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Update May 2018


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Update May 21, 2018

Sweden beats Switzerland to retain world ice hockey title

The Sweden team members pose with the trophy after their victory over Switzerland in the Ice Hockey World Championships final match at the Royal arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, May 20. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Karel Janicek

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) — Sweden capped a victorious run through the ice hockey world championship by edging Switzerland 3-2 on Sunday in the final after a penalty shootout to successfully defend its title.

Forward Filip Forsberg scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Sweden a third world title in six years, and 11th overall.

Sweden won all 10 matches at the tournament.

"We wanted to win the gold medal, and here we are," Sweden forward Viktor Arvidsson said. "It's unbelievable, especially for Filip (Forsberg). He's a great player, one of our top players. It's unbelievable to win with my teammates."

Arvidsson, together with Nashville Predators teammates Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, joined the Swedish team during the tournament after the Predators were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

"We had the puck a lot," Arvidsson said. "They did a great job defending."

Sweden outshot Switzerland 38-27 but could not get the puck past goaltender Leonardo Genoni.

Switzerland finished runner-up for the third time after 2013 and 1935. It has never won.

"We battled hard ... all the tournament long," Switzerland defenseman Mirco Muller said. "Once you look at the bigger picture, it's huge for Swiss hockey. But right now, there's a disappointment. We definitely had our chances."

Switzerland stunned Canada 3-2 in the semifinals after a 3-2 upset against Finland in the quarterfinals.

"They were close to winning the whole championship. So, credit to them," Sweden forward Magnus Paajarvi said.

Gustav Nyquist wristed a shot from the slot high into the net for Sweden to answer the Swiss opening goal by Nino Niederreiter.

Timo Meier scored a second period power play goal to restore the one-goal advantage for Switzerland in the second.

Mika Zibanejad equalized on a power play from the point, forcing overtime.

Earlier Sunday, the United States topped Canada 4-1 to claim the bronze medal.

Chris Kreider led the U.S. with two goals.

Forward Nick Bonino scored the winner on a rebound during a power play in the final period. Anders Lee and Kreider added empty-net insurance goals to give the U.S. its third bronze in six years.

"It's important for the team but it's also important for USA Hockey," U.S. captain Patrick Kane said. "Now, we can build up off this level and try to keep being better and better."

Kane had an assist in the game to finish the tournament with 20 points for eight goals and 12 assists, the first player to do so since 2008.

"Obviously I'm here to produce and try to create offense and make plays out there," Kane said. "Overall, I'm happy ... it was a fun tournament and a great experience for me and I hope it will help me with my career going forward too."

Canada had to settle for a disappointing fourth-place finish.


Marquez wins French MotoGP to extend world championship lead

Second placed Danilo Petrucci of Italy, race winner Marc Marquez of Spain and third placed Valentino Rossi of Italy, from left to right, pose on the podium of the French Motorcycle Grand Prix MotoGP race in Le Mans, France, Sunday, May 20. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Le Mans, France (AP) — Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez won a crash-marred French MotoGP on Sunday, extending his overall lead in the championship as he chases a fifth world title.

The dominant Spanish rider powered his Honda to victory for only the second time on the Le Mans circuit where he retired last year and finished a lowly 13th in 2016. He raised his front wheel in a "wheelie" celebration and banged his fist on his chest after crossing the line. The 25-year-old Marquez then jumped off his bike and ran over to celebrate with fans. His other win here was in 2014.

"The grip of the track was a little bit less than yesterday," Marquez said. "I'm happy, because this victory is important on this track."

Danilo Petrucci took second place on his Ducati ahead of Italian countryman Valentino Rossi, the seven-time world champion.

"I knew the race would be very, very difficult. We struggled a lot with the front tire," Petrucci said. "But I managed the rear very well. Then I just followed Marc."

The 39-year-old Rossi profited from the spills to climb up from ninth on the starting grid.

"I had a good rhythm all the race," Rossi said after his second podium of the season.

Home favorite Johann Zarco and Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso were among several riders to come off their bikes in the first four laps.

Zarco had taken the fourth pole position of his career on Saturday — the first Frenchman on pole at Le Mans since Christian Sarron in 1988.

Marquez started from second, but both made poor starts and Jorge Lorenzo took the race lead as he chased a sixth career win at Le Mans. Dovizioso moved into second spot, while Zarco fought back to third with Marquez fourth.

But Dovizioso suddenly crashed on the fourth lap, taking his Ducati too wide on entry into turn 8 and sliding off the track. He was unharmed and wrung his hands in frustration.

Minutes later, Zarco made a similar braking error and flew off his Yamaha.

Lorenzo almost crashed too, when Marquez made a stunning but borderline dangerous move on his inside to lead with 18 laps to go.

Petrucci overtook Lorenzo soon after to move up to third, while Rossi moved ahead of Lorenzo into third with 14 laps to go.

The Yamaha rider then set a lap record and had Marquez, his bitter rival, in his sights. Last month, Rossi called Marquez a "dirty" rider at the Argentina GP in their latest bust-up.

But with 10 laps left, the 25-yearold Marquez set a lap record of his own and was untroubled thereafter.

He is well clear in the standings, with 95 points. Spanish rider Maverick Vinales is next with 59, one ahead of Zarco and three clear of Rossi.


Yates wins 15th stage for 3rd win, extends Giro lead

Britain's Simon Yates celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 15th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Tolmezzo to Sappada, Italy, Sunday, May 20. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Sappada, Italy (AP) — Simon Yates made it a hat trick of wins in the Giro d'Italia on the 15th stage Sunday and the British rider consolidated his overall lead as the race heads into its final week.

After unsuccessfully attempting a similar move just moments earlier, Yates set off on a solo attack with 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) remaining. He looked back after a few meters and continued to accelerate.

Miguel Angel Lopez edged out Tom Dumoulin for second to lead a group of five cyclists over the line, 41 seconds behind Yates at the end of the 176-kilometer (109-mile) route through the Dolomites from Tolmezzo to Sappada. The grueling leg saw riders almost continuously climbing and descending.

"It was really hard from the bottom of the climb. I still felt good so I chose my moment to go," said Yates, who was struggling to hold back tears. "They responded the first time but then I tried again and I gave it everything to get away. It's fantastic. I don't know why I'm a bit emotional after today. I gave everything."

Yates is clearly on a different level to his rivals and it is hard to see anyone managing to wrestle the leader's pink jersey off the Mitchelton-Scott cyclist.

Yates extended his lead over defending champion Dumoulin to 2 minutes, 11 seconds. Domenico Pozzovivo remained third, 2:28 behind.

Monday is the Giro's third and final rest day before the individual time trial, which is Dumoulin's speciality.

"He can take two minutes out of me on the TT, on one stage. So it's not over," Yates said. "But I'm happy with what I did today."

However, Dumoulin believes Yates is in such good form that he is favorite to clinch overall victory when the Giro ends in Rome on May 27.

"He's in such great shape that maybe he can also do a really good time trial. We'll just have to see," Dumoulin said. "Even if I have an excellent TT and he doesn't and I take the lead, it's still going to be very difficult. He's riding away from us whenever he wants."

Yates' British compatriot, Chris Froome, had got himself back into contention with victory on the iconic Monte Zoncolan on Saturday.

But the four-time Tour de France champion, who was presented with a cake before the start of the stage to mark his 33rd birthday, had a day to forget.

Froome was distanced again on Sunday, on the fourth of five categorized climbs, and slipped nearly five minutes behind Yates.


With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal bites the trophy after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Andrew Dampf

Rome (AP) — Rafael Nadal is right back where he wants to be heading into the French Open.

Alex Zverev is in a good place entering Roland Garros, too.

Nadal came out on top in a matchup of this year's top two clay-court players Sunday, beating defending champion Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 Sunday to win a record-extending eighth Italian Open title.

Coming a week after a loss in the Madrid Open quarterfinals to Dominic Thiem, Nadal has his confidence back entering the year's second Grand Slam in Paris, which starts next Sunday.

"It's been an amazing week," Nadal said. "It was tough losing in Madrid so to come back and win the trophy here is great."

Nadal recovered from an early break in the third set after a 50-minute rain delay, winning four straight games to close it out once the players returned to the court.

"He came out way faster and played much more aggressive than I did," Zverev said. "It just changed momentum ... If you don't have the momentum on your side, you're not going to beat Rafa."

Still, Zverev was pleased that he dominated Nadal in the second set and was up a break in the third before the rain came.

"I was not far away from beating Rafa on a clay court in a Masters final, so I guess I can take that to Paris," Zverev said.

Nadal, who improved to 5-0 in his career against Zverev, has won a record 10 French Opens.

"Of course Rafa will be the favorite there," said Zverev, who has never been past the fourth round in a major. "I'll be in the other half of the draw and that's a good thing."

Nadal will reclaim the No. 1 ranking on Monday from Roger Federer, who is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon.

"My first victory here in 2005 is one of my greatest memories," Nadal said during the trophy presentation. "To have this cup with me so many years later is really specialissimo."

Earlier, Elina Svitolina defended the women's title, facing little resistance from top-ranked Simona Halep in a 6-0, 6-4 win.

"I dominated all the match," Svitolina said.

Just like in last year's final, Halep appeared bothered by an injury.

Nadal and Zverev had each won two titles on clay this season entering the final, with Nadal lifting trophies in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and Zverev taking Munich and Madrid.

Midway through the final set, Nadal showed off his shot-making skills with an over-the-shoulder put away with his back to the net, earning long applause from the crowd.

Nadal, who hadn't won the Italian Open since 2013, picked up a winner's check of 935,000 euros (nearly $1 million).

"Congratulations Rafa," Zverev said. "You're the greatest clay-court player of all time."

Halep called a trainer onto the court for an apparent back problem while trailing 2-3 in the second set then exited the court for treatment.

"I was a little bit too stiff with my body and I couldn't stay in the rallies," Halep said.

Last year, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a set lead to Svitolina.

This time, Svitolina didn't face a single break point in a match that lasted just 67 minutes.

Halep said her physical problems were the result of a long three-set win over Maria Sharapova in the semifinals a day earlier.

Halep had already secured the No. 1 ranking for another week by reaching the semifinals.

Svitolina, who has never made it beyond the quarterfinals at a major, was hesitant to predict anything for Paris.

"In a Grand Slam it's very tricky," she said. "But I'm definitely going to Roland Garros on a high note."


Update May 19-20, 2018

Leishman sets 36-hole Nelson record, keeps Spieth 8 behind

Marc Leishman watches his tee shot on the first hole during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Friday, May 18. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Schuyler Dixon

Dallas (AP) — Wind or no, Marc Leishman likes his chances at the AT&T Byron Nelson after breaking the 36-hole record previously shared by Tiger Woods.

Hometown star Jordan Spieth really wants it to blow.

Leishman followed the best round of his PGA Tour career with a 5-under 66 at the new Trinity Forest course Friday, reaching the halfway point at 15-under 127 for a one-shot lead over 21-year-old rookie Aaron Wise — and keeping Spieth eight back on the links-style layout where the Dallas native is a member.

Maybe Spieth isn't the only one who feels at home.

"This course has got a real Australian feel to it," said Leishman, the 34-year-old Aussie who opened with a 10-under 61. "Reminds me a lot of home. So that might have something to do with it."

Winds were stronger on the treeless tract, but not until late in the morning rounds of Leishman and most of the others on the second-round leaderboard.

The wind didn't bother Wise, who shot a bogey-free 63 in the afternoon. He will be in the final group for the third round two weeks after tying for second while playing with Wells Fargo winner Jason Day on Sunday.

"It makes this course play way different just because of how firm and fast it is," Wise said. "You're really out there with the wind. I just felt like we did a great job of managing it, leaving our ball in good spots."

Brian Gay, another playing in calmer morning conditions, matched his tour low at 62 to reach 13 under. Kevin Na (65), Eric Axley (65) and Jimmy Walker are 11 under.

"I was telling my caddie it's never this calm in Dallas three days in a row," said Gay, who has played every Nelson except one since 2000. "Looks like it might start picking up now."

That's what Spieth figures he needs since he's more familiar with wind and firmer greens on a course named for the 6,000 acres of thick trees surrounding the undulating layout a few miles south of downtown Dallas. The Nelson spent the past 35 years in suburban Irving.

Spieth, at 7-under 135 after matching Leishman's 66, would feel a little better about making a run if the three-time major champion hadn't missed two putts inside 3 feet for two of his three bogeys.

The first was from 15 inches early in the round when Spieth was lurking around the cut line. The second came on his final hole , the ninth, while ending a run of four straight birdies.

The forecast Saturday has wind gusts reaching 25 mph, and the player with the highest world ranking in the field at No. 3 is hoping for at least that. He's trying to improve his best Nelson finish of a tie for 16th as a 16-year-old amateur in 2010.

"If the wind really does pick up, which I really hope it does and the course can show some teeth, you're looking at a potential winning score at under 20 under even though it took 15 for the first two," said Spieth, who missed the cut in the final Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons last year. "Just dicey."

Leishman made a 56-footer for birdie at the par-3 12th, his third hole, and separated from the pack with four birdies in five holes to start his back nine after his first missed fairway and only bogey came on the par-4 15th. Gay closed the gap with birdies on all six par-4s for a 29 on the back nine.

The previous 36-hole record for the Nelson was 12-under 128 at the par-70 Four Seasons. Woods did it twice along with four others. Wise matched the 128 and is at 14 under.

"I'm not disappointed that the wind's forecast to get up," said Leishman, a three-time PGA Tour winner. "With it down, I've done OK."

As has fellow Aussie Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters winner who is trying to avoid sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open to maintain a major streak that goes back to 2001. He shot a bogey-free 65 and is among five players at 10 under a week after finishing tied for 11th at the Players Championship.

"Last week and the first two rounds this week, really promising for me," said Scott, the 2008 Nelson winner. "I've got a lot to play for this weekend."

Scott and Leishman played together the first two days and wouldn't mind doing it again. Both made comparisons to courses from their homeland, with Leishman saying the most important similarity is contour around greens that can trick players into shooting for pins when they shouldn't.

"You're always trying to play it a little safer because you know how bad it is if you were to miss the green and then it runs off," Leishman said. "That's probably the big thing, the runoffs around the greens."

Defending champion Billy Horschel shot 69 and was 5 under.

Hideki Matsuyama, the only other world top 10 besides Spieth in the field at No. 9, shot 63 to join him at 7 under. Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion and two-time Nelson winner, missed the cut at 1 under.


