Top five issues in the Australian media: 17-23 January, 2015

Strong sports focus as Australian Open, Asian Cup and ODI cricket sees Australia on the ball

The Australian Open kicked off on Monday in Melbourne this week, with eager audiences having plenty of local talent to cheer on. Wildcard, teenager and 147th-ranked Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis acknowledged his patriotic fans after a five-set win against 11th seed Ernests Gulbis on the opening night. His win set the pace for other Australian players – Sam Stosur, Casey Dellacqua, Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios, and Marinko Matosevic all won their first round singles matches, with Bernard Tomic and Sam Groth already through to round three (the latter after defeating Kokkinakis in five sets). Number one seed Novak Djokovic cruised through to join them after defeating Andrey Kuznetsov 6-0 6-1 6-4, and at last update Hewitt lost his second round match in five sets.

Starting last Saturday, the Santos Tour Down Under was an opportunity for cyclists and fans to farewell retiring legend Cadel Evans. The South Australian Government discussed road safety and possible new legislation, such as allowing cyclists on footpaths. A crash just metres from the finish line saw UniSA rider Steelve von Hoff win stage four, while final celebrations were directed towards Rohan Dennis as he won the event overall. 

Hundreds of asylum seekers on Manus Island are reportedly refusing food, sewing their lips together, or swallowing razor blades or washing powder to protest their detention. Fairfax Media says detainees wrote to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton amid fears they would be killed by Papua New Guinea locals if they were resettled, and there since refuted claims that Immigration Department officials denied asylum seekers access to drinking water. Video footage of two detainees allegedly attempting suicide was released on Thursday.

While a Chinese billionaire bought 5,000 tickets to the Asian Cup match between the Socceroos and China to ramp up support, it was a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated 50,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium and the millions more watching from home. Captain Mile Jedinak returned to play after missing out on the win against Oman and loss to South Korea due to injury. Tim Cahill scored two goals, the first a jaw-dropping bicycle-kick, which saw the Socceroos defeat China 2-0.

David Warner came under fire for demanding Indian batsman Rohit Sharma “speak English” during Australia’s four-wicket Tri-Series ODI win at the MCG on Sunday. Warner was fined 50 per cent of his match fee over the incident by the ICC. Friday sees Australia play against England, with Shane Watson out due to a hamstring injury.

Quote of the week: "Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?" - Tennis Australia commentator Ian Cohen, to world-ranked player Eugenie Bouchard after she defeated Kiki Bertens 6-0, 6-3.

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