Johnson and Kisner, housemates and British Open leaders
of the US celebrates after holing out on the 18th green during the second
round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Friday
July 20. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Carnoustie, Scotland (AP) — A
light rain in the morning that gave way to soft sunlight in the afternoon
took some of the sting out of Carnoustie.
Just not all of it.
Kevin Kisner found that out with one
swing that erased his two-shot lead Friday in the British Open and left him
tied with housemate Zach Johnson. He hit an 8-iron that only needed to go
150 yards to clear the Barry Burn in front of the 18th green. Instead, it
floated out of the yellow grass to the right, bounced off the base of the
rock wall that frames the winding stream and led to a double bogey.
Disappointed but not down, Kisner
removed his cap behind the green and scratched his head as if he wondered
what hit him.
"They call it 'Car-nasty' for a
reason," he said after signing for his 1-under 70. "Even when you think
you've got it, it will jump up and bite you."
It took a chunk out of Dustin Johnson
and Justin Thomas, the Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world who won't be around
for the weekend. Johnson finished with a double bogey to miss the cut by
one. Thomas made three straight double bogeys on the front nine and missed
And it left a wide-open weekend on a
course with a history of crazy finishes.
Zach Johnson, whose name already is on
the claret jug from his playoff victory at St. Andrews three years ago,
played in the morning under an umbrella and finished with a 30-foot birdie
putt for a 67.
Johnson and Kisner are staying in a
house of seven players — five of them major champions — and share the lead
at 6-under 136.
They played on different ends of a day
that started gray and ended with shadows. Scotland's unusually dry summer
finally got a reprieve. There wasn't enough rain to turn brown fairways
green, though it at least kept shots from rolling endlessly.
They head into a weekend with endless
One shot behind were Tommy Fleetwood
(65), Pat Perez (68) and Xander Schauffele (66). Perez was tied for the lead
until he hit into a bunker on the 18th hole and took bogey. Rory McIlroy,
pledging to "go down swinging" to rid himself of a bad Masters memory this
year, had another 69 and was part of a large group two shots behind.
Jordan Spieth also is in the mix in his
bid to take the claret jug back home to Texas. Spieth hit 8-iron through a
gap in the trees for a birdie-birdie start to the back nine, and he dropped
only one shot — not four like he did on Thursday — over the four closing
holes at Carnoustie for a 67. He goes into the weekend just three shots
"Very happy to be back in the
tournament," Spieth said.
Tiger Woods still has work to do after
a rugged start, good recovery and then a mix of birdies and bogeys that left
him stuck in neutral on a better day for scoring. Woods had another 71 and
was six shots behind, with 28 players between him and the lead.
"We've been fortunate with the
conditions. It hasn't blown yet," Kisner said. "I think it will blow this
weekend and make it even more difficult. Who knows what's going to happen?
We're going to just keep trying to get after it."
Carnoustie was a far different test
from the opening round, when sunshine baked the fairways crisp and it was
difficult to figure out how far the ball was going when it hit the ground.
The steady, light rain made them a little slower and a lot more predictable.
The greens held shots a little better. Strategies changed. Slightly softer
conditions meant power players who were driving beyond the trouble hit more
irons off the tee, and shorter players hit more drivers and fairway metals.
Kisner hit 5-iron off the first tee
Thursday. He hit 3-wood Friday.
"Hit the same club as the approach,"
Kisner said. "That's a pretty dramatic difference in distance."
Kisner is a newcomer to what amounts to
an American fraternity house at golf's oldest championship the last three
years. Four of them are among the top 11 on the leaderboard going into the
weekend with Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who shot 69 and was at 3-under 139.
As for talking shop after work? Nothing
is off limits.
"Everybody will tell their horror
stories and good stories, and we'll laugh and eat a big old meal and sit
around and watching something stupid," Kisner said.
Thomas will have one of the horror
The PGA champion took three to get out
of a pot bunker from the fairway on the par-5 sixth hole, making the first
of three straight double bogeys. Johnson became the first No. 1 player to
miss the cut since Luke Donald in 2011, and it was the second straight that
the top two players in the world ranking missed the cut in a major.
The way golf has been going, it would
be reasonable to see the name "Johnson" atop the leaderboard and assume it
belonged to the top-ranked player.
But not necessarily at the British
"I've been called Dustin many times,"
Zach Johnson said. "I doubt he's been called Zach that many times."
Johnson overcame a bogey on the opening
hole with birdies on the third and fourth holes, and he never put himself
under too much pressure the rest of the way.
Already a two-time major champion with
titles at St. Andrews and Augusta National, the 42-year-old from Iowa now
has made the cut 12 straight times in the British Open, a streak that began
at Carnoustie in 2007. His low ball flight, grinding nature and good putting
give him the right ingredients.
Kisner is no stranger to pressure at a
major. He had at least a share of the lead after each of three rounds at the
PGA Championship last summer until a bogey on the 70th hole ruined his
"Hopefully, I'll have another chance to
prove that I can do it here," Kisner said.
Sagan takes third win at Tour, Thomas keeps lead on Stage 13
Peter Sagan, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, crosses the finish
line to win the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling in Valence,
France, Friday July 20. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Valence, France (AP) — After
most of the other top sprinters at the Tour de France succumbed in the Alps,
Peter Sagan was in prime position to dominate Friday's flat finish.
Cycling's world champion did not
disappoint, timing his move to reach maximum speed as he swung past two
challengers to claim Stage 13 by a wheel length and take his third win of
Seconds after Sagan reasserted his
status as the most feared finisher left on the Tour, overall leader Geraint
Thomas safely crossed in the pack along with teammate — and nearest
challenger — Chris Froome.
Behind about 20 riders with a kilometer
to go, Sagan charged to overtake runner-up Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud
Demare, who finished third, at the finish line.
Sagan's 11th career win at the world's
biggest bike race came after he was the fastest to the line in bunch sprints
on Stages 2 and 5.
This time, Sagan was racing against a
field of sprinters greatly depleted by three grueling days in the mountains.
Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen,
who both won two stages on this Tour, along with Andre Greipel all abandoned
the race on Thursday, while 30-stage winner Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel
failed to make the time cut on Wednesday.
Sagan said their absence made sprinting
"It's changed," he said. "Everybody
wants to do a sprint now. It's pretty messy."
Facing no attacks on the flat stage,
Thomas had no trouble maintaining his advantage of 1 minute, 39 seconds over
defending champion Froome.
Tom Dumoulin stayed third overall at
1:50 behind. Primoz Roglic was fourth at 2:46, and Romain Bardet was fifth
at 3:07 back.
After overzealous fans marred Thomas'
win on Thursday atop the Alpe d'Huez, the otherwise complete calm of
Friday's leg was briefly disturbed by a man on the roadside who tossed a
smoke bomb into the center of the peloton as it passed by with 16 kilometers
Thomas said he didn't see the smoke
bomb which, besides spitting out yellow fumes, appeared to do no harm.
As for the jeers directed toward him
and Froome by fans skeptical of Froome's clearance from doping allegations
days before the start of the Tour, he said it was part of being in the
"I would rather be on the podium and be
booed than be on the bus and have everyone cheering me," Thomas said.
Thomas did ask for fans to not
interfere in the race after Froome was slapped on the back going up Alpe
d'Huez and contender Vincenzo Nibali was forced to quit after he broke a
vertebra when knocked to the ground by a police motorbike tasked with
keeping back the crowd.
The 169.5-kilometer (105-mile) leg
starting from Bourg d'Oisans at the foot of the Alpe d'Huez delayed the
resolution to the burning question of this race: Is Thomas really Sky's top
option while Froome seeks a fifth Tour title?
Thomas has said that although he would
work to support Froome, he is not going to intentionally lose time.
But with Thomas so far proving to be
the stronger rider even in the mountains where Froome normally makes his
mark, their team appears ready to let the road decide.
"We've got two cards to play and it's
good for our strategy," Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said before
"Who knows how long (Geraint) can hold
this top level? Same for Froomey. The most important thing is the group is
strong and we have the best position."
Saturday's Stage 14 is a hilly
188-kilometer trek from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Mende as the race makes
its way to the Pyrenees Mountains.
And Froome seems eager for the action
"Tomorrow we can see some good battles
between the favorites," Froome said.
Verstappen sets new lap record in second German GP practice
driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands gets a pit service during the first
free practice at the Hockenheimring racetrack in Hockenheim, Germany,
Friday, July 20. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Hockenheim, Germany (AP) — Max
Verstappen set a new lap record in leading the second practice for the
German Grand Prix on Friday.
The 20-year-old Dutch driver clocked 1
minute, 13.085 seconds to eclipse veteran Kimi Raikkonen's time of 1:13.78
"We have a good balance in the car,
short and long run (speed)," Verstappen said. "It was a nice surprise to
start so competitively. The others will be quicker for qualifying, but
certainly a better-than-expected start."
Verstappen also made it a Red Bull 1-2,
after teammate Daniel Ricciardo was best in the first practice before
drifting back in the afternoon.
"We seem to be in the ballpark and
that's encouraging," said Ricciardo, who has won two races this season.
Lewis Hamilton was second quickest in
both sessions. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third in the
second practice, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in
After a rocky start to the season,
Verstappen has hit a rich vein of form, securing four podium finishes in the
past six races.
He briefly had cause for worry ahead of
Saturday's third practice and qualifying.
"What's going on with the engine?" he
said worriedly, before returning to the garage near the end of P2. "I'm
hearing a lot of noise."
Verstappen explained it was a minor oil
leak which was soon resolved.
Both sessions were bathed in hot
sunshine at the Hockenheimring track in southwest Germany's
Baden-Wuerttemberg region bordering France. The circuit has several fast
straights on the 4.6-kilometer (2.8-mile) track, meaning fans can hope for
an exciting race.
Ricciardo, however, is unlikely to be
on the podium, let alone win. He starts from last on Sunday because of a
grid penalty. He incurred it because his team made changes to the hybrid
system, the energy store and the electronics unit for a combined total of 20
Still, Ricciardo plans to entertain the
crowd with some trademark overtaking moves.
"I prepared myself knowing I would
probably take the penalties here, and I'm pretty excited to come through the
field," the Australian driver said. "I'll find the right perspective. For me
it will be satisfying and for everyone watching it should be pretty fun as
Drivers are allowed to use two of each
specific engine part during the season before penalties, but this is the
third time Ricciardo is using each individual element. His team felt it
necessary to make changes here, rather than incur penalties for doing so at
the race in Hungary next weekend. Red Bull is expected to compete strongly
at the Hungaroring, which is one of F1's toughest tracks to overtake on.
"We don't want to take this penalty in
Budapest, for sure," Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache said. "It's
part of the tactical aspect."
Earlier, Verstappen was third in P1
followed by Vettel, Bottas, and Raikkonen.
In another encouraging performance,
Charles Leclerc placed ninth and eighth in his two runs with a considerably
slower Sauber car.
Leclerc has greatly impressed in his
The 20-year-old from Monaco has taken
points in five of 10 races, exceeding expectations, with a best finish of
sixth at the Azerbaijan GP.
He has driven with such maturity and
composure, that he is already being touted to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari
Chepkoech smashes 3000m steeplechase world record by over 8s
Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech poses below the indicating board after
setting a new women's 3000m steeplechase World Record during the
IAAF Diamond League Athletics meeting at the Louis II Stadium in
Monaco, Friday, July 20. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Monaco (AP) — Mission
accomplished for Beatrice Chepkoech, who set out to break the
3,000-meter steeplechase world record and smashed it by more than
eight seconds on Friday.
Chepkoech clocked 8 minutes,
44.32 seconds at the Herculis Diamond League meeting, becoming the
first Kenyan woman to hold the 3,000 steeplechase world record.
The previous mark was 8:52.78
set by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain two years ago in Paris.
Chepkoech, who finished fourth
at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 world championships, dropped all of
her rivals with three laps left and won by more than 16 seconds.
"I wanted to break the world
record, that was the plan from the beginning of the season," she
said. "And I was aware the biggest chance would be at Monaco due to
weather, crowds, and the whole environment. And this plan worked
In Chepkoech's slipstream,
Courtney Frerichs was a distant runner-up but crossed in 9:00.85 to
set the U.S. record.
Chepkoech's feat came just
hours after the IAAF announced Jebet, the Olympic champion, was
among 109 athletes and coaches facing disciplinary action for doping
and other offences. Jebet was included in a list of athletes
provisionally suspended after a positive test for EPO in February.
Earlier, Olympic champion
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas set a world-leading time of 48.97
seconds to win the 400 meters.
Miller-Uibo, who set the
previous fastest time in the world this year of 49.52 in Eugene in
May, came off the final turn with a small lead over 20-year-old
Bahrain runner Salwa Eid Naser and held over the final section to
set a new meet record in the Principality.
Naser, who won the past four
Diamond League meetings in Oslo, Stockholm, Paris, and Lausanne,
finished second in 49.08, her new personal best.
Shakima Wimbley of the U.S. was
World and Olympic 800 champion
Caster Semenya dominated and prevailed in 1:54.60, failing to better
the personal best of 1:54.25 she set last month in Paris.
"It was a great race,
unfortunately I did not hit the mark we wanted," Semenya said. "We
just need to be a bit patient."
On the men's side, double
Olympic and triple world champion Christian Taylor of the United
States won the triple jump at 17.86 meters.
American sprinter Noah Lyles
remained unbeaten in the Diamond League over 200 meters, winning in
19.65 seconds, his new personal best and the fastest time this year.
Lyles' time was also a meet
record, and he celebrated his victory with a back flip at Stade
"It was a great race, improving
the meet record," Lyles said. "I did the same start as I did in
Prefontaine and I could feel it, it gives me confidence in what I
can do next. Now I'm going to the Birmingham Diamond League, and
finally Zurich to hopefully get a win."
Rowdy Tour fans tarnish win for Thomas atop Alpe d'Huez
Colombia's Egan Arley Bernal Gomez, Britain's Geraint Thomas,
wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Britain's Chris
Froome climb Alpe d'Huez during the twelfth stage of the Tour de
France cycling race, Thursday, July 19. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Alpe d'Hhuez, France (AP) —
One of cycling's big attractions is that fans don't have to pay to
watch — and they can get as close as they want to the riders.
The sport paid for that
unlimited access Thursday when unruly spectators interrupted the
most iconic climb of the Tour de France.
With fans pressing too close to
an elite group of riders at the conclusion of the 21 hairpin bends
up to Alpe d'Huez, top contender Vincenzo Nibali crashed into a
police motorbike and later withdrew from the race, four-time
champion Chris Froome received some undesired contact on his back,
and yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas was booed on the podium.
"If people don't like Sky and
want to boo, that's fine. Boo all you like, but don't affect the
race," Thomas said. "Don't touch the riders. Don't spit at us. Voice
your opinions all you want but let us do the racing."
Attitudes toward Sky soured
when Froome was involved in an asthma drug case stemming from last
year's Spanish Vuelta — even though he was cleared of wrongdoing
just days before the Tour started.
Froome is attempting to match
the record of five Tour victories shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy
Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
Thomas sprinted away from Sky
teammate Froome and a couple of other riders to win Stage 12,
becoming the first rider in Tour history to win atop Huez in the
Lance Armstrong won an
individual time trial up Huez in 2004 while wearing yellow but that
victory was later stripped for doping.
"Unbelievable. Not in my
wildest dreams did I ever think I would win up here," Thomas said.
"It's one of those things that's going to stay with me for the rest
of my life."
But Thomas acknowledged that
Nibali's crash took some of the luster away from his victory.
Thomas rode over Nibali's rear
wheel — when the Italian went down — but managed to stay upright.
Nibali, the 2014 champion got back up but finished seventh in the
stage, then was taken to the local hospital for medical tests for a
suspected back injury.
"He should have been fighting
for victory," Thomas said of Nibali. "It's a bit of a downer on the
Nibali said: "The road became
narrower and there were no barriers. There were two police
motorbikes. When Froome accelerated, I followed him, I was feeling
good. Then we slowed down and I hit the ground."
Nibali was diagnosed with a
fractured vertebra and the Bahrain-Merida rider later tweeted that
he was withdrawing from the Tour.
Tom Dumoulin crossed second,
two seconds behind Thomas, and Romain Bardet came third, three
Froome, who finished fourth,
four seconds behind, refused to talk to reporters afterward. A fan
who allegedly hit him during the stage was put in handcuffs by
"You expect professional
athletes to play sport and entertain without being touched or
impacted on by the crowd," Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said.
"Part of the joy of our sport is how close the crowd gets. But we
have to bear in mind that if it impacts on the race, as it did with
Nibali today, then that's too much."
Thomas extended his lead over
Froome in the overall standings to 1 minute, 39 seconds. He'll
likely hold on to the yellow jersey for at least several more days
as the Tour returns to flatter roads for Stages 13 and 14 before the
climbs resume in the Massif Central and the Pyrenees.
