Sarri keeps team in locker room after Chelsea loss
Bournemouth's Joshua King, centre, celebrates scoring his side's third goal
of the game against Chelsea during their English Premier League match at the
Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, Wednesday Jan. 30. (Andrew Matthews/PA via
London (AP) - Unable to
fathom his team's second-half capitulation, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri
kept his players in the locker room for around an hour after a humiliating
4-0 loss at Bournemouth on Wednesday.
His assistants weren't allowed in
the room. The media were kept waiting. Sarri simply wanted answers.
"I needed to understand," Sarri
said. "It's impossible to play in such a different way between the first and
second half. I don't understand why."
Sarri even started to question
"Maybe it's my fault," he added,
"maybe I'm not able to motivate them."
From 0-0 at halftime, Chelsea
conceded four goals to slump to their heaviest loss so far in Sarri's
turbulent reign. It's back-to-back league defeats for Chelsea, who were
outplayed in a 2-0 loss at Arsenal 11 days earlier.
That led to a coruscating attack
from Sarri on his players' attitude and mentality. It hasn't had the desired
effect, with Chelsea now out of the top four — on goals scored below Arsenal
— in the race to secure one of the four Champions League qualification
Without one of them, Sarri surely
won't survive more than a season at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have long since exited the
title race, which was thought to be down to two teams — Liverpool and
Manchester City. However, Liverpool failed to fully capitalize on City's 2-1
loss to Newcastle on Tuesday by only drawing 1-1 at home to Leicester a day
later, giving Juergen Klopp's team a five-point lead when it could have been
Now there might be a third team in
contention, with Tottenham rallying to a 2-1 win over Watford to close to
within seven points of Liverpool.
Gonzalo Higuain was handed a first
Premier League start by Chelsea after his loan move from Juventus. It was a
sobering night for the Argentine striker.
He was substituted after 65 minutes,
having failed to record a shot on target or look a significant upgrade on
Olivier Giroud — the target man already at the London club.
"You don't know what you are doing,"
sang Chelsea's fans when Sarri sent on Giroud as a replacement for Higuain,
supposedly the answers to Chelsea's scoring problems.
Josh King scored either side of a
superb solo strike from David Brooks, before Charlie Daniels added a fourth
for Bournemouth in second-half stoppage time.
With Liverpool in position to win a
first league title since 1990, the ground staff seems to be doing everything
it can to help the team out.
At halftime, workers cleared snow
out of the penalty area that Liverpool were attacking but didn't do the same
to the one the team were defending. Not that it mattered.
This was an unconvincing, sometimes
nervous display by the leaders, who couldn't build on the lead Sadio Mane
gave them after 121 seconds — Liverpool's quickest league goal in nearly
Harry Maguire equalized in
first-half stoppage time for Leicester, who have beaten Chelsea and Man City
in the past five weeks.
It was the first time since April
that Liverpool have dropped points against anyone outside the so-called "Big
Six" in the league.
So much for Tottenham being in a
After exiting two cup competitions
in the space of four days last week, Tottenham ensured they can still have a
say in the title race in the league by coming from behind against Watford.
Craig Cathcart headed home a corner
in the 38th minute to put Watford ahead but Son Heung-min marked his return
from the Asian Cup duty with South Korea with an equalizer in the 80th.
Fernando Llorente then made up for a
glaring miss earlier in the game by heading home a cross to secure a second
straight late comeback win for Spurs, who netted in injury time to earn a
2-1 win at Fulham in their previous league match.
In Wednesday's other game, Wilfried
Zaha scored and was later sent off for Crystal Palace in a 1-1 draw at
Southampton, who moved four points clear of the relegation zone.
South Africa win final ODI vs. Pakistan, clinch series
Africa's Quinton de Kock, left, bats during the ODI cricket match against
Pakistan at the Newland's Cricket Ground in Cape Town, South Africa,
Wednesday, Jan 30. (AP Photo/Nasief Manie)
Cape Town, South Africa (AP) —
South Africa clinched the one-day series against Pakistan on Wednesday with
a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the decisive final game.
Captain Faf du Plessis and newcomer
Rassie van der Dussen saw South Africa home at Newlands and to a 3-2 series
win. Both men finished on 50 not out and the home team eased to 241-3 and
past Pakistan's 240-8 with 10 overs to spare.
It was a series both teams viewed
with importance with the Cricket World Cup starting in May.
Van der Dussen continued his
successful start to international cricket with his third half-century in
four innings in his debut ODI series. He clubbed a six to go to his 50 and
win the game.
His unbroken 95-run partnership with
du Plessis took South Africa across the line but opener Quinton de Kock set
it up with his rapid 83 from 58 balls at the top of the order. De Kock
flayed 11 fours and three sixes after being given a life when he was caught
off a no-ball when on 12.
While wicketkeeper-batsman de Kock
underlined his value to South Africa's 50-over team, van der Dussen and
allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo likely made the biggest impressions through
Phehlukwayo continued his strong
form with 2-42 with his seam bowling in the final game. His wickets were
opener Fakhar Zaman, who top-scored for Pakistan with 70, and the
experienced Mohammad Hafeez for 17. Phehlukwayo took those two wickets in
quick succession to slow Pakistan in the middle overs.
Imad Wasim made late runs for his 47
not out off 31 deliveries to get Pakistan to 240 but it wasn't enough to
stop South Africa winning a seesaw series. South Africa were 1-0 down, then
2-1 up before Pakistan leveled and sent it to a decider in Cape Town.
Pakistan's campaign was interrupted
when captain Sarfraz Ahmed was banned and sent home for a racist on-field
comment aimed at Phehlukwayo earlier in the series. He missed the last two
South Africa also won the test
series, although that contest was a 3-0 whitewash.
Despite doping scandals, Russia bids to host European Games
In this file
photo taken on Thursday, July 5, 2018, Tourists enjoy the view during the
2018 soccer World Cup in Kazan, Russia. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Moscow (AP) — Russia is
bidding to host the 2023 European Games in Kazan despite a backdrop of years
of doping scandals.
Russian Olympic Committee president
Stanislav Pozdnyakov is working with regional officials on the Kazan bid and
said late Tuesday the city has "unique sports infrastructure at both the
Russian and international level."
Kazan hosted the University Games in
2013, the world swimming championships two years later, and World Cup soccer
games last year. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren later
said the University Games were used as a "trial run" for the vast doping
cover-up when Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
McLaren accused the host nation of
leading the medals table for the University Games in part because of "a
defense for the Russian athletes" — cover-up orders from the sports ministry
which led to eight Russian gold medalists with failed doping tests being
reported as clean.
WADA lifted a suspension on Russia's
anti-doping agency in September on condition authorities handed over data
and samples from the Moscow laboratory at the center of the cover-up. Russia
handed over the data this month after missing an earlier deadline, and has
until June 30 to provide the samples for reanalysis. If it breaks those
conditions, WADA could seek to stop Russia from hosting major international
Russian President Vladimir Putin
listed Kazan alongside Sochi and St. Petersburg as a potential future host
of the Olympics in a 2017 interview with Olympic historian David Miller.
Russia last hosted the Summer Games in Moscow in 1980.
If Kazan is successful, it would be
the third European Games in a post-Soviet country after the inaugural event
in Azerbaijan in 2015 and this year's edition in Belarus. The 2019 games
were originally meant to be held in the Netherlands but the hosts dropped
out in 2015, saying the event cost too much.
Despite launching in 2015 with 20
sports and a lavish opening ceremony, the European Games have struggled to
attract big-name athletes. Federations in sports such as track and field,
swimming and cycling have guarded their own long-running European
championships and joined together to stage them simultaneously in Glasgow
and Berlin last year, creating a rival to the European Games format.
The European Olympic Committees,
which runs the European Games, said this month that the Polish city of
Katowice had expressed interest in the 2023 event.
Petra Kvitova beats Azarenka in 2 sets in St. Petersburg
Kvitova of Czech Republic returns the ball to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus
during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2019 tennis tournament match in
St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 30. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) —
Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova won eight straight games to take
control of the match before needing a tiebreaker to finally beat Victoria
Azarenka 6-2, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday in the second round of the St. Petersburg
Kvitova, playing her opening match
after a first-round bye, went from trailing 2-1 in the first set to a 3-0
lead in the second. But she double-faulted on match point at 5-1 to let
Azarenka back into the match.
In the quarterfinals, Kvitova will
face eighth-seeded Donna Vekic, who beat lucky loser Veronika Kudermetova
Maria Sharapova withdrew from the
tournament with a right shoulder injury, hours before she was to play Daria
Kasatkina in the second round. Sharapova had beaten Australia's Daria
Gavrilova in the first round Monday and was aiming to win a WTA event in her
native Russia for the first time.
"I tried to do everything to be
ready to play this week but my right shoulder is still bothering me," she
said on the tournament website. "In the next few days I'll meet my medical
team to evaluate the situation and I'm looking forward to getting back into
competition as soon as possible. Playing in front of my home crowd was
something special for me and it's a shame that I couldn't keep competing at
this fantastic tournament."
A walkover for Kasatkina sets up a
quarterfinal with Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva, who upset fifth-seeded
Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 despite being ranked 97th, 81 places behind her
Djokovic tops Nadal for record 7th Australian Open
Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his trophy aloft after defeating
Spain's Rafael Nadal in the men's singles final at the Australian
Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 27.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) — Novak
Djokovic was so good, so relentless, so pretty much perfect, that
Rafael Nadal never stood a chance.
Djokovic reduced one of the greats of the game
to merely another outclassed opponent — just a guy, really — and one
so out of sorts that Nadal even whiffed on one of his famous
In a remarkably dominant and mistake-free
performance that yielded a remarkably lopsided result, the No.
1-ranked Djokovic overwhelmed Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday night to
win a record seventh Australian Open championship and a third
consecutive Grand Slam title, raising his count to 15 overall.
"An amazing level of tennis," Nadal
After dropping only four games in the
semifinals, Djokovic spoke about being "in the zone." Clearly, he
did not budge from there, producing 34 winners and only nine
unforced errors Sunday.
And this was against no slouch, of course:
Nadal is ranked No. 2, owns 17 major trophies himself and hadn't
dropped a set in the tournament.
But Djokovic left Nadal smirking or gritting
his teeth or punching his racket strings, unable to compete at all.
"Tonight," Nadal said, "was not my night."
So Djokovic added to previous triumphs in
Melbourne in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, along with four
at Wimbledon, three at the U.S. Open and one at the French Open.
He broke his tie with Roger Federer and Roy
Emerson for most Australian Open men's titles. He also broke a tie
with Pete Sampras for third-most Grand Slam trophies; Djokovic only
trails Federer, with 20, and Nadal.
And he is gaining on them.
"Sometimes, this tournament has been tough for
me, in terms of injury," said Nadal, who dropped to 1-4 in
Australian Open finals, "and other times, in terms of opponents —
A sore right elbow cost Djokovic the last half
of 2017. It contributed to a fourth-round loss in Melbourne a year
ago, right before he decided to have surgery.
All that is in the past.
The 31-year-old Serb is once again at an elite
level. If anything, the gap between him and the rest is growing
"I'm just trying to contemplate on the journey
in the last 12 months," Djokovic said, mentioning what he called
"quite a major injury."
"To be standing now here in front of you today
and managing to win this title and three out of four Slams is truly
amazing," Djokovic said. "I am speechless."
Nadal also has dealt with all manner of health
issues. He retired from his Australian Open quarterfinal and U.S.
Open semifinal last year with right leg problems, had an offseason
operation on his right ankle, and hadn't competed in about four
months when play began in Melbourne.
"It was so important to be where I am today,
coming back from injury, and it's good inspiration for me for what's
coming," Nadal said. "I'm going to keep fighting hard to be a better
Djokovic and Nadal know each other, their
styles and their patterns all too well. This was their 53rd meeting
— more than any other pair of men in the half-century professional
era — and record-equaling 15th at a Grand Slam tournament. It was
also their eighth matchup in a major final.
So there should not have been any mysteries out
there on Rod Laver Arena's blue court as they began with the
temperature, which had topped 105 degrees (40 Celsius) in recent
days, at a manageable 75 (25 C) and just a hint of wind.
Right from the start, though, this shaped up
nothing like their only previous Australian Open title match, back
in 2012, which Djokovic won in 5 hours, 53 minutes, the longest
Grand Slam final in history.
Evenly matched as they were that night, this
time was no contest. None whatsoever. It lasted a tad more than 2
Watching things swing so immediately and
irrevocably in Djokovic's direction really was rather hard to
comprehend, as was how someone of Nadal's experience and excellence
could come out of the gate quite so poorly.
Nerves? Perhaps they played a role. So, of
course, did Djokovic, whose defense was impenetrable.
No ball, no matter how well-struck, seemed to
be out of Djokovic's reach. He slid and stretched and occasionally
even did the splits, contorting his body to get wherever he needed
Djokovic grabbed 13 of the first 14 points,
including all four that lasted 10 strokes or more. A trend was
Of most significance, Nadal was broken the very
first time he served Sunday. That gave Djokovic one more break of
Nadal than the zero that the Spaniard's five preceding opponents had
managed combined. But none of them is Djokovic, the best returner in
the game now — and maybe ever.
Not a shabby returner, either, Nadal could make
no headway on this day. Djokovic won each of the initial 16 points
he served and 25 of the first 26.
By the end of the second set, after 75 minutes
of action, Djokovic had won nearly twice as many points (59-30),
made more winners (23-14) and far fewer unforced errors (20-4),
while taking 14 of 17 points that lasted at least 10 strokes.
The longest was a 22-shot point, which ended
when Nadal netted a backhand to give Djokovic a set point at the end
of the first. Djokovic raised his right fist and held it there while
staring at his guest box.
He was on the right path. Nadal could do
nothing to stop him.
Palace knock Tottenham out of FA Cup, Chelsea advance
Tottenham's Juan Foyth fights for the ball with Crystal Palace's
Wilfried Zaha, right, during their teams’ English FA Cup fourth
round soccer match at Selhurst Park in London, Sunday, Jan. 27,
2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
London (AP) — Tottenham
exited their second competition in four days after losing 2-0 at
Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, and
defending champions Chelsea were boosted by two video reviews in
beating Sheffield Wednesday 3-0.
Palace took a ninth-minute lead when Jeff
Schlupp's shot was saved by Paulo Gazzaniga but the Spurs goalkeeper
could only push the ball into the path of Connor Wickham and he
scored with a routine tap-in for his first goal in 799 days. The
former Sunderland striker has endured an injury-ravaged time over
the last few seasons.
The hosts extended their advantage after Kyle
Walker-Peters handled in the penalty area with Wickham lurking.
