Tennis star Nick Kyrgios is to seek to have an assault charge against him dismissed on mental health grounds, Australian media reported yesterday. Kyrgios’ lawyer appeared for him at a hearing in the magistrates’ court of the Australian Capital Territory, where he faces a charge of common assault. The 27-year-old Australian player, who was not required to appear for the largely administrative hearing, is in Tokyo taking part in the Japan Open. Kyrgios beat Taiwan’s Tseng Chun-hsin 6-3, 6-1 in his opening match yesterday, and then told reporters there was “only so much I can say about” the court case. “I’m here in Japan playing tennis, I’m not back home at the moment so what will be will be with that,” he said. “The next meeting will be on Feb. 3 so that’s all that I can really say about it now.” His lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, sought an adjournment to allow time for a mental health assessment to be carried out, reported media outlets, including Australian Broadcasting Corp and the Sydney Morning Herald. Kukulies-Smith said his client’s mental health issues were well known and he would seek to have the charge dismissed at a later date, they reported. The Wimbledon finalist wrote about his previous mental health struggles in an Instagram post earlier this year, and has said that he battles depression. “I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone,” he wrote alongside a photograph of himself from 2019. “I’ve been through those times when it seemed as if those positive energetic vibes were never ever going to be reality,” he wrote. The world No. 20 is playing at his first tournament since losing in the quarter-finals of the US Open last month. He cruised past world No. 87 Tseng in front of a Tokyo crowd that cheered his name and clamored for the
The Los Angeles Rams efficiently moved the ball down the field on the opening drive before a sack stalled them and led to a field goal. That set the tone for the Rams on Monday night. They struggled to move the ball consistently and failed to finish off the few drives when they did. It all added up to a 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in one of the worst offensive performances in six years under coach Sean McVay. “The story of the night from an offensive perceptive was self-inflicted wounds,” McVay said. “Just above the neck errors where we’re not doing the things that we are capable of and I expect us to be better than that.” The Rams (2-2) were held to 257 yards (235m) and three field goals, marking the fifth time they failed to score a touchdown in any game under McVay in the regular season or playoffs. It marked their seventh straight regular-season loss to the Niners (2-2), although they did win the most important matchup in last season’s National Football Conference championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title. It was a far different result this time. Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times, committed two turnovers, including a back-breaking pick-six and the Rams were held to 3.52 yards per play in the third-worst output of the McVay era. “It’s execution on our part,” Stafford said. “There were plays where we can execute better. Whether it’s throwing and catching or just assignment wise. A lot to clean up.” Stafford started off well, completing his first seven passes of the game to get into the red zone before a sack by Samson Ebukam sent the Rams backward for a field goal. Two more trips to the red zone stalled near the goal line and ended with field
Bobby Wagner delivered one of the biggest hits on a person who got onto the field. The Rams linebacker flattened the protester who ran on the field with a device emitting pink smoke late in the second quarter of Los Angeles’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. “I just saw someone running on the field,” Wagner said. “It looked like he wasn’t supposed to be on the field so I saw security was having a problem so I helped them out.” With less than 1 minute left in the first half, the person got onto the field and ran across while being chased by security as the pink smoke filled the field. As the person ran toward the Rams sideline, linebacker Takkarist McKinley came toward him before Wagner came off the sideline and laid him out with a big hit. “I saw Bobby Wagner taking somebody out,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I thought that was kind of cool to see.” The protester was taken off the field by security and the game quickly resumed. Earlier in the game, another person tried to get onto the field with a similar device, but was stopped by security.