With questions over which rider
Sky is backing for victory, it was a bold demonstration of strength
by Thomas, who has been Froome's loyal lieutenant for years.
"In my eyes Froomey is still
our leader," Thomas said. "I'm just going to enjoy it now."
Dumoulin is third overall, 1:50
behind, while Nibali recovered to hold on to fourth, 2:37 back,
The last and most feared of the
three stages in the Alps this year, the 175.5-kilometer (109-mile)
leg began in Bourg-Saint-Maurice and took the peloton over three
grueling, beyond-category climbs.
Fans lined every corner of the
climb to Huez, many of them amateur cyclists who tested their legs
on the ascent a few hours before the professionals, while others had
camped out for days.
As usual there were many rowdy
fans on the "Dutch corner" located two-thirds of the way up.
Riders had to navigate their
way through smoke in a variety of colors — red, blue and orange.
Before Huez, riders had already
scaled the lengthy ascents to Col de la Madeleine and Col de la
Croix-de-Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross) plus the shorter but
spectacular Lacets de Montvernier — a miniature Huez featuring a
photogenic series of 18 switchbacks.
Part of an early breakaway
group, Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk launched a solo attack up the
Col de la Croix-de-Fer and crossed the summit above the tree-line
with a six-minute lead over the peloton. But he was caught by Froome
on the way up to Huez with 3.5 kilometers remaining.
"We didn't expect Kruijswijk to
attack so hard," Thomas said. "They really took the race to us."
Froome had attacked with four
kilometers to go but couldn't quite drop Thomas, Dumoulin and
Rigoberto Uran, last year's
runner-up, withdrew before the stage began, having failed to recover
from a crash on the cobblestones in Stage 9.
The mountainous route was a
nightmare for muscular sprinters. Fernando Gaviria and Dylan
Groenewegen, who each won two stages each in this year's race,
withdrew midway through, as did Andre Greipel.
The three-week race ends July
29 in Paris.
Kisner takes lead, Carnoustie holds its own at British Open
Kevin Kisner of the US putts on the 18th green during the first
round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland,
Thursday July 19. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Carnoustie, Scotland (AP) —
The silver claret jug was on the first tee Thursday morning at
Carnoustie, a trophy that Kevin Kisner knows all too well.
Kisner flew home from the
British Open last year with Jordan Spieth, a flight that was delayed
while waiting on Spieth to finish up his duties as the champion
golfer of the year. Just last week, Kisner was on the plane with
Spieth to Paris to see the Ryder Cup course, and Spieth had to bring
the jug along to return it to the R&A when they arrived at this
links along the North Sea.
"And I'm staying with him this
week, and he no longer has it," Kisner said. "He gave it back
Monday. It would be cool to return the favor."
Kisner played like he was
serious about that.
He made a long eagle putt on
the par-5 sixth. He ran off three straight birdies on the back nine.
Kisner finished with a 5-under 66 before some 60 players had even
started the opening round, and nobody could catch him.
In what might be the easiest
conditions of the week, Kisner kept the ball in play and made just
about everything. He took only 22 putts and had a one-shot lead,
giving him little more than bragging rights in the house of stars
where he is staying, with roommates that include five major
champions and Rickie Fowler.
"The golf course is great for
me," Kisner said. "The conditions have been fine. Going forward, you
never know what you're going to have in Scotland. I know the rain is
coming in tomorrow. I don't think the rain is going to affect how
the golf course is playing in one day, but I have to just keep doing
what I'm doing. If I have 22 puts the next three days, I bet I'll
have a pretty good shot."
Carnoustie still managed to
hold its own.
One shot behind was a
collection of players with little history in golf's biggest events,
including Erik Van Rooyen and Zander Lombard of South Africa. Tony
Finau had eight birdies to offset his share of mistakes to join them
Of the top seven on the
leaderboard, none has won a major.
Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm
powered their way to 69s, going for the green on short par 4s. Tiger
Woods took out his driver one time and shot 71, a round slowed by a
short putt he missed and a pot bunker he couldn't avoid.
"I played better than what the
score indicates," Woods said. "I had two 8-irons into both par 5s
today, and I end up with par on both of those. If I just clean up
those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them with
8-iron in my hand, I think I'd probably have the best round in the
Almost. Eleven of the 31
players who broke par were in the afternoon side of the draw.
Even so, no one could really
low. And those 31 players who broke par were separated by just four
Three of Kisner's housemates
also were under par — PGA champion Justin Thomas (69), two-time
major champion Zach Johnson (70) and Fowler (70). Another is Spieth,
who was in range of the lead until he made one mental error and two
bad swings while dropping four shots over the last four holes for a
72 that didn't do too much damage.
Even in gentle weather by
Scottish standards, Carnoustie served up its usual dose of
Padraig Harrington holed a
short putt for par on the opening hole and turned to leave when he
saw a golf ball trundle onto the green. It was the tee shot of U.S.
Open champion Brooks Koepka, who hit driver off the tee to set up an
That was as easy as it got for
Koepka for the next two hours. He shot 41 on the front nine. And
then he shot 31 on the back nine.
"The scores probably weren't as
low as we anticipated, but 1 over is not the worst," Koepka said.
"Definitely didn't shoot myself out of it, which very easily could
Sergio Garcia hit a drive that
never stopped rolling on No. 10 until it dropped over the edge of
Barry Burn. The water was shallow enough for the former Masters
champion to smash through a ball rock and water to get the club on
the ball and escape without further damage.
Carnoustie was not kind to
Dustin Johnson, the world's No.
1 player, managed only one birdie in his round of 76, his highest
start in the Open since his debut at Turnberry in 2009. Masters
champion Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson and Garcia
were all at 75 and now have to worry about just getting to the
On the longest day — from Sandy
Lyle hitting the opening tee shot at 6:35 a.m. and the group
including newcomer Bronson Burgoon finishing off the first round
nearly 13 hours later — everyone had their own style of getting
around the course reputed to be the toughest links in golf.
"Different players are going to
have a different way to see how they're going to play this golf
course," McIlroy said. "I know Tiger is out there hitting a lot of
irons off tees and doing it his own way. No one's going to argue
with him — he did it like at Hoylake, and he was able to win there."
There's one difference, Woods
"Hoylake is flat. This is not,"
Woods said. "And when Hideki hits a 3-wood 400 yards into a burn,
you know it's kind of quick. A couple of my 6-irons went about 240.
It's hard for people to understand it, but it's just the nature of
this golf course."
F1 champion Lewis Hamilton signs new contract with Mercedes
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during free
practice at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England,
Saturday, July 7. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Hockenheim, Germany (AP) —
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has finally signed a new
contract with Mercedes.
After months of deliberation
and stalling, the four-time F1 champion penned a new deal with
Mercedes until 2020. No figures were given in a Mercedes statement
on Thursday, but it is reportedly estimated at 40 million pounds per
Mercedes has won the past four
drivers' and constructors' championships — with Hamilton clinching
three of them — but this season has been testing for the Silver
Hamilton trails Ferrari driver
Sebastian Vettel by eight points, and Mercedes are 20 points behind
Ferrari in the constructors' championship.
The 33-year-old Hamilton has
won 65 Grand Prix races — 44 of those with Mercedes — and secured
124 career podiums. He is the F1 record holder with 76 pole
FIBA bans players, coaches for basketball brawl in Manila
this July 2, 2018, file photo, Philippines and Australian basketball
players react during their FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game
in Bocaue township, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines.
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
Thirteen basketball players and two coaches were suspended and fined
Thursday, and sanctions were imposed on the national federations of
the Philippines and Australia after a brawl during an Asian
qualifier for the sport's World Cup.
Video of the brawl on July 2
was widely played around the world, with punches thrown, chairs
tossed at players from the crowd, and security needed to restore
Ten Philippines players were
suspended: Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright (one game each);
Terence Romeo, Jayson Castro William, Andray Blatche and Jeth
Rosario (three games each); Roger Pogoy, Carl Cruz and Jio Jalalon
(five games each); Calvin Abueva (six games, because of prior
unsportsmanlike behavior in a FIBA competition).
FIBA, the sport's governing
body, said Philippines assistant coach Joseph Uichico was suspended
for three games for unsportsmanlike behavior. Head coach Vincent
"Chot" Reyes was suspended for one game and fined for
unsportsmanlike behavior, as was the national federation.
president Al Panlilio said later Thursday in Manila that "it could
have been worse."
"FIBA was quite fair in the
process," he said, adding he wasn't sure if the federation would
Australian player Daniel
Kickert was given a five-match ban for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Basketball Australia said Milwaukee Bucks forward Thom Maker
received a three-game ban and Chris Goulding a one-game suspension.
Basketball Australia was also fined $110,000 for removing floor
decals a day before the game.
Kickert was seen elbowing a
Philippines player in response to a foul on Goulding before the
Basketball Australia chief
executive Anthony Moore said it was unlikely the organization would
appeal the bans.
"As we stated at the outset,
Basketball Australia sincerely regrets the incident," Moore said.
"We acknowledge the sanctions
handed down against Australian players and acknowledge the sanctions
imposed against Philippines players and officials involved in the
incident. We are seeking further clarification from FIBA about
possible sanctions against other officials and fans involved in the
Woods says British Open becomes best shot at a major
Tiger Woods of the United States walks the 3rd hole during a
practice round for the 147th British Open Golf championships in
Carnoustie, Scotland, Tuesday, July 17. The Open golf championship
starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Carnoustie, Scotland (AP) —
Tiger Woods doesn't feel as old at the oldest championship in golf.
Back at the British Open for
the first time in three years, Woods broke from his tradition on
Tuesday morning. Instead of being among the first on the tee for
practice, he didn't show up at Carnoustie until his news conference
just before lunch. Then, he played nine holes with Masters champion
Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau.
This was not a case of a
42-year-old needing his rest.
Entering the year having not
played any major since the end of 2015 and the start of three back
surgeries, Woods has been feeling better as 2018 has gone on. And
there's something about links golf that inspires him.
"It's my favorite type of golf
to play," Woods said. "I love playing here, this type of links golf,
or a style of links golf down on the Aussie sand belt ... because it
is creative. We're not going to get the most perfect bounces. And I
think that's the fun challenge of it."
He made his links debut at
Carnoustie in 1995 as an amateur at the Scottish Open, a week before
his British Open debut at St. Andrews. He hasn't contended on the
back nine in the previous Opens at Carnoustie, in 1999 and 2007,
though he wasn't far from a playoff.
Might this be his best shot at
winning another major?
"Not to be smart, but it is the
next major I'm playing," Woods said with a laugh.
But over time, he thinks it
might be his best chance because of history. Woods recalls
53-year-old Greg Norman playing in the final group at Royal Birkdale
in 2008, a major Woods missed because of knee surgery. The following
year, Woods missed the cut for the first time at the British Open
when 59-year-old Tom Watson was one putt away from winning at
"You don't have to be long to
play on a links-style golf course," Woods said. "You get to places
like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf
course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But
a links-style golf course, you can roll the ball. Distance becomes a
That said, distance is
everything at Carnoustie this year, which Woods discovered when he
How far the ball travels in the
warm, dry air is not the issue. It's how far it travels once it gets
on the baked turf.
Dustin Johnson discovered that
when he arrived on Saturday and reached the 499-yard 18th hole, with
a stiff breeze at his back and fairways running only slightly slower
than they did on the weekend at Shinnecock Hills.
He hit driver into the burn.
The next day, his drive was a few yards short of the burn.
"I hit some irons, and
depending on the wind, I'll probably hit anywhere from ... I've hit
3-wood, 3-iron and 4-iron off the tee," Johnson said. "I like all of
With the wind at his back on
the 513-yard 14th hole, Johnson hit 3-iron and wedge.
One thing hasn't changed about
links golf — it's best to keep the ball out of the pot bunkers,
which effectively are a one-shot penalty. The question for so many
players is whether that means going down to as little as a 7-iron
off the tee (such as the 350-yard third hole) or smashing driver
over all the trouble.
Johnson figures he'll hit
driver on half of the holes. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka might
hit as many as nine drivers.
The conditions are as brittle
as Muirfield in 2013, though most comparisons are with Hoylake in
2006, when Woods won the Open for the second straight time by
hitting driver only one time all week.
"There's not a lot of
opportunities to hit the driver just because the ball is going to be
rolling 80 yards," Woods said. "It's just hard to keep the ball in
play. Even hitting sometimes 4- and 5-irons, they've been running
50, 60 yards. It's going to be an interesting test to see which
clubs we're going to be using off the tees, and a lot of it is
dependent on which way the wind blows."
Woods had a 2-iron built for
him specifically for the British Open, and he wonders how much he'll
even use it. That has been too much club off the tee. Instead, most
of his shots are with a 3-iron or 4-iron.
Patrick Reed was familiar with
conditions the year Woods won at Hoylake, even though he was only
15. Reed won the Junior British Open that summer at Heswall, not far
from Royal Liverpool. It was not only dry but extremely hot, and
Reed was in rain pants because he didn't like wearing shorts.
"I'll never forget hitting the
first tee shot and being as young as I was, getting up there, and it
was 308," Reed said. "And I was just like, 'Wow, I just hit a drive
over 300 yards.' And now I'm hitting 2-irons over 360."
Constant action but same result at Tour: Sky domination
Britain's Chris Froome, left, and Britain's Geraint Thomas, right,
of Team Sky climb during the tenth stage of the Tour de France
cycling in Le Grand-Bornand, France, Tuesday, July 17. (AP
La Rosiere, France (AP) —
If the idea behind a short but almost entirely mountainous stage in
the Tour de France was to create constant action, Stage 11 on
Wednesday went according to plan.
The end result, however, was
the same as most recent Tours — domination from Team Sky.
British rider Geraint Thomas
won the first summit finish of the race and claimed the yellow
jersey on Wednesday while four-time champion Chris Froome moved up
to second overall as Sky controlled numerous attacks.
"Amazing position for us," said
Froome, who trails Thomas, his teammate, by 1 minute, 25 seconds.
Thomas attacked on the last of
four grueling climbs, powered past longtime breakaway leader Mikel
Nieve in the final kilometer, and finished 20 seconds ahead of Tom
Froome crossed third, just
behind Dumoulin, who moved up to third overall, 1:44 behind.
The major question now may
concern the dynamics between Thomas and Froome within Sky. Thomas
has been one of Froome's most loyal lieutenants for years and Sky
labeled him a co-leader with Froome entering this year's Tour.
"Obviously, Froomey is the
leader," Thomas said. "He has won six Grand Tours. For me it's an
unknown. Froomey knows how to win a three-week race. For me,
whatever happens now it is a super successful Tour. Froomey still
has our best chance now — there's still more than half the race to
"It is an ideal scenario at the
moment," Thomas added.
Froome is attempting to match
the record of five Tour victories shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy
Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
So will Thomas, wearing the
yellow jersey, sacrifice himself for Froome on Thursday's climb up
legendary Alpe d'Huez?
"It depends on the situation
and what is going on in the race. If I have to pull towards the end,
then I will," Thomas said. "We will see."
The top five in the overall
classification is rounded out by 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali in
fourth, 2:14 behind Thomas, and Primoz Roglic in fifth, 2:23 back.
Dumoulin, the time trial world
champion, is Sky's closest challenger.
"He's someone who can
time-trial at the end of the Tour, too. We're going to have to keep
a close eye on him," Froome said, looking ahead to the race's only
individual time trial in the penultimate stage.
Greg Van Avermaet, who had worn
the yellow jersey since his BMC squad won the team time trial in
Stage 3, lost contact midway through the stage and finished far
Sky calmly rode at its own pace
and slowly caught a series of breakaway riders before Thomas kicked
into action with 6 kilometers remaining.
"We were expecting attacks,"
Thomas said. "When they go, it is never nice to see them all riding
away but we had confidence in each other and we rode really well."
Thomas, who is from Wales,
required slightly less than 3 1/2 hours to complete the
108.5-kilometer route from 1992 Winter Olympics host city
Albertville to La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo ski station.
It was his second career stage
win at the Tour, having claimed the individual time trial that
opened last year's race. He wore the yellow jersey for four days
last year — before dropping to second behind Froome — then crashed
out on a descent in Stage 9.
"To wear the yellow jersey is
always a massive honor," Thomas said. "To do it two years in a row
is really nice."
After going up the
beyond-category ascents to Montee de Bisanne and Col du Pre, plus
the second-category Cormet de Roselend, the stage concluded with the
unprecedented and lengthy 17.6-kilometer climb to La Rosiere — a ski
resort linked to La Thuile in the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta.
With views of Mont Blanc atop
Montee de Bisanne, there was also a technical and tricky descent
from Cormet de Roselend.
The first overall contender to
attack was Alejandro Valverde up the Col du Pre. Dumoulin then
escaped from the peloton with a downhill attack from Cormet de
Roselend and joined up with Valverde on the final climb. While
Valverde quickly dropped back, Dumoulin kept up his pace and was
only surpassed by Thomas.
