Tiger Woods hopes he's close to putting his game together
Tiger Woods follows through on his swing from the rough on the tenth
hole during the pro-am for the the Memorial golf tournament
Wednesday, May 30, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
Dublin, Ohio (AP) — The
two biggest figures at the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods,
managed to carve out some private time at the back of the 10th tee
amid a mass of people Wednesday at Muirfield Village.
Some of it was just catching
up. The two most prolific winners of major championship had not seen
each other since April at the Masters.
And the tournament host had
some encouraging words.
Nicklaus complimented Woods on
his swing, and then told him what Woods has felt for the last few
"He was saying that my swing is
starting to look a little bit better," Woods said. "And I said,
'Yeah, I'm really not that far away,' and he totally agreed. He just
kept urging me to be patient with it because he could see that I've
made some pretty big strides this year, and not far away from
putting it all together."
The Memorial presents such an
Woods has won at the course
Jack built a record five times. The most recent victory was in 2012,
when he took command from behind the 16th green by turning a
potential bogey into a chip-in birdie that Nicklaus still thinks is
one of the best shots he ever saw.
The most recent appearance?
Woods last played the Memorial
in 2015. In the last few months before a series of back surgeries,
Woods shot 85 in the third round, the worst score of his career.
Because an uneven number of players made the cut, Woods teed off
Sunday morning as a single and shot 74.
"I tried, and unfortunately on
this golf course, hitting it as bad as I did, it just wasn't good
enough," Woods said.
As for playing as a single?
"I didn't want to have anyone
watch me play the way I was playing," he said.
Rory McIlroy was standing at
the side of the room as Woods spoke, listening to a player with 90
victories worldwide talking about the time he signed his name to an
85 on his scorecard. McIlroy recalled his highest round at 83 in the
South African Open in 2007, his seventh tournament as a pro.
McIlroy climbed the steps to
the stage as Woods was leaving and said to him, "Aside from your 85,
you have won here five times."
Those are the memories Woods
hopes to draw from when the Memorial begins Thursday on a Muirfield
Village course in its usual mint condition. The tournament is two
weeks before the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, and it has the kind
of field that makes it feel like a mini-major.
Only two players from the top
10 in the world are missing: Jon Rahm and U.S. Open champion Brooks
Justin Rose is coming off a
victory at Colonial, his ninth consecutive year with a victory
somewhere in the world. Justin Thomas is making his debut at No. 1
in the world, an achievement that doesn't come with a trophy but one
that meant enough to him that he stayed up later than usual when he
got home after The Players Championship to see the world ranking
page with his name at the top. He took a screen shot.
"Seeing every golfer in the
world behind my name is a pretty fun thing," Thomas said.
Dustin Johnson, who doesn't
appear to be concerned with much in life, conceded he was eager to
get back the No. 1 ranking he held for 15 months. This is his first
tournament since he lost the No. 1 spot to Thomas.
Nicklaus was around the first
and 10th tee boxes during the pro-am to greet them all, a list that
includes Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
Woods has made strides since
his return from a fourth back surgery, including a runner-up finish
at the Valspar Championship in March, and an exciting charge at Bay
Hill that ended with a tee shot out of bounds on the 16th hole.
Nicklaus suggested on Tuesday
that Woods has to learn anew how to win because it has been five
years since his last victory.
McIlroy understood what he
meant, having gone 18 months between victories until he won the
Arnold Palmer Invitational. McIlroy started this year with good
chances at Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and then he broke through at Bay
"As long as you put yourself in
contention more and more and keep knocking on the door, sooner or
later you're going to step through," McIlroy said. "And then with
that, experience will do great things for you going forward."
Woods hasn't been within five
shots of the lead going into Sunday since Bay Hill. He never got
going at the Masters or at Quail Hollow, and while he had a
season-best 65 in the third round at The Players Championship, he
still was 11 shots out of the lead. The idea this week is to get in
"The last few times that I've
had a chance, I've felt very comfortable," he said. "Hopefully I can
just shoot the low round when I need it."
Djokovic discusses lack of confidence after French Open win
Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves against Spain's Jaume Munar during
their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the
Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 30. (AP
Paris (AP) — Despite all
of Novak Djokovic's success over the years — the 12 major
championships, the career Grand Slam, the time ranked No. 1 — he
still finds himself searching for self-confidence these days.
That's what an elbow injury and
forced absence from the ATP tour can do to a player.
Djokovic was reflective and
revealing Wednesday after moving into the third round at the French
Open by virtue of a self-described up-and-down performance in a 7-6
(1), 6-4, 6-4 victory over 155th-ranked Jaume Antoni Munar Clar of
Spain. Both of Djokovic's matches so far have been against
qualifiers; neither win was particularly impressive.
"At the moment, I'm not playing
at the level I wish to, but at the same time, I understand that it
is the process that obviously takes time," said Djokovic, whose
seeding of No. 20 is his lowest at a Slam in 12 years. "And I'm
trying to not give up."
At least he got through in
straight sets, saving energy for whatever might come next at Roland
Garros. Other leading men were forced to work a lot harder in
matches they would have been expected to breeze through: No.
2-seeded Alexander Zverev, No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 19 Kei
Nishikori all faced two-sets-to-one deficits and all emerged to win
Zverev was down by a set and a
break early — and down a racket he'd obliterated by then, too —
before collecting himself and coming back to beat 60th-ranked Dusan
Lajovic of Serbia 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Dimitrov was two points
from defeat against 21-year-old American Jared Donaldson but won 6-7
(2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in a marathon that lasted 4 hours, 19
minutes and featured a couple of underhand serves by the cramping
Donaldson. Nishikori got past Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 2-6, 4-6,
A reporter asked Zverev about
what he told himself while trailing in order to turn his match
The 21-year-old German scoffed
at the premise.
"I mean, you guys make it sound
like we think about it, really. We don't. We just try to play and
win each point, each game. Being two sets to one down is like being
a set (behind) in a three-set match. We're not going to overthink
it: 'Oh, I'm two sets to one down. What am I going to do? How am I
going to play the next point?'" he responded. "We try to play our
best. We try to maybe change a few tactics and see how we can win
the next point and the next game."
The lengths, if not quality, of
those matches were what amounted to on-court intrigue on Day 4 at
the clay-court major, because there really was little in the way of
stunning outcomes. The only top-16-seeded man or woman who lost was
No. 12 Sam Querrey of the U.S., and he's only once been as far as
the third round in 12 appearances at Roland Garros.
Among the women, No. 1 Simona
Halep shook off a slow start in a postponed first-round match to
defeat Alison Riske of the U.S. 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, while second-round
winners included reigning major champions Caroline Wozniacki and
Sloane Stephens, along with No. 4 Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Petra
Kvitova and No. 13 Madison Keys.
So perhaps the most meaningful
moments around the grounds came inside the main interview room as
Djokovic discussed his state of mind as he tries to regain his
previous status in tennis.
He sat out the last half of
2017 because of a painful right elbow, tried to return in January,
then decided to have an operation in February.
Djokovic arrived at Roland
Garros with a 10-7 record this season. He was at .500 until showing
signs of a resurgence by getting to the Italian Open semifinals on
red clay before losing to 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.
"Best practice that you can
have is a match. I haven't had too many matches, and I really never
thought that I'm going to be challenged in that way, mentally — that
I need matches in order to get confidence. But obviously I'm
learning something new, and, yeah, that's the case," said Djokovic,
who hasn't won a Grand Slam title since claiming his fourth in a row
at the 2016 French Open.
"At times, I do lose maybe a
comfort level on the court and confidence, and that's something that
I'm still building gradually, obviously," he continued. "The more
matches I play, the better it is. The more I win, of course, the
better it is. Hopefully that can keep going."
Salah won't be out longer than 3 weeks, Egypt's FA says
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, 2nd right, leaves the pitch during the
Champions League Final against Real Madrid at the Olimpiyskiy
Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, May 26. (AP Photo/Darko
Valencia, Spain (AP) —
The Egyptian Football Federation says Mohamed Salah's shoulder
injury will not keep him out for longer than three weeks, meaning he
should be fit to play at least some part in the country's World Cup
The Liverpool forward was
injured in the first half of Saturday's Champions League final
against Real Madrid and left the field in tears. Liverpool manager
Jurgen Klopp said after the game that Salah's World Cup campaign was
in jeopardy but the EFA gave an optimistic update on Wednesday after
its president Hani Abu Reda, national team coach Hector Cuper and
doctor Mohamed Abou El-Ela met with the forward in Valencia, where
the 25-year-old is undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.
A post on the federation's
Facebook page said that "the period of absence of Salah due to
injury will not exceed three weeks."
That could still rule him out
of Egypt's opening World Cup match on June 15 against Uruguay, with
their second against hosts Russia coming four days later.
But if he misses those games,
he could play in Egypt's final group match against Saudi Arabia on
Andre Iguodala out for Golden State in Game 1 of NBA Finals
Warriors' Andre Iguodala smiles as he answers questions after an NBA
basketball practice, Wednesday, May 30, in Oakland, Calif. (AP
Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Oakland, Calif. (AP) —
Golden State forward Andre Iguodala will miss Game 1 of the NBA
Finals as he recovers from a bone bruise in his left knee that cost
him the last four games of the Western Conference finals.
Iguodala's absence is a huge
blow to the Warriors' defense as it works to stop LeBron James and
the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State coach Steve Kerr said several
players will be called upon Thursday to handle the load that is
James, making his eighth straight finals appearance.
"He was MVP of the series in
2015, largely because he took that role on of guarding LeBron. But
also because of what he did offensively," Kerr said. "He's doing a
little bit better today. Some encouraging signs, but we have ruled
him out for Game 1. We've got lots of guys who can take on that job.
It's a group effort, anyway, guarding LeBron. So, KD (Kevin Durant),
Draymond (Green), Klay (Thompson), Shaun Livingston, they'll all see
time on him."
The Warriors said Iguodala, who
was injured in Game 3 against the Rockets on May 20, was evaluated
Tuesday and is making progress but still has the bruise and
inflammation of the nerve surrounding his knee. Kerr has said
Iguodala wouldn't play until he can run without pain. He will be
re-evaluated ahead of Sunday's Game 2.
Iguodala said he doesn't have
any doubts he will be able to return during the finals, though his
patience is tested. He has sought multiple opinions for the injury.
"Just trying to figure out how
to move in general," Iguodala said. "But making some progress.
Slower than we expected but we're just being realistic."
Kevon Looney has been starting
in Iguodala's place.
Looney planned to talk to
Iguodala about the task of guarding James.
"I'll pick his brain about some
things ... some tendencies of LeBron, the fact of the switches or
small things like that to help me out," Looney said. "He's one of
the best defenders in the league."
That's why everybody on the
Warriors realizes it will be a joint effort guarding James.
"What he brings to us on the
defensive end will definitely be missed," Green said. "But it just
means other guys have got to step up. Other guys have done that thus
far. The task gets even harder but I know guys will and it will be a
collective effort in hopes that we keep trekking along until he's
ready to come back."
Forward Kevin Love's status for
Cleveland remained unclear as he continues to go through the NBA's
concussion protocol. Love was injured in Game 6 of the Eastern
Conference finals against Boston that the Cavs pulled out in seven.
He wasn't scheduled to attend media day Wednesday at Oracle Arena,
where the Warriors host the series opener in the fourth straight
finals meeting between the rivals.
"He's going to go do some
things today and see how he feels," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "But
he is in the protocol still, so we'll see how he feels."
Both teams practiced Wednesday
on Golden State's home floor, where the defending champions have won
17 of their last 18 postseason games.
James certainly understands
what the Warriors are missing without Iguodala's presence and
"First of all he has very, very
quick hands," James said. "That doesn't get talked about a lot, his
ability to read and react to the ball either in flight or while
you're dribbling or when you pick the ball up."
Serena Williams wins Slam return in Paris
Serena Williams of the U.S. clenches her fist after scoring a point
against Krystina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their first
round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland
Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, May 29. (AP
Paris (AP) — For all
that has changed in the 16 months since Serena Williams last played
in a Grand Slam tournament — she is now married and a mother — so
much was familiar about her at the French Open on Tuesday.
The fashion statement, this
time in the form of a black bodysuit with a red belt that she said
made her feel like a "warrior princess." The cries of "Come on!" The
big serves that provided 13 aces. The returns that eventually
produced three consecutive breaks of serve.
And, yes, the victory.
Competing as a mom for the first time at a major, and only about
nine months since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, then
dealing with postpartum complications, Williams edged 70th-ranked
Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 6-4 at Roland
Already a transcendent sports
star and cultural icon, Williams now carries a new title: working
"Well, my priority is Olympia.
No matter what, that's my priority. I have given tennis so much, and
tennis has actually given me a lot, and I couldn't be more
grateful," Williams said. "She's my priority, and I work everything
The 36-year-old American had
not played in one of tennis's biggest tournaments since winning the
Australian Open in January 2017 for her 23rd Grand Slam title,
breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for the most in the professional
Williams, the world found out
later, was pregnant at the time. Her baby was born Sept. 1; Williams
married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.
Williams eventually revealed
that she had an emergency cesarean section, then encountered trouble
breathing afterward because of a pulmonary embolism and needed a
"Just literally not sure if I
was going to make it or not at several different times," Williams
said. "A lot of people have really reached out, because they have so
many similar stories, too. I feel like a lot of people don't talk
about it. They talk about the baby and how happy they are. But it's
a lot that goes into it with the pregnancy and with giving birth,
and it's called a 'miracle' for a reason."
The first match of her comeback
was in doubles alongside her older sister, Venus, for the U.S. Fed
Cup team in February. She entered two tournaments in singles the
next month, going 2-2. An absence of more than two months followed,
until Tuesday in Paris.
So a woman who has spent
hundreds of weeks ranked No. 1 is currently No. 451 and unseeded at
the French Open, a subject of some debate: Should her past success
accord her the protection a seeding offers? Williams faces
17th-seeded Ash Barty of Australia next.
"She's a genuine champion,"
Barty said. "What she's done to be able to get back ... is a pretty
Tuesday's return was striking,
from Williams' powerful shots to her outfit, which called to mind
the "catsuit" she wore at the 2002 U.S. Open.
It was by far the most
significant event of Day 3 at Roland Garros, even though there were
so many other Grand Slam champions in action. Rafael Nadal finished
off a rain-interrupted victory as he begins his try for a
record-extending 11th French Open title. Maria Sharapova, a two-time
champ in Paris, was pushed to three sets in a win. Garbine Muguruza,
who beat Williams in the 2016 final at Roland Garros, beat another
past champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
All eyes were on Williams,
though. On the fifth point, she delivered an ace at 112 mph (181
kph). Moments later, the chair umpire intoned, "Jeu, Madame
Williams," — French for "Game, Mrs. Williams," a change from the
"Mademoiselle" used for unmarried female players.