Former Tottenham winger Andros Townsend slammed the resulting spot
kick straight down the middle in the 34th.
Tottenham got a penalty of their own 10 minutes
later when Patrick Van Aanholt brought down Juan Foyth, but Kieran
Trippier fired well wide to ensure the Eagles took a 2-0 lead into
Pochettino introduced Erik Lamela as a halftime
substitute, but Spurs continued to struggle in front of goal in the
absence of Christian Eriksen, who was not even on the bench, and the
injured Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
Chelsea beat Tottenham in a penalty shootout on
Thursday in the English League Cup semifinals after a 2-1 victory
for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge left the two sides level 2-2 on
The fifth-round draw takes place Monday.
VAR SPOTLIGHT AS CHELSEA WIN
The force — of VAR — was with Chelsea against
struggling second-tier Sheffield Wednesday.
Chelsea conceded a first-half penalty, which
the video assistant referee subsequently overturned, and quickly got
a penalty of their own, which VAR confirmed.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored on what could be his
final Chelsea appearance and Willian netted twice at Stamford
Hudson-Odoi started despite reportedly
submitting a transfer request in an effort to force through a move
to Bayern Munich ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, and the
18-year-old winger netted Chelsea's second goal after 64 minutes.
Sheffield Wednesday had a penalty overturned by
VAR after 22 minutes and Chelsea had a spot-kick awarded four
minutes later, Willian converting from the spot, after referee Andre
Marriner's decision had been confirmed by VAR.
"With VAR, it was obviously the correct
decision but I thought we should have had a corner as a result
(instead of a dropped ball) so that seemed a strange decision. But
we're all a bit wiser now," Owls caretaker boss Steve Agnew said.
Chelsea celebrated their first goal in front of
the Shed End, packed with visiting fans, some of whom took
exception, with missiles thrown.
"I wasn't aware of that. It's not the right
thing to do," said Agnew.
Willian added a late third as the Blues
advanced to the fifth round.
Gonzalo Higuain made his first appearance as
Chelsea made eight changes following their win over Tottenham.
Higuain made his debut after signing late on
Wednesday on loan from Juventus.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino tried to
look on the bright side after the defeat to Palace.
"Of course disappointed because, after Thursday
and today again, out of two competitions. You feel disappointed. You
can't feel anything different," Pochettino said.
"But now we have to be positive. We are still
in two competitions, in a good position in the Premier League and
the Champions League is a massive motivation for the whole club. We
have to be strong."
Tottenham, who lie third in the Premier League,
host Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the Champions League
round of 16 on Feb. 13.
Reacting to the constant pressure for
silverware, Pochettino said: "People wish we could win some
trophies. But being realistic, we are doing so well. To win a title
here in England like the FA Cup or Carabao (League) Cup is about
being lucky, not only about quality in your squad."
Pochettino selected a significantly weakened
team that featured seven changes from Thursday's game at Chelsea
Top-ranked Justin Rose wins Farmers Insurance Open
Justin Rose, of England, holds the trophy after winning the Farmers
Insurance golf tournament Sunday, Jan. 27, in San Diego. (AP
San Diego (AP) — Justin
Rose missed a short birdie putt that felt like another bogey. His
three-shot lead was down to one through six holes of the Farmers
Insurance Open, and the biggest battle was trying not to panic.
That's when he scratched a line
on his scorecard after six holes, wanting to start his round from
that moment forward.
And he gave himself a pep talk.
"You're No. 1 for a reason.
Just start playing like it, please," he said.
And he did.
Rose followed with a perfect
wedge to a right pin that led to birdie, the first of five birdies
the rest of the way for a 3-under 69 and a two-shot victory Sunday
over Adam Scott at Torrey Pines. It was his 10th straight year with
a victory worldwide, including his gold medal from the 2016
Olympics, and his 10th career PGA Tour victory gave him the most of
any player from England, breaking a tie with Nick Faldo.
Rose finished at 21-under 267,
the lowest 72-hole score at this event in 20 years, and the warm,
windless weather had a role in that.
"Twenty-one under around Torrey
Pines is great golf," Rose said. "But you had to do it. It felt like
I had to work hard for his."
Scott left him little choice.
After not making a birdie until the ninth hole — and missing a
20-inch par putt on No. 5 — Scott closed with four straight birdies
and kept the outcome in doubt until Rose hit wedge to 3 feet on the
18th hole for his last birdie.
"I just didn't have the game on
the front nine, and it's a shame because Justin was a little shaky
early with some bogeys," Scott said. "By the time I got it sorted
out, it was a bit too late."
Rose became the first player to
post all four rounds in the 60s since Peter Jacobsen in 1995, back
when the North and South courses were 700 yards shorter. Weather
aside, this was an exquisite performance, especially with his three
penalty shots on Saturday, and opening the final round with three
bogeys in five holes.
Hideki Matsuyama closed with a
67 and tied for third with Talor Gooch, who shot 68. Gooch, who
finished fourth last week in the Desert Classic to get into this
event, earned a spot in next week's Phoenix Open. He is playing this
year on conditional status.
Jon Rahm was never a factor
after pulling within one shot with that birdie on No. 6, which
turned out to be the only one he made all round. He shot 72 and tied
for fifth with Rory McIlroy (69) and defending champion Jason Day
Tiger Woods had to settle for
his own version of winning. Starting the final round 13 shots
behind, Woods wanted to get into double figures. He birdied his last
two holes for a 31 on the front nine to shoot 67 and finish at
10-under 278. He tied for 20th in his 2019 debut.
"Got to have these little goals
when I'm not in contention to win a tournament," Woods said. "Still
something positive to end the week on."
The timing was ideal for Rose,
who takes pride in winning every year. The last time he won in
January was in South Africa in 2002, the first of his 22 victories
worldwide. But it goes beyond that.
Rose dedicated the victory to
his caddie, Mark Fulcher, who had a heart procedure last week and
was watching from home. Rose used Gareth Lord, who previously
caddied for Henrik Stenson and knows Rose well from Ryder Cup
"Probably harder than the heart
surgery itself, watching this weekend," Rose said. "This one's for
It also was his first victory
since signing new equipment deal with Japanese-based Honma, leading
Rose to switch out everything but the golf ball.
Even though Rose never lost the
lead, and led by at least two the entire back nine, there were a few
He got up-and-down from
delicate spots to save par on the 13th and 14th hole, and made an
8-foot par putt on No. 15 with Scott in tight for birdie, keeping
the lead at three shots. On the par-3 16th, Rose holed a 30-foot
birdie putt, right before Scott followed him in for birdie from 20
feet. And then Scott closed the gap to two shots with an approach
inside a foot on the 17th, giving him a chance on the 18th.
The Australian missed his tee
shot on the par-5 18th into a bunker and had to lay up, and Rose
effectively ended it with his wedge to 3 feet. Scott also made
birdie, a great finish that barely allowed him to make up any
ground. His 269 was the same score Woods had in 2008 when he won at
Torrey Pines by eight shots. Only four other scores have been lower
since this event moved to Torrey in 1968, all of them before it was
beefed up ahead of the U.S. Open.
"He's the No. 1 player in the
world, and he's showing why," Scott said.
Thurman returns from injuries to beat Lopez, retain title
Keith Thurman, right, punches Josesito Lopez during the fifth round
of a welterweight championship boxing match Saturday, Jan. 26, in
New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York (AP) — Keith
Thurman's elbow and hand looked fine, and his chin held up against a
determined attack by Josesito Lopez.
It was a good enough return
that Thurman might be ready for Manny Pacquiao next.
Thurman came back from a
22-month layoff to beat Lopez via majority decision Saturday night
to retain his welterweight title.
Thurman got off to a fast start
with a second-round knockdown, withstood a big seventh round from
Lopez, and regained control to improve to 29-0. It was the WBA
champion's first fight since March 4, 2017, before he was sidelined
first by right elbow surgery and then an injured left hand.
Both looked back to normal
inside Barclays Center and so did Thurman's legs, as he moved well
to mostly stay out of trouble against Lopez, who kept coming forward
throughout the fight but often got caught with uppercuts and
combinations for his efforts.
"He came right for me," Thurman
said. "I said you wouldn't see the best Keith Thurman tonight, but
you'd still see a world-class performance, and I gave you that
He'd likely need a better one
against the 40-year-old Pacquiao, who showed he has plenty left with
an easy victory over Adrien Broner last week.
"I would most likely definitely
take the Manny Pacquiao fight this year," Thurman said. "I feel
good. That was a beautiful fight. I'm ready to fight wherever
Pacquiao wants it."
Judge Tom Schreck had it
117-109 for Thurman and Steve Weisfeld had it 115-111, while Don
Ackerman had it even at 113-113. The Associated Press had it 117-110
Lopez (36-8) stalked all night
and had Thurman hurt in the seventh round, but otherwise Thurman's
speed wouldn't let Lopez get in good enough position to have enough
power on his punches.
"I was disappointed I couldn't
finish him and get him out of there," Lopez said. "If he thinks he's
the best welterweight out there, then I want two through five lined
up for me."
Thurman was back in the ring
for the first time since he edged Danny Garcia in a split decision,
also in Brooklyn, to unify 147-pound titles. He had surgery two
months later to remove bone spurs from his right elbow and when he
resumed training after a lengthy recovery, he hurt his left hand.
That kept him out of the ring
for nearly two years and he had to vacate the WBC's version of the
title that he had won from Garcia.
Thurman showed no worries about
his health, swinging hard with both hands in the opening round. And
for sure there was nothing wrong with his legs, as he moved far too
quickly for Lopez, getting into position to throw uppercuts and
hooks and getting right out of the way for whatever Lopez threw
He then knocked Lopez down with
a left hook to the chin in the second and appeared to hurt him again
later in the round en route to huge advantages in power punches
(168-100) and jabs (79-17) in the fight.
Things changed suddenly in the
seventh, when Lopez hurt Thurman with a right hand and spent most of
the round chasing him around and connecting with shots that appeared
to have Thurman in trouble. Thurman recovered toward the end of the
round and landed some good combinations in the eighth to regain
"He had me buzzed and shaken up
in the seventh round, but I tried to stay on the outside away,"
In the co-main event, Polish
power puncher Adam Kownacki, who is based in Brooklyn, stopped
Gerald Washington in the second round of their heavyweight bout.
Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs), with
entire sections of the stands behind his corner filled with Polish
fans wearing red, had Washington caught against the ropes late in
the first round and dropped him after a right hand early in the
second. Washington struggled to get up, first falling backward into
the bottom rope, before rising. Referee Harvey Dock let Washington
continue but not for long, stepping in to stop it at 1:09 of the
round after Kownacki — not bothered by a cut near his left eye —
quickly pounced and hurt Washington again.
"I trained hard for this
fight," Kownacki said. "I prepared for 10 hard rounds, but I'm glad
I got it done and ended it as fast as I did."
Washington fell to 19-3-1, but
0-3 against the three undefeated fighters he has faced. He was also
stopped by heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Jarrell Miller.
Also, Tugstsogt Nyambayar, a
2012 Olympic silver medalist for Mongolia, improved to 11-0 with a
unanimous decision against Claudio Marrero (23-3), becoming the
mandatory challenger for WBC 126-pound champion Gary Russell.
Serena stunned by Pliskova at Australian Open
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, left, is congratulated by
United States' Serena Williams after winning their quarterfinal
match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne,
Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 23. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP)
— Four times, Serena Williams was only one point — a single
point — from closing out a victory in the Australian Open
On the first such chance, at
5-1, 40-30 in the third set, she turned her left ankle awkwardly.
The owner of the best serve in the sport would lose every point she
served the rest of the way.
And so it was that a
startling reversal and result would follow Wednesday at Melbourne
Park, with Williams dropping the last six games of a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
loss to No. 7-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
"I can't say that I choked
on those match points," Williams said. "She literally played her
best tennis ever on those shots."
The 37-year-old American
didn't call for a trainer during the match and later wouldn't blame
the ankle for the way everything changed down the stretch, saying
afterward that it "seems to be fine."
But instead of Williams
moving closer to an eighth championship at the Australian Open and
record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall, it is Pliskova who will
continue the pursuit of her first major trophy.
"I was almost in the locker
room," Pliskova told the Rod Laver Arena crowd, "but now I'm
standing here as the winner."
Normally, Williams is the
one manufacturing a comeback. This time, it was surprising to see
her let a sizable lead vanish. Only twice before in 380 Grand Slam
matches had Williams lost after holding a match point, at the 2010
French Open and 1999 Australian Open.
In Thursday's semifinals,
Pliskova will face No. 4-seeded Naomi Osaka, who advanced by beating
No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1. The other women's semifinal will be
two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova against unseeded American
In men's action Wednesday,
No. 28 Lucas Pouille of France reached his first Grand Slam
semifinal by beating 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada
7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4. Pouille, who is coached by two-time
major champion Amelie Mauresmo, had been 0-5 for his career at the
Australian Open until last week. His next opponent will be 14-time
major champion Novak Djokovic, who moved on when 2014 U.S. Open
finalist Kei Nishikori stopped playing while trailing 6-1, 4-1.
Nishikori was treated for
leg problems by a trainer.
departure scuttled what would have been a much-anticipated rematch
against Osaka, who beat her in the chaotic U.S. Open final last
This defeat is the earliest
in Australia for Williams since 2014, when she exited with a
fourth-round loss to Ana Ivanovic. Since then? She won the
tournament in 2015, lost in the final in 2016, and won again in 2017
while pregnant, before missing last year's edition a few months
after the birth of her daughter.
As for chasing Margaret
Court's all-time mark of 24 Slam trophies in singles, Williams said:
"It hasn't happened yet, but I feel like it's going to happen."
The match against Pliskova
was played under a stifling sun, with the temperature around 80
degrees (25 degrees Celsius). Williams — coming off an intense
three-set victory over No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round —
often stepped into the patches of shade behind each baseline.
She did not start well, not
well at all. Her mistakes were mounting and deficit was growing.
In the first set alone,
Williams made more than twice as many unforced errors as her
opponent, 11-5, a pattern that would continue throughout. By the
end, the margin was 37-15.
frustrated, Williams would yell at herself after mistakes or gesture
as if to say, "That's NOT how I should be hitting the ball!" Add it
all up, and Pliskova led by a set and a break at 3-2 in the second.
Only then did Williams get
going. From there, she immediately earned her first break point of
the match and converted it to get to 3-all, beginning a run in which
she claimed nine of 11 games.
"You don't really feel,"
Pliskova said, "like you're going to win this match."
Serving for the victory at
5-1, 40-30, Williams was called for a foot fault — reminiscent of an
infamous such ruling at the U.S. Open a decade ago. During the
ensuing point Wednesday, Williams twisted her left ankle and dumped
a forehand into the net.
