Update September 08 - 09, 2018
Cheika takes gamble on Beale, Toomua in Springboks test
Australia's Curtly Beale tries to tackle New Zealand's Damian
McKenzie in the Bledisloe Cup rugby test match at Eden Park in
Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday Aug. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/David
By The Associated Press
Brisbane, Australia (AP)
— Michael Cheika has taken one of the biggest selection gambles of
his coaching career ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship test
against South Africa in the hope of lifting Australia out of an
extended slump and avoiding a drop to its lowest-ever world ranking.
The Wallabies have lost six of
their last seven tests, including 38-13 and 40-12 defeats by New
Zealand in the first two matches of the Championship. A loss to the
Springboks would see Australia drop below South Africa and Scotland
to seventh place - its lowest spot since world rankings began in
Cheika has said he is not
preoccupied with the vigorous public debate over his future, though
he can hardly be oblivious to it. In that light, he has insisted the
selection gamble he has taken is not reactionary - a response to the
Wallabies heavy losses to the All Blacks and their backlash - but a
proactive way to "shake things up."
Still, Cheika's decision to
drop flyhalf Bernard Foley to the bench for the first time in his
51-test career and to start Kurtley Beale at flyhalf for the first
time since 2014 is more than just a whim of selection. It may be a
"I'm not looking to mix and
match for the sake of it," Cheika said. "It's a big test for us. I
think this is the best combination for us to go into this game.
"I thought Kurtley deserves an
opportunity back in the 10 jersey. He's had it before and I think
he's matured a lot as a player and person and I certainly trust him
to be in charge of the team there."
Cheika's purpose in dropping
Foley and entrusting the flyhalf role to the veteran utility player
isn't entirely clear. In naming Matt Toomua in Beale's place at
inside center, he gives himself the option of continuing the two
playmaker setup which has been a feature of his coaching style.
Whether he is right to have
confidence in Toomua, who has just returned to Australian rugby
after a long stint in England, will be decided on Saturday.
"Toomua has come back with a
lot of confidence and he likes the shape of the game and he fits
into it quite nicely," Cheika said. "I'd like to get on the front a
bit more in attack and throw out a bit of a challenge there and give
the opportunity to Toomua and Beal and then see how the other lads
Beale has a powerful kicking
game and poses a significantly bigger running threat than Foley at
first receiver, especially from phase play. That might bring a
challenge of unpredictability to the Springboks defense which was
far from perfect in its most recent 32-19 loss to Argentina.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi,
who swaps from the openside to the blindside flank on Saturday, said
Beale would be a major threat.
"Putting Kurtley Beale there,
obviously they want to attack," Kolisi said. "He's a very good
Australia had a major setback
Friday when veteran backrower David Pocock was forced to withdraw
with a neck injury. He was replaced by Pete Samu, who initially
missed selection in the 23-man squad.
Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus
also sprang selection surprises aftetr his team's loss to Argentina,
dropping influential hooker Malcolm Marx to the bench. But Kolisi
said those changes were planned at the start of the championship to
give as many players as possible test experience.
"There would be nothing better
than executing the coach's plan while winning," he said. "Obviously
people will look at it differently because of the loss (to
Argentina) but we knew three weeks ago of these changes."
Rugby Australia's board has
expressed full confidence in Cheika for now and said he will remain
in charge until his contract ends after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
But a further loss, particularly if selection errors contribute, and
a declining world ranking would likely increase pressure from fans
on the governing body to step in.
England seeks improvement after unlikely World Cup journey
England manager Gareth Southgate attends a training session at St
Georges' Park, Burton, England, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. The England
squad has gathered ahead of international matches against Spain and
Switzerland and it’s a chance for players to reminisce about their
journey to the World Cup semifinals in a summer when the English
fell back in love with their national soccer team. (David Davies/PA
By Steve Douglas, AP
For English soccer, the first
two-week international period of the new season often doubles as the
next phase of a post-mortem into the national team's failings at a
Not so much this time.
