The Los Angeles Dodgers were asking the world of Julio Urias when he took the mound for the fourth time in 12 days on Wednesday and the result was a 2-9 loss against Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Although Urias was the only 20-game winner in the major leagues this season, Los Angeles had used him in three roles in the past week alone. Urias and the Dodgers claimed that it was nothing he could not handle, but the left-hander was out of rhythm and away from his normal between-starts preparation when he took on the Braves. “I felt good physically,” Urias said after the game. “I just have to give them credit for what they did today,” he added. By the time Urias left the Dodger Stadium bump with a five-run deficit, it seemed clear that his team are asking for too much — or are not getting enough — from the top pitchers in their tumultuous rotation. The Dodgers’ front office is disregarding most traditional norms in an October attempt to get the most out of their pitching staff, but with his team on the brink of elimination, it is clear that those decisions have not worked out the way LA boss Andrew Friedman hoped. Urias and Max Scherzer struggled in the series when asked to start just two days after pitching in relief. Walker Buehler also did not match his usual standard when pitching on extra rest. And now the Dodgers are down to their last chance to get those decisions right against the Braves, who have a 3-1 series lead against LA for the second straight October and three opportunities to dethrone the defending World Series champions. After matching the best regular-season record in franchise history, the Dodgers face elimination for the fourth time already in these playoffs in Game
Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming at Manchester United has already produced two memorable moments with late winners against Villarreal and Atalanta BC to edge the Red Devils toward the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. However, Ronaldo’s return has also come at a cost, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men increasingly looking like a disjointed bunch of talented individuals rather than a team. United were on course for a fifth defeat in eight games when Atalanta led 2-0 at halftime at Old Trafford on Wednesday. A stirring second-half fightback eased the pressure slightly on Solskjaer as United went from bottom of Group F at the break to top by fulltime. Ronaldo completed the comeback with a towering header after goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire brought the home side level. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has come under fire in the past few weeks for the detrimental impact his arrival has supposedly had on the rest of the team. Ronaldo’s lack of running off the ball has been scrutinized as a cause for United’s dreadful defensive record. However, he is delivering at the other end, with six goals in nine appearances. “He’s great in front of goal,” Solskjaer said. “If anyone wants to criticize him for work rate or attitude just watch this game. Watch how he runs around.” A much-needed three points reduces the risk of crashing out at the group stage for a second consecutive season, although there remains plenty of work to do with trips to Atalanta and Villarreal still to come. The spotlight also remains on Solskjaer ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday, with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City also to come before the international break next month. United have taken just one point from a possible nine in the Premier League against Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester City to
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel had warned that his big names might be playing too much soccer, and on Wednesday he lost forwards Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to injury against lowly opposition in the UEFA Champions League. The defending European champions ran out easy 4-0 winners against Malmo in Group H with goals from Andreas Christensen and Kai Havertz, and two bullet penalties by Jorginho. However, Lukaku fell victim to a clumsy tackle in the 18th minute and Werner pulled up clutching his hamstring just before halftime. “We have a twist of the ankle for Romelu, and muscle injury and hamstring for Timo,” Tuchel said. “They will be some time out.” However, the German said that he did not regret playing Lukaku, who had failed to score in six games before Wednesday’s clash. “It was maybe the moment to give him confidence and let him play,” Tuchel said. “We don’t want these problems too often, but it happens during a season.” The coach had suggested before the game that some of his players might have lost a little motivation through playing too much. He mentioned Lukaku in particular. “In this moment, I feel like Romelu is a bit overplayed, he played too many games over the summer... It is difficult to judge if he really needs a break or if we need to keep him on the pitch,” Tuchel said on Tuesday.