Pliskova, a lefty whose twin
sister upset Williams in the 2016 U.S. Open semifinals, actually hit
more aces, 15. That's the most anyone has hit against Williams since
at least 2008, according to the WTA.
Indeed, Williams appeared to
have trouble reading Pliskova's serves early on. There were other
blips, of the sort to be expected from someone who hasn't played
lately. Williams double-faulted seven times. She had nearly as many
unforced errors, 25, as winners, 29.
But she is not simply skilled.
She is smart, too, and she figured things out.
After trailing 3-0 in the
tiebreaker, she reeled off six points in a row. After falling behind
2-0 in the second set, Williams came up with a trio of service
All was not perfect, of course.
In the final game, Williams' right foot gave way as she sprinted
toward the net and she landed on her backside. At least she was able
to laugh at that as she went to the sideline to towel off. A
spectator yelled: "That's all right, Serena! You still look great!"
After months of worrying more
about diapers than drop shots, of breastfeeding for what she called
"a really, really, really long time," of organizing her practice
schedule around her newborn's nap schedule, Williams was back to
doing what she's most famous for, in an arena where she earned
trophies in 2002, 2013 and 2015.
On Tuesday, she noted that she
showed up at her news conference more promptly than she used to, so
she could have more time to spend with Olympia.
"I don't want her to ever feel
like I'm not around. I'm a super hands-on mom," Williams said.
"Maybe too much."
A reporter wanted to know
whether Williams believes she can win the title again.
"I'm definitely here to compete
and do the best that I can do, obviously. I'm not putting any
pressure on myself as I normally do," Williams began.
Then, perhaps questioning her
own words as she heard them, she paused, before adding with a laugh:
"I think deep down, we all know the answer to that."
Warriors back in NBA Finals again after test from Rockets
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with
teammate Draymond Green (23) during the second half in Game 7 of the
NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Houston
Rockets, Monday, May 28, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston (AP) — The
Golden State Warriors, so used to making things look easy, overcame
one of their toughest tests to return to the NBA Finals.
They climbed out of huge holes
in the last two games of the Western Conference finals to beat
Houston, but may have to play in the first half the way they have
after halftime if they hope to knock off LeBron James and the
Cleveland Cavaliers and repeat as champions.
"They played a great series,
they made us work for everything ... I'm just proud of the way we
battled," Klay Thompson said. "We've been through a lot with this
team, and believe it or not, it's not all success with the
"We've got our bumps throughout
the season," he continued. "But to get to this point again, we
Without Andre Iguodala again,
the Warriors shook off another terrible first half in Game 7 on
Monday night to rally for a 101-92 victory that made them the fifth
team in NBA history to advance to the finals in four straight
Golden State trailed by 11 at
halftime after being behind at the break by 10 points in Game 6,
becoming the first team to win multiple elimination games in the
same series when trailing by double digits after two quarters.
Coach Steve Kerr lamented that
Golden State's first half on Monday night was "one of the most
bizarre first halves" his team has played since he's been with the
Warriors and joked that he thought of resigning at halftime before
"Our talent took over," Kerr
said. "It's as simple as that. We've got three of the best
shot-makers in the league ... we stayed with it."
The trio — Thompson, Stephen
Curry and Kevin Durant — combined to score 47 points in the second
half to pull away from a Rockets team that missed 27 straight
3-pointers from the second quarter to the halfway mark of the fourth
"I think it was just a level of
experience and maturity from our group that helped us get to the
finish line," Curry said.
The Warriors outlasted the
Rockets despite missing Iguodala for the last four games with a bone
bruise on his left leg. It's unclear if the 2015 NBA Finals MVP will
return for Game 1 on Thursday, but if he does it will give Golden
State a boost in trying to slow down James.
While Golden State certainly
isn't happy the way it started the last two games, its ability to
turn things around in the second half gives the Warriors confidence
heading into the next challenge. The Warriors outscored Houston
122-63 in the second half of the final two games.
Houston gave them a much bigger
test than the Warriors have had in quite some time and this series
was their first with three losses since the Cavaliers won the 2016
"Just keeping our composure was
big for us the entire series," Curry said. "Whether we figured it
out, win or lose, we showed a lot of fight, a lot of grit and
resiliency to stay positive as we went through the series no matter
what the situation was."
Thompson was clear that the
mistakes he made before halftime on Monday night won't happen again.
After scoring 35 points in Game 6, he collected three fouls in less
than four minutes to force him to sit out most of the first quarter.
"I cannot do that next series,
and that's a big no-no," he said. "Learned my lesson. Those guys are
great at drawing fouls but I've got to be smarter than that. That
really hurt. I hated not being out there when I was supposed to."
Curry, before he could look
forward to the finals, he took some time to reflect on what it took
to get past the Rockets and appreciate the accomplishment of having
another shot at the title.
"This was a part of our story
that we hadn't been through before," he said. "Our backs against the
wall, not having home-court advantage, needing to win two games to
keep ourselves alive. This is a true testament to how hard it is to
get to the finals, how hard it is to have a chance to play for a
Russian hooligans in World Cup crackdown after 2016 rampage
this photo taken on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, police officers stop
to check Spartak Moscow's supporters before the a Russian Premier
League Championship soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Tosno in
Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Moscow (AP) — At their
peak, Russian hooligans felt like gods.
"We're on Mount Olympus right
now and it had to be done," is how one veteran hooligan from Moscow
recounts his part in brawls with English fans at the 2016 European
Championship. "We went for the English, who were kings, to knock
them off their throne."
But ahead of the World Cup,
Russian authorities are cracking down on the hooligan culture in
football. Groups which wreaked havoc two years ago report
surveillance and threats from law enforcement.
Leading hooligans from each
club face lengthy prison sentences on old or trumped-up charges if
there's trouble at the World Cup, even if they aren't personally
involved, the Moscow hooligan — a large, muscular man with scars on
his knuckles — told The Associated Press. He likened their situation
to that of "hostages" and said the hooligan scene in Russia "is
"All the leaders get called in
for chats," he said, imitating an officer: "'On behalf of our state
security service, I'll explain that if there are problems, then
those guys are in prison and you'll be joining them. We need
everything to go quietly.' It's been done precisely so that everyone
understands that even if there's no case against you, your guys will
get it in your place."
Speaking on condition of
anonymity to describe numerous illegal acts, he said he traveled to
Marseille in 2016 specifically to take part in fights with the
English at the European Championships. England's hooligans of the
1980s and 1990s inspired many Russian groups — most still bear
English names — but in Marseille the Russians wanted to snuff out
"For a long time the English
were considered the strongest," he said, but they were no match for
Russians with martial-arts training. "There were guys sitting there
with a Birmingham banner and we went up to them. 'Either we're
taking your banner or you stand up and fight for it.' The Birmingham
guys decided they didn't need the banner that much."
The violence on Marseille's
streets and in the stadium was greeted with jokes and even praise
from some Russian lawmakers and officials. President Vladimir Putin
called the fighting "sad," then questioned "how 200 Russian fans
could beat up several thousand English," to laughter from his
Other sources with knowledge of
the fan scene described the Russian crackdown since Marseille.
Alexander Shprygin ran a fan
group which worked with the government on World Cup planning, and
had been photographed with Putin. He has rapidly fallen from grace.
Shprygin was twice deported
from France during the 2016 tournament and two of his organization's
board members were imprisoned in Marseille over the disorder. He
denies any role. Three months later, Russian police arrested him in
a toilet at the national football federation's conference, seeking
to question him over an earlier brawl in Russia, and dragged him out
past waiting media. His organization has been dormant since then.
Shprygin told the AP his
friends in the hardcore fan scene have been summoned by Russia's
Federal Security Service, the heir to the Soviet-era KGB, for
"preventative conversations" and many want to go abroad during the
"Many of them think like that
because, God forbid, if anything happens, they won't face
questions," he said. "They can just show their passport, that they
weren't in Russia."
Russia has an official
blacklist of fans banned from games by court orders for violent and
non-violent offenses, but at 451 names it's much smaller than
equivalents in other large European countries.
Many more fans are barred from
games using processes which aren't publicly recorded and have little
World Cup tickets are worthless
without a Russian government-issue "Fan ID". Applicants are vetted
by the Russian security services, who have denied several thousand
Russian fans ID to see games at the World Cup and last year's
Confederations Cup, according to Oleg Semyonov, formerly a leader of
the Spartak Moscow fan scene, who now runs a legal advice hotline
Semyonov says authorities are
using "a big database" to exclude people accused of taking part in
football-related disorder — including Shprygin, whose ID was
canceled two hours before a Confederations Cup game — but also some
with convictions dating back 20 years for minor offenses like
jaywalking or public drunkenness.
Most top Russian clubs have
so-called "curators" from the security services "who work with the
fan organizations" and have warned them off disorder, Semyonov
Russian police and the Federal
Security Service did not respond to requests for comment.
Semyonov also suspects that
Russian authorities tipped off German police about two Spartak fans
who were arrested in February when traveling to a Europa League
game. They are being detained in Marseille, reportedly in connection
with the 2016 violence.
If there's trouble at the World
Cup, people with knowledge of the Russian fan scene said, it could
involve visiting hooligans from Poland, Sweden or Croatia, or locals
angered by what they see as foreigners' obnoxious behavior.
"My prognosis is that if there
are brawls, because football is all about emotions, they will be
local and quickly defused. They won't be on the same scale as
Marseille," Shprygin said, adding the Russian police can deal with
violent resistance. "Football fans obviously aren't opposition
protests. Football fans are a bit more active. But the police have
been training very hard for this for two years."
Amid the crackdown, the Russian
fan scene is increasingly split.
So-called "ultras" focus on
coordinated chants, lighting flares and staging elaborate displays
at games, but can defend themselves if needed. The hardcore fighters
mostly stick to pre-arranged brawls in forests because of tight
stadium surveillance. Some fighters are drifting away from football
to mixed martial arts events to make money from their hobby.
"The respected guy in the
movement" is now an athlete, not a street-fighter, Semyonov said.
"Most of (the forest fighters) can't even name five players from the
club they've been fighting for," Shprygin said.
The Moscow hooligan lamented
the end of hooliganism's golden era, when battles between rival
clubs in Moscow came down to tactics as much as strength.
"You have to place young girls
around by the entrances to buildings so they sit and wait for your
enemies to leave the house and follow them to where they're
meeting," he said. "You have to put people at different subway
stations to find where they're going to be, where the enemy is
gathering, get there first and beat them up. It's not just a matter
of numbers. It's always a game and back then it was the best."
Hooliganism offers a
brotherhood, even for those like the Moscow hooligan, who has a
university education and a traditionally middle-class job. A world
dominated by football's brawlers would have a simple, honorable way
to solve disputes, he argued.
"It always goes by the rule of
the fist. If you're stronger, you're right," he said. "If there were
more people like that, maybe people wouldn't be building missiles."
England's test team in turmoil amid cricket's changing times
England's Don Bess, left, and Jos Butler walk from the pitch at the
end of play on the third day of play of the first test cricket match
between England and Pakistan at Lord's cricket ground in London,
Saturday, May 26. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) - The
sell-out crowds that packed Lord's for the first three days of
England vs. Pakistan offered no hint of the decline of test cricket
in the sport's birthplace.
The team's performance in the
middle provided plenty of evidence, however.
nine-wicket loss — wrapped up 90 minutes into Day 4 — to one of the
most inexperienced Pakistan teams of recent times further exposed
the frailties of a side that seems to have forgotten the basics of
test cricket and how to apply itself to the longer form of the game.
Yet is it any surprise?
When former test captain Andrew
Strauss was appointed in 2015 as the chief overseer of English
cricket, he made it clear "the area that most needs attention in
English cricket right now is our white-ball cricket." Trevor
Bayliss, a coach with a superb record in the limited-overs game, was
hired to lead the national team.
Test cricket would not be
ignored, Strauss was at pains to point out in an effort to appease
the traditionalists, but it could not be seen "as being the only
thing we're interested in."
It was, though, a pointer to
the thoughts of those leading English cricket.
Fast forward three years and to
Colin Graves, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who
this month gave his reasons why he was setting up a 100-ball
competition — a version 20 balls shorter than the Twenty20 game that
has revolutionized cricket over the past decade.
"The younger generation,
whether you like it or not, are just not attracted to cricket,"
Graves told the BBC. "They want more excitement, they want it
shorter and simpler to understand."
Worrying words for supporters
of test cricket in England.
These are worrying times, too.
England are without a win in
their last eight test matches, losing the last six of them. A
failure to beat Pakistan in the second and final test at Leeds
starting Friday would make it three straight series losses. They are
13 away tests without a win. And under Bayliss, England have lost 20
of 41 tests, having started the era under the Australian with a home
Ashes series win and a series win in South Africa.
And where are the English in
the ICC's one-day rankings? No. 1.
Bayliss was a breath of fresh
air when he came in, encouraging aggressive and attacking play from
his test batsmen. It has meant the art of patience, discipline and
grinding out innings has gradually disappeared, only really
practiced now by opener Alastair Cook.
In the domestic county season,
white-ball competitions are given the bigger platform and PR,
pushing the longer-form county championship to the margins. After
the Pakistan loss, Bayliss even questioned whether the current
framework of the county championship was helping.
"Is playing on wickets where
you're not going to bat for too long, before you get one that does a
heap, is that necessarily good in the long term for learning how to
concentrate for long periods?" Bayliss asked.
Bayliss said he was "at a loss"
to explain England's current test problems, saying his recent advice
to show care and patience — instead of aggression — if conditions
dictated wasn't getting through.
"In a way, you almost throw
your hands up sometimes," he said.
The Australian has said he is
stepping down as England coach after next year's home Ashes series,
though the Daily Mail is reporting he could lose his job if
England are defeated in Leeds.
Bayliss is under pressure. New
captain Joe Root has lost eight of 15 tests and his decision-making
is being scrutinized. There's a new selector in Ed Smith.
English test cricket is in flux
at a time when the powers-at-be seem to be focusing on the shorter
forms of the game.
The series is there for the
taking for Pakistan at Headingley.
Unlike Djokovic, past French Open champ Wawrinka loses early
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reacts as he plays Spain's Guillermo
Garcia-Lopez during their first round match of the French Open
tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Monday, May 28, in
Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Paris (AP) — Like Novak
Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka is a past French Open champion still working
his way back into form after surgery.
Like Djokovic, Wawrinka is
ranked lower than he has been in more than a decade. And like
Djokovic, Wawrinka recently reunited with a coach who helped guide
him to success earlier in his career.