Sprinting standouts Mark
Cavendish and Marcel Kittel, meanwhile, finished far behind and
missed the time limit, ending their Tours.
Tokyo Olympic venues make progress with 2 years to go
Journalists take photos of New National Stadium under construction
during a media tour to the venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in
Tokyo, Wednesday, July 18. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Tokyo (AP) — The Japan
Sports Council gave a progress report on the new National Stadium
for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, saying the project is 40
percent complete with two years to go before the opening ceremony.
Located in central Tokyo, the
Olympic Stadium will be the centerpiece of the 2020 Games. The JSC,
the government-funded stadium operator, says the 68,000-seat stadium
is on schedule to be finished in November 2019. It will host the
opening ceremony on July 24, 2020 as well as athletics and the
The construction was more than
a year behind schedule when it started in December 2016, as an
earlier stadium plan was scrapped because of spiraling costs and
The Japanese government
approved the new 150 billion yen (US$1.5 billion) stadium which is a
joint venture among Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei Co. and the
office of Kengo Kuma, the architect who designed the replacement.
The JSC says the construction
site has about 2,000 workers on an average day but that will be
increased to 3,000.
JSC officials say the biggest
hurdle to overcome now is construction of the stadium roof, which
will cover spectator seating and is considered to be the most
difficult aspect of the construction.
"The most challenging part from
now is installing the roof," said the JSC's Tadashi Mochizuki. "Of
the whole 15 months of the work period for the roof, we still have
nine more months to go. We are installing the roof, divided as four
parts. We have to install the parts without an inch of mistake."
For the roof, Kuma chose a
wooden lattice design which echoed traditional styles seen in
Japanese shrines and pagodas.
It is intended to blend in with
surrounding parkland and will be structured to minimize costs for
heating and cooling.
Tokyo organizers said that all
the newly-constructed venues for the games are 20 to 40 percent
Here is an update on some of
the other Olympic venues:
— The Olympic Village will have
21 flat-type buildings and provide 18,000 beds for the Olympics and
8,000 for the Paralympics. Organizers say its 40 percent completed
and will be finished in December 2019. After the Olympics, two
50-story buildings will be developed and sold to the public as
— The Olympic Aquatics Center
will host swimming, diving and artistic swimming. Located in the
Tokyo Bay Zone, the newly-constructed four-story facility will have
a seating capacity of 15,000. The facility is scheduled to be
finished by February 2020.
— The Sea Forest Waterway will
host canoe sprint and rowing events. Also located in the Tokyo Bay
Zone area, the venue will be able to accommodate 24,000 spectators.
A water gate and pumping facility will be set up at both ends of the
200 x 2,000-meter waterway to prevent waves and tide level from
affecting the competition. It is expected to be completed in late
— The Musashino Forest Sports
Plaza, which will host badminton and fencing, is the only completed
venue and has already hosted several sports events.
More claims mean NFL concussion payout could jump by $400M
Aug. 9, 2014 file photo shows an NFL logo on a goal post pad before
a preseason NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit. (AP
Philadelphia (AP) —
Lawyers representing former NFL players estimated Wednesday that
payouts from the concussion settlement with the league will top $1.4
billion, a $400 million jump because of thousands more players
The number of players who filed
to be a part of the settlement is outpacing all previous estimates
and could keep growing, the lawyers said in a federal court filing
based on estimates from an actuary. The estimate accounts for
players who have filed claims and those who have officially given
notice that they intend to file claims.
The actuary said participation
rates are 21 percent higher than estimated when the settlement was
reached. As of July 16, 499 claims totaling more than $485 million
had been approved, according to the filing.
The massive increase in
estimated payout came the same day a judge denied a request from the
league to appoint a special investigator to look into what the
league said are extensive fraudulent claims against the settlement
Judge Anita Brody wrote in her
federal court ruling that the league's attorneys had demonstrated
that there is "sufficient evidence of probable fraud to warrant
serious concern." But Brody said a special master and a claims
administrator have effectively ferreted out those claims for now.
"The audit process is working
effectively," Brody wrote in her deferral ruling, saying if the
claims administrator or special master notify the court an
investigator is needed, "the Court will rule on the motion at that
The league requested an
investigator and cited in its May argument an independent study it
said found more than 400 claims recommended for denial based on
evidence of fraud by attorneys, doctors and former players
attempting to cheat the program. The league has said those attempts
to scam the $1 billion settlement fund have slowed down the awarding
of valid claims.
The settlement, which took
effect January 2017, resolved thousands of lawsuits that accused the
NFL of hiding what it knew about the risks of repeated concussions.
It covers retired players who
develop Lou Gehrig's disease, dementia or other neurological
problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their
pro careers, with awards as high as $5 million for the most serious
Attorneys for the league had
cited practices such as doctors seeing players for evaluation not in
clinical settings, but in hotel rooms, law offices or other places.
They also cited a doctor who said she spent seven to 12 hours
evaluating each patient, but approved sometimes as many as eight
patients a day.
A lawyer for several plaintiffs
said Wednesday that he and others representing the players supported
"Since the NFL filed its motion
more than three months ago, the claims process has continued to
accelerate and the current audit process is working effectively,"
said Chris Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired players. "We will
not allow a small number of potentially fraudulent claims to be used
as an excuse by the NFL to deny payment to legitimately injured
In their May arguments, Seeger
and other attorneys noted that the instances of fraudulent claims
would be cut dramatically after the most recent rules for claims
went into effect, including a list of approved physicians to
Brody warned in her ruling that
she expects the process to ensure valid claims are promptly paid.
England coast to ODI series win over India
England's Joe Root sweeps during the third One Day international
against India, at Headingley in Leeds, England, Tuesday July 17.
(Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
Leeds, England (AP) —
England won a one-day international cricket series against India for
the first time since 2011 after coasting to an impressive
eight-wicket win at Headingley on Tuesday.
After containing India to
256-8, England's Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan combined for an
unbeaten 186 runs to win with 33 balls to spare and clinch the
three-match series 2-1.
Root reached 100 by hitting
fast bowler Hardik Pandya through midwicket for his 10th boundary
and the winning runs. It was his second successive hundred.
Morgan, dropped on 85, finished
on 88 not out off 108 balls, including nine boundaries and a six.
"It feels fantastic," Root said
of the series triumph.
"To come into a big series like
this, it's a testament to the hard work the guys did when they set
the tone early with the ball, kept taking wickets, and were ruthless
at the end.
"The best thing about today is
knowing it was a must-win game, the pressure of that, and being able
to stand up to it."
They easily handled the threat
of India wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who
combined for 20 overs, conceded 96 overs, and no wickets. Chahal
would have had Root stumped on 69 but he committed a front-foot no
New medium-pacer Shardul Thakur
took the only bowler's wicket, taking out Jonny Bairstow in the
fifth over after a rapid 30. When the other opener James Vince was
run out for 27 in the 10th over, Morgan joined Root and the pair set
about stripping confidence from the Indians.
After winning nine successive
ODI series, India lost one for the first time in 2 1/2 years.
Having split the limited-overs
series — India won the Twenty20s, England the ODIs — the first of
five tests begins on Aug. 1 at Edgbaston.
Despite Root and Morgan guiding
England home, spinner Adil Rashid was man of the match for three
wickets, including a stunning dismissal of India captain and
top-scorer Virat Kohli.
Kohli backed up to a delivery
that turned from leg stump and knocked over his off stump. Kohli was
out for 71 off 72 balls, including eight boundaries.
"The most satisfying wicket
I've taken," Rashid said.
Suresh Raina departed in the
same 31st over, edging to Root at leg slip on 1. India were 158-5.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was given
out in the next over but reprieved on video review. He tried to
corral the tail and led India past 200, but another four overs
passed without a boundary and Dhoni was out in the 46th, edging
David Willey behind on 42 off 66 balls.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was out on
the last ball, giving Willey a third wicket.
"They suffocated us through the
middle overs really well," Kohli said. He believed they were 30 runs
short of a decent total.
Nobody cleared the boundaries
until the 49th over, when Thakur, picked for his bowling, hit Ben
Stokes twice over the deep square fence.
Opener Rohit Sharma reflected
India's batting decline. After an unbeaten 137 in the first ODI win,
he scratched 15 in the second and only 2 in the third, wasting 18
Alaphilippe wins Stage 10, Van Avermaet keeps Tour lead
France's Julian Alaphilippe celebrates as he crosses the finish line
to win the tenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Le
Grand-Bornand, France, Tuesday, July 17. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Le Grand-Bornand, France
(AP) — Julian Alaphilippe claimed the first mountain leg of this
Tour de France on Tuesday, while Greg Van Avermaet kept the overall
lead for a seventh consecutive day.
Alaphilippe, a French rider for
Quick-Step, won the 158.5-kilometer ride from Lake Annecy that
included climbs over four major Alpine passes before a descent to Le
Grand-Bornand in around 4 1/2 hours.
Olympic champion Van Avermaet
got into an early breakaway and held on to increase his lead over
Geraint Thomas, a Sky teammate of defending champion Chris Froome,
to 2 minutes, 22 seconds.
Alejandro Valverde of Movistar
moved into third overall at 3:10 off the pace. Jakob Fuglsang of
Astana was next at 3:12.
Froome is 3:21 behind Van
Avermaet after recovering from a punctured tire atop the second of
the stage's ascents, finishing with Thomas and most of the top
Alaphilippe got his first Tour
win after he attacked on the third ascent up the category-one Col de
Romme and increased his lead over the Col de la Colombiere before
the final downhill finish.
He crossed the line more than a
minute ahead of Jon Izaguirre in second. That gave him extra time to
soak up the applause from the French fans for the country's first
winner in this race, two days after France won the World Cup.
"I have no words. To get a
victory at the Tour de France was a dream for me," Alaphillipe said.
"Everything went through my head, all the work, my family."
It was the third stage win for
the Quick-Step team at this Tour.
Froome punctured a tire on a
gravel path atop the second climb up the beyond-category Montee du
Plateau des Glieres, the first use of a dirt road by the Tour since
Despite having Sky teammates at
the front of the peloton, once Froome got a wheel from teammate
Jonathan Castroviejo, he was left all alone for several minutes
until Wout Poels eventually dropped back to help him get back.
Van Avermaet got out in an
early breakaway that managed to open up a seven-minute gap over the
pack midway through the stage.
That proved enough for the
Belgian rider to extend his lead despite struggling near the end of
the stage when he was dropped by other front-runners.
Van Avermaet's BMC team lost
leader Richie Porte when he broke his collarbone on Sunday.
This stage was the first of
three days in the Alps following the relatively flat legs of the
first nine days.
Up next on Stage 11 is a
108.5-kilometer leg from Albertville to the top of the La Rosiere
summit on Wednesday. That will be followed by Stage 12's ascent of
the legendary Alpe d'Huez.
Earlier, Dutch rider Annemiek
Van Vleuten won the women's La Course for a second year in a row.
The single-day race was run on a route that included most of the
men's 10th Stage.
Spieth returns claret jug, faces tough task getting it back
Jordan Speith hits out of a bunker during a practice round for The
Open Championship golf tournament at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus,
Scotland, Monday July 16. (Richard Sellers/PA via AP)
Carnoustie, Scotland (AP) —
Jordan Spieth figured someone from the R&A would be waiting for him
when he pulled into the parking lot at Carnoustie to take back the
silver claret jug. Instead, he was part of a ceremony with enough
pomp to drive home the point.
His reign as British Open
champion was over.
"The traditions of the Open are
very special," Spieth said, "even if you're on the wrong end of that
This "tradition" is only a few
years old, though typical of the august manner of this major,
nothing was left to chance. Spieth was to arrive in a car provided
by one of the R&A's sponsors, and as it drove slowly down a dirt
path behind the grandstands on the first hole, cameras moved into
position. The door opened and a woman slowly emerged from the back
seat. That's where Spieth would be sitting. This was just a
rehearsal to make sure the cameras had the right angle.
Moments later, an R&A employee
asked people sitting in the right portion of the grandstands to move
to the other side so it would appear fuller.
"It's the coolest trophy that
our sport has to offer," Spieth said. "So having to return that was
certainly difficult. Kind of hit me a little bit there on the tee
It's far more enjoyable to pose
with golf's oldest trophy — it first was awarded in 1873 — at the
18th hole on Sunday, not the first hole on Monday. That's the task
that awaits Spieth, and it figures to be a monumental one.
Only four players in the last
50 years have repeated as British Open champions, the most recent
being Padraig Harrington in 2008.
More than history, it's the
nature of Carnoustie that figures to be the stiffest challenge — or
at least on Monday, the most mysterious one. A dry summer has turned
the links into a combination of brown (fairways), yellow (wispy
rough) and green on the tee boxes and putting surfaces.
That translates into the
fastest conditions at an Open since Tiger Woods won at Hoylake in
2006. That was the year Woods hit only one driver — yes, he missed
the fairway — and relied mainly on long irons off the tee because
the golf ball was running forever.
Early samples indicate this
might be just the opposite.
Because the rough isn't up, and
because it's difficult to judge how far shots will roll out on the
fairways, the answer might be to just smash driver over the trouble.
Jon Rahm said he planned to hit driver every day on the 396-yard
Tommy Fleetwood, who shot 63 at
a much different Carnoustie last year during the Dunhill Links
Championship, was most perplexed when he reached the 350-yard third
hole. It usually is a mid-iron off the tee and a wedge to the green.
Now it's more like a 6-iron off the tee. Or maybe a 7-iron. And even
that's not safe, because the undulations in the fairway could send
the ball rolling until a pot bunker gets in the way.
"You feel like on such a short
hole, you should have a chance at birdie," he said. "When actually,
you can hit a 6-iron or 7-iron and it ends up in a fairway bunker."
Spieth couldn't speak to that
because he had yet to see Carnoustie except on television in 2007,
and he doesn't remember much of that, anyway. He was in France over
the weekend to see the Ryder Cup courses, and he went to St. Andrews
on Sunday as part of the Junior Open.
He recalls Muirfield being fast
on Sunday in 2013, his first Open, though that wasn't nearly as
fiery as this course. And even a light rain overnight didn't change
"It doesn't matter what club
you hit. There's so many holes where you're going to be taking
fairway bunkers on," Fleetwood said. "You can't just ... 260 (yards)
is just a completely irrelevant number because any amount of clubs
can go that far just with it playing that firm."
The other challenge facing
Spieth is this mini-slump he's in.
He would not have imagined when
he left Royal Birkdale last year with that wild finish and his name
on the jug that he wouldn't hoist another trophy. His only close
call this year came in the Masters, where he started the final round
nine shots behind Patrick Reed and nearly caught him until a bogey
on the last hole for a 64. He finished third.
Since then, Spieth has not been
closer than 12 shots off the lead in four of the seven tournaments
in which he made it to the weekend.
He missed the cut at Shinnecock
Hills in the U.S. Open, opened with a 63 at the Travelers
Championship and still tied only for 42nd, and then took a break. He
went to Seattle to watch his little sister be a cheerleader at the
U.S. Special Olympics, and then headed to the Mexico beaches for
relaxation and fun golf.
"I needed a break," he said. "I
was kind of dragging along, cut-line golf for a whole, and playing a
pretty heavy schedule. ... And coming to an Open Championship
requires a lot of feel and imagination, and I think that's what I
needed a bit of in my game."
And that's what he most likely
needs this week to figure out Carnoustie, along with everyone else.
Anthony Joshua can't escape talk of Deontay Wilder
this March 31, 2018, file photo, Britain's Anthony Joshua, rear,
fights New Zealand's Joseph Parker during their heavyweight title
bout in Cardiff, Wales. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
New York (AP) — Anthony
Joshua was welcomed by applause on the stage. He stood front and
center, promoting his Sept. 22 bout against Alexander Povetkin.
Even there, he couldn't escape
talk of the heavyweight he isn't fighting.
Someone in the crowd jumped at
the opportunity and shouted, "AJ, we want Wilder!"
"Let them train to be a fighter
and fight (Deontay) Wilder," Joshua told AP. "It's easy talking
about it. It's another thing doing."
But with his hands on his hips,
Joshua looked in the direction of the outburst and stoically
Meanwhile, Povetkin was
standing off to the side. Povetkin and Joshua were both in the West
Village on Tuesday for the launch party of DAZN, a global sports
streaming service. Its first event is their fight.
Povetkin is partially the
reason why Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts) isn't fighting Wilder (40-0,
39 KOs) this year.
In June, the World Boxing
Association ordered Joshua to fight Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) or have
his title stripped away.
He signed, ending his chances
of a Wilder-Joshua fight in 2018. Wilder said if Joshua wanted the
fight to happen, it would be happening.
"Most definitely he could have
gotten an exemption for this fight," Wilder said. "That was the
least of the worries right there because everyone wants it. When
everyone wants it, then there's nothing that could stand in the way
of a fight of this magnitude. No possible way.
"Even when he's announcing
Povetkin, they're talking about me. Everywhere we go, they're
talking about this fight."