Fast bowlers will need a varied skillset to conquer the “tired” pitches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Australia’s Pat Cummins said yesterday ahead of their Twenty20 World Cup opener against South Africa tomorrow. The pacers would be a worried lot heading into the World Cup looking for ways to master the dry and slow pitches in the UAE, which has split warm-up matches with Oman, but hosts the rest of the tournament from tomorrow’s start of the Super 12 stage. The UAE also hosted the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which concluded on Friday last week, meaning fast bowlers face the prospect of toiling on worn pitches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. “A couple of wickets have been tired and a couple times you get some really good wickets,” Cummins told a virtual news conference sharing his experience from his side’s warm-up matches. “In Twenty20, you got to have a few different varieties. Bowling with a new ball up front is going to look quite different to how you bowl in the end, so you’ve got to be able to adapt and have two or three different spells within the 20 overs.” The 28-year-old, who is returning to competitive cricket after more than five months, said that conditions in the UAE would significantly differ depending on match timing and bowlers would need to adjust accordingly. “The night games tend to be a bit more batter-friendly. There’s a bit of dew around and the ball skids on, whereas the day games are a bit drier,” he said. “I think the biggest difference is when we talk about it being dry. That kind of brings in the slower balls. Night games, if they start sliding on, you’ve got to look at other options. Maybe it’s yorkers, bouncers, and try different deliveries where
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter was pilloried on Chinese social media and his name appeared to be blocked on the Sina Weibo messaging platform after he criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s treatment of Tibet. Kanter, who is Turkish, posted a two-minute video of himself on Twitter expressing support for Tibet and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with an image of the Dalai Lama, its exiled spiritual leader. “I’m here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet. Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are non-existent,” Kanter said in the video posted on Wednesday in the US, along with text describing Xi as a “brutal dictator.” Kanter posted similar messages on his Instagram feed. On Wednesday, he wore shoes emblazoned with the phrase “Free Tibet” during their game against the New York Knicks, which New York won 138-134. The shoes’ design was by Baidiucao, a dissident China-born cartoonist and artist based in Australia. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin yesterday told a news briefing that Kanter was “trying to get attention” and that his remarks “were not worth refuting.” “We will never accept those attacks to discredit Tibet’s development and progress,” Wang said. As of midday in China, Kanter’s Chinese-language surname and full name yielded only one result, compared with multiple results earlier in the morning. Sina Weibo did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the NBA in China did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. The Boston Celtics did not respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours. A Sina Weibo fan page for the Boston Celtics with more than 650,000 followers wrote that it would cease updating its social feed after Kanter’s posts. Twitter is blocked in China. “Any information on the team will cease to appear on this weibo. Any
TAKEOVER CHANGES: Steve Bruce left his position as manager by mutual consent, but said that the abuse directed at him by supporters had been difficult to take
Steve Bruce yesterday said that his stint at Newcastle United could be his last managerial role after the 60-year-old left the club following a poor start to their English Premier League campaign and the takeover of the side by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium. Bruce, who has been the target of fans’ ire since replacing the popular Rafa Benitez in 2019, left by mutual consent with the team in 19th place and winless after eight games. “I think this might be my last job. It’s not just about me; it’s taken its toll on my family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that,” Bruce told the Telegraph. “This will probably be me done as a manager until I get a phone call from a chairman somewhere asking if I can give them a hand. Never say never, I’ve learned that.” Bruce, a boyhood Newcastle fan, said the abuse directed at him by supporters was difficult to take. “To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head ... and it was from day one,” Bruce said. “I tried to enjoy it and ... I did. I’ve always enjoyed the fight, proving people wrong, but that’s all it ever seemed to be. A fight, a battle. It does take its toll because even when you win a game, you don’t feel like you’re winning over supporters,” he added. Bruce had appeared to be on borrowed time after the Premier League announced earlier this month that Newcastle had been sold to a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The 60-year-old had said following the change of ownership that he would understand if he was replaced, but he was