She grabbed at her foot
afterward, then double-faulted and would go on to cede that game.
Not a big deal, right? She
still had a sizable lead.
Except that three more match
points would follow while Pliskova served, and she saved each one.
"There's nothing I did wrong
on those match points. I didn't do anything wrong. I stayed
aggressive," Williams said. "She just literally hit the lines on
some of them."
Williams would again serve
for the match at 5-3 — and again get broken. The owner of the most
feared and respected serve in women's tennis was broken for a third
time in a row at 5-all, and Pliskova was on her way.
"She got a little bit shaky
in the end," Pliskova said. "So I took my chances. And I won."
Osaka will carry a 12-match
Grand Slam winning streak into the semifinals.
The 21-year-old from Japan
moved closer to a second consecutive major championship by parlaying
her aggressive and powerful style into a 31-11 edge in winners
"For me, right now, I just
try to keep looking forward. So I'm not really satisfied. Like, I am
happy that I'm here, but at the same time, I want to keep going,"
said Osaka, who never had been past the fourth round at the
Australian Open. "There is more matches to win."
Anderson lifts England with 4 wickets on 1st day vs West Indies
England's James Anderson, left, celebrates with teammate Ben Stokes
after dismissing West Indies' Roston Chase during day one of the
first cricket Test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown,
Barbados, Wednesday, Jan. 23. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Bridgetown, Barbados (AP)
— James Anderson lifted England with a four-wicket burst to help
restrict West Indies to 264-8 on the opening day of the first test
After West Indies reached
174-3, Anderson helped turn the contest in England's favor, seeing
off the settled duo of Shai Hope and Roston Chase, bouncing out
Shane Dowrich and finishing with a caught and bowled off captain
He closed with 4-33, while Ben
Stokes pounded some life into a gentle pitch to claim three wickets.
Hope led the West Indies
batsmen with 57 runs off 148 balls before nicking an inside edge to
the alert Ben Foakes, one of three half centuries on the day.
Shimron Hetmyer, who had been dropped on three, finished with an
England's bowlers struggled
throughout the morning session and West Indies looked set to end the
day well on top until Anderson used the new ball with devastating
Roston Chase fed Root at slip
for 54, Dowrich got into a tangle when Anderson went short and
Holder offered a simple return catch as the West Indies lost
Stokes got in on the act once
more before stumps, beating Kemar Roach for pace.
India beat New Zealand by 8 wickets in ODI
India's Rohit Shikar Dhawan, right, makes his ground watched by
bowler Tim Southee during a one day international cricket match
between New Zealand and India in Napier, New Zealand, Wednesday,
Jan. 23. (AP Photo/Nigel Marple)
Napier, New Zealand (AP) —
Shikhar Dhawan scored an unbeaten 75 and Virat Kohli scored 45 to
guide India to an eight-wicket win over New Zealand in a one-day
cricket international that was shortened because of so-called
The players were forced from
the field for almost 40 minutes as India replied to New Zealand's
total of 157 because the setting sun on Wednesday was shining
through windows at the back of the grandstand and into the batters'
India were 44-1 in the 11th
over when the stoppage occurred. When the players returned to the
field, the target had been revised under the Duckworth-Lewis system
from 158 to 156 and one over had been deducted from the innings.
Dhawan and Kohli shared a
91-run partnership which helped India reach the winning target with
85 balls remaining, taking early momentum to start the five-match
Kohli won a brief reprieve on
37 when he adjudged lbw to Tim Southee but had the decision
overturned on review. Dhawan also had some luck, being dropped by
wicketkeeper Tom Latham on 31.
Otherwise, India's progress to
an emphatic victory — continuing the form they showed in winning
test, one-day and Twenty20 series in Australia — was impeded only by
the rays of the setting sun.
New Zealand batted on winning
the toss and on what was expected to be a high-scoring pitch. But
Mohammed Shami bowled both New Zealand openers, Martin Guptill (5)
and Colin Munro (8), to give India the upper hand from the start.
Shami also dismissed Mitchell
Santner (14), and wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav
(4-39) shared six wickets. Chahal caught and bowled both Latham (11)
and Ross Taylor (24), ending Taylor's run of six consecutive ODI
"When I lost the toss I thought
it's going to be 300-par," Kohli said. "But the way the guys bowled
and created pressure it turned out to be absolutely the opposite."
Vonn 'hopeful' she can ski again despite ailing knees
United States' Lindsey Vonn speeds down the course during an alpine
ski, women's World Cup super-G in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, Sunday,
Jan. 20. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
Germany (AP) - Lindsey Vonn isn't quite done yet.
The most successful female
skier in World Cup history said Wednesday that she remains "hopeful"
she can fix her ailing knees and race again. She just doesn't know
when — or if— that will be possible.
"I'm taking things day by day
and we will see what happens," Vonn wrote on Instagram . "I know
that I might not get the ending to my career that I had hoped for,
but if there is a chance, I will take it."
The announcement came three
days after Vonn hinted at immediate retirement after failing to
finish a super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, citing severe pain in
both of her knees.
Vonn said the reason she had
"so much pain and muscle shut down in Cortina was due to an impact
injury to my peroneal nerve."
"This most likely came from the
final jump on the first training run in Cortina, but it's hard to
know for sure," Vonn added. "After that training run, the pain got
progressively worse each day and by Sunday my lower leg was in a lot
of pain and my muscles had completely shut down."
Vonn, who hadn't raced all
season because of a left knee injury, finished no better than ninth
in three races in Cortina .
"Now that we know the problem
the next issue is fixing it," Vonn said. "So far we haven't found a
solution and as a result I will not be able to compete in tomorrow's
downhill training run."
Downhill training in
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, is scheduled for Thursday and
Friday, followed downhill and super-G races this weekend.
Vonn needs to start at least
one training run to race the downhill, per International Ski
Federation rules. She can enter the super-G without any training
"Since this is a new 'injury'
per say, I remain hopeful that we can fix it," she said.
Vonn has 82 wins — most among
women — and four less than overall record-holder Ingemark Stenmark
After Garmisch, her next
scheduled competition is the world championships in Are, Sweden,
which open on Feb. 5.
Vonn had been planning to
retire in December following races in Lake Louise, Alberta, where
she has won a record 18 times.
If she is able to race again
this week, Vonn's skis are waiting for her.
"I have just arrived in
Garmisch and set up my ski room," Heinz Haemmerle, Vonn's longtime
ski technician, told The Associated Press. "The skis are ready
whatever she's deciding. That's why I am here. Otherwise I could
stay at home."
Rainer Salzgeber, the racing
director for Head skis, added that the company is preparing as if
Vonn will race in Garmisch and then the worlds.
"For Heinz right now it looks
like this," Salzgeber told the AP. "But how it will end up in the
next couple of days or hours I do not know."
Vonn had returned to action in
Cortina following an injury to her left knee — she hyperextended it
and sprained a ligament while training in November. Also, her right
knee is permanently damaged from previous crashes.
"I've had four surgeries on my
right knee. I've got no LCL (lateral collateral ligament) on my left
knee. I've got two braces on. There's only so much I can handle and
I might have reached my maximum," Vonn said Sunday.
Patrick Riml, Vonn's coach with
the U.S. Ski Team for much of her career and now a representative
with Red Bull, one of Vonn's main sponsors, said the decision will
come down to how her body feels.
"Obviously there's some issues
and some limitations if she can't put pressure on the leg like she
wasn't able to in Cortina," Riml said.
"We all want to see her
competing and doing a good job," Riml added, noting that the pain
may have become too much to endure. "That's for every athlete. If
mother nature makes that call it's never fun."
Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 OT
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a
touchdown pass to running back Damien Williams against New England
Patriots middle linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) during the second half
of the AFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 20, in
Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Kansas City, Mo. (AP) —
The New England Patriots are headed to their third straight Super
Bowl, once more thanks to Tom Brady's brilliance.
The five-time NFL champion
guided the Patriots 75 yards after winning the overtime coin toss,
and backup Rex Burkhead's 2-yard TD lifted New England past Kansas
City 37-31 for the AFC championship Sunday night.
The drive against an
exhausted defense was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta
in the only Super Bowl to go to OT two years ago.
New England (13-5) benefited
from two critical replay reviews and made its ninth Super Bowl with
Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach.
Awaiting them in Atlanta are
the Los Angeles Rams, who won 26-23 in overtime in New Orleans for
the NFC championship. The Rams last made the Super Bowl in 2002
while based in St. Louis, losing to the Patriots.
It's the first time both
conference title games went to OT. The last time both visitors won
conference championship matches was 2012.
Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal sends Rams to Super Bowl
Angeles Rams' JoJo Natson tries to get past New Orleans Saints' Vonn
Bell during the first half the NFL football NFC championship game
Sunday, Jan. 20, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
New Orleans (AP) — A
big comeback. A blown call. And, finally, a booming kick that sent
the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.
After rallying from an early
13-0 deficit, the Rams stunned the New Orleans Saints with Greg
Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal in overtime for a 26-23 victory in the
NFC championship game Sunday — an outcome that might not have been
possible without an egregious mistake by the officials in the
closing minutes of regulation.
Los Angeles cornerback
Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with
a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass
arrived inside the 5, forcing the Saints to settle for Wil Lutz's
31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation.
"Came to the sideline,
looked at the football gods and was like, 'Thank you,'"
Robey-Coleman said. "I got away with one tonight."
After the no-call, Jared
Goff had enough time to lead the Rams down the field for Zuerlein's
tying field goal, a 48-yarder with 15 seconds remaining.
New Orleans won the coin
toss and got the ball first in overtime. But, with Dante Fowler Jr.
in his face and striking his arm, Drew Brees fluttered up a pass
that was picked off by John Johnson III, who was able to hang on to
the interception while stumbling backward. Johnson hopped up and
celebrated by doing with the "Choppa Style" dance popularized by New
Orleans rapper Choppa, whose namesake song had become a Saints'
rallying cry and was even performed during the halftime show.
The Rams weren't able to do
much offensively, but it didn't matter. Zuerlein booted through the
winning field goal from just inside midfield with plenty of room to
spare. The NFL said it the longest game-winning kick in playoff
"It's unbelievable, man. I
can't put it into words," said Goff, who at 24 became the youngest
quarterback to win an NFC title. "The defense played the way they
did to force it to overtime. The defense gets a pick and Greg makes
a 57-yarder to win it. That was good from about 70. Unbelievable."
The Superdome, which had
been in uproar all afternoon, suddenly turned eerily silent. It was
the first home playoff loss for the Saints with Brees and coach Sean
Payton, who and been 6-0 in those games since their pairing began in
This one really hurt.
If the pass interference
penalty had been called, the Saints could've run most of the time
off the clock to set up a winning field goal from chip-shot range.
"Being that it happened
right there in front of the person who would be the one to make the
call, and everyone in the stands saw it, everyone watching at home
on TV saw it, that makes it even more difficult to take," Brees
said. "Because of this, I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about
reviewing penalties, perhaps game-changing penalties."
The Rams (15-3) and their
32-year-old coach, Sean McVay, capped a remarkable rise since moving
back to Los Angeles three years ago. The team will be appearing in
its first Super Bowl since the 2001 season, when the "Greatest Show
on Turf" was still in St. Louis.
The team hasn't won an NFL
title in Los Angeles since 1951, well before the Super Bowl era. The
team moved to St. Louis in 1995, only to return to Southern
California two decades later.
"Shoot, I don't even know
what day it is," McVay said. "All I know is we're NFC champs, baby!"
It was another bitter end
for the Saints, who lost the previous season in the divisional round
on the "Minnesota Miracle" — the Vikings' long touchdown pass on the
final play of the game.
This time, New Orleans
(14-4) couldn't hang on to the lead or overcome that officiating
Payton said he talked to the
NFL office after the game and was told that Robey-Coleman should
have been flagged.
"Not only was it
interference, it was helmet to helmet," the coach said. "''I don't
know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference."
The Saints were on the verge
of blowing out the Rams, scoring on their first three possessions
and taking advantage of an interception when Todd Gurley let a pass
slip through his hands.
Then a fake punt early in
the second quarter gave Los Angeles its initial first down of the
game. Sparked by that gutsy call, the Rams finally came to life
offensively and drove into position for the first of four field
goals by Zuerlein.
Gurley made it 13-10 at
halftime on a 6-yard touchdown run just before the intermission.
New Orleans restored its
double-digit lead on Brees' 2-yard scoring pass to third-string
quarterback Taysom Hill, the first TD catch of the super sub's
career. Goff countered with a 1-yard touchdown toss to Tyler Higbee,
setting up a wild fourth quarter.
Zuerlein tied the score at
20-all with a 24-yard field goal after McVay passed on a shot at the
go-ahead touchdown with fourth-and-goal from inside the 1. A delay
of game while lining up for the kick scuttled any thoughts of
leaving the offense on the field.
The 40-year-old Brees made
it clear he's got no plans to retire.
"I plan on being here next
year and making another run at it," said Brees, who was denied a
shot at adding to the Super Bowl title he won during the 2009
He hopes another
gut-wrenching loss in the playoffs will spur the team to even
"Last year really brought us
together as a team and strengthened us," Brees said. "I hope this
The Saints lost tight end
Josh Hill to a concussion in the first quarter.
Hill was injured after
hauling in a 24-yard pass from Brees. While making the tackle, Los
Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton delivered a forearm to Hill's
No penalty was called, but
Hill staggered off the field to be evaluated by the medical staff.
Just before halftime, the Saints announced he was done for the game.
The loss of Hill led to a
much bigger role in the offense for Garrett Griffin, who spent most
of the season on the practice squad. He caught a 5-yard pass for his
first career touchdown.
Pacquiao dominates in retaining title against Broner
Manny Pacquiao, right, hits Adrien Broner during their WBA
welterweight title boxing match Saturday, Jan. 19, in Las Vegas. (AP
Las Vegas (AP) —
Manny Pacquiao showed Saturday night he's still got plenty of fight
for a fighter on the wrong side of 40.
dominating win over Adrien Broner gets him a rematch with Floyd
Mayweather, though, is a question that will have to be answered
With Mayweather watching
from ringside, Pacquiao showed flashes of his old speed in winning a
unanimous 12-round decision over Broner to easily defend his piece
of the welterweight title. It was the 61st win of a remarkable
career in which Pacquiao has won titles in eight weight classes.
And it put to rest any
thoughts of retirement after 24 years as a pro.
"The Manny Pacquiao journey
will still continue," Pacquiao said.
Fighting for the first time
at the age of 40, the senator from the Philippines won a lopsided
decision that was never in doubt before a crowd that roared at every
punch he landed. The decision was never in doubt, but Pacquiao
pressed the fight into the later rounds as he tried unsuccessfully
to score a knockout.