As the squad gathered at its
St. George's Park training base this week ahead of matches against
Spain and Switzerland, it was a chance for the players to reminisce
about their journey to the World Cup semifinals during a summer when
the English fell back in love with their vibrant team.
Yet, despite all the euphoria,
soccer didn't come home and the wait for a first international title
since 1966 goes on.
England will do well to address
the reasons behind the semifinal loss to Croatia, rather than bask
in its unlikely progress to the last four in Russia and its best
World Cup performance since 1990.
And the visit of Spain — with
its seemingly limitless supply of gifted and technical midfielders —
to Wembley Stadium on Sunday could serve as a stark reminder about
where England's main weakness lies at the start of the journey
toward the European Championship in 2020.
Jordan Henderson, the most
experienced member of England's midfield, watched a replay of the
Croatia game soon after returning home from the World Cup. He
couldn't help but notice a flaw that has affected England's midfield
for some time, even when the so-called "golden generation" of Steven
Gerrard, David Beckham and Frank Lampard were playing.
"One of the biggest things I
picked up is that we didn't keep the ball well enough in the second
half, especially when we were under pressure," Henderson said. "In
those situations, when you're under pressure, you have to keep the
How England could do with
someone like Luka Modric, who helped turn the match in Croatia's
favor that night in Moscow, or any of the Spain midfielders — Isco,
Thiago Alcantra and Saul Niguez among them — expected to line up at
Game management, especially
against top-quality rivals, has been England's undoing and the team
panicked under pressure against Croatia, at times hoofing the ball
long or taking on an opponent when a simple pass would have done.
The same happened in two matches against Belgium (one in the group
stage and the other in the third-place playoff) and also in the
latter stages of the last-16 match against Colombia, the other teams
with a strong, technical midfield that England faced at the World
England coach Gareth Southgate
must decide if the midfield of Henderson or Eric Dier along with two
attacking No. 8s — Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek
are the best options — gives his midfield enough security and
One player who would have added
more technical ability is Adam Lallana, but he was injured in
training this week and isn't available. Leicester midfielder James
Maddison has lots of potential, but he was selected in England's
Other issues facing Southgate:
Southgate largely kept faith
with the players who excelled at the World Cup but the international
retirements of Jamie Vardy and Ashley Young will have given him some
thinking to do.
Young was the left wing back in
Russia, and his place will be taken by either Danny Rose or Luke
Shaw. Fit again after two years of injury problems, Shaw has started
the season well at Manchester United and might get the nod.
Vardy was the main back-up to
striker Harry Kane and his departure leaves Southgate with Marcus
Rashford and Danny Welbeck, who rarely start for their clubs and
mostly feature out wide when they do, as his other options.
LACK OF PLAYING TIME
Another thing puncturing
optimism generated from the summer is the sight of Fabian Delph,
Loftus-Cheek and Rashford kicking their heels on the benches of
Premier League teams this season, and even Lingard and Henderson
having to battle to get playing time.
Phil Foden, the highly rated
midfielder who starred in England's World Cup-winning under-17 team,
was expected to get more action at Manchester City this season after
Kevin De Bruyne's injury but he has played only about 10 minutes in
City's first four games.
Southgate has bemoaned
England's small pool of available talent, saying English players
have played 30.4 percent of the 7,200 minutes in the Premier League
this season — down from 33 percent at the same time last season.
He also said the bridge from
the Premier League academies to the first team is getting tougher to
cross because of the number of foreign stars in the division and the
short-term thinking of some managers.
"If players are as good as any
young players around the world, then that opportunity needs to be
there," Southgate said. "If we are encouraging young players about
entering academies, we are selling them the dream and there's an
ethical element there, too."
Foles shows off catching skills, Eagles beat Falcons 18-12
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles catches a pass during the
second half of the team's NFL football game against the Atlanta
Falcons, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt
By Rob Maaddi, AP Pro
Philadelphia (AP) — Nick Foles
could end up playing a new position when Carson Wentz comes back if
he keeps this up.
