Maria Sharapova looks back to her best as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal show no signs of slowing down
LONDON: It is coming up to the end of the first week of the Australian Open, so we thought we would take a look and see how some of the big names fared on day five of the year’s first Grand Slam.
Maria Sharapova warned she is in the sort of form to win the Australian Open after she dumped Carolina Wozniacki out with an impressive 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win. It was the Russian’s best win since her return from a drugs ban and she looked like a winner-in-waiting.“I thought the level was quite high. I knew I’d get a tough match — she (Wozniacki) is the defending champion,” the five-time Slam champion said.“I haven’t played many matches in the last year against top players so it was really rewarding to win that last set. These are the kinds of matches I train for.”
Ageless Roger Federer marked his 100th Rod Laver Arena match Friday by storming past Taylor Fritz, then looked forward to a “high quality” last-16 clash against another young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas.The 20-time Grand Slam champion continued his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 third-round demolition of 21-year-old American Fritz in just 88 minutes of flawless tennis.Next up is 14th seed Tsitsipas. And the 37-year-old Federer is looking forward to taking on the fiery young Greek, who is 17 years his junior.Federer played him in the recent mixed teams Hopman Cup, winning a closely contested singles 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), and said he was impressed.“I think he played really well there. I actually did too. I thought it was really high quality tennis,” Federer said.“This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being a fourth round of a Slam.”
Rafael Nadal declared “everything is a step forward” after brutally brushing aside Alex de Minaur at the Australian Open Friday in just the Spaniard’s third match since the US Open.The world No. 2 was in ominous form as he continued his quest for an 18th Grand Slam by punishing the Australian teenager in a third-round tennis masterclass 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.“In general terms, everything is a step forward. So that’s positive news for me,” said the man who won the Aussie Open in 2009.“I’m very happy for the victory against someone who had won seven matches in a row, winning a tournament.”On his fitness Nadal added: “Probably 10 years ago it would have been difficult not playing much tennis in the build-up but now I have been in this situation many times with the injuries I have had.“I have to deal with the ups and downs of my body but I try to enjoy any moment on the court.”
The former US Open champions was made to work for his place in the last 16 as he struggled to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3. Verdasco showed glimpses of the form that once made him a top-10 player and had a match point, one he frittered away with a double fault.I was just slightly luckier in those crucial moments,” the sixth-seeded Cilic said.“(It is) unbelievable. Emotions were up and down,” Cilic said.“When I was down two sets to none, it was a big hill to climb.”It’s the seventh time in Cilic’s career that he has emerged to win a match after dropping the opening two sets.
Second seed Kerber received a gift ride into the Australian Open fourth round for her 31st birthday when she overpowered local wildcard Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0.The Wimbledon champion swept world No. 240 Birrell aside in just 58 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with unseeded American Danielle Collins.Kerber, a winner at Melbourne Park in 2016, said she was used to celebrating her birthday on the road at the season-opening Grand Slam.“I think it’s the 12th time in a row,” she said. “I’m getting older but I have the best time here and I’ll never forget my birthdays here in Australia.”Kerber reached the semifinals last year but lost to Simona Halep in a tight three-setter.