A year-long independent investigation into abuse and sexual misconduct in women’s soccer in the US has delivered a damning verdict. “Our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” the report said. “Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players,” it said. Examples of misconduct listed in the report included a coach showing a player pornography during a game-film review and masturbating in front of her, and another who coerced players into sexual relationships. The report, headed by independent investigator Sally Yates, excoriated the NWSL and warned about potential abuse in girls’ soccer. “This investigation’s findings are heartbreaking and deeply troubling,” said US Soccer Federation (USSF) president Cindy Parlow, a former player on the US women’s national team. “The abuse described is inexcusable and has no place on any playing field, in any training facility or workplace.” “As the national governing body for our sport, US Soccer is fully committed to doing everything in its power to ensure that all players — at all levels — have a safe and respectful place to learn, grow and compete,” she said. “We are taking the immediate action that we can today.” The report found that teams, the NWSL and US Soccer failed to put basic safeguards in place for players. “Teams, the League, and the Federation not only repeatedly failed to respond appropriately when confronted with player reports and evidence of abuse, they also failed to institute basic measures to prevent and address it,” the report said. “As a result, abusive coaches moved from team to team, laundered by press releases thanking them for their service, and
Manager Brendan Rodgers said Leicester City have turned the corner after James Maddison inspired a 4-0 rout of Nottingham Forest that eased the pressure on the Foxes boss and pushed their rivals to the bottom of the English Premier League on Monday. Rodgers’ side blew Forest away with three goals in the space of 10 minutes in the first half at the King Power Stadium. Maddison struck either side of a superb finish from Harvey Barnes, and Patson Daka netted in the second half as Leicester won for the first time this season at the eighth attempt. Leicester had lost their previous six games to leave Rodgers fighting to avoid being sacked following his criticism of the club’s Thai owners for failing to back him in the transfer window. Winning the East Midlands derby should give Rodgers at least a little breathing space, with Leicester moving one place above rock-bottom Forest on goal difference. “When you don’t win games it comes on to you. We had a horrendous summer, that’s the reality of it and that continued into the start of the season,” Rodgers said. “I just had to remind the players of their ability and continue to support them. They have bags of resilience. We just needed to turn that corner tonight and we did that.” Woeful Forest are now without a win in six games, losing five in a row. That has turned up the heat on coach Steve Cooper, who took charge when Forest were bottom of the EFL Championship last season and led them back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999. It would be harsh on Cooper to sack him so soon after winning promotion, but Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis would have hoped for better results after sanctioning a hefty investment in 21 new players in the close-season. “There were
TENNIS Spain takes top 2 rankings No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 2 Rafael Nadal are the first countrymen to top the ATP rankings in 22 years. The two players from Spain are also the first men from somewhere other than the US to sit at one-two since the tour introduced computerized rankings in 1973. Alcaraz, 19, rose to the top spot by winning the US Open last month, becoming the youngest man ever to be No. 1. Nadal rose from No. 3 to No. 2 on Monday, swapping places with US Open runner-up Casper Ruud. Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were the last two compatriots to hold the top spots in August 2000. “Proud to share this historic moment with @RafaelNadal, the best player of all-time,” Alcaraz wrote on Twitter in Spanish. BASEBALL Albert Pujols tops Babe Ruth Move over, Babe Ruth, Prince Albert is the new No. 2 on a big baseball list. Albert Pujols on Monday night hit his 703rd home run, breaking a tie with Ruth for second place in career RBIs. The 42-year-old slugger connected for the St Louis Cardinals off Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller, pulling a two-run shot into the left field stands to snap a scoreless tie in the sixth inning. It was Pujols’ 35th home run at PNC Park, his most at any visiting ballpark. The drive pushed Pujols’ total to 2,216 RBIs, surpassing Ruth on the all-time chart. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,297. “Passing Babe Ruth is a big deal,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said after his team’s 3-2 loss. “Seeing him hit a home run in that situation was fun to watch. You feel pretty good about where you’re at whenever he swings, and his home runs have been very meaningful.” Pujols plans to retire after the season. SOCCER Ukraine plans World Cup
DEADLY: Erling Haaland has now scored hat-tricks in each of his past three Premier League home games to take his tally to 17 in 10 matches for City
