Bremen eke out draw
Werder Bremen wasted a ton of chances and needed a Claudio Pizarro equalizer to secure a 1-1 draw at promoted Augsburg on Friday. The result gave Werder 17 points from 10 games and moved them up to third in the Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Bayern Munich. Augsburg, looking for their first home win of the season, took the lead against the run of play with a powerful Axel Bellinghausen shot in the 49th minute. Peruvian striker Pizarro leveled in the 68th with his seventh league goal of the season. The visitors hit the woodwork with a Markus Rosenberg header and he was also denied later by goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch, who was playing with a fractured finger. Pizarro twice failed to beat Jentzsch in one-on-one situations late in the game as Werder poured forward. Augsburg are third from bottom on eight points.
Garcia turns back the clock
Sergio Garcia opened up a two-shot lead at the Castello Masters on Friday as the talented Spaniard took a step closer to ending a three-year title drought. Playing on the same Club de Campo del Mediterraneo course where he was a boys champion at the age of 12, the 31-year-old Spaniard carded an eight-under 63. It took him to 12-under at the halfway mark — two ahead of Sweden’s Alex Noren, who was also round in 63 as he seeks a third win of the season. Garcia eagled the 549 yard eighth from 15 feet and added six birdies to his opening one, before saving par with a fine bunker shot at the difficult 17th. Britain’s new star Tom Lewis, who won the Portugal Masters in only his third start as a professional last weekend, withdrew before the second round because of a virus. Overnight leader Ross McGowan carded a second round 70 and is eight-under for the tournament, four shots off the lead. He is now joint third with Scotland’s Gary Orr and Australian Marcus Fraser. However, big guns Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and John Daly all missed the cut.
Azarenka defeats Benesova
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Luxembourg Open. She will play sixth seeded Julia Goerges after the German advanced when Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia withdrew with a hip injury trailing 5-2. In other quarter-finals, Monica Niculescu of Romania defeated lucky loser Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 and Britain’s Anne Keothavong beat Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2.
WBC restores Hopkins’ belt
The WBC restored Bernard Hopkins as its light heavyweight champion on Thursday after reviewing his controversial loss to Chad Dawson last weekend. The 46-year-old had lost his title after Dawson lifted him off his feet and slammed him to the canvas on Oct. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Hopkins sustained a shoulder injury and the referee signaled the end of the fight with 12 seconds left in the second round. However, after reviewing the fight video, the WBC concluded the result should be changed to a technical draw, allowing champion Hopkins to retain the title. After the fight, Hopkins filed a formal complaint to the California State Athletic Commission, which will meet to determine whether the fight will count as a loss on his record.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’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