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NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest…
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest to win the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher a 1-2 finish and his sixth Triple Crown victory, including four at this track on the outskirts of New York City. “To be honest with you, we were a little confident going into the race today,” Donegal Racing CEO and co-owner Jerry Crawford said. “When he turned for home, I was like, forget about it. I know Todd thought he could get a strong last quarter mile, and he surely did.” Rich Strike, a stunning Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth. Mo Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths ahead of Nest — ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Jose. Pletcher, who lives on Long Island, adds another Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017. Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse field without a clear favorite. We the People, a monster in the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a rainy forecast but reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off. Mo Donegal entered the gate the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal and Ortiz took charge coming out of the final turn. The 3-year-old colt paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest — who nearly became Pletcher’s second filly to win Belmont after Rags to Riches — paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to show. We the People finished fourth. Rich Striker owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed held the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Preakness with an eye on Belmont, the first healthy horse to skip Pimlico after winning the Triple Crown’s first even since 1985. Reed said the team encouraged jockey Sonny Leon to try pushing Rich Strike from the outside, but the horse kept trying to get back inside — where he made a late charge past 19 horse to win at Churchill Downs. Rich Strike spent much of the race in last place and couldn’t recover. “I think we just made a tactical error,” Reed said. Just like Rich Strike, Mo Donegal was at the back of the pack at the Derby, but the colt didn’t have enough kick at Churchill Downs. He found it Saturday, winning the 154th running of the $1.5 million race. Mo Donegal made a winner out of co-owner Mike Repole, a local entrepreneur known around the track as “Mike from Queens.” Repole also co-owns Nest. “This is New York’s biggest race and to win it here, with my family and friends and 70 people here, this will be a big winner’s circle,” he said. It’s the fourth straight year the Triple Crown contests were won by three different horses, a first for the sport since 1926-29. The race marked a return to form for Belmont itself after the 2020 Stakes were closed to the public due to the pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to 11,238 spectators by virus restrictions. Capacity was capped again, this time at 50,000, because of congestion concerns stemming from the newly built arena next door for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Still, fans crammed into cars on the Long Island Rail Road and breathed life into the 117-year-old track with floral headwear, pastel suits and the unmistakable musk of booze and cigars. The reported attendance of 46,103 fell far short of the grounds record 120,139 set in 2004. Not much of a surprise, given the shaky weather forecast and the lack of a Triple Crown contender. The field was sparse, too. No horse ran all three Triple Crown legs this year, heightening concern that three races in five weeks may be too tight a schedule to keep the horses healthy. Preakness winner Early Voting was sidelined, likely to prepare for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27. Epicenter, the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, also skipped. In the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, Matareya romped to a 6 1/4-length victory. Favorite Echo Zulu scratched at the post on the advice of the track veterinarian. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya ($2.60) ran the mile in 1:35.77, winning for the fifth time in eight career starts. Heavily favored Flightline got off a step slow, overcame an early traffic issue and cruised to a six-length victory in the $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Mile. The victory kept the 4-year-old Tapit colt undefeated in four career starts. This was the first one he did not win by double-digit lengths. Flightline ($2.90) was also ridden by Prat and trained by John Sadler.
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Saudi Arabia continued their preparations for the World Cup. (@SaudiNT) Short Url https://arab.news/r8vnk Updated 10 sec ago John Duerden June 10, 2022 11:23 Topics: sports Saudi Arabia football Related Sport Saudi football squad in Spain for 1st training camp ahead of 2022 World Cup Sport Saudi football chief praises ‘intelligent leader’ Renard, promises Jeddah party…