Two judges favored Pacquiao
by a 116-112 score, while the third had it 117-111. The AP scored it
a shutout 120-108 for Pacquiao.
There were no knockdowns,
but Pacquiao landed the heavier punches — and lots of them. He
caught Broner in the seventh and ninth rounds with big left hands
that sent him backward, while Broner spent most of the fight looking
for one big counter that never came.
"At the age of 40 I can
still give my best," Pacquiao said. " Although I wanted to be
aggressive more, my camp told me don't be careless and to counter
him and wait for opportunities. "
Both fighters were cautious
late, as the fight slowed in the final two rounds.
Pacquiao, whose pro career
stretches back 24 years, showed he still has the speed that carried
him over his spectacular career. He also displayed some power,
though he was never able to drop Broner.
Pacquiao was clearly the
favorite of the crowd of 13,025, who gathered at the MGM Grand arena
to see if the part-time fighter still had some fight in him. Turned
out Pacquiao did, and then some as he pushed the attack against
Pacquiao was the aggressor
from the opening bell, and he had to be because Broner threw only
occasional punches in the opening rounds. Pacquiao attacked at will,
winning round after round before the fight started to heat up in the
Broner, meanwhile, fought
like he was merely trying to survive, despite being 11 years younger
than his opponent. He was booed loudly as he raised his hands in
victory and jumped on the corner ropes as if he had won.
"I beat him, everybody out
there knows I beat him," Broner said. "I clearly won the last seven
Mayweather watched it all
intently from his ringside seat, and was coy about possibly coming
out of retirement for a reprise of the 2015 lackluster fight
Mayweather won by decision over Pacquiao.
"You keep asking me about
Manny Pacquiao," Mayweather said during the fight. "He needs to get
past Adrien Broner first. And right now I'm living a happy and
Showtime announcer Jim Gray
tried to get Mayweather to climb in the ring after the fight and
discuss a possible bout with Pacquiao, but Mayweather demurred.
It was the first fight in
the U.S. in two years for Pacquiao, who reunited with trainer
Freddie Roach for a bout that would determine how much he had left
at the age of 40.
Turns out he had plenty, in
a fight that was entertaining even if it wasn't a classic.
Ringside punching stats
showed Pacquiao landing 112 of 568 pounds. Broner threw only 295
punches and landed just 50.
Broner landed no more than
eight punches in any round, and just one in the final round.
Federer, 37, shocked by Tsitsipas, 20, at Australian Open
Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas makes a forehand return to Switzerland's
Roger Federer during their fourth round match at the Australian Open
tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 20. (AP
Melbourne, Australia (AP)
— Even as his uninterrupted dominance of yore dissipated, even
as he took the occasional break, Roger Federer always mattered more
often than not in the closing days of Grand Slam tournaments.
Until lately, that is.
Until, at age 37, he was
outplayed in the Australian Open's fourth round by a much younger
man, 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, during a 6-7 (11), 7-6 (3),
7-5, 7-6 (5) surprise that ended Federer's bid for a third
consecutive championship at Melbourne Park.
"I have massive regrets,"
said Federer, who failed to convert any of the 12 break points he
earned against Tsitsipas, the first player from Greece to reach a
This loss makes it a fourth
straight Slam without Federer in the semifinals: He skipped the 2018
French Open, was beaten at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals and exited
the U.S. Open in the fourth round.
That is his longest such
drought since he claimed the first of his men's record 20 major
titles, all the way back in 2003 at Wimbledon.
"Roger is a legend of our
sport. So much respect for him. He showed such good tennis over the
years. I've been idolizing him since the age of 6," said Tsitsipas,
who has worked with Serena Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
"It was a dream come true
for me ... just facing him," Tsitsipas said about Federer. "Winning
at the end? I cannot describe it, you know."
Federer was the oldest man
left in the field and would have been the oldest quarterfinalist in
Australia since Ken Rosewall at 43 in 1977.
Tsitsipas, a lanky guy who
kept his scraggly hair in place with a pink headband, was the
youngest to make the fourth round this year. He lost his opening
match in Melbourne a year ago, when Federer picked up his sixth
Australian Open championship.
"For sure, it's a good win
against Roger. I mean, we all know who Roger Federer is, what he has
done in tennis. But I still have to keep my focus, keep my
concentration on further goals that I want to achieve. That's a very
good beginning. I need to stay humble," said Tsitsipas, who next
faces another player making his quarterfinal debut at a major, No.
22 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. "This win is a good milestone,
let's say good first step, as I said, to something bigger."
At least Federer was able to
crack a joke when asked whether Tsitsipas reminds him of a younger
version of himself, replying: "He has a one-handed backhand. And I
used to have long hair, too."
And before anyone writes off
Federer just yet, remember that folks have kept trying to do that
for quite some time, and he has repeatedly returned to title-winning
form. After this setback, Federer announced that he would return to
playing the clay-court circuit this season, including the French
Open after missing it the past three years.
This match was a thriller
from beginning to end, both in terms of the high quality and
entertaining style of play from both men — something long expected
of Federer. The world is still learning what the 14th-seeded
Tsitsipas can do.
His soft hands serve him
well on volleys, and he is that rare man who will press forward as
often as Federer and have nearly as much success. On this cool
evening, Tsitsipas won the point on 48 of 68 trips to the net, while
Federer went 50 for 66.
The kid served well, too,
compiling a 20-12 edge in aces and, more significantly, staving off
all of those break chances that Federer earned: two in the first
set, eight in the second, two in the third.
In the opening game of the
match, Tsitsipas twice was called for a time violation after
allowing the 25-second serve clock — new in Melbourne's main draw
this year — to expire. The second such warning resulted in the loss
of a serve, and Tsitsipas proceeded to double-fault, offering up a
break point to Federer.
Tsisipas erased that chance
with a 123 mph (198 kph) serve initially called out, then reversed
on a challenge. Federer insisted to chair umpire James Keothavong
that they should replay the point, a request that was denied,
drawing the Swiss star's ire.
That would signal a pattern.
At each key juncture, either Federer blinked or Tsitsipas delivered
"Hung in there, gave himself
chances at some points, stayed calm. It's not always easy,
especially for younger guys," said Federer, who was trying to reach
his 54th Grand Slam quarterfinal. "Credit to him for taking care of
Tsitsipas never even
collected a break point of his own until the third set, and the
match was nearly 3 hours old when he finally cashed one in, the only
one he would need, when Federer pushed a forehand into the net.
The crowd, sensing something
special, broke into a chorus of "Tsi-tsi-pas! Tsi-tsi-pas!"
As is often the case when a
youngster outdoes an old master, there was buzz about whether this
might signal something more meaningful than one result. Each member
of the sport's long-ruling Big Three — Federer, Rafael Nadal and
Novak Djokovic — already had dismissed challenges from the next
generation at this tournament.
This, though, was different.
Tsitsipas is different.
"I see him being high up in
the game," Federer said, "for a long time."
Amid injury crisis, Tottenham find scoring hero in Winks
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Winks, right celebrates with teammates
after scoring his side’s 2nd goal during the English Premier League
soccer match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage
in London, Sunday, Jan. 20. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
London (AP) - With
Tottenham's attacking options getting increasingly thin amid a
striker crisis, Mauricio Pochettino is going to need goals from
unlikely sources to keep alive his team's hopes of silverware this
Harry Winks was the player
to step up on Sunday.
Nearly 800 days since his
first goal for his boyhood club, the center midfielder scored his
second to clinch Tottenham's 2-1 win at Fulham in the Premier
League. It came in the third and final minute of injury time, and
the nature of the goal by Winks made it even more improbable —
beating taller players to a header from close range inside a crowded
"I can't even remember the
last time I scored, to be honest," Winks said. It was in November
2016, on his fifth Premier League appearance.
It wasn't all good news in a
frenetic end to the match between teams at opposite ends of the
standings at Craven Cottage.
Dele Alli, the scorer of
Tottenham's equalizer, hobbled out of action with a left hamstring
injury in the 86th minute. With Harry Kane out for two months with
an ankle injury and Son Heung-min now with South Korea at the Asian
Cup, Pochettino is set to be without his three leading scorers for
the next few weeks.
Crucially, this is arguably
the most critical period of the season, with Spurs facing matches
across four different competitions across the next month as they
seek a first trophy under Pochettino. First up is Chelsea in the
second leg of the English League Cup, with Tottenham protecting a
The Premier League might be
the toughest to win, despite the comeback at Fulham.
Tottenham are back to nine
points behind first-place Liverpool, with 15 games of the campaign
remaining. Maybe as importantly, the gap to fifth-placed Arsenal in
the race for the four Champions League qualification positions is
now seven points again.
Manchester Cityare more
likely to catch Liverpool. The champions ultimately sauntered to a
3-0 victory at last-place Huddersfield thanks to goals by Danilo,
Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.
City manager Pep Guardiola
wasn't happy with the performance, though.
LLORENTE FAILS AUDITION
With an own-goal and a
glaring miss, Fernando Llorente failed his audition to be the
short-term replacement for Kane.
The injury to Alli surely
will mean Llorente is given more chances by Pochettino, however.
The tall Spanish striker
came into the game having played just 36 minutes of Premier League
action this season, from six appearances as a late substitute. He is
a back-up to Kane and Son, a Plan B because of his aerial threat.
He produced the kind of
near-post finish Kane would have been proud of against Fulham.
Unfortunately, it was into his own net at a corner to put Tottenham
behind in the 17th minute.
Alli equalized in the 51st
minute, heading in powerfully from Christian Eriksen's cross, but
didn't finish the match. The England international, an attacking
midfielder who can play up front, stayed down clutching the back of
his leg after sliding into an advertising hoarding following a
He eventually got up and
hobbled to the tunnel.
"We need to assess him in
the next few days," Pochettino said. "It doesn't look great."
Llorente further blotted his
performance when heading the ball wide from inside the six-yard box
at a free kick, when the score was 1-1.
Ever the perfectionist,
Guardiola demanded more from his Man City players despite seeing
them pass the 100-goal mark for the season with an easy win at
"This game can teach us and
show what we have to do to improve," said Guardiola, who was
particularly unimpressed with the pace his team played at, as well
as the quality of the passing in the first half.
City were perhaps fortunate
to lead at halftime, with Danilo's long-range strike only finding
the net because of a deflection off the head of Huddersfield
defender Christopher Schindler. That goal saw City reach 100 goals
for the season in all competitions.
City were better after the
break, with wingers Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane scoring as they
eased to a fifth straight win in all competitions.
Fulham stayed in
next-to-last place in the standings, seven points from safety.
Huddersfield are in even bigger trouble, 10 points from safety and
without a permanent manager after David Wagner stood down on Monday.
17-year old Anisimova scores upset at Australian Open
United States' Amanda Anisimova celebrates after defeating Aryna
Sabalenka of Belarus during their third round match at the
Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia,
Friday, Jan. 18. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Melbourne, Australia (AP)
— All of 17, never the winner of a Grand Slam match until this
week, Amanda Anisimova is making quite a first impression at the
Anisimova showed precisely
why there are those who consider her a possible future star,
producing one spectacular shot after another Friday to upset
11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2 and reach the fourth
"I want to win this
tournament," Anisimova said, tapping her right index finger on a
table for emphasis at her post-match news conference. "Right now."
She is the youngest American
to get this far at Melbourne Park since Jennifer Capriati in 1993 —
and at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at the 1998
French Open. Pretty heady company.
"This is an unreal feeling,"
Anisimova said. "I can't believe that this is happening right now."
Believe it, kid. She
captured a ton of attention on Day 5, when defending champion
Caroline Wozniacki was knocked out by 2008 champion Maria Sharapova
6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Another American woman, 35th-ranked Danielle Collins,
joined Anisimova in earning a debut trip to the round of 16 at a
major with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 19 Caroline Garcia. Up next
for Collins will be three-time major champion and former No. 1
Angelique Kerber, who needed less than an hour to overwhelm
240th-ranked Australian wild-card entry Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0.
At the 2006 U.S. Open, when
she was 19, Sharapova became the most recent teen to claim a Slam
title. Anisimova grew up cheering for Sharapova — they now share an
agent — and would love to match her feat of winning a major before
age 20. Who would doubt her?
"I respect her a lot,
because I think she's young and has a great game. I mean, she's
really proving what she can do," said Sharapova, who sat at the same
table as Anisimova at their agent's wedding last year. "She has a
really bright future ahead of her."
It's not just that
Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey and is based in Florida, has
knocked off two seeded players already, including the hard-hitting
Sabalenka, who was many a pundit's pick for a deep run at Melbourne
Or that she's dropped a
measly total of 17 games through three matches.
It's the way the 87th-ranked
Anisimova — there is no one younger in the WTA's top 100 — is doing
it, with clean and dangerous shotmaking and impeccable court
Take the shot — shot of the
match? Of the tournament? Of the year so far? — that she produced at
3-0, 15-all in the second set.
It was a 12-stroke exchange
in which Sabalenka held the upper hand throughout, steering
Anisimova from corner to corner. It culminated with one sprint by
Anisimova to her right for a forehand, then a sprint to her left for
a backhand, followed by yet another switch of direction for a sprint
back to her right. Her momentum carried her well wide of the doubles
alley as she conjured up a "How did she do that?!" squash-like
forehand that looped past Sabalenka and somehow landed in a corner
for a winner, drawing raucous appreciation from the crowd at
Margaret Court Arena — and an ever-so-slight smile from Anisimova.
"I'm really feeling good out
here," said Anisimova, who is coached by her father, as well as the
same person who's worked with her since she was 9. "I'm playing some
really good tennis."
That's an understatement.
She delivered more winners
than Sabalenka, 21-12, as well as fewer unforced errors, 13-9.
Anisimova won all eight of her service games, saving the lone break
point she faced. She broke the hard-serving Sabalenka four times.
Anisimova's first trip to
Australia, and third appearance in the main draw at a major, now
progresses to Week 2 and a matchup against two-time Wimbledon
champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Belinda Bencic 6-1, 6-4.
On a rainy afternoon that
saw the roofs closed on the three main courts, and play delayed on
smaller arenas, Sharapova advanced to face No. 15 Ash Barty of
Australia, while 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens beat No. 31
Petra Martic 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) and now meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
In the men's draw, Roger
Federer dispatched one youngster and set his sights on facing
The 37-year-old Federer,
seeking a third consecutive title in Melbourne, dismissed
21-year-old Taylor Fritz of the U.S. 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. Federer now
takes on 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who eliminated
Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.
