Scotsman backs England
While most Scotland fans hoped outsiders Andorra could spring a major shock by beating England at Wembley in Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier, one Scottish punter rejoiced in a home win. A customer of leading British bookmaker Ladbrokes in Livingston, near Edinburgh, staked £135,000 (US$220,787) on an England win — with Fabio Capello’s men at odds as short of 1/200 to defeat the minnows. England’s 6-0 thrashing of Andorra meant the customer won a mere £675 as a result of his substantial bet. Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said: “I don’t know what’s less believable, a Scotsman backing England or someone risking £135,000 to win peanuts.”
Evans back in yellow
Germany’s world time-trial champion Bert Grabsch of the Columbia team won the fourth stage of the Dauphine Libere race in Valence, France, on Wednesday, a 42.4km time trial. The 33-year-old German outpaced Australia’s two-time Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans by just seven seconds. However, Evans regained the overall leader’s yellow jersey he lost on Tuesday to Dutchman Niki Terpstra, who could only finish in 114th place, over five minutes behind the stage winner.
Materazzi stays on at Inter
Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi has extended his contract with Serie A champions Inter Milan by one year to next year, the UEFA Web site reported on Wednesday. “He always played well when we needed him last season,” Inter president Massimo Moratti said of a player who was used sparingly during the 2008-2009 campaign. Materazzi, a 35-year-old center-back, has 41 Italy caps to his name but featured in only eight leagues matches last season, which was his eighth at the San Siro.
Bafana demand bonus
South Africa’s hot-and-cold national team Bafana Bafana are demanding increased bonuses to play in the Confederations Cup, just four days away from the start, the local soccer association said on Wednesday. “The call to represent your country should be an honor ... not about how much you will get paid. There are many players out there who would appreciate the opportunity,” South African Football Association (SAFA) spokesman Morio Senyane said. He refused to say what players were demanding, but newspapers reported that Bafana Bafana players were demanding 34 million rand (US$4 million), while SAFA was prepared to pay the team 14 million rand. “As far as we are concerned the matter is closed, we made the offer way in advance and we never received any counter offers from the players until now,” Senyane said. The players were not available for comment.
Stars fire coach: source
The Dallas Stars fired coach Dave Tippett on Wednesday, the first major move by the NHL team under new general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. A person familiar with the decision confirmed the firing to reporters on condition of anonymity because the team was not releasing the news. The Stars hired Nieuwendyk, who helped them win a Stanley Cup in 1999, 10 days ago. Canadian cable sports channel TSN quoted unidentified sources as saying the Stars had asked for permission to talk to former Los Angeles Kings coach Marc Crawford. Tippett was hired on May 21, 2002, and had a 271-59-162 record in six seasons.
‘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
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017