Foles caught another pass in a
clutch spot to spark a sputtering offense that looked out of sync
and the defense picked up right where it left off last time it faced
After seeing their "world
champions" banner unveiled, the Philadelphia Eagles took the first
step toward trying to become the first team to repeat in 14 years by
stopping Matt Ryan to Julio Jones on the final play again in an
18-12 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.
Foles hardly looked like Super
Bowl MVP until coach Doug Pederson called his number in the third
quarter when the offense needed a spark. Foles caught a 15-yard pass
from Nelson Agholor to extend a drive that ended with Jay Ajayi
scoring the first of his two touchdown runs.
"It's great to have it at the
right time if you can catch a team (off guard)," Foles said.
"Everybody loves a good trick play."
Foles caught a 1-yard TD pass
from tight end Trey Burton in the first half of Philadelphia's 41-33
win over New England in the Super Bowl. Foles asked Pederson on the
sideline if he wanted "Philly Philly" but called the play "Philly
Special" in the huddle. This one was "Philly Philly" and Pederson
said he borrowed it from New England's playbook. Tom Brady dropped
"Offensively, we were sort of
misfiring a little bit," Pederson said. "Just were looking for a big
play, somebody to make a play. It felt like the right time."
If the Eagles need any help at
receiver once Wentz is cleared to play after knee surgery last
December, Foles is ready to go.
Well, not really.
A sloppy, mistake-filled game
that featured 26 penalties came down to Ryan throwing an incomplete
pass to Jones in the left corner of the end zone on the final play
from Philadelphia's 5.
Jones couldn't come down with
Ryan's pass from the 2 in the right corner of the end zone in
Atlanta's 15-10 loss in the divisional round in January.
"It was deja vu," said
cornerback Ronald Darby, who covered Jones on the last play this
time around instead of Jalen Mills. "Jones is one of the best but we
got the stop."
A weather delay pushed kickoff
back 45 minutes, forcing fans to wait a bit longer for the
championship ceremony. Wearing his gold Hall of Fame jacket, former
safety Brian Dawkins riled up the sellout crowd with owner Jeffrey
Lurie by his side and led a chorus of "Fly Eagles Fly."
It was the most excitement for
a while on a hot, muggy night that seemed more like an August
preseason game than a playoff rematch. Both teams looked rusty after
many starters didn't play much in preseason.
Here are some things we learned
from the game:
RED ZONE WOES: The Falcons were
1 for 5 in the red zone after struggling inside the opponents' 20
last year. Second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian spent
plenty of time in the offseason trying to improve the team's scoring
efficiency. Jones only had three TD catches last season. He had 10
receptions for 169 yards but didn't score.
"It's never discouraging,"
Jones said/ "We just got to keep working, stick together and make
plays and get things called down there."
Jay Ajayi had 62 yards rushing
on 15 carries. His 11-yard TD run and 2-point conversion gave the
Eagles a lead with 2:25 left. Ajayi ran in from the 1 on the drive
Foles made the catch.
"I knew I would have a good day
if I just stayed being myself and being the Jay Train," Ajayi said.
Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks
had 1½ sacks in his first game since rupturing his Achilles tendon
last October. Hicks also committed a penalty on fourth down that
allowed the Falcons to have one more play at the end but the defense
bailed him out.
"The ability to get back out
there and have fun and celebrate and have passion no matter the
play, it feels good," Hicks said.
Falcons safety Keanu Neal left
the game with a knee injury in the first half but coach Dan Quinn
said it doesn't appear serious. Long snapper Josh Harris had his
streak of 103 consecutive games played end because of a hip injury.
Wentz, who hasn't been
medically cleared for contact, threw passes and did other drills
while wearing a brace on his left knee during warmups.
