Arsenal exit brings ‘clarity’
Arsenal’s Europa League exit has brought “clarity” to their season and the squad must now focus on the Premier League, manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday. Arsenal and Sporting drew 1-1 in London and finished 3-3 on aggregate in the tie before the Portuguese club advanced to the quarter-finals with a 5-3 shoot-out victory. Others to advance were Juventus, Feyenoord, Manchester United, Fenerbahce, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, AS Roma and Union Saint-Gilloise. Arsenal have been eliminated from all three cup competitions they were involved in, but are five points clear in the league and in position to win a first English title since 2003-2004. “It’s a huge blow, but it brings clarity to the season,” Arteta told Arsenal’s Web site. “It’s 11 games to play for, 11 Premier League games, and a big final against Crystal Palace. The focus has to be there, the energy has to be there and learn from tonight.”
Alcaraz, Swiatek advance
Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday beat Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first time in his career to book a semi-final clash with Jannik Sinner at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek had a last-four match against Elena Rybakina. Alcaraz posted his first victory over Auger-Aliassime in four meetings with a 6-4, 6-4 win to keep his bid to regain the world No. 1 ranking on track. “It’s wonderful to beat Felix finally, and the way I did it, playing at a great level,” Alcaraz said. Sinner reached the final four with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Taylor Fritz. Swiatek swept past Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3, while Rybakina outlasted 76th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-4.
Capitals buy US franchise
The Indian Premier League’s Delhi Capitals have bought a stake in the Seattle franchise of a new T20 tournament in the US. Capitals co-owner GMR Group has partnered with a investors including Microsoft Corp chief executive officer Satya Nadella to run the Seattle Orcas in Major League Cricket, which is to begin in July. “We see America as the new frontier for cricket’s growth globally and the Pacific Northwest provides an incredible opportunity for us to bring the resources of GMR Sports to the region,” GMR Group CEO Kiran Kumar Grandhi said in a statement on Thursday.
Event in Germany canceled
Germany’s fencing federation on Thursday canceled a women’s foil world cup event after the sport’s global governing body reversed a ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus. Athletes from the two countries were banned from international competition after Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. More than 60 percent of nations last week voted to allow Russians and Belarusians to resume competing. German federation president Claudia Bokel said that the decision had triggered “heated discussions,” adding: “Our solidarity goes to the people of Ukraine who are suffering from the war of aggression. The German Fencing Federation accepts last Friday’s decision. We now want to give a clear signal that we would have liked a different result and that we still see a large number of open implementation questions from the world federation, which make it impossible to carry out the tournament.”
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying on Saturday crashed out of the BWF All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham, with South Korea’s Se Young-an denying the world No. 3 Tai a chance at a fourth All England title. In a replay of their semi-final showdown last year, the world No. 2 Se again beat Tai, saving four match points in a thrilling deciding game to prevail 17-21, 21-19, 24-22. Tai won the women’s singles title in Birmingham in 2017, 2018 and 2020. In the three times the two superstars faced each other prior to Saturday, Tai, 22, had only come out on top once, when
ON ANOTHER LEVEL: In a pregame speech, Ohtani urged his teammates ‘to throw away their admiration’ for the US, because they ‘came here to surpass them, to reach the top’ Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout had dreamed of this moment, along with millions of fans throughout Japan and the US: the two biggest stars on the planet, longtime teammates, facing each other at 60 feet, 6 inches, the world title at stake. Of course, the count went full on Tuesday night, and Ohtani got Trout to swing under a slider on the outside corner, sealing Japan’s 3-2 win and their first World Baseball Classic (WBC) title since 2009. “This is the best moment in my life,” Ohtani said through a translator. Ohtani, the two-way star who has captivated fans across two continents, was
With cherry blossoms reaching full bloom in Tokyo, Japanese sports fans erupted in jubilation yesterday, after their compatriots defeated the US to win the World Baseball Classic (WBC). More than a hundred people gathered near Shimbashi Station in the city center to get special newspaper editions celebrating the victory. The scene quickly turned chaotic, with police officers jumping in to help hand out copies. “I am so proud as a Japanese national,” said Yuji Takeno, a 33-year-old company worker who was among those gathered in Shimbashi. “I also play baseball for leisure and it makes me want to work harder, that’s how
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday said she struggled to understand the “hate” she encountered in the locker room amid strained relations between some players following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The world No. 2 has previously said she has nothing against Ukrainians and felt bad for them as Moscow’s action rages on. Belarus has been a staging area for the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.” “It was really tough for me because I’ve never faced that much hate in the locker room,” Sabalenka said ahead of the Miami Open. “There are a lot of haters on Instagram when you’re losing