Roger Federer closed with an ace and then a rifling forehand yesterday, starting his finetuning for an Australian Open title defense with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win over Gaston Gaudio at the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament. \nAndy Roddick, ranked second in the world, breezed to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic -- a late replacement for injured Paradorn Srichaphan. \nAgassi and Roddick will meet todday in the eight-man promotion-relegation format, while Federer next plays Friday against Tim Henman, who had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Argentina's David Nalbandian. \nTop-ranked Federer, who won 11 titles in 2004 -- including three majors -- and started this season with another title at Qatar last weekend, lost a service game for the first time this year in the first set against French Open champion Gaudio. \nComing into Kooyong, Federer had won 21 consecutive matches in ATP Tour events. \nLleyton Hewitt rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second set to beat France's Arnaud Clement 6-2, 6-4, moving the top-seeded Australian to the quarterfinals of the Medibank Sydney International. \nClement double-faulted at two crucial points in the match -- the first time at 2-2 in the opening set when it gave Hewitt his first service break. \nIn women's second-round play, third-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia beat Eleni Deniilidou of Greece 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia defeated Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-0, 6-2 and Samantha Stosur of Australia, a finalist in last week's Gold Coast tournament, beat Tatiana Golovin of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. \nRobby Ginepri of the US beat fourth-seeded countryman Vince Spadea 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Heineken Open. \nThe unseeded Ginepri turned the match when he broke Spadea's serve in the extended 11th game of the first set. \nThe win avenged Ginepri's straight-sets loss to Spadea at their only previous meeting, indoors at Lyon last year. \nGinepri will meet fifth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez in the quarterfinals after the Chilean's 6-3, 6-4 win over Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina. \nJennifer Capriati, a two-time winner of the Australian Open, has withdrawn from this year's first Grand Slam tournament because of a recurring right shoulder injury, organizers said yesterday. \nCapriati, who won the Australian Open in 2001 and 2002, joins last year's winner Justine Henin-Hardenne and losing finalist Kim Clijsters on the sidelines for the tournament that begins next Monday. \nHenin-Hardenne has a knee injury and Clijsters a recurring wrist problem. Both Henin-Hardenne and Capriati pulled out of this week's Medibank Sydney International with the same injuries. \nAustralian Open organizers said Capriati had advised the WTA that she'd failed to recover from a shoulder injury that she picked up Advanta Championships at Philadelphia in November.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
MONKEYS ALSO WIN: The Rakuten Monkeys kept the Brothers from the first-half title as they dominated the Uni-President Lions, scoring four in the fourth The CTBC Brothers still need another win to clinch the first-half CPBL title, despite thrashing the hapless Fubon Guardians 17-0 yesterday, after the Rakuten Monkeys beat the Uni-President Lions 9-2. Fans of CTBC Brothers were hoping to celebrate the first-half title, with a crowd of more than 10,000 packed into the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium for their home game against the Guardians. The figure was an attendance record for this year, when baseball and most other major sports events worldwide have been played in empty venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering the game, CTBC had pushed their magic number down to 2, meaning
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans. And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years? “We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path