"We all want them to win all
the big stuff, but it just takes time," Federer said about the
newest generation of challengers. "I'm still giving them a hard
Also advancing was the man
Federer beat in last year's final, Marin Cilic. He overcame two
match points — opponent Fernando Verdasco double-faulted one of them
away — and erased a two-set hole to win 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8), 6-3
in a contest that lasted more than 4 hours and ended just before 1
Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open
champion, now faces No. 22 Roberto Bautista-Agut, a 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
winner against No. 10 Karen Khachanov.
Rafael Nadal beat
19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 and now gets
2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.
Frances Tiafoe, an American
who turns 21 on Sunday, got to the fourth round at a major for the
first time by defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6,
6-4, 6-3. Tiafoe now meets No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov, who is being
coached by Andre Agassi.
India beat Australia by 7 wickets in 3rd ODI, win series
India's Yuzvendra Chahal dives to attempt to stop a drive from
Australia's Marcus Stoinis during their one day international
cricket match in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 18. (AP
Melbourne, Australia (AP)
— Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal took a record 6-42 to propel India
to a seven-wicket win over Australia in the third one-day cricket
international and a 2-1 series win on Friday.
Chahal's return was not only
a career-best, beating his 5-22 against South Africa, but matched
the best figures in an ODI in Australia, a record held since 2004 by
his compatriot, India fast bowler Ajit Aragkar.
Chahal, who missed the first
two ODIs, helped India to bowl out Australia for only 230 after
captain Virat Kohli won the toss on a rainy afternoon in Melbourne.
After fast bowler
Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed both Australia openers, Chahal ran through
the middle and lower order to end the innings with eight balls left
in their 50 overs.
Peter Handscomb's 58 from 63
balls was the only substantial contribution from an Australia
batting order struggling to find consistency.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni once
again closed out India's match and series victory with an unbeaten
innings of 87 from 114 balls in a perfectly paced run chase,
completing the win with four balls to spare for the second
After putting on 54 for the
third wicket with Kohli (46), a century-maker in the second ODI,
Dhoni completed India's win in an unbroken partnership of 121 with
Kedar Jadhav, who finished 61 not out.
Dhoni scored half-centuries
in all three matches and was named man of the series. His unbeaten
half-century in the second match at Sydney also saw India to
victory, chasing Australia's 298, with four balls to spare.
"It was a slow wicket so it
was a bit difficult to hit wherever you want to," Dhoni said. "It
was important to take it to the end because some of their main
bowlers were very tight through the middle overs, so you have to
target the bowlers that you can in conditions like these.
"There's no point in going
after the ones who are bowling well. That was the game plan, very
well supported by Kedar.
"He's someone who plays some
unorthodox shots. It takes some pressure off when you're going to
the last over and it helps to score a boundary in the middle of the
exceptionally well in defense of a mediocre total. Jhye Richardson
bowled his 10 overs for 27 runs, dismissing Kohli, and spinner Adam
Zampa's 10 overs cost only 34 runs.
Underdog Patriots face top seed KC. Yes, you read that right
left, in a Nov. 19, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback
Patrick Mahomes throws a pass during an NFL football game against
the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles. At right, in a Dec. 30, 2018,
file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws during
the second half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. (AP
Foxborough, Mass. (AP) —
It may have been hard to hear him over the noise of the New England
fans celebrating an eighth straight trip to the AFC title game, but
Tom Brady is feeling disrespected.
That's right: The three-time
NFL MVP and five-time Super Bowl champion told a national TV
audience after demolishing the Los Angeles Chargers in the playoffs,
"I know everyone thinks we suck and can't win any games.
"We'll see," Brady said with
a roguish look in his eyes. "Could be fun."
There hasn't been an NFL run
like the Patriots' — at least in the Super Bowl era — with Brady and
coach Bill Belichick leading the franchise to 10 straight AFC East
titles and 15 in 16 years, resulting in eight trips to the Super
Bowl and five NFL crowns.
"You're talking about a
dynasty," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "If there is such a thing in
the National Football League, they've been that."
And yet as they prepare to
travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs (13-4) in Sunday's AFC
championship game, Brady is right about one thing: The Patriots
(12-5) are a 3-point underdog, and that's an unusual position for
"We're going against a team
that's the No. 1 seed in the league," Brady said after the team's
final practice on Friday. "I'm sure there's a lot of people that are
thinking they're going to win. Everyone can have their own opinion.
We certainly have an opinion, and we've got to go out there and
execute our best in order to accomplish that."
Players have long found
their motivation wherever they can, whether it's the oddsmakers or
experts or comments from the opposing team that go up on the locker
room for all to see. Heading into the NFC title game, some banter
about gumbo has turned into a rallying cry for the Los Angeles Rams.
The Chiefs have been careful
not to help out with any bulletin board material.
"I don't think they suck,"
tight end Travis Kelce said. "I can tell you that."
But rustling up slights to
motivate themselves is just another thing they've mastered.
Responding to the public
perception — or at least that of the oddsmakers — receiver Julian
Edelman tweeted a Chiefs hype video lauding quarterback Patrick
Mahomes as the best player in the league. Edelman made no secret
what he thought of that, adding a hashtag: "#BetAgainstUs"; he is
also selling T-shirts with the slogan squeezed into the shape of the
Special teams star Matthew
Slater said he wasn't motivated as much by being an underdog in this
game as other times he was doubted in his life.
"I'm not supposed to be
playing in this league anyways," he said, "so we've got plenty of
Defensive back Jason
McCourty was a sixth-round draft pick — just like Brady.
And, just like Brady, and he
"You've just always had that
chip on your shoulder, and no matter what you go through in life,
especially with football, there's just always someone or something,"
"I think that type of
mindset, no matter if you're 16-0, you're rolling through the
playoffs, no matter what the situation is, there's always going to
be somebody that's doubting you or saying something about you. I
think for certain guys individually, it may be something that kind
of gives you that extra kick."
Pacquiao awaits Broner bout in crossroads fight at age 40
Manny Pacquiao, left, and Adrien Broner pose for photographers
during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Las Vegas. (AP
Las Vegas (AP) — Manny
Pacquiao has been beating the odds since he was a teenager in the
Philippines stuffing his pockets with metal at weigh-ins so he
wouldn't look like a 98-pound weakling.
Nearly a quarter century later,
Pacquiao is still up for a challenge.
He fights Saturday night
against Adrien Broner in a true crossroads bout that will determine
a lot about his future in the ring. Chasing a second fight with
Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao will be tested by a younger and talented
fighter who has a lot to prove himself.
He's 40 now, an age where
fighters either have long stopped lacing up the gloves or are very
careful in picking opponents. Pacquiao is not only still fighting,
but willing to take on a 29-year-old who thinks of himself as a
And he's not terribly concerned
about the possibility he might lose.
"I still have that killer
instinct and the fire in my eyes is still there," Pacquiao said.
"That aggressiveness, the interest in this career is still there 100
percent. The speed and the power are still there."
That showed in a gym session
this week in Hollywood, where Pacquiao looked sharp and fast while
hitting the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach. The two have reunited
for the fight, Pacquiao's first in the U.S. in more than two years.
But while Pacquiao is favored,
there's always a chance in boxing that age often catches up to a
fighter in the wrong place — the ring.
And that adds some intrigue to
seeing a fighter who has been so much of a part of the fabric of
boxing for the last 15 years.
"He's unbelievable," Roach
said. "His work ethic is great, he has fast hands and he still hits
hard. I think he actually wants to knock this opponent out."
That may be asking a lot since
Pacquiao went nearly a decade without knocking anyone out before
stopping Lucas Martin Matthysse in a fight in Malaysia last July.
But if Pacquiao needed any more motivation he got it after Broner
mocked the Parkinson's that Roach has.
"Manny's a great guy to have on
your side," Roach said.
Indeed, Broner has done his
part to sell the fight by acting boorish and flashing money around
like his mentor, Mayweather. At this week's final news conference,
Broner went into a profane rant about Showtime announcer Al
Bernstein, though his comments about Pacquiao were more respectful.
"Pacquiao's a legend," Broner
said. "He'll always go down as one of the best in the boxing
business. But I just feel like it's my time to take over this sport
and I'm coming to take the throne from Pacquiao."
Broner (33-3-1, 24 knockouts)
certainly has the skills to do just that. He has long been
considered an elite fighter, though he has lost most of his bigger
fights and tends to be undisciplined in the ring.
To beat Pacquiao he will have
to use his speed to match that of the Filipino senator, and figure
out a way to deal with an unorthodox style that has puzzled
opponents since Pacquiao began fighting for $2 purses so he could
help his mother feed the family.
"Adrien Broner is not a tuneup
fight," Pacquiao said. "He's a former champion. He's fast, he moves
fast and he's a good boxer."
Unfortunately, a lot of fans
won't be watching. The fight is on Showtime pay-per-view and the
price ($74.95) is lofty for a fighter a few years removed from his
Still, Pacquiao will make
millions, and Broner will have a big payday of his own. Both would
also profit with a win, with Broner regaining some of his reputation
and Pacquiao putting himself in line for another possible huge
payday against Mayweather, who still says he is officially retired.
Pacquiao blamed an injured
shoulder for his poor performance in the 2015 bout, a lackluster
affair won by Mayweather. A second Mayweather fight would cap
Pacquiao's career and put him closer to retirement and full-time
duties in the Senate in his home country. It's on Pacquiao's mind,
as well as the mind of his millions of fans.
"You cannot avoid people will
ask if there's a rematch with Floyd Mayweather," Pacquiao said,
"because I think they have a big question mark in their mind and
also in their heart about what happened in that fight."
Lowry takes 3-shot lead into final round in Abu Dhabi
Shane Lowry of Ireland follows his ball on the 18th hole in round
three of the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 18. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates (AP) — Shane Lowry kept up his brilliant scoring on the
par-3 holes at the Abu Dhabi Championship in shooting a 5-under 67
in the third round to extend his lead to three strokes on Friday.
For the third straight day,
the Irishman made birdie on the each of the short Nos. 7, 12, and 15
holes to strengthen his bid for a first victory in 3 1/2 years. His
last win was in 2015 at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
"I've been hitting some
lovely iron shots," said Lowry, who was on 17-under 199 overall. "It
just so happens that I've hit them on the par threes."
Richard Sterne of South
Africa was the only player within four strokes of Lowry after a
round of 69, which included his first and only bogey of the week.
Sterne chipped in for eagle at the par-5 10th hole for one of the
best shots of a breezy day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club when conditions
were the hardest all week.
Sterne has had to wait even
longer for a win, with his last of his six overall coming in 2013.
"Maybe there's some magic
left in me," Sterne said.
Ian Poulter sent a 3-wood
approach to 10 feet and rolled in the putt for eagle at No. 18 for a
69 to lift him into third place outright on 12 under, five shots off
the lead. He will play in the next-to-last group with former winner
Pablo Larrazabal (68, for 11 under).
Lowry, who tied the course
record with a 62 in the first round, tied the best score of the
third round and remained on course for a wire-to-wire victory. That
would lift him back into the world's top 50 and get him into golf's
showpiece events in 2019.
He is back playing on the
European Tour after losing his U.S. PGA Tour card last year and
slipping to No. 75 in the rankings.
"I'm not going to say I feel
invincible because we all know that this game is not easy, and it
can jump up and bite you when you least expect it," Lowry said.
In attacking the par 3s, he
is 8 under in 12 holes. Nine of his 21 birdies this week have come
on the course's four short holes.
His bunker play has also
been impressive, no more so than on No. 17 when he chipped out of
the sand at the right of the green to within 2 feet to save par —
just when Sterne was making a run at the lead.
Moments later, Sterne — who
teed off on No. 18 just two shots back — miscued his second shot
into a bunker that was left and well short of the green. After
chipping onto the green, Sterne saw his birdie putt lip out.
Three-time major champion
Brooks Koepka, who has a chance to return to No. 1 in the world this
week, mixed five birdies with three bogeys for a 70 and was eight
strokes behind alongside Lee Westwood (73).
Dustin Johnson was 13 shots
off the lead after a 72.
Another shot back was Tommy
Fleetwood (72), whose hopes of a third straight title in Abu Dhabi
looked to be over.
UAE, Thailand make Asian Cup last 16, heartbreak for India
Thailand players celebrate after midfielder Thitipan Puangchan,
left, scored his side's goal during the AFC Asian Cup group A soccer
match between United Arab Emirates and Thailand at Al Maktoum
Stadium in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 14. (AP
Al Ain, United Arab
Emirates (AP) — Thailand's decision to change coaches continued
to prove to be a masterstroke but there was last-minute heartbreak
for India at the Asian Cup on Monday.
Thailand drew against host
side United Arab Emirates 1-1 to qualify for the next round for the
first time since reaching the semifinals in 1972.
UAE finished top of Group A
and the pair could be joined in the round of 16 by Bahrain, who beat
India 1-0 thanks to a last-gasp penalty and will likely progress as
one of the best four third-placed teams.
It was a far cry from
Thailand's first match in the tournament, a 4-1 loss to India that
led to the firing of coach Milovan Rajevac and the appointment of
his assistant, Sirisak Yodyardthai, as interim coach.
UAE started strongly and
took the lead less than seven minutes in. Ismail Al Hammadi's
attempted chip came back off the crossbar but Ali Mabkhout headed
home the rebound.
Thailand started to get into
the match and leveled four minutes before the break when Thitiphan
Puangjan took advantage of panic in the UAE defence to bundle the
ball past goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.
The War Elephants finished
second, a point below UAE and above Bahrain thanks to a better
head-to-head record, having won the match between them 1-0.
Bahrain, who hit the
woodwork earlier in the match, were seconds away from going out of
the tournament as India managed to fend off wave after wave of
However, India captain
Pronay Halder brought down Hamed Alshamsan in the penalty area and
Jamal Rashed converted in stoppage time to send Bahrain into
The knockout stages begin
Sunday, January 20.
On bad hip, Andy Murray out in 1st round of Australian Open
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against
Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis
championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14. (AP
Melbourne, Australia (AP)
— If this was it for Andy Murray, if this truly was it, he gave
himself — and an appreciative, raucous crowd that included his
mother and brother — quite a gutsy goodbye, the type of
never-give-in performance he's famous for.
What Murray could not quite
do Monday at the Australian Open was finish off a stirring comeback
and prolong what might just be the final tournament of his career.
Playing on a surgically
repaired right hip so painful that pulling on socks is a chore, he
summoned the strength and strokes to erase a big deficit and force a
fifth set before eventually succumbing to 22nd-seeded Roberto
Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2, Murray's first
opening-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years.
"If today was my last match,
look, it was a brilliant way to finish," Murray said. "I literally
gave everything that I had on the court, fought as best as I could,
and performed a lot better than what I should have done with the
amount I've been able to practice and train."