Inspired by Superfly fights, Ioka mounts comeback at Forum
this May 8, 2013, file photo, Japanese champion Kazuto Ioka, right,
sends a right to Thai challenger Wisanu Kokietgym in the fourth
round of their WBA light flyweight boxing title match in Osaka,
western Japan. Ioka knocked out Wisanu in the ninth round to retain
his title. Ioka is ending his brief retirement to make his U.S.
debut against McWilliams Arroyo on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. He hopes
the bout will lead to a title shot in his fourth weight class.
(Kyodo News via AP, File)
By Greg Beacham, AP
Santa Monica, Calif. (AP)
— Kazuto Ioka bought tickets online and valet-parked at the Forum.
The recently retired three-division world champion was just another
spectator eating a hot dog in the stands last winter while some of
the world's best super flyweight boxers put on an outstanding show.
Ioka has spent his life in
boxing gyms, but had never really been to the fights as a fan. After
he experienced the crackling atmosphere at the Superfly 2 show in
Inglewood, the vacationing Japanese star suddenly realized he had to
fight again, preferably in this very ring.
"I had never seen the fighting
environment in America," Ioka said through a translator after a
workout this week at the Wild Card West gym. "I got that feeling
inside of me that I wanted to fight. All of the fighters who went in
there on that show, I was imagining myself fighting all of them. I
just wanted to be in there."
He'll be in there Saturday
night for Superfly 3.
Eight months after he hung up
his gloves, Ioka (22-1, 13 KOs) will fight outside Japan and at 115
pounds for the first time in his career. He is in an intriguing
matchup with Puerto Rico's McWilliams Arroyo — one of the fighters
Ioka watched from the stands in February.
Thanks to promoter Tom
Loeffler, Ioka even got his wish to fight in the latest chapter of
the Superfly fight series, which showcases the world's top talent in
the super flyweight division and thereabouts.
Another live-wire crowd filled
with LA's loud, knowledgeable boxing fans is guaranteed for a show
headlined by a 115-pound matchup between Mexican stars Juan
Francisco Estrada and Felipe Orucuta, along with a WBO super
flyweight title fight between the Philippines' Donnie Nietes and
The 29-year-old Ioka's comeback
bout is a similarly compelling spectacle. He might have been the
world's top 112-pounder last winter, and even though his
"retirement" only lasted about three months, his return is filled
with uncertainty about his sharpness and strength at a new weight.
Ioka insists he thought he was
done with fighting when he walked away. He had reached his goal of
surpassing the achievements of his uncle, two-division world champ
Hiroki Ioka, and he had allowed his training to lapse since his
marriage to Nana Tanimura, a Japanese pop star.
Ioka had hit a wall in his
career and his life, which largely had been spent training under his
father and manager, Kazunori Ioka.
"It's hard to put it in words,
but in Japan, there was nothing for me," Ioka said. "I had reached
my goals, so there was really nothing there."
That trip to Inglewood
rekindled the spark, and he got back in the gym shortly afterward.
His management company reached out to Loeffler, the promoter behind
both Gennady Golovkin's international rise and the Superfly shows,
to see if Ioka could fight at the Forum.
"I knew his name, but I had to
look him up," Loeffler said. "He had been champion for so long, but
only fought in Japan. I've become kind of an expert now in the super
flyweight ratings, finding out which guys can fight, or if he needs
a visa. It's very gratifying working with these (smaller) fighters,
because they look at me as an opportunity to provide them with a
platform, and I look at them as great guys, great fighters who will
put on a great show for the fans."
With his father's apparent
approval, Ioka left Japan to train in Las Vegas under Ismael Salas,
Hiroki Ioka's former trainer. Ioka wanted a fresh start, and he got
it in the desert.
After winning major belts at
strawweight, junior flyweight and flyweight, Ioka has decided he
would like to become Japan's first four-division world champion.
He'll be in prime position for a shot at the WBC super flyweight
title if he can get past Arroyo, an ex-Olympian and title contender
who returned from a 22-month layoff at Superfly 2 last February and
upset Mexico's Carlos Cuadras.
