Osaka dumped in Madrid
Naomi Osaka yesterday suffered a second-round exit at the Madrid Open as the Japanese second seed lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Karolina Muchova. Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, has seven career hard-court titles, but has never managed to lift a clay-court trophy. Osaka beat compatriot Misaki Doi in the first round, but came unstuck against an opponent making her top 20 debut this week. Muchova used a single break of serve to claim the opening set against the world No. 2. Osaka fell 3-1 behind in the second set, but rallied to win the next five games and force a decider. Muchova regrouped and broke Osaka early in the third set, and then again for a 5-1 lead, before sealing victory in just less than two hours. The Czech faces either Greek 16th seed Maria Sakkari or Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit for a place in the quarter-finals.
Axelsen forfeits final
World No. 2 Viktor Axelsen was yesterday forced to withdraw from the European Championships final in Kiev after testing positive for COVID-19. Axelsen was to face fellow Dane Anders Antonsen, who claimed his first European title with a walkover. “Top seed and defending champion Viktor Axelsen returned a second positive test for COVID-19, ruling him out of contesting the men’s singles final,” Badminton Denmark announced. It said the 27-year-old Axelsen returned a first positive test after beating Finn Kalle Koljonen in the semi-finals on Saturday and must isolate in Kiev. “He will remain in hotel room quarantine for the next 13 days,” it said.
Parker overcomes Chisora
Former world champion Joseph Parker on Saturday took another step to becoming a heavyweight title contender after beating Derek Chisora by split decision in Manchester Arena. Parker overcame being knocked down by a right swing just seconds into the non-title bout. The New Zealander, who lost his WBO title to Anthony Joshua in 2018, gradually came back in a toe-to-toe fight that he tipped thanks to his late pressure, cleaner punches, and work rate. Two judges gave Parker 116-111 and 115-113 scores, and one gave Chisora 115-113. Parker’s fifth successive win since he lost to Joshua and Dillian Whyte improved his record to 29-2.
Selby to face Murphy in final
Former winners Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are to meet in the final of this year’s World Championship after coming through tough semi-finals on Saturday. Selby saw off Stuart Bingham 17-15 in a match that was paused with Selby leading 16-15 to allow Murphy and Kyren Wilson to complete their match at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. Selby broke the deadlock when his match resumed when a plant set up a break of 41 only to lose position. A lucky red allowed qualifier Bingham to lay a snooker which set him up for a break of 59. With all the reds off the table, Bingham lost position, but laid a snooker behind the black. Selby made a superb escape and eventually laid a brilliant snooker on the green that saw Bingham give away several fouls that left his opponent in front. Selby, a three-time world champion, then cleared to the pink to complete a 17-15 win.
The all-English Champions League final might be played in England after Turkey was added to its “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow about 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European soccer season. However, the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions and said that the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday said that he has never “put the Olympics first,” the same day an opinion poll showed that nearly 60 percent of people in Japan want the Olympics canceled less than three months before they begin. Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of the month and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on. Its vaccination rate is the lowest among wealthy nations. International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga have insisted that the Games would go on in “a
Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) secretary-general Fang Ching-jen yesterday touted the success of the Taiwan Business Bank Taiwan Futsal League after Chiayi Tienching on Sunday displayed their all-conquering form and collected the championship trophy with a 5-2 win over YTFC at the Pingtung County Stadium. Since January, when the season began, Chiayi Tienching scored a perfect 10 wins off 10 games to collect 30 points. Taichung Traveler were second, finishing on 22 points with seven wins, two losses and one draw, while CTFA U20 were third on 17 points with five wins, three losses and two draws. In the season’s final round on
A traveling call against the Knicks’ Julius Randle with seconds to go gave possession to the Lakers, letting Talen Horton-Tucker put up his game-winner Talen Horton-Tucker on Tuesday drained a clutch three-pointer in the closing seconds of overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers snatched a thrilling 101-99 victory over the New York Knicks. Horton-Tucker’s effort with 21.1 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Lakers and prevented the Knicks from clinching their first playoff appearance since 2013. It was the dramatic final act of a pulsating clash at the Staples Center, which saw the Knicks’ Julius Randle, a former Lakers player, dominate for long periods with a 31-point performance. Randle looked to have given the Knicks the edge with a superb three-pointer of his own, which put