But Joshua doesn't care what
everyone wants. He said he's following protocol.
"This career isn't determined
by what people want," Joshua said. "It's my career. I've always
pulled for and done what was right for myself, which has ultimately
led me to becoming a champion."
Right now, Joshua holds three
of the four major belts: WBA, IBF and WBO. Wilder has the other:
WBC. If the two were to fight, which they still both believe they
will, the winner would be named the undisputed heavyweight boxing
The most recent boxer to claim
that honor was Lennox Lewis in 2000.
"It's not about the big light,"
Joshua said. "It's not about taking from the industry. I don't want
to drive a Rolls-Royce tomorrow. I don't want a one-hit fight
wonder, then I'm a champion one week and few months later I've lost
it because I'm living the life. I want to add to the industry, give
back. I do it because I'm passionate about it."
His passion is just different
from Wilder, who said he tried everything possible to make this
unification fight happen.
Wilder accepted a flat fee of
$15 million and offered Joshua a guaranteed $50 million, plus 50
percent of the revenue if the fight took place in the U.S. Joshua
wanted England. Wilder agreed.
"We've done everything," Wilder
said. "I can't express how much I mean by that when I say we've done
everything day and night, day and night, day and night. And the only
thing they've done is try to come up with plans of distracting the
fans and trying to come up with plans of lies."
More negotiations took place.
Each side says something different transpired— Wilder said Joshua
sent blank contracts missing a date or place; Joshua said Wilder
didn't meet the deadline. There was also a disputed rematch clause.
Regardless, months passed
without any signed contract, leading the WBA to step in.
Wilder thinks Joshua would
rather fight Povetkin anyway because he's not ready to compete
against the best.
"Wilder has a big power punch,
but he likes to fight. He likes to get into the brawl a little bit,"
Povetkin said through a translator. "Joshua is more technical, but
he also has a lot of power. It would be a different approach, but
they're both great fighters."
Povetkin would rather fight
Joshua — probably because he's going to — but thoughts of fighting
Wilder cross his mind often. He'd be glad to get in that ring, too.
(They've tried, but two failed drugs tests by Povetkin prevented a
fight from actually happening.)
If Povetkin defeats Joshua, the
unification discussion might change. Only time will tell. Both
parties say they want it to happen. It's just not happening this
Joshua has Povetkin at Wembley
Stadium in London. Wilder says he will also have a fight and to be
on the lookout for an announcement soon.
Life is moving on — for now.
"At the end of the day, me and
Joshua don't need each other," Wilder said. "Not to survive and
live. We've been doing that before we even met each other, and we're
going to do that after we've met each other.
"But for this fight to happen —
for fans to see one of the biggest fights in world history and to
see one champion, one face, one name — we definitely need each
World Cup win gives France new set of heroes, needed boost
France's players celebrate on the roof of a bus while parading down
the famed Champs-Elysee avenue in Paris, Monday, July 16. (AP
Paris (AP) — The welcome
was grand, the emotion visceral as France's victorious World Cup
team rolled down Paris' Champs-Elysees Avenue in an open-top bus
Monday while tens of thousands of people cheered with unrestrained
pride and jets streamed the national colors — blue, white, red —
The crowd that waited for hours
to greet the soccer team, under a hot sun and amid celebratory smoke
bombs that choked the air, got its moment hours after the team
returned from Russia to hoist the gold trophy on French soil for the
second time in 20 years.
The national team's 4-2 win
over Croatia on Sunday gave France a new set of heroes, many of whom
represent the changing face of a diverse, multicultural country with
which not all French citizens have yet reckoned.
The red carpet welcome for the
World Cup winners continued at the Elysee Palace, where President
Emmanuel Macron threw an informal garden party that had 1,000
children and 300 athletes from local soccer clubs as guests.
Many of the invited clubs are
based in the poor neighborhoods French that produced the players who
made up France's youthful, diverse World Cup team, including
19-year-old breakout star Kylian Mbappe. Members of the club he grew
up with in suburban Bondy attended the party.
"Merci!" Macron, the youngest
person to become France's president, told the guests. "This team is
beautiful because it was united."
Addressing the team, Macron
"Don't change," he said,
adding, "Never forget where you come from."
Team captain and goalie Hugo
Lloris, brandishing the trophy from soccer's eminent tournament, and
coach Didier Deschamps led the team onto the red carpet at the
Elysee courtyard. With Republican Guards standing motionless in full
dress uniforms, the squad quickly broke into party mode for the
The fun continued in the garden
with chants led by midfielder Paul Pogba and off-the-cuff songs.
The victory came at a time when
many French were in need of good news, and the magic provided a
sense that a grand coming together might at least paper over
political, economic and social fissures for a while.
"Eternal Happiness" read
Monday's headline in French sports daily L'Equipe, summing up the
mood of many who hoped the euphoria would last.
Before the reception, the
Champs-Elysees became the epicenter of national pride for the third
day in a row, following the post-World Cup celebrations that brought
hundreds of thousands to the fame avenue Sunday and a Bastille Day
parade of French military might Saturday.
The team appeared elated, too,
during its victory lap on the bus Monday. Players threw scarves into
the crowd and recorded the action.
Several Paris Metro stations
were temporarily adjusting their names to honor the team and its
members, the transport authority tweeted. The Champs-Elysees
Clemenceau has become the Deschamps-Elysees Clemenceau to honor
coach Didier Deschamps.
The Etoile station is, for now,
"On a 2 Etoiles" (We have 2 stars), to denote France's second World
Cup victory. The Victor Hugo station is now Victor Hugo Lloris,
after France's standout goalie and team captain.
"We are linked for life now
with this Cup," defender Raphael Varane told BFM-TV on Monday before
departing from Moscow, evoking the theme of unity that French
partiers have consistently evoked.
Macron exulted on the field in
Moscow and in the locker room, hugging players as they received
their medals even as the skies poured rain. The president clearly
hoped the World Cup glow would rub off on him, raising him up in the
eyes of a nation where his economic reforms have drawn fierce
protests and labor strikes.
He meets Tuesday with business
representatives and an eye on mobilizing them in needy neighborhoods
It was the players, though, who
captured the French imagination.
Sports Minister Laura Flessel,
who met the team at the airport, told Europe-1 radio that the World
Cup victory allows France's youth — like those in the poor suburbs
where many of the players grew up — "to dare to believe in their
The patriotic fervor sparked by
the World Cup did not prevent the vandalism and violence that
sometimes accompany public celebrations in France. Broken shop
windows and signs of looting lined a section of the Champs-Elysees.
Authorities detained 90 people for questioning in the Paris region
and some 290 around France.
Froome happy as Tour de France heads for the mountains
Britain's Chris Froome, rides in the pack during the eight stage of
the Tour de France cycling race in Amiens, France, Saturday, July
14. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Annecy, France (AP) —
Chris Froome believes the mountains will reveal the true Tour de
France contenders as he looks forward to the first of three grueling
stages in the Alps.
"I'm feeling good and
optimistic about the upcoming stages," the four-time champion said
on Monday, the Tour's first rest day.
Froome, who is eighth overall
after nine stages, is 1 minute, 42 seconds behind yellow-jersey
holder Greg Van Avermaet before the first Alpine stage on Tuesday.
Van Avermaet is not expected to
be a threat in the mountains, and Froome suggested the Belgian "will
find it difficult to hang on tomorrow. It's a proper climber’s
After an opening week of
relatively flat routes, the first significant ascents begin with
four categorized climbs as well as the punishing Montee du plateau
des Gileres, which features a six-kilometer climb at an incline of
"It's a tough stage. It will
definitely start shaping the GC," Froome said of the general
Sky teammate Geraint Thomas is
second overall, 0:43 behind Van Avermaet, meaning the team has two
viable options to claim the yellow jersey over the second week of
the three-week Tour.
"It's great for us to have
those options to play when it comes down to it, especially looking
at some of our rivals who have got two or three options in their
team," Froome said.
"The team around us is such a
capable group of guys, and we're really going to be coming into our
element now in the mountains."
The Open returns to the nasty links of Carnoustie
this July 22, 2007, file photo, Ireland's Padraig Harrington looks
down to where his ball landed in the Barry Burn during the final
round of the British Open Golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland.
(AP Photo/Phil Noble, Pool)
London (AP) - Carnoustie
is known as much for the calamity it causes as the British Open
champions it crowns.
Any mention of Carnoustie
immediately brings back that image of Jean Van de Velde, equal parts
tragedy and comedy, standing in Barry Burn on the 18th hole with
water up to his shins and rising. He made triple bogey to lose a
three-shot lead, and then completed as great a collapse as can be
found in a major championship by losing in a three-man playoff in
Just don't get the idea Van de
Velde owns all the rights to bad endings at Carnoustie.
Jose Jurado was the first
He had a three-shot lead going
into the final round in 1931 and was still two shots clear late in
the round until coming undone in the brutal closing stretch, topping
one shot on the 17th hole into the burn. He lost out to Tommy
More recently was Padraig
Harrington, only it worked out well for him in 2007. Playing the
18th with a one-shot lead, the Irishman hit his tee shot into the
Barry Burn. He took a penalty drop and then hit his next shot into
the winding stream. Harrington managed the best double bogey of his
life. It got him into a playoff when Sergio Garcia made bogey from
the bunker, and Harrington went on to win his first major.
Of the six previous Opens on
these menacing links, Ben Hogan is the only winner to hold a 54-hole
For most everyone else,
Carnoustie always seem to dish out its share of carnage. Rod
Pampling once opened with a 71 and had the lead. He followed with an
86 and missed the cut. Phil Mickelson still hasn't seen a weekend at
Carnoustie. Garcia made his major debut as a professional at
Carnoustie. He shot 89.
"That's a brutal course,"
Bernhard Langer said. He speaks from experience in 1999, when Langer
had his third-highest score of the 23 Opens he completed. He shot
297, and he tied for 18th that week.
The first time Tiger Woods went
an entire round without a birdie in a major was in 1999 at
"I think I made one birdie on
the weekend and I finished three or four back of the playoff," Woods
said. "That was ridiculous how hard it was."
One month after Shinnecock
Hills was punishing as ever in the U.S. Open, golf's oldest
championship doesn't figure to be much of a reprieve. Scotland has
been going through a warm, dry patch of weather, which figures to
make it firm and bouncy.
Mickelson, who played
Carnoustie a week before the Open, said it was unlikely he would
even carry a driver.
"I'm either going to carry a
driver or that hot 3-wood, but there's only two or three holes —
there's actually only two holes I plan on using it, both par 5s. I
have a low 1-iron that I've been putting in the bag and ... it's
very low. Gets on the ground quick. I'll hit that on probably the
last ten holes, almost every hole."
Carnoustie in any conditions is
regarded as a beast, with a reputation as the toughest links in the
world. Sir Michael Bonallack, the former R&A secretary, might have
sized it up the best when he said, "When the wind is blowing, it is
the toughest course in Britain. And when it's not blowing, it's
probably still the toughest."
In recent Opens, it has picked
up a nickname: Car-nasty.
For so much of the field, it
will be a new experience. Only two players from the top 10 in the
world have played a British Open at Carnoustie — Justin Rose and
Rory McIlroy, who was an 18-year-old amateur in 2007 and immediately
showed his potential when he opened with a 68. He tied for 42nd that
Only 33 players in the 156-man
field have played an Open at Carnoustie, and only 12 have played it
Defending champion Jordan
Spieth only knows it from television.
He was 13, just starting to
blossom as a junior, and he watched the Open from home as Garcia and
Harrington tried to survive the finish.
"I remember ... how good of a
score par was on that hole and will continue to be for Opens going
forward," Spieth said. "It's one of probably the toughest closing
holes in the Open Championship anywhere, and that creates some drama
when it comes down to Sunday, as we've seen. And I don't think it
will be any different this year."
Carnoustie gets its mean streak
from the way the course was set up in 1999, with narrow fairways and
high grass. But its strength comes from the wind, like most links
courses, and this course near the North Sea is particularly exposed.
It measures 7,402 yards, which
is 19 yards shorter — yes, shorter — than it was in 2007, the last
time the Open was at Carnoustie.
Spieth will try to become the
first player in 10 years to repeat as British Open champion, and
right now he'd simply settle for a chance. Since his closing 64 at
the Masters to finish third, Spieth has finished at least 12 shots
out of the lead in four of his seven tournaments. He missed the cut
in the other three.
Like most majors these days,
the Open figures to be wide-open.
Dustin Johnson, who lost a
four-shot lead over the final two rounds at Shinnecock, is back to
No. 1 in the world and eager to pick up another major. He has not
played since the U.S. Open. The next three players behind him in the
world ranking — PGA champion Justin Thomas, Rose and U.S. Open
champion Brooks Koepka — all have a chance to replace him at No. 1.
Recent history would suggest a
young American — the last five majors have been won by Americans in
"It's definitely been pretty
one-sided, and the Americans are dominating," Rose said. "So it
would be lovely to turn that around next week."
Woods is happy to get another
crack at it.
Carnoustie was his first
experience with links golf in 1995, when he was still at Stanford
and came over for the Scottish Open at Carnoustie ahead of the
British Open at St. Andrews. He opened with a 69, closed with a 78
"Carnoustie is an unbelievable
driving golf course," Woods said. "You have to drive the ball well
there, but also it's not your traditional in (and) out golf course.
It's a lot of different angles, so a lot of different crosswinds. I
have to be able to maneuver the golf ball both ways there
efficiently. You just have to hit the golf ball well."
There is no faking. Nothing
comes easily. No one really conquers Carnoustie. It's more about
The highest compliment might
have come from Tom Watson, who won his first major at Carnoustie in
1975 in a playoff over Jack Newton.
"Carnoustie is like an ugly,
old hag who speaks the truth no matter how painful," Watson once
said. "But it's only when you add up your score, you hear exactly
what she thinks of you."
Serena Williams at No. 28 in WTA rankings, climbs 153 spots
Serena Williams of the United States gestures during the women's
singles final against Germany's Angelique Kerber at the Wimbledon
Tennis Championships, in London, Saturday July 14. (AP Photo/Tim
London (AP) — Serena
Williams climbed 153 spots in the WTA rankings after her runner-up
finish at Wimbledon, putting her back in the top 30.
Williams is ranked 28th in the
list published Monday. At Wimbledon, the former No. 1 was playing
only her fourth tournament after returning from childbirth, but
still reached the final before losing to Angelique Kerber of
Germany. Kerber climbed six spots to No. 4, with Simona Halep
holding onto the top ranking despite going out in the third round at
the All England Club.
Kevin Anderson climbed into the
men's top 5 for the first time after his run to the Wimbledon final
put him in fifth place, while champion Novak Djokovic jumped 11
spots to No. 10. Rafael Nadal, who lost to Djokovic in the
semifinals, remains No. 1.
France beat Croatia 4-2 to win 2nd FIFA World Cup
French players celebrate with the FIFA World Cup trophy after the
final match between France and Croatia in the Luzhniki Stadium in
Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Moscow (AP) — Taking
turns sliding across the rain-soaked turf holding the World Cup
trophy tight, teenager Kylian Mbappe and the rest of France's
players acted like the youthful bunch they are.
Nothing, not a Pussy Riot
protest nor a postgame downpour that soaked Russian President
Vladimir Putin, was going to stop the party.
It carried on long after a
thrilling 4-2 win over Croatia on Sunday. In the locker room with
French President Emmanuel Macron striking poses with players, then a
champagne-spraying, water-splashing interruption of the coach Didier
Deschamps' news conference.
"Sorry! They're young and
they're happy," said Deschamps, like a proud father.
Deschamps had good reason to
indulge them. His team is mostly aged 25 or under and can return
almost intact to defend their title in 2022 in Qatar.
"Our children are going to be
very proud," forward Antoine Griezmann said. "The World Cup, it's a
The 19-year-old Mbappe became
only the second teen after Pele to score in a World Cup final.
Mbappe had just shown his
electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four
protesters who ran onto the field. Russian punk band Pussy Riot
later took credit for the incident — watched from the VIP seats by
Putin, whose government once jailed members of the activist group.
Charges were filed against the group Sunday, too.
Putin was later on the field to
award medals to the players in a ceremony soon drenched in rain and
joy. As thunder pealed and lightning cracked, FIFA president Gianni
Infantino handed France captain Hugo Lloris the gold World Cup
Gold confetti stuck to the
soaked Les Bleus as they paraded the trophy around the Luzhniki
Stadium, a final act of an enthralling tournament in which Croatia
reached their first final while powers Brazil, Germany and Argentina
went home early.
About 12 minutes after a
protester gave Mbappe a double high-five on the field, Mbappe sent a
right-footed shot from 25 yards past goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. The
goal put France up 4-1, closing the door on Croatia who had been the
better team until Mbappe took control.
The only other teen to score in
a World Cup final was Pele, who was 17 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2
Mbappe, who plays for Paris
Saint-Germain in the French league, was born months after France won
their only other World Cup title in 1998.