"It's a big challenge, but it
means a lot to me," Ioka said. "I want to keep going for all the
people that have supported me."
Update September 07, 2018
Real Madrid in draw for 7-team Club World Cup
Former Argentine footballer Esteban Cambiasso displays the name of
Real Madrid during the Official Draw for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE
2018 on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at the FIFA headquarters in
Zurich, Switzerland. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)
ZURICH (AP) — Real
Madrid will face either the champions of Asia or Mexican club
Guadalajara in the Club World Cup semifinals.
FIFA made the draw Tuesday for
the seven-team tournament, which will be played from Dec. 12-22 in
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Copa Libertadores champion
will represent South America in the semifinals against the African
champion or the winner of a preliminary-round game between Al Ain
and Oceania champion Team Wellington. Al Ain will enter as the host
nation's champion, joining the six continental champions.
FIFA wants to launch a 24-team
Club World Cup in 2021.
Russian clubs struggle to maintain World Cup momentum
this Tuesday, June 19, 2018 file photo, from left, Russia's
Alexander Golovin, Denis Cheryshev, Artyom Dzyuba, and Roman Zobnin
celebrate the first goal of the group A match between Russia and
Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in
St. Petersburg, Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)
By James Ellingworth, AP
Moscow (AP) — For
Russia's top clubs, it's almost as if the World Cup never happened.
The national team made an
incredible run to the World Cup quarterfinals, but Russia's clubs
have struggled to show any momentum in European competitions this
Spartak Moscow was knocked out
of the Champions League by Greek team PAOK Thessaloniki, while Zenit
St. Petersburg scraped past Belarusian and Norwegian teams in Europa
League qualifying. FC Ufa's Europa League debut ended last week in a
frustrating loss to a Rangers team playing with nine men.
The transfer window was quiet,
Gone are the days when Zenit
could spend more than 80 million euros ($92 million) in a single day
to sign Brazil striker Hulk and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel, as
it did in 2012. The billionaire, local governments and state-owned
companies which fund many leading clubs have tightened their
purse-strings after a drop in the ruble made foreign deals more
Some of the Russian league's
biggest names left this year as the star midfielder of Russia's
World Cup squad, Alexander Golovin, quit CSKA Moscow for Monaco,
Dutch forward Quincy Promes departed Spartak for Sevilla and Zenit
sold Italian defender Domenico Criscito to Genoa.
Transfer spending has been
modest, with the best-known arrivals being veterans trying to
rebuild their careers.
There's Abel Hernandez of CSKA
Moscow, who missed out on Uruguay's World Cup squad, plus Benedikt
Hoewedes, a World Cup winner with Germany in 2014 and now at
Lokomotiv Moscow, and Grzegorz Krychowiak, on loan at Lokomotiv
because he is surplus at Paris Saint-Germain.
"We lost a lot of top players
in the last years that went to other leagues and countries," said
Alexander Zotov, the CEO of Russia's main players' union. "I'm not
saying it deteriorated, but the level of football is not growing if
you take superstar players away. But if they keep the atmosphere
among the fans, you can see the games played in full capacity
stadiums, the game changes and they drive the energy to the players.
Really, it's another game."
Provincial teams in the second
division are attracting club-record attendances to their gleaming
World Cup stadiums, typically locals who couldn't make it to a World
Rotor Volgograd, Mordovia
Saransk and FC Nizhny Novgorod are all averaging more than 23,000
spectators at their first few games this season, in some cases five
or 10 times the typical crowd last year. In Kaliningrad and Sochi,
the picture is less rosy, with average crowds of 10,000 and 8,500,
The challenge now is to
maintain that World Cup buzz through the winter, and to pay for the
For Mordovia to attract fans in
one of Russia's poorer regions, it sells many tickets for as little
as 100 rubles ($1.50), though the stadium is estimated to cost
between 200 and 260 million rubles ($2.95 to $3.85 million) a year
Financial instability has long
been a feature of Russian soccer. That was underlined when FC Tosno,
last season's Russian Cup winner and one of the few smaller clubs in
private ownership, shut down a month later, citing severe financial
Zotov said players at Baltika
Kaliningrad, a second-division club now playing at a World Cup
stadium, have complained of unpaid wages and bonuses going back
Despite the World Cup, running
clubs "is not a priority" for the state companies and regional
governments who dominate soccer, he said.