Nadal and Djokovic to renew rivalry in Italian Open semis

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Italy's Fabio Fognini during their quarter final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Friday, May 18. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Andrew Dampf

Rome (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open semifinals — and three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova also reached the last four Friday.

Nadal, who holds a record seven titles at the Foro Italico, overcame a poor first set and a partisan crowd to beat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Then, four-time Rome winner Djokovic rallied past Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Nadal and Djokovic have played each other 50 times but their last meeting came more than a year ago, when Nadal won in the Madrid Open semifinals.

"Tomorrow is going to be the ultimate challenge on clay," Djokovic said. "Beating Rafa is a really difficult thing to do on this surface. But, I've done it before."

Djokovic leads Nadal 26-24 overall, but Nadal holds a 15-7 advantage on clay.

Nadal can replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he lifts the Rome trophy for the first time since 2013. Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon, where he will bid for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title.

Djokovic, who is returning from a persistent right elbow injury, hadn't reached a semifinal since before Wimbledon last year.

"This is what I was looking forward to," Djokovic said. "This is what I was hoping to achieve."

In the other half of the draw, defending champion Alexander Zverev extended his winning streak to 12 matches with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over ninth-seeded David Goffin. He'll meet Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic, who beat 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3.

Sharapova required more than three hours to eliminate last year's French Open winner, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-5; and defending champion Elina Svitolina defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 for her sixth straight victory over the former No. 1 player.

Svitolina will next face 26th-ranked Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who beat Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1.

Sharapova's semifinal opponent will be Simona Halep, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia that ensures she will keep the No. 1 ranking for another week.

Djokovic has now won 12 straight matches over Nishikori and the Japanese player didn't help his cause when he landed an easy overhead into the net early in the third set. Still, it remained tight with long rallies until the end.

"It was a fantastic match," Djokovic said. "We went toe to toe until the last point."

Fans were decidedly behind Fognini, Italy's top player, and Nadal was under pressure when Fognini won five straight games to cancel out a 4-1 deficit and win the opening set.

"He played aggressive, a great level of tennis, creating a lot of winners and taking balls earlier," Nadal said. "I felt the pressure a little bit and played a couple of bad games."

But Fognini couldn't keep up with Nadal's consistency and heavy topspin on the red clay court and eventually was physically worn down.

"I tried to play more with my forehand and when I play aggressive with my forehand the backhand becomes better," said Nadal, who sat out earlier this season with right knee and hip injuries. "It's important to be able to change the tactics of the match."

Fognini had tape applied under his left knee while trailing 3-2 in the third set due to a physical problem that has bothered him for weeks.

"The first set lasted more than an hour," Fognini said. "It's him that causes the problem."

While the result meant it was now 42 years since an Italian man last won the tournament — Adriano Panatta in 1976 — Fognini was still applauded as he walked off of the court.

Nadal joined in the applause for Fognini.


Daredevils beat Chennai Super Kings ahead of playoffs

 

Delhi Daredevils Amit Mishra, third left, celebrates the wicket of Chennai Super Kings Sam Billings during the VIVO IPL Twenty20 cricket match in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 18. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Delhi, India (AP) — Chennai Super Kings lost to Delhi Daredevils by 34 runs on Friday, making a top-two finish in the Indian Premier League playoffs uncertain going into the last game.

The Super Kings are through, but now need to win against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday to ensure third-place Kolkata Knight Riders have no chance of jumping up to second instead.

Chasing Delhi's modest target of 162-5, Chennai were restricted to 128-6 despite a quick 50 from opener Ambati Rayudu.

Rayudu scored his third half-century of the season off 28 balls, hitting four fours and four sixes before hoisting to Glenn Maxwell off Harshal Patel. After his dismissal, Delhi's leg spinners restricted Chennai.

Nepal's 17-year-old leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane finished with 1-21 and the experienced Amit Mishra had 2-20, including the key wickets of opener Shane Watson for 14 and No. 5 Sam Billings for 1.

New Zealand pacer Trent Boult had identical figures as Mishra from his four overs.

After Boult removed wicketkeeper MS Dhoni for 17, the visitors simply couldn't cope with the asking rate against the lowest-ranked side in the league.

"The wicket got more difficult (to bat on) in the second innings," Dhoni said. "We haven't used too many batsmen in this season, so they need to improve and put on partnerships in the middle."

Ravindra Jadeja hit two sixes in an unbeaten 27 but was left stranded.

Batting first, Delhi made a slow start against the quick bowling of South African Lungi Ngidi (2-14). His second wicket was the hard-hitting Rishabh Pant, caught by Dwayne Bravo for 38 off 26 balls.

Delhi slumped to 97-5 in the 15th over, with Maxwell making just five runs before being bowled by Jadeja.

Then the momentum shifted back to Delhi.

All-rounder Vijay Shankar struck 36 off 28 balls, including two fours and two sixes, putting on 65 for the unbeaten sixth wicket with Patel.

Patel had four sixes in his 16-ball knock, taking 26 runs from Bravo's last over. Bravo conceded 52 at an average of 13 per over.


Viviani wins 13th stage for 3rd win, Yates keeps Giro lead

 

Italy's Elia Viviani celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy, Friday, May 18. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Nervesa Della Battaglia, Italy (AP) — Elia Viviani made it a hat trick of wins in the Giro d'Italia on the 13th stage, while Simon Yates remained in the overall lead on Friday as the race heads into the mountains.

The Italian rider won a bunch sprint at the end of the mainly flat 180-kilometer (112-mile) leg from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia for his first victory in Italy after two wins in Israel at the start.

Sam Bennett, also seeking a third victory, was second ahead of Danny van Poppel.

It was a perfect response from Viviani, who was criticized after finishing more than 10 minutes behind stage winner Bennett on Thursday.

The Italian made a 'calm down' motion with his hands as he crossed the line before punching the air.

"You need calm before judging: we read what is said about us," Viviani said. "It makes me lose my temper when people ask 'Where has Elia disappeared to, what's he doing?' There needed to be a response."

He said the Quick-Step floors team sought to clarify Thursday's dip in form.

"Yesterday we evaluated what happened. We think it's because it's been two- and-a-half years since I've done a grand tour and days like that can happen," Viviani said. "Those who saw me at the finish line know I wasn't in a good way, it happens."

It gave him extra motivation.

"We set off this morning with a grudge to bear and that helped us," he said. "When someone makes you angry you react and go quicker."

The general classification was unchanged as the British rider Yates retained his 47-second advantage over defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands.

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot is third, 1:04 behind Yates.

"It was quite nice to prepare for tomorrow. It's never easy in the sprint though," Yates said. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"It will be very difficult. I don't know the climb but it's iconic. If I have the legs I'll try as, as I've been saying since the beginning, I need the time. But I don't expect big gaps."

The stage was meant to be a relatively easy one, before the race hits the mountains this weekend, and so it proved.

There was an early breakaway of five riders, who swiftly built a lead of 3 1/2 minutes.

The peloton picked up the pace as they headed into Nervesa della Battaglia and crossed the finish line for the first time less than a minute behind the escapees ahead of the 30-kilometer finishing circuit.

The gap was down to 22 seconds at the top of the Montello climb, shortly before the finish, and the catch was made with just over six kilometers remaining.

Viviani was set up perfectly by his team and surged through a gap past Sacha Modolo.

The Giro intensifies on Saturday with a climb up Monte Zoncolan, at the end of a 186-kilometer route from San Vito al Tagliamento. There are four other categorized climbs before the final, iconic ascent.

There is another grueling leg through the Dolomite Range on Sunday, followed by the Giro's third and final rest day.


Update May 18, 2018

Kane leads US into semis, Canada knocks out Russia

Czech Republic's Pavel Francouz, right, makes as save against Dylan Larkin, left, of the United States during the Ice Hockey World Championships quarterfinal match between the United States and Czech Republic at the Jyske Bank Boxen arena in Herning, Denmark, Thursday, May 17. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Karel Janicek

Herning, Denmark (AP) — Captain Patrick Kane scored two goals to lift the United States to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship on Thursday while Canada beat Russia 5-4 in overtime.

Switzerland pulled off a surprise by eliminating Finland 3-2 and defending champion Sweden edged out Latvia 3-2.

Kane claimed the third-period winner to take the outright lead in the scoring table on 19 points, a U.S. record, with eight goals and 11 assists and set up a semifinal against Sweden on Saturday.

"It's my job to produce," Kane said. "It's always nice to contribute offensively."

The U.S. is looking for its first medal since picking up bronze in 2015.

"We came here to put ourselves in a position to try to win the gold," Kane said. "We're on the right path."

The U.S. took control with a couple of goals in the span of 1:43 midway through the first period in Herning.

Kane beat goaltender Pavel Francouz from the right circle before Nick Bonino fed Cam Atkinson in front of the net to stretch the lead with a backhand shot.

The Czechs hit back in the second period. Michal Repik reduced the advantage on a slap shot and Martin Necas netted the tying goal on a power play.

"It's a pity," Czech forward Tomas Plekanec said. "We created enough chances to win."

In Copenhagen, Ryan O'Reilly scored 4:57 into overtime to knock out Russia while captain Connor McDavid had three assists, including on the winning goal.

Hunting its third title in four years, Canada will face Switzerland in the semis.

"Canada are a great team, they always are," defenseman Roman Josi said after his Switzerland team beat Finland for the first time since 1972.

Defenseman Colton Parayko blasted a slap shot past goaltender Igor Shestyorkin on a power play to give Canada a 1-0 lead in the first period before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doubled the advantage on another power play.

But Alexander Barabanov and Ilya Mikheyev scored in the second period to tie the game.

Kyle Turris made it 3-2 to Canada in the third before Sergei Andronov leveled. Pierre-Luc Dubois put Canada ahead again but Russia answered with a goal from Artyom Anisimov.

Finland looked to be heading for victory after Markus Nutivaara's first-period goal, but Switzerland rallied with goals from Enzo Corvi, Joel Vermin and Gregory Hofmann in less than four minutes midway through the second.

"We didn't start the way we wanted but we reacted in the second period and played very well from then on," Josi said.

Mikko Rantanen cut the deficit to one goal in the third period.

"This wasn't what we were looking for," Finland captain Mikael Granlund said. "They had the momentum in the second period and we were not able to turn it around."

Sweden, which won all seven of its preliminary round games, beat Latvia thanks to goals from Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Teodors Blugers and Rudolfs Balcers replied.


Leishman shoots 61 in debut of new course at Byron Nelson

Marc Leishman, of Australia, putts on the 18th hole during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament Thursday, May 17, in Dallas. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Schuyler Dixon

Dallas (AP) — Marc Leishman enjoyed the old home of the AT&T Byron Nelson as much as anyone, considering he made the last nine trips there and had one of the best scoring averages in tournament history.

The Australian might take a liking to the new place as well.

Leishman shot a 10-under 61 on the links-style Trinity Forest course to take the first-round lead Thursday and was eight shots clear of hometown star Jordan Spieth in the event that returned to Dallas after 35 years at the TPC Four Seasons in suburban Irving.

Considering the criticisms of Trinity Forest from others — mentioned vaguely by players who did show up — Leishman wouldn't have needed much to join that chorus after a history of high finishes in Irving despite a couple of recent missed cuts.

Instead, Leishman opened with an eagle, started the back nine with three straight birdies and reached 9 under with another eagle at the 14th.

The 34-year-old, a three-time PGA Tour winner, had chances to go lower but settled for a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th for the lowest round of his PGA Tour career. He was a stroke shy of the Nelson record.

"Probably would have been the harshest critic, I think," Leishman said with a smile. "I played very well over there. When I got here and saw instantly, you know, was happy that we're here and it's just a cool spot."

J.J. Spaun and Texan Jimmy Walker were three shots back at 64. Spaun had six birdies in a span of seven holes for a 30 on his second nine — the front nine on the undulating layout with no trees or water hazards a few miles south of downtown Dallas.

Walker had a chance to get to 8 under when his shot from the edge of a fairway bunker on 18 rolled within a foot of the cup before settling 14 feet away. He missed the birdie putt.

Sam Saunders, Aaron Wise and Keith Mitchell shot matching 65s playing in the first group off the first tee. They were part of an eight-way tie four shots behind Leishman. Defending champion Billy Horschel shot 68.

Spieth, one of just two world top-10 players in the Nelson field at No. 3, didn't have many chances and missed on some of the few that he did, starting with a short birdie putt for a disappointing par 5 on the opening hole.

It was another frustrating round for the 24-year-old Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who was hoping the venue change would help him top his best Nelson finish. That was a tie for 16th when he was a 16-year-old amateur playing for a private high school in Dallas.

Spieth had just three birdies when the course was at its easiest because of calm winds. His bogey on the short par-4 fifth came after he drove the green and then sent an 82-foot putt off it.

"Looking back the last year and a half I've had maybe four, five opportunities where I've actually been in a tournament after the first round which is really frustrating," Spieth said. "Thursdays for whatever reason just haven't been good days for me."

Saunders, Wise and Mitchell each opened with a birdie as the first to tee off on the par-5 first. Saunders had the most birdies of the trio with eight, Wise had seven and Mitchell had a bogey-free round.

The grandson of the late Arnold Palmer, Saunders played Trinity Forest before the Nelson last year and made up his mind then he would return for the debut.

"I think it's a very fair test of golf," said Saunders, who missed the cut at the last two Nelsons in Irving. "There was a lot of thought put into all the slopes out there. You've got to think your way through it a little bit more than some of the courses we play."

Horschel said he didn't do enough thinking after losing the momentum of an eagle at the par-5 14th on his front nine with bogeys at 16 and 18, both par 4s. And yes, he said they still count as mental mistakes even though he and most of the field don't know the course very well.

"It's stupid idiot errors," he said with a chuckle. "It's knowing what I shouldn't do and it's just me trying to get greedy. I know better than that on certain shots."

With a forecast of stronger winds and temperatures in the mid-90s on Friday, Trinity Forest figures to play a little tougher after 103 players broke par in its debut. Spieth will be surprised by a repeat of Leishman's number.

"Looking at the forecast, I don't think that will happen again," Spieth said. "I'm excited there's wind. I wish it was windy every day. I really struggled when there's been no wind compared to the field this year and today was no different."

And all too familiar for Spieth in front of the home folks.


Nadal gains a measure of revenge against Shapovalov in Rome

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Canada's Denis Shapovalov, at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Thursday, May 17. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Andrew Dampf

Rome (AP) — Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal methodically wore down Denis Shapovalov in a 6-4, 6-1 win to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals and gain a measure of revenge against the Canadian teenager.

Shapovalov saved eight break points in his opening two service games before finally dropping his serve midway through the first set on Thursday.