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden on Sunday scored hat-tricks as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 to move to within a point of English Premier League leaders Arsenal. United needed Antony’s strike and a late Anthony Martial brace to save them from a record defeat in the Manchester derby as they remained sixth, nine points off the top. Haaland has now scored hat-tricks in each of his past three Premier League home games to take his tally as a City player to 17 in 10 competitive games for the English champions. “You can see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and to attack,” Haaland told Sky Sports. “It’s what I love about the team. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say.” Since also conceding four times inside the first 45 minutes at Brentford in August, United had bounced back with four consecutive Premier League wins to offer hope they are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag, but the Red Devils were given a rude awakening of the gulf that still exists between the Manchester giants. “For me it was a surprise. We were not on the front foot, we were not brave on the ball and there were spaces to play, but we were not brave enough,” Ten Hag said. “All the credit to City, but it’s nothing to do with City. Our performance was not good. It had to do with the belief as individuals and as a team.” City could have scored many more than the four they managed in a blistering first-half performance that swept away any doubts caused by an inconsistent start to the season by Pep Guardiola’s men. Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva had all seen efforts blocked before Foden opened the floodgates on eight minutes with
Karim Benzema on Sunday missed a penalty for Real Madrid as they finally blinked in the title race, dropping their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw with CA Osasuna in La Liga. Elsewhere, Real Sociedad won 5-3 at Girona and high-flying Real Betis Balompie fell to a 1-0 defeat at RC Celta de Vigo. After Barcelona beat RCD Mallorca on Saturday, Madrid knew they had to win to stay top, but were frustrated by Jagoba Arrasate’s well-organized side at the Santiago Bernabeu. Benzema, on his return to the side after injury, won a penalty, but then fired it against the crossbar and also had a goal disallowed for offside as Madrid tried to force a way through. Vinicius Jr broke the deadlock just before halftime with a cross that snuck all the way into the far corner, but Kike Garcia’s well-taken header early in the second half earned Osasuna a point. “What we were missing was scoring that penalty, normally Karim scores them,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told DAZN. “He had no problem playing the 90 minutes. It’s been a month since he’s played, he has to get his best form back. He did his part, he had the chance from the penalty. It’s an accident, sometimes it happens.” Benzema made his first appearance since Sept. 6, while Andriy Lunin and Dani Ceballos started in place of injured duo Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric. Madrid probed promisingly down the flanks, while at the other end Abde Ezzalzouli, on loan at Osasuna from Barcelona, crashed a shot into the side-netting in a bright display. Madrid opened the scoring in fortuitous fashion, with Vinicius whipping in a low cross which caught out goalkeeper Sergio Herrera and crept in at the far post. Osasuna complained that Benzema and Antonio Rudiger were offside and interfering with play, but their
Novak Djokovic on Sunday claimed his third title of the season and the 89th of his career with an impressive straight-sets victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final, insisting his lengthy absence since winning a seventh Wimbledon crown in July provided “extra motivation.” The 35-year-old Serb triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli hard-court trophy to victories on Rome’s clay and Wimbledon’s grass this season. It was his 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings in a rivalry stretching back to 2008. Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July. He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard-court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month. “I played some very good tennis. I didn’t drop a set the entire week,” former world No. 1 Djokovic said. “I hadn’t played a tournament in three months, so it was really extra motivation for me to really do well, particularly because people have been so friendly and so supportive of me throughout the week. I’m taking some great confidence into next week as well.” Djokovic’s win on Sunday came in his 127th career final. It also allowed him to become the first man this year to claim titles on the sport’s three different surfaces. “My approach is to win tournaments wherever I am and I’m glad that I have a team of people around me that makes sure that I am in the best shape in order to be a contender to win titles,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour Web site. “That’s why I came to Israel, was to try to win the title. First time playing here since a Davis Cup tie more than
Taiwan’s Ye Hong-wei and Lee Chia-hsin on Sunday clinched the mixed doubles title at the Yonex Canada Open with a 12-21, 21-12, 21-15 win over Japan’s Hiroki Midorikawa and Natsu Saito in the final. Seventh-seeded Ye and Lee dispatched the top-seeded Japanese pairing in the three-game final match that took 40 minutes at Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary in their first-ever meeting. Despite losing the opening game 12-21, the Taiwanese pair fought back with a 21-12 win in the second game to force a decider. The final game was tied at 11-11 before Ye and Lee took the lead by capturing three consecutive points. After Midorikawa and Saito narrowed the gap to 17-15, Ye and Lee reeled off the next four points to win 21-15 and claim the mixed doubles title. In the women’s singles, Taiwan’s Sung Shuo-yun was beaten by Canada’s Michelle Li in straight games 21-16, 21-15 in the final. Sung was beaten by the second seed in 40 minutes in their second meeting and their first since the Macau Open in 2018. Sung’s runner-up finish was highlighted by her stunning 9-21, 21-15, 21-19 semi-final win over top seed Carolina Marin of Spain on Saturday.