Both men were in first-round
action at Roland Garros on Monday, but unlike Djokovic, who won in
straight sets, Wawrinka could not summon and sustain the sort of
high-level play that has carried him to major titles in Paris and
elsewhere. Returning to a place where he won the title in 2015 and
made it back to the final a year ago, Wawrinka bowed out with a 6-2,
3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to 67th-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of
"I won three Grand Slams in my
career, and I know what it takes to do it," said Wawrinka, who was
seeded 23rd and is ranked only 30th, territory unfamiliar to him
since April 2008. "And my goal is to get to my top. Sooner or later,
Wawrinka only recently returned
to the tour after missing three months to rest his left knee, which
was operated on twice last August. He's played 11 matches in 2018,
As Monday's match stretched to
3½ hours, Wawrinka was hindered by the physical strain of playing in
a fifth set for the first time since his French Open semifinal
victory over Andy Murray a year ago. But that wasn't the biggest
impediment to success.
"It was more the difficulty of
continuing to go for it mentally," he explained.
The owner of one of the
prettiest one-handed backhands in the sport, Wawrinka — who is again
working with coach Magnus Norman — only managed 12 winners, compared
with 35 unforced errors, with that shot. He finished with 72
unforced errors in all, 32 more than Garcia-Lopez, who never has
been past the fourth round at a major tournament.
"There is no frustration. It's
just tough," said the 33-year-old Wawrinka, who's been as high as
No. 3 in the rankings. "But I'm on the right way. It was very close
Djokovic — a former No. 1 now
ranked 22nd, his worst spot since 2006 — beat 134th-ranked qualifier
Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, quickly recovering
after dropping the opening two games.
Since winning the 2016 French
Open to complete a career Grand Slam and become the first man in
nearly a half-century to collect four consecutive major trophies,
Djokovic has taken a step back. He has not added another major
championship since, and after dealing with right elbow trouble for
more than a year, he finally opted for surgery in February.
"I had to dig deep," Djokovic
said, discussing the work it took to try to rebuild his game.
"It has been difficult to face
... the most, say, challenging injury that I have ever had. It's
been a long 12 months behind me, but I'm starting to play better, I
feel like, in the past couple of weeks," said Djokovic, who is being
coached at Roland Garros by his former long-time mentor Marian
Vajda. "Not thinking about the elbow. Playing pain-free, which is
the most important thing at the moment."
The third past men's champion
on the schedule for Day 2, No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal, did not
complete his match, which was suspended along with several others
because of rain in the evening.
Beginning his bid for a
record-extending 11th French Open title, he never quite seemed to be
at his absolute best against 129th-ranked Simone Bolelli of Italy,
and while Nadal grabbed the first two sets 6-4, 6-3, he was trailing
3-0 in the third when action was halted. They'll resume Tuesday,
when the most anticipated match of the tournament is scheduled for
the main stadium: 23-time major champion Serena Williams, in her
first Grand Slam match since January 2017, against 70th-ranked
Kristyna Plyskova of the Czech Republic.
Bolelli got into the main draw
as a "lucky loser," someone who was eliminated in qualifying but
then got a reprieve when another player withdrew from the field.
Another such entrant drew a lot more fanfare: 190th-ranked Marco
Trungelliti of Argentina, who drove 10 hours from Barcelona to Paris
— sharing a rental car with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and
brother — on Sunday to accept a berth, then went out and defeated
Bernard Tomic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
"We were at home," Trungelliti
recounted. "We were preparing to go to the beach."
Kolisi first black player to be appointed Springboks captain
this Sept. 30, 2017 file photo South Africa's Siya Kolisi, left, is
tackled by Australia's Tevita Kuridrani during a Rugby Championship
at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (AP
Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)
Pretoria, South Africa (AP)
- Siya Kolisi became the first black player to be appointed
captain of the South African rugby team on Monday, a significant
moment in the Springboks' 127-year history.
Kolisi was named captain for
the three-test home series against England next month.
He had already become the first
black player to temporarily captain South Africa in a test last year
when Eben Etzebeth was injured during a game in Wales.
Another black player, Chiliboy
Ralepelle, captained a South Africa team against a World XV in a
2006 game that didn't have test status.
Etzebeth and Warren Whiteley,
who has been South Africa's regular captain for the past two years,
are out injured and there is no timeframe on their return, so Kolisi
was formally given the job by new coach Rassie Erasmus ahead of the
start of the season.
Springboks captain is the
biggest job in South African sport, and Kolisi's appointment is seen
as a pivotal moment for a team and a country still trying to fully
emerge from decades of white rule under the apartheid regime.
During apartheid, only whites
were allowed to play for the Springboks, the team viewed as an
extension of apartheid and which remains under scrutiny at home
because of the predominance of white players.
Kolisi is among a new breed of
black players to break through that barrier, though, 24 years after
apartheid officially ended.
The 26-year-old Kolisi grew up
in a poor township in South Africa's Eastern Cape province before
being spotted by rugby scouts and earning a scholarship to one of
the top schools in the region.
The flanker made his debut for
the Springboks against Scotland in 2013 as a fifth-minute
replacement and was named man of the match.
Kolisi's success has been
embraced by many South Africans as an inspiring achievement in the
face of adversity.
South African politicians,
soccer teams, and even Olympic champion runner Wayde van Niekerk all
posted messages congratulating Kolisi on social media.
Erasmus chose to rest Kolisi
and other senior players for South Africa's first test of the season
— against Wales in Washington D.C. on Saturday — so lock
Pieter-Steph du Toit will captain the Boks in that game for the
There were 13 non-white players
in Erasmus' 26-man squad to travel to the United States for the
one-off test against Wales next weekend, including Ralepelle. The
squad is a largely experimental group, with 13 of them uncapped at
test level and five of them with five test caps or less.
Most of the senior Springboks,
including Kolisi, will stay at home to prepare for England.
LeBron's 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, reacts in front of
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the second half in
Game 7 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Sunday, May
27, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston (AP) — With
another Game 7 victory at stake, LeBron James would not sit out.
He would not say goodbye to
Cleveland again — not yet, anyway.
And he would not be denied an
eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The four-time league MVP scored
35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night, leading
the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Celtics and
eliminating Boston from the Eastern Conference finals in the
decisive seventh game.
"He's had a lot of gaudy
games," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "But I just think Game 7,
in Boston, all the circumstances that surround Boston, the history
... to come here in a hostile environment: (it's) right there."
In the first close game, the
lowest-scoring and the first victory for a road team in the series,
James played all 48 minutes, scoring 12 of his points in the fourth
quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win. Lue used his timeouts to
get his star an extra few minutes of rest when he could, and James
didn't warm up at halftime to conserve his energy.
"It was asked of me tonight to
play the whole game," he said. "And I just tried to figure out how I
can get through it."
James played all 82
regular-season games for the first time in his career and is already
at 100 for the year with at least four more to come. He tired late
in Game 5, when the Celtics won their 10th straight at home this
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said
the plan was to wear James out.
"Our goal going into the series
was to make him exert as much energy as humanly possible and try to
be as good as we can on everybody else," Stevens said. "For the most
part, I thought we were pretty good at that ... but he still scored
35. It's a joke."
For James, a potential free
agent, the victory postponed a decision about his future until next
Now, the only question is who
the Cavaliers will play for a chance at their second title in three
years: The Rockets host Game 7 of the Western Conference finals
against Golden State on Monday night, and the winner will host the
opener of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
The Cavaliers are expected to
be underdogs against either.
"We have an opportunity to play
for a championship," James said. "It doesn't matter what the story
line is going to be, it doesn't matter if we're picked to win or
not. I'm the wrong guy to ask. I just like to compete."
Jayson Tatum scored 24 points,
Al Horford had 17 and Marcus Morris added 14 points with 12 rebounds
for the Celtics, who were looking to return to the NBA Finals for
the first time since 2010.
Tatum had a dunk over James
with 6:41 left — staring down the Cavaliers star and bumping him
with his chest — then followed it with a 3-pointer that gave the
Celtics a 72-71 lead. But that would be Boston's last basket for
more than five minutes while Cleveland went on a 15-2 run to put the
James embraced Horford and
Tatum after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned celebratory hats
and T-shirts before shuffling off the court to receive the Eastern
Conference championship trophy.
It's not the one they want.
James has been in the finals
every year since 2011 — four with Miami, and now four straight with
This might be his weakest
He had to do it without Kevin
Love — Cleveland's only other all-star — who sustained a concussion
in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. Making his
first start since the first-round opener against Indiana, Green
scored 19 points and added eight rebounds — the star of James'
starless supporting cast.
"We said we want to do this for
Kevin," Lue said. "Kevin wanted to play, to be in a Game 7 situation
like this in the Eastern Conference Finals, being an All-Star, being
our second-best player, and he just wasn't able to go. The guys
picked him up, so now he has another chance when we get to the
finals to be ready."
The Celtics have had more time
to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the
first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since
March. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston
established itself as the team of the future in the East.
"It was pretty incredible run
by an incredible group of guys, and an absolute pleasure and
privilege to be around them every day," Stevens said. "We obviously
have a good thing going."
But the present still belongs
And, for now, that means
ADMIRING HIS WORK
The Celtics led by as many as
12 points in the first half, and they had a 51-47 lead midway
through the third quarter when James hit a long 3-pointer and then
Green made a 3 of his own. James hit Tristan Thompson for an
alley-oop to give Cleveland a 55-51 lead, but then James threw the
ball away and sent Terry Rozier off on a fast break.
James tracked the Celtics guard
from the far sideline, timing his attack. When Rozier went up for
the lay-in, James blocked it off the backboard and right to Green.
James did not run back down the court, resting up while Green drew a
foul at the other end and made one free throw to give the Cavaliers
their biggest lead of the game.
Cavaliers: Shot just 2 of 17
from 3-point range in the first half, making three of their first 22
shots from long range before James and Green connected on
back-to-back attempts midway through the third quarter.
Celtics: Tatum is the first
rookie to have 10 or more playoff games with at least 20 points
since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970. Tatum's 351 points this
postseason was one short of Abdul-Jabbar's record of 352. ... Paul
Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered
the team on from courtside. ... Rapper 21 Savage was also at the
game. ... Boston was 7 for 39 from 3-point range, with Rozier
missing all 10 of his attempts.
'Danica Double' ends at Indy with another crash, no regrets
Danica Patrick is interviewed following her release from the infield
hospital after being checked following a crash in the Indianapolis
500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis Sunday,
May 27. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis (AP) — Two
prestigious, 500-mile races. Two hard crashes. Two back-of-the-pack
The "Danica Double" was mostly
Danica Patrick ended the
Indianapolis 500 on Sunday much like she did the Daytona 500 in
February: With a ride to the infield care center and feelings of
Patrick's farewell tour, dubbed
the "Danica Double," was supposed to be a celebratory send-off in
which she got final shots at winning the two most iconic American
races. Her bid fell well short. Patrick completed 168 of a possible
407 laps at the two events, racing 420 miles instead of a little
more than 1,000.
It was far from what she wanted
when she committed to the two-race retirement party.
Still, it did little to weaken
her racing resume that includes a few breakthrough performances and
a seemingly secure place in history.
"Definitely not a great
ending," Patrick said. "But I kind of said before I came here that I
feel like if it's a complete disaster — complete like as if not in
the ballpark at all, look silly — then people might remember that.
If I win, people will remember that.
"But probably anything in
between might just be a little part of a big story, so I kind of
feel like that's how it is, you know."
The 36-year-old Patrick crashed
on lap 68 of the Indy 500, the track that made her famous. She lost
traction on a slippery surface, spun as she exited turn 2 and then
slammed into two walls before coming to a stop. She finished 30th,
her lowest spot in eight starts at "The Greatest Spectacle in
Racing." She was 35th at Daytona three months ago.
Both times, she trudged out of
infield care centers and answered questions about early exits.
"Today was really disappointing
for what we were hoping for and what you want for your last race,"
she said. "I'm grateful for all of it. I wish I could have finished
stronger. I wouldn't want to end it any year that way. Being the
last one makes it worse. I did have some good moments here this
month and I won't forget that, either, and I won't forget the fans."
Patrick was a fan favorite all
month at Indianapolis, still revered by those who remember her
leading the 2009 race before finishing third. She was surrounded by
autograph-seekers all month, and she got one of the loudest ovations
during driver introductions Sunday.
Patrick weaved through gawkers
to get to her No. 13 Chevrolet on the starting grid and soaked in
all the pre-race pageantry with boyfriend and Green Bay Packers
quarterback Aaron Rodgers, her parents and sister.
Just before the singing of the
national anthem, with the crowd as quiet as it would be all day, one
fan screamed from the grandstands, "Let's go Danica!" She smiled,
turned and waved.
"I was definitely nervous,"
Patrick said. "I had all my people around me, so I was in good
After the anthem, she hugged
her parents and sister and then got a long embrace from Rodgers. He
whispered in her right ear, gave her a kiss and then smacked her on
the butt as she maneuvered toward her cockpit. Rodgers headed
upstairs to watch the race from a luxury suite.
Patrick dropped several spots
shortly after the green flag, battling an ill-handling entry for Ed
Carpenter Racing. She was the first driver to make a pit stop in
hopes of making changes.
She was running in the middle
of the field when she spun sideways, hit the outside wall and then
caromed across the track and into an inside barrier. She was
She reiterated that she had no
regrets about her racing career, adding that she anticipates having
an itch to come back. Instead, she plans to spend time with Rodgers
and building her burgeoning business empire. The only woman to lead
laps in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 created a strong brand
and became a role model for little girls everywhere.
"I'm very grateful for
everybody and for being able to finish it up like I wanted to," she
said. "It still was a lot of great memories this month, a lot of
great moments this year."
Red Bull's Ricciardo overcomes power loss to win Monaco GP
Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia steers his car to win the
Formula One race, at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Sunday, May
27. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Monaco (AP) — Red Bull's
Daniel Ricciardo overcame a mid-race power loss to win the Monaco
Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday.
The Australian driver showed
outstanding composure and defensive driving to fend off Sebastian
Vettel shaved a few points off
championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who finished third.
Hamilton made an audacious move
by pitting for new tires several laps before his rivals, but was
worried they would wear out completely by the end.
The virtual safety car came out
for the last few laps after Charles Leclerc lost his brakes and
shunted his Sauber into the back of Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso.
Drivers are not allowed to overtake when the VSC is deployed and
must maintain a steady speed.
The incident came too late and
made no difference to the overall race picture.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for
Ferrari ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Force India's Esteban
It was Ricciardo's second win
of the season after the Chinese GP last month and seventh of his
career, pushing him up to third in the title race.
Ricciardo thought he'd won in
Monaco two years ago, where he led from pole position only to be
undone by a botched pit stop by his team which left him furious.
There was no denying him this
"Two years in the making and I
finally feel redemption has arrived," Ricciardo said. "I lost power
halfway and I thought the race was over. Thanks to the team we got
it back. I'm stoked."
Ricciardo appeared emotional,
even tearful, as he sat in his car moments after crossing the finish
line after 78 laps on the winding 3.34-kilometer (2.1-mile) street
It was soon time for
Ricciardo's typical showmanship.
He stood on his car, nodded
slowly in recognition of his achievement and then thumped his chest.
"There were a few doubts that
came in. But we won Monaco," he said, laughing. "It feels good."