Shapovalov, who is ranked a career-high No. 29 this week, stunned Nadal in the third round in Montreal last year to deny the Spaniard a chance at regaining the No. 1 ranking.

Nadal is also attempting to regain the top spot this week. He'll replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he wins an eighth Rome title.

Nadal, who hasn't won the Italian Open since 2013, will next face Fabio Fognini, who beat Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first quarterfinal in 11 appearances at his home tournament.

The temperamental Fognini slammed his racket midway through the second set and received a warning from the chair umpire but otherwise held his composure to follow up an impressive win over Dominic Thiem a day earlier.

Also, ninth-seeded David Goffin was leading 6-2, 4-5 when Juan Martin del Potro retired because of a groin injury; and 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta beat Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

In the women's tournament, Simona Halep's hold on the No. 1 ranking received a boost when American opponent Madison Keys withdrew from their match due to a right rib injury.

Halep needed to reach the quarterfinals and progress further than No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki to hold onto the top spot, and she accomplished the first task.

Wozniacki was facing 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova in a late match on the red clay of the Foro Italico. The winner will play Anett Kontaveit.

Kontaveit ousted 1999 Rome champion Venus Williams 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Keys also withdrew from the doubles competition, where she was partnered with Williams.

Last year in Rome, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.

Halep will next play either U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens or seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia.

Svitolina also reached the quarterfinals, overcoming a poor start to beat 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina 0-6, 6-3, 6-2. She'll next face former No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who routed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-1.

This is the last major warmup for the French Open, which starts in 10 days.

Jelena Ostapenko, who is preparing to defend her title at Roland Garros, rallied past Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will meet either three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova or Daria Gavrilova.


Rockets rout Warriors 127-105 to tie series at 1-all

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, center, drives around Houston Rockets guard James Harden, right, during the first half in Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference Finals, Wednesday, May 16, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Kristie Rieken

Houston (AP) — The Houston Rockets were the best team in the NBA in the regular season.

They played like it Wednesday night, using a balanced scoring attack to rout the Golden State Warriors 127-105 and even the Western Conference finals at one game apiece.

James Harden and Eric Gordon each scored 27 points on a night Houston had five players score 16 points or more.

"We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

The Rockets didn't trail after the first quarter and led by double digits for most of the night. They head to Oakland, California for Game 3 on Sunday night feeling much better after rebounding from a deflating 119-106 loss in the series opener.

P.J. Tucker added a playoff career-high 22 and Trevor Ariza had 19 as both bounced back after struggling in Game 1. Tucker had just one point in that game and Ariza scored eight, but was limited on defense after collecting his fifth foul early in the third quarter.

"I never worry about my offense ... it's all on defense," Tucker said. "If we get stops we'll be able to run. It changes the game and it changes the way we play and we know that."

Kevin Durant had 38 points after scoring 37 in the opener, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 24 points after the pair went for 46 in Game 1.

Houston wasn't able to slow down Durant, but did a much better job of limiting open 3-pointers by Thompson and Curry, and the two made just 3 of 12 attempts.

"They were desperate tonight and played like it, and we weren't and it showed," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.

The Warriors made three free throws to get within 11 early in the fourth quarter before the Rockets scored the next 11 points, with 3s from Gordon, Tucker and Harden to make it 111-89 with about 6 1/2 minutes to play.

Durant made a basket after that, but Houston scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 119-91 with about five minutes left.

The Warriors got frustrated in that stretch, with Durant getting a technical for shoving Harden in the back and Draymond Green pushing Ariza out of bounds seconds later. It was then that Kerr sent all of his starters to the bench for good.

Gordon came off the bench to make six 3-pointers, Tucker tied a playoff best with five and Harden added three.

"They were more settled tonight and they hit timely shots," Durant said. "The first quarter was still the most important part of the game. Eric Gordon hit two big 3s and that kind of settled them in. Those shots did it for them."

Houston avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this postseason and the Warriors lost in the second game of a playoff series for the first time since the 2015 NBA Finals, snapping a 10-game winning streak in such games.

"We got outplayed the whole game ... we got it handed to us," Kerr said. "You can look at it any way you want ... and parcel it out, but it didn't matter who we had out there tonight we got beat."

Houston led by as many as 19 in the first half and was up 64-50 at halftime. The Warriors cut it to 74-64 with five quick points from Durant, but the Rockets opened it back up to 89-72 when Gordon made an off-balance layup before crashing to the court while being fouled and made the free throw.

The Rockets were up by 16 to start the fourth quarter but Golden State got within 98-86 with about 10 minutes left. Curry had five points in that span, including his first 3 after missing his first six attempts of the night.

Curry finished with 16 points and Thompson was 3 for 11 for his eight points.

TIP-INS

Warriors: It was Durant's 19th straight playoff game with at least 20 points. ... Curry made one 3-pointer to extend his NBA playoff record of 81 straight playoff games with at least one 3-pointer. ... Durant and Curry were Golden State's only players with more than 10 points.

Rockets: Houston improved to 8-0 this postseason when leading after three quarters. ...  Houston made 16 of 42 3-point attempts. ... Paul finished with 16 points.


Update May 17, 2018

Celtics survive 42-point night by LeBron, down Cavs 107-94

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, center, recoils after colliding with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, right, in front of Celtics guard Terry Rozier, left, during Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Tuesday, May 15, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Kyle Hightower

Boston (AP) — The Celtics punched the Cavaliers first and never looked back in rolling to a Game 1 rout.

LeBron James took a literal shot to the jaw in Game 2 but kept right on scoring.

So did the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown scored 23 points  and Boston withstood a 42-point night by James to beat Cleveland 107-94 on Tuesday and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Terry Rozier added 18 points, while Al Horford finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston improved to 9-0 this postseason at TD Garden. The Celtics have never blown a 2-0 series lead in the playoffs.

"We're going to fight," Rozier said. "At this point we don't care if we win by half a point. If we win, that's all that matters."

James added 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He scored 21 of Cleveland's 27 points in the first quarter , tying his playoff career high for points in a period. His 42 points marked his fifth 40-point game of this postseason. James had just 15 points and missed all five of his 3-point attempts in the Cavs' Game 1 loss.

But he didn't seem to play with the same force after straining his neck in a first-half collision and the Cavaliers wilted in the second half, with the Celtics outscoring them 59-39.

"I think I'll be fine. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. You go out and when you lay everything on the line, at the end of the day, you can live with that," he said. "They did what they had to do, and that was protect home, and now it's our time to try to do that, as well."

Kevin Love finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland.

As expected, Tristan Thompson started in place of Kyle Korver in the hopes his presence could energize what was a sluggish Cavs offense in Game 1. Thompson got Cleveland's first basket of the night and helped to limit Horford's effectiveness on the inside early on.

Korver added 11 points off the bench for Cleveland. But starters Thompson, JR Smith and George Hill combined for just 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting.

Tempers flared with 3:49 to play with Boston leading 97-89. Marcus Smart got in Smith's face after Smith pushed Horford in the back to prevent a layup. Smith shoved Smart and the pair had to be separated.

Smith was assessed a flagrant foul and both received technical fouls.

"I felt like it was uncalled for that type of play there," Horford said. "We have each other's backs. ... We moved on to the next play way and we locked in after that."

Smith said there was no malicious intent on the play.

"I blatantly pushed him. It wasn't like I was trying to low bridge him or something. Just make sure he didn't get it," Smith said. "It was a good, hard foul."

Boston's balanced attack was effective again, with six players reaching double figures. Cleveland had 15 turnovers leading to 13 Boston points. The Celtics turned it over just six times.

Boston led 84-77 after three quarters and took command late in the fourth with the Cavs getting little offense other than from James. Cleveland's starters were pulled with 1:48 left and the Cavs down 14.

James was on the attack from the opening tip. He turned the ball over the Cavs' first possession. But it was one of his only miscues in the first quarter.

James was also astoundingly efficient, using his dribble to create space, while he knocked down an assortment of jump shots.

He finished the opening quarter 8 of 13 from the field and 4 of 7 from the 3-point line.

His momentum was stunted briefly at the 3:50 mark of the second quarter, when Jayson Tatum was whistled for a foul after catching James jaw with his shoulder as he attempted a steal. James stayed in the game and connected on one of his ensuing free throws, but then exited to the locker room with Cleveland leading 47-36.

The Cavaliers said James had a neck sprain. He returned after missing less than two minutes of game time.

Boston flurried just before the half, getting six points from Morris in the final minute to trim Cleveland's lead to 55-48 at the break.

"I think we just have a group of guys that really believe in each other," Horford said. "Our group in tough times, we've always found a way."

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Were outscored 50-42 in the paint after being outscored 60-38 in Game 1.

Celtics: Went 10 of 31 from the 3-point line.

QUOTABLE

"We've got to be tougher. I think they're playing tougher than we are. We see that. They're being physical. They're gooning the game up and we've got to do the same thing." — Cavaliers coach Ty Lue

40-POINT MAN

According to Elias Sports Bureau, James now has three career playoff 40-point triple-doubles. That is the most in NBA postseason history.

DEFENDING A TEAMMATE

Smart said Smith's play was a "dirty shot."

"That's not the first time JR has done some dirty stuff, especially playing against us," he said. "It's like a bully, you keep letting a bully keep picking on you, he's going to pick on you until you finally stand up. And that's what I tried to do."

UP NEXT

Game 3 is Saturday in Cleveland.


Giro leader Yates gains time after winning 11th stage

Britain's Simon Yates crosses the finish line to win the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia cycling race from Assisi to Osimo, Italy, Wednesday, May 16. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Osimo, Italy (AP) — Overall leader Simon Yates gained a few more seconds on closest rival Tom Dumoulin by winning the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider attacked with about 1.5 kilometers remaining in the 156-kilometer leg from Assisi to Osimo and held off Dumoulin on the steep climb to earn his second stage victory of the race.

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome lost more time on the leaders and his chances of winning are disappearing.

Dumoulin, who is a time-trial specialist, was two seconds behind Yates in second. Davide Formolo was third, five seconds behind Yates.

Yates now leads Dumoulin by 47 seconds. He is 1:04 ahead of Thibaut Pinot in third.

"I'm trying to get more time. That was a really tough finish. Tom was chasing me all the way to the line," Yates said. "Really difficult but happy I could get more time. I already have a good gap to Froome. I'm happy that I got more time on Tom. But I have to keep trying because I still don't have enough."

Froome finished 40 seconds behind Yates to again slip out of the top 10. He is more than three minutes behind.

"I'm definitely not going to lie, it took a whack out of me that crash before the start in Jerusalem and in this game if you're not at your absolute best there's nowhere to hide," Froome said. "I feel as if I've been progressing throughout the race, still just chipping away and hoping to do the best I can. I'm going to keep fighting."

Froome is trying to become the third person to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.

"I certainly haven't given up hope," Froome said. "I'm going to keep plugging away. I'm motivated, the team's motivated and we're going to do as much as we can."

The hilly stage included a climb through Michele Scarponi's hometown of Filottrano in honor of the 2012 Giro winner who died after a collision with a van while training shortly before last year's race.

There were a number of early attacks but nothing stuck until Luis Leon Sanchez and Alessandro De Marchi took off. They were swiftly joined by Fausto Masnada.

Mirco Maestri and Alex Turrin made it over to the leaders with about 100 kilometers remaining and the gap hovered around 3 minutes. The latter two were caught with 17 kilometers to go, while Sanchez and De Marchi lasted until five kilometers from the end.

Zdenek Stybar and Tim Wellens attacked and opened up a small gap late in the race but couldn't respond when Yates made his move.

Thursday's 12th stage is a flat, 214-kilometer route from Osimo to the motorsport race circuit of Imola.

After another flat stage, the race features a climb up Monte Zoncolan on Saturday and a grueling leg through the Dolomite Range on Sunday.


Allardyce out as Everton manager after 7 months

Everton manager Sam Allardyce, left, shakes hands with West Ham manager David Moyes, ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Everton, at the London Stadium, in London, Sunday May 13. (Daniel Hambury/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Liverpool (AP) - Sam Allardyce was fired as Everton manager on Wednesday after his pragmatic style of football proved unpopular with fans despite helping to keep the team in the Premier League.

Allardyce lasted seven months at Everton after signing an 18-month deal with the northwest club in late November when the team was near the relegation zone. Everton finished the season in eighth place on Sunday.

But that wasn't enough to satisfy Everton supporters who openly voiced their displeasure at the team's often dour approach in the final games of the season.

"Sam was brought in at a challenging time last season to provide us with some stability and we are grateful to him for doing that," said Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Everton's newly hired chief executive. "However, we have made the decision that, as part of our longer-term plan, we will be appointing a new manager this summer and will be commencing this process immediately."

British media reported that Marco Silva, who has managed Hull and Watford in the Premier League over the last two seasons, could take over.

Everton tried to bring Silva in from Watford before settling on Allardyce as the replacement for the fired Ronald Koeman. Watford filed a complaint to the Premier League about Everton's conduct in approaching Silva, who eventually left Watford in January.

If things had gone differently for Allardyce, he could have been naming the England squad for the World Cup on Wednesday. Instead, he is leaving yet another Premier League club.

He was hired as England coach after the European Championship in 2016 but lasted only 67 days before having his contract terminated because of unguarded comments to undercover reporters about illegal transfer practices, which the English Football Association thought had made his position as national team coach untenable.

Since then, he has guided Crystal Palace and now Everton to Premier League safety in consecutive seasons, cementing his status as a so-called "firefighter" at struggling clubs. He did the same with Sunderland, and also established Blackburn and West Ham as solid Premier League teams.

In a 27-year coaching career, he has also managed Newcastle and Bolton in England's top division.


Fognini fires up Italian Open crowd with win over Thiem

Italy's Fabio Fognini falls as he returns the ball to Austria's Dominic Thiem during their Italian Open tennis tournament match, in Rome, Wednesday, May 16. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)

Andrew Dampf

Rome (AP) — Fabio Fognini got the Italian Open crowd fired up with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem to reach the third round Wednesday.

Italy's top player came out wearing a black shirt with a red lightning bolt design down his chest and he was energized from the start, grazing the flower beds lining the court to return Thiem's high-bouncing topspin serves and frustrating the Austrian with well-placed lobs and touch volleys.

"I played very well today," said Thiem, who beat Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open semifinals last week. "It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home."

Nadal, a seven-time Rome champion, and four-time champion Novak Djokovic also advanced. Nadal routed 31st-ranked Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-0, while Djokovic beat Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

"It was important after a loss in Madrid to come back strong. And that's what I did today," Nadal said.