"There are still enthusiasts
and people who work," Zotov said. "It's a matter of running the club
properly and not doing crazy things and not signing crazy
Regional officials have begged
the government for help paying for their arenas, but it seems
corners have already been cut on maintenance. The lights went out at
the new stadium in Samara last month because the company which built
it had allegedly failed to pay the electricity bill for several
A campaign group founded by
President Vladimir Putin has called for an inquiry into why an earth
embankment at the stadium in Volgograd collapsed into a road during
heavy rain on the day of the World Cup final, and why another
stadium's roof leaks.
Despite the clouds gathering
over parts of Russia's World Cup legacy, Zotov said it's a great
lesson for how to market the game.
"The World Cup is a tournament
that develops interest by itself because everybody has heard about
it. You get into the hype. It overwhelms everybody," he said. "If
you take the (Russian) Premier League, first division, you have to
work on developing this interest among potential customers or fans
that would come. They might be interested but they're not sure. You
have to develop a story around the players, the competition between
the teams, explain it, and make the stadiums also a fun place to
Pakistan drops all-rounders Hafeez and Wasim
Sarafraz Ahmed, center, captain of Pakistani cricket team briefs
players during the team practice session in Lahore, Pakistan,
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Ehsan Mani was officially elected unopposed
as the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday. Prime minister
Imran Khan, who is also patron of the PCB, nominated Mani as the
member of the Board of Governors last month after Najam Sethi
resigned as the PCB chairman. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
Islamabad (AP) —
Pakistan has dropped all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and the unfit Imad
Wasim for this month's Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Hafeez was part of Pakistan's
squad which whitewashed Zimbabwe 5-0 in its last ODI series but
didn't feature in any of the playing elevens.
All-rounder Wasim, who is also
a left-arm spinner, has not played in any of the three formats since
injuring his knee last year. He failed a fitness test and despite
given one more opportunity couldn't pass the test on Tuesday just
before the squad for the Asia Cup was announced.
The selectors have included two
uncapped players - opening batsman Shan Masood and 18-year-old fast
bowler Shaheen Afridi - in the 16-member squad.
Masood, who has played 12 test
matches, has impressed the selectors in the recent domestic
competition, scoring three centuries and five half centuries.
The squad is loaded with six
fast bowlers with experienced Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali leading a
group that also includes Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan and
In the absence of Hafeez,
Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Sohail could shoulder the spin
responsibilities with Shadab Khan and experienced Shoaib Malik.
Pakistan will play against a
qualifier in its opening Asia Cup match on Sept. 16 before taking on
arch-rivals India in the group game on Sept. 19.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed
(captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam,
Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf,
Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan,
Tim Weah can't escape famous name on back of PSG & US jersey
this Aug. 17, 2018, file photo, Paris Saint-Germain's Timothy Weah,
center, runs with teammates during a training session at the club's
training center in Saint Germain en Laye, France. Weah, the
18-year-old son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current
Liberia President George Weah, says he turned down a possible loan
to remain and learn this season at Paris Saint-Germain, where he
just scored his first Ligue 1 goal. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
By Ronald Blum, AP Sports
Whippany, N.J. (AP) —
Tim Weah knows he can't escape the name on the back on his jersey.
The 18-year-old midfielder is
the son of George Weah, the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and current
president of Liberia.
"I use that to my advantage,"
Tim Weah said at training with the U.S. national team this week
ahead of Friday's exhibition against Brazil. "With whatever I do,
there's always going to be hate, there's always going to be people
who are going to say, 'He's not as good as his dad.'"
