Lleyton Hewitt finally ran out of steam and was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 by Fernando Gonzalez in the third round of the Hamburg Masters on Thursday. \nThe Australian top seed had played six hours of tennis in overcoming his first two opponents and often looked flat against the lively 15th-seeded Chilean. \nGonzalez dominated much of the match with his sharp returns and fierce forehand winners and Hewitt rarely looked capable of turning the tide. \nHewitt swiftly fell behind 5-0 and earned just two game points in the first set. \nIn the second, Gonzalez broke to lead 1-0 then twice dropped his own serve to love, for the Australian to level the match at one set all. \nIn the decider Hewitt, who is short of clay practice after suffering a viral infection, failed to impose himself on a confident opponent, earning just one game point, on Gonzalez's serve in the first game. \nHewitt said the long matches in Hamburg meant he was feeling more comfortable on clay with the French Open just 10 days away, but the courts were heavier than those at Roland Garros. \n"The French Open is more of a powder kind of surface. I've had decent results here, but I definitely feel I've got better chances at the French Open than here." \nThird seed Roger Federer went down 6-3 2-6 6-3 to big-serving Australian Mark Philippoussis. \nThe Swiss No. 3 seed won the first three games, then fell victim to some fine volleying and crisp passing shots. \nBut the Australian had trouble closing out the match, failing to convert seven match points at 5-1 and saving two break points at 5-3 before winning on his ninth match point. \nGustavo Kuerten's French Open preparations were also cut short when he lost 7-6 6-4 to South African Wayne Ferreira. \nThere was little to separate the pair throughout the match, but Ferreira was more aggressive and better at taking any opportunities that fell his way. \nThe 11th-seeded Brazilian had the early advantage, breaking for 2-1 and holding two break points in the fifth game after Ferreira had levelled at 2-2. \nKuerten also led 4-1 in the tiebreak before surrendering the next six points and the former French Open champion was broken at 4-4 in the second set to allow Ferreira to serve for victory. \nUnseeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium followed up his second-round win over French Open champion Albert Costa by ending the run of Britain's Tim Henman. \nAlthough Henman played well in patches, Rochus won the first eight points of the first set and the last 12 before taking a 4-0 lead in the second on the way to a 6-4 6-3 victory. \n"There were some good periods, but it's something you have to string together a bit longer," Henman said. \nMartinez, Serena, set up quarterfinal clash \nThe speed and power of Serena Williams are set to clash with the patience and consistency of veteran Conchita Martinez in the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome. \nThe American and Spaniard set up the match with third-round wins on Thursday, when top-seeded Williams crushed Nathalie Dechy 6-3, 6-0, and Martinez upset seventh-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3. \nDechy contained Williams' aggressiveness early on with quick angled shots, but the Frenchwoman's resistance crumbled as the defending champion's serve and groundstrokes improved. \nMartinez allowed her opponent to make most of the mistakes, employing the same steady baseline play that won her four consecutive titles at Foro Italico from 1993-96. \n"I don't think tennis is all about power," Hantuchova said, commenting on her opponent's skills. "The Williams sisters dominate because they are very powerful, but there are also other ways to win tennis matches. \n"I think Conchita just showed it very clearly. Today she just moved me around the court very well. That's how you can win a match too," she said. \nMartinez's passive game hasn't made much impact against Williams, however. In four previous encounters, Williams has never lost to the Spaniard. \n"I don't think she has many weak spots," Martinez said. "She hits the ball well from everywhere. It'll just be fight and run."
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training