Murray, just 31, is a year
removed from his operation, and he said that he will decide in the
next week or so whether to have a second one. If opts to avoid
another procedure, he might be able to play in July at Wimbledon,
where he won two of his three major titles, including the first for
a British man in 77 years. If he decides for further surgery, then
Monday's match might have been his last.
Even with a hitch in his
gait, even as he leaned forward to rest his hands on his knees
between points, Murray summoned the strength and the strokes to push
the match beyond the 4-hour mark.
And the fans tried to will
him past Bautista Agut, who had lost in straight sets all three
previous matches the two men had played.
They roared when Murray
managed to break back to 2-all on the way to taking the third set,
with his mom, Judy, smiling widely as she stood alongside other
They chanted his name when
he grabbed the fourth set.
They rose when the
compelling contest ended.
"Andy deserves this
atmosphere. Andy deserves (that) all the people came to watch him,"
Bautista Agut said. "He's a tough, tough fighter. A tough opponent.
He gives everything until the last point. I want to congratulate him
for all he did for tennis."
Afterward, a video was shown
in the stadium with tributes to Murray from various players,
including rivals Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic,
along with Nick Kyrgios, Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova and
Congratulations, buddy," Federer said. "I'm your biggest fan."
Federer opened his bid for a
third consecutive Australian Open championship, and record seventh
overall, with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Denis Istomin at Rod
Laver Arena. Nadal, whose 17 career majors are second among men only
to Federer's 20, overpowered Australian wild-card entry James
Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 earlier.
Nadal, who had surgery on
his right ankle in November, hadn't competed since stopping during
his U.S. Open semifinal in September because of a bad knee.
"It's very difficult to
start (again) after an injury," Nadal said. "I know it very well."
Other major title winners
who advanced on Day 1, when the temperature approached 90 degrees
(33 Celsius), included defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, Maria
Sharapova — who beat Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0 — Angelique Kerber,
Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova.
The highest-seeded player to
exit was No. 9 John Isner, who hit 47 aces but lost 7-6 (4), 7-6
(6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) against 97th-ranked Reilly Opelka in an
The most attention, though,
was drawn by Murray, who is as popular for his success on the court
as his attitude away from it.
The stands were dotted with
British and Scottish flags and with signs of support. When Bautista
Agut entered, he was greeted by a smattering of polite applause.
When Murray was introduced, there were full-throated screams,
followed by chants of his first name.
As play began, Murray
delighted his well-wishers every so often with terrific shots on a
full sprint and his trademark, quick-reflex returns. When he flubbed
a shot or otherwise let a point slide by, Murray displayed the
muttering and leg-slapping self-contempt the world has come to know
and expect — and, let's face it, love — from the guy.
For all that Murray
accomplished over the years, including reaching No. 1 in the
rankings and a pair of Olympic singles gold medals, he never was
able to leave Melbourne with the trophy, finishing as the runner-up
When Murray eventually
succumbed to his weariness — not to mention Bautista Agut — the
arena speakers blared Queen's "We are the Champions," with its
fitting line: "And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end."
If this was, indeed, the
end, Murray did just that.
"I'd be OK," he said, "with
that being my last match."
Jesus keeps up scoring spree, Man City beat Wolves 3-0
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, left, scores with a penalty against
Wolverhampton Wanderers during the English Premier League match at
the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Monday, Jan. 14. (AP Photo/Dave
Manchester, England (AP)
— Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is keeping a close eye
on Gabriel Jesus now the young striker's family are no longer with
him in England.
Maintaining his hot streak
in front of goal should keep the Brazilian's spirits high.
The 21-year-old Jesus scored
twice in City's 3-0 win over 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers in the
Premier League on Monday, extending his spree to seven goals across
three different competitions in the past nine days.
Whether he can retain City's
sole striker spot ahead of club great Sergio Aguero, who started on
the bench after a recent illness, remains to be seen but Jesus
cannot be doing any more to impress his manager, Pep Guardiola.
"I know Sergio Aguero is an
amazing player and helps me a lot," Jesus said. "When Sergio plays
he helps the team, and when I play I want to help as well.
"I play better now and to
score goals is important to me."
And having two in-form
strikers can only boost City's chances of reeling in Liverpool in
the Premier League title race. Liverpool's lead was trimmed to four
points by City's win over Wolves, for whom the match was a
damage-limitation exercise from the moment center back Willy Boly
was handed a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Bernardo
Silva in the 19th minute.
By then, Jesus had tapped in
a left-wing cross from Leroy Sane, who was found by a searching ball
forward from center back Aymeric Laporte, to put City in front in
the 10th minute.
Jesus added his second goal
from the penalty spot in the 39th after Raheem Sterling was fouled
by Ryan Bennett.
City piled on the pressure
in the second half — they finished the game with 76 percent
possession — but had only one more goal to show for it, with Conor
Coady glancing a header into his own net from substitute Kevin De
Since losing back-to-back
league games around the Christmas holiday to drop out of the lead
and, at one point, be seven points behind Liverpool, City have been
in relentless form — winning five straight matches in all
competitions and scoring 24 goals in the process. Among them was a
9-0 win over third-tier Burton in the English League Cup, when Jesus
scored four times.
Guardiola spoke ahead of the
game about the club needing to rally around the striker because he
might start to find life difficult after his mother, two older
brothers and nephew returned to Brazil following an extended stay in
Manchester to help Jesus acclimatize.
And teammates Sane and
Sterling could not have handed him easier opportunities to continue
his scoring run.
Wolves were potentially
tricky opponents for City, given their strong record against the top
six in the league. Nuno Espirito Santo's team drew against City at
home in August and recently beat Tottenham.
Boly's straight red card put
paid to any chance of an upset at Etihad Stadium and Wolves failed
to have a shot on target. And neither Boly nor Espirito Santo had
any complaints about the decision, with the defender having got the
ball in a challenge with Silva only to catch him with the
"The game 11 vs. 11 was the
same as 11 vs. 10," Guardiola said.
It was the 16th time this
season that City have scored three or more goals. This latest
victory moved the champion five points clear of third-placed
Tottenham, who lost at home to Manchester United on Sunday.
Liverpool will also be wary
of City's improved form.
"All we can do is win our
own games," Guardiola said. "We spoke many times in the last hours
about this to our players. We cannot control what they do. We can
control what we do. The only way to do that is by being there. Maybe
one day they fail and we try to be there.
"But you can be sure if we
don't win, they will be champions."
SAfrica fast bowlers deliver 3-0 series sweep over Pakistan
Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed is bowled out
for 0 on day four of the third cricket test match between South
Africa and Pakistan at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South
Africa, Monday, Jan. 14. (AP Photo/Christiaan Kotze)
Johannesburg (AP) —
South Africa's fast bowlers delivered another quick victory over
Pakistan on Monday, a 107-run win early on the fourth day of the
final test that sealed a 3-0 series whitewash.
South Africa collected the
seven wickets they needed before lunch at the Wanderers as the
tourists crashed from 153-3 overnight to 273 all out and well short
of their target of 381.
The final nail for Pakistan
— a run out — came just after midday as the lunch break was delayed
with the home team on the verge of wrapping it up.
That series-ending wicket,
when Pakistan No. 11 Mohammad Abbas was run out for 9, was the only
one of the 60 wickets for South Africa in the series that didn't
fall to one of their four fast bowlers.
Abbas was stranded after a
mix-up with Shadab Khan, ending their last-wicket partnership of 31
and Pakistan's last stand.
"A 3-0 series win is right
up there," said stand-in South Africa captain Dean Elgar, leading
the Proteas with Faf du Plessis serving a one-match suspension for
over-rate offenses. "That's what we asked the guys for out of this
series and we got it. It's a good way to start the year."
Duanne Olivier was
Pakistan's chief destroyer, finishing with 3-74 in the final innings
and a series-leading 24 wickets in the three tests, just one wicket
short of the South African record for a three-test series.
Olivier was man of the
series yet only played because fellow fast bowler Lungi Ngidi was
ruled out with injury.
Olivier found a hostile edge
to his game on his return to test cricket after being out of the
team for more than a year. He bowled short and fast throughout to
bombard the Pakistan batsmen and give South Africa a new weapon in
an already-strong fast-bowling arsenal.
Olivier had top-ranked test
bowler Kagiso Rabada, No. 4-ranked Vernon Philander and leading
South African wicket-taker Dale Steyn to back him up, a fearsome
foursome that South Africa hope could take them to No. 1 in the
The four-pronged pace attack
saw South Africa to a seventh consecutive series victory at home, a
ninth win in their last 11 series anywhere, and up to No. 2 in the
test rankings behind India.
"Each bowler brings
something different," Olivier said. "Vernon has tremendous skill, KG
(Rabada) has raw pace, and Dale's record speaks for itself. For me
it was just trying to bring something different to the team and I
got rewarded for that. It obviously worked quite well."
4-time Asian champion runner tests positive for steroid
In this Friday, May 9, 2014 file photo,
Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain gestures after winning the 400m hurdles at
the IAAF Diamond League in the Qatari capital Doha. (AP Photo/Osama
Monaco (AP) —
Four-time Asian Games champion Kemi Adekoya has been provisionally
suspended after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
The Athletics Integrity Unit
said Monday a "notice of allegation" was sent to Adekoya, a
Nigerian-born runner who switched allegiance to Bahrain.
The AIU said on its website
the 25-year-old Adekoya tested positive for stanozolol — the steroid
sprinter Ben Johnson used at the 1988 Seoul Olympics — in November.
Last August at the Asian
Games, she took gold in the 400-meter hurdles and 4x400 mixed relay.
Adekoya switched to Bahrain
before the 2014 Asian Games and won the 400 and 400 hurdles. In
2016, she was world indoor champion in the 400, and competed in the
400 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Also Monday, the AIU imposed
a two-year ban on Kenyan distance runner Lucy Kabuu for a positive
test for morphine.
Kabuu had her results
stripped from April to August, including victory at the Milan
Marathon, and is banned through July 2020.
She still ranks in the
top-30 all-time list in women's marathon for a winning run in Dubai
in 2012. A 10,000-meter specialist on the track, Kabuu was the 2006
Commonwealth Games champion and represented Kenya at the 2004 Athens
Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing fifth.
Tearful Murray says Australian Open could be his last tournament
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during a press conference at the
Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday,
Jan. 11. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
A tearful Andy Murray says the Australian Open could be his last
tournament because of the hip injury that has derailed his career.
The 31-year-old Murray said he
trained in the off-season with the main goal of making one last run at
Wimbledon, where he ended the 77-year drought for British men, but now
wasn't sure he'd make it.
In an emotional news conference
at Melbourne Park on Friday, when he had to leave the room shortly after
his first attempt to get it started, and needed to pause several times
to compose himself after returning, Murray said he wasn't sure how much
longer he could play.
"I'm going to play (in
Australia). I can still play to a level — not a level I'm happy playing
at," he said. "But also, it's not just that. The pain is too much
The three-time Grand Slam
champion is scheduled to play his opening match against No. 22-ranked
Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open, where he has reached the
final five times but never won the title. The season-opening major
Murray had right hip surgery in
January 2018 after prolonged problems with the joint. After two brief
attempts to return to the tour, he played only 12 matches last year.
He returned at the Brisbane
International last week, where he won his opening match but lost in the
second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing visible signs of limping
between points and struggling to move around court smoothly.
Murray has had a celebrated
career, breaking long Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won
the U.S. Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon the following year, and also
becoming the only player to win consecutive singles gold medals at the
He was considered part of the
so-called Big Four in men's tennis with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and
Novak Djokovic — the group of players who dominated the majors.
Now it's likely he'll be the
youngest of them to go into retirement. At 37, Federer is in Australia
attempting to win the title for the third consecutive year and for a
seventh time overall. At 31, top-ranked Djokovic is at Melbourne Park
also trying to win a seventh Australian title. The 32-year-old Nadal is
ranked No. 2 and confident of extending his career for several years.
Murray has been preparing for
the 2019 season knowing that his career could be over within months. In
his training program last month, he told his support group that the pain
was becoming too much and that he needed to set a date for retirement.
"I spoke to my team and I told
that I can't keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because
(I was) just playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop," he
told the news conference Friday. "I said to my team 'I think I can get
through to Wimbledon' ... that's where I would like to stop playing. But
I'm also not certain I'm able to do that.
"I don't want to continue
playing that way. I've tried everything I could to get it right and that
He said he's considering another
hip operation, more to improve his quality of life than as a way of
returning to the top level in tennis.
Jordan reach Asian Cup last 16, Thailand still in the mix in Group A
Thailand midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin, second left, celebrates his
opening goal with his teammates, during the AFC Asian Cup group A soccer
match between Bahrain and Thailand at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 10. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
(AP) — Jordan became the first team to qualify for the knockout
stages of the Asian Cup on Thursday. Thailand now have hopes of joining
them in the last 16 after a change of coaches had an immediate impact,
with the team earning just their second win in 22 games in the
Group B leaders Jordan followed
up their upset win against defending champions Australia in their
opening match with a 2-0 victory over neighboring Syria.
In Group A, Chanathip Songkrasin
scored the only goal as Thailand beat Bahrain 1-0 and United Arab
Emirates beat India 2-0. Bahrain moved top of the group, one point above
India and Thailand.
Thailand fired coach Milovan
Rajevac following Sunday's 4-1 loss to India and appointed his
assistant, Sirisak Yodyardthai, as interim coach.
Sirisak made five changes to the
team which lost to India, and Thailand were also helped by some wayward
finishing from Bahrain who managed only three shots on target out of 15
Thailand grew in confidence as
Bahrain failed to translate their dominance into goals, and Chanathip
broke the deadlock in the 58th minute after Tristan Do's cross was
deflected into his path by Bahrain defender Ahmed Ali Juma.
Chanathip came close to setting
up Thailand's second when he picked out an unmarked Adisak Kraisorn but
his effort hit the post.
The meeting of Thailand and
Bahrain on the pitch came a day after FIFA issued a fresh plea for a
"humane and speedy resolution" to an extradition case involving a
footballer that has been criticized by human rights groups.
Hakeem al-Araibi, a former
international for Bahrain, was granted refugee status in Australia last
year after fleeing his homeland, where he said he was persecuted and
tortured. He was arrested while on holiday in Thailand in November due
to an Interpol notice in which Bahrain sought his custody after he was
sentenced in absentia in 2014 to 10 years in prison for allegedly
vandalizing a police station — a charge he denies.
"This situation should not have
arisen, in particular, since Mr. Al-Araibi now lives and works and plays
as a professional footballer in Australia, where he has been accorded
refugee status," FIFA said in a statement. "FIFA is therefore calling on
all the relevant authorities (in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia) to
take the necessary steps to ensure that Mr. Hakeem Al-Araibi is allowed
to return safely to Australia where he can resume his career as a
The top two teams in each group
and the four best third-place teams advance to the round of 16.