Albert Pujols on Sunday hit his 702nd career home run and tied Babe Ruth for second on the all-time RBI list, but the Pittsburgh Pirates took the game from the St Louis Cardinals 7-5. Yadier Molina and Pujols, who are retiring at the end of the season, were honored in a 46-minute ceremony prior to their final regular-season home game. Pujols called it “pretty awesome” and “a great day.” “I’m really blessed to be back here,” said Pujols, who has 468 homers with the Cardinals. “To finish my career where everything started, it means a lot.” Ben Gamel and Bryan Reynolds homered for Pittsburgh, who have won four of six. Reliever Chase DeJong (6-2) got the win for the Pirates, allowing one run on four hits over 1-2/3 innings. David Bednar recorded his 19th save in 23 opportunities. Reynolds snapped a none-for-16 skid with his 27th homer of the season. “I was really proud of our guys, we battled back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. Pujols ripped a two-run double in the opening inning and Molina brought him in with a fly to left for a 3-0 lead. “He continues to just wow everybody,” St Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “That was no different.” The 42-year-old Pujols followed with his 23rd home run of the season in the third inning off Roansy Contreras that tied the game at 4-4. Pujols is fourth on the all-time home run list behind Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762). He is also now tied with Ruth for second in RBI list (2,214) behind Aaron (2,297). Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright started their 328th game together. Wainwright (11-12) allowed six runs on six hits over 4-2/3 innings. Molina, Pujols and Wainwright were all removed from the game together so they could walk off as a trio with two outs in the fifth inning. Wainwright has
BACK ON TOP: The 22-year-old’s win ends a 20-year title drought for Finland, after Marcus Gronholm won in 2002, which was also in New Zealand and with two rounds left
Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera yesterday praised the perseverance of his team after clinching a historic World Rally Championship (WRC) title with two rounds to spare, after he won Rally New Zealand in Auckland. One day after his 22nd birthday, Rovanpera became the youngest world champion, smashing the record set by Briton Colin McRae, who was 27 when he won the 1995 title. The son of former WRC driver Harri Rovanpera, the Finnish prodigy was a class above his rivals through the rain-plagued four-day rally in the upper North Island that tested driver skill to the limit. Rather than simply defending his overnight lead, a confident Rovanpera extended his advantage over four short stages. He wrapped up the title by winning the 17th and final power stage, earning sufficient bonus points to ensure he cannot be overhauled by nearest rival Ott Tanak over the remaining WRC rounds in Spain and Japan. Rovanpera was on course to secure the title even earlier in the season after winning five of the first seven rounds, but he struck problems with his Toyota in successive rallies in August to open the door for 2019 champion Tanak. There was a release of emotion immediately after victory was sealed, with Rovanpera dancing atop the roof of his Yaris vehicle alongside codriver Jonne Halttunen. After that, he embraced his father. “It’s quite a big relief after such a good season and finally we are here,” Rovanpera said. “It was a small wait after a few difficult rallies. The biggest thanks goes to the team of course, they made a rocket this year — a reliable and fast car,” he said. “Even after the difficult rallies, they were all the time believing in us.” The overnight positions remained unchanged, with French eight-time champion Sebastien Ogier finishing second, 34.6 seconds off the pace, while Tanak was 48.5 seconds behind Rovanpera in