"I have a whole story to
write," Mbappe said. "This is just the beginning."
Paul Pogba and Griezmann,
France's two other key creative players, also scored. Pogba played a
disciplined role in Russia, but his natural joy was evident
celebrating his 18-yard shot, and leading the champagne shower for
But it was Mbappe who put the
match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second
half. In the 59th, a run from Mbappe started a play that ended up
with Pogba on the edge of the penalty area. With his second attempt,
the midfielder curled his shot beyond Subasic.
Griezmann scored from the
penalty spot in the 38th minute fully four minutes after his corner
kick was knocked out of play by Ivan Perisic's arm. The referee
ruled it handball only after a video review, just as the first
thunders claps boomed around the stadium.
"In a World Cup final, you do
not give such a penalty," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said.
France took the lead in the
18th when Croatia's tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter forward
Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann's free kick with the top of
his head. He deflected it past his own goalkeeper.
Perisic and Mandzukic both
scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later
as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a
flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out
of his goalmouth.
But the three-goal lead was too
much for the red-and-white-checkered squad that made a habit of
coming back at the World Cup — and played three straight 120-minute
games before the final.
"We were dominant, we had
control," Dalic said through a translator. "What we've had in terms
of luck over the tournament, we lacked that today."
Deschamps became only the third
man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. He joined Mario
Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany.
France's captain 20 years ago,
Deschamps was lifted up by his players on the field and flung into
the air several teams and caught. The normally staid coach did a few
skipping dance steps in the rain before stopping and laughing at
It was that kind of unbridled
evening for the French who won with an exuberance not often seen in
a mostly efficient, controlled title run.
Back home in France, tens of
thousands of fans headed to the Eiffel Tower to watch a broadcast on
giant screens that Paris police closed the area more than two hours
Two years ago at home, France
flopped in a European Championship final they were expected to win
"But maybe if we had been
European champions we would not be champions today," Deschamps said.
Djokovic wins 4th Wimbledon by beating Anderson in 3 sets
Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Kevin Anderson of South
Africa during the men's singles final match at the Wimbledon Tennis
Championships in London, Sunday July 15. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP)
London (AP) — Novak
Djokovic was disconsolate and injured when he left Wimbledon a year
ago, quitting during his quarterfinal because of a painful right
elbow that would need surgery.
Djokovic was so dispirited by
his upset exit at the French Open last month that he vowed, in the
heat of the moment, to skip the grass-court circuit.
Good thing he didn't stick to
that. Just look at him now, back at his best and Wimbledon's
champion for the fourth time. Djokovic ended a Grand Slam drought
that lasted more than two seasons, grabbing a lead in Sunday's final
right away against a weary Kevin Anderson and holding off a late
challenge to win 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Anderson nearly managed to
extend the match, five times standing just a point away from forcing
a fourth set. Djokovic held steady on each one, then was as superior
in the tiebreaker as he was most of the sun-drenched afternoon.
It is Djokovic's 13th major
trophy, the fourth-highest total in the history of men's tennis,
trailing only Roger Federer's 20, Rafael Nadal's 17 and Pete
But it's also Djokovic's first
since he completed a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open.
During that time, he struggled
with the first major injury of his professional career, one that
forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017. He eventually had
an operation this February, and as his losses accumulated, his
ranking fell out of the top 20 for the first time in more than a
At No. 21, Djokovic is the
lowest-ranked Wimbledon titlist since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
Under a pale blue sky
interrupted by only the occasional soft white puff of cloud, with
the temperature at 86 degrees (30 Celsius), Djokovic started so
well, and Anderson shakily.
That might have been easy to
This was, after all, the 22nd
Grand Slam final for Djokovic, and the second for Anderson, a
6-foot-8 powerful server who was the runner-up at last year's U.S.
Open and was aiming to become the first South African man to win at
Plus, Anderson could be excused
for exhaustion. His semifinal was the second-longest Grand Slam
match in history, lasting more than 6½ hours until he edged John
Isner 26-24 in the fifth set. And that followed another extended
fifth set in his 13-11 upset of eight-time champion Federer in the
So it was no wonder that, with
all of that time on court, all of that stress on his racket-swinging
arm, Anderson was visited by a trainer after Sunday's opening set to
get his right elbow massaged.
Anderson was so out of sorts,
his strokes so off-the-mark, that Djokovic gathered eight of the
first 10 games even though he only conjured up two winners. No need
for more, because Anderson gifted him 15 unforced errors in that
By the conclusion of a third
consecutive dud of a straight-set men's singles final at the All
England Club, Anderson had made 32 unforced errors, and the steady
Djokovic merely 13.
Another key: Djokovic was able
to handle Anderson's big serves much better than previous opponents.
Widely considered the top returner in the game today, Djokovic broke
Anderson four times. Consider that Anderson held in each of his last
27 service games against Isner, and dropped his very first on
And one more: Djokovic saved
all seven break points he faced, including five that would have
given Anderson the third set.
As much as Djokovic is known
for his body-bending defense and unerring reads on opponents'
serves, he's also someone who fills his matches with histrionics and
exaggerated reactions, whether violently smacking the side of his
shoe with his racket — as he did against Nadal — or tearing off his
shirt to celebrate a victory.
This day was no different.
Angered by fans making noise during points, he told the chair umpire
to tell them to shut up, adding a colorful word in there. He pointed
to his ear after winning one point, as if to say: "Who are you
cheering for now?!" He blew a kiss toward the stands after another.
But when he broke Anderson for
the second time in three service games at the outset, Djokovic
simply shook a clenched fist while calmly looking at his guest box
above the scoreboard. The bright yellow digits on there showed that
Djokovic already led 4-1 after all of 18 minutes.
Might as well have declared him
the champion, right then and there.
It was so lopsided for the
first hour-plus that spectators began pulling for Anderson, likely
in the hopes of getting more tennis for the price of their tickets,
which carry a face value of 210 pounds (about $275).
Just his earning a random
point, even via a Djokovic miscue, was reason to roar, it seemed.
Surely, Anderson appreciated the support. Didn't do a thing to alter
the ultimate outcome, however.
When Anderson pushed a forehand
return into the net to end it, Djokovic exhaled. After they shook
hands, Djokovic performed his ritual of bending down to grab a
couple of blades of grass and plopping them in his mouth, savoring
Pacquiao wins 60th career fight with seventh-round knockout
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines,
right, fights Lucas Matthysse of Argentina during their WBA
World welterweight title bout in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday,
July 15. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AP)
— Manny Pacquiao won for the 60th time with his first stoppage
in nine years, and made a proclamation.
"This is it. I am back in
boxing," the 39-year-old Pacquiao said after his seventh-round
knockout of Lucas Matthysse for the World Boxing Association
welterweight title on Sunday. "I am not done. I'm still there."
It was Pacquiao's first bout
since a contentious loss last year to Jeff Horn in Australia, and
since parting ways with longtime trainer Freddie Roach to work with
"It's just a matter of time.
You have to rest and get it back and that's what I did."
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs)
knocked Matthysse down onto one knee in the third and fifth rounds.
He knocked the Argentine down again in the seventh, and Matthysse
spat out his mouthpiece, causing a frenzy among Pacquiao fans in the
"I am not boasting but ... I
think he's hurting from my punches," said Pacquiao, who hadn't won
by knockout since 2009. "Every punch that I throw, he's hurt. I
think he's scared of my punches."
Matthysse, who won 36 out of 39
matches by knockout, said Pacquiao was a "great fighter, a great
legend," adding that he planned to take a break.
Philippines President Rodrigo
Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attended the
fight, the biggest in the country since the 1975 heavyweight clash
between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner.
"I would like to congratulate
Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino
nation together once more," said Duterte, who flew to Malaysia for
the bout ahead of an official visit.
Duterte said in a statement
that Pacquiao has proven himself again as "one of the greatest
boxers of all time" and that the win will cement his legacy in the
Scores of screaming Filipino
fans in the stadium waved flags and chanted "Manny, Manny"
throughout the match. Pacquiao's rise to fame from an impoverished
rural childhood to become one of the world's wealthiest sportsmen
over his 23-year career has made him a national hero.
Pacquaio said he will return to
his work as a senator for now but won't be hanging up the gloves
"I am addicted to boxing. I
really love to fight and bring honor to my country," he said.
"That's my heart's desire."
Horn, who lost his WBO
welterweight title to Terence Crawford in Las Vegas last month, was
quick to respond to Pacquiao's victory.
Pacquiao," Horn posted on Instagram. "Rematch?"
In the other title fights,
Filipino Jhack Tepora had a knockout win over Edivaldo Oretga of
Mexico for the interim WBA featherweight title. Venezuela's Carlos
Canizales defended his WBA world light flyweight title against
China's Lu Bin, who had been aiming to become the first boxer to win
a major world title in just two career fights. South African Moruti
Mthalane got a unanimous decision against Pakistan's Muhammad Waseem
to capture the IBF flyweight title.
Suwannapura gets first LPGA Tour win at Marathon Classic
Thidapa Suwannapura kisses the trophy after winning the LPGA golf
Marathon Classic, Sunday, July 15, at Highland Meadows in Sylvania,
Ohio. (Kurt Steiss/The Blade via AP)
Sylvania, Ohio (AP) —
Thidapa Suwannapura's main focus going into the Marathon Classic was
trying to put together four solid rounds that would help her keep
her LPGA Tour card.
She doesn't have to worry about
that any longer.
Suwannapura picked up her first
win on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first
playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at Highland Meadows.
In the playoff, Suwannapura
converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot
into a water hazard and scrambled for par.
"I never expect it was going to
be today at all. I've just been struggling the whole year," said
Suwannapura, whose previous best finish was seventh at the 2014
Kingsmill Championship. "Finally all my work I've been doing has
come out and shown up today. After I knocked that last putt in, it
just felt like a dream come true."
With the win, the 25-year-old
Thai player has an exemption through the 2020 season. She is also
the sixth first-time winner on tour this year
Suwannapura picked up three
strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and
closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th to finish at 14-under 270.
She then had to wait for the final seven groups to finish.
"I did not think or expect that
14 would be good enough, because I know there were two par-5s coming
in on 17 and 18, and it's a good opportunity for players to make
birdie," Suwannapura said. "I was just chilling in the clubhouse,
you know, being silly and stuff, trying to relax, and see what
they're doing. Now, like, 'Oh, I have to go warm-up and try to win
Lincicome shot 67. She had a
chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet
did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed
Despite having eight career
victories, including this season's opener in the Bahamas, the
32-year-old Lincicome said she was extremely nervous standing over
"I was shaking so bad. I had to
take so many deep breaths. So it's kind of cool to have those
nerves, but learning how to play through them after 12 years of
being a pro ... 14 years of being a pro, I still haven't figured it
out, so that's a little disappointing," she said. "(The putt) caught
a lot of the hole, so I feel like I hit a pretty good putt for how
nervous I was. I really haven't seen one that aggressive in a long
time, so that was just unfortunate, really."
Next up for the big-hitting
Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol
Championship in Kentucky. She will become the first woman since 2004
to play in a PGA Tour event.
Third-round leader Brooke
Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest
of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped
her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a
2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.
"Sometimes golf is weird.
Sometimes it just doesn't go your way, and that was kind of me the
last four holes," said Henderson, who lost for only the second time
in six occasions she has led after 54 holes.
Besides the tour exemption,
Suwannapura's win came with another bonus. She was one of five
players to earn a spot in the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham &
The top five players not
already exempt earned spots. The other qualifiers were Daniela
Darquea, Celine Herbin, Mina Harigae and Mel Reid.
Degenkolb masters cobblestones as Porte crashes out of Tour
Belgium's Greg van Avermaet, wearing the
overall leader's yellow jersey, left, and Slovakia's Peter Sagan,
wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, ride over a cobblestone
section of the ninth stage of the Tour de France cycling race near
Arras, France, Sunday, July 15. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena )
Roubaix, France (AP) —
Richie Porte sat on the pavement grasping his right shoulder and
grimacing in pain. A fan helped Chris Froome get going after he
tumbled onto grass lining the road. Romain Bardet recovered from
three punctured tires.
And they were only the
highest-profile riders to face mishaps in the action-packed
cobblestoned Stage 9 of the Tour de France on Sunday.
Every cyclist who reached the
finish was covered in dust — many with their jerseys torn to shreds
Spanish rider Gorka Izaguirre
had the unusual experience of his rear wheel buckling to the point
that it looked like something out of a scrap heap.
John Degenkolb won a three-man
sprint to take victory in a memorable stage, while overall contender
Porte crashed out of the race.
Yellow-jersey holder Greg Van
Avermaet crossed second and increased his overall lead to 43 seconds
ahead of Geraint Thomas, a teammate of Froome's at Sky. Yves
Lampaert of Quick-Step finished third.
"It was a pretty hectic day,"
Van Avermaet said after the dust settled.
Added Thomas, "It was just hard
all day from kilometer zero. You've got to be in the right position
but you also need the luck because it's easy to puncture or get
caught up in something."
Froome, the four-time champion,
crossed in the main pack, 27 seconds behind, overcoming a crash with
45 kilometers to go that saw him go over the top of teammate Gianni
"I'm relieved to get through
today and looking forward to getting into the mountains now where
the real race for GC (general classification) will start," Froome
Froome moved up to eighth
overall, 1:42 behind Van Avermaet, who is not a threat in the
Porte, the BMC team leader,
crashed out of the Tour 10 kilometers into the 156.5-kilometer leg —
before any of the 15 cobblestone sections. He was later diagnosed
with a fractured right clavicle.
Porte also crashed out of last
year's Tour in the ninth stage, on a mountain descent.
"It won't be easy for him to
get back in his mind," teammate Van Avermaet said. "The good thing
is that his crash is not as bad as last year so he will recover
Rigoberto Uran, last year's
runner-up, and Mikel Landa, one of three leaders of the Movistar
team, also each crashed and lost time.
Bardet, the French hope who
finished on the podium the last two years, finished only seven
seconds behind the main pack despite having to be paced back to the
peloton three times.
Among the favorites in the
overall standings apart from Froome: Alejandro Valverde is fifth
(1:31 behind); Rafal Majka sixth (1:32); Jakob Fuglsang seventh
(1:33); Adam Yates ninth (1:42); Landa 10th (1:42); Vincenzo Nibali
12th (1:48); Tom Dumoulin 15th (2:03); and Bardet 17th (2:32).
It was the first career victory
at the Tour for Degenkolb, who rides for the Trek-Segafredo team.
The German rider won the Paris-Roubaix single-day classic, which
covers much of the same course, in 2015.
Degenkolb was the victim of a
serious training accident in January 2016 when a car drove into
oncoming traffic. Then he crashed in Paris-Roubaix this year and
injured his knee.
"You start doubting if you can
still do it," Degenkolb said. "That is the hardest part to don't
lose the trust in yourself and that you can still be up there. I am
so happy that my wife and my family gave me the strength to do this
to give it 100 percent and work hard. It is amazing."
Degenkolb became the third
rider to win both Paris-Roubaix and a cobbled stage at the Tour
after Roger De Vlaeminck and Bernard Hinault. His average speed over
the stage was 45.9 kph overall and 39.8 kph on the cobbles.
The route starting in Arras
contained the highest number of cobblestone sections since the 1980
Tour, with nearly 22 kilometers altogether.
While it wasn't rainy and muddy
like in April for the Paris-Roubaix race, the heat and sun made it
dry and dusty.
Others who crashed included:
Dylan Groenewegen, the Dutch rider who won the previous two stages;
Froome's Sky teammates Egan Bernal and Michal Kwiatkowski; American
hope Tejay van Garderen and Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli.
After the first rest day
Monday, the Tour resumes in the Alps on Tuesday with a
158.5-kilometer leg from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand featuring four
Anderson tops Isner 26-24 at Wimbledon; other SF suspended
Kevin Anderson of South Africa
celebrates winning a point from John Isner of the US during their
men's singles semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships,
in London, Friday July 13. (AP Photo/Glyn Kirk, Pool)
London (AP) — To say
that Kevin Anderson won this interminable Wimbledon semifinal, and
that John Isner lost it, didn't really seem fair. To Anderson,
They had played on and on,
through 6 1/2 hours of ho-hum hold after ho-hum hold, during the
second-longest match in the history of a tournament that began in
1877, all the way until the never-ending serving marathon did,
finally, end at 26-24 in the fifth set Friday, with Anderson
claiming the most important of the 569 points — the last.
So when Anderson left Centre
Court, well aware that his 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24
victory earned him the chance to win his first Grand Slam title at
age 32, the South African said: "At the end, you feel like this is a
draw between the two of us."
He continued: "John's such a
great guy, and I really feel for him, because if I'd been on the
opposite side, I don't know how you can take that, playing for so
long and coming up short."
Only one match at Wimbledon
ever lasted longer: Isner's 2010 first-round victory over Nicolas
Mahut, the longest match in tennis history. It went more than 11
hours over three days and finished 70-68 in the fifth on Court 18,
which now bears a plaque commemorating it.
