Lin’s jersey ‘no big deal’
Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley said yesterday in Taipei during a visit to Taiwan that he hopes to continue playing with teammate Jeremy Lin, amid rumors that Lin will be traded. “Jeremy is like a brother to me,” said Beverley, who was set to attend a three-on-three youth basketball game today. Beverley’s remarks came amid speculation that California-born Lin, whose parents come from Taiwan, will be replaced by the Rockets with free agent Carmelo Anthony, Lin’s former teammate at the New York Knicks. In an overture to Anthony earlier this month, the Rockets put up promotional images of the basketball star wearing a Rockets No. 7 jersey, which currently belongs to Lin. Asked about the images, Beverley said he felt they were no big deal. Beverley said he also gave up his No. 12 jersey to Dwight Howard when he moved from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Rockets. It is an NBA tradition to save jersey numbers for more established players, Beverley said. Beverley is in Taiwan to present the championship titles at the Cathay NBA Youth Madness 3-on-3 today, which are to be final matches for the men’s and women’s division winners from among 2,000 participating youth basketball teams in Taiwan.
Kyrie Irving extends contract
Kyrie Irving signed a five-year contract extension on Thursday with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the NBA club made moves that could pave the way for signing free agent superstar LeBron James. Irving’s deal, believed to be worth the maximum US$90 million, ensures the Cavaliers’ point guard will be part of the club’s long-term talent mix. The Cavaliers announced the move on Thursday as fans awaited word on James, the former Cleveland star who left for Miami as a free agent in 2010 and led the Heat to two NBA titles and the past four NBA Finals. James opted out of his contract with the Heat last month, as did fellow Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Errani reaches quarters
Sara Errani reached her eighth quarter-final of the season and first since the French Open by defeating Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 6-3, 6-0 in the second round of the Gastein Ladies on Thursday. Errani is next to play Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, who rallied to beat defending champion Yvonne Meusburger 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Earlier, Shelby Rogers of the US routed the 16th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-0 to reach her first career WTA quarter-final. Rogers, ranked 147th, had not beaten a top-50 player before. Rogers, who won three matches to qualify for the main draw, is next to play No. 7 Camila Giorgi of Italy, who defeated Austrian wild card Lisa-Maria Moser 6-0, 6-2.
Sale, Rizzo join All-Stars
White Sox pitcher Chris Sale and the Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo made it a Chicago sweep on Thursday by winning an online fan vote to claim the last two spots in next week’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Sale was one of five pitchers nominated on the American League ballot, beating Garrett Richards of the Angels, Rick Porcello of the Tigers, Corey Kluber of the Indians and Dallas Keuchel of the Astros by receiving 6.7 million votes. Rizzo, who homered on Wednesday for his third roundtripper in as many days, beat the Rockies’ first baseman Justin Morneau, Braves outfielder Justin Upton, Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon and Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee with 8.8 million votes.
Wanted Briton on the run
An executive from the World Cup’s hospitality services firm escaped out the back door of his plush Rio de Janeiro hotel on Thursday to avoid arrest on charges of illegally selling tickets, authorities said. Police launched a manhunt for Raymond Whelan, British director of FIFA partner company Match Services, accusing him of fleeing the beachfront Copacabana Palace Hotel after a judge ordered him and 10 other suspects to be held in detention. “The Englishman fled through the hotel’s back door and is considered a fugitive,” Rio police said in a statement. “We saw him in [security] footage leaving in a hurry,” Fabio Barucke, the case’s lead investigator, told reporters, adding that Whelan had fled an hour before police arrived. Whelan is accused of being involved with a scalping network that has sold thousands of tickets worth millions of US dollars, going back to the 2002 World Cup.
FIFA rejects Suarez appeal
FIFA on Thursday rejected Luis Suarez’s appeal against his lengthy ban for biting an opponent, saying its appeals committee rejected the appeal by Suarez and the Uruguay soccer federation in its entirety, but that does not mean Suarez has given up hope of playing on the opening day of next season. The Uruguay and Liverpool star has up to 10 days to get the written decision from FIFA, which he needs to lodge an appeal against the ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If he does lodge the appeal, he could apply to the CAS for an immediate freeze of the sanctions. Suarez was banned for nine competitive international matches, four months from all soccer and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (US$112,000) for biting the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy. It is the third time Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent.
Sanchez signs for Gunners
Chile international striker Alexis Sanchez on Thursday agreed to join Arsenal on a long-term contract for a reported fee of about ￡35 million (US$60 million), the English Premier League side announced. Sanchez, 25, joins Arsenal from Barcelona, where he made a total of 88 appearances, scoring 39 goals during his three seasons with the Catalan side. The deal represents Arsenal’s second-biggest outlay for a player behind the club record ￡42.5 million spent on Germany international Mesut Ozil last summer. Sanchez, who won the 2012-2013 La Liga title with Barcelona and the 2012 Copa del Rey, expressed his excitement at joining the north London club. “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London,” Sanchez said.
London Welsh sign Weepu
All Blacks scrumhalf Piri Weepu signed for English Premiership side London Welsh yesterday in a move destined to end his international career. Capped 71 times by New Zealand in an international career that started in 2004, the 30-year-old is moving to England from Super XV side the Auckland Blues. Weepu scored 103 points in his All Blacks career and played a leading role in New Zealand’s 2011 World Cup success. However, his decision to sign for the Oxford-based club will signal an end to his international career as the All Blacks have a policy of not selecting players based outside New Zealand. “I’m hugely excited by the opportunity of joining London Welsh and at the challenge of playing in the Premiership,” Weepu said.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘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
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first