Ninad Malwade backed up his innings of 47 not out with two late wickets, helping Taipei-based PCCT defeat Formosa in the final of the T10 Annual Taiwan Cricket tournament at Taipei’s Yingfeng Cricket Ground yesterday. Formosa’s Anthony Liu hit 50 in the reply, but rued a lack of runs at the start of their innings that left his side seven runs shy of the win. In the fifth over, Liu turned the game around after the first four overs had yielded only 26 runs. He hit a lookaway hook shot into the square-leg fence on his first ball from Usman Javed and followed it up with three more sixes in the over. Formosa kept themselves in the game for the next three overs before Malwade took the ball. He had Liu caught in the deep and took another wicket while only conceding three runs to leave Formosa too much to chase in the last over. The founders of the new national body for cricket in Taiwan attended the final and were impressed with the hitting ability on display. “Anthony is very impressive. He is a very good hitter,” association vice chairman Joe Peng said. It was raining sixes in the morning’s first semi-final as Formosa piled on 128-1 with Liu (28) hitting three sixes, Sandeep Patel (38 not out) one and Vishwajit Tawar (47 not out) four in their win over the Raging Bulls. Pankaj Tirkey hit 52 in the reply, clearing the boundary four times himself, and Vijay Ganisetti made 12 of his 22 runs in the same manner, but they were never in the hunt for the mammoth target, finishing their 10 overs on 91-4. The second semi was dominated by Malwade, who scored 59 not out, as PCCT made short work of a target of 90 set by the Taipei Indians. The highlight of the
KTM Factory Racing rider Miguel Oliveira yesterday held his nerve in rainy conditions to win the Thailand Grand Prix in Buriram, as Francesco Bagnaia made up significant ground on world championship leader Fabio Quartararo who finished 17th. Oliveira crossed the line 0.730 seconds ahead of Ducati Team duo Jack Miller and Bagnaia at the Chang International Circuit, in a race delayed by almost an hour because of heavy rain, creating treacherous conditions. “It was a long race, but I can’t complain. Every time we get a chance to race on the wet, I’m always super fast,” said Oliveira, who also showcased his wet-weather skills this season in his victory at the Indonesian Grand Prix. “When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia, but I tried to keep my feet on the ground and not make mistakes. I’m happy with this end of season win,” he said. Bagnaia was made to work for his third-placed finish by Prima Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco, but held on to reduce Frenchman Quartararo’s lead in the standings from 18 points to two. “I’m very happy, it’s like a win for me,” Bagnaia said. “I want to thank Jack [Miller]. He gave me a motivational chat before the race, and we spoke a bit.” For Miller it was a second podium finish in a row, after his victory last weekend in Japan. He is fifth in the championship standings. “I was pushing hard there, I didn’t give up on victory,” Miller said. “It’s not an easy task in these conditions.” Miller is due to get married next weekend, ahead of his home grand prix in Australia, and said he would have been in “trouble” if the race had been postponed. Quartararo had a disastrous start to the race, dropping down from fourth on the grid to 17th place on the first lap before ending
Taiwanese shuttler Sung Shuo-yun on Saturday advanced to the women’s singles final at the Yonex Canada Open with a 9-21, 21-15, 21-19 win over top seed Carolina Marin of Spain. With her victory over World No. 1 Marin in their semi-final at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary, Sung clinched her first spot in a BWF Super Series final. The 25-year-old on Friday dispatched third-seed Beiwen Zhang of the US in the quarter-finals, and reached the semi-finals without surrendering a single game in the previous three rounds. Saturday’s match was the first meeting between Sung and Marin, whose experience was evident in winning the opening game 21-9. Despite falling behind 10-13 in the second set, Sung rallied to win the second game 21-15. She established a 6-1 lead at the beginning of the next game, before being pegged back by Marin, but the Taiwanese held her cool to clinch the game 21-19, and win the match. Sung was yesterday to face Canada’s Michelle Li, the tournament’s second seed. A win in the final would give Sung 5,500 points and US$5,625, but she would still earn 4,680 points and US$2,850 as runner-up. Regardless of the outcome, reaching the final marks a new career high for Sung, whose previous best BWF Super Series finish was a semi-finals appearance at the Orleans Masters in 2019. In mixed doubles on Saturday, Taiwan’s Ye Hong-wei and Lee Chia Hsin beat Canada’s Kevin Lee and Jacqueline Cheung 18-21, 21-14, 21-15 to qualify for the final, where they were to face Japan’s Hiroki Midorikawa and Natsu Saito for the title. In women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Lee Chia-hsin and Teng Chun-hsun lost 21-15, 27-25 to Japan’s Rui Hirokami and Yuna Kato.