Nadal will next face Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who got by Robin Haase 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3, while Djokovic will play Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Defending champion Alexander Zverev beat Italian wild-card entry Matteo Berrettini 7-5, 6-2.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Kei Nishikori rallied to beat third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, and Juan Martin del Potro eliminated Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3.

While Fognini drop-kicked his racket onto the court after a miss early in the third set, it was Thiem who ultimately lost his cool. In the final game, Thiem smashed his racket into a mangled wreck and handed it to a befuddled fan in the front row.

When Thiem netted a service return two points later to end it, the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army was blasted over the stadium sound system and the crowd began singing along in an atmosphere that more closely resembled a soccer game than a tennis match.

"We're finally connecting and I think that's the most beautiful thing," Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago. "They finally understand me.

"I beat a top clay-courter," Fognini added. "I think I deserved it at the end. ... I ruined a few flowers but I think the federation can afford to buy some new ones."

Thiem was already looking ahead to the French Open, which starts on May 27.

"It's a loss which is not too painful, which is just motivating me for the next weeks," the Austrian said.

In women's action, Simona Halep routed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-0 for the first of two wins she needs this week to keep Caroline Wozniacki from taking her No. 1 ranking.

Last year in Rome, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.

Wozniacki eliminated Belgian qualifier Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4, three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova came back to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, and 1999 Rome champion Venus Williams advanced with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win over Elena Vesnina.

Maria Sakkari of Greece rallied past sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

At 5-5 in the third, Pliskova got engaged in a lengthy argument after she had an overhead smash called out. The chair umpire acknowledged that she "lost" the ball mark and therefore said the point should be awarded to Sakkari. On the next point, Sakkari converted a break then served it out.

After the match, Pliskova didn't shake hands with the chair umpire and struck the chair several times with her racket.

Also, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens held off a comeback from Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi in a 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 victory, and seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia defeated Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.

Former No. 1 Angelique Kerber rallied past Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina eliminated American qualifier Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3.


Haas succeeding but not expecting to win in F1 anytime soon

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark, left, steers his car during a free practice at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, just outside Barcelona, Spain, Friday, May 11. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tales Azzoni

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Gene Haas had a lot to learn when he decided to venture into Europe with a new Formula One team.

One adjustment as a team owner was adapting his standard for success.

In F1, winning has a different meaning if you are not Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull. Being the fourth-best team — the best of the rest — is the most Haas can do in the top racing series.

"We really don't consider ourselves to be a competitor with the top three teams," Haas told The Associated Press at the Spanish Grand Prix. "I mean, they are so far ahead of us, they are kind of in another universe. So we are just really trying to figure out how to compete in the bottom seven teams. There's a lot of competition there."

Haas said "a win for us" is to be running about a second behind the Ferraris and staying in front of McLaren, Renault and Force India. He said the only way for Haas to win a race is if the "stars align" and all the big teams make some mistakes.

"If you can run, say, mid-pack, which would be fourth, fifth or sixth, it's a good business model, you can actually almost break even. That's kind of our immediate goal," Haas said. "We are not running for a championship, we are running for the points. You can't believe how the teams respond if they get one or two points. To them that's a podium, getting a few points."

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen said his seventh-place grid start in Spain felt like "pole position." His sixth-place finish in the race was the team's second-best this season.

"This is where we should be fighting," Magnussen said. "This weekend we have been very strong, we've been the fourth-best car and I think we should be somewhere around there every weekend."

In only its third year in F1, the U.S-based team has done "really well" trying to succeed behind the top three teams, Haas said. The team has shown from the start it has a car fast enough to compete for fourth place in the constructors' championship.

"With the regulations like they are now, this is the maximum we can do," team principal Guenther Steiner told the AP. "If I would say we are going to beat Red Bull or Ferrari, people would think I'm dreaming. Anybody in the moment could celebrate fourth place, because that is the best of the rest."

Changes in F1 regulations, especially the introduction of budget caps to reduce the huge financial gap to the top teams, is the only hope Haas and other smaller teams have to one day realistically challenge for victories. There have been discussions to implement spending limits beginning in 2021, which could theoretically reduce the advantage of the front-runners who sometimes have budgets two or three times bigger than the smaller teams.

"You have to keep in mind that when we go to the races we might bring two wings, and Ferrari, Red bull and Mercedes will bring 10," Haas said. "So, you know, it's just that they are so much more advanced in how they approach racing than we are. But that's part of that budget cap too."

Steiner said he was "very optimistic" that regulation changes would eventually come into place to give Haas a chance to aspire more in F1.

"The biggest criticism is that never anybody can get up there except Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull," he said. "So for sure something will change."

Haas said the team's future in F1 doesn't depend solely on the approval of the budget caps. He came into the series with a five-year plan to see if he could stay longer, and he has been satisfied with the overall results so far.

"We are reassessing every race, every year," Haas said. "As long as we are moving forward, we are OK. Going backwards is not what we want to do."

He admitted the team's struggles to finish races this season have hurt the long term plan.

Haas started the year with a huge disappointment in Australia, when consecutive pit-stop mistakes forced both cars to retire with loose wheels when they were running fourth and fifth in the race. Magnussen followed with a good fifth-place finish in Bahrain and was 10th in China, but teammate Romain Grosjean is yet to finish in the points.

The veteran French driver crashed by himself under the safety car while running fifth in Azerbaijan, then on Sunday caused a three-car collision at the start of the Spanish GP, prompting FIA to hand him a costly three-place grid penalty for the Monaco GP in two weeks.

Haas is currently sixth in the constructors' championship, already 134 points behind leader Mercedes.

"We've had a hard year so far, we've probably left 40 points on the table that would have made a big difference in our plan," Haas said. "But it's part of racing, just winning and losing every weekend."

Haas got into F1 with an admitted goal of boosting his commercial enterprises as a high-tech tool manufacturer and he says that's paying off away from the track. It was a risky move considering that many other smaller teams tried to enter the series but got bust within a few years.

"I think we did more than anybody expected us to do when we started off," Steiner said. "There were a lot of naysayers because some teams which tried to start up in the last years all failed. So people expected us to be more of the same. We are not. We are actually in the third year and we are fighting for best of the rest position.

"I think (Haas) is proud of what he created," Steiner said.


Update May 16, 2018

Finland tops US, Canada shuts out Germany at hockey worlds

Finland's Janne Pesonen, center, fails to score past Keith Kinkaid, left, of the United States during the Ice Hockey World Championships in Herning, Denmark, Tuesday, May 15. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Karel Janicek

Herning, Denmark (AP) — Finland handed the United States its first defeat at the ice hockey world championship in a 6-2 thumping on Tuesday.

The Finns supplanted the U.S. to top Group B in Herning, and will face Switzerland in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Swiss clinched a quarterfinal berth by beating France 5-1 to finish fourth in Group A in Copenhagen.

Canada shut out Germany 3-0 to secure third place in Group B and set up a quarterfinal matchup against Sweden or Russia, who will clash over the top spot in Group A.

"We didn't leave ourselves in a great spot after the group stage but we're going to have to play them at some stage," captain Connor McDavid said about the potential opponents.

The Americans' first defeat in seven games dropped them to second in the group and a quarterfinal against the Czech Republic, the third team in Group A.

"It's not a good feeling losing," U.S. captain Patrick Kane said. "It could be good for us to make sure we won't deal with this again and stay positive. We're a good team, we've had a good tournament to this point."

"(The Czechs) have some talents, it will be a tough game against them."

Host Denmark will fight with Latvia over the last quarterfinal berth in the same group to play the winner of Group A.

Sebastian Aho scored a couple of opening-period goals for Finland and added one more into an empty net to finish the scoring to become the championship leader with nine goals and eight assists. Kane also has 17 points with six goals and 11 assists.

"We've played really well," Aho said. "We just try not to think who we play against, focus on our own system and play our game."

Kane got a power play goal to reduce the deficit to 4-1 in the final period. Derek Ryan added another one for the U.S.

Brayden Schenn gave Canada an early goal just 20 seconds into the game. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 2-0 in the second and Tyson Jost sealed it in the third.

McDavid had two assists and goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 12 saves for his shutout.

"Everyone played hard and everyone played really responsible, so a good momentum for us," Kuemper said.

Gregory Hofmann, Enzo Corvi, Ramon Untersander, Kevin Fiala Simon Moser had a goal apiece for the Swiss. France replied with one from Guillaume Leclerc.

Also, Slovakia beat already relegated Belarus 7-4 in their last game.


Imam guides Pakistan to victory over test debutants Ireland

Pakistan's Shadab Khan and Imam Ul Haq, right, celebrate victory on day five against Ireland, at The Village, Dublin, Tuesday May 15. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Dublin (AP) — Ireland's bid for an unlikely victory in their inaugural test came up short as debutant Imam-ul-Haq steered Pakistan out of trouble and to a five-wicket win on the final day on Tuesday.

Chasing 160 to win, Pakistan slumped to 14-3 and looked in real danger of becoming just the fourth team to lose a test after enforcing the follow-on.

Imam showed his maturity and class to guide the tourists away from potential embarrassment, scoring the winning runs to finish on 74 not out as Pakistan reached 160-5 just before tea. It justified his call-up by Pakistan's chief selector, his uncle and former test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Imam shared a vital 126-run stand with Babar Azam (59) for the fourth wicket.

The Irish can be proud of taking Pakistan all the way in their first match in cricket's longest format after being awarded test status last June, especially having been bundled out for 130 in their first innings in the grounds of Malahide Castle, just north of Dublin.

Resuming on Tuesday on 319-7 in their second innings after being asked to follow on, they added only 20 runs to their total but still left a challenging target for a Pakistan team that has a recent history of stumbling in small run chases.

And when Pakistan lost three wickets — two to paceman Tim Murtagh — in the opening 27 balls of the reply, Ireland had a strong chance of becoming the first team to win their maiden test — after Australia against England in 1877 in cricket's first test.

Imam held his nerve, hitting eight fours in a 121-ball knock, and kissed the ground after helping Pakistan reach the victory target.

Babar, who was dropped on 9, was run out 20 runs short of the target.

"If we'd had a slightly better morning session, we could have pushed Pakistan even harder," said Ireland batsman Kevin O'Brien, who resumed Tuesday on 118 only to be dismissed off the first ball he faced.

"So it's disappointing from a team point of view not to get an extra 40 or 50 runs."

Earlier, Mohammad Abbas, benefiting from plenty of swing movement in overcast conditions, took the final three wickets of Ireland's second innings including O'Brien, who slashed at a wide one and edged to first slip.

Abbas also took the wickets of Boyd Rankin (6) and Tyrone Kane (14), who were both bowled, to finish with figures of 5-66. He had nine wickets for the match.

Pakistan now head to England for a two-test series, starting next week at Lord's.

"We needed this kind of performance before playing England," Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said.

Ireland don't play another test this summer as they ease into life in the longer format. India visit for two Twenty20s next month.

Only three teams have won a test after following on — England in 1894 and 1981, and India in 2001. Australia were the opponents on each occasion.


Shapovalov shoots up the rankings with win over Berdych

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, returns a ball to Tomas Berdych, of Czech Republic, during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Tuesday, May 15. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)

Rome (AP) — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov pulled off another big win, overcoming a slow start to beat 15th-seeded Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the first round of the Italian Open on Tuesday.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova defeated 16th-seeded Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, defending champion Elina Svitolina routed Petra Martic 6-1, 6-2, and defending French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko eliminated Zhang Shuai 6-2, 7-5.

The 19-year-old Shapovalov is coming off a semifinal appearance in last week's Madrid Open, where he beat fellow Canadian Milos Raonic in the Round of 16.

Already up to a career-high ranking of 29th this week, the victory over Berdych will move Shapovalov ahead of No. 22 Raonic when next week's rankings come out — making him the top Canadian.

"It's something I've wanted to work towards for all my life," Shapovalov said. "So, to be able to do that, it's pretty crazy. Hopefully I could lead the country to a Davis Cup victory one day."

Shapovalov is already the youngest player in the top 30 since Richard Gasquest reached No. 17 in 2005 at the age of 19.

Showing off his crafty game, Shapovalov made an audacious foray to the net to conclude one point with an overhead smash as he ran out to a 4-0 lead in the decisive tiebreaker.

Berdych came back to make it 5-5 but the left-handed Shapovalov then drew his opponent into the net and unleashed a wicked one-handed backhand passing shot down the line.

On his first match point, Shapovalov wrong-footed Berdych with another shot down the line that his opponent couldn't get back.

The risk-taking Shapovalov committed twice as many unforced errors as Berdych but also hit more than three times as many winners.

"I just couldn't find my footing the first set. The clay is so different here," said Shapovalov, who is making his Rome debut. "But I just kept fighting, kept competing. And I'm really happy I got to turn the match around."

On a day in which the start of play was delayed and then interrupted by rain, ninth-seeded David Goffin struggled to beat Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 before a partisan crowd; 14th-seeded Diego Schwartzman eliminated Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-1; and 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille held off Italian wild card Andreas Seppi, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3)

Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final of the Barcelona Open last month, advanced when Borna Coric retired while trailing 4-1.

In the women's tournament, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber defeated Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas 6-2, 7-6 (6), and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina beat Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic 6-0, 6-4.


Giro leader Yates gains 3 seconds but his team struggles

The pack of riders pedals during the 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Penne to Gualdo Tadino d'Italia, Italy, Tuesday, May 15. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Gualdo Tadino, Italy (AP) — Overall leader Simon Yates gained three bonus seconds in the 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday but it was a difficult day for his Mitchelton-Scott team as Esteban Chaves dropped out of contention.

Slovenian rider Matej Mohoric of the Bahrain-Merida team edged Nico Denz of AG2R in a two-man sprint to win the stage while all of the other leaders finished safely in the main pack, 34 seconds behind.

Chaves had entered the day in second place overall but dropped behind early on in the rolling 244-kilometer (152-mile) stage from Penne to Gualdo Tadino in Umbria, which was the race's longest.

Several teammates spent precious energy trying fruitlessly to escort Chaves back to the main pack.

"Chaves just had a bad moment on the first climb of the day," Yates said. "Straight after the rest day, you don't know how the body responds. I'm very disappointed for him because he's worked hard for this Giro."

Mitchelton team director Matthew White said Chaves has been struggling with throat and allergy problems.

"Now all of our energy will turn to looking out for Simon and protecting the maglia rosa (pink jersey)," White said.

Yates won an intermediate sprint and now leads defending champion Tom Dumoulin by 41 seconds with Thibaut Pinot up to third, 46 seconds behind.