Cody Bellinger on Tuesday smashed a three-run homer as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5, while the Houston Astros recovered to score a series-leveling 9-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Bellinger’s monster eighth-inning home run off Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson turned a 5-2 deficit into a 5-5 tie just as the Dodgers appeared to be sliding toward a third straight defeat in their National League Championship Series. Chris Taylor singled to keep the inning alive before Mookie Betts drove in a run-scoring double to put the Dodgers ahead at 6-5 heading into the ninth, allowing closer Kenley Jansen to lock down the win. After Atlanta stunned the Dodgers with walk-off victories in the opening two games of the best-of-seven series, Tuesday’s Game 3 at Dodger Stadium had acquired must-win status for the reigning MLB World Series champions. However, until Bellinger’s homer, the Dodgers looked to be heading for defeat after a fitful display from starting pitcher Walker Buehler and a spluttering offensive performance. “Man, pure elation, joy — it’s just hard to imagine a bigger hit that I can remember,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Bellinger’s game-changing homer. “We were dead in the water. You could see it,” Roberts added. “It just flipped everything. We needed that kind of shot in the arm.” The Dodgers’ victory left Atlanta 2-1 ahead in the series. “Right now, any win is huge, but the way we won tonight shows we’re still fighting,” said Dodgers leadoff hitter Betts. In Boston, 2017 World Series champions Houston erupted with eight runs in the final two innings to defeat the Red Sox in Game 4 at Fenway Park. Boston had looked to be closing in on a 3-1 American League Championship Series lead after Xander Bogaerts’ two-run homer put them 2-1 up in the first inning. The Sox preserved that lead
Andy Murray on Tuesday said that he had “never played a match like it” after the former world No. 1 battled past the US’ Frances Tiafoe in an epic at the European Open. The 34-year-old Scot, who has suffered career-threatening hip injuries, saved two match points to pull off a 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/8) victory in a thrilling first-round clash in Antwerp, Belgium. At 3 hours, 45 minutes it was the longest best-of-three match this year, the ATP said, eclipsing the 3 hours, 38 minutes played by Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona final in April. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a match like that,” Murray said. “I think it’s the longest three-set match I’ve played by quite a distance. I’m tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle.” Murray shared a warm embrace with 23-year-old Tiafoe afterward. “Nowadays obviously my body is old now. I’ve played a lot of matches on the Tour,” he said. “I don’t mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level.” Murray faces Argentine second seed Diego Schwartzman today.
Liverpool survived an Atletico Madrid fightback to win 3-2, while Lionel Messi scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) came from behind to beat RB Leipzig by the same score on a breathless night of UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday. In other games, Karim Benzema netted for Real Madrid as the 13-time European champions thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in Ukraine on the eve of the start of his trial in France on charges of complicity in blackmail. Much of the night’s drama happened at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Spanish capital where Mohamed Salah scored another impressive goal, twisting away from a string of Atletico Madrid defenders before his shot deflected in off James Milner to open the scoring. Naby Keita doubled Liverpool’s lead with a stunning volley, but Atletico Madrid hit back with France international Antoine Griezmann scoring twice to fire up the home crowd. Just as Atletico Madrid seemed to have the upper hand, Griezmann was given a straight red card for a high boot in the face of Roberto Firmino. A pulsating game was decided from the penalty spot in the 78th minute as Salah sent Jan Oblak the wrong way after Mario Hermoso pushed Diogo Jota. The Egyptian’s 31st Champions League goal makes him the club’s top scorer in the competition, overtaking Steven Gerrard. In a dramatic finish, Atletico Madrid were denied a penalty when the referee referred to the video assistant referee and decided Jota had not fouled Jose Maria Gimenez. “We played a really solid second half in a tough game with intense football from both teams,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told BT Sport. “We got the penalty, then there was a red card and obviously it was in our favor.” The Reds are top of Group B with three wins out of three, while Atletico Madrid are equal on four points
