Chans make quarters
Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching on Wednesday advanced to the women’s doubles semi-finals at the Dubai Tennis Championships after a dominant 6-1, 6-3 last-eight win over top seeds Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff. The Chan sisters needed only 29 minutes to win the first set, breaking the US pairing of Gauff and Pegula three times in a row without giving up serve. The Chans cemented their lead in the second set after they broke the US duo’s serve for a fourth time in the match after holding serve, securing a two-game advantage. The Taiwanese duo scored on the first of their two match points in the ninth game of the second set, clinching the victory. The win set the Chan sisters up for their first semi-final at the Dubai Tennis Championship since 2019. The other three quarter-finals were to be completed after press time last night.
Female team a first
Saudi Arabia is entering a female team for the first time at an International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament — this week’s Asia/Oceania pre-qualifying event for the Billie Jean King Cup Juniors in Sri Lanka. Saudi Arabia and Brunei are making their Billie Jean King Cup Juniors debuts in the tournament this week for players 16 years and under that is to determine which teams qualify for the main junior event to be decided later this year. “This is an amazing experience and it is so empowering,” Areej Farah, captain of the four-player Saudi Arabia team, said in an interview for the ITF’s Web site. “Taking part in this event is a big step for women’s tennis in Saudi and we are all very proud to represent our country and do our best.”
Ukraine boycotts events
Ukraine’s boxing federation (FBU) on Wednesday joined a boycott of the amateur world championships over the inclusion of Russian and Belarusian boxers, who have been allowed to compete with national flags and anthems. FBU vice president Oleg Ilchenko told public broadcaster Suspline that their boxers would not compete in this year’s men’s and women’s championships, which is to be held in New Delhi and Tashkent respectively. Both competitions are organized by the International Boxing Association, led by Russian Umar Kremlev.
Coach says ‘no tension’
Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurasingha on Wednesday said that there is “no tension” between him and senior players in the team as he begins his second tenure in charge of the side. Sri Lankan Hathurasingha’s first stint with the side from 2014 to 2017 was marked by several run-ins with senior players in the team, some of whom are also part of the current squad. Following his complaint, star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned for six months for “misbehavior” in 2014. “There’s no tension with any of the players with me,” Hathurasingha said. “I don’t think it [working with senior players] is going to be a challenge. I have spoken to all the senior players. Everybody is focused on one thing: Team is No. 1. Everyone wants the team to do well. Even in my last time, I didn’t face challenges with any of the players.”
SIGNS OF CALM: After his third explanation for his absence, which has drawn the ire of fans and politicians, some critics said his latest apology seemed sincere Lionel Messi denied his absence from a match in Hong Kong two weeks ago that angered China was a political snub, but was caused by an injury. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is idolized by fans in China, but stayed on the bench during Inter Miami’s 4-1 win in a pre-season tour match against a Hong Kong select XI on Feb. 4. A near 40,000 sellout crowd, who had paid upwards of HK$1,000 (US$128) to see the 36-year-old superstar in action, chanted “refund,” gave thumbs-down signs and booed Messi and the team’s co-owner David Beckham after the final whistle. Some nationalist politicians interpreted
Taiwanese infielder Yu Chang (張育成) has signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and is invited to the team’s spring training camp, the team announced Tuesday. The 28-year-old, who reported to the club’s spring training facility on Tuesday, told MLB.com he had received minor league offers from 10 teams, but signed with the Rays because of the positive experience he had on the team in 2022. “I feel like people make me comfortable here -- not only like coaches, [but the] teammates and everyone here,” he told the site. Chang, who made his MLB debut in 2019, played with the
Coco Gauff on Wednesday said that a heated exchange with the chair umpire midway through her match with Karolina Pliskova had spurred her on to complete a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory and advance to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships. The US Open champion lost the first set, but was leading 4-2 in the second when her first serve at deuce, which Pliskova returned into the net, was called out. The American challenged the call and her review was successful, but instead of awarding Gauff the point French chair umpire Pierre Bacchi told the 19-year-old to replay it. That sparked a lengthy
MLB’s new uniform reveal has not gone very well and some of the rampant criticism has moved below the belt. MLB Players’ Association deputy executive director Bruce Meyer on Thursday said that the organization is relaying concerns from players to the league about the new pants, which are somewhat see-through. The complaints — first reported by ESPN — are part of broader scorn for the new uniforms, which are designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics. “I know everyone hates them,” Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said last week. “We all liked what we had. We understand business, but I think everyone wanted