"I was going to go for the bonus sprint because I need to gain time on Dumoulin but, when I saw Pinot getting a lead out, I went past him," Yates said. "I need as many seconds as I can get so maybe I need to go for more bonus seconds."

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome moved up one spot to 10th, 2:30 back.

Wet roads in the finale made for treacherous conditions, causing punctures for Dumoulin and Richard Carapaz, who is fifth overall and leads the young rider classification. Both made it back to the main pack.

Mohoric was part of an earlier breakaway before getting away for good in the latter part of the stage.

Before the sprint, Mohoric glanced over his shoulder to check on Denz but the German never passed him and Mohoric won in slightly more than six hours.

Mohoric thanked his team, which is centered around Domenico Pozzovivo in fourth overall, for letting him go for the victory.

"I had already circled this stage before the Giro started," Mohoric said. "I felt good all day and I'm really pleased that I took advantage of the opportunity."

Irish rider Sam Bennett won a mass sprint to place third, 34 seconds behind.

The lengthy stage was a brutal wake-up call after the race's second rest day, especially with two early climbs and constant rolling terrain along the rest of the route.

The route passed by the site of the Rigopiano avalanche, which killed 29 hotel guests and staff last year. Four children and five adults were pulled alive from the snow and debris days after the avalanche.

Another hilly stage is scheduled for Wednesday with a 156-kilometer leg from Assisi to Osimo that concludes with a short but steep climb.

Then after a couple of milder stages, the race heats up again with a climb up Monte Zoncolan on Saturday and a grueling leg through the Dolomite Range on Sunday.


Update May 15, 2018

Ireland fight back to set up possible win over Pakistan

Ireland's Tyrone Kane (right) congratulates teammate Kevin O'Brien on his century on day four of the international test match against Pakistan in Dublin, Ireland, Monday May 14. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Dublin (AP) — Ireland have an outside chance of winning their inaugural cricket test after Kevin O'Brien led a second-innings recovery with an unbeaten century to see his team lead Pakistan by 139 runs on Monday heading into the final day.

Hours earlier on day four, the Irish were facing the prospect of an innings defeat but they lost only three wickets in the final two sessions to reach stumps on 319-7 following on.

Even a draw would be a marvelous achievement for a country which was awarded test status only last June.

O'Brien became the first player to score a test century for Ireland and he was there at the close on 118 not out, with his 114-run partnership with Stuart Thompson (53) for the seventh wicket proving decisive. Tyrone Kane was with O'Brien on 8 not out.

Mohammed Amir shrugged off a nagging knee problem to be the pick of the bowlers, finishing the day with figures of 3-57 as he reached 100 test wickets. The left-arm paceman's turbulent test career was interrupted by a jail sentence by an English court and a five-year ban by the ICC for his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal in 2010.

Resuming their second innings on 64 without loss after being asked to follow on and still needing 116 more runs to make Pakistan bat again, Ireland slumped to 123-4 by lunch. When Amir removed Gary Wilson (12), caught by Haris Sohail in the slips, and Paul Stirling (11) was trapped lbw by Mohammad Abbas, Pakistan were close to clinching victory.

O'Brien's circumspect batting — his 118 has come from 216 balls and contained 12 fours — has ensured Ireland stay alive at Malahide.

Pakistan declared their first innings on 310-9 early on day three. The first day was washed out.


Mercedes cautious despite a commanding victory in Spain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 13. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tales Azzoni

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Mercedes got the commanding victory it had been seeking all season.

Lewis Hamilton put on a strong performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, showing his team was back in business after a struggling start to 2018.

It was the first time Mercedes showed the type of dominance many fans had grown used to seeing from the Silver Arrows in recent years. And it was the type of victory that could reassert the team's authority in Formula One.

"That was a great result but there was no point where it felt as comfortable as it might have looked from outside," Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said. "It feels like a long time since we had a 1-2 finish, so there's definitely a measure of relief in how we asserted ourselves.

"But we know that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favor as well. So we need to stay calm and humble, because it can be a different ball game again next time."

Valtteri Bottas was second on Sunday to cap a nearly perfect weekend for the Mercedes drivers, who set the fastest times in practice and qualifying before Hamilton ultimately cruised to victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

It was the first time this season Mercedes finished 1-2, and also the first it locked the front row in qualifying.

Coming off four straight titles in both the constructors' and drivers' championships, Mercedes had started the season by showing good pace in Australia, although it let victory escape thanks in part to an ill-timed safety car that helped Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel earn the win in Melbourne.

Mercedes only struggled after that, being outrun by Ferrari in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan, where Hamilton won for the first time this season after his closest competitors ran into trouble in front of him.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a track where Mercedes was expected to run well, but the next race is in Monaco, where the team has struggled in recent years. The street circuit demands setups that work well on slow corners, traditionally a strength for Ferrari and Red Bull.

"We will savor the result, but our thoughts are already turning to Monaco, to the struggles we had there last year and to how we can make sure not to suffer a repeat," Wolff said.

Vettel won the Monaco race last year, when Ferrari was 1-2 in qualifying and in the GP. Bottas finished fourth and Hamilton was seventh.

"The next race in Monaco could be difficult for us," Bottas said. "I think Red Bull will really be strong and Ferrari was on the pole last year. So we need to keep working hard and believe in our ability to improve things."

Despite the early problems this season, Mercedes will arrive in Monaco with Hamilton leading the drivers' standings by 17 points over Vettel. The team has a 27-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors' championship.

"We definitely go to Monaco on a high note, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do," Hamilton said. It's really important that we all continue to push and work as hard as we have done during this first part of the season."


Canada beats Latvia in OT, Czechs edge Austria at ice hockey

Players of Canada celebrate after defeating Latvia during their Ice Hockey World Championships group B match at the Jyske Bank Boxen arena in Herning, Denmark, Monday, May 14. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Karel Janicek

Herning, Denmark (AP) — Canada bounced back from a loss to Finland by edging Latvia 2-1 in overtime at the ice hockey world championship to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals on Monday.

Also, the Czech Republic edged Austria 4-3 and Russia shut out Slovakia 4-0.

Norway beat South Korea 3-0 to relegate the Asian debutant.

Captain Connor McDavid came to Canada's rescue with a goal 46 seconds into overtime, knocking in a rebound in the air.

"We knew what they were gonna do, that they were gonna be solid," McDavid said. "They didn't give up much in the middle. But we found the way to win."

Anthony Beauvillier gave favored Canada a 1-0 lead in the first period but they were not able to stretch the lead. Kristians Rubins tied it in the third.

"Their goalie played a hell of a game," Beauvillier said. "We gotta find a way to be better, we gotta find a way to be perfect. It wasn't perfect tonight."

Latvia goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 31 shots.

The United States tops Group B in Herning, followed by Finland and Canada. They all secured quarterfinal berths.

Denmark and Latvia meet in their final preliminary game on Tuesday.

The Czechs jumped to 2-0 with goals from Tomas and Filip Chytil just 2 1/2 minutes in. Dominik Kubalik and Tomas Hyka also scored.

Michael Raffl netted twice for Austria and Konstantin Komarek added another goal.

Maxim Mamin and Nikita Gusev scored in the first period for Russia and Maxim Shalunov added the third in the third period. Ilya Mikheyev completed the win with an empty net goal

In Group A in Copenhagen, Sweden leads, followed by Russia, and the Czechs. Those three teams have advanced to the quarterfinals.

Switzerland is fourth and Slovakia fifth with a game in hand.

South Korea will be relegated after finishing pointless in its first championship.

"These guys play at a very high level," Canada-born South Korea forward Brock Radunske said. "It takes a little bit for our guys to learn what's going on out there."

Norway completed the group stage in seventh place in Group B in Herning.


Vinci sheds tears as she concludes career at Italian Open

Italy's Roberta Vinci waves to the audience at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Monday, May 14. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)

Andrew Dampf

Rome (AP) — Former U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci bid an emotional farewell following the final match of her career at the Italian Open on Monday.

Having already announced that this would be her final tournament, the 35-year-old Vinci was beaten by Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the first round.

Vinci wiped away tears as a video of her career highlights was shown on the big screen inside the picturesque Pietrangeli court, which is surrounded by neo-classical statues.

"I'm crying now but I'm happy, I'm happy for what I've accomplished," Vinci told the crowd in an-court ceremony. "I would have liked to do better but it doesn't matter that I lost."

Vinci embraced her support crew and parents and was presented with 21 roses — one for each year of her career — by Italian Tennis Federation president Angelo Binaghi.

"It's not easy to talk right now," Vinci told her box. "I can only say, 'Thank you.' These years were splendid."

Fans held up banners that read, "Grazie Roby."

"As of tomorrow, I'm on vacation," Vinci shouted, annunciating each syllable of the Italian word for "vacation" for more effect. "I couldn't go on anymore."

Krunic, who improved to 4-0 in her career against Vinci, embraced the Italian for a long while at the net then held up her hands in an apologetic manner to the crowd and said, "I'm sorry."

At the 2015 U.S. Open, Vinci upset Serena Williams in the semifinals to prevent the American from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam. Then in all-Italian final, Vinci lost to Flavia Pennetta.

Vinci was also ranked No. 1 in doubles, completed a career Grand Slam with partner Sara Errani, and helped Italy win four Fed Cup titles.


Update May 14, 2018

Mercedes restores order at top with Hamilton's win in Spain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 13. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tales Azzoni

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are not done just yet.

Hamilton put in a dominant performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, winning with ease and showing Ferrari that Mercedes remains the team to beat in Formula One.

Hamilton's strong run helped Mercedes re-establish order at the top of the field after seeing Ferrari dominate most of the early season.

"This is more like it," Hamilton said on the team radio. "Let's keep this up."

Valtteri Bottas secured a one-two for Mercedes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Max Verstappen completed the podium despite finishing the race with a broken front wing on his Red Bull.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who now trails Hamilton by 17 points in the drivers' standings, was only fourth after a change in strategy didn't pay off.

It was the first one-two of the season for Mercedes, which had struggled to keep pace with the Ferraris.

"Today, the car and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year," Hamilton said. "It's a good feeling."

Hamilton was never challenged on the way to his 41st win from pole position, surpassing a record he shared with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. It was Hamilton's 64th career win, leaving him 27 behind Schumacher's record of 91 victories.

"I remember like it was yesterday sitting at home playing this computer game as Michael," Hamilton said. "It's just very surreal to think that every now and then I keep coming up against Michael in terms of records. He has some serious records. It's hard to beat all of these records that he has."

Hamilton also became the first F1 driver to finish in the points in 30 consecutive races.

"This weekend we got ourselves on the right path," Hamilton said. "I would like to hope it could be part of the turning point."

Hamilton had also won in Azerbaijan two weeks ago, but that victory came mostly because of incidents involving his closest competitors, including a blown tire for Bottas, a mistake by Vettel and a crash between Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Ricciardo was fifth in Barcelona, ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas and the Spanish duo of Carlos Sainz of Renault and Fernando Alonso of McLaren.

Charles Leclerc of Sauber and Sergio Perez of Force India closed out the top 10.

Hamilton had a clean start, with Vettel moving from third to second by passing Bottas on the outside of Turn 1.

Hamilton pulled away early and was able to comfortably control the pace of the race through to the end, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of his teammate.

Vettel gave away his position when Ferrari decided to go for an extra stop and give the German driver fresher tires. He lost time in the pits and came back onto the track behind Verstappen, and was unable to make up the difference despite the newer tires.

"For us it was not an option to stay out," Vettel said. "I think it was the right thing to do."

Mercedes was in front in Barcelona the entire weekend, setting the fastest time in all practice sessions and taking pole position with Hamilton — his first since the season-opener in Australia.

Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China.

It was a lukewarm Spanish GP, especially compared to the thrilling races seen in China and Azerbaijan. Most of the action took place during a first-lap incident involving Romain Grosjean of Haas, Nico Hulkenberg of Renault and Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso, forcing all three drivers to retire and prompting the deployment of the safety car.

Grosjean, who struggled throughout the weekend and had crashed behind the safety car in Azerbaijan, failed to stop his car from spinning across the track on Turn 3 and Hulkenberg and Gasly could not avoid colliding with him. Grosjean was later handed a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco.

Verstappen was running fourth when he clipped his front wing on a Williams under the virtual safety car, but the damage was not significant and he didn't have to make an extra stop.

"I kept going. It was not bad. I don't think it affected me too much," Verstappen said. "It feels nice to be on the podium and nice to have a good, clean race."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen retired near the halfway-point after losing power. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a car failure, as did Esteban Ocon with Force India.

Teams will stay in Barcelona for two days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.


Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

Jorge Linares, left, of Venezuela, connects with Vasiliy Lomachenko, of Ukraine, during their WBA lightweight championship boxing match Saturday, May 12, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

Brian Mahoney

New York (AP) — Vasiliy Lomachenko had been down on the canvas and was even on the scorecards.

The tough test Lomachenko craved, the one he said would force him to finally unleash all his skills, had finally arrived.

Moments later, he ended it.

Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their lightweight championship fight Saturday night, winning a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout.

Lomachenko landed a hard left to the body during a flurry of precision punches that sent Linares to a knee. Linares finally got up just as the count was reaching 10 but referee Ricky Gonzalez called an end to the fight at 2:08 of the round.

"I prepared for the last few rounds, and my father told me, 'You need to go to the body,'" Lomachenko said. His father, Anatoly Lomachenko, is his trainer.

Linares knocked down Lomachenko in the sixth and the fight was all even after nine rounds before Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) put an overpowering end to his first fight at 135 pounds, adding that title to his belts at 126 and 130 pounds.

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) hadn't lost since 2012 and used his size advantage to do some damage, but in the end Lomachenko did more in an exciting Madison Square Garden match.

Each fighter was ahead 86-84 on a judge's card, while Julie Lederman had it 85-all after nine rounds.

"The fight was getting interesting," Linares said. "It was very close, but he did surprise me with that body shot. I wanted to continue. I wanted to keep working, but the ref stopped the fight."

The fighter widely known as Vasyl said this week he prefers to use Vasiliy, his legal name. And now he can be called lightweight champion after picking up the WBA's version of the belt in front of a crowd of 10,429 that chanted "Loma! Loma!" as he made his ring walk — which came first for a change since he was the challenger — and waved blue and gold flags for much of the night.

It was Lomachenko's eighth straight victory by stoppage, but this one was much tougher than a recent stretch of clinics in which his last four fights ended when his opponents' corners wouldn't let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko had joked he should be called "no mas Chenko" for his habit of making opponents quit, but Linares made him earn this victory.

