Chan sisters reach final
Taiwanese sisters Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching on Friday advanced to the women’s doubles final at the Dubai Tennis Championships after defeating third seeds Dutch-American duo Demi Schuurs and Desirae Krawczyk in three sets. The Taiwanese duo easily overcame their opponents 6-1 in the first set only to face a setback in the second set as Schuurs and Krawczyk rallied to win 6-4. From there, the Chan sisters took advantage by winning four out of their five first serve points and won the tiebreaker 10-4 to punch their tickets to the final, where they face Russians Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova. The final was to begin at about press time last night. In the women’s singles, top-ranked Iga Swiatek stayed undefeated against Coco Gauff, beating the American teenager 6-4, 6-2 to reach the final, where she was to play Barbora Krejcikova after press time. Krejcikova beat No. 3 Jessica Pegula of the US 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 in Friday’s other semi-final.
Taiwanese veteran beaten
Veteran Taiwanese paddler Huang Yi-hua on Friday finished second at the WTT Feeder Dusseldorf II in Germany after succumbing to 16-year-old Qin Yuxuan of China in straight games in the women’s singles final. World No. 151 Huang, who is 22 years older than the world No. 134 Qin, received a 7-11, 5-11, 6-11 drubbing in the final, which lasted 39 minutes, 25 seconds at Dusseldorf’s Deutsches Tischtennis-Zentrum. Despite losing the final, Huang rocked the tournament with her shock victory over world No. 40 and top seed Xiaona Shan of Germany in their semi-final. However, Qin’s majestic performance in the final saw her to take early leads and then stretch each game out of Huang’s reach to clinch her first senior title. After the match, Qin said that she had prepared well, which helped her to play smoothly. “Everything was under my control, and I am very happy to win the match. I feel that I have played so many games, and that I am much more mature and much more stable in handling the ball than before,” she said.
Drua edge Moana Pasifika
The Fijian Drua had the last say yesterday in a match that saw 11 tries to edge Moana Pasifika 36-34 on the opening weekend of the Super Rugby Pacific season. The Drua trailed 19-5 in the first half and did not lead in the match until the 77th minute when replacement winger Taniela Rakuro scored the try that gave them a narrow and thrilling win. Moana Pasifika managed a slim advantage in the forward contest, but the match was decided by hard-running outside backs who traded tries in the second half. In Dunedin, the Auckland Blues produced a statement performance to start their campaign with a record 60-20 win at the home of the Otago Highlanders, with the powerful running of winger Mark Telea a high point. In yesterday’s late games, the Wellington Hurricanes beat the Queensland Reds 47-13 and the Western Force edged the Melbourne Rebels 34-27. On Friday, the opening day of the competition, the ACT Brumbies beat the New South Wales Waratahs 31-25 and the Waikato Chiefs rallied from 10-0 down to defeat defending champions the Canterbury Crusaders 31-10.
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