Davis Cup final tied
Serbia and defending champions the Czech Republic were tied 1-1 after the first day of the Davis Cup final on Friday as Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych swept through in straight sets. Djokovic, the world No. 2 and recently crowned ATP World Tour Finals champion, first beat 44th-ranked veteran Radek Stepanek, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes. Seventh-ranked Berdych then put the Czechs level with a three-set win over 117th-ranked Dusan Lajovic — 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 54 minutes. Serbia won their only Davis Cup title in 2010, beating France 3-2 in Belgrade. The Czechs, playing their third final in five years, lifted the trophy last year after downing Spain 3-2 in Prague. In yesterday’s doubles, the Czechs were most likely to bet on Berdych and Stepanek, who have lost only one of their 14 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together since teaming up in 2007.
Ward retains title
Unbeaten Andre Ward of the US is to retain his World Boxing Association super middleweight crown no matter how he fared in a title fight yesterday after unbeaten challenger Edwin Rodriguez failed to make weight. The 29-year-old Ward will keep the title with a victory or loss after Rodriguez tipped the scales at 170 pounds (77.1kg), two pounds over the weight division limit. That ended the Dominican’s first world title chance before it even began. Ward, who weighed in at 167.8 pounds, entered the fight 26-0 with 14 knockouts, with Rodriguez 24-0 with 16 knockouts. As punishment for weighing too much, Rodriguez surrendered US$100,000 to Ward, boosting his total take from the bout to US$2 million, and would forfeit US$100,000 to California’s boxing commission, leaving him with US$800,000 from the bout in Ontario, California.
Scott takes four-stroke lead
Defending champion Adam Scott laid one hand on a second successive Australian Masters trophy yesterday, shooting a five-under 66 to take a commanding four-stroke lead into the final round. Joint leader with compatriot Nathan Holman overnight, the US Masters champion rolled in seven birdies on another breezy day at Royal Melbourne for a 14-under total of 199, well clear of a four-player group that includes former world No. 1 Vijay Singh. World No. 8 Matt Kuchar, warming up for his World Cup title defense with the US next week, was a further stroke adrift after carding a solid four-under 67. World No. 2 Scott, in red-hot form at the end of the best year of his career, remains on track to complete a sweep of Australia’s three marquee tournaments after winning last week’s PGA Championship and with the national Open to come in Sydney
England beat Invitational XI
England beat the Cricket Australia Invitational XI by seven wickets on the final day of their four-day tour match in Sydney yesterday. The tourists were faced with a target of 148 runs for victory after dismissing the home side for 261 amid the constant threat of rain. England lost the wickets of Alastair Cook (21), Michael Carberry (50) and Kevin Pietersen (6) in reaching the target before the onset of heavy rain at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Ian Bell hit the winning runs to be 33 not out, with Jonathan Trott unbeaten on 38. It was England’s first win on their Australian tour and was their final warmup match before the first Ashes Test against Australia in Brisbane on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there