Ferrer upset in Sweden
Defending champion Carlos Berlocq upset top-seeded David Ferrer in a 6-3, 6-3 victory at the Swedish Open quarter-finals in Bastad, Sweden, on Friday. The 31-year-old Argentine, who won his first ATP world tour in Bastad last year, defeated Ferrer in 85 minutes. Third-seeded Fernando Verdasco reached the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. On Saturday, the 30-year-old Verdasco faces 111th-ranked Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who beat Reno Olivo of Argentina 6-2, 6-4. In the other semi-final, Berlocq faces fifth-seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal, who ousted Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-4.
Williams to skip Open
Swedish Open organizers in Stockholm said defending champion Serena Williams will not appear at the tournament next week because she does not feel on top form. Tournament spokesman Marcus Duner said Friday that the top-seeded American had decided to use one of her two allowed annual withdrawals, with Williams saying in a statement that she was “still not at 100 percent.” At Wimbledon, Williams could not get the ball over the net in a doubles match with her sister, Venus, stopping after three games because of what was called a viral illness. Williams told organizers she was sad to miss Bastad. “It was my favorite spot to play last year and I am deeply saddened I cannot return,” she said. Her withdrawal moves South African Chanelle Scheepers into the main draw.
Sock steps to semi-finals
American Jack Sock upset top seed John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Friday in Newport, Rhode Island, to book a semi-final date with Lleyton Hewitt at the ATP Hall of Fame Championships. Seventh seed Sock won the only break point he managed off his countryman to claim the first set, then captured the tie-breaker to oust the 2011 and 2012 Hall of Fame winner in 88 minutes. That sent 21-year-old Sock into a semi-final yesterday against 33-year-old Australian third seed Lleyton Hewitt, who ousted US sixth seed Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 in the day’s other quarter-final at the US$474,000 grass-court event. Hewitt, who won his first ATP title since 2010 at Brisbane in January, seeks his third consecutive trip to the championship match. He lost to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in last year’s final and to Isner in the 2012 title match. Saturday’s other semi-final saw Croatian second seed Ivo Karlovic against Australian Samuel Groth, who upset Mahut in the quarter-finals.
Stuttgart semi-finals set
Defending champion Fabio Fognini eased into the semifinals of the Mercedes Cup on Friday in Stuttgart, Germany, with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo. Fognini saved the only break point he faced and converted two of his six chances to beat the seventh-seeded Giraldo in 81 minutes. The top-seeded Italian, who is bidding to reach his fourth final of the season, next faces the third-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Spanish compatriot and No. 6 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). Lukas Rosol upset the fourth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4). The 48th-ranked Czech next faces No. 2 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. The 2002 tournament winner defeated Argentina’s eighth-seeded Federico Delbonis 7-6 (2), 6-2. Youzhny won 74 per cent of his service points and saved the three break points he faced for victory in 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are planning to play a charity golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday. CNBC, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said that the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The negotiations are still being finalized, but the match pitting 15-time major champion Woods and Manning against five-time major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, CNBC said. “Discussions