UAE had a disappointing start to
the tournament as the hosts needed a late penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw
with Bahrain but the team showed a marked improvement in Thursday's
victory over India.
Khalfan Mubarak chipped India
goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to give UAE the lead four minutes from
India missed a number of good
opportunities and also hit the underside of the crossbar before Ali
Ahmed Mabkhout sealed the result with two minutes remaining.
In Group B, the result never
looked in doubt for Jordan, which scored both their goals in the first
Mousa Suleiman netted the opener
and had a hand in the second as he crossed for Tareq Khattab to head in
at the near post.
Putnam has career-best 62 to lead Sony Open
Putnam hits onto the 10th green during the first round of the Sony Open PGA
Tour golf event, Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu,
Hawaii. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Honolulu (AP) — Andrew Putnam
didn't get a practice round in for the Sony Open because of a bee sting, and
he apparently didn't need one.
Putnam made birdie on half of his
holes Thursday at Waialae, none of them tap-ins, and took only 23 putts for
an 8-under 62. It was the lowest score of his PGA Tour career and gave him a
four-shot lead among the early starters.
Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and
John Chin were at 66, with defending champion Patton Kizzire among those at
Jordan Spieth was hopeful of better
in his 2019 debut. He had to wait until his 16th hole, the par-3 seventh,
for his first birdie of the year. And that was all he made in a round of 73
that left him needing a low round just to make it to the weekend.
He still managed to keep it
entertaining, especially with the new rules.
Spieth, like most players, doesn't
understand the visually awkward change of dropping from knee-height instead
of shoulder-height. Six holes into his round, his tee shot came up inches
short of a sprinkler head. He called for a ruling and was given relief
because of the potential of injury or damaging the club. Then, he did what
he has done his entire golfing life — he held the ball at the level of his
Slugger White, the tour's vice
president of competition, stopped him. Had he dropped and played the shot,
it would have been a penalty. If not, he could have dropped again from the
"I'm like, 'Wouldn't it just be a
re-drop anyway?' What's the big deal?'" Spieth said. "It's unusual."
He caught himself from dropping
shoulder-height behind the 18th green. He also tapped in for par on the
opening hole with the flagstick still in the cup, another change that is
getting plenty of attention early in the year. And he tapped down a spike
mark in the line of a 4-foot putt.
"All in all, I got a test of most of
the new rules today," he said.
Putnam, among 23 players who were on
Maui last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, made it all look so
easy. This is his third year playing the Sony Open, so the course is not new
to him. But it's unusual for him not to at least get in a practice round.
He was poolside Tuesday when the bee
stung him in the foot.
"I couldn't walk, so I had to
withdraw out of the pro-am," he said. "I was just sitting around all
yesterday and couldn't even hit a shot. Yeah, kind of bizarre how it all
He shot his 62 despite a bogey on
the 15th hole when his pitch came up 12 feet short and he missed the putt.
Putnam didn't miss many in the
opening round. Statistically, he made just over 174 feet of putts, from a
5-footer on the closing hole (his shortest birdie putt) to his longest
birdie on the 14th at just under 30 feet.
"The hole was very large and the
ball was going in," he said. "It was fun."
Snedeker found it a bit more
enjoyable, too, once he got his round going. He wasn't under par until a
birdie at the turn on the par-5 18th, and he shot 32 on the front, which
typically is the slightly tougher side.
It's the same state, different
island, but the course couldn't be any different from last week. Kapalua was
built on the side of a mountain, with enormous greens and large undulations.
Waialae is old school, flat and lined by palms, with smaller greens.
"They are faster and a lot flatter,"
Snedeker said. "The biggest break you'll see here is maybe a foot of break
on a putt. Last week, if you had anything under a foot, you would be
Al-Attiyah, Brabec lead Dakar Rally after dominating stage 4
Driver Sebastien Loeb, of France, and co-driver Daniel Elena, of Monaco,
race their Peugeot during stage four of the Dakar Rally between Arequipa
and Moquegua, Peru, Thursday, Jan. 10. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Lima, Peru (AP) — Driver Nasser
Al-Attiyah and rider Ricky Brabec dominated the fourth stage of the
Dakar Rally on Thursday to lead their categories overall.
Al-Attiyah strengthened his lead
to nearly nine minutes over Stephane Peterhansel after outdueling the
Frenchman by nearly two minutes on the split 351-kilometer route of
valleys and fesh-fesh — fine dust — between Arequipa and Tacna.
"It was very important to catch
Stephane and stay with him all the way,"Al-Attiyah said.
Three decades of racing the
world's toughest rally helped Peterhansel endure the fesh-fesh.
"It's like powder, it goes
inside the car and you can't see anything," he said.
He saw enough to be the only
driver within 20 minutes of the Qatari leader overall.
Nani Roma was nearly 21 minutes
back in third, followed by Jakub Przygonski (22 minutes), Yazeed Al
Rajhi (nearly 25 minutes) and Sebastien Loeb (50 minutes), who suffered
three punctures and came to the finish on a punctured tire.
As it was a marathon stage,
drivers were unable to receive assistance or repairs from their crews.
That meant Al Rajhi, second overall overnight, suffered when he had to
stop near the end. Former champion Giniel de Villiers also lost more
time when he stopped to help the damaged Toyota of teammate Bernhard Ten
After losing his way on
Wednesday, Brabec rode the fourth stage to perfection and increased his
gap to the motorbike field the longer the stage went.
By the finish in Tacna, the
American was six minutes ahead of defending champion Matthias Walkner,
and the new overall leader.
Pablo Quintanilla started the
day as the overall leader by a comfortable 11 minutes, but lost it all
to trail Brabec by two minutes in second.
Toby Price was third, four
minutes down, and Sam Sunderland right behind him after a fall.
Walkner, 21 minutes off the pace
on Wednesday, improved to nine minutes back with six stages to go.
Sasnovich, Barty through to Sydney International semifinals
Barty, right, of Australia and Elise Mertens of Belgium embrace after
Barty defeated Mertens in their women's singles match at the Sydney
International tennis tournament in Sydney, Thursday, Jan. 10. (AP
Sydney (AP) — Aliaksandra Sasnovich's
impressive start to the season continued on Thursday with a
straight-sets win over Timea Bacsinszky to advance to the Sydney
The No. 33-ranked Sasnovich, who
made it to the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane, was in control most
of the way to beat the Swiss 6-3, 6-3.
Sasnovich will face two-time
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or 2016 Australian Open champion
Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kvitova and Kerber played
Ashleigh Barty, who beat
top-seeded Simon Halep on Wednesday, advanced to the semifinals with a
6-3, 6-3 victory over Elise Mertens, breaking the Belgian player's serve
"I thought it was a little bit
of a slow start, but it was good to get the ball rolling mid to late in
that first set," Barty said.
Barty will meet Yulia Putintseva
or Kiki Bertens in the semifinals.
In men's quarterfinals
Thursday, eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi upset top-seeded Stefanos
Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and No. 3 Diego Schwartzman beat Yoshihito
Nishioka 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (1).
Kohlschreiber, Sandgren, Norrie, Struff reach Auckland semis
Kohlschreiber from Germany plays against Fabio Fognini from Italy during the
quarter finals of the ASB Classic men's tennis tournament in Auckland, New
Zealand, Thursday, Jan. 10. (AP Photo/Chris Symes)
Auckland, New Zealand (AP) —
Former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated second-seeded Fabio Fognini
again 6-3, 6-1 to reach the ASB Classic semifinals on Thursday.
Unseeded Kohlschreiber, who won the
tournament in 2008, will have to go through Tennys Sandgren to reach another
final in Auckland on his 12th visit.
The other semifinal will feature New
Zealand-born Englishman Cameron Norrie, a wild card, against Jan-Lennard
Struff. Norrie or Struff will reach his first ATP final.
Fognini called for the trainer at one
point, and in the second set he made little effort to resist Kohlschreiber's
progress to his seventh win over the Italian in nine meetings.
"I'm still improving my game, even at
35 years old. I think you are still able to improve," Kohlschreiber said.
He captured his first service break in
the third game, held serve in the following game which lasted 10 minutes and
contained five deuces, then clinched the set with relative comfort, breaking
Fognini again in the ninth game.
Sandgren, an Australian Open
quarterfinalist last year, defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-6 (5) without
facing a break point.
Sandgren had eight break-point chances
but converted only one.
Norrie beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 6-3,
and Struff beat fourth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 7-6 (9)
in three hours to ensure no seeds reached the semifinals.
Makeshift Liverpool team lose to Wolves 2-1 in FA Cup
Liverpool's Ki-Jana Hoever, left, vies for
the ball with Wolverhampton's Diogo Jota during the English FA Cup third
round match at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, Monday, Jan. 7.
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Wolverhampton, England (AP)
— A makeshift Liverpool team containing three teenagers making their
senior debuts lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 in the third round of
the FA Cup, with a 30-yard strike by Ruben Neves sealing the win on
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp
showed where the competition ranked on the current English Premier
League leaders' list of priorities by leaving star forwards Mohamed
Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench until the 70th minute, and they
failed to have an impact after coming on.
"I changed a lot because I
thought we had to, not because I wanted to," said Klopp, who justified
fielding a weakened team by saying some of key players were absent
because of illness or "little problems."
Klopp, who also used the wind as
a reason for his team's below-par display at Molineux, has yet to
progress beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup in his four seasons in
charge of Liverpool.
Wolves went in front through
striker Raul Jimenez in the 38th minute after James Milner lost
possession in central midfield, but Liverpool equalized when Divock
Origi scored from the edge of the area in the 51st.
Neves regained the lead for
Wolves four minutes later, striking a low and fierce shot inside the
near post past the initially unsighted Simon Mignolet.
Klopp started midfielders Rafael
Camacho and Curtis Jones — aged 18 and 17, respectively — and sent on
another debutant in 16-year-old Dutchman Ki-Jana Hoever in the sixth
minute after center back Dejan Lovren sustained a hamstring injury.
Hoever, at 16 years and 354
days, became the youngest Liverpool player in FA Cup history and the
third-youngest player to make a senior appearance for the team.
Hoever's introduction meant
Liverpool played the majority of the match with a 16-year-old debutant
and a Brazil midfielder, Fabinho, as its central-defensive partnership.
"I am not sure what you all
would have said if immediately from the beginning our center-half
situation was Fabinho and Ki-Jana," Klopp said. "Then probably a few
very smart people would tell me that I don't respect the competition or
Only in the second half did
Liverpool find their stride. Xherdan Shaqiri came closest to forcing a
replay when he curled in a free kick that was tipped onto the post by
Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Liverpool have won the
competition seven times, but not since 2006. The Reds lead the league by
four points after 21 games and are through to the round of 16 in the
Champions League, with those competitions now Liverpool's only chance of
silverware this season.
Some of the momentum in their
season might have been lost, with the defeat to Wolves coming four days
after a 2-1 loss at Manchester City — their first league defeat of the
Klopp, who is without injured
center backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, was unsure about how long Lovren
would be out.
"I asked everybody, no signs,
nothing, just out of the blue," Klopp said of Lovren's injury.
Al-Attiyah wins opening stage of Dakar Rally in Peru
Barreda of Spain rides his Honda motorbike during the first stage of the
Dakar Rally between Lima and Pisco, Peru, Monday, Jan. 7. (AP
Lima, Peru (AP) — Nasser Al-Attiyah made
a great start to winning a third Dakar Rally title when he won the
opening stage by almost two minutes on Monday.
Al-Attiyah made light work of the 84-kilometer
special on the dunes around Pisco along the Pacific coast.
He led by 38 seconds at the first marker, and by
45 seconds at the halfway point.
Defending champion Carlos Sainz, another
two-time winner, was second.
Jakub Przygonski was third. The overall champion
of the Cross-country Rallies World Cup is trying to become the first
Polish winner of the Dakar.
Seven-time winner Stephane Peterhansel was three
minutes back in seventh, and Sebastien Loeb was more than six minutes
Joan Barreda showed the focus of his buildup on
being fit paid off when he won first motorbike stage by a minute from
Pablo Quintanilla. Barreda's Honda teammate, Ricky Brabec, was third.
Barreda had to withdraw last year on the 11th
stage while lying second overall because of knee and hand injuries.
This Dakar has been reduced to a 10-stage race
on Peruvian sand, finishing in Lima on Jan. 17.
Ferrari replaces Arrivabene with Binotto as team principal
this June 19, 2016 file photo, Ferrari team principal Maurizio
Arrivabene grimaces prior to the start of the Formula One Grand Prix of
Europe at the Baku circuit, in Baku, Azerbaijan. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Maranello, Italy (AP) —
Ferrari replaced Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto as team
principal on Monday following another failed Formula One title chase.
Binotto, who had been working as
Ferrari's chief technical officer, has been with the team for nearly 25
"After four years of untiring
commitment and dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving the team,"
Ferrari said in a statement. "The decision was taken together with the
company's top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio's
long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself.
"With immediate effect, Mattia
Binotto will take over as Scuderia Ferrari's Team Principal. All
technical areas will continue to report directly to Mattia."
While Ferrari driver Sebastian
Vettel won the opening two races of the 2018 season and took pole
position in three of the first four races, Ferrari's performance waned
as the year went on, enabling Mercedes to win a fifth straight drivers'
title with Lewis Hamilton.
Arrivabene had been in charge
since the 2015 season, having previously worked for Philip Morris, a key
Arrivabene's criticism of
Ferrari's technical department may have resulted in his ouster.
Having joined Ferrari in 1995 as
a test engine engineer, Binotto was involved in the team's golden years
when Michael Schumacher won five titles. He was promoted to technical
chief in July 2016.
Binotto had reportedly been
chosen previously as Arrivabene's successor by former Ferrari CEO Sergio
Marchionne, who died in July.
Binotto was widely credited with
creating cars that were competitive with Mercedes over the past two
years — which put a spotlight on questionable strategic choices.
Arrivabene was criticized for
the way Ferrari handled its home Italian Grand Prix in September, when a
lack of team orders prevented Kimi Raikkonen from clearing the way for
Vettel at the start — which was followed by contact between Vettel and
There was another tactical error
concerning the choice of tires during qualifying for the Japanese GP.
Hamilton clinched the title two races later in Mexico — with two GPs to
spare — and finished with an 88-point advantage over Vettel.
In four seasons under
Arrivabene, Ferrari won 14 races — 13 by Vettel and one by Raikkonen —
and finished second three times in the constuctors' standings.
The 2019 season opens with the
Australian GP in Melbourne on March 17.