The Venezuelan was on a 13-fight winning streak and was giving the two-time Olympic gold medalist the test he wanted, one that he said would bring out the best in what many already consider the most skilled fighter in the world.

"Thank you to Jorge Linares for giving me one more lesson in this interesting sport," Lomachenko said.

Lomachenko said Thursday he needed to finally be put in danger to show his complete array of skills, and they were on display in the 10th round with a series of shots that Linares couldn't defend, especially the left to his midsection that took the biggest toll.

Linares landed the fight's first noticeable punches early in the second round but Lomachenko began to get dialed in later in the round, and Linares' face showed some frustration by the end of the third as Lomachenko kept landing quick combinations and dancing out of the way when Linares fired back.

Lomachenko ended the fifth with another flurry and his manager, Egis Klimas, stood in the corner smiling and nodding his head, knowing he has someone special.

But the smiling stopped in the sixth, when Linares knocked Lomachenko down with a straight right hand in the final minute of the round. Lomachenko got up easily and didn't appear hurt, but Linares carried the confidence from the knockdown into a strong seventh round.

"That right hand, it was a great punch. It happens," Lomachenko said.

Lomachenko regrouped to win the eighth but Linares responded with a strong ninth, landing a solid combination that seemed to momentarily hurt Lomachenko. But that was his last highlight.

Lomachenko arrived at the arena to find a personalized Knicks jersey hanging in his locker and the crowd that included new Knicks coach David Fizdale roared when clips of him warming up were shown on the arena's video screens.

But unlike when he fought at the smaller Theater inside MSG in December in his last bout, a sixth-round stoppage of the smaller Guillermo Rigondeaux, this time Lomachenko faced a bigger man and a much bigger test.

"Linares is a great champion," he said, "and the fight was good for the fans and everybody."


Simpson completes a big win at Players Championship

Webb Simpson waves after receiving The Players Championship trophy, Sunday, May 13, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Doug Ferguson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP) — Starting with the largest Sunday lead ever at The Players Championship was harder than Webb Simpson imagined. Hearing one big roar after another from Tiger Woods playing four groups ahead of him didn't help. Through it all, Simpson managed his game and his nerves.

Only when he had the crystal trophy did he start to crack.

He looked out at his wife, Dowd, a big supporter during the past few years of frustration as Simpson coped with the ban on the anchored putting stroke he used to make two Ryder Cup teams and win the U.S. Open.

And he thought about his mother at home in North Carolina, her first Mother's Day since Simpson's father died in November.

"It's been a tough few months for my mom, my brothers and sisters," Simpson said as his voice began to crack. "This is a little beacon of light for my mom, to get this done on Mother's Day."

There was never any doubt.

Simpson navigated his way through a few mistakes, but not too much stress in his four-shot victory Sunday at the TPC Sawgrass. Staked to a seven-shot lead, no one got closer than four shots, even after Simpson made double bogey on the 18th hole when his only remaining task was to finish the hole. He closed with a 1-over 73 to end more than four years without winning.

Woods made another big run that revved up the crowd and revived hopes that he was close to winning. So did Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker and Danny Lee. None could do enough to catch Simpson during a week of low scoring at the final Players Championship in May.

"It was harder than I thought," Simpson said. "There's so much noise in front of us with Tiger, and you wonder what everybody is doing."

The key moment for Simpson was hitting just short of the green on the par-5 11th to set up a two-putt birdie, and then finding the island green on the 17th when he had a six-shot lead.

"Once I got to 17 and the ball was on the green," he said, "internally I was celebrating."

Justin Thomas left the TPC Sawgrass as the No. 1 player in the world. He closed with a 66 to tie for 11th, more than enough to end Dustin Johnson's 15-month reign at the top of the ranking. Thomas is the 21st player to reach No. 1 since the ranking began in 1986, and the seventh American.

"I'm very proud to have gotten there, but it means more to me how long I can hold it," Thomas said in a text message.

Jimmy Walker closed with a bogey-free 67 and tied for second with Charl Schwartzel and Xander Schauffele, who also shot 67s. Walker, who struggled all of last year with Lyme disease, had his best finish since he won the 2016 PGA Championship.

Woods made the cut on the number — helped by Thomas and Jordan Spieth making bogey on the 18th hole Friday — got back to the first page of the leaderboard with a 65 on Saturday and ran off six birdies through 12 holes in the final round. He was tied for second at one point, still four shots behind, but that was as close he got. Woods made a soft bogey on the 14th hole when he missed the green with a sand wedge, and was well short of the island green in making double bogey on No. 17.

He shot 69 and tied for 11th.

"I hit the ball better today than I did yesterday, and I obviously didn't end up with the score I needed to," Woods said.

The final edition of May was one for the record books. Simpson tied the course record with a 63 in the second round when he seized control — even with a double bogey from the water on the 17th — and he tied Greg Norman's 54-hole record from 1994 at 19-under 197. Simpson set a record for the largest margin through three rounds. Brooks Koepka became the eighth player with a 63 on Sunday, making an albatross 2 on the par-5 16th.

And there 1,754 birdies for the week, breaking by 136 the record from 1996.

But this ultimately was all about Simpson, who had missed the cut in four of his previous eight appearances at the TPC Sawgrass and had gone 107 starts on the PGA Tour since his most recent victory in Las Vegas toward the end of 2013.

He had struggled with the ban on the anchored stroke he used for his belly putter. He finally settled on a longer handle that ran up the left side of his arm, and then Tim Clark gave him the missing link. It was at The Players a year ago when Clark suggested he also use a claw grip, and Simpson had been working his way back to golf he expects to play.

"It's pretty special that a year later, I got this victory," he said.

Simpson won for the fifth time and moves to No. 20 in the world. He won $1.98 million, the second-largest tournament payoff behind only the U.S. Open.

The rest of the tournament would have been plenty exciting had Simpson decided to call in sick for work this week. At one point, Dufner made a birdie to break out of a 10-way tie for third place.

"I feel like all of us were just trying to make as many birdies as possible while he was trying to run away from everyone else," Schauffele said. "So it was an interesting week."


Celtics take Game 1 of East finals, beating Cavaliers 108-83

Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (8) compete for a loose ball during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals, Sunday, May 13, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Jimmy Golen

Boston (AP) — The assignment for Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris in his first start this postseason was easy to explain but nearly impossible to execute.

His job: Guard LeBron James, and keep the four-time NBA MVP from running the Celtics out of their own gym in the Eastern Conference finals for the second year in a row.

"He's obviously the best player in the game," said Morris, who during the week boasted that he was up to the challenge and on Sunday explained why he wanted it.

"Because I'm a competitor. He's the best player, and I'm going to be able to tell my kids this one day."

Morris scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds while pestering James into a playoff-high seven turnovers — and a playoff-low 15 points — and the Celtics opened a 21-point, first-quarter lead to scorch Cleveland 108-83 in Game 1.

Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Al Horford had 20 for Boston, which ran off 17 points in a row in the first and never allowed the Cavaliers within single digits again. The Celtics led by 28 when Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue pulled James for good with 7:09 left.

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

"I have zero level of concern at this stage," said James, who was 5 for 16 from the floor and missed all five 3-point attempts.

"I've been down before in the postseason, but for me there's never any level of concern — no matter how bad I played tonight, with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball," he said. "We have another opportunity to be better as a ball club coming in Tuesday night, and we'll see what happens."

Kevin Love had 17 points and eight rebounds, and James added nine assists and seven boards. The Cavaliers missed their first 14 3-point attempts of the game and shot just 32 percent in the first half.

By that time, Boston led 61-35 — the biggest halftime playoff deficit in James' career.

"I think we're very alert to the fact that we'll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "It's another great challenge, another great opportunity to experience something for this team."

With injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving on the bench in street clothes, the Celtics continued their stunning run this season with what may have been the most surprising turn of events yet. A year after dropping the first two games at home against Cleveland in a five-game East final, the Celtics pounced on James, and the favored Cavaliers were never really in it.

"The last couple of playoffs, and our meeting at the end of year, they blew us out of the water," Boston guard Marcus Smart said. "We've got a different team, just like they do, and a lot of younger guys. So for them to see that, and have that feeling like we did tonight, is huge."

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Kyle Korver's 3-pointer with nine minutes left in the third period was their first after missing 14 in a row. It cut the deficit from 28 points to 65-40. ... Tristan Thompson had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Celtics: The Celtics improved to 8-0 at home this postseason. They do not have to win on the road to reach the NBA Finals. ... Boston's 36-18 lead at the end of one quarter was the second-largest in a playoff game in franchise history.

GET HYPED

The Celtics took the floor to a hype video that began with the broadcast of Hayward's injury in the first quarter of the first game, at Cleveland. A variety of commentators predicted the team's demise, including Hall of Famer Charles Barkley saying: "Their season's over."

As more players went down to injury — including Irving, who came over from the Cavaliers last summer but was done for the season in March — the prophesies grew even gloomier.

But there the Celtics were, back in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers for the second year in a row — with Hayward, Irving, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin all injured and Stevens down to an eight-man rotation.

It was more than they needed.

Starting in place of Aron Baynes, Morris backed up his boast that he could cover James better than anyone except Kawhi Leonard. The Cavaliers star had seven of Cleveland's nine turnovers after accruing eight in the entire four-game, second-round sweep of the Raptors.

"Our confidence level is very high," said Morris, who recorded the first postseason double-double of his career. "The younger guys to the older guys, we think we can compete and play with anybody. At the end of the day, all the talking is done off the court."

FAST START

Horford made his first seven shots and scored 10, including eight straight, during the 17-0 run that turned a three-point deficit into a 21-7 lead. After James wiggled his way to a layup — Cleveland's first points in 4 minutes, 43 seconds — Boston ran off eight more points in a row; Brown had six of them, and he finished the quarter with 13 points and five rebounds.

Cleveland scored seven straight points early in the third and finished the quarter with six in a row to make it 78-64. But Boston made the first three baskets in the fourth and, after running off nine in a row to make it 96-68 with 7:09 left, the Cavs conceded.

UP NEXT

Game 2: Tuesday night, Boston.


Yates wins 9th stage to cement Giro lead, Froome loses time

Britain's Simon Yates, center, sprints to win the 9th stage of the Giro d’Italia cycling race from Pesco Sannita to Campo Imperatore, Italy, Sunday, May 13. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Gran Sasso, Italy (AP) — Simon Yates cemented his position as overall leader of the Giro d'Italia by winning the ninth stage on Sunday but it was a bad day for British compatriot Chris Froome, who lost more than a minute in the general classification.

Yates was part of a five-man group that escaped in the final kilometers of the summit finish and the Mitchelton-Scott cyclist attacked right at the end to edge out Thibaut Pinot.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome had been ninth — 1 minute, 10 seconds behind Yates. But the Team Sky cyclist struggled at the end of the 225-kilometer (140-mile) route from Pesco Sannita up to Gran Sasso d'Italia and is now 2:27 behind his countryman.

"I realize how big it is to win my first stage with the Maglia Rosa," Yates said. "That one is for the boys who rode at the front all day. It's really nice. Since the beginning of the day we believed in the possibility of winning the stage as well as defending the Maglia Rosa."

It looked like a cyclist from the 14-man breakaway would win with an advantage of around eight minutes heading into the penultimate climb, less than 50K from the finish. However, Astana drove a high pace at the head of the peloton to slash their advantage in half by the time they reached the final ascent of the Gran Sasso d'Italia, with 26K remaining.

Attacks started from the break and Fausto Masnada got away before he too was reeled in 2.7K from the line, setting up the final attack and victory for Yates.

Yates' teammate Esteban Chaves was third to leapfrog defending champion Tom Dumoulin in the overall standings and move into second, 32 seconds off the pace.

Dumoulin is a further six seconds behind.

"We haven't got so much time on (Dumoulin), 38 seconds of an advantage on him isn't enough before the time trial," Yates said. "On the other hand, some guys lost time — Chris Froome, maybe it was from the crashes, maybe he's got no form, I don't know. I was surprised to see Fabio Aru being dropped, but it's a long race. Maybe they can bounce back."

It has been a difficult opening week for Froome, who had a training crash before the opening time trial, lost time in a split on stage four and injured himself again in a second crash on the final climb on Saturday.

"He was looking good the last couple of days but we have to stay optimistic. We have two more weeks coming up and hopefully we have some better days," Team Sky coach Nicolas Portal said. "Let's hope that we can quickly forget this stage."

The Giro has a second rest day before Tuesday's 10th stage, an undulating 239K (149-mile) route from Penne to Gualdo Tadino.


Zverev beats Thiem to win Madrid Open

Alexander Zverev of Germany returns the ball to Dominic Thiem of Austria during the men's final of the Madrid Open Tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Sunday May 13. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Madrid (AP) — Second-seeded Alexander Zverev eased past fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open on Sunday, claiming his second title in a week.

The German broke Thiem's opening service games in each set and didn't give his Austrian rival a single break chance to win in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

Zverev won his eighth career title and second of the season after also winning the Munich Open last weekend.

"It is unbelievable," Zverev said. "This is my third Masters 1000 and I am only 21 years old. It has been an amazing journey."

Zverev dominated the entire week in the Spanish capital, not losing a single set en route to victory.

Thiem lost his second consecutive final at the Caja Magica. He avenged last year's final loss to Rafael Nadal by beating him in Friday's quarterfinals for the Spaniard's first clay-court loss in a year.

Zverev started strongly when Thiem conceded his first service game with a costly double fault.

Serving to close out the first set, Zverev trailed 0-30 but used his big serve to force deuce and finally closed out the point when Thiem's return sailed long.

Zverev started the second set in similar fashion, hitting a deep forehand that Thiem could only send into the net on the final point of his service game to fall behind a break.

It was Zverev's second win in six meetings with Thiem.

On Saturday, Petra Kvitova beat Kiki Bertens in three sets to win the women's title.


Update May 12-13, 2018

Simpson ties course record, takes 5-shot lead at Players

Webb Simpson holds up his ball on the 18th green during the second round of The Players Championship golf tournament Friday, May 11, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Doug Ferguson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP) — No one ever played a better round at the TPC Sawgrass than Webb Simpson.

For 16 holes, anyway.

With his sixth straight birdie on the back nine, Simpson became the first player to reach 11-under par for a single round at The Players Championship. The course record? Simpson couldn't resist thinking about a 59. All he had to do was navigate the shortest and scariest hole Friday afternoon on the Stadium Course.

He hardly missed anything all day except the island green on No. 17.

Splash!

"Just the wrong club," he said.

