Mladenovic wins first title
France’s Kristina Mladenovic won her maiden WTA Tour singles title on Sunday, overcoming Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in the final of the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy. Mladenovic, ranked 51st in the world, won a tough three-setter 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 in 2 hours, 36 minutes to earn a 3-2 lead in her head-to-head record with 22-year-old Putintseva. “It was a very difficult week with plenty of close matches,” Mladenovic said. “Today it was also tough as Yulia is such a big fighter. I couldn’t relax and couldn’t find my rhythm. All the match it was up and down, and I tried really hard to stay calm and composed. Finally I did everything right to win my first title and now I’m super-glad.”
Teary Pierce bids farewell
Isaiah Thomas stole the spotlight from Paul Pierce on Sunday, scoring 28 points to lead the Boston Celtics to their seventh straight victory, a 107-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Pierce’s final game at the Garden. Al Horford had 13 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for the Celtics, who brought Pierce to tears with a first-quarter highlights video. Thomas also had eight assists. Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford scored 23 apiece, while DeAndre Jordan had 16 rebounds for Los Angeles, who lost for the sixth time in eight games. Pierce’s only points came on a three-pointer after checking in with 19 seconds left and the game out of reach. The 39-year-old Pierce, a former Celtics captain, plans to retire after the season.
Cook quits Test captaincy
Alastair Cook has stepped down as England’s Test captain, but plans to carry on as a player, the England and Wales Cricket Board said yesterday. Cook, who was appointed captain in 2012, led England in 59 Tests, including Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015, as well as series wins in India and South Africa. “Stepping down has been an incredibly hard decision, but I know this is the correct decision for me and at the right time for the team,” Cook said in a statement. “I’ve had time to reflect after the India series and this weekend I spoke to Colin Graves, the chairman, to explain and offer my resignation.” The 32-year-old has scored more Test centuries than any of his predecessors and is also England’s most prolific Test batsman with 11,057 runs in 140 matches.
Matsuyama edges Simpson
Japan’s red-hot Hideki Matsuyama maintained his sizzling run of form, successfully defending his Phoenix Open title with a gripping playoff victory over Webb Simpson of the US at the TPC Scottsdale in Arizona on Sunday. Matsuyama clinched his fifth win in his past nine starts worldwide when he sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole, the par-four 17th, where Simpson could only par.
Garcia wins in the desert
Sergio Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic, his 12th European Tour title, after a final-round 69 on Sunday kept him three shots clear of Ryder Cup teammate Henrik Stenson. The Spaniard finished with a bogey-free round to move to 19-under for the tournament, ahead of Swede Stenson, with Britain’s Tyrell Hatton and Denmark’s Lasse Jensen a further two shots adrift in third.
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of