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points on Tuesday as the Milwaukee Bucks launched the defense of their NBA crown with a 127-104 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, while LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were outgunned by the Golden State Warriors. Antetokounmpo picked up where he left off in guiding the Bucks to victory in the NBA Finals last season, leading an emphatic all-round offensive display that included 14 rebounds and seven assists. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player was one of five Bucks who cracked double figures on a night when Milwaukee’s fans celebrated as the team raised their first championship banner in 50 years at the Fiserv Forum. Khris Middleton had 20 points, while Pat Connaughton also made 20 off the bench. Jordan Nwora added 15 points, while Jrue Holiday, who left the game with an injury early on, had 12 points. Antetokounmpo was pleased with the way the Bucks turned their attention to the challenge of the Nets after the pre-game festivities. “It was hard — we all were excited to get the rings and seeing our banner,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s kind of hard to balance that, to go from that excitement and emotional state to go and play a game, but I think we did a great job. We were able to focus on our gameplan and ourselves and get a win.” It was a chastening loss for Brooklyn, who have started the season without the services of Kyrie Irving. The Nets have left Irving out of the lineup for the foreseeable future because of his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which makes him ineligible for home games in New York due to city laws. In Tuesday’s other season-opener, the new-look Los Angeles Lakers suffered a humbling 121-114 loss to the Warriors at the Staples Center. James led the Lakers scorers with 34 points,
In a sport where youth can trump experience, three-time Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White wears his age as a “badge of honor” as he vies to compete at a fifth Olympics. The American was 19 when he picked up his first gold at the Turin Games in 2006 and cemented his legacy as the most successful snowboarder of all time when he triumphed in dramatic fashion at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018. Now 35 years old and hoping to compete in the Beijing Games next year, the Californian said he is adapting to his status as the elder statesman of his sport. “I’ve been the youngest competitor as long as I can remember, but I wear it now as somewhat of a badge of honor in a sense,” White told reporters at the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee media summit. “To be on top of a sport that’s ever-changing and for this amount of time, it’s been a challenge.” Staying on top has been as much a mental challenge as a physical one, he said, after settling for fourth place at the Sochi Games in 2014 and having to once again harness his passion for competing. White clinched gold in 2018 on his final run in the halfpipe final, earning a 97.75 for a spectacular display. “In Sochi, I’d lost something; I’d lost this edge that I had,” White said. “It was [a] really emotional and sort of heavy journey to find that again.” The 13-time Winter X Games champion had once hoped to compete in the debut Olympic skateboarding competition at the Tokyo Games, but dropped his bid early last year, deciding that he was not ready to walk away from snowboarding. The path has not always been easy. He withdrew from the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, earlier this year with a knee injury,
ALMOST THERE: Lai Li-chin sealed the 4-0 victory with two goals in the second half, but the national women’s team must still beat Bahrain to qualify for the Asian Cup
The national women’s soccer team began their qualifying round for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Monday with a 4-0 victory over Laos in Bahrain. The victory lifted Taiwan to the top of Group A, and if they manage to beat hosts Bahrain on Sunday, they would qualify for the Women’s Asian Cup from Jan. 20 to Feb. 6 next year. Ranked 40th in the world and eighth in Asia, Taiwan are the favorites in their group, ahead of 85th-ranked Bahrain. Laos are making their first appearance in the qualifiers. However, Taiwan have not qualified for the Asian Cup since 2008. Ten of the 12 berths for the Women’s Asian Cup have been secured by hosts India, Australia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Only the qualifying teams from Group A and Group D have yet to be decided. On Monday, Taiwan took care of business as expected, with forward Chen Yen-ping opening the scoring with 19 minutes on the clock. They were unapologetic about maintaining possession in Laos’ half of the field, taking every opportunity to wear down their opponents’ defense. The pressure eventually paid off when forward Su Yu-hsuan added to Taiwan’s lead in the 32nd minute. Forward Lai Li-chin, a veteran from Taiwan’s successful 2008 qualifying campaign, sealed the deal with two goals in the second half, converting a pass to score her team’s third goal 55 minutes into the game and booting in a loose ball at the hour mark. Taiwan head coach Kazuo Echigo said that although his team won, they did not meet all of the goals he had set them, and adjustments would have to be made. Acknowledging that the next match against Bahrain would be critical, Echigo said that he would make use of the time before then to come up with a strategy and train his
