■ Soccer Beckham fit for England \n \nDavid Beckham expects to be fit for England's decisive Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey next week after coming through Real Madrid's 2-1 league victory over Espanyol on Sunday unscathed. "There'll be no problem playing for my country," said Beckham, who missed Real's Champions League win over Porto this week because of a foot injury. "There was no reaction to the injury, although it's true my foot does hurt a bit." Beckham had rated himself as doubtful for the Group 7 clash with Turkey next Saturday after suffering the injury in a 2-0 defeat by Valencia last weekend. He played all but the last few minutes against Espanyol, though, and was satisfied with his fitness, despite suffering a slight injury early on. England could still be without one of their key players for the Turkey game, after Liverpool striker Michael Owen suffered a shin injury in his side's 2-1 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday. Owen has been given only an even chance of recovering in time for the game, which will decide whether England or Turkey win Group Seven and qualify automatically for the European Championship in Portugal next year. \n \n■ Golf \nAlfredsson ends drought \n \nHelen Alfredsson ended a lengthy drought Sunday as Pat Hurst double-bogeyed the 18th hole, giving the Swede the Longs Drugs Challenge title and her first win on the LPGA Tour in five years. Hurst took a one-shot lead to the final hole but four-putted from 80 feet. She missed a 2 1/2-footer for bogey that would have forced a playoff. "I don't know what happened," Hurst said. "I played it to go a little right because it feels like everything would feed right. It looked like everything was going to the right, and if you go up and look at it, it looks like it feeds that way. But it didn't."
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
Neymar on Sunday claimed that he had been the victim of racism as he was one of five players sent off in a mass brawl at the end of Olympique de Marseille’s 1-0 win over Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. PSG’s Brazilian star appeared to accuse Alvaro Gonzalez of calling him a “monkey” in a series of furious tweets after he was sent off in stoppage-time for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head. “Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” Neymar, who was returning from COVID-19 quarantine, said as he left the pitch. “The only regret I