Red Bull team principal
Christian Horner rushed over to him and they hugged.
As he usually does after a
victory, Ricciardo took off his shoe, filled it with champagne and
drank out of it.
He then offered the huge bottle
— but not the shoe — to Prince Albert of Monaco, who took a small
Vettel, too, will be in a good
mood after reducing Hamilton's championship lead from 17 points to
It is shaping up to be an
intriguing season, with Ricciardo, Vettel and Hamilton winning two
Ricciardo's Red Bull teammate
Max Verstappen finished ninth after starting from 20th and last
place having crashed prior to Saturday's qualifying.
Near the end, the Dutchman was
on fresher tires and making them count as he zoomed past Renault's
Carlos Sainz Jr. with a typically brazen overtaking move.
A defining moment: Froome wins Giro in extraordinary fashion
Britain's Chris Froome smiles as he crosses the finish line to win
the Giro d'Italia cycling race in Rome, Sunday, May 27. (AP
Rome (AP) — Winning
three Grand Tours consecutively was already enough to cement Chris
Froome's place in cycling history.
The way in which he won this
Giro d'Italia, though, adds an extra dimension to the achievement.
The Kenyan-born British rider
bounced back from two early crashes to storm into the lead two days
from the end with an 80-kilometer (50-mile) solo attack in the
three-week race's toughest stage.
"I think the manner of the
victory is the thing that impresses everybody. That's the thing that
will stay in everybody's mind. This is going to be such a signature
victory of his career," Team Sky director Dave Brailsford told The
Associated Press as Froome wrapped up the title Sunday.
"The manner that he won this
race was absolutely incredible. It's what bike racing is all about —
it's exciting, it's spectacular," Brailsford added. "I'm sure it
will define his career over time."
For a rider who had hitherto
been known for his calculating, mechanical style, the attack up a
gravel road so far from the finish on Stage 19 was "crazy," as he
himself described it.
"It just felt so raw," Froome
said. "This is for me what bike racing is about."
Froome has now won the Tour de
France, Spanish Vuelta and Giro in succession, becoming only the
third cyclist to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time
and the first to achieve the feat since the Vuelta was moved to the
end of the season in 1995.
Eddy Merckx won four straight
between 1972 and 1973 and Bernard Hinault took three in a row in
1982 and 1983.
"This was always going to be
the biggest challenge of my career," Froome said, alluding to the
"unpredictable" nature of the Giro. "But now I've done the triple
and there's no greater award for a professional cyclist."
Froome, a four-time Tour de
France champion, had no trouble in maintaining his 46-second lead
over defending champion Tom Dumoulin in the mostly ceremonial final
stage through historic Rome. He rode a special pink-colored bike for
the final stage, while his Team Sky teammates had pink handlebars.
Afterward, Froome announced
that his wife is pregnant and due in August. He dedicated the
victory to his daughter to be.
Froome arrived at the Giro with
big hopes but was not a threat early on after crashing in training
before the opening time trial, losing time in a split on stage four,
and injuring himself again in a second crash four days later.
But he started to climb back up
the standings by winning Stage 14 up Monte Zoncolan — one of the
toughest climbs in Europe — then erased more than a three-minute
deficit and claimed the pink jersey with his attack on the Colle
"This one is quite special,"
Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said. "It was a totally different
race than we're used to."
Froome is racing under the
cloud of a potential ban after a urine sample he provided at the
Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma
drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level. It remains
unclear when the International Cycling Union will rule on the case.
"I had every right to be here
and as I've said before I know I've done nothing wrong," Froome
It was Froome's sixth Grand
Tour win overall and he becomes the seventh rider to win all three
Grand Tours over their careers. He's also the first Briton to win
Irish rider Sam Bennett won the
final stage, a 115-kilometer (71-mile) leg of 10 laps around a
circuit over the capital's cobblestones, in a mass sprint alongside
the Roman Forum. It was Bennett's third victory in this year's race.
With riders concerned about
treacherous road conditions due to the uneven cobblestones, the
stage was neutralized after three laps, meaning the final overall
times were recorded after a third of the way through the stage.
The route took cyclists past
the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Circus Maximus and Baths of Caracalla.
Froome finished more than 15
minutes behind Bennett, crossing the line arm in arm with six
Up next for Froome: an attempt
at a record-tying fifth Tour title in July.
"That's my next objective," he
Will Power wins Indy 500, No. 17 for car owner Roger Penske
Power, of Australia, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500
auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Sunday,
May 27. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis (AP) — Will
Power hated racing on ovals. He wasn't a fan of Indianapolis Motor
Speedway and figured he would never win the Indianapolis 500.
That kind of attitude doesn't
fly when you drive for Roger Penske.
Power had to change his
thinking and his performance on oval tracks. He learned to respect
the speedway. And the 37-year-old Power is now a winner of one of
the biggest races in the world.
"I've slowly changed to be a
more positive person. It's hard when you're very negative," said
Power, who pulled away in the final moments to win the 102nd running
of the Indy 500. "You've got to have determination. That's what I
had. You work hard at something, it comes to you. It eventually
comes to you. (Indy) was the last box to tick, to be considered as a
very successful driver."
The different approach landed
Power in the most storied winner's circle in history Sunday when he
gave Penske a 17th victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Power actually swept the month of May at Indy after winning on the
road course two weeks ago and his 34 wins tied him with Al Unser Jr.
for eighth on IndyCar's all-time list.
Power is also the winningest
IndyCar driver in Penske history (31). He is the first Australian
victor in 102 editions of the race, and joined countryman Daniel
Ricciardo as winners on the biggest day of the year in motorsports.
Ricciardo won Formula One's Monaco Grand Prix earlier Sunday.
Power celebrated the checkered
flag by screaming into his radio: "Show me respect, (expletive)!"
When he got to the winner's circle, he screamed some more. Some two
hours after the race, he was exhausted.
"I just screamed like I've
never screamed before. It was just amazing. The last two laps, the
last lap, seeing the white flag, the checkered, I mean, you can't
explain it," Power said. "It's what I needed so badly, what I wanted
so badly, and it came true. Anyone here knows how that would feel.
You want something so much, it comes through to you through hard
work and determination."
Penske arrived in Indy with
four fast Chevrolets, and the engine builder was determined to snap
Honda's two-race Indy 500 winning streak. The Chevys were the
fastest cars in the field and Team Penske had four equal chances to
As Power held off pole winner
Ed Carpenter to win his first Indy 500, the 81-year-old Penske
pumped his fist in the air and clapped. Penske was elected to the
NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this month, and had a shot at closing
Sunday with a victory in the Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina.
"To be able to race on Memorial
Day in the biggest sporting event in the world, have America the way
it is, that's what I'm going to take away from this race," Penske
said. "I'm just so thrilled, 17 wins. Now I have to worry about 18.
I'm not going to look back, I'll look forward. We have to be back
Penske also credited his strong
lineup of 2014 series champion Power, 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud,
reigning champion Josef Newgarden and three-time Indianapolis 500
winner Helio Castroneves.
"We had four great cars. That's
what you have to have here. You have to have four bullets, whatever
it takes," Penske said.
In the winner's circle, Power
could not contain his glee.
He screamed to wife, Liz, took
a sip of the traditional milk, then dumped the rest over his head
and around his crew. Liz Power reached for the empty milk bottle,
then pointed out to her husband that he'd sprayed milk all over one
of the Indy 500 princesses. He apologized, then started screaming
Splashing the princess was the
only wrong move Power made all day during an event that saw many top
drivers make costly mistakes. James Hinchcliffe, a championship
contender, failed to make the race at all. Castroneves, Tony Kanaan,
Sebastien Bourdais and Danica Patrick were among those who crashed
in single-car spins. Defending race winner Takuma Sato was also
knocked out when he ran into the back of a slower car.
Power led 59 laps but his final
pit stop dropped him to fourth, behind three cars that were trying
to win on fuel mileage. Kanaan's crash with 12 laps remaining set up
a final restart with Oriol Servia out front. He didn't get a great
restart and was passed by Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey. But all
three needed enough gas to get to the finish line, and it was Power
who was frantically chasing them down.
Wilson and Harvey both ducked
onto pit lane for gas, giving Power the lead with four laps
remaining. He knew he had it won when he took the white flag all
alone, and spent the final lap yelling to himself in joy as he drove
away from the field.
"I was wondering if I would
ever win it and thoughts when through my mind during the month, my
career," he said. "I've had so many wins, so many poles. Everyone
talks about the 500 and I just couldn't imagine winning a race in
front of a crowd like this, this many people. It's just amazing."
Carpenter was second in a Chevy
and noted just how much Power used to hate the speedway.
"He hated ovals and now he
loves them," he said. "He and I love racing together. Maybe someday
he'll race for me. I don't know if we have a tampering rule in
IndyCar, but congrats Will."
Scott Dixon stretched his fuel
to finish third and was followed by Alexander Rossi, who drove from
32nd to fourth and made some of the most spectacular moves in the
race. Rossi had no choice: It was difficult to pass in the 2018 car
on a day that fell just 2 degrees short — it was 91 — of being the
hottest 500 in history.
The conditions created a slick,
2 ½-mile track, and new cars with less downforce proved to be a
handful for even the most experienced of drivers.
Castroneves' bid to win a
record-tying fourth 500 ended when he spun exiting Turn 4. The
popular Brazilian has been chasing Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al
Unser Sr. in the record books and even though Penske moved him to
sports cars this year, Castroneves was given a seat for Indy.
Penske said if Castroneves won
a fourth, he'd get a chance at a fifth and the team confirmed that
after the race. Still, Castroneves savored his final moments on the
track Sunday and instead of taking an ambulance ride to the care
center, he made the long walk down pit lane, waving to fans on the
Patrick was completing the
"Danica Double" after wrecking out at the Daytona 500. She decided
long ago that the race that made her famous would be her last, and
while she called the outcome disappointing, she also expressed
appreciation for all that Indianapolis had given her.
"Yeah, it's an entire career,"
she said, "but what really launched it was this. It's both of them.
I had a lot of good fortune here and did still have some this month.
It just didn't come today."
Bourdais crashed a year after
missing the race because of a harrowing, high-speed accident during
qualifying. Bourdais had led at least one lap in every race this
season, and led for the first time in his career at Indianapolis.
Honda didn't win the race but
did manage to put six of its cars in the top 10. Kanaan led at least
one lap in his 14th Indy 500 to break a record he had shared with
four-time race winner A.J. Foyt.
Pakistan ease to 9-wicket win over England in 1st test
Pakistan's Mohammad Abbas, right, celebrates after taking the wicket
of England's Stuart Broad during the fourth day of play of the first
test between England and Pakistan at Lord's cricket ground in
London, Sunday, May 27. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) — Pakistan
cruised to a nine-wicket win over England in the first test on
Sunday, needing just one session on Day 4 to take four wickets and
then chase down a victory target of 64 at Lord's.
England resumed on 235-6 and
with a lead of 56 runs, but lost their last four wickets for seven
runs in 25 balls.
Pakistan lost Azhar Ali (4)
early in their chase but Imam-ul-Haq (18 not out) and Haris Sohail
(39 not out) saw the tourists home on 66-1, 30 minutes before lunch.
The second and final test
begins Friday at Leeds, with England potentially already needing to
rejig their team after rolling over meekly at the home of cricket to
extend their winless run in tests to eight matches.
It started going wrong for
England at the toss, when captain Joe Root chose to bat first in
what proved to be good conditions to bowl. His team were dismissed
for 184 and left chasing the game thereafter.
Pakistan played the better,
more disciplined cricket in almost every session, taking a 179-run
lead after the first innings and then reducing England to 110-6 —
opening up the possibility of a humiliating innings defeat.
Jos Buttler and Dom Bess
survived to the close on Day 3, and needed to stick around at least
until after lunch to give England a glimmer of hope.
Buttler lasted eight balls.
He had added one run to his
overnight 66 when he was trapped lbw by Mohammad Abbas. Ten balls
later, Mark Wood feathered a catch behind to wicketkeeper Sarfraz
Ahmed off Mohammad Amir for 4, and Stuart Broad (0) did the same the
next over off Abbas.
Amir also took the final
wicket, removing the off stump of overnight batsman Dom Bess for 57.
James Anderson was 0 not out.
Amir and Abbas finished the
innings with four wickets apiece.
Anderson bowled Azhar in the
third over but Sohail didn't hang around, hitting six fours and a
six in a 32-ball knock.
England are in turmoil in the
longer format, having lost the Ashes series 4-0 in the past year and
then 1-0 to New Zealand in a two-test series.
"We were outperformed in all
three departments (batting, bowling and fielding)," Root said of the
loss to Pakistan. "It's a difficult pill to swallow. We have to be
Root said he had no regrets
about opting to bat first.
"If we bat well and get
something near 250 or 300," he said, "it would be a closer game on
Froome pulls off audacious attack to take Giro lead
Britain's Chris Froome celebrates as he crosses the finish line to
win the the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race in
Bardonecchia, Italy, Friday, May 25. (Daniel dal Zennaro/ANSA via
Bardonecchia, Italy (AP) —
Chris Froome produced one of the great performances of his career,
attacking alone on a gravel road up a grueling climb to win the 19th
stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday and claim the overall leader's
The four-time Tour de France
champion launched his solo attack up the three-week race's highest
climb with 80 kilometers (50 miles) to go and rode clear amid banks
of snow above the tree line.
Pedaling furiously, Froome
continuously increased his advantage over two more Alpine ascents to
finish three minutes ahead of his closest challenger.
The victory put Froome in
position to win his third consecutive Grand Tour and match the
achievements of the great Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. There are
two stages of the Giro left.
"I don't think I've ever
attacked 80 kilometers from the finish, riding on my own and going
all the way to the finish," Froome said. "I knew there was a long
way to go but to win this Giro d'Italia I had to do something
extraordinary. I couldn't wait for the last climb. I had to do
"Colle delle Finestre was the
perfect place to do it. Gravel roads remind me of Africa," added
Froome, who races for Britain with Team Sky but was born and raised
Froome leads defending champion
Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands by 40 seconds in the overall
standings. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot is third overall, 4:17 behind.
There is one more mountainous
stage on Saturday, a 214-kilometer leg from Susa to Cervinia, before
Sunday's mostly ceremonial finish in Rome.
Froome had started the day
fourth overall, more than three minutes behind previous leader Simon
Yates fell far behind up the
grueling climb on Colle delle Finestre as Froome launched his
audacious attack, and finished nearly 40 minutes behind.
It was Yates' 13th day wearing
the pink jersey.
Richard Carapaz of Ecuador
crossed second in the stage, exactly three minutes behind, and
French challenger Thibaut Pinot finished third, 3:07 back.
Dumoulin came fifth, 3:23
Froome arrived at the Giro with
big hopes but had not really been a threat after crashing in
training before the opening time trial, losing time in a split on
stage four, and injuring himself again in a second crash four days
later. His only previous highlight in the race was winning Stage 14
up Monte Zoncolan, one of the toughest climbs in Europe.