Friday's contest lasted so
long, the day's second semifinal didn't finish.
Novak Djokovic was leading
Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) in a compelling showdown filled with
entertaining points that was suspended as soon as the third set
concluded at just past 11 p.m., the curfew at the All England Club.
Some people in the stands booed the decision to halt the match after
a fantastic tiebreaker in which Nadal wasted three set points at
6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. Djokovic cashed in on his second when Nadal's
backhand found the net after an 18-stroke exchange.
Because Nadal and Djokovic
didn't begin playing until after 8 p.m., the retractable roof above
the main stadium was shut between the matches and the arena's
artificial lights were turned on. Now they'll come back Saturday to
figure out who will face Anderson in the final, resuming at 1 p.m.
local time, under the roof.
The women's final between
Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will then follow. That creates
an unusual situation: Instead of a standard 2 p.m. start, Williams
and Kerber won't know exactly when their match will begin.
Anderson will certainly
appreciate the chance to put his feet up ahead of Sunday's final,
while Nadal and Djokovic — who have a combined 29 Grand Slam titles
between them, five at Wimbledon — push each other some more.
Anderson's fifth set alone
lasted nearly 3 hours as his semifinal became a test of endurance
more than skill.
"He stayed the course
incredibly well," said the No. 9 seed Isner, a 33-year-old American
playing in his first major semifinal. "Just disappointed to lose. I
was pretty close to making a Grand Slam final and it didn't happen."
Anderson finally earned the
must-have, go-ahead service break with the help of a point in which
the right-hander tumbled to his backside, scrambled back to his feet
and hit a shot lefty.
"That definitely brings a smile
to my face," said Anderson, the runner-up to Nadal at last year's
U.S. Open. "At that stage, you're just trying to fight in every
single moment, and I was like, 'Just get up!'"
The No. 8 seed Anderson
eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11
fifth set in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Between that and the
energy-sapper against Isner, it's hard to imagine how Anderson will
have much left for his second Slam final.
Wimbledon doesn't use
tiebreakers in the fifth set for men, or third set for women, so
there's nothing to prevent a match from continuing ad infinitum.
Both Isner and Anderson said they'd like to see that change.
At one point in the fifth set,
a spectator shouted, "Come on, guys! We want to see Rafa!"
The 6-foot-8 Anderson and 6-10
Isner go way back, to their college days, Isner at Georgia, Anderson
at Illinois. In the pros, Isner had won eight of 11 previous
matchups. But this one was as close as can be.
There wasn't a whole lot of
intrigue, or momentum shifts. The serving, though, was something
else. Isner pounded his at up to 142 mph; Anderson reached 136 mph.
They combined for 102 aces: 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.
"The effort they both put in
and the performance and the guts, the way they competed — a lot to
be proud of," said Justin Gimelstob, one of Isner's coaches.
Both failed to seize early
opportunities. Isner wasted a set point in the opener. Anderson
served for the third at 5-3, got broken, and then had a pair of set
points in that tiebreaker, double-faulting one away.
By the latter stages, with
break chances so rare, murmurs would spread through the Centre Court
stands whenever a game's returner got to love-15 or love-30.
Could we be about to see the
sixth and last break of a match that would end up with 90 holds?
Repeatedly, the answer was, of
course, "No," even when Anderson held break points at 7-all, 10-all
and 17-all. The 10-all game ended with Isner hitting a forehand
passing winner on the run to hold, then letting his momentum carry
him directly to his sideline chair, where he plopped himself down.
By the end, he was looking
exhausted, leaning over to rest a hand on a knee between points.
"I feel pretty terrible," Isner
said afterward. "My left heel is killing me and I have an awful
blister on my right foot."
He never got a break point in
the fifth set. Anderson finally came through on his sixth for a
25-24 lead, when Isner wearily put a backhand into the net.
Then Anderson served out the
victory, with Isner sailing a forehand wide on match point.
Soon, they were meeting for an
Karunaratne leads Sri Lanka to 272-run lead 2 days into test
Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, left, and teammates
appeal successfully for the wicket of South Africa's Vernon Philander,
second right, during the second day of their first test cricket match in
Galle, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 13. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Galle, Sri Lanka (AP)
— A day after making a remarkable unbeaten 158, Dimuth Karunaratne
again tormented South Africa with a half-century as Sri Lanka began to
lock up the first test after day two on Friday.
Karunaratne became only the fourth
Sri Lankan to carry his bat through in the first innings, and his 60
second time around helped Sri Lanka to extend their lead to 272 runs.
South Africa face a tall order to
save the match on a crumbling pitch with plenty of assistance for spin
Hashim Amla, who captained South
Africa to a 1-0 series win the last time the Proteas were in Sri Lanka
in 2014, said 272 was already a handy lead for the pitch.
"If we manage to restrict them to,
I'd say 320, then certainly that would be a good target for us," Amla
said. "If a couple of us have a good partnership and one of us plays
like Karunaratne played, that would get us close to that score."
The visitors were bowled out for
126, their lowest total against Sri Lanka, eclipsing the 168 all out in
Durban in 2011.
"Like most pitches, as the days go
on the deterioration occurs," Amla said. "Today, it spun a little bit
more than yesterday. Tomorrow, maybe in the morning session it might not
spin as much and then break up and spin more and more."
Sri Lanka were 111-4 in their
second innings. Left-arm orthodox spinner Keshav Maharaj picked up the
first three wickets but, with a healthy first-innings lead of 161 runs,
the hosts could play with freedom.
With five overs left to stumps,
South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada dismissed Karunaratne, who was caught
at slip by Hashim Amla.
Danushka Gunathilaka (17) added 51
runs for the first wicket with Karunaratne and the former was dismissed
when he gave Maharaj the charge but couldn't clear the boundary. Rabada
ran to his left from long-on to complete the catch.
With the total on 64, Maharaj
struck twice in the space of four deliveries, removing Dhananjaya de
Silva (9) and Kusal Mendis (0) in quick succession. Mendis
unsuccessfully reviewed after being given leg before wicket.
Maharaj, however, couldn't trouble
Karunaratne as the left-hander was solid in defence and punished the
loose balls with a couple of elegant drives. He was Sri Lanka's best
batsman in 2017 having posted over 1000 runs in tests. He missed Sri
Lanka's recent tour of the Caribbean due to injury.
The Proteas had a dramatic collapse
in the morning. Resuming from the overnight score of 4-1, the Proteas
lost five wickets in the morning session for just 82 runs as the
three-pronged spin attack of Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan
Sandakan shared the bulk of the bowling.
Stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal,
the lone seamer in the Sri Lanka side, brought himself on in the last
over before lunch and by then the spinners had sent down 37 overs.
From 51-6, South Africa recovered
somewhat to reach 115-6 thanks to a seventh-wicket stand between Vernon
Philander (18) and Francois du Plessis (49). Sri Lanka made the
breakthrough after lunch as Philander was ruled leg before wicket to
Dilruwan Perera, who finished with four wickets.
"What we have realized is that they
don't play offspin too well," said Perera, who took 16 wickets in the
2014 series. "That has been evident in their last few series they have
played. Maybe that is one reason why I picked up four wickets today.
"We didn't expect to get them
bowled out for 126, though."
Lakmal hastened South Africa's
collapse with a superb piece of seam bowling accounting for the last
three batsmen including captain Du Plessis, who was clean bowled by a
delivery that cut back in sharply.
Pacquiao, Matthysse make weight for welterweight title fight
Philippine senator and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao trains at a press
preview in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, July 11. Pacquiao is
scheduled to fight Lucas Matthysse on July 15 for the World Boxing
Association welterweight title in Malaysia. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AP) —
Manny Pacquiao weighed in at a trim 146 pounds Saturday for his showdown
with World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse, who
also made weight at 146.7 pounds.
The legendary Filipino
eight-division champion and the Argentinian known as a knockout
specialist were comfortably below the 147-pound limit when they stepped
on a scale ahead of Sunday's bout, dubbed the "fight of champions."
Pacquiao, who turns 40 in December,
returns to the ring a year after his shock-decision loss to Australia's
Pacquiao didn't speak after the
weigh-in but the words on his long sleeve t-shirt made clear his
determination to seek a 60th victory: "Fight On."
He has 38 of his 59 wins by
knockout. Matthysse, 35, has 39 wins — 36 by knockout.
Pacquiao is fighting for the first
time with new trainer Buboy Fernandez. He replaced Pacquiao's longtime
trainer Freddie Roach, who Pacquiao dropped after 16 years together.
Chelsea fire manager Antonio Conte after 2 years in charge
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is shown in this May 19, 2018 file photo.
Chelsea fired Conte after a two-year tenure the London club said on Friday.
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
London (AP) - Antonio Conte's
protracted divorce from Chelsea was finalized on Friday when he was fired
after a two-year tenure in which he won the English Premier League and FA
Cup but failed to gain the power he craved at the London club.
Chelsea began a terse, four-sentence
statement on its website, "Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have
Leaving Stamford Bridge was always the
likely outcome for Conte following a season in which Chelsea missed out on
Champions League qualification after a fifth-place league finish, 30 points
behind champions Manchester City. The Italian coach regularly grumbled about
his failure to exert control, particularly over transfers.
Contrast that to the end of his first
season at the club, where Conte was feted for leading Chelsea to the league
title by seven points after a record-breaking run of 13 straight wins in the
middle of the season, sparked by an inspired and bold change of formation.
Conte took preseason training this week
at Chelsea's practice base in Cobham with players who hadn't featured at the
World Cup, but reports emerged in the Italian media on Thursday saying Conte
had been fired. That speculation only intensified when Chelsea midfielder
Cesc Fabregas and former Chelsea captain John Terry paid tribute to Conte on
"Thank you boss," Terry wrote on
Twitter. "Great man, Great manager. I wish you every success in the future."
The club's 64-word announcement was
eventually made on Friday, ending with: "We wish Antonio every success in
his future career."
Conte still had a year left on a
revised deal he signed last summer after delivering the fifth Premier League
title since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003. Only the pay was
improved, though, with Conte's contract still running for just another two
seasons — hardly a show of commitment by either the club or its manager.
The Italian's main gripe for the past
year was Chelsea's failure to land the signings he really wanted for their
Premier League title defence. Chelsea were beaten to the signing of Romelu
Lukaku by Manchester United and then Fernando Llorente by Tottenham, for
"The club decides every player," he
moaned last season.
Winning the FA Cup by beating
Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in May — and getting one over his great
managerial rival, Jose Mourinho — proved to be Conte's last hurrah and
maintained his record of winning a trophy every season he has been in charge
of Juventus — where he won the Serie A for four straight years — and
Chelsea seek a 13th permanent manager
under Abramovich's ownership, and at possibly the most turbulent period of
the Russian billionaire's trophy-filled reign.
It emerged in May that Abramovich had
yet to have his British visa renewed amid a crackdown by authorities on
associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chelsea also halted plans to
redevelop Stamford Bridge, citing an unfavorable climate to invest in the
500 million pound project.
Conte leaves amid reports in the
British and Italian media that former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri will take
over at Chelsea for next season.
Sarri's future has been up in the air
since Napoli hired Carlo Ancelotti as their new coach in May. Sarri spent
three years at the club and led them to two runner-up finishes and a third
place, playing an entertaining and high-energy brand of football like that
seen at Man City under Pep Guardiola, Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino,
and Liverpool under Juergen Klopp.
Sarri didn't win a major title at
Napoli, however, and that would not be tolerated at Chelsea.
As Conte and many of his predecessors
have learned, even winning trophies is no guarantee of job security at
Chelsea under Abramovich.
Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon title, 24th Slam overall
Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Germany's Julia
Gorges during their women's singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon
Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12. (AP Photo/Kirsty
London (AP) — Yes, this will
be Serena Williams' 10th Wimbledon final. Yes, it's her 30th title match
at any major. And, well, sure, she's widely regarded as not just the
best of her era, but any era.
Let others shrug at this latest
accomplishment, as if all it signified were merely another chance at
another in a long line of trophies. Williams is not shy about saying
she, for one, is impressed by this. Rightly so. For it was only about 10
months ago she was having a baby and then dealing with a serious health
scare that followed.
Even after all of that, even after
more than a year away from the game, even in only the fourth tournament
of her comeback, Williams showed she's still capable of dominance.
Especially at the All England Club, where a relatively routine 6-2, 6-4
victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany on Thursday put
Williams one win away from an eighth championship.
She's also closing in on her 24th
Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record.
"A lot of people were saying, 'Oh,
she should be in the final,'" the 36-year-old Williams said. "For me
it's such a pleasure and a joy because, you know, less than a year ago,
I was going through so much stuff."
After hitting five aces with a
serve that reached 119 mph, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced
errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort, Williams
will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.
"Whatever happens, honestly,"
Williams said, "it's an incredible effort from me."
The left-handed Kerber, a former
No. 1 and two-time major champion, beat 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko
6-3, 6-3 earlier Thursday.
"Seeing her back, it's great," said
Kerber, who has lost six of eight previous matches against Williams. "I
know that she is always pushing you to the limits."
Kerber let 2017 French Open
champion Ostapenko determine the outcome of nearly every point. By the
end, Ostapenko had far more winners, 30-10, and far more unforced
Williams vs. Kerber will be a
rematch of the 2016 final. Williams won that for a second consecutive
Wimbledon title, then sat out the grass-court tournament last year while
pregnant, part of a 16-month gap between majors.
After giving birth to daughter
Olympia last September, Williams was treated for blood clots.
"I lost count after, like, four
surgeries," said Williams, who has been wearing compression leggings
this fortnight as a precaution.
Her first Grand Slam tournament
back was the French Open, where she won three matches before withdrawing
last month because of an injured chest muscle.
All of the time away pushed someone
who's spent more than 300 weeks ranked No. 1 down the rankings — she
began Wimbledon at 181st, but was seeded 25th on account of her past
success — and no one could quite be sure how the American would fare
over these two weeks.
Not even Williams knew.
"This is not inevitable for me. I
had a really tough delivery ... and almost didn't make it, to be
honest," Williams said. "I remember I couldn't even walk to my mail box,
so it's definitely not 'normal' for me to be in a Wimbledon final."
The victory over Goerges extended
Williams' winning streak at Wimbledon to 20 matches, dating to the start
of the 2015 edition. She's also won her past 15 Grand Slam matches since
the start of the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant.
That title pushed her past Steffi
Graf's record of 22 majors in the half-century professional era; Court
won some of her Slams during the amateur era.
Williams' match against Goerges was
even until 2-all, 30-all. Until then, Goerges, the first seeded player
Williams faced these two weeks, showed she was capable of trading power
from the baseline and big serves with Williams.
There were moments when watching
Goerges made it easy to wonder how it could be possible she never had
been past a major's fourth round until now. Or, more to the point on
this afternoon, how such a stinging serve and groundstrokes didn't help
her avoid first-round exits each of the past five years at Wimbledon.
But she couldn't keep up with
Williams, who grabbed 18 of 22 points and five consecutive games to
close the first set and begin the next.
"She brings her 'A game' in a lot
of important moments," Goerges said. "We saw that she improved every
single match she's playing here."
There was one brief blip to come:
Williams got broken for the only time while serving for the match at
5-3. Immediately, though, she broke back at love to end it, placing her
left fist on her chest when Goerges' last shot landed long.
Later, Williams was asked whether
this has been her most trying comeback in a career that's had its share,
including an earlier bout with blood clots in her lungs.
"I don't know if it's been the
toughest, because I have Olympia. For me, I only see joy out of it,"
Williams said with a smile. "In a way, it's by far the toughest, but in
a way it's by far the best."
Suwannapura leads after first round at LPGA Marathon Classic
Thidapa Suwannapura laughs as she talks with her caddie before teeing
off during the first round of the LPGA Marathon Classic golf tournament,
Thursday, July 12, at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
(Kurt Steiss/The Blade via AP)
Sylvania, Ohio (AP) — For
only the second time in her seven-year career, Thidapa Suwannapura took
the overnight lead at an LPGA Tour event.
Suwannapura shot a 6-under-par 65
on Thursday at the Marathon Classic and led seven players by one shot.
The Thai player grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on the par-5
18th at Highland Meadows — her 10th birdie of the day.
"I'm really happy about the way I
played today," she said. "I didn't really look at the leaderboard, and
did not even expect anything. I have a chance, so let's see how it
Suwannapura, who has three top-10
finishes in 120 career LPGA Tour starts, last had the overnight lead
after the first round of the 2013 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, where
she faded in the second round and finished in a tie for 65th.
The 25-year-old Suwannapura's best
career finish was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Invitational. That was
also her last top 10. This season, her best performance was a tie for
18th three weeks ago in Arkansas.
Seven players, including defending
champion I.K. Kim and former No. 1 Yani Tseng, were a stroke behind at
Kim, who started her round on the
back nine, said conditions were calmer once she made the turn. She
birdied five of the final six holes, including the par-4 ninth.