Kyle Schwarber on Monday blasted a record-breaking third grand slam as the Boston Red Sox routed the Houston Astros 12-3 to open up a 2-1 lead in the MLB’s American League Championship Series. Schwarber’s 430-foot (131m) blast in the bottom of the second inning at Fenway Park made the Red Sox the first team in baseball history to hit three grand slams in a single post-season series. It was a case of deja vu for the Astros, who saw J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers bludgeon grand slams for Boston in Game 2 in Houston on Saturday to win 9-5. “Offensively this is the best we’ve been all season — they’re locked in right now,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “Today was the closest we’ve been to a perfect game to be honest with you. We pitched well, played great defense, ran the bases. Now we turn the page and get ready for tomorrow.” After a scoreless first inning, the Red Sox roared into the lead in a devastating second-inning burst after loading the bases. Christian Vazquez’s single allowed Alex Verdugo to score and then Christian Arroyo reached after a fielding blunder by Astros star Jose Altuve sent Martinez over home plate for a 2-0 lead. Altuve’s fumble was especially costly, potentially squandering a double play to keep the innings alive and leave Boston with the bases loaded. That proved too good an opportunity for Schwarber to pass up, and the 28-year-old outfielder duly pounced on the opportunity, electrifying Fenway with a mammoth shot deep into right field to leave the Sox 6-0 up. Yimi Garcia replaced Jose Urquidy on the mound, but was unable to stop the bleeding in the third inning, Vazquez driving in another single to score Hunter Renfroe for 7-0. Arroyo then let rip with a two-run homer over Fenway’s famous “Green Monster,” high into left
It is the world’s longest certified foot race: a 4,989km run that takes participants around the same New York block 5,649 times. Thousands of people have climbed Everest — but just 49 have completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, organizers say. Runners finish more than two marathons a day for almost two months, on less than five hours of sleep a night. They cannot rely on changing scenery to keep them motivated as the route is a 883m loop on a concrete sidewalk around a high school in Jamaica, Queens. To mix things up a bit, they alternate between running clockwise one day and anti-clockwise the next. “Definitely monotony,” said this year’s winner, Andrea Marcato, describing the biggest test of the race. “The first week is quite challenging, especially for the mind, but after a while you get used to it. You have to accept that every day is going to be the same,” he said. Participants have 52 days to run 4,989km, meaning they must average 96km every day. They run, walk and hobble between 6am and midnight, eating as they go to make up for the estimated 10,000 calories they burn during every session. For the day’s other six hours they sleep, wash and care for their blistered feet in nearby accommodation. Only ultramarathon veterans who have completed six-day races are allowed to enter. “It’s a test of stamina, strength, inner determination and talent,” race director Sahishnu Szczesiul said. Harita Davies, the only woman among this year’s seven competitors, said the race takes a physical toll, but “the kind of unbelievable thing is that as the days and weeks go by your body actually does adapt, you do get stronger.” Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, who lived in New York before his death in 2007, founded the run in 1997. He advocated “self-transcendence,” using spirituality to go
Derrick Henry on Monday rushed for three touchdowns and the Tennessee Titans staged a nail-biting late defensive stand to score a 34-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Titans running back Henry produced a trademark barnstorming performance to help the Titans improve to 4-2 in the American Football Conference South after a thrilling shoot-out that saw the lead change hands no fewer than seven times. Henry’s third touchdown late in the fourth quarter put Tennessee into a 34-31 lead, but the Bills looked to be on course for a game-tying field goal with only seconds remaining as they advanced to the Titans three-yard line. Yet instead of kicking for overtime, Bills quarterback Josh Allen went for a risky fourth and one conversion with just 22 seconds left, and the Titans defense held firm to ice the game. “We’ve got some dogs over there on defense and they fight to the end, and they showed it right there” Henry said after the Titans’ game-winning defensive stop. “We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle and we just had to stay with it,” added Henry, who finished with 143 yards (131m) from 20 carries. Left reflecting on his team’s failure, Allen said: “It’s a game of inches. It didn’t turn out in our favor today.” The Bills started slowly with only a pair of early Tyler Bass field goals to show for their opening possessions. Then the Titans hit with Henry’s first touchdown, a spectacular 76-yard burst through the Bills’ defense. Henry’s second touchdown, saw him crashing over from three yards for a 24-23 lead. A clever two-point conversion put the Bills 31-24 ahead heading into the fourth, but Randy Bullock’s 38-yard field goal reduced the Titans’ deficit to four points, and then, after the Bills were forced to punt, Henry rumbled over from 13 yards for his third touchdown
Taiwan’s P.League+ professional basketball league is expanding its playoffs to four teams after adding two teams to the league in the off-season. The top four teams in the six-team league are to make the playoffs, with the first and fourth-placed teams, and second and third-placed teams facing off in a best-of-five series to determine the finalists, the league told a news conference in Taipei on Monday. In its inaugural 2020-2021 season, when the league had four teams, the second and third-placed teams played a best-of-five series, with the winners taking on the first-placed team in the finals. New to the league this year are the New Taipei Kings, led by general manager James Mao, a former Taiwanese national team star. Mao said one of the Kings’ goals is to improve the basketball environment in Taiwan. “We are honored to join the league in its second season, and we hope to bring more resources to the league and to Taiwanese basketball. We will try our hardest to help basketball in Taiwan get better and better,” Mao said. The Kaohsiung Steelers are the other new edition, led by general manager Yosuke Chang. Born and raised in Kaohsiung, Chang has 15 years of marketing experience and is hoping top players in the country will join his team. “We have our sights set on two to three players who have national team experience, and they will soon join our team,” Chang said. P.League+ founder and chief executive Blackie Chen said that in addition to providing exciting games, he has a responsibility to craft a stable basketball league that shows potential. The new season is to begin in Taipei on Dec. 4, with defending champions the Taipei Fubon Braves facing last season’s runners-up, the Formosa Taishin Dreamers.
TENNIS Hsieh heading to WTA finals World No. 1 women’s doubles player Hsieh Su-wei has secured a spot at the WTA Finals following her victory with Elise Mertens at the BNP Paribas Open this weekend. The Taiwanese-Belgian duo are to be making their debut together at the WTA’s season-ending tournament after a fruitful year brought wins at Indian Wells and Wimbledon in July. “Time to book our flight Elise. After winning IW, me & Elise are in the championship,” Hsieh wrote on Facebook after the WTA announced the news on Monday. Hsieh, who is making her fourth appearance at the WTA’s showcase event, will be hoping for a repeat of her 2013 victory with partner Peng Shuai of China. CRICKET Campher takes 4 in 4 balls Curtis Campher on Monday took four wickets in four balls as Ireland eased past the Netherlands at the T20 World Cup. South African-born Campher took a hat-trick and then struck again to return figures of 4-26 and reduce the Dutch from 51-2 to 51-6, Ireland going on to dismiss them for 106 in the Group A opener in Abu Dhabi. The 22-year-old medium-pacer joined Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga as the only bowlers to take a four wickets in four balls in T20s. “To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about it,” Campher said. “Maybe it will set in a little bit later. To be honest I’m just happy with the win and that’s all that matters.” Ireland cruised to a seven-wicket win with 4.5 overs to spare as player-of-the-match Campher hit the winning runs for his team’s first win over the Netherlands in a World Cup. SOCCER Clubs pass sponsorship rule English Premier League clubs on Monday passed a temporary rule to stop teams from agreeing sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, a move that could restrict Newcastle
‘NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE’: Spain’s Paula Badosa joined Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and Serena Williams in 1999 in winning the title on her first appearance