A famed extreme skier from the US who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was yesterday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials. Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off the 8,163m summit of the world’s eighth-highest mountain, Mount Manaslu, last week while skiing down with her partner, Jim Morrison. Nelson’s body was taken to the Sherpa cremation grounds in Kathmandu from a hospital morgue on the back of a open truck, which was decorated a poster of her and bedecked with garlands of flowers. Family, friends, mountaineers and government officials gathered at the funeral ground, offering flowers and scarfs that were place on her remains, which were then rested on a stack of wood. Buddhists monks lit the pyre as they played musical instruments and chanted prayers while mourners lit incense. Nelson’s family members had flown to Kathmandu for the funeral. She disappeared on Monday last week, and rescuers searching by helicopter located her body two days later and it was flown to Kathmandu. Bad weather had hampered the initial search. Climbers om Mount Manaslu have been struggling with bad weather conditions and repeated avalanches. On the same day Nelson fell, an avalanche at a lower elevation on the same mountain killed a Nepalese man and injured several other climbers. Hundreds of climbers and their local guides have attempted to reach the mountain’s summit during Nepal’s autumn climbing season. Nelson, from Telluride, Colorado, and Morrison, from Tahoe, California, are extreme skiers who reached the summit of Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain, in 2018. Nepal’s government has issued permits to 504 climbers during this year’s autumn climbing season. Most are climbing Mount Manaslu.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has fired an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after he stumbled off the field against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday last week, a person familiar with the decision said on Saturday. The person who confirmed the firing, which was first reported by Web site Pro Football Talk, spoke on condition of anonymity because a joint review by the NFL and its players’ union into Tagovailoa’s quick return to the Bills’ game is ongoing. There are three UNCs at each game. They are jointly paid by the league and the players’ union to work with team physicians to diagnose concussions. The sources said the NFLPA exercised its right to terminate the UNC directly involved in the decision to clear Tagovailoa, who sustained a concussion following a frightening hit just four days later against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. Tagovailoa initially seemed to exhibit concussion symptoms after the hit to his head during the home game against Buffalo, but he was cleared by a team physician and UNC to return. He and the team later said his legs were wobbly because of a back injury. After the hit on Thursday, when 1.9m, 154kg Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou slammed him backward into the turf, Tagovailoa’s hands froze up and his fingers flexed awkwardly in front of his face mask for several seconds as he lay on the turf in Cincinnati. He remained on the ground for several minutes until he was taken away on a stretcher and sent to a hospital. He was released from the hospital and flew home with the team hours later. It is unknown whether there is any correlation between the two injuries. The league and the NFLPA issued a statement that said they had made no conclusions about “medical errors or
E-SPORTS Taiwanese wins title Taiwan’s Neal Liu on Saturday finished first in the second season of a South Korean professional video game go-kart racing league, becoming the first foreign competitor to clinch the championship title. Liu was part of a four-member Taiwanese team, “Formosa Beast,” who placed second in the Crazyracing Kartrider World Championship Final in South Korea in 2019. In June, he was recruited by the South Korean e-sports team Liiv Sandbox. TENNIS Nishioka wins Korea Open Yoshihito Nishioka yesterday stunned fourth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) to win the Korea Open for his second ATP title. The Japanese player is set to rise to a career-high 41 after adding the Seoul crown to his triumph at the 2018 Shenzhen Open in China. Nishioka defeated world No. 2 Casper Ruud on the way to the final and he was neck-and-neck in the first set against Canada’s Shapovalov, until he broke in the 10th game to take the first set. Shapovalov, who was also chasing a second title, took the upper hand early in the second set, but the 27-year-old Nishioka bounced back, leveling the set and then powering on to win the match and the title on the tie-break. BASEBALL Ohtani signs US$30m deal Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a US$30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for next season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency. The Angels on Saturday announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with last year’s American League Most Valuable Player. Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. It is the largest one-year contract ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the US$27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani’s US$24.5
‘ON A MISSION’: A’ja Wilson was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player title after scoring 19 points to help her team earn the biggest win in a gold-medal game
A’ja Wilson scored 19 points, Kelsey Plum added 17 and the US beat China 83-61 yesterday to win their fourth consecutive gold medal at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. This is one of the most dominant teams in the US’ storied history in the World Cup, at which the Americans have won 11 gold medals. They have now won four straight gold medals for the first time ever. This was also the biggest win in a gold-medal game, surpassing the 20-point wins that the US had twice accomplished. “It feels great,” said Wilson, who was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “We came here on a mission, we got it. We got gold. Now we’re going home with some hardware,” she said. “It feels great to us. Australia was great to us. I didn’t see any kangaroos, but it’s okay because we are leaving with a gold.” What started with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi has now been passed down to Wilson and Breanna Stewart. With Alyssa Thomas the oldest player at 30, the domination could continue for years to come. As they have done all tournament, the US did it on both ends of the court, playing stellar defense and using a high-powered offense. The US (8-0) finished the World Cup averaging 98.8 points — just short of the mark held by the 1994 team that averaged 99.1. They won by an average of 40.8 points, topping the mark held by the 2010 team. The game was a sellout with nearly 16,000 spectators — the biggest crowd to attend a Women’s World Cup game since the inaugural tournament in 1953 in Chile. Led by Li Yueru and Wu Tongtong, China hung around. The Chinese team trailed 33-28 late in the second quarter before the US went on a 10-2 run highlighted
More than an hour after Cal Raleigh ended the longest playoff drought in baseball, he was back on the field with his teammates, circling the perimeter of the field to acknowledge the tens of thousands of fans who still stuck around. The celebration was more akin to winning something big in October, rather than a victory on the last day of September. But after 21 years, the Seattle Mariners could be excused for going a little over the top upon their return to the playoffs. “It’s better than maybe what you could dream it to be,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. Raleigh hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Mariners clinched a wild-card berth in the American League with a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night. Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, hit a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) just inside the right-field foul pole for a solo homer that sent the Mariners to the postseason for the first time since 2001. “I remember the moment when I knew it was fair and looking at the team and everybody’s jumping. It was just crazy,” Raleigh said. Seattle’s celebration on the field lasted more than 10 minutes as fans and players lifted themselves from the burden of two decades without seeing the playoffs. That was just the start. Nearly an hour later, and with the stands still mostly full, Servais and his team were back on the field after a wild clubhouse celebration. He grabbed the microphone and reminded the crowd — colorfully — that when he arrived along with Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto seven years ago, the mission was to “end the ... drought.” “We did it. These players behind me are special. They care.