"It was a very, very tough
start for me after the fall," Froome said. "But I kept up my morale
for the finish and I knew that if I did everything right the time to
attack would come. That moment came today."
Only two riders have ever won
three or more consecutive Grand Tours. Merckx won four straight
between 1972 and 1973 and Hinault took three in a row in 1982 and
However, Froome is racing under
the cloud of a potential ban after a urine sample he provided at the
Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma
drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level. It remains
unclear when the International Cycling Union will rule on the case.
Froome denies any wrongdoing.
The 185-kilometer (115-mile)
leg from Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia in the Piedmont region was
considered the race's toughest.
Passing through the region
where the 2006 Turin Olympics were held, the route contained more
than 4,000 meters of climbing and traversed the highest point of the
race — the Cima Coppi (Coppi peak) — at an altitude of 2,178 meters
(more than 7,000 feet) atop the Colle delle Finestre.
Froome attacked shortly after
the road turned to gravel halfway up the Finestre.
Fabio Aru, a pre-race favorite,
retired midway through the stage.
Saturday's stage features three
category 1 climbs, including an uphill finish.
Rose has 2nd-round Colonial lead; up-and-down Grillo 1 back
Justin Rose tees off on No. 7 during
the second day of the Fort Worth Invitational golf tournament at
Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, May 25. (Brad
Loper/Star-Telegram via AP)/Star-Telegram via AP)
Fort Worth, Texas (AP) —
Justin Rose considered his first 15 holes in the second round at
Colonial pretty flawless. The last three worked out OK, too, even
with the only bogey for the leader of the Fort Worth Invitational.
"Last three holes got a bit
scrappy," Rose said after a 6-under 64 that got him to 10 under
Friday at Hogan's Alley.
After missing the green at the
422-yard seventh hole, the Englishman chipped in from 16 feet for a
birdie. He missed the green again at the par-3 eighth for a bogey.
Then after his tee shot into the rough and an approach that just
cleared the water fronting his final hole, the world's fifth-ranked
player two-putted for a closing par.
That was good enough for
one-stroke lead over Argentina's Emiliano Grillo , whose 67 included
six consecutive holes without a par. Defending U.S. Open champion
Brooks Koepka (63) and Satoshi Kodaira (67) were 7 under.
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ
who won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in his season debut last
October and has four top-10 finishes, said he played "about as good
as" he has overall in a long time. Things really got going after
caddie Mark Fulcher offered a few words when Rose was a bit
frustrated about a couple of missed putts while starting the round
with four consecutive pars.
"Fulch kind of said, 'Come on,
mate. Stay with me. Stay patient.' I got rewarded with the very next
hole making a 10-footer for birdie," Rose said. "I made enough good
putts on the back nine today where I have some confidence going into
The birdie at the 457-yard 14th
hole was the first of three consecutive birdies for the 37-year-old
South African, who has eight PGA Tour wins.
Grillo was at 10 under when he
rolled in a 28-footer at No. 17, his fourth birdie in his first
eight holes. But his ensuing tee shot went way right into a concrete
ditch, and his ball floated with the flowing water before being
snagged by a fan just before it dropped into a drainage area. After
the penalty stroke and drop, Grillo hit into a greenside bunker and
"It's a little bit on the
downslope and it's all concrete, so the ball was rolling," Grillo
said. "I was able to make some birdies in there. I got very unlucky
on the first hole and No. 3 there."
The second nine for Grillo
Defending Colonial champion
Kevin Kisner was even after a 68 on Friday. Jordan Spieth, one of
the locals and No. 3 in the world, also shot 68 and is 3 under.
Aaron Wise, the 21-year-old
rookie coming off his first PGA Tour victory a week ago at the Byron
Nelson, missed the cut after a 73 left him 3 over — the same as Webb
Simpson, who won The Players Championship this month.
After a 62 to take the
first-round, Kevin Na struggled on the back nine for a 73. He went
into weekend 5 under and in a logjam of nine players tied for sixth
place. Tyrone Van Aswegen was alone in fifth after consecutive 67s.
Na was 10 under after a 5-foot
putt at the ninth hole, a more traditional birdie than the 92-foot
chip-in from the rough he had to end the first round. But Na then
had bogey at the 631-yard 11th hole, and double bogey at the
440-yard 12th hole before a three-putt bogey on the par-3 13th.
Koepka, who said he has
dislocated his left wrist twice in the last two months, was 7 under
through 11 holes Friday — and that is how he finished.
"I probably could have snuck
about two, three more," he said. "But you know what, I'm pleased. If
you had told me I was going to shoot 7 under before I teed off, I
would've taken it."
On his first two holes
Thursday, his return to the PGA Tour after a course record-tying
9-under 63 on the final day at The Players Championship, Koepka had
a bogey and then double bogey at a par 5. But he has 12 birdies and
two bogeys in his last 32 holes, three weeks before the U.S. Open.
"I feel like I've been playing
well. I just haven't put four days together," Koepka said. "But I
feel like it's trending in the right direction. I actually feel like
exactly where I was last year at the same time. ... Hopefully in a
couple weeks' time, it'll be the same result."
Pakistan take charge of 1st test against England
Pakistan's Asad Shafiq plays a shot off the bowling of England's Don
Bess during the second day of play of the first test cricket match
between England and Pakistan at Lord's cricket ground in London,
Friday, May 25. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) — Pakistan
strengthened their grip on the first test against England on Friday
by reaching 350-8 to take a 166-run lead after the second day at
Babar Azam was the top scorer
with 68 before retiring hurt after being struck on the arm by a
rising delivery by Ben Stokes, while Azhar Ali (50), Asad Shafiq
(59) and Shadab Khan (52) also made half-centuries on a day when
England dropped five catches.
Mohammad Amir (19) and Mohammad
Abbas (0) were there at the close, and it wasn't clear if Babar
would be returning to bat on Saturday for the final wicket.
James Anderson (3-82) and
Stokes (3-73) were the pick of the bowlers as England toiled for a
second straight day at the home of cricket.
"Good two days, we will enjoy
them," Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said, "but the reality is we've
got plenty to do."
After England collapsed to 184
all out soon after tea on Thursday, Pakistan resumed on 50-1 and
resisted for an hour before losing two wickets — Haris Sohail (39)
and Azhar — in the morning session to reach 136-3 at lunch.
Pakistan were limited to 91 in
the afternoon session with Stokes removing Sarfraz Ahmed (9), who
top-edged a hook to Mark Wood on the deep square leg boundary, and
Shafiq, who edged to slip.
Babar struck 10 fours before
going off injured after tea, leaving England to attack Pakistan's
tail. Still, Faheem Ashraf (37) and Amir have managed to add crucial
runs to allow the tourists to take charge.
Gordon leads Rockets over Warriors 98-94 to take series lead
Houston Rockets guard James Harden, top,
battles Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for a loose
ball during the first half in Game 5 of the NBA basketball playoffs
Western Conference finals in Houston, Thursday, May 24. (AP
Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston (AP) — Chris
Paul's grit and veteran leadership have pushed the Golden State
Warriors to the brink of elimination.
Now the Houston Rockets must
wait to see if his injured leg is strong enough to help them take
one last step to the NBA Finals.
Eric Gordon came off the bench
to score 24 points and his steal on Golden State's last possession
secured a 98-94 victory Thursday night that gave the Rockets a 3-2
lead in the Western Conference finals. But the victory came with a
cost, as Paul had to leave the game in the final minute with a right
hamstring injury that could keep him out of Game 6.
"His spirits aren't great,"
coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He wanted to be out there, and for sure
he's worried ... we'll see tomorrow how it goes."
Paul was receiving treatment
after the game and did not speak to reporters.
The Rockets head to Oakland for
Game 6 on Saturday night a win away from knocking off the defending
champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since
winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points
for the Warriors, who lost in Game 5 of a playoff series for just
the second time since 2015. Just like Cleveland in the East, a run
of three straight trips to the championship round is on the verge of
"We haven't been in this
position before ... so it's a chapter we need to figure out and
finish the story," Stephen Curry said.
The Rockets won a second
straight defensive struggle between the two potent offenses, leaving
the Warriors a loss from missing the NBA Finals for the first time
Draymond Green made a 3-pointer
with just over minute left to get Golden State within one. Harden,
who was 0 for 11 on 3s, missed his last one with less than 30
seconds left, giving the Warriors the ball back.
Curry missed a floater and
Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds
left. But he made just one of two free throws to give the Warriors
But Gordon came up with his
steal when Green lost control in the lane and added two free throws
with 2.4 seconds left to put it away.
Green was asked what was
supposed to happen on the play.
"We was supposed to score," he
said. "I lost the ball ... not much more to it than that."
Harden scoffed at a reporter
who questioned him about his struggles from long range in the last
two games, where he's gone a combined 3 for 22.
"Who cares," he said. "I'm just
missing shots, but we're winning."
Klay Thompson shook off a knee
injury that had his status for this game in question to score 23
points and Curry added 22. A bruised left knee kept Andre Iguodala
out for the second straight game, and Kevon Looney started in his
After losing Game 1 of the
series, the Rockets made the best of home-court advantage this time,
thrilling a sellout crowd that included Justin Timberlake, Houston
Texans star J.J. Watt and rapper Travis Scott.
It's Houston's second straight
win in the series after snapping Golden State's NBA playoff-record,
16-game home winning streak with a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.
Golden State led by one to
start the fourth before Paul got going, scoring seven points to
power a 10-5 run that gave the Rockets an 81-77 lead with about 9
1/2 minutes left.
Thompson made a 3-pointer after
that and then officials reviewed Paul's first basket of the quarter
and ruled he got it off after the shot clock expired, leaving the
Warriors ahead 80-79.
The Rockets were clinging to a
one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Durant fouled
Gordon on a 3-point attempt, losing one of his shoes in the process.
Gordon made all three free throws to start a 7-2 spurt that extended
the lead to 88-82 midway through the quarter.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr was unsure Thursday
if Iguodala would be able to return for Game 6. "He's dying to play,
but he's not healthy enough," Kerr said. "We'll just continue to
take it day to day."... Curry made four free throws to tie Rick
Barry for most free throws made in the playoffs in franchise history
with 378. ... Golden State had 18 turnovers.
Rockets: Clint Capela had 12 points and 14
rebounds for his seventh double-double this postseason. ... Houston
made 13 of 43 3-pointers, led by four from Gordon.
SANTA FE STRONG
The Rockets honored the 10 people killed in
last week's school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, before the game,
with the school's choir singing the national anthem and team owner
Tilman Fertitta wearing a "Santa Fe Strong" T-shirt, before Houston
scored the game's first six points in a first half where the team
led by as many as 11.
Houston also wore rectangular patches on its
jerseys that read: "Santa Fe HS," to remember those affected by the
"We wanted to come out and give them light, put
smiles on their faces (and) clear their minds a little bit," Harden
After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would
host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.
Pakistan bowl England out for 184, reach 50-1 in reply
England's Alastair Cook walks from the
pitch after being bowled out by Pakistan's Mohammad Amir during the
first day of play of the first test at Lord's cricket ground in
London, Thursday, May 24. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) —
Pakistan provoked England's latest batting collapse by combining
disciplined bowling with superb catching before showing resistance
in their reply to dominate the opening day of the first test at
Lord's on Thursday.
A new international season
started with some familiar problems for England, who stumbled to
43-3 after winning the toss and then lost their last five wickets
for 16 runs in 4.4 overs to be dismissed for 184 soon after tea.
Opener Alastair Cook was the
only batsman to stand out, making 70 in his record-leveling 153rd
Pakistan were 50-1 at stumps,
trailing by 134 runs.
Pakistan seamers bowled a good
line and length on a day when the ball swung around and moved off
the seam. Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali each took four wickets. Cook
and Jonny Bairstow (27) were both bowled from deliveries that shaped
in and seamed away to hit off stump.
Allied to that were some
surprisingly good catches by a team often criticized for its
fielding, with Asad Shafiq taking two sharp catches at second slip
to remove the recalled Jos Buttler and 20-year-old debutant Dom
Bess, while Mohammad Amir dived to his right to snaffle Mark Wood
for the final wicket.
England's total was their
lowest in the first innings at Lord's since 2005 and the spotlight
invariably fell on England captain Joe Root and his decision to bat
first in what proved to be difficult conditions. Moments after Root
made his choice, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he would have
wanted to bowl if given the choice.
"It was an interesting one,"
Cook said. "We'll only know at the end of the game if it was the
right or wrong decision. ... We were probably 60-70 (runs) short on
that wicket, and it's probably going to be a first innings vs.
fourth innings game. Chasing 250 on that last day could be hard
Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq,
trapped lbw to Stuart Broad for 4, early in their reply but Azhar
Ali (18) and Haris Sohail (21) held out in the face of some probing
seam bowling by Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood.
Sohail was dropped on 16 by Ben
Stokes, who dived to his right from third slip in front of Dawid
Malam at second slip.
Pakistan won by 75 runs at
Lord's in the first test of the series in 2016.
Cook's run of successive test
matches, which stretches from 2006, tied the record held by former
Australian captain Allan Border.
"It would be a nice one to
knock off," Cook said.
"You need a little bit of luck,
don't you, not to break a finger or anything?" the former test
captain added. "The only time I've broken a finger has been away
from a test match. The mental side is harder than the physical side
— I just stand in the slips so it's all right."
Red Bull's hopes of Monaco pole boosted by strong practice
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia is all smiles after
posting the fastest time in the first practice session for the Monaco
Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Thursday, May
24. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Monaco (AP) — With its slow
straights and tight corners, the Monaco Grand Prix offers Red Bull a
strong chance to secure pole position for the first time this season.
That impression was reinforced on
Thursday, as Daniel Ricciardo topped the first two practice sessions
ahead of his teammate Max Verstappen. In sunny conditions, the
Australian driver finished a fraction ahead of Verstappen in both runs
on the tight 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) street circuit.
"I feel we set as much of a
benchmark as we could," said Ricciardo, who won the Chinese GP last
month. "Our long run looked decent. It is not everything around here,
but we seem to be good in all conditions at the moment."
Sebastian Vettel was third quickest
for Ferrari, and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was fourth in the second
practice, reversing their positions from the opening session. Kimi
Raikkonen of Ferrari was fifth, and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes sixth in
There is a third and final practice
on Saturday ahead of qualifying.
"I'm sure Ferrari and Mercedes will
start to put some more pressure on us. They'll definitely close that gap
(in qualifying)," Ricciardo said. "I still feel if we can put together a
really good lap we have a very good chance."
Neither Red Bull driver has
qualified higher than fourth in qualifying so far.
"We've always had a strong race
car, but (qualifying) is where we've tended to struggle," team principal
Christian Horner said. "Hopefully with the shorter straights here and
with this circuit layout, it offers us our best qualifying chance of the
Gaining pole position in Monaco is
more crucial than most races because the track is notoriously difficult
to overtake on. This suits Red Bull because it neutralizes the superior
speed of Mercedes and Ferrari.