Former Sauber driver Charles
Leclerc has been hired to replace Raikkonen for this season, with
Raikkonen having gone to Sauber.
Raikkonen was the last Ferrari
driver to win a championship in 2007.
Vonn plans return to World Cup at speed races in Austria
In this Feb. 4, 2018, file photo, United States' Lindsey Vonn
celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's world Cup
downhill race, in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany. (AP Photo/Gabriele
New York (AP) - Lindsey
Vonn is planning to return from injury this weekend for speed races in
Austria, resuming her quest for the all-time record for World Cup wins.
It will be her first ski races
of the season after hurting her knee and sitting out six events.
"I'm NOT done yet!!!," Vonn
wrote Monday on Instagram alongside a video on her training during her
recovery. "It's been a tough 6 weeks but I'm on skis again and excited
to get back in the starting gate. See you in St. Anton this weekend."
St. Anton am Arlberg is hosting
a downhill on Saturday, followed by a super-G the next day, with
training starting Thursday. It's the first of three consecutive weekends
of speed racing.
The women's World Cup record
holder needs five more victories to break the overall record of 86 wins,
set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in the 1980s.
Focusing on her specialties of
downhill and super-G, Vonn skipped technical races in October and early
November before hurting herself in a training crash at Copper Mountain
in Colorado. She hyperextended and sprained a ligament in her knee and
suffered a bone bruise on Nov. 19, just over a week before her scheduled
season start with two downhills and a super-G in one of her favorite
resorts, Lake Louise, Alberta.
Later, Vonn also missed a
super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as well as a super-G and a downhill
in Val Gardena, Italy.
The 34-year-old American was
initially planning to retire at the end of this season, but the injury
setback prompted her to announce her participation in one more series of
speed races in Lake Louise next season.
Vonn was also expected to
compete at next month's world championships in Are, Sweden.
Over her career, Vonn has had a
long list of ailments, including torn ACLs, fractures near her left knee
joint, a bruised shin, broken ankle, broken arm, sliced right thumb and
concussions. She missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics after damaging her right
Still, she was closing in on
Stenmark's record toward the end of last season, when she won three of
the last four races to raise her tally to 82.
The timing of her comeback seems
opportune, with six speed races scheduled over the next three weekends.
Vonn has competed in St. Anton
twice before. She won two events on back-to-back days in December 2007,
and she placed sixth and fourth, respectively, in January 2013, when she
was returning to the circuit after a three-week layoff caused by an
After St. Anton, the women's
World Cup moves to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, on Jan. 19-20 and
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the following week. Each resort will
host one downhill and one super-G.
Vonn has won four overall World
Cup titles and 10 medals at major championships, including downhill gold
at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Eagles stave off Bears on missed FG; Chargers edge Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin
Ingram (54) sacks Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the
second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6,
in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Chicago (AP) —
Nick Foles hit Golden Tate with a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down
with 56 seconds remaining against the NFL's stingiest defense, lifting
the Philadelphia Eagles past the Chicago Bears 16-15 on Sunday in the
final wild-card game.
Former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey
hit the left upright and then the crossbar with a field-goal attempt
from 43 yards with 10 seconds remaining, silencing the raucous crowd.
The defending league champion
Eagles (10-7) squeezed into the playoffs by beating Washington and
having the Bears (12-5) help them by knocking off Minnesota in the
season finale. Philadelphia thanked its benefactor with a 12-play,
60-yard drive on which Foles, the Super Bowl MVP last February, hit six
Philly plays at New Orleans (13-3)
No team has repeated as Super Bowl
champion since New England in 2004, and the Eagles are a sixth seed. The
last sixth seed to win the NFL title was Green Bay in the 2010 season.
But these Eagles, led by Foles and
a defense down to backups at several positions, seem to have that
magical touch like last season.
It was a sizzling ending to a game
marked by superior defense and several critical mistakes by the Eagles.
They had to survive after Tarik Cohen, an All-Pro punt returner, took
back the kickoff following Philly's go-ahead score 35 yards. Mitchell
Trubisky completed two passes to get the Bears close enough for Parkey.
But his kick took a double deflection and fell harmlessly into the end
He was 11 of 12 in the
fourth-quarter on field goals before missing the biggest kick of his
CHARGERS 23, RAVENS 17
BALTIMORE (AP) — Los Angeles kept
Lamar Jackson grounded, and by the time the rookie got the passing game
going it was too late for Baltimore.
Michael Badgley kicked five field
goals, and Los Angeles harassed and hounded Jackson during a victory in
the opening round of the NFL playoffs.
The Chargers (13-4) will next face
the second-seeded New England Patriots (11-5) on the road Sunday. The
Chargers last won two games during a single postseason in 2007, when the
franchise was in San Diego.
Badgley set a franchise record for
field goals in a playoff game. He connected from 21, 53, 40, 34 and 47
The Chargers built a 23-3 lead in
the fourth quarter before Jackson threw two touchdown passes to make it
close. Given one final chance to complete the comeback, the 21-year-old
Jackson looked every bit like the youngest quarterback to start an NFL
playoff game when he lost the ball on his third fumble of the game.
Jackson finished 14 for 29 for 194
yards with an interception. He was sacked seven times.
The Chargers got even for a 22-10
loss two weeks ago to Baltimore (10-7), the AFC North champions.
Fan-turned-coach helps FA Cup 3rd round deliver 3 big upsets
Oldham Athletic's team and coaching staff
celebrate after the final whistle of their English FA Cup third round
match against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London, Sunday, Jan. 6. (John
Walton/PA via AP)
London (AP) - Until 11
days ago, Pete Wild had been planning to cheer on Oldham as a fan with
his pals in the club’s FA Cup third-round match at Premier League club
Wild was indeed at Craven
Cottage on Sunday but in the dugout, rather than the stands, guiding the
unheralded northern England team to victory in one of three so-called
"giant-killings" on a classic day in the famous knockout competition.
Fourth-tier Oldham beat Fulham
2-1 at the same time as non-league team Barnet were stunning second-tier
Sheffield United in a 1-0 win despite a gap of 84 places in English
A few hours later, fourth-tier
Newport County eliminated Leicester, the seventh-placed team in the
Premier League, after a 2-1 win at their atmospheric Rodney Parade
Ruining the day for the
romantics were Manchester City, who swept to a 7-0 victory over
second-tier Rotherham in their biggest win under Pep Guardiola.
While Guardiola is arguably
soccer's most famous coach, Wild is still making his way in the
managerial game and was Oldham's youth-team manager until Dec. 26, when
he was asked to take charge of the first team on an emergency basis
following the firing of the manager after a 6-0 loss.
The 33-year-old Wild accepted
the challenge, led Oldham to back-to-back wins in two league games, and
has now masterminded one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in recent years .
"It is Roy of the Rovers stuff,"
said Wild, referring to a now-defunct British cartoon about a fictional
soccer player. "It is one you have to savor."
Especially since the manager in
the home dugout at Craven Cottage was Claudio Ranieri, the storied coach
who led Leicester in their fairytale Premier League-winning campaign in
Ranieri's Fulham were 1-0 ahead
with 14 minutes left, only to concede goals to Sam Surridge and Callum
Lang. Lang's 88th-minute winner came moments after Fulham striker
Aleksandar Mitrovic had a penalty saved off his first touch after coming
on as a substitute.
"I did not see desire or
passion," Ranieri said. "I wanted to see desire — show me I am wrong,
show me! I am not wrong."
Aside from the embarrassment of
losing to a team three leagues below them, the loss will not do Fulham's
confidence any good as the club from southwest London fights for
survival in the Premier League. Fulham are in next-to-last place, four
points from safety.
BARNET CUT DOWN BLADES
Another of the day's big upsets
was also plotted by a caretaker manager.
It was an emotional afternoon
for Darren Currie, who led Barnet to their victory over Sheffield United
— the club where his uncle, Tony, is regarded as a soccer great and has
a stand named after him at the stadium at Bramhall Lane.
"Naturally he'll be hurting,"
Darren Currie said. "He wants his team to go through, but he's proud of
me and what I've done today."
Shaquile Coulthirst scored the
only goal of the game, from the penalty spot, to ensure Barnet will be
the only non-league side in the fourth round.
Sheffield United, who are in
third place in the second-tier League Championship, could end up
replacing Fulham in the Premier League but the clubs were united in
NEWPORT STUN LEICESTER
Nearly a year after holding
Tottenham to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fourth round, Newport got the job
done against another big team in the Premier League.
It felt like history would
repeat itself when Rachid Ghezzal equalized for Leicester in the 82nd
minute — the same minute that Harry Kane drew Tottenham level 12 months
But this time, there was another
twist as Leicester midfielder Marc Albrighton gave away a penalty for
handball and Padraig Amond converted from the spot.
It rounds off a bizarre festive
period for Leicester, who beat Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in
the league but also lost to struggling Cardiff in the league and now
Newport in the cup.
Sixth-tier Woking, the
lowest-ranked team in the third round, lost 2-0 at home to Watford.
There were also wins for Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster and Millwall.
South Africa win 2nd test, seal series against Pakistan
South African Captain Faf du Plessis bats on
day four of the second cricket test match between South Africa and
Pakistan at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday,
Jan. 6. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Cape Town, South Africa (AP)
— South Africa won the second test and the series against Pakistan
by making the 41 runs they needed on the morning of the fourth day on
It wasn't as simple as South
Africa were hoping, with the Proteas losing stand-in opener Theunis de
Bruyn for 4 and seeing Hashim Amla retire hurt on 2 before they reached
the simple target.
De Bruyn was opening in place of
Aiden Markram, who was injured fielding on the third day.
Still, South Africa got there
and were 43-1 to seal a nine-wicket win and a seventh straight series
win at home by taking a 2-0 lead over Pakistan in the three-test
contest. The final test in Johannesburg starts Friday.
Pakistan fell to a second
straight series loss and failed throughout to deal with the South
African pace bowling attack.
Pakistan were bowled out for 177
in the first innings at Newlands and South Africa were in control after
that, with Dale Steyn's seven wickets in the match the fast bowler's
best performance since a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2016.
Austrian Hirscher gets 30th career World Cup slalom win
Austria's Marcel Hirscher, center, winner of an alpine ski, men's World
Cup slalom, poses with second placed France's Alexis Pinturault, left,
and third placed Austria's Manuel Feller, in Zagreb, Croatia, Sunday,
Jan. 6. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Zagreb, Croatia (AP) —
Marcel Hirscher returned to winning ways Sunday, triumphing in the first
men's World Cup slalom of 2019 after he had missed the podium in the
last two races.
The seven-time overall champion
trailed Austrian teammate Marco Schwarz after the opening leg but posted
the fastest time in the final run before Schwarz straddled a gate and
failed to finish.
"It was today definitely not the
easiest victory I have made so far," said Hirscher, who has won 10 of
the last 12 slaloms. "But in the end of the day I am super, super happy.
It was quite a hard day of work."
It was Hirscher's 64th career win
and 30th in the discipline. Only Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark (40) and
Italy's Alberto Tomba (35) have won more men's slalom races.
Hirscher rarely misses out on a
podium in consecutive races. The last time he didn't make the podium in
three straight races was in February 2016.
After placing 26th in the last
slalom of 2018 in Italy and starting the new calendar year by placing
seventh in the city event in Oslo, he spoke of "a mini-crisis."
His focus on winning is so big,
that he calls finishing 26th or even seventh a "DNF," a did-not-finish.
"After finishing two races with a
DNF, it is nice to be back in the finish area with another 100 points.
The last two races not scoring points was not fun, it was making me
nervous, even after all those years," he said, adding that "the people
in Austria want to see me winning, or at least on the podium."
And Hirscher was fast to
acknowledge that Sunday's win had "not really" ended his doubts.
"The feeling is a little bit weird
with the changing conditions we have this year," Hirscher said. "It is
hard to find the right set-up for each terrain and for every condition."
Alexis Pinturault of France was
0.60 seconds behind Hirscher in second, and Manuel Feller of Austria was
another 0.02 further behind in third for his first career slalom podium.
Hirscher's main rival in the slalom
World Cup, Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, finished in fifth place.
Pinturault returned to a slalom
podium for the first time since winning in Wengen, Switzerland, five
"I had troubles finding my best
level and with my skis and the setup. These were really hard years,"
said the Frenchman, adding he had put more focus on slalom training
again last summer.
Schwarz's half-time lead and
Feller's third-place finish underlined the depth of the Austrian
"We have been a pretty good and
fast team the last years, too. We are getting better and better," Feller
said. "The coaches did a really good job, we came out of nothing. And
with Marcel as our leader, we know how fast we have to be to get to the
It was Hirscher's fifth victory on
the outskirts of the Croatian capital. No other male skier has won more
slaloms at a single resort. Only Stenmark (in both Madonna di Campiglio
and Kitzbuehel) and Tomba (in Sestriere) have also recorded five wins at
Watched by 10,000 spectators along
the icy Crveni Spust course, Hirscher started the race with a solid run
but still trailed Schwarz, who led an Austrian sweep of the top three in
the opening run.
Five days after winning his first
World Cup at the city event in Oslo, Schwarz was 0.37 faster than
Hirscher, while Feller was 0.42 behind in third. Pinturault was 0.77 off
the lead in fifth.
On a course set by his coach Helmut
Grassl, Olympic champion Andre Myhrer of Sweden finished 2.71 seconds
off the lead and failed to qualify for the second run.
The men's World Cup continues with
another slalom and a GS in Adelboden, Switzerland, next weekend.
Nishikori, Pliskova win Brisbane International titles
Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a shot during his final match against Daniil
Medvedev of Russia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in
Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 6. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
(AP) — Kei Nishikori won his first ATP title since Memphis in 2016 with
a dominating final set to beat Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the Brisbane
International final on Sunday.
The 2014 U.S. Open finalist served for the match at 5-1
in the third set, but Medvedev earned a temporary reprieve when he broke the
Japanese player's serve to extend the match.
But Nishikori, who had lost nine consecutive ATP finals
over 52 tournaments in nearly three years, broke the Russian player's serve
on four consecutive points in the final game to clinch the match in just 2
hours, 6 minutes, at Pat Rafter Arena.
Earlier, Karolina Pliskova won her second Brisbane
title, beating Lesia Tsurenko 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 after coming within just two
points of defeat.
Serving for the title at 5-4 Sunday, Tsurenko lost 13
straight points. It came after Tsurenko rolled her ankle in the second game
of the deciding set.
Tsurenko was 4-0 in her previous WTA finals. Pliskova
won her first Brisbane title two years ago.
Pliskova improved her record in Brisbane to 13-2 and
joined Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2016) and Serena Williams (2013-14) as the
third woman to win the tournament twice.