Osaka dumped in Madrid
Naomi Osaka yesterday suffered a second-round exit at the Madrid Open as the Japanese second seed lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Karolina Muchova. Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, has seven career hard-court titles, but has never managed to lift a clay-court trophy. Osaka beat compatriot Misaki Doi in the first round, but came unstuck against an opponent making her top 20 debut this week. Muchova used a single break of serve to claim the opening set against the world No. 2. Osaka fell 3-1 behind in the second set, but rallied to win the next five games and force a decider. Muchova regrouped and broke Osaka early in the third set, and then again for a 5-1 lead, before sealing victory in just less than two hours. The Czech faces either Greek 16th seed Maria Sakkari or Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit for a place in the quarter-finals.
Axelsen forfeits final
World No. 2 Viktor Axelsen was yesterday forced to withdraw from the European Championships final in Kiev after testing positive for COVID-19. Axelsen was to face fellow Dane Anders Antonsen, who claimed his first European title with a walkover. “Top seed and defending champion Viktor Axelsen returned a second positive test for COVID-19, ruling him out of contesting the men’s singles final,” Badminton Denmark announced. It said the 27-year-old Axelsen returned a first positive test after beating Finn Kalle Koljonen in the semi-finals on Saturday and must isolate in Kiev. “He will remain in hotel room quarantine for the next 13 days,” it said.
Parker overcomes Chisora
Former world champion Joseph Parker on Saturday took another step to becoming a heavyweight title contender after beating Derek Chisora by split decision in Manchester Arena. Parker overcame being knocked down by a right swing just seconds into the non-title bout. The New Zealander, who lost his WBO title to Anthony Joshua in 2018, gradually came back in a toe-to-toe fight that he tipped thanks to his late pressure, cleaner punches, and work rate. Two judges gave Parker 116-111 and 115-113 scores, and one gave Chisora 115-113. Parker’s fifth successive win since he lost to Joshua and Dillian Whyte improved his record to 29-2.
Selby to face Murphy in final
Former winners Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are to meet in the final of this year’s World Championship after coming through tough semi-finals on Saturday. Selby saw off Stuart Bingham 17-15 in a match that was paused with Selby leading 16-15 to allow Murphy and Kyren Wilson to complete their match at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. Selby broke the deadlock when his match resumed when a plant set up a break of 41 only to lose position. A lucky red allowed qualifier Bingham to lay a snooker which set him up for a break of 59. With all the reds off the table, Bingham lost position, but laid a snooker behind the black. Selby made a superb escape and eventually laid a brilliant snooker on the green that saw Bingham give away several fouls that left his opponent in front. Selby, a three-time world champion, then cleared to the pink to complete a 17-15 win.
Argentine soccer icon Diego Maradona received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” before he died last year, an expert medical panel said on Friday. In a 70-page document, the panel said that Maradona, who succumbed to a heart attack on Nov. 25 last year at the age of 60, “started to die at least 12 hours before” the moment he was found dead in his bed. Maradona died just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot. A panel of 20 experts was convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor to examine the cause of death
WEEKEND MATCHES: Hang Yuan FC’s first game against CPC FC was a tense affair with no one scoring until the 80th minute, but after a flurry of goals Hang Yuan prevailed 2-1 Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) have had to postpone their trip to Hong Kong to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup qualifiers. The AFC on Monday delayed the AFC Cup East Zone Group J qualifier matches in Hong Kong — which were to be held from Friday next week to May 20 — until June 23 to 29 due to international travel and quarantine challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As defending champions of the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL), Tainan TSG are representing Taiwan in Group J against Mongolia’s Athletic 220, and Hong Kong’s Eastern Long Lions and Lee
FURIOUS FANS: The biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes after about 200 protesters made their way onto the pitch and set off flares Manchester United’s English Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday was postponed after furious United fans stormed Old Trafford in protest at the club’s owners, while Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Sheffield United 4-0. Manchester City would have been crowned champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed United had lost to Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola’s side saw their hopes of a title party put on hold after the biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes. The Glazer family, already unpopular for their leveraged buyout of the club 16 years ago that saddled
Don Mattingly starred in the action-packed 1980s. Now the Miami Marlins manager, known as Donnie Baseball, worries about a record lack of hits — and not just from his team’s bats. “I don’t think it’s cyclical at this point,” he said. “There’s so much swing and miss, it’s kind of off the charts. I think it’s something that we have to address.” It is the “Season of the Slump,” even for All-Stars like Marcell Ozuna (.202), Charlie Blackmon (.184) and Francisco Lindor (.189). Miguel Cabrera, the only Triple Crown winner in a half-century, is batting .140. Major league batters were hitting just .232