"I said the Red Bulls were going to
be quick," Hamilton said. "As expected, we struggled a little bit. The
car felt good in some places, in others it felt bad."
Vettel won the Monaco GP last year
and the German driver needs another strong performance after dropping
points in the title race. Vettel is second overall and 17 points behind
Hamilton, who has won the past two races with Vettel placing fourth in
A red flag came out during the
second session, briefly halting it as repair work was carried out on a
drain cover near the famed Casino.
Verstappen was summoned to stewards
for reversing onto the track in an unsafe manner during first practice,
but no further action was taken against the Dutch driver. He locked up
his front left tire on the approach to Turn 1 and went off into an
escape road. Rather than spin the car round, he reversed back onto the
track and Vettel had to cut a corner to avoid him.
Verstappen has been involved in two
high-profile incidents this season. Ricciardo crashed into the back of
him in Azerbaijan as they fought for position with a podium in sight,
and both went out of that race. He also clipped Vettel during the
Chinese GP and Vettel finished eighth.
French driver Romain Grosjean, who
has failed to finish three of five races so far, twice clipped the
barriers in P1. He is the only driver yet to score a point along with
Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin from the Williams team.
The nervy Grosjean has a
three-place grid penalty for Sunday's race after causing a first-lap
crash at the Spanish GP two weeks ago.
Yates' Giro lead cut in half, Schachmann wins 18th stage
Germany's Maximilian Schachmann approaches the finish line to win the
18th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Abbiategrasso to
Prato Nevoso, Italy, Thursday, May 24. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
Prato Nevoso, Italy (AP) —
Simon Yates remained in the lead of the Giro d'Italia but the British
rider's advantage over closest rival Tom Dumoulin was slashed in half
after the tough 18th stage on Thursday.
Yates was dropped by his rivals on
the steep Category 1 climb to Prato Nevoso and he finished 28 seconds
behind defending champion Dumoulin, who crossed the line with Domenico
Pozzovivo and Chris Froome.
"I was just tired, that's it. Still
a few days to go. I can bounce back, no worries," Yates said.
Maximilian Schachmann of Germany
won from a breakaway to claim his first victory in a Grand Tour.
Schachmann attacked heading into
the final section of the climb, finishing 10 seconds ahead of Ruben
Plaza and 16 ahead of Mattia Cattaneo.
The rest of the breakaway, which
escaped 16 kilometers into the mainly flat 196-kilometer (122-mile)
route from Abbiategrasso finished more than a minute off the pace.
"The final kilometers were really,
really hard," said Schachmann, who rides for Quick-Step Floors. "I knew
I had a good chance from the breakaway. I tried to play it safe, to not
attack too early. It was really hard, we are already on stage 18 so no
one has fresh legs anymore."
Yates had talked about defending
his lead rather than attacking, as he had done previously in the race
and the Mitchelton-Scott cyclist stuck to his script. He followed
Dumoulin when the Dutch rider made a move but had no response when
Froome powered away shortly after, with two kilometers remaining.
Yates' lead was cut to 28 seconds
heading into the final three days of the Giro, which includes two brutal
days in the Alps before the procession to Rome.
"I always said if I have the legs
then I will keep on trying," Dumoulin said. "I had the legs today and I
tried and it worked. Finally, after two and a half weeks."
Pozzovivo remained third but was
2:43 behind Yates, with Froome a further 39 seconds behind.
Froome arrived at the Giro bidding
to become the third person to win three Grand Tours in a row but the
four-time Tour de France champion crashed in training before the opening
time trial, lost time in a split on stage four, and injured himself
again in a second crash four days later.
"It was quite a good day today,"
Froome said in Italian. "This is the first of three consecutive stages
which will be very hard. We saw for the first time Simon not at 100
percent. That surprised me as until now he has been fantastic. I think
now we're all thinking of attacking him.
"After the fall at the start I
didn't feel 100 percent but each day I felt better and now I'm quite
There are four mountain passes on
the 189-kilometer route from Venaria Reale up to Bardonecchia on Friday,
followed by Saturday's "queen stage" up to Cervinia.
"I'm not worried," Yates said. "I'm
still in front.
"Tomorrow is much better for me
than today. Today was one big continuous effort at the end. Tomorrow
we're climbing all day and that's more suited to me."
Celtics beat Cavs 96-83 in Game 5, lead East finals 3-2
Celtics center Aron Baynes (46) competes for a rebound against Cleveland
Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson during the second quarter of Game 5 of the
NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, in Boston. (AP
Boston (AP) — LeBron James is
tired. The young Boston Celtics seem to be getting stronger.
Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points —
his ninth 20-point game of the postseason — and Boston beat Cleveland 96-83
on Wednesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern
The Celtics held James to two
fourth-quarter points, earning their 10th straight victory in Boston to
remain perfect at home this postseason and move within one win of their
first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010.
"I just enjoy playing in the big
moments, in the big games. That's when I have the most fun," said Tatum, who
needs one more 20-point game to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's rookie record of
10 in a postseason.
"I can't say it enough: We're one win
away from being in the finals," Tatum said. "The playoffs bring the best out
Game 6 is in Cleveland on Friday night,
with the decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday if necessary. The
home team has won every game so far in the series, and none has been closer
than nine points.
"We're looking forward to having an
opportunity to force a Game 7," said James, who had 26 points and 10
rebounds but also had six turnovers. "It's up to us to see if we can come
back here for one more."
Al Horford had 15 points and 12
rebounds, and 21-year-old Jaylen Brown had 17 points for Boston. Tatum added
seven rebounds, four assists and four steals one day after finishing a
single vote shy of a unanimous selection to the NBA's All-Rookie team.
"The sky's the limit" for Tatum , Brown
said. "He's going to continue to get better. He's my workout partner. I
expect it in myself and I expect it in him."
Kevin Love scored 14 points for the
Cavaliers, who are trying to reach the finals for the fourth consecutive
season. James has played to the end in seven straight seasons.
To extend that streak, he'll need to
win two in a row.
One of them will be in Boston.
"Our focus — LeBron's focus — is to
win," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. "That's the only thing that matters."
The Celtics opened a double-digit lead
in the first quarter and nursed it the rest of the way, holding on through a
four-minute scoring drought that saw Cleveland score nine straight points to
cut the deficit to 83-71. But Terry Rozier hit Horford with an alley-oop to
snap the skid, and that was as close as the Cavs would get.
Reserves Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart
each scored 13.
James had one basket on four shots in
the fourth quarter, and afterward conceded that he was worn down. He
finished 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the game; the Cavaliers made just 9
of 34 attempts from beyond the arc and shot just 42 percent overall.
"I had my moments, but I think
everybody at this point is tired, worn down whatever the case may be," he
said. "I was still trying to make plays, put our team in position to win."
GOONING IT UP
Boston went on a 15-3 run in the first
quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a nine-point lead. The Celtics
scored nine in a row at the end of the first quarter and into the second to
take a 36-19 lead, their biggest of the game.
That's when the Cavaliers fought back .
After a hard defensive play by Morris
sent Larry Nance Jr. into the first row of seats, Morris appeared to wander
over and say something. Nance to jump up and body checked him; Morris
responded with a one-handed shove to the face.
Aron Baynes and Brown came in to break
it up, and Terry Rozier put a body on Nance. After a review, the referees
called technicals on Rozier, Nance and Morris. Kyle Korver made the foul
shot to make it 36-20 and Cleveland went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to
eight points, 36-28.
But Morris made a long 3-pointer to
stop the scoring drought, and soon hit another to cap an 8-2 run that made
it a double-digit lead.
Smart said the Celtics wanted to more
aggressive at home.
"At their place, they were the
aggressor," he said. "That showed and they came up with the victory. We just
wanted to be that team tonight."
Teams that win Game 5 to take a 3-2
lead in a best-of-seven series win 83 percent of the time. ... James had 16
points, four rebounds and three assists at the half. Tatum had 13 points,
and Horford had 10 points and seven boards at the break. ... Baynes made his
first start of the series, subbing for Morris. ... It took until midway
through the third quarter for a Cavs starter other than James or Love to
make a basket. J.R. Smith sank a floater to make it 63-50, and George Hill
followed with a jumper of his own. ... The Celtics were 10-0 in the playoffs
at home in 1986. ... Horford had his 7th double-double of the postseason,
matching a career high he set in 2015.
Jutanugarn sisters shoot for same goal differently in LPGA
this April 20, 2018, file photo, Moriya Jutanugarn, of Thailand, watches
her shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the LPGA Tour's
HUGEL-JTBC LA Open golf tournament at Wilshire Country Club in Los
Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP) —
Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.
The sisters from Thailand do have
the same goal on the LPGA Tour, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to
The Jutanugarns are two of six
women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's
first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at
Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare
elsewhere for next week's U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.
"Everybody has a chance to win
every weekend," Moriya said. "That's how hard it is on tour right now."
Ariya competes with a
grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.
Moriya takes a more calculated
approach, analyzing each shot patiently.
That's perhaps fitting because
she's 16 months older than her sister.
"It's funny because when we think
about something, it's always the different," she said. "But we pretty
much end up with the same idea."
Off the course, they're also
The 22-year-old Ariya appears
careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't
know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in
interesting discussions with those who cross her path.
Their mother, Narumon, was with her
daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a
family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out,
searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered
near Travis Pointe.
Their father, Somboon, does not
watch them play in person. The sisters say he has retired from owning a
golf shop in Thailand.
"He doesn't travel anymore," Moriya
Even if he is relegated to watching
from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of
the way his daughters are playing.
Ariya became the first Thai winner
in LPGA Tour history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the
inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last
week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson,
to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.
Moriya won for the first time in
six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and
Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA Tour
On the money list, Ariya is No. 1
and her sister is third.
In terms of playing regularly, no
one is ahead of them.
Ariya is the only LPGA player to
start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has
also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut
Instead of working in breaks to
practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every
tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.
"It's not that bad, like 10 week in
a row," Moriya said.
The LPGA is hosting an event about
five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to
keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for
2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann
Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.
"I can't tell you the specifics
about how we're going to do that," Whan acknowledged.
LPGA Tour and tournament officials
are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to convince them
to put their name on the tournament.
Volvik, which makes golf balls, is
preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.
"We're coming back," said Don Shin,
president of Volvik USA. "We just don't know in what capacity."
'Tired' de Villiers retires while still at top of his game
this Thursday, May 17, 2018 file photo, Bangalore's Royal Challengers
batsman AB de Villiers bats during the VIVO IPL Twenty20 cricket match
against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bangalore, India. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi,
Pretoria, South Africa (AP) -
Many talk about it, yet few do it.
AB de Villiers retired from
international cricket on Wednesday while still at the top of his game as
one of the best batsmen in the world.
Although de Villiers' batting,
which dazzled audiences across the world over a 14-year international
career, was still as good as it ever was, the demands of international
cricket were too much.
"It is time for others to take
over. I've had my turn and, to be honest, I'm tired," de Villiers said
in a video posted on his official Twitter account announcing his
The 34-year-old de Villiers made
the announcement from his home town of Pretoria, where he has spent his
domestic career playing for the Titans. He said he would still play for
the Titans, but there would be no more international cricket or Indian
"It's not about earning more
somewhere else, it's about running out of gas and feeling like it's time
to move on," he said. "Everything comes to an end." De Villiers said he
had no plans to play overseas.
South Africans were expecting de
Villiers to end his test career any time now, especially after
back-to-back series wins over top-ranked India and fierce rival
Australia in the last four months. He had been expected to play one-day
internationals and have one more go at winning a World Cup title next
"This is a tough decision," de
Villiers said. "I've thought long and hard about it and I'd like to
retire while still playing decent cricket. And after the fantastic
series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time
to step aside."
De Villiers was in masterful form
in the recent four-test series against Australia, finishing with the
highest batting average in the series and almost single-handedly turning
the contest in South Africa's favor with 126 not out in the second test.
That gave South Africa the impetus to come from behind and win its first
series at home over Australia since 1970.
De Villiers had only just returned
to tests for the India and Australia series following a near two-year
break from the five-day game. The sabbatical was the first sign that
cricket was starting to become a burden.
He was also South Africa's captain,
wicketkeeper and best fielder at various stages of his career. He could
leave spectators gasping with his batting, but also with his fielding,
as with the leaping one-handed catch he took on the boundary a few days
ago in the IPL.
He had to give up wicket-keeping
because of a bad back and the captaincy because of the mental strain.
De Villiers played 114 tests and
228 ODIs, and averaged over 50 in both. He is fourth on the list of
South Africa's all-time top run-scorers in test cricket with 8,765 runs.
He made 22 centuries and 46 half-centuries. In ODIs, he finished with
9,427 runs, the second-most by a South African, and 25 centuries and 52
De Villiers was equally comfortable
hitting cover drives or going down on one knee and scooping the ball
over his head for six. He could thrill fans — and even the great India
batsman Sachin Tendulkar — with his invention. The ability to improvise
and play outrageous shots gave him world records for the fastest ODI 50
(off 16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls).
Cricket South Africa President
Chris Nenzani said de Villiers' batting was "sheer brilliance".
Ferrari looking to get back on track in F1 at Monaco GP
driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany smiles as he walks in the paddock prior
to a news conference at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Wednesday, May 23.
The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Monaco (AP) — For Ferrari to win
in Formula One, it needs to stop gifting points to Mercedes.
Things could start to change at this
weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Ferrari dominated the race last year, securing
a 1-2 finish as Sebastian Vettel beat Kimi Raikkonen.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton has
won the last two races with Mercedes this season to move 17 points ahead of
Vettel in their title battle despite trailing by the same amount after
Vettel won the first two. With both drivers chasing a fifth F1 title to move
level with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio.
Hamilton and Vettel sat next to each
other at a pre-race new conference on Wednesday.
Because of the glare of the cameras,
they slipped on sunglasses. Hamilton put his on first, and Vettel quickly
Rivals, it seems, in everything they
But it's Ferrari that needs to stops
conceding points like an unplugged oil leak.
Vettel took pole position in Azerbaijan
two races ago. But in that race he found himself second after a botched pit
stop. Then, he made a rash error of judgment late on and dropped down to
fourth, rather than consolidating a position of strength against Hamilton.
Vettel struggles to contain his
composure at times. Late last season, the German driver threw away the
chance to regain the championship lead from Hamilton with a similarly brash
move during the Singapore GP. It set the tone for the remaining races, as
his title bid spiraled out of control.
The lost points are not all down to
Vettel, however. At the Spanish GP two weeks ago, he lost track position
after Ferrari called him in for an extra stop for tires and finished fourth
again. The decision seemed overly risky and revealed a tendency to make
panicky calls within the Ferrari team.