The consolation was enormous. Even with that double bogey, Simpson tied the Stadium Course record with a 9-under 63 and had a five-shot lead after 36 holes, the largest in the 45 years of this tournament.

"Everything is going in," he said. "You feel like no matter what, you're going to make it, and I grew up on an easy golf course so it reminded me of being back home, shooting low numbers. But at the same time, you're at the TPC Sawgrass, so you know that trouble is everywhere, as you guys saw with me on 17."

The sand wedge in the water on the 17th ruined his round, but not his day. Simpson couldn't miss putts he wasn't even trying to make, whether it was a 35-foot eagle putt on his second hole or a 30-foot birdie putt up the slope and into the cup on the 15th .

At that point, all he could was laugh.

And then he reached the 17th, playing 147 yards to a back pin, the light wind playing tricks with him. He kept backing off, consulting with his caddie as he tried to decide between sand wedge and pitching wedge.

"The wind seemed to be changing," he said, "and people were yelling at me to hit it."

The ball hit the wooden frame on the front of the green, caromed high in the air and landed on the back of the green with so much momentum that it rolled through the light collar of rough and disappeared into the water.

Simpson was the seventh player to shoot 63 on the Stadium Course — five since 2013 — and his 15-under 129 tied the 36-hole record set two years ago by Jason Day.

Charl Schwartzel (66), Patrick Cantlay (68) and Danny Lee (66) were five shots behind.

Tiger Woods at least gets to return on the weekend. He made the cut on the number (1-under 143) after a 71 in the easier morning conditions. Woods was outside the cut line until Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas each made bogey on the 18th. Spieth three-putted from 35 feet, though he shot 68 and ended three straight years missing the cut. Rory McIlroy wasn't so fortunate. He was inside the cut line until hitting into the water on the 17th and making double bogey.

Conditions were ideal for scoring for the second straight day. Simpson took that to another level.

He ended the front nine with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth for a one-shot lead, and then he took off. Starting with an up-and-down at the par-5 11th, Simpson ran off six straight birdies — three straight from the 20-foot range, the most unlikely birdie with the one from behind the 15th green, and another up-and-down from left the of the green on the par-5 16th.

Spieth was 5 under on his round through 11 holes and wondered if he had the low round of the day. And then he saw a leaderboard.

"It was just amazing," said Spieth, who played with McIlroy and Thomas. "We were talking about it throughout the round, all three of us. We were like, 'Man, I hope he shoots 59.' And at the same time, we're saying if he shoots 59, can you imagine how hard the setup is going to be tomorrow?"

The real challenge will be catching Simpson.

Only three other players have led by as many as three shots through 36 holes at The Players — Lanny Wadkins (3) in 1979, Greg Norman (3) in 1994 and Day (4) in 2016. All of them went on to win.

"If you're off a little bit, you make bogeys or double bogeys as easy as you can make birdies," Simpson said. "I don't think any lead is safe."

Schwartzel never came close to a bogey, only missing two greens, and just barely. Cantlay only had one bad swing and one bad break, both on the par-5 ninth, that led to bogey. Lee shot a 31 on the back nine with a double bogey on the 11th hole.

Simpson left them all in his wake.

"The most entertaining golf in our group was watching Webb's score," said Justin Rose, who played behind Simpson and shot 72. "It's a miracle round. To be 11-under par, it's a shame he doesn't finish it off. But 17 is a hard hole to get through. I'm sure he was nervous playing that hole. We're all nervous playing that hole, but an 11-under par round, that green I'm sure looks even smaller."

Woods had wedges in his hand on his opening three holes and never got it close for birdie, and it was like that all day. He was in the feature pairing with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, and Woods was the only one to make the cut.

Mickelson went 79-73 and missed the cut for the fifth time in the last six years. Fowler was in good shape until losing a ball in a tree on the sixth hole for the first of consecutive double bogeys. He shot 71 and missed by two shots.


Mercedes sets the pace in practice for Spanish GP

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland sits in his car prior to free practice at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Friday, May 11. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tales Azzoni

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Mercedes got off to a good start in Formula One's return to Europe, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton setting the pace in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday.

Bottas led the first session and defending champion Hamilton the second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by four points in the drivers' standings, kept Ferrari close in the morning session, but Red Bull was the main challenger to Mercedes in the afternoon. Daniel Ricciardo was second and Max Verstappen third.

"We got through all our running and were quite fast compared to previous years," Hamilton said. "It is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can't really say who is quickest at the moment."

Bottas was a tenth of a second faster in the morning session than Hamilton's afternoon time at the 4.6-kilometer (2.8-mile) track outside Barcelona.

Most teams brought significant updates to their cars as F1 returned to Europe after races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan. Mercedes and Red Bull appeared to have improved the most, although Ferrari usually shows its best pace in qualifying and in the race.

"Everything we put on the car seems to work and that's important," Vettel said. "We can still work on the car and we should be stronger tomorrow."

Ricciardo, who crashed with Verstappen in Azerbaijan, had a tough start to his weekend in Barcelona by hitting a tire barrier midway through the first session, losing a lot of track time.

"The mistake this morning was a costly one and I missed the final hour of the session because of it," Ricciardo said. "We have found some pace, there is still a bit more to find, but overall a pretty good end to a Friday."

Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, was sixth fastest in the afternoon and had to retire late because of an apparent engine problem.

"I was told by the team to stop the car," Raikkonen said." We still don't know what happened, but we'll figure it out."

Crowd-favorite Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest with McLaren in the morning but was 12th in the second session.

Haas and Force India had the best showings of the teams behind the top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Robert Kubica, Williams' reserve driver, drove in an official F1 session for the first time since almost losing his right hand in a rally crash in 2011.

The team had to make some modifications to Kubica's car because the Polish driver doesn't have full movement of his right hand.

Kubica finished with the second-to-last time in the first session, in front of teammate Lance Stroll. Sergei Sirotkin was back in the car for the afternoon run.

"In the end it's difficult to say that it was enjoyable because our car balance was very bad and it was very difficult to drive, so it was difficult to enjoy," Kubica said. "But I'm satisfied with the session and with how I reacted to difficult conditions. It sounds strange that you can be happy with P19, but actually I'm happy."

Stroll nearly hit the tire barriers after going off the track with about a half-hour left in the first session.

Many other drivers also struggled to keep their cars on the track, most of the time because of windy conditions.

"You're constantly arriving at each corner and the wind direction is never the same, so we saw lots of drivers going off," Hamilton said. "These conditions make it very difficult to define where the setup needs to go."

Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean of Haas were among those who went into the gravel in the morning. Bottas and Vettel also spun but were able to continue their runs without significant damage.

Romain Grosjean, who crashed under the safety car in Azerbaijan, was the first to face trouble in the afternoon session, losing control of his Haas and getting stuck on the gravel. Verstappen also went off the track, as did Raikkonen shortly before enduring the mechanical problem.

Sergio Perez had a mechanical issue with Force India and had to retire near the end of the second session.


Nadal loses to Thiem in Madrid, first loss on clay in 1 year

Dominic Thiem from Austria, left, shakes hands with Rafael Nadal from Spain at the end of their Madrid Open tennis tournament match in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 11. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Madrid (AP) — Rafael Nadal has found a worthy rival on clay.

Dominic Thiem beat the top-ranked Nadal 7-5, 6-3 in the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Friday, breaking the defending champion's run of 21 straight wins on clay courts.

Nadal hadn't lost a single set on clay since falling to Thiem a year ago in the Italian Open quarterfinals.

But Thiem succeeded in doing the nearly impossible with his deep drives: Make Nadal look sluggish and a step slow on clay.

Nadal will lose his world No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer because of the defeat.

"Of course I am disappointed," Nadal said. "I tried to fight back but I wasn't good enough and he was better. Dominic has a lot of potential. Whenever he plays really well, it is difficult to stop him."

Since last year's loss to Thiem, Nadal had been impeccable on his preferred surface. He won the French Open and the hard-court U.S. Open to take his Grand Slam haul to 16, and he came to the Spanish capital fresh off winning his 11th titles at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

Nadal, however, said the loss was not a reason to doubt his chances to add to his 10 French Open titles in the coming weeks.

"I won 50 straight sets on this surface," he said. "Today I lost the match. It was not my day. But that is part of the sport. So I can't go back to my hotel and think that I have to do a lot of things different to prepare for the next events because that wouldn't be smart."

Nadal brushed aside Thiem 6-0, 6-2 just three weeks ago at Monte Carlo, where the Austrian was returning after being sidelined for a month due to a broken foot.

Thiem was in stellar form at Madrid's Caja Magica. He got the better of long rallies by hitting precise winners, and avoided the costly errors that sunk Nadal's title defense.

"He always had position to move around and to play a good shot, to strike the ball in a comfortable position," Nadal said. "It's difficult to harm a player like him because he is very powerful, he strikes the ball very hard."

The fifth-seeded Thiem avenged his loss to Nadal here in last year's final, and earned his third career victory in nine meetings with Nadal, all on clay.

"It's one of the toughest things to do to beat Rafa on clay," Thiem said. "It's so special, amazing, in his home country and in his living room in Madrid. It was an amazing match."

Thiem will face sixth-seeded Kevin Anderson in the semifinals after he hit 15 aces to down Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal said on Thursday, after breaking John McEnroe's 1984 record for sets won on the same surface by winning his 50th straight set on clay, that he expected the match against Thiem to be "key to this tournament."

He was right to be worried.

Thiem unsettled Nadal from the start, breaking his serve twice in the first set.

Nadal appeared to have salvaged the opening set when he broke Thiem back for 5-5, but the Austrian took the advantage right back after Nadal sent a forehand into the net.

Thiem then struck an ace to complete the set.

His shirt drenched in sweat, Nadal looked stunned in the second set when he sent four serves in a row into the net for back-to-back double faults before he ceded another break to go down 2-1.

Nadal pulled back a break, but couldn't defend his serve and Thiem broke him twice more, finishing off the world No. 1 with one final forehand winner.

"If you want to beat him, especially on clay, you have to do something special. If I had played normal I would have no chance," Thiem said. "I had to go for shots and go down the line and everything worked today. To beat Rafa on clay you have to have a special day."

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev beat seventh-seeded John Isner 6-4, 7-5 to also advance.

Zverev will face Denis Shapovalov after he outlasted Kyle Edmund 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

On the women's side, two-time former Madrid champion Petra Kvitova beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (4), 6-3, in an all-Czech semifinal.

Kvitova will meet Kiki Bertens in the final after she beat seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-2.


Moving up: Lomachenko fights Linares in search of 3rd title

In this Dec. 6, 2017 file photo, WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko punches a bag during a workout at a Manhattan boxing gym in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Brian Mahoney

New York (AP) — Vasyl Lomachenko is looking for something that Jorge Linares believes he can deliver.

Lomachenko has been winning too easily, and he never wants boxing to become easy. Not when he possesses an arsenal of skills that may be unparalleled in the sport that he wants to demonstrate.

"If I would be put me in danger, then people can see 100 percent where I am," Lomachenko said through a translator.

Linares thinks things are about to get dangerous.

They fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden for Linares' WBA lightweight championship as Lomachenko tries to win a title in his third weight class in just his 12th professional bout.

Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) beat his last four opponents so thoroughly that their corners wouldn't let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian. Yet Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) agrees there is even a better version of Lomachenko than the two-time Olympic gold medalist has shown in his rapid rise to the top of the pro ranks.

"Yes, absolutely I believe it. I believe that we haven't seen the best of him," the Venezuelan said through an interpreter. "But I don't think anybody's pushed me to bring out that monkey on my back that's right there and to show the world what I can do, too. But I think on Saturday night we're both going to push each other to the limits to show, one, a great fight, and two, how great I am because there can only be one winner at the end of that night and that's me."

Lomachenko's last fight was also in the Garden, and when his work was done with his fists he basically shrugged his shoulders. Guillermo Rigondeaux was moving up two weight classes and Lomachenko knew he wasn't picking on someone his own size. He got his seventh straight victory by stoppage when Rigondeaux's corner ended the fight after six rounds with the boxer complaining of pain in his left hand.

Now it's Lomachenko who will be the smaller man.

"It's a challenge but that's what makes a fighter one of the all-time greats: challenges," promoter Bob Arum said. "He was great at 126, he devastated everybody at 130. Now he's moving up to 135 and people say is this a bridge too far? He and his father (Anatoly), who's a great trainer, say no, it's not a bridge too far and we're going to see on Saturday. But that's what boxing is all about. If there isn't any challenges, if there isn't any obstacles, who the hell wants to watch it?"

The sides pushed aside obstacles just to make the fight. Arum's Top Rank was already planning to have Lomachenko back Saturday at MSG, and Golden Boy Promotions was promoting another card on HBO. But Linares wanted the fight and a compromise between the rival companies was reached with ESPN's coverage beginning at an earlier than usual time of 8 p.m. EDT.

"All this talk that I want to fight him but my promoter doesn't want to allow me, that's a fighter hiding," Golden Boy's Robert Diaz said. "When a fighter wants to fight and the partner wants to fight, the fights get done. Period."

A victory would be the biggest yet for Linares in a career turnaround, rising from consecutive stoppage losses in 2011-12 to 13 straight wins. The champion in three weight classes said he's been preparing to fight Lomachenko since long before the match was made, even facing southpaws in his previous two bouts. Nobody tried to talk him out of taking on somebody who boxers don't exactly line up to fight.

"On the contrary, the people that really know me, that have been around me, that know what I have, have told me you have everything it takes to beat a fighter like Lomachenko," Linares said.

That starts with the will to keep punching through punishment. Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Nicholas Walters couldn't, and Lomachenko quipped he should be called "no mas Chenko" when Rigondeaux then became the fourth straight opponent who didn't come back out for the next round after returning to his corner in pain following the previous one.

"Every fighter fights in the ring the way his opponent lets him fight," Lomachenko said. "If my opponent on Saturday is going to let me fight the way I want, I'm going to do it. If he is going to try to give me a hard time, I'm going to do it a different way. So I really don't care the way the victory is going to come."


Bennett wins 7th stage as Yates maintains Giro d'Italia lead

Ireland's Sam Bennett shouts in celebration as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Pizzo to Praia a Mare, Italy, Friday, May 11. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Praia A Mare, Italy (AP) — Sam Bennett timed his sprint to perfection to win the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia, while British rider Simon Yates remained in the overall lead as the race went over to the Italian mainland on Friday.

Bennett was the last to launch his sprint but the Irish rider managed to edge out Elia Viviani — who won two of the opening three stages — and claim his first win in a Grand Tour.

Niccolo Bonifazio was third in the bunch sprint at the end of the flat 159-kilometer route along the Calabrian coast from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.

