nike resumes, it is a certainty that the price will show a nice rise, so purchasers will have to act fast to get some Bryant merchandise for the adulterers on their gift lists.

    While at times it might seem as though we are here for no other reason than to make fresh enemies, we are actually here to report that Ash Barty is through to the semifinals in women’s singles at the 2020 Australian Open.

    Seems a bit odd now, but since the tournament commenced we have heard next to nothing about bushfire smoke in Melbourne.

    Barty dismissed Petra Kvitova rather easily on the court of Rod laver Arena. There was a tight tiebreaker in the first set, but Barty prevailed and won the second set easily. The final score was 7 – 6 (8 – 6), 6 – 2.

    Barty will play 14th ranked American Sofia Kenin later today.

    Kenin sent Barty to the exits in last year’s Australian Open, prompting Barty to say, “I knew I had to bring my absolute best today against Petra. In my eyes she’s the perfect competitor, regardless of whether she wins or loses she’s always got a big grin on her face. I absolutely love testing myself against her.”

    Over on the men’s side, it seems more like a case of unrelenting déjà vu, as the first semifinal will be two of the usual suspects, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

    Federer survived a five-set test against an American named Tennys Sandgren. Not even our fertile imaginations could have come up with that first name, although we do intend to use it if we ever have a kid that plays badminton.

    Djokovic took out Milos Raonic in straight sets.

    There could potentially be a little drama in the soon-to-jump quarterfinal between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, but we suspect we could haul out our VCR and pop in one of our Australian Open tapes from recent years, as men’s tennis has been too predictable for too long.