Saudi Arabia continued their preparations for the World Cup. (@SaudiNT) Short Url https://arab.news/r8vnk Updated 10 sec ago John Duerden June 10, 2022 11:23 Topics: sports Saudi Arabia football Related Sport Saudi football squad in Spain for 1st training camp ahead of 2022 World Cup Sport Saudi football chief praises ‘intelligent leader’ Renard, promises Jeddah party after World Cup qualification Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 Topics: Boston Celtics Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors Related Sport Celtics pound Warriors 116-100, take 2-1 lead in NBA Finals World Co-owner of Golden State Warriors comes under fire for comments on Uyghur Muslims Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 04:44 Topics: Criterium du Dauphine Wout Van Aert Jumbo-Visma cycling Related Sport ‘Top Ganna’ beats Van Aert in Dauphine time trial Sport Vuillermoz caps comeback with Dauphine stage and race lead Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 04:46 Topics: Shericka Jackson Diamond League Related Sport Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic Sport Djokovic, Jabeur progress in Rome but back injury stops Raducanu Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 02:36 Topics: Afcon Egypt 2023 AFCON qualifying match Mohamed Salah Related Sport Senegal coach wants AFCON games delayed to boost World Cup buildup Sport Mane and Senegal break Burkina Faso hearts to reach AFCON final Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 01:44 Topics: Nations League Related Sport Portugal earn draw at Spain, Haaland scores for Norway in Nations League Sport Titleholder France held by Croatia to 1-1 in Nations League
Curry shrugs off injury ahead of Game 4: I’m going to play
Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 BOSTON: Even as he lay on the court, with 240-pound Celtics center Al Horford on top of his recently recovered left ankle, Stephen…
Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 BOSTON: Even as he lay on the court, with 240-pound Celtics center Al Horford on top of his recently recovered left ankle, Stephen Curry knew what was wrong. And as soon as he stood up and took a few steps, he knew he would be OK. “I’m going to play. That’s all I know right now,” the Warriors star said on Thursday, a day before Golden State will face Boston in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. “I know exactly what it is,” said Curry, who hurt the same ankle on a similar play in a late-season game against Boston. “I guess (there’s) comfort knowing I’ve been through it before, but also you would rather not have to deal with something like that at this point in the season.” Curry wound up at the bottom of a pile Wednesday night as players from both teams dove for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Draymond Green said he heard Curry scream in pain, but the Warriors star remained in the game until coach Steve Kerr sent in the bench trailing by 14 with two minutes left. The Celtics held on to win 116-100 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Golden State need a win on Friday night to avoid falling behind 3-1 before the series shifts back to San Francisco. A key to them avoiding the brink of elimination: Curry not just remaining healthy, but playing like a two-time NBA MVP. The Warriors guard scored 31 points in Game 3, but just two of them came in the fourth quarter as the league-leading Celtics defense chased him around the court. Golden State held a film session Thursday, but the team’s regulars did not practice. Curry appeared to walk without a limp when he entered the media room to talk to reporters, and he took the steps to the podium three at a time. He had no bandage or brace on his leg. Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket. But he said he did not need an MRI because the injury was the same as the one he sustained when Celtics guard Marcus Smart landed on his foot in a March 16 game in San Francisco. “This one just wasn’t as bad as that one,” said Curry, who missed the last 12 games of the regular season. “As soon as you started to take a couple of steps, you kind of know whether you can run normal, cut normal or not. Back then, I couldn’t. Yesterday, I could. That gave me a little bit of confidence knowing it wasn’t as bad.” Asked Thursday if he would be sitting out if it were a regular-season game, Curry said he couldn’t say for sure. But for Game 4 of the NBA Finals, there’s no question. “I know I’m going to play,” he said. The Celtics listed center Robert Williams III as questionable on Thursday with the left knee injury that required late-season surgery and kept him out for seven of the team’s first 14 playoff games. Boston coach Ime Udoka said forward Jayson Tatum is dealing with a right shoulder stinger. “That’s going to flare up whenever he gets hit the wrong way,” Udoka said. “(He) had to shoot some free throws after, might be a little numb there. He is shooting threes right after, so I’m not sure it hampers his ability to finish at all.” Golden State have outscored Boston in the third quarter of all three games so far, so a reporter asked Kerr why they can’t start the game the same way. “I ask myself that question very often,” he said, “and I don’t have an answer.” The Warriors have outscored the Celtics by a combined score of 106-63 in the finals. Golden State had a 33-25 edge on Wednesday night, eliminating a 12-point halftime deficit and briefly taking the lead. Kerr joked that he has a book of “incredibly inspiring quotes” he calls on. “I just try to pull out the right one,” he said. “And if I get them fired up and they’re excited, then they seem to play better.” The third quarter struggles are a recurring problem for the Celtics, who had similar lapses against Miami and Milwaukee. “It’s just one of those things where it’s a mystery,” Smart said. “We’re definitely trying to not keep that pattern going.”