"It's fair to summarize Barcelona
wasn't a good race for us. We fell a bit behind," Vettel said. "Time will
tell if we've found a good direction."
Although Mercedes grabbed a 1-2 finish
in Barcelona, it remains to be seen whether it was a one-off and Ferrari
still has more pace.
Barcelona's track layout and surface
suited Mercedes, whereas Monaco's is more awkward. Because of the tight and
twisty nature of the 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) street circuit, whoever takes
pole position on Saturday is favored for victory in the glittering jewel in
the F1 calendar.
"I anticipate it's going to be a
difficult weekend and we may not have the pace of the others," Hamilton
said. "I think we're working the right direction. But it is up and down. The
first five races (of the season) are always very difficult. It's a learning
After a poor race last year — Valtteri
Bottas finished fourth and Hamilton was seventh — Mercedes is understandably
"It's very intense, you have to be more
intelligent here than anywhere else," Hamilton said. "It's the most
technically and mentally challenging circuit of the season."
Red Bull has a good chance because the
curvy track has less long straights, thus negating the superior speed of
Mercedes and Ferrari. Both Red Bull drivers have shown good speed, although
consistency remains elusive.
Daniel Ricciardo won in China , but
teammate Max Verstappen is looking for his first win after an
The Dutch driver has failed to finish
twice and has been embroiled in typically controversial moments. Ricciardo
crashed into the back of him in Azerbaijan as they fought for position with
a podium in sight, and both went out. It earned both drivers a stern rebuke
from team principal Christian Horner, but tensions have apparently appeased.
A strong third-place finish in Spain
reassured Verstappen heading to Monaco.
Arsenal hire Unai Emery as Wenger's successor
Arsenal’s new head coach Unai Emery. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
London (AP) — Arsenal hired
Unai Emery as Arsene Wenger's successor on Wednesday in the Premier
League club's first managerial appointment in 22 years.
The 46-year-old Spaniard will not
enjoy the same authority as Wenger built up at Arsenal, being handed the
title of head coach rather than manager.
Arsenal backed off from a gamble on
former player Mikel Arteta, who is part of Pep Guardiola's coaching
staff at Premier League champions Manchester City. Instead, Arsenal
opted for an established coach — and one who has constantly delivered
trophies at Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain.
"Several things stood out during
his interview and the entire process; his football knowledge, energy,
determination and love of the game," Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke said.
"His familiarity with our club and our players, the Premier League and
the game in Europe were all very impressive. He shares our vision to
move forward, to build on the platform created by Arsene Wenger and help
this club enjoy greater success."
Emery has the task of restoring
Arsenal to the Champions League — and to ultimately deliver the club's
first Premier League title since 2004. But he picks up a London team at
a low after finishing sixth in the league — the lowest in Wenger's
"I am thrilled to be joining one of
the great clubs in the game," Emery said. "Arsenal is known and loved
throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young
players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run. I'm very
excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new
chapter in Arsenal's history."
Emery left PSG earlier this month
after two years, a consequence of the failure to carry the dominance on
the domestic stage into the Champions League. He has struggled to impose
his authority on a talent-packed squad featuring Neymar.
A former midfielder with Real
Sociedad, Emery coached Valencia from 2008-12 before taking charge of
Sevilla in 2013, following a brief spell at Spartak Moscow.
Emery's reputation was elevated
after guiding Sevilla to three straight Europa League titles, but he
couldn't make an impact in the continent's more illustrious competition.
PSG became the first team in the
Champions League to be eliminated from the knockout stage after winning
the first match 4-0, losing 6-1 at Barcelona in the return leg of the
last 16 in 2017.
PSG failed to reach the
quarterfinals again in Emery's final season, beaten home and away by
Arsenal, though, are sure they have
a "serial winner."
"Unai has an outstanding track
record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best
young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of
football that fits Arsenal perfectly," Arsenal chief executive Ivan
Gazidis said. "His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of
values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us
Yates maintains Giro lead, Dennis wins 16th stage time trial
Britain's Simon Yates competes during the 16th stage of the Giro
d'Italia cycling race, from from Trento to Rovereto, Italy, Tuesday, May
22. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
Rovereto, Italy (AP) —
Simon Yates is still in control of the Giro d'Italia after the British
rider limited his losses to closest rival Tom Dumoulin in the individual
time trial on Tuesday.
Dumoulin was more than two minutes
behind Yates heading into the 16th stage and, as a time trial
specialist, it was seen as his best chance of taking the pink jersey
from the Mitchelton-Scott cyclist.
However, Yates still leads Dumoulin
by 56 seconds heading into the final five stages.
"I'm really happy," Yates said
shortly after crossing the line. "I really gave everything there. I was
dying in the final 10 kilometers. I thought I would lose a lot more. I'm
really happy. I'm really surprised I've kept the jersey, I'll be
Domenico Pozzovivo remained third
but slipped 3:11 behind Yates.
Rohan Dennis of Australia won the
34-kilometer (21-mile) time trial from Trento to Rovereto, beating Tony
Martin by 14 seconds. Dumoulin was third, 22 seconds behind the BMC
Racing Team cyclist.
"I had a good TT but Rohan Dennis
and Tony Martin were better," said Dumoulin, who rides for Team Sunweb.
"I wasn't strong enough. Yates also had a very good day so all in all
it's disappointing for us but it is what it is. I gave everything today
... I'm keeping my head up and we'll fight until Rome."
Dennis had lost the opening time
trial in Israel by two seconds to Dumoulin.
"It's pretty good to beat
time-trialists like Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin," Dennis said. "I came
to the Giro to win a stage. I was hoping for Jerusalem to be that one.
This stage was a big target for me as well. To win here and jump back in
the top 10 is a big day for me."
Chris Froome finished fifth, 35
seconds behind Dennis, to move into fourth overall. The four-time Tour
de France champion is 3:50 behind Yates but only 39 seconds behind
Pozzovivo and a spot on the podium.
Froome arrived at the Giro bidding
to become the third person to win three Grand Tours in a row but he
crashed in training before the opening time trial, lost time in a split
on stage four and injured himself again in a second crash four days
"I gave everything on the road
today," Froome said in Italian. "I'm happy because I think I jumped a
few places in the standings. For the (general classification), it will
be difficult. I'm far from Yates and he's been very, very strong until
now. I feel better every day. My legs are better especially after
yesterday's rest day. It's not over yet. I'll give everything and we'll
see whether I'll finish third or fifth or wherever."
The 17th stage on Wednesday is a
hilly 155-kilometer ride from Riva del Garda to Iseo, through the wine
region of Franciacorta, before three grueling days in the Alps.
Yates' three stage wins have come
on uphill finishes after thrilling attacks.
"There are still some difficult
stages to come, I'll look to defend now, unfortunately for the fans,"
said Yates. "I hope I don't have some bad days, something disastrous
happens or anything and I hope to wear it into Rome."
The Giro ends in Rome on Sunday.
Du Plessis' unbeaten 67 anchors Chennai to IPL final
Super Kings' Faf du Plessis bats during the VIVO IPL cricket T20 match
against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, May 22. (AP
Mumbai, India (AP) — Opening batsman Faf
de Plessis smashed an unbeaten half century and anchored Chennai Super
Kings to their seventh Indian Premier League final with a thrilling
two-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Qualifier 1 on
Du Plessis' 67 off 42 balls took
Chennai to 140-8 as the South African brought up the victory with a
straight six off Bhuneshwar Kumar's first ball of the last over.
Hyderabad had the match in their
grip until the 17th over with Chennai needing 43 runs and three wickets
But du Plessis caressed three fours
and a six as seamer Carlos Brathwaite conceded 20 runs in the 18th over.
No. 10 batsman Shardul Thakur (15
not out) then managed to hit three boundaries off Sidharth Kaul's 19th
over which went for 17 runs and put the game beyond Hyderabad's reach.
"Faf's innings is where experience
counts," Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
"It's not easy to not play a lot of
games, but I always say you need to train your mind as well. That's
where the experience comes in. You visualize what your role is, how you
can contribute and Faf has been brilliant."
Hyderabad get another chance to
have a shot at the title on Sunday against Chennai as they meet the
winners of Eliminator 1 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan
Royals on Friday.
Hyderabad lived up to their
reputation of defending low totals after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
won the toss and restricted his opponents to 139-8.
Kumar had Shane Watson dismissed
for zero with an impeccable away swinger in the first over and Kaul
knocked back the stumps of in-form Suresh Raina (22) and Ambati Rayudu
Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan
(2-11) brilliantly mixed up his googlies and sharp leg breaks in his
four overs as he dismissed Dhoni (9) and Dwayne Bravo (7).
Seamer Sandeep Sharma (2-30) had
the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar in successive overs of
his return spell and reduced Chennai to 92-7 in 15 overs before du
Plessis kept his cool and guided Chennai to victory.
Earlier, Hyderabad’s top order
stuttered against seamers in the batting powerplay as Shikhar Dhawan
dragged Chahar back onto his stumps off the first ball.
Captain Kane Williamson (24) also
departed as he gloved Thakur's short pitched delivery to Dhoni behind
the wickets in the fifth over.
Bravo then chipped in with 2-25
that included a smart return tumbling catch to dismiss Yusuf Pathan
before Brathwaite smashed 43 off 29 balls and Hyderabad scored 51 runs
off the last five overs.
"The game did swing our way, and
bowlers were outstanding, but we didn't quite execute it like in the
past," Williamson said. "Hopefully we can cross the line in Kolkata and
come back here (for the final). Faf played a beautiful knock, and credit
to the way they scrapped it."
NFL discussing possible steps to deal with anthem protests
David Tepper, left, speaks as NFL commissioner Roger Goodall looks
on during a news conference where he was introduced as the new owner of
the Carolina Panthers, Tuesday, May 22, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John
Atlanta (AP) — The NFL
approved a new owner for the Carolina Panthers, passed a rule to eject
players who hit with their helmets, and took steps to spice up the
Still to be resolved: a much more
What to do, if anything, about
players who kneel during the national anthem?
"We recognize with our visibility
and the interest itself that it's taken a life of its own," Dallas
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday.
"We ask the world, 'Don't turn your
head. Look at us. Wait a minute. Look at the NFL. Look at everything
we're doing.' And then when we have some issues we've got to work
through, we realize we've asked you to look.
"Let's do as good as we can do."
At their annual spring meeting,
league owners welcomed David Tepper to their ranks by signing off on his
record $2.2 billion deal to purchase the Panthers from disgraced team
founder Jerry Richardson, who abruptly decided to sell after the NFL
began investigating alleged sexual and racial misconduct in the
During a brief news conference in
which he took only a handful of questions, Tepper immediately made a bit
of news by seeming to imply he would be willing to listen to offers for
a new stadium from other cities in North and South Carolina. The team
has made no secret of its desire to replace 22-year-old Bank of America
Stadium, and its lease runs only through the upcoming season.
"What's the name of the team?
Carolina Panthers. It's going to be the Carolina Panthers," Tepper said.
"And that means this team has to have some kind of presence in the
Carolinas and last time I saw, how many are there? That's right, there's
two of them."
But Tepper, a hedge fund owner who
is worth a reported $11 billion, also reiterated several times that the
largest city in the Carolinas is the "logical place for this team."
"As far as a new stadium, you're
asking me too much and the only thing I have a market on now is lack of
knowledge," he said. "I'll learn a lot more in the future."
Tepper's purchase was the first
order of business at the luxury hotel in Atlanta's tony Buckhead
That was the easy part.
As a minority owner of the
Pittsburgh Steelers, Tepper was already familiar to the league's owners
and his approval was a mere formality. The vote was unanimous.
Anthem protests are a much thornier
"We certainly want to make and will
make a thought-out, deliberate decision," said Jones, who has made it
clear he opposes kneeling during the anthem and was one of the few
people to speak with reporters in the hotel lobby after the meeting
broke up. "Whatever we do, let's put the focus on what the NFL's about
and that's playing football."
The owners began discussing the
issue — which has reached all the way to the White House — and will talk
more before wrapping up their meetings Wednesday.
Former San Francisco 49ers
quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem
in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and
racial inequities in the justice system.
Other players took up the cause,
and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick
left the 49ers and failed to land a job with another team.
President Trump turned the anthem
protests into a campaign issue , saying the NFL should fire any player
who takes a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner." The NFL hasn't gone
that far, but Kaepernick has yet to land another job and one of his
former teammates and fellow protesters, safety Eric Reid, is also out of
Both have filed collusion
grievances against the NFL .
"I think there's certainly resolve
and I can assure the issue is getting the very best of every owner and
the very best look at all our constituencies with an eye first and
foremost to our fans. That's No. 1," Jones said.
"We know our fans want us to zero
in on football, and they don't want to think about or think that we're
thinking about anything other than football."
The NFL was reportedly considering
whether to assess a 15-yard penalty against any player who takes a knee
or conducts any other protest during the anthem.
Another possible option would be to
change up the pregame routine, keeping teams in their respective locker
rooms until after the anthem has played.
That is the protocol long followed
by college football, preventing anthem protests from being carried out
in its stadiums.
The new kickoff rules are aimed at
making the high-speed play a bit safer and perhaps more exciting.
Players on the kickoff team can't
get a running start, while eight of the return team's 11 players must
start out in a 15-yard zone near midfield, forcing them to run down the
field alongside the coverage players. That will make the play more like
a punt and should improve safety.
Wedge blocks — two blockers teaming
up on the same player — will also be banned. In addition, any kick that
hits the ground in the end zone will be an automatic touchback.
The new rules will be re-evaluated
in 2019 to determine their effectiveness, but the league doesn't want to
eliminate kickoffs altogether.
"It's part of the game," said
Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay, head of the league's
competition committee. "If we can make plays more competitive and safer,
we should do it."
In another attempt to improve
safety, any player who initiates contact with his helmet is subject to
ejection after an in-game video review that will be decided in New York.
Al Riveron, the league's head of
officiating, said a foul can be called regardless of where on the body —
not just the head or neck area — that one player hits another with his
helmet. The rule is not position-specific, so offensive players will be
subject to the same criteria as defensive players.
"This is about eliminating
unnecessary use of the helmet," Riveron said.
If a player is ejected, Riveron and
his staff in New York will use network camera angles to determine if the
ejection is necessary. He promised that games will not become "an
ejection fest" every week.
"Immediately when I learn in New
York that there's an ejection, I will ask the network to give me
everything you've got," Riveron said. "I will take a look at it, I will
rule on it and I will say yes, he's ejected, (or) no, leave him in the
Eden Park tests on hold as cricket seeks alternative venue
In this March 22, 2018 file photo, the lights begin to take effect
in the first day/night match between New Zealand and England at Eden
Park in Auckland, New Zealand. (AP Photo/Ross Setford)
Wellington, New Zealand (AP) —
New Zealand Cricket says it favors developing a new test venue in
Auckland because Eden Park, which has hosted test matches for 88 years,
is no longer financially viable.