A handful of tennis’ superstars skipped the COVID-19 pandemic-delayed BNP Paribas Open. A rash of upsets sent other big names packing, too. Left standing at the end as champions were two players ranked outside the top 25. Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Sunday beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, giving the tournament its first men’s winner ranked outside of the top 25 since 2010. Paula Badosa of Spain edged Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), becoming just the third woman to win on her Indian Wells debut. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams were among those skipping the tournament that was delayed two-and-half years because of the pandemic. The two-week event was also hit with a rash of upsets, including top seeds Daniil Medvedev and Karolina Pliskova. That cleared the way for the up-and-coming Norrie and Badosa to claim the biggest titles of their young careers. They earned US$1.2 million each. “Obviously, it was pretty miraculous that all the top guys lost,” Norrie said. “When I looked at the four semi-finalists, hmm, it’s a good opportunity here.” Norrie, ranked world No. 26, had the only two breaks of the final set and won when Basilashvili’s backhand sailed long on match point. Basilashvili, ranked world No. 36, was the first player from Georgia to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final. Badosa joined Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and Serena Williams in 1999 in winning the title on her first appearance. It was Badosa’s second title of her career, having won in Belgrade earlier this year. Norrie handled the big-hitting Basilashvili’s power off the baseline by working the angles. He broke the Georgian at love on Basilashvili’s forehand error to take the second set. “He’s difficult, not really giving you any rhythm,” Norrie said. “I was able to get my foot in the door, able to hang around, cause
More late-night magic has the Atlanta Braves just two wins away from the World Series. Eddie Rosario on Sunday delivered Atlanta’s second straight walk-off hit in the ninth inning, giving the Braves a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and a commanding 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series. Rosario’s fourth hit of the game was a two-out single off shortstop Corey Seager’s glove after the Braves twice rallied from two-run deficits. “These guys have always been like that,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “They’re never out.” Rosario delivered a 169kph scorcher up the middle on the first pitch after closer Kenley Jansen relieved. Seager tried for a backhand snag, but the ball skidded off his glove into center field. There was no chance to get Dansby Swanson, who raced around from second with the winning run, dropping his helmet as he crossed the plate — a virtual repeat of Game 1 when Austin Riley came through with a winning hit in the ninth for a 3-2 victory. The series resumes in Los Angeles, where Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for today. “We all have that dream, that desire to get to the World Series,” Rosario said. “That’s just what we’re going for.” The Braves are halfway to their first World Series appearance since 1999, but they cannot celebrate just yet. A year ago, Atlanta held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 over the Dodgers in the championship series, only to lose the last three games of a series played in Arlington, Texas, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Los Angeles went on to beat Tampa Bay in the World Series, while the Braves stewed for another shot. They rallied in the eighth off Julio Urias, who pitched three hitless innings to finish Game 7 against the Braves in October last year. Seventy-three of 87 teams taking 2-0 leads
Newcastle United’s new dawn under the ownership of the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund got off to a disappointing start on Sunday as Tottenham Hotspur silenced St James’ Park with a 3-2 win. The defeat leaves Newcastle still in the relegation zone without an English Premier League win this season. Expectations on Tyneside are high for a huge injection of funding by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) to transform Newcastle’s fortunes on the pitch. PIF governor Yassir al-Rumayyan was given a hero’s welcome by the 55,000 crowd when he was presented before kickoff. A jubilant atmosphere was matched by the perfect start for the hosts when Callum Wilson headed home Javier Manquillo’s cross inside two minutes. Al-Rumayyan celebrated wildly in the stands alongside co-owner Amanda Staveley, who has bought a 10 percent stake in the club and been the face of the takeover bid for well over a year. Staveley last week said that her ambition is for the Magpies to become champions of England within the next 10 years, but the gulf between where Newcastle are and where the new owners want them to go was exposed after their flying start. Spurs have had a far from ideal start to the season under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo, but in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min they have the star quality Newcastle hope to have in years to come. Midfielder Tanguy Ndombele smashed home an equalizer on 17 minutes from Sergio Reguilon’s cross to get the Tottenham revival started. Kane then ended his wait for a Premier League goal this season with a deft lob over Karl Darlow. The England captain was initially flagged offside, but a video assistant referee review proved Kane was onside from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s ball over the top. “I know there’s been a lot of talk and a lot of noise around me, and I