Trump leads in worlds final
English qualifier Judd Trump led three-time champion John Higgins 10-7 after the first day of the world championship final at the Crucible in Sheffield, England, on Sunday. The 21-year-old Trump had raced away from 7-7 in the best-of-35-frame final. Adding to Higgins’ frustrations, he was fined ￡250 (US$417) for conceding the 16th frame with enough points left on the table to force a respotted black. The pair had been locked level at 4-4 at the end of the afternoon session, the highlight of which was provided by Trump’s 102 break in the sixth frame. Trump then dropped 5-4 behind after the opening frame of the evening session when Higgins had a break of 60, but he had breaks of 55 and 58 to lead 6-5 and he then turned on the style in frame 12 on his way to a break of 103 and a two-frame lead. Higgins came back to 7-6, and leveled after a scrappy frame. Trump had a 49 break to lead 49-18 at 7-7 and although he broke down there, a further run of 28 made the frame safe. A touch of controversy came when Higgins conceded when 51 behind with 51 remaining on the table in the 16th frame. That is against the usual etiquette, costing him money. Higgins led 36-0 in the final frame of the evening, but he missed a black and Trump replied with 45, before running stray of position. He soon had another chance though and was at his punishing best, to the delight of the crowd.
Sir Henry Cooper dies at 76
Former British and European heavyweight boxing champion Sir Henry Cooper, one of his country’s most popular sportsmen, has died two days short of his 77th birthday, the BBC reported on Sunday. Cooper was at his peak during the 1960s and is best remembered for a defeat by Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, in a non-title fight at Wembley in 1963. He famously sent Clay to the canvas with his trademark left hook, known as “’Enry’s ’Ammer,” only for the American to earn more recovery time when trainer Angelo Dundee said Clay’s glove was split. Cooper lost when the referee stopped the fight because of his cuts in the fifth round and he lost to Clay again in a world title fight at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium in London in 1966. After a 55-fight professional career that brought 40 wins, 14 losses and one draw, Cooper retired from boxing in 1971. He soon became a regular on TV panel shows. He was knighted in 2000.
Chan sisters celebrate win
Taiwanese doubles team and sisters, Chan Yung-jan and Chan Hao-ching, won a International Tennis Federation tournament in Gifu, Japan, on Sunday. The pair defeated Sema Erika of Japan and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand 6-2, 6-3. Chan Yung-jan said her younger sister has made a lot of progress and is no longer considered by their rivals as an easy target. Also on Sunday, Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Belarusia’s Olga Govortsova lost to Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva 1-6, 5-7 in the first round of the Madrid Open.
Thibodeau wins NBA award
Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls has been named NBA coach of the year after his first season in charge, the league said on Sunday. Having spent three years working as assistant to Doc Rivers at the Boston Celtics, Thibodeau moved to Chicago where he guided the Bulls to a league-best record of 62-20. Thibodeau becomes the fourth Chicago head coach to win the award, following Johnny “Red” Kerr (1967), Dick Motta (1971) and Phil Jackson (1996).