Chief executive David White said
Eden Park will not host a test when Sri Lanka and Bangladesh tour next
year and NZC hopes to see a former speedway track, Western Springs,
become the new international cricket venue in New Zealand's biggest
Eden Park was a venue in New
Zealand's first test series in 1930, hosted the match against the West
Indies in which New Zealand claimed its first test win in 1956, hosted a
semifinal of the 2015 Cricket World Cup and earlier this year was the
venue for New Zealand's first day-night test.
But in a submission to the Auckland
Council, as part of its venue development strategy, White said it was a
"challenge financially" to stage test matches at Eden Park and it would
likely not be awarded tests until an alternative venue in Auckland could
"Auckland is currently missing out
significantly on international cricket exposure due, primarily, to the
lack of a cost-effective, financially-viable venue," White said. "Eden
Park, the only ICC-sanctioned arena in New Zealand's most populous city,
is unaffordable for all but the biggest and, by definition, the rarest
of international cricket fixtures.
"Additionally, Eden Park's small
size and rectangular, football-shaped playing field continually risks
compromising the integrity of cricket matches hosted there."
White said those were the reasons
the Auckland has hosted just three test matches since 2006, and the
number of one-day internationals and T20 internationals played in the
city "has been a mere fraction of what it would be were it to offer a
fit-for-purpose, international-standard cricket ground."
New Zealand Cricket, he said, hopes
to see Western Springs developed into "a full-sized, oval-shaped playing
arena; able to cater for both small and large crowds in a relaxed,
grass-banked, more cricket-centric surrounding."
LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Boston Celtics'
Al Horford (42) in the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball
Eastern Conference finals, Monday, May 21, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony
Cleveland (AP) — LeBron James knows the path
to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.
And unless the Boston Celtics do something soon,
he'll get there again.
James bullied his way to 44 points, surpassed
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop a postseason list and helped the Cleveland
Cavaliers even the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2 on Monday night with
a 111-102 victory over the Celtics, who are looking forward to getting
home before their adoring fans.
Pushed by a raucous crowd that wasn't so confident
a few days ago, the Cavs held off Boston's comeback in the fourth
quarter and squared a tight series that is now a best-of-three.
Cleveland is trying to become the 20th team — out
of 300 — to overcome a 2-0 deficit and James, who has already
orchestrated two such rallies and is seeking his eighth straight finals,
is a step closer to a third.
But to do it again the Cavs will have to win in
Boston, where the Celtics are 9-0 this postseason.
"It's a hostile environment," James said. "We
understand that, we know that there's no love in there. If you ain't got
on green, if you don't play for that team, if you don't bleed green,
they got no love for you. So we've got to come out with a bunker
mentality and understand it's just us. It's going to be a great
Game 5 is Wednesday night at TD Center, and Celtics
coach Brad Stevens is trying to stay positive with a team that has given
up a 2-0 lead and fell to 1-6 on the road in these playoffs.
"It's the best two out of three to go to the NBA
Finals. Doesn't get better than that," he said. "Ultimately, anybody
that didn't think this was going to be tough, I mean, everything is
tough. In this deal, it's a blast to have to grit your teeth, get up off
the mat and go after it again."
Kyle Korver added 14 points and Cleveland's
sharp-shooting 37-year-old added several hustle plays, outrunning three
Celtics in one sequence and diving for a loose ball. Tristan Thompson
had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs. Kevin Love had just nine
points on 3-of-12 shooting and was in foul trouble, but he made a big
3-pointer and follow shot in the fourth quarter.
Jaylen Brown scored 25 and Boston had all five
scorers in double figures, but the Celtics fell behind by 19 in the
first half and didn't have enough to catch Cleveland.
And, of course, they didn't have James, who moved
past Abdul-Jabbar (2,356) for the most field goals in playoff history.
James also recorded his 25th career postseason game with at least 40
points — his sixth in this postseason.
The Celtics hung around in the second half and
pulled within 100-93 on Marcus Smart's basket with 4:29 left. But
Thompson got free for a dunk, and after a miss by Boston, James
recovered after making his seventh turnover by making a steal and layup.
Moments later, James drilled a 3-pointer from the
left wing to finally put away the young Celtics, who will now feel the
immense pressure of trying to hold off the three-time champion.
"He's the best in the game at evaluating the court
and figuring out what he wants and where he wants it," Stevens said.
"The thing about it is that you just have to battle. You just have to
make it as hard as possible, because he's going to find a matchup that
he ultimately wants."
Stevens considered changing his starting lineup,
but decided to stick with the same first five — Brown, Jayson Tatum,
Marcus Morris, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier — as the first three games.
Boston's starters held their own, but none of them
was able to match James when it mattered most.
Celtics: Stevens was evasive about his starting
lineup during his pregame news conference, not wanting to give the Cavs
any advance notice. "We will start five people. I promise," he said,
drawing laughs from media members. ... Injured stars Gordon Hayward and
Kyrie Irving are not traveling with the team so they can continue their
respective rehabs. Both have been sitting on the bench with their
teammates in Boston.
Cavaliers: Won their seventh straight playoff game
at home. ... James also recorded his 106th 30-point game in the
postseason. Only Michael Jordan (109) has more. ... Love threw one of
his patented "touchdown" passes in the first quarter to James, who
outmaneuvered Smart and Brown like a wide receiver to make the catch and
score. ... Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in
last month's NFL draft, attended the game. ... Improved to 9-3 vs.
Boston in the playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavs finished with eight blocks, including
three by Korver.
For the second game in a row, the Celtics struggled
in the first quarter.
Boston got some open looks, but shot just 27
percent (7 of 26) in the first 12 minutes with both Tatum and Brown
missing dunks. Also, Morris picked up three quick fouls.
Like most fans, Lue has been stunned — but not
necessarily disappointed — by the number of lopsided wins in the
playoffs, especially in the semifinals.
The first six games between Boston-Cleveland and
Houston-Golden State were decided by an average of 24 points. The
Warriors won Game 3 on Sunday night by 41, the largest margin of victory
in franchise history.
"It does surprise me," he said. "All four teams are
really good. But the home court has shown it's been a factor."
Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.
Stanley Cup-bound Vegas turning impossible into possible
Vegas Golden Knights' players celebrate
after defeating the Winnipeg Jets during the NHL Western Conference
Finals in Winnipeg, Sunday, May 20. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via
Las Vegas (AP) — Welcome to Impossible.
Those words have been projected
onto the ice in big, bold letters at T-Mobile Arena before each game
during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Well, the Vegas Golden Knights are
turning impossible into possible.
The stunningly successful expansion
squad is headed to the Stanley Cup Final after beating the Winnipeg Jets
2-1 on Sunday to win the Western Conference final series in five games.
"I remember eight months ago, when
we won against Dallas (in the season opener), we had that unbelievable
feeling," Vegas center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. "Doesn't feel like
we're satisfied. It's a good feeling when you know the guys are excited
for the next one."
The Golden Knights are the third
franchise in NHL history to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final in
its inaugural season, joining the Toronto Arenas in 1918 and St. Louis
Blues in 1968.
Vegas will play either Tampa Bay or
Washington on hockey's biggest stage. The Lightning lead the Eastern
Conference final 3-2, but the Capitals host Game 6 on Monday night.
"Either way, we're not going to be
favorites," said Jonathan Marchessault, who leads Vegas with 18 points
in the postseason. "That's been the case all year. Tampa has been the
best team all year. Washington, (they're) playing great hockey right
now. Either way, we're not going to be favorites, and that's fine with
us. We went all year like that and we're going to keep going."
Hence, "The Golden Misfits" tag.
Nobody could have scripted Vegas, a
500-1 long shot at the start of the season, making the playoffs — let
alone earning a shot at Lord Stanley's Cup.
But the Golden Knights, who
finished fifth in the league during the regular season, just knocked off
the No. 2 team in the regular season in Winnipeg, which in the
conference semifinals knocked off the No. 1 team in the regular season,
Vegas clinched all three of its
Western Conference series on the road, becoming the seventh team in NHL
history to accomplish such a feat.
"Everybody on this team has
something to prove," said Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves, who scored the
winning goal Sunday in his hometown. "We call ourselves 'The Golden
Misfits' for a reason. We're doing a good job of proving everybody
Just as they have all season, they
are living in the moment.
Vegas, which had just two players
under contract at this time last year, heads into the final round with a
12-3 playoff record after outscoring its Western Conference opponents
It's a credit to coach Gerard
Gallant's philosophy of having a well-conditioned, confident group of
forwards who work well together, focus on short effective shifts, and
exude confidence on the ice - all while, as he reiterates it daily,
playing 200 feet of hockey.
And while the Golden Knights
haven't necessarily been a high-scoring threat, scoring just three or
fewer goals in 12 of their 15 playoff games, their defensemen have
played exceptional to this point. Vegas has allowed the least amount of
goals in the playoffs, among teams that have played 10 games. It was a
stifling and disruptive defense that helped propel the Golden Knights
past the Jets on Sunday, with their sixth win in eight road games during
"Everybody's stepping up at
different times during the season," said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who
has 12 wins, four shutouts, a .947 save percentage and 1.68 goals
against average. "That's a big reason why we've been playing
The key cog in Vegas' engine has
been Fleury, whose remarkable play has translated into a career-best
postseason. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of 15 playoff games,
and is heading to the Stanley Cup final for a third consecutive year.
And whether he admits it or not, the 14-year veteran still bears the
scars of being left exposed by Pittsburgh last summer after spending the
first 13 years of his career with the Penguins.
Gallant, who remained coy about his
team's aspirations during the regular season, made it clear the Golden
Knights haven't reached their goal.
"It's been an awesome ride so far,"
said Gallant, who some might also consider a "misfit" after Florida
fired him following a road game at Carolina last season, then left him
and his luggage on the curb outside PNC Arena. "We're going to the
Stanley Cup Final, but again, this isn't what we want. We want to win.
"It's great to win tonight and it's
great to be the (conference) champions," Gallant added, "but that's not
what we're here for."
Even as impossible as that all
seemed just a few months ago.
French Open organizers won't give Serena Williams a seeding
this Wednesday, March 21, 2018 file photo, Serena Williams returns to
Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, in Key
Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Andrew Dampf & Samuel Petrequin
Paris (AP) — Serena
Williams' return to Grand Slam tennis from maternity leave just got even
French Open organizers announced on
Monday they will not give Williams a seeding.
"This year again, tournament
officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based
on the WTA ranking," the French Tennis Federation said in a statement to
The Associated Press. "Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this
week's world ranking."
Williams, a three-time French Open
champion, is expected to play in her first major since giving birth to
her daughter in September.
While Williams can enter Roland
Garros under the WTA's protected or "special" ranking rule, it's up to
Grand Slam organizers to give her a seed.
While she was No. 1 when she left
the tour to give birth, Williams is currently ranked No. 453.
Without a seeding, the 23-time
Grand Slam champion risks facing highly ranked players in the early
The WTA is considering a rule
change to add protected seeding for highly ranked players returning from
maternity leave but the earliest that could take effect is next year.
Several of Williams' biggest rivals
believe she deserves a seeding.
"I would like to see that (rule)
change," Maria Sharapova said at the Italian Open last week.
"It's such an incredible effort for
a woman to come back from physically, emotionally. ... There's just
another whole dimension to the travel, to the experiences, to the
emotions to the physicality of every single day.
"Tennis is such a selfish sport but
I think when there's a child in your life you lose a little bit of that,
because there's something that's so much more important," added
Sharapova, who has lost three Grand Slam finals to Williams. "So, yeah,
I definitely think that would be a nice change."
The French Open draw will be made
on Thursday, with the tournament starting on Sunday.
"It's normal to give birth. It's
normal to have protected ranking. ... It's more than tennis," top-ranked
Simona Halep said. "So the people will decide what seed she will get.
But in my opinion it's good to protect the ranking when someone is
Williams returned to the tour
briefly in March after a 14-month absence. She was not seeded at
tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, and compiled two wins and two
Williams has recounted the
difficulties she faced in childbirth, and a pulmonary embolism made it
hard for her to breathe shortly after her daughter was born. But after a
period of training, coach Patrick Mouratoglou last week told the WTA
tour website, "Serena will play the French Open to win it."
Current rules covering maternity
leave and injuries allow a protected or "special" ranking to be utilized
for entry into tournaments but not for seeding purposes regardless of
the reason for a player's absence.
However, this past year the WTA
adjusted the rule so that absences for maternity leave are treated the
same as those for injury and illness by providing all players a two-year
window to begin using a special ranking, plus an additional year from
the date of return to utilize the special ranking.
"Historically, WTA players have not
been supportive of the use of special rankings for seeding purposes,"
the WTA said in a statement to The AP. "The rule is currently under
further review as part of our 2019 rules process. We remain committed to
evolving with the needs of our players and are very supportive of those
players returning from maternity leave to the tour."
Fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina, who
retained her Italian Open title on Sunday, was also supportive of
"If you're like finished or you
stopped because you're going to have a child and you will be in top
eight, I think you should have this kind of thing, to have protected
seeding," Svitolina said. "She was No. 1 so she deserves seeding."
William has won the French Open
more than any current player, and last year's champion, Jelena
Ostapenko, is looking forward to her return.
"She's someone who the tour was
missing, because she's a great champion," Ostapenko said. "She was my
idol since I was growing up."
Russian billionaire Abramovich runs into UK visa issues
In this file photo dated Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, Chelsea soccer club
owner Roman Abramovich sits in his box before the English Premier League
soccer match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge stadium in
London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Moscow (AP) — An associate of
Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich confirmed Monday that the Russian
billionaire's British visa has not been renewed. Abramovich was noticeably
absent from the stands when Chelsea won England's FA Cup final at Wembley on
The associate told The Associated Press
that Abramovich's visa renewal application is taking longer than usual to go
through, saying the reason for the delay was unclear. He spoke on the
condition of not being identified because he was not authorized to comment
Britain pledged to review the long-term
visas of rich Russians in the aftermath of the March poisonings of Russian
former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.
Britain blames Russia for the pair's exposure to a nerve agent, an
allegation Moscow strongly denies.
The poisonings sparked a Cold War-style
diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West, including the expulsion of
hundreds of diplomats from both sides.
Then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in
March that the British government was reviewing Tier 1 investor visas
granted to about 700 wealthy Russians.
Abramovich's visa troubles first were
reported Sunday by the Russian media outlet The Bell. It quoted two unnamed
sources as saying the soccer team owner's British visa expired last month.
The British government said it would
not comment on individual cases. Prime Minister Theresa May's office said
visa applications from Russia are dealt with "rigorously and properly."
Yenisei Krasnoyarsk, a little-known
team that will debut in the Russian Premier League next season, recommended
that Abramovich put his considerable resources elsewhere if he can't make it
to Chelsea games.
"Roman Arkadyevich (Abramovich), a
Siberian club with great potential just got promoted," the club wrote on
Twitter late Sunday. "We aren't hinting at anything.".