"I'm really happy with that," said Bennett, who finished third in each of Viviani's wins. "I tried so hard the other days to get the win but never seemed to get the timing right.

"It was very hard to get Viviani's wheel, everyone wanted that wheel, and we had to fight for it. At one point I thought we'd left it too late but the timing was right and I could use my power to get an advantage."

There was an early break of three cyclists and the peloton allowed Davide Ballerini, Markel Irizar and Maxim Belkov an advantage of more than four minutes before it began to reel them in.

They were caught with 14 kilometers remaining as the peloton powered to the sprint finish and victory for Bennett and his Bora-Hansgrohe team.

The general classification was unchanged and Yates, who won the young rider classification at last year's Tour de France, retained his 16-second advantage over defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

Yates' Mitchelton-Scott teammate, Esteban Chaves, remained third overall, 26 seconds behind.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome was in eighth place, 1 minute, 10 seconds behind.

"It was a good first day in the maglia rosa, relaxed at the start," Yates said. "For us as a team it was perfect. A bit stressful at the final as always but OK.

"Tomorrow, if I have the legs, I might try something. I still need to get some time on Tom Dumoulin and some other guys who are better time trialists than me."

Saturday's eighth stage sees the second mountain finish at the end of a 209-kilometer route from Praia a Mare to Montevergine.


Update May 11, 2018

Dustin Johnson part of 6-way tie for lead at Players

Dustin Johnson hits from the 11th tee during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, May 10, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Doug Ferguson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP) — The PGA Tour gave its premier tournament even more sizzle by putting Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the same group Thursday afternoon. For the undercard, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas played together in the morning.

None was anywhere near the lead at The Players Championship.

McIlroy was the only player from those two groups who managed to break par. He shot 1-under 71.

The best golf — and there was plenty of it on an ideal opening round for scoring — was all around them.

Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Alex Noren set the pace early. Matt Kuchar, Chesson Hadley and Patrick Cantlay joined them late. All were at 66, part of the largest share of the lead in the opening round at the TPC Sawgrass, and the most players tied at the top at The Players in 40 years.

"If you're on your game, this course suits you," Kuchar said.

That's been the story of the TPC Sawgrass over the years — a design that doesn't favor one particular style of play. That notion was on overdrive in warm sunshine and moderate wind, conditions so ideal that 12 players were separated by one shot after the opening round, and 68 players in the 144-man field broke par.

Woods wasn't among them. He shot 72 in his first time at The Players since in three years. Neither was Mickelson, who had three double bogeys on the back nine and shot 79. Fowler shot 74.

"Toward the back nine, it started getting a little sparse," Woods said. "I think they might have tipped back a couple and got a little sleepy."

Or maybe they were just bored.

There was plenty of excitement elsewhere.

Johnson played like he was determined to keep the No. 1 ranking, which he could lose if he finishes 12th or worse. And he putted like he was fed up with not seeing enough go in. He tried the "AimPoint" method that some players use to help them read the greens. He liked the results.

Johnson started on No. 10 and went out in 31, and when he rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second hole, he was on his way. Johnson only gave himself a few reasonable chances the rest of the way, though he was more than happy with his 66. It was his best score ever on the Stadium Course, and only his fourth time in the 60s.

"I was just not making enough putts," Johnson said. "It's definitely helped. Because I'm a feel putter, anyway, and so the way you're doing it really is you're just feeling. So it definitely works. I was pretty good the first time I switched. I had done it a little bit, like messing around with it. I'm very pleased with the way I putted today."

Rookies and veterans alike were in the group at 67. The rookie was Keith Mitchell, who didn't even know he was in the field until Paul Casey withdrew on Wednesday. Mitchell birdied his opening four holes, made seven birdies over his first 11 holes and was slowed only by a double bogey on the par-3 third.

The veteran was 51-year-old Steve Stricker, who still can't decide whether to hang his hat in the big leagues or the senior circuit. He was irritated by a late bogey and failing to birdie the par-5 ninth, settling for a 67. That was enough to remind him he can still challenge the best.

"I'm not surprised," Stricker said. "I expect to play well."

So did Woods, even after his putting woes last week at Quail Hollow. Back on putting surfaces he knows, Woods made a number of key putts. Except for an 18-footer just off the green at No. 9 for eagle, however, most of them were for par. There was also a 10-footer to escape with bogey on the 18th hole after he hooked his iron off the tee into the water. Woods hit only five fairways.

Mickelson said he ran out of energy, which he feared coming into the week. He was hanging around until chopping up the 14th hole for a double bogey, and then adding a pair of doubles on the 16th and 17th with balls in the water.

The feature group in the morning wasn't much better. Thomas had a 73 and Spieth appeared headed for a fourth consecutive weekend off at The Players when he shot 75, which included an eagle when he drove the green on the par-4 12th. McIlroy topped his group but was tied for 55th overall.

"It could have been better. I could have been probably a little worse, as well. It was probably a fair reflection of how I played," McIlroy said. "It looked like it played easy out there, but our group didn't feel like that with what we shot."

Defending champion Si Woo Kim didn't seem to worry that no one has ever won back-to-back at the TPC Sawgrass. He was at 7 under in the morning until a pair of bogeys late in his round dropped him to a 67.

Fowler said the size of the crowd was "definitely up there," comparing it with majors or being in contention on Sunday.

"But I would say as far as a mass group actually following your group the whole way around, that's up there as one of the biggest," he said.

They just didn't see a lot of great golf.


Yates moves into overall lead of Giro, Chaves wins stage 6

Colombia's Esteban Chaves, left, celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Britain's Simon Yates to win the sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Caltanissetta to Mt. Etna, Thursday, May 10. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Etna, Sicily (AP) — Simon Yates took the overall lead of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday after the British rider finished second on stage six, just behind Mitchelton-Scott teammate Esteban Chaves on the summit of Mount Etna.

Yates overtook Chaves in the final meters but sat up on the approach to the finish line and told his teammate to cross first after the Colombian had spent the whole day in the breakaway.

Thibaut Pinot was third on the 164-kilometer (102-mile) route from Caltanissetta. The Groupama-FDJ rider led Chris Froome and most of the other favorites over the line, 26 seconds behind the leading duo.

"It was a crazy day with a lot of attacks going at the beginning. As Esteban was at the front with a pretty big group, it made me sit back. I could save some energy. It worked out perfectly," Yates said. "I felt good so I took my chance to ride across. Esteban had been out all day so he deserved the win. I said to him as soon as I caught him that he could take the stage because if I had enough time then I would take the jersey."

Chaves had been out front as part of a 28-man breakaway for most of the day and attacked on the final climb with five kilometers remaining, and swiftly built a significant advantage. Yates made his move with 1.5K remaining and surged into the lead before indicating to Chaves he should take the win. The duo hugged each other in celebration immediately after crossing the line.

"It's unbelievable," Chaves said. "This is the best start for the Giro d'Italia. I knew we had to be up front, we had a very hard stage to Etna. I made the break with Jack (Haig), and I want to say thank you to Jack, he pulled a lot in the breakaway. In the finale I rode with Yates, I was first and he claimed the 'maglia rosa' (pink jersey). How unbelievable is that? I'm also in the king of the mountains jersey, it's like a dream. Now we go to the mainland, we're super excited, and we will keep on dreaming."

It is a second stage win in the Giro for Chaves (after his success in 2016) — a remarkable achievement for the 28-year-old who was told he might never cycle again after a serious crash in 2013. Chaves couldn't move his right arm for six months and had a number of operations on injuries which included fractures to his skull, collarbone, cheekbone and ribs and a punctured lung.

Yates, who won the young rider classification at last year's Tour de France, replaces Rohan Dennis in the leader's pink jersey and has a 16-second advantage over defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

Chaves is third overall, 26 seconds behind the 25-year-old Yates.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome is 1 minute, 10 seconds behind, in eighth place.

The Giro heads to the Italian mainland for Friday's seventh stage — a flat 159K (99-mile) route from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.

The race ends in Rome on May 27.


Nadal breaks McEnroe's mark of straight sets won on surface

Rafael Nadal from Spain celebrates his victory over Diego Schwartzman from Argentina during the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, May 10. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Madrid (AP) — Rafael Nadal broke John McEnroe's record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface by beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday.

Nadal extended his winning streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay, eclipsing the mark McEnroe established on carpet in 1984.

"When my career is over, these are things that are going to be there for always. It's difficult to be able to win 50 sets in a row," Nadal said. "Well, it's done. It's over. Let's not talk about that any more and let's continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about."

The world No. 1's focus is trained on his next match against Dominic Thiem, a rematch of last year's final. Thiem, who outlasted Borna Coric 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, is the last player to beat Nadal on clay at Rome last year.

"On this surface, (Thiem) is one of the most dangerous players you can face," Nadal said. "Tomorrow is a key match in the tournament."

While Nadal marched on, the top women's players continued to struggle in the Spanish capital after top-ranked Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova both lost in the quarterfinals.

Also on the men's side, second-seeded Alexander Zverev brushed aside Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-2 and will meet John Isner after he edged Pablo Cuevas in a hard-fought match that needed tiebreakers to decide all three sets.

Isner prevailed 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in 2 hours, 21 minutes.

The top-ranked Nadal, who improved to 18-1 overall on the season, has won 38 of his last 39 matches on his favored clay.

Nadal went up a break at 4-2 in the first set after back-to-back errors by Schwartzman, including a missed smash.

Nadal then struck a forehand winner on the run to break Schwartzman again in the second set. Schwartzman broke back, but two straight double-faults gave Nadal a third break en route to the win.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is seeking his sixth title in Madrid after taking his trophy hauls at Monte Carlo and Barcelona to 11 apiece.

Also, Dusan Lajovic fought back from 0-4 in the decisive tiebreaker to stun fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) for his first career win against a top-10 ranked player.

Lajovic moved on to meet sixth-seeded Kevin Anderson, who eliminated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (7).

Kyle Edmund continued his excellent run by ousting eighth-seeded David Goffin 6-4, 6-4. Edmund, an unseeded Brit, defeated former No. 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Wednesday.

Edmund will face 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, after he bettered Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4 in an all-Canadian clash.

Halep lost to Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3, ending her bid to become a three-time consecutive champion in Madrid.

Pliskova gave the Romanian no chance, breaking her serve four times and hitting 20 winners.

"I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life," the sixth-seeded Pliskova said. "I feel amazing since in the last six matches I lost to her."

Halep got off to a positive start by breaking Pliskova for a 2-0 lead, only for the Czech to take the break right back to swing the match in her favor.

"I missed in some important moments," Halep said. "That's why it went her way."

Pliskova is now the highest seeded player left in the women's tournament after both No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and third-seeded Garbine Muguruza lost Wednesday.

She will play 10th-seeded Petra Kvitova in the semifinals after she defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-0.

Kiki Bertens came from behind to beat Sharapova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. She will play seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia after she dispatched with Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3.


Man United clinch 2nd place in PL with 0-0 draw at West Ham

West Ham and Manchester United players engage in a scuffle during their English Premier League match at the London Stadium in London, Thursday, May 10. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

London (AP) — Manchester United clinched second place in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw at West Ham on Thursday.

In a dull game with few quality chances, United defender Luke Shaw came closest to scoring when he had a shot turned onto the post in the first half.

The point means United are ensured of finishing second behind runaway champions Manchester City, while David Moyes' West Ham remained in 15th place — but just two points from 10th with one game remaining.

United manager Jose Mourinho reacted to Friday's 1-0 loss at Brighton by making eight changes, introducing a back three and utilizing fit-again Alexis Sanchez as his main striker.

West Ham's Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria international could only head over from six yards after Chris Smalling made a mess of clearing Aaron Cresswell's cross.

Jesse Lingard forced West Ham goalkeeper Adrian into his first save as the visitors started to take control of the contest, with Sanchez drawing another stop before the Spanish keeper turned Shaw's follow-up strike onto the post.

It was the closest either side came to scoring, although the match flared up toward the end after Paul Pogba's foul on West Ham skipper Mark Noble led to a fracas. Both players grabbed hold of one another but it was Noble who was arguably the luckier of the pair to only be booked following his angry reaction.

The away supporters in attendance paid near-constant tributes to former manager Alex Ferguson, the 76-year-old now out of intensive care having had an operation on a brain hemorrhage over the weekend..


 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Sweden beats Switzerland to retain world ice hockey title

Marquez wins French MotoGP to extend world championship lead

Yates wins 15th stage for 3rd win, extends Giro lead

With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open


Leishman sets 36-hole Nelson record, keeps Spieth 8 behind

Nadal and Djokovic to renew rivalry in Italian Open semis

Daredevils beat Chennai Super Kings ahead of playoffs

Viviani wins 13th stage for 3rd win, Yates keeps Giro lead


Kane leads US into semis, Canada knocks out Russia

Leishman shoots 61 in debut of new course at Byron Nelson

Nadal gains a measure of revenge against Shapovalov in Rome

Rockets rout Warriors 127-105 to tie series at 1-all


Celtics survive 42-point night by LeBron, down Cavs 107-94

Giro leader Yates gains time after winning 11th stage

Allardyce out as Everton manager after 7 months

Fognini fires up Italian Open crowd with win over Thiem

Haas succeeding but not expecting to win in F1 anytime soon


Finland tops US, Canada shuts out Germany at hockey worlds

Imam guides Pakistan to victory over test debutants Ireland

Shapovalov shoots up the rankings with win over Berdych

Giro leader Yates gains 3 seconds but his team struggles


Ireland fight back to set up possible win over Pakistan

Mercedes cautious despite a commanding victory in Spain

Canada beats Latvia in OT, Czechs edge Austria at ice hockey

Vinci sheds tears as she concludes career at Italian Open


Mercedes restores order at top with Hamilton's win in Spain

Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

Simpson completes a big win at Players Championship

Celtics take Game 1 of East finals, beating Cavaliers 108-83

Yates wins 9th stage to cement Giro lead, Froome loses time

Zverev beats Thiem to win Madrid Open


Simpson ties course record, takes 5-shot lead at Players

Mercedes sets the pace in practice for Spanish GP

Nadal loses to Thiem in Madrid, first loss on clay in 1 year

Moving up: Lomachenko fights Linares in search of 3rd title

Bennett wins 7th stage as Yates maintains Giro d'Italia lead


Dustin Johnson part of 6-way tie for lead at Players

Yates moves into overall lead of Giro, Chaves wins stage 6

Nadal breaks McEnroe's mark of straight sets won on surface

Man United clinch 2nd place in PL with 0-0 draw at West Ham

 



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