"Not much wind out there. So I took
that advantage on the front nine," she said. "I had a good roll, all
three birdies in a row. And birdieing the last two par-5's was really
Tseng was the only player in the
top eight to have a bogey-free round. She missed an eagle putt on the
final hole that would have drawn her even with Suwannapura.
"I stayed patient all day. Just
need to get that putting going a little bit," Tseng said. "So today I
dropped a few, I missed a few, and this is how golf is. I feel like this
is the way I should play."
Yadav and Sharma help India outclass England in 1st ODI
Kuldeep Yadav appeals during the One Day International Series cricket match
between England and India at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England, Thursday,
July 12. (David Davies/PA via AP)
Nottingham, England (AP) —
Kuldeep Yadav and Rohit Sharma spearheaded India as they crushed England by
eight wickets in the first one-day international at Trent Bridge on
Sharma hit a wonderful 137 not out
after Yadav did the damage with the ball with six wickets, helping India win
with 10 overs to spare.
Jos Buttler top-scored for England –
who have a chance to level the series at Lord's on Saturday - with 53 but
they failed to deal with Yadav's spin before toiling in the field.
Yadav claimed 6-25 from 10 overs -
including 38 dot balls - as England were outclassed and dismissed for 268
having lost the toss and put into bat.
"We need to get better at playing him,"
England captain Eoin Morgan said.
"When he does bowl well he is very good
and he exposes an area of our game we need to improve on, that is a healthy
thing. It's a chance to improve in this area, however long it takes, between
now and the World Cup."
Yadav was backed up by the
quick-hitting openers before Shikhar Dhawan was caught for 40 after
mistiming a slog off Moeen Ali.
But it did little to slow India down as
they passed 100 with Sharma and Virat Kohli taking on England. They reached
their half-centuries as India cruised to 169-1, needing 100 to win from 25
The devastating Sharma rattled off a
century with a stunning six only after seeing Jason Roy drop an extremely
difficult chance when the opener was on 92.
Kohli, though, was stumped by Buttler
for 75 off Rashid to end the partnership at 167 but it was only a brief
respite for England.
Mark Wood's 0-55 from six overs was
costly but Morgan's side failed to post a competitive total.
England, who plundered a record 481 in
Nottingham against Australia last month, struggled despite an opening stand
Yadav took control in a devastating
spell, claiming 3-7 from two overs with Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Joe
Root all falling.
"Luckily I got three wickets in two
overs which changed the momentum," Yadav said.
"I'm enjoying English conditions at the
moment. I didn't try anything new, I stuck to the basics and stuck wicket to
wicket. I'm hoping for the test call and let's see what happens in a couple
of days when they announce the team."
Roy (38) was caught by Umesh Yadav
while Bairstow (38) and Root were trapped lbw in the 13th over.
It saw England slip to 82-3 and Morgan
(19) walked after bringing up England's 100, giving his wicket away after
being caught at midwicket off Yuzvendra Chahal.
From then it was slow going as Ben
Stokes took 103 balls to make his fifty and Buttler crept to a half-century
as the pair rebuilt the host's innings.
India restricted England to pinching
quick runs rather than plundering boundaries - a far cry from when Bairstow
and Alex Hales smashed Australia.
And when Kuldeep Yadav returned he had
Buttler caught behind for 53 thanks to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's impressive
Dumoulin and Bardet lose time at Tour after bikes break
Ireland's Daniel Martin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win
the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Mur-de-Bretagne
Guerledan, France, Thursday, July 12. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena )
Mur de Bretagne, France (AP) —
Sometimes in cycling the bike can be the rider's biggest enemy.
Tour de France contenders Tom
Dumoulin and Romain Bardet both lost significant time in the overall
standings after spokes on their wheels snapped near the uphill end of
Stage 6 on Thursday.
Both title hopefuls were left
behind by the rest of the top riders as they increased the pace hunting
for the win that finally went to Daniel Martin of Ireland.
Dumoulin said his bike broke when
he knocked into Bardet near the foot of the second of two two-kilometer
ascents up the Mur de Bretagne to the finish line.
"I hit the back wheel of Bardet
when there was the movement in the peloton and I couldn't avoid it," the
Dutch rider said. "I needed to change wheel and chase to the finish as
hard as possible but it was very difficult."
Dumoulin and his Sunweb team
compounded the mechanical mishap by getting a 20-second penalty when
Dumoulin stayed too close to the team car while trying to catch the
pack, thereby benefiting from its draft that pulled him along.
"I knew I wouldn't make it back so
it was about limiting the time loss," Dumoulin said. "I'm disappointed
of course, I would have liked to be in a better position on (general
classification) but that's how it is."
Dumoulin and Bardet entered the
three-week race among the chosen few riders considered strong enough to
challenge four-time champion Chris Froome.
Dumoulin, the time trial world
champion and 2017 Giro d'Italia winner, started the stage 44 seconds
ahead of Froome, but finished just behind him. Froome trails race leader
Greg Van Avermaet by 1:02. Dumoulin is one more second behind.
Bardet was already trailing Froome,
and after losing 28 seconds is now 1:45 off the leader's pace after he
broke his back wheel and had to change bikes with Tony Gallopin.
"Then I had to chase and that
effort was fatal. It's never good to lose time," said Bardet, who has
finished on the podium in the past two Tours. "There are a lot of twists
on the Tour and this time luck was not on our side."
Martin took the win for UAE
Emirates after he broke away on the final kilometer, winning the
181-kilometer leg that started in the western port city of Brest in over
Martin counterattacked when Richie
Porte jumped ahead and nobody immediately tried to reel him in.
"I saw the moment. I had really
good legs and when I went my legs kept coming and coming," Martin said.
"I knew if I could get a gap it would be difficult to close from
Pierre Latour crossed the line
second followed by Alejandro Valverde in third.
Van Avermaet, a BMC support rider
for Porte, kept the yellow jersey for a third straight day.
Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas
moved into second place overall at three seconds behind Van Avermaet
after snatching two additional bonus in an intermediate bonus sprint.
Martin was one of several team
leaders along with former Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali and two-time
runner-up Nairo Quintana who were caught off-guard by an attack by
Quick-Step midway through the stage during a straightaway that was
exposed to crosswinds.
A group of around 40 riders
including Froome opened up a gap of over a minute, but Martin and the
rest hustled back.
This was the first summit finish of
this Tour. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head
south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.
Friday's flat 231-kilometer leg
from Fougeres to Chartes is the longest stage of this Tour.
Croatia beat England 2-1, reach World Cup final for 1st time
Croatia's Ivan Perisic scores his side's first goal past England
goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the semifinal match between Croatia
and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Moscow (AP) — Croatia's legs
seemed heavy, burdened by the accumulated toll of consecutive
penalty-kick wins needed to get this far. England had gone ahead with a
free kick just five minutes in, dominated play and appeared headed to
their first World Cup final since 1966.
Then the second half started and it
was as if a different Croatian team had replaced the lethargic one.
Ivan Perisic tied the score in the
68th minute, Mario Mandzukic got the go-ahead goal in the 109th and
Croatia shocked England with a 2-1 victory Wednesday that advanced a
nation of just over 4 million to a World Cup final against France.
"Mentally strong team," midfielder
Ivan Rakitic said. "It's just unbelievable to get back in the game in
When the final whistle blew and
they knew they were going to their first World Cup final, the Croatians
ran to their jumping and cheering fans in their iconic red-and-white
checkered jerseys. Croatia joined an exclusive club of 13 nations that
advanced to a World Cup final, doing it in a tournament where powers
Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain made early exits.
"They've had an incredible route to
the final. They've shown remarkable character," said England coach
Gareth Southgate, who for now will be remembered more for a fashionable
waistcoat than ending a half-century of hurt.
France, who won their only title at
home in 1998, will have an extra day of rest after beating Belgium 1-0
Croatia, coming off 360 intense
minutes at soccer's highest level, face their biggest sporting moment
since becoming an independent nation in 1991.
"We started slowly, but we've shown
our character, just as we did in the previous two knockout rounds when
we were one-goal down," Perisic said.
Fans back home in Zagreb took to
the streets to celebrate, lighting flares and waving flags in a sea of
"We are a nation of people who
never give in, who are proud and who have character," said coach Zlatko
Dalic, who wore a checkered jersey to his post-match news conference.
"There's no weakness in a team that is in the final."
England were not among the top 10
nations in ticket sales before the tournament, but the team's progress
caused gallivanting supporters to flock to Moscow.
The front of the stands behind one
goal was filled with more than two dozen white banners with a red Cross
of St. George, pledging support from many of the island's clubs, from
Bradford to Wolverhampton. Back home, a crowd of 30,000 was in London's
Hyde Park for a large-screen viewing, the British Beer and Pub
Association predicted supporters would buy 10 million extra pints at
pubs during the match, and No.1 Court at Wimbledon was less than
one-third full for the men's quarterfinal between John Isner and Milos
Promise seemed about to be
fulfilled when Kieran Trippier curled in a free kick in the fifth minute
for his first international goal, above leaping Dejan Lovren and
Mandzukic and past the desperate dive of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Choruses of "God Save the Queen" began in England's end.
"We had a couple chances after that
to get the second, give ourselves a bit more breathing room," England
captain Harry Kane said.
Football will not be coming home to
England, and there will be no title to match the 1966 triumph at Wembley
Stadium. Kane & Co. will deal with the same disappointment that felled
Shearer and Platt, Gazza and Wazza, Beckham and Gerrard. And Southgate,
whose penalty-kick failure led to England's previous semifinal loss in a
major tournament, in the 1996 European Championship semifinals.
"Impossible to say anything to them
that is going to make them feel better at this point," Southgate said
after England's fourth straight loss in a major tournament semifinal.
Croatia tied the score after
Rakitic switched the ball from left flank to right, where Vrsaljko
crossed. Kyle Walker attempted a diving header to clear. Perisic jumped
and from behind raised his left boot over Walker's head to poke the ball
past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from about 8 yards for his fourth World
Cup goal, including two in this tournament.
Mandzukic scored after Walker stuck
out a leg to block Josip Pivaric's cross. The ball popped up, and
Perisic outjumped Trippier to head the ball toward goal. Mandzukic
alertly reacted to the unexpected ball in the penalty area, splitting
defenders Stones and Harry Maguire, who both had taken four short steps
up. The ball bounced twice, Mandzukic ran onto it and one-timed a low,
left-footed shot to Pickford's left.
"Three times 120 minutes and
fresher legs today than the English team," Lovren marveled.
Mandzukic ran to a corner and was
mobbed by teammates, who jumped on him and trapped photographers under
them in the crush.
Not long after, Dalic was thinking
about the short recovery time before the final.
"It's our fault. Why didn't we
score earlier?" he said. "Why didn't we finish the job in regulation
Rakitic wasn't worried.
"We still have lots of energy in
the tank," he said.
Federer stunned in Wimbledon QF; Nadal, Djokovic, Isner win
Switzerland's Roger Federer prepares to leave the court after losing his
men's quarterfinals match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa, at the
Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Wednesday July 11. (AP
London (AP) — Roger Federer
was a point away from a rather tidy, straight-set victory in the
Wimbledon quarterfinals. One lousy point.
And then, slowly, over the next
two-plus hours, all the way until the fifth set reached its 24th game,
as the temperature dropped and the spectators' cries of "Let's go,
Roger!" echoed through the shadows, everything came apart for the
eight-time champion. Against an opponent who'd never beaten him nor made
it this far at the All England Club.
In a stunning turnaround in an
unfamiliar setting — No. 1 Court instead of Centre Court — the
top-seeded Federer blew a third-set match point and, eventually, all of
his big lead in a 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 loss to No. 8 Kevin
Anderson on Wednesday in a 4-hour, 14-minute tussle.
"It was just one of those days
where you hope to get by somehow," said Federer, who last played at No.
1 Court in 2015. "I almost could have. I should have."
While his tournament is over, two
of his long-time rivals at the top of tennis set up a semifinal
showdown: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nadal, who's won two of his
17 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, edged 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan
Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a wildly entertaining
match that featured diving shots by both and lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes.
Djokovic, whose 12 major
championships include three from the All England Club, got to his first
Grand Slam semifinal since 2016 by beating No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori
6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
In Friday's other men's match,
Anderson will face No. 9 John Isner, the 33-year-old American who
reached his first major semifinal in his 41st try by eliminating 2016
runner-up Milos Raonic 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-3. Isner hit 25 aces,
saved the only break point he faced, and has won all 95 of his service
games in the tournament.
Federer hadn't been broken until
facing Anderson. Still, the 20-time major champion was leading by two
sets and 5-4 in the third when, with Anderson serving, he got to Ad-Out.
He could have ended things right then and there. Federer managed to
return a 134 mph serve, but on his next stroke, he shanked a backhand.
Back to deuce. From there, it all
began to change. Anderson held for 5-all, broke to 6-5 with a violent
return winner off a 97 mph second serve, then staved off three break
points and closed the set with a 133 mph ace.
The comeback was just beginning.
"I had my chances," Federer said,
"so it's disappointing."
This was only the third time in
Federer's 20 years of contesting Grand Slam matches that he lost after
taking the opening two sets; both of the other defeats came in 2011.
And, according to the ATP, it's the fifth time Federer lost a match at a
major after holding a match point, something else that last happened
seven years ago.
How hard was it to see this coming?
First of all, Federer was 4-0
against Anderson, winning every set. But there was more. So much more.
Federer was attempting to reach his 13th semifinal at Wimbledon and move
closer to title No. 9, both of which would have broken his own records.
He came into the match having won
32 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, a run he stretched to 34 before
"I just kept on telling myself, 'I
have to keep believing.' I kept saying that today was going to be my
day," Anderson said, "because you really need that mindset taking the
court against somebody like Roger."
Anderson was the runner-up to Nadal
at last year's U.S. Open, but he never made it beyond the fourth round
at Wimbledon until this week. He hit 28 aces against Federer, saved nine
of 12 break points and managed to hold his own in the rare lengthy
"It's like that with the big
servers," Federer said. "You're never really safe."
As the fifth set became as much a
test of mental strength as anything, from 4-all to 6-all to 8-all to
10-all, Anderson stayed steady. It was Federer who blinked,
double-faulting to face a break point at 11-all, then slapping a
forehand into the net.
Anderson, a 32-year-old South
African who played college tennis at Illinois, served it out, ending
things with a 128 mph service winner before raising both arms.
Djokovic got his wish to play in
the main stadium, and he showed that he might completely be back from
right elbow troubles that lasted more than a year until he finally had
surgery in February.
He's been flashing some anger this
fortnight and did so again in the second set, bouncing his racket off
the turf after failing to capitalize on three break points at 1-all.
That earned a code violation from chair umpire Carlos Ramos. When
Nishikori let his own racket fly in the fourth set, he wasn't chastised,
which prompted Djokovic to yell "double standards" toward Ramos —
drawing boos from fans.
"He claims that he didn't see what
Nishikori has done, but apparently he always sees what I do," Djokovic
said afterward, "something that I don't think is fair."
Later, Ramos warned Djokovic for a
time violation, but that didn't seem to faze the Serb.
Soon enough, Djokovic was on his
way to the semifinals, where he will meet Nadal.
"I like the level of tennis that
I'm playing on right now. I really do. I think with the performances
I've had, I deserve to be in the semifinals," said Djokovic, whose last
major title came at the 2016 French Open. "I don't want to stop here. I
hope I can get a chance to fight for a trophy."
He'll have to get past Nadal first.
NFL players union files grievance over anthem policy
San Francisco 49ers players kneel during the national anthem
before an NFL football game in this Dec. 24, 2017, file photo. (AP
Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
New York (AP) —
The NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the league on Tuesday
challenging its national anthem policy.
The union says that the new policy,
which the league imposed without consultation with the NFLPA, is
inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on
players' rights. The filing met a statute of limitations deadline and
will be heard by an independent arbitrator, an NFLPA spokesman said.
In May, the NFL approved its
national anthem policy at its owners meetings in Atlanta. The policy
allows players to protest during the national anthem by staying in the
locker room, but forbids them from sitting or taking a knee if they're
on the field or the sidelines.
Teams will be subject to fines if
players don't comply and will have the option of punishing players.
When the league announced the
policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell called it a compromise aimed at
putting the focus back on football after a tumultuous year in which
television ratings dipped nearly 10 percent; some blamed the protests
for such a drop. The union said at that time that it would file a
grievance against any change in the collective bargaining agreement.
The union said Tuesday it has
proposed having its executive committee talking to the NFL instead of
proceeding with litigation. The union said the NFL has agreed to those
The NFL declined to comment about
the union's action.
In 2016, then-49ers quarterback,
Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality and social injustice
by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to
other players and teams. It became one of the most controversial and
sensitive issues in the NFL, with players saying their messages last
year were being misconstrued, while others — including President Donald
Trump — called them unpatriotic. Trump even said NFL owners should fire
any player who refused to stand during the anthem.
