Three tied for lead in Turin
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium took a share of the lead in the first round of the Italian Open on Thursday. The Ryder Cup standout shot a 65 at the Golf Club Torino to join Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina and Maximilian Kieffer of Germany at seven-under. Colsaerts withdrew from last week’s KLM Open with the flu and appears to have benefited from some time at home. “Nothing beats being back home with your mum looking after you,” Colsaerts said. Gonzalez missed three cuts in a row since finishing as runner-up at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, but he was on form with six birdies, one bogey and an eagle. Kieffer had a 25-foot putt for the outright lead at the last hole, but had to settle for a par.
Bennett wins in Caerphilly
Ireland’s Sam Bennett won the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain from Machynlleth to Caerphilly, Wales, on Thursday, while Sky Pro Cycling leader Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead. The AN Post-Chain Reaction rider took the first stage victory of his career, ahead of Poland’s Michal Golas and Switzerland’s Martin Elmiger, after a sprint finish at the foot of Caerphilly mountain.
Murray to go under the knife
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is to undergo minor back surgery with the aim of being fully fit for the new season, his management team said in a statement on Thursday. The 26-year-old missed this year’s French Open due to a back injury, but recovered to become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years. He failed to retain his US Open title this month after losing in the quarter-finals to Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka. Murray, the world No. 3, has qualified for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London in November, but now looks certain to miss the tournament. A statement from his management company reported by British media read: “Next week Andy is set to undergo minor back surgery in an effort to clear up a long-standing back problem... The aim is to be fully fit for the new season.” Murray said on his Facebook page: “Thanks so much for all the nice messages today... Having operation on Monday. Will let everyone know how it goes. I’ll be ‘back’ stronger.”
Mayweather bout is richest
Floyd Mayweather Jr’s win over Mexico’s Saul Alvarez has been confirmed as the richest fight in boxing history with nearly US$150 million in pay-per-view revenue, US cable network Showtime said on Thursday. The revenue for last Saturday’s unified super welterweight championship in Las Veges surpassed the US$136 million that was generated by Mayweather’s 2007 showdown with Oscar de la Hoya. Showtime said that the fight attracted about 2.2 million pay-per-view customers, which is second all-time to the 2.48 million for the Mayweather-De la Hoya bout. Showtime said the numbers on pay-per-view are still being added up, but it has already beaten the third-most popular fight in history (1.97 million) between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson in 1997. The fight, which had an average ticket price of more than US$1,200, also set a boxing record for gate revenue at more than US$20 million. It also established boxing television records in Mexico. The fight was watched by 22.1 million people and in 5.9 million households, making it the highest-rated boxing program ever in Mexico. Mayweather and Alvarez went the 12-round distance, with the American taking the decision to improve his record to 45-0. Alvarez suffered just the first loss of his career.
Tseng to give lessons
Yani Tseng will give golf lessons at a local golf camp in December, with the aim of nurturing young talent and giving back to society, the organizers said yesterday. The 24-year-old Tseng, along with Gary Gilchrist, coach of world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, is scheduled to teach youngsters from Dec. 12 to Dec. 14, according to Nihao and Tseng Yani International, her management companies in Asia. Tseng will also attend a press conference in Taipei on Friday to give more details about the three-day camp. The former women’s world No. 1 has struggled since losing her top ranking in late March — finishing in the top 10 only once since then. Tseng, who held the No. 1 spot for 109 consecutive weeks, has not won an LPGA Tour event since March last year and is now ranked 19th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Jackson statue gets chop
A statue of the late pop star Michael Jackson will be removed from outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground after fans complained it made the Premier League club look like a laughing stock. The statue was erected by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed in 2011, two years after the singer’s death. “Craven Cottage means the world to generations of Fulham supporters, and I have heard from many of them over the past two months,” said chairman Shahid Khan, who took over the club in July, in a statement yesterday. “Our supporters’ views on the statue have been made clear. I respect Mr Al Fayed and know he had good intentions in paying an individual tribute. However, the removal of the statue is the right thing for Fulham Football Club.” Jackson was a friend of Al Fayed’s, who invited him to attend a game at Craven Cottage in 1999. Some fans complained that the Jackson statue had nothing to do with soccer and made the club look ridiculous, but Egyptian businessman Al Fayed dismissed their objections at the time in typically blunt fashion. “If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world they can go to hell,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t want them to be fans.”
Mahut sends Seppi packing
Nicolas Mahut of France upset third-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 6-4 to reach the Moselle Open quarter-finals in Metz, France, on Thursday. Frenchman Gilles Simon, Carlos Berlocq of Argentina and German duo Florian Mayer and Benjamin Becker also advanced to the last eight. The second-seeded Simon cruised past compatriot Kenny De Schepper 6-2, 6-3, while Berlocq was leading 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/5), 2-1 when fourth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany retired. Becker outlasted French wild-card Albano Olivetti 6-7 (8/10), 6-3, 6-1, and eighth-seeded Mayer routed Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2. Mahut broke last year’s runner-up twice in each set.
Top seed retires in Russia
Top-seeded Fabio Fognini retired with a right foot injury while trailing Michal Przysiezny of Poland 6-3, 5-3 on Thursday in the second round of the St Petersburg Open. The 17th-ranked Italian, who was looking for his third title, struggled with his right foot throughout the match. Also, fourth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov advanced to the quarter-finals by beating Russian qualifier Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 6-0. Tursunov will next face Joao Sousa of Portugal, who rallied to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. Seventh-seeded Lukas Rosol defeated Russian wild-card Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-4.