Granollers, Monaco in final
Marcel Granollers ended defending champion Robin Haase’s two-year unbeaten streak at the bet-at-home Cup in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Friday, setting up a final against second-seeded Juan Monaco. The eighth-seeded Granollers beat Haase 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 6-4. The Dutchman was 12-0 at the event going into the match, having won it in 2011 and 2012. In the other semifinal, Monaco defeated seventh-seeded Albert Montanes of Spain 7-6 (7-2), 7-5. Granollers has gone beyond the quarter-finals of an ATP event for the first time this season. The 53rd-ranked Spaniard is looking for his fourth career title and first since beating Monaco in the final at Valencia two years ago.
Atapuma wins sixth stage
Colombian Darwin Atapuma climbed to victory on the sixth stage of the Tour of Poland on Friday after 190km around Bukowina Tatrzanska. Atapuma edged out Christophe Riblon by two seconds in a sprint for the line, but the Frenchman’s consolation was taking over the leader’s yellow jersey from Spain’s Jon Izaguirre. Yesterday’s final stage was to see the riders tackle a 37km time-trial that finishes in Krakow. Nine riders are still within a minute of the leader, including two-time former Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso, in ninth at 40 seconds.
Beijing hosts ‘vertical run’
Hundreds of runners in China sprinted their way up 82 floors and more than 2,000 stairs as the country’s first ever “vertical run” was held in a Beijing skyscraper yesterday. Thomas Dold of Germany emerged on top of the 330m tall China World Trade Center Tower 3, Beijing’s tallest building, just 10 minutes and 22 seconds after setting off from its ground floor to take the men’s title. “You have to run between three and four steps per second,” Dold said, adding that he had bounded up the building’s 2,041 stairs two at a time. About 600 runners took part in the competition, part of an international skyscraper racing circuit that sees races up some of the world’s tallest buildings, including New York’s Empire State Building and Taiwan’s Taipei 101.
Benitez’s funeral held
Thousands of fans filed past the coffin of Ecuadoran soccer hero Christian Benitez for a statesman-like farewell in Quito, Ecuador, on Friday after an autopsy confirmed he had died of heart failure in Qatar. The 27-year-old striker, who was eyeing next year’s World Cup, died suddenly after his first game with Qatari club El-Jaish on Sunday last week, shocking fans as far away as Mexico, where he played for Club America last season. His family wept as thousands of people stood in line to enter a sports arena where the man affectionately known as “Chucho” was lying in a glass-top coffin, partly covered by the Ecuadoran national flag. Before the funeral, his body underwent a second autopsy at the request of his wife and family, amid suspicion that he was not given adequate attention at a Qatari hospital after he complained of abdominal pains. Luis Chiriboga, president of the Ecuadoran Football Federation, said the examination concluded that Benitez was “destined to die” due to a coronary problem that “could only be detected after his death.” The soccer star’s body, accompanied by his wife Liseth Chala, landed outside Quito before dawn on Friday, with fire trucks welcoming him by spraying water over his airplane. Ecuadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino was at the airport, along with Ecuadoran national team players.