Following those comments, more than
200 players protested during the anthem that weekend before the number
of protesters dwindled as the season progressed.
"We're here for a bigger platform,"
Raiders tight end Jared Cook said during the spring. "We're not just
athletes. We're people that live this. It's people in our neighborhood,
it's people that we grew up with, it's people that we know who are
actually living through these circumstances. So when we speak on it,
it's not like we're just speaking out of the side of our neck. It's
things that actually touch home and things that we can actually relate
"All I have to say is, I just think
it's sad that it's veered from something that stood for good and the
whole narrative has changed into something that's negative when that was
not what it was initially about in the first place."
The NFL started requiring players
to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 — the year it signed a
marketing deal with the military.
"We want people to be respectful of
the national anthem. We want people to stand," Goodell said at the May
meetings, when he dismissed concerns about the lack of union involvement
by contending the league met with countless players over the past year.
"We've been very sensitive on
making sure that we give players choices," the commissioner added, "but
we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are
going to focus on."
The league and the Players
Coalition have been working in tandem on efforts to support player
initiatives in the community and for a variety of social issues. The NFL
is committing $90 million over the next seven years to social justice
causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.
Billie Jean King among athletes opposing IAAF hormone policy
Former tennis star Billie Jean King. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
New York (AP) —
Billie Jean King is among more than 60 athletes urging international
track and field's governing body to rescind its new standard on natural
hormone levels for female runners.
The tennis great joined the
athletes in an open letter asking the IAAF to end its policy passed in
April that limits testosterone levels for middle-distance runners. Two
sports groups — the Women's Sports Foundation and Athlete Ally —
released the letter Tuesday.
Soccer's Megan Rapinoe, hockey's
Meghan Duggan and softball's Jessica Mendoza are among the signees. They
say the standard discriminates against female athletes and "no woman
should be required to change her body" to compete in sports.
World and Olympic 800-meter
champion Caster Semenya recently challenged the policy before the Court
of Arbitration for Sport. The policy requires women to take birth
control pills to lower testosterone levels and is to take effect Nov. 1.
Rapinoe pointed to the wingspan of
swimmer Michael Phelps and height of basketball player Yao Ming.
"This is just another way in which
sport governing bodies police dominant female athletes — but never our
male counterparts," she said.
Superb defence takes France through to World Cup final
France's Samuel Umtiti celebrates after scoring his side’s winning
goal against Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in St. Petersburg,
Russia, Tuesday, July 10. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) —
France's defence made the difference — on both sides of the field.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kept out the
shots and defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal from a corner.
It was France's backline, not their
slick attackers, that carried the team to the World Cup final with a 1-0
victory over Belgium on Tuesday.
"This is why football is magical,
it gives everyone emotions. It's tough not to give into euphoria, but
it's a fantastic moment," Lloris said. "We feared them on set pieces,
but in the end it was us scoring from one."
France coach Didier Deschamps fell
into Umtiti's arms after the final whistle. His superbly drilled
defence, led by Raphael Varane, neutralized Belgium's much-hyped attack
to record a fourth shutout in six games so far.
"They have so many athletic
players, to have resisted in defence is very good. We had to defend very
deep sometimes," Deschamps said. "We came up against a very good Belgium
side which controlled the game more than us. But we also hurt them."
Umtiti danced in front of the
French fans, while center back partner Varane walked over to them and
pumped his clenched fist. Varane was injured when France lost the
European Championship final two years ago, and he looks determined to
make up for it.
The spotlight has been on
19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe in Russia, whose electric pace and
skill lit up the tournament. But for the second consecutive knockout
game, a defender managed to score when Mbappe couldn't.
Against Uruguay last Friday, it was
Varane's header that gave France the lead in a 2-0 win. A few days
later, it was Umtiti rising to head home a corner from the right in the
"Enormously proud," Umtiti said.
"We worked really hard together, and it's me that scored but we all
delivered a big game."
Umtiti showed superb timing to leap
above Belgium midfielder Maroune Fellaini — the tallest non-goalkeeper
on either side — and power a header past Thibaut Courtois.
"When you're not particularly tall
you need determination and the will to get in front of the opponent,"
Umtiti said. "The set piece was really well taken as well, and that
helped me beat someone as good as Fellaini in the air."
Forward Antoine Griezmann set up
Umtiti's and Varane's headed goals with his cushioned delivery from set
pieces. But like Mbappe, he took a back seat against the Belgians as
Lloris and his defence starred at the St. Petersburg Stadium.
Varane made decisive headers to cut
out dangerous crosses and corners, and read to perfection almost every
run from Romelu Lukaku and the fleet-footed Eden Hazard. He also
compensated for the times when right back Benjamin Pavard was caught out
of position, particularly by Hazard, when Belgium dominated the opening
When France's defence was breached,
the agile Lloris was on hand to make decisive saves — just like against
Uruguay. He made a superb, leaping stop to his right to palm away a
sudden strike from Toby Alderweireld in the 22nd minute that would have
gone inside the left post.
Midway through the second half,
Lloris was there again, springing off his line to punch away a dangerous
right-wing cross from Belgium substitute Dries Mertens.
With 10 minutes left and Belgium
pressing, Lloris flew off his line to his left to push away a powerful
shot from midfielder Axel Witsel.
France won their only World Cup 20
years ago, thanks to a commanding goalkeeper — Fabien Barthez —
protected by a rock-solid defence which also chipped in with goals.
In 1998, a defender — Laurent Blanc
— scored in the first knockout game to defeat Paraguay in extra time;
and Barthez saved France in a tense penalty shootout against Italy in
the quarterfinals. Then, right back Lilian Thuram scored the only two
goals of his career to help France beat Croatia in the semifinals.
France kept five shutouts in seven
games back then. With Croatia or England awaiting in Sunday's final, the
formula is one game away from working again.
Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid to join Italian club Juventus
In this Saturday, May 26, 2018 file photo Real Madrid's Cristiano
Ronaldo celebrates with the Champions League trophy at the Olimpiyskiy
Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Madrid (AP) - Cristiano
Ronaldo is leaving Real Madrid to join Italian club Juventus in a move
expected to benefit the Portugal forward's tax return.
Juventus said Tuesday it is paying
112 million euros for Ronaldo, who will sign a four-year deal with the
Serie A champions.
The move brings an end to a hugely
successful nine-year spell in Spain, and takes him further away from a
tax fraud case that may end up costing the Portugal forward more than
$20 million in fines.
"These years with Real Madrid and
in this city of Madrid have been possibly the happiest of my life,"
Ronaldo wrote in an open letter. "My only feeling is of an enormous
gratitude for this club, for these fans and for this city. I can only
thank them all for the love and affection I have received.
"But I think the time has come to
start a new phase in my life and that is why I have asked the club to
accept my transfer. I feel that it is time, and I ask everyone,
especially our fans, to please understand me."
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009
from Manchester United and is the Spanish club's all-time leading scorer
with 451 goals in 438 matches. He helped the club win four Champions
League titles — beating Juventus in the final in 2017 — and also won the
league and cup twice each.
He has scored a record 120
Champions League goals, 105 of them since moving to Madrid — 12 more
than Juventus managed in that same period.
But he was unhappy with the way the
tax authorities treated him in Spain. Ronaldo, along with several other
top players in the country, has been accused of tax fraud, with
authorities saying the government was defrauded of 14.7 million euros
from 2011-14. Unconfirmed media reports last month said Ronaldo had
agreed to pay a fine of 18.8 million euros.
In Italy, a new law caps tax on
income generated from abroad at 100,000 euros per year for residents who
have paid their taxes in other countries for at least nine of the last
Other players targeted by Spanish
tax authorities in recent years include Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano
and Luka Modric. Former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, now at
Manchester United, was also investigated.
Ronaldo is currently on vacation in
Greece following Portugal's elimination from the World Cup. Juventus
president Andrea Agnelli flew out Tuesday to meet the 33-year-old
"Real Madrid wants to express its
gratitude to a player who has proven to be the best in the world and who
has marked one of the greatest eras in the history of our club and of
world soccer," Real Madrid said in a statement.
"In addition to the titles he won,
Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work,
responsibility, talent and determination," Madrid added. "For Real
Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its greatest symbols and
a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be
Ronaldo signed a five-year deal
with Madrid in 2016, saying he wanted to end his career at the club. But
he has also publicly expressed his discontentment about being jeered at
times by some Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Ronaldo was also moved by the
Juventus fans for giving him a standing ovation after he scored a
spectacular goal against the Italian club at the Allianz Stadium in the
Champions League quarterfinals last season.
"I gave a lot of thought to this
and I know that the time has come for a new era," Ronaldo said. "I'm
leaving, but this jersey, this shield and the Santiago Bernabeu will
always feel as something that is mine wherever I go."
The signing breaks the Serie A
record, which Juventus set two years ago when they paid Napoli 90
million euros for Gonzalo Higuain.
Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting
Lisbon when he was 17. His crossover dribble was already famous when
Alex Ferguson brought him to Manchester United ahead of the 2003-04
season and gave him the No. 7 shirt of the recently departed David
He spent six seasons in England,
winning three Premier League titles, one Champions League title and one
Ronaldo led Portugal to their first
major title at the European Championship two years ago in France. He
helped the Portuguese team reach the semifinals in his first World Cup
Portugal were eliminated by Uruguay
in the round of 16 of this year's tournament in Russia. Ronaldo scored
four goals to take his tally to 85 for his country and break Ferenc
Puskas' record as Europe's all-time leading international scorer.
Serena Williams reaches Wimbledon semis
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates winning her women's
singles quarterfinal match against Italy's Camila Giorgi, at the
Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Tuesday July 10. (AP
London (AP) — There are
moments in which nothing at all seems different about Serena Williams,
moments such as when she unleashed a 109 mph service winner to even her
Wimbledon quarterfinal at a set apiece, leaned forward and yelled,
loudly as can be, "Cooome ooon!"
Or when, about 10 minutes later,
she stretched for a lunging backhand winner to break at love and take
control of the third set, then raised a fist, figuring a berth in her
11th semifinal at the All England Club was close at hand.
And after Williams came up with a
comeback to beat 52nd-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on
Tuesday, she headed off Centre Court with her right index finger aloft.
Yes, no matter what the rankings or seedings say, no matter how long she
was away, Williams still looks capable of playing like someone who's No.
1, just about 10 months after having a baby.
"Everything right now is a little
bit of a surprise. To be here. To be in the semifinals. I mean, I always
say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals," Williams
said. "But when it actually happens, it still is, like, 'Wow, this is
So what if she's still getting her
game in gear?
So what if Giorgi wouldn't seem to
miss while moving out to that early lead?
Williams never was worried about
"It's weird. Sometimes I feel,
'Man, I'm in trouble.' Sometimes I feel, 'I can fight.' For whatever
reason, today I was so calm," said 36-year-old American, who has been
wearing compression leggings as a precaution after a blood-clot scare
following her daughter's birth. "Even when I was down the first set, I
thought, 'Well, she's playing great. I'm doing a lot of the right
Asked whether that might represent
a new way of looking at things, Williams smiled.
"No. Just to be clear, that was
just today. I mean, I'm hoping this is, like, a new thing," she said.
"Honestly, I highly doubt it."
Next up for Williams as she tries
to earn her eighth title at the All England Club and 24th Grand Slam
trophy overall will be a match Thursday against No. 13 seed Julia
Goerges of Germany, a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 winner against No. 20 Kiki Bertens
of the Netherlands.
"It's pretty unreal for me," said
Goerges, who reached her first major semifinal at a tournament where she
exited in the first round each of the past five years.
The other semifinal is No. 11 seed
Angelique Kerber of Germany vs. No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Kerber is a former No. 1 who owns
two Grand Slam titles and was the runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon two
years ago. Ostapenko won last year's French Open.
Kerber needed seven match points to
close out No. 14 Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 7-5 at Centre Court,
while Ostapenko defeated 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika
Cibulkova of Slovakia 7-5, 6-4 at a windy No. 1 Court.
After a series of upsets made this
edition of Wimbledon the first since it began seeding players in the
1920s that none of the top 10 women reached the quarterfinals, Nos. 11,
12 and 13 are still around. And so is No. 25, Williams.
The All England Club seeded her
there as a nod to all of her past success at the grass-court major,
including titles the last two times she entered, in 2015 and 2016. She
missed Wimbledon a year ago because she was pregnant, going about 16
months between Grand Slam tournaments, so her ranking is just outside
the top 180.
That is going to change now.
Told she is guaranteed of rising to
51st next week — and higher if she reaches the final or wins the
championship — Williams joked: "Got to keep trekking on, though. Serena
Williams, 51? Eh, it doesn't have that same ring to it. The '1' part
does, but not the '5.'"
Williams is 3-0 against Goerges,
winning in straight sets each time.
"Every match starts from zero,"
Goerges said. "Everybody has the same chances to win that match, and I'm
looking forward to it."
After their most recent meeting, in
the French Open's third round last month, Williams pulled out of that
tournament, citing a chest muscle injury that made it too painful to
She went a couple of weeks without
practicing serves, and the rest did wonders. She hit one at 122 mph
against Giorgi, delivered six of her seven aces in the final set, and
won 44 of the last 54 points she served.
"I messed up too much on my
returns," said Giorgi, questioning her decision to stand inside the
baseline to receive serve.
Rare is the player who can produce
Williams' sort of pace on serves — Giorgi's average speeds were actually
faster on first and second serves, and she delivered the match's first
three aces — and mirror her power in groundstroke exchanges at the
But Giorgi plays with nary a trace
of subtlety and more than a bit of abandon, taking risky, flat chops at
the ball with serves, returns, forehands and backhands. She harbors no
compunction about striving for a point-ending winner with every stroke.
When she's calibrating properly, it all can be tough for opponents to
Well, for a set, anyway.
Gaviria beats Sagan again to claim 2nd Tour win on Stage 4
Colombia's Fernando Gaviria, center, sprints to win the fourth stage of
the Tour de France cycling race in Sarzeau, France, Tuesday, July 10. (AP
Sarzeau, France (AP) — Fernando
Gaviria and Peter Sagan have turned the first four days of the Tour de
France into an enthralling duel of rising star versus world champion.
And Tour newcomer Gaviria is winning so
Gaviria edged Sagan at the finish line
to claim Stage 4 on Tuesday and take his second stage win in his first
participation at cycling's greatest race.
The 23-year-old Colombian had already
bettered Sagan in a sprint to take the opening stage, amid rising
expectations since his four stage victories at last year's Giro d'Italia.
Sagan hit back by winning Stage 2 in an
uphill sprint after Gaviria had fallen in a group pileup on the final
Tuesday's flat leg with its
four-kilometer finish — the longest straightaway to conclude a leg on this
Tour— was perfect terrain for the budding rivals to break the tie.
After Quick-Step hunted down the
breakaway to set up Gaviria, he powered ahead of the pack with handlebars
swinging and crossed just inches ahead of Sagan and Andre Greipel in a close
Sagan was closing fast and seemed to be
on pace to overtake him just when Gaviria hit the line.
"He is faster than me," said Sagan, the
three-time defending world champion who excels in finishes on slight
"We will see. Maybe I will wait for
some mistake (to beat him). And maybe we will see the next days on the
climbs. Every stage is different, every sprint is different."
Gaviria finished the 195-kilometer leg
from La Baule to Sarzeau that started and finished on the Atlantic coast in
4 hours, 25 minutes, 1 second.
"It was a very difficult sprint, but we
knew how to pull it off," Gaviria said. "We didn't receive any help from the
other teams to bring the breakaway back, but at the end my team deserves
this victory and we can go to the hotel very happy with what we achieved."
Defending champion Chris Froome of Sky,
who remained 55 seconds back due to his fall in Stage 1, finished safely in
the pack with leader Greg Van Avermaet.
Riders were enjoying a calm sunny
afternoon until a pileup near the front of the peloton with just over 5K
left that sent several riders to the tarmac.
But there were no changes among the
Van Avermaet, the 2016 Olympic road
race champion who is support rider for BMC leader Richie Porte, took the
yellow jersey when his team won Monday's team time trial.
Tom Dumoulin was seventh (11 seconds
behind), last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran was 10th (:35) and Porte 14th
(:51). Movistar teammates Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa were 15th and
16th (:53), narrowly ahead of Froome. The 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali was
19th (1:06), Romain Bardet 20th (1:15) and Nairo Quintana was 48th (2:08).
A four-man breakaway opened up a gap of
more than seven minutes early on, but they were slowly reeled in by the
Quick-Step-led pack with 2 kilometers to go.
The Tour will spend three more days in
northeastern Brittany, where fans waved black-and-white striped Breton flag
on the roadside as the peloton rolled through the country villages.
Next up is Stage 5, a hilly
204.5-kilometer leg from Lorient to Quimper.
"Tomorrow is going to be a hard stage.
It is a mini-classic in the Tour," said Van Avermaet.
The Tour works its way east before
hitting the feared cobblestones of Stage 9 and then heading south and into