Weah made his U.S. debut in
March, just weeks after making his first senior appearance for Paris
Saint-Germain, one of his dad's former teams. Tim Weah in May became
the fourth-youngest American to score, got his first competitive
goal for PSG in the French Cup last month, and then scored his first
Ligue 1 goal in the season opener against Caen.
His hair newly trimmed, Weah
reported to camp as the youngest on the 25-man roster, already
viewed as a possible part of a new-look U.S. national team for 2022
World Cup qualifying. He's trying to join a forming core that
includes midfielders Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams (both 19),
midfielder Weston McKennie and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers (both
20) and defender Matt Miazga (23).
"You still have the next step.
You can't jump three places," cautioned interim U.S. coach Dave
Sarachan. "I think Tim's certainly coming in with confidence, and he
now knows me, my staff, this team, what's expected. But he's still
very young, and so we can't expect him to be a seasoned guy today."
Weah is with a PSG team coming
off its fifth league title in six seasons, on a roster that includes
stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. He
had the chance to accept a loan for the 2018-19 season but stayed at
PSG under new coach Thomas Tuchel, who in early 2016 gave Pulisic
his debut with Borussia Dortmund's senior team.
"Watching Dortmund, seeing
Christian play so many games at his age, really made me believe in
his coaching tactics and techniques," Weah said. "He's really
pushing us young guys to make our mark and get out there and do our
thing, and that's what makes him happy the most. And I love him as a
coach and I love him as a person. He's just really pushed me to be a
better player, and I can't wait to see where the season takes us."
Weah is the rare player who
would rather learn in training than seek increased playing time
"I don't really want to rush
anything. I'm only 18 — I'm still 18 and I have a long way to go,
and right now is just me being an apprentice," he said. "Maybe next
year, who knows, I'll take my talents on loan somewhere else and see
what that really does for me, but right now I'm content with what I
have and I'm content at PSG."
George Weah endorses that
"He tells me, 'Just wait your
turn,'" Tim Weah said. "You're playing with stars. It's not going to
Weah's first league goal was
the result of unusual drudgery. With PSG ahead by two goals in the
89th minute, he chased down a back pass to defender Alexander Djiku,
who played the ball back to goalkeeper Brice Samba. Weah kept
tracking back and when Samba took a touch and failed to clear the
ball, Weah pounced and kicked the ball in with his left foot from 2
yards before the keeper could get a second touch.
"I stayed persistent," Weah
said. "I ran after the goalkeeper. And I think that's the thing that
we've got to look at, is me not giving up on the play. And I feel
like hard work really does pay off, as that goal shows."
Born in Brooklyn at a time his
dad commuted from Europe to New York between games, Weah grew up in
the New York area and Florida, then moved to France to join PSG's
academy at age 14. He believes he is part of the group that can
reboot the U.S. team, which failed to qualify for the World Cup
after seven straight appearances.
"We can only go forward. We're
still young, super young," Weah said. "We have something big here,
and it's just developing in the right way, us getting used to each
other and gaining maturity and I think that's the most important
thing. And once we have that, we'll beat any team and I feel we can
even do that now. But it's just a matter of time before things start
clicking together and we start getting the job done."
Update September 06, 2018
Wheelchair competition gets going at US Open
Kgothatso "KG" Montjane returns a shot during a
practice session for the wheelchair competition at the U.S. Open
tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in New York. (AP
Kgothatso "KG" Montjane maneuvers her wheelchair
during a practice session for the wheelchair competition at the U.S.
Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in New York. (AP
David Wagner returns a shot during a practice
session for the wheelchair competition at the U.S. Open tennis
tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron
Eaton-Robb, AP Sports Writer
New York (AP)
— David Wagner is attempting to win his fourth U.S. Open singles
title and his ninth in doubles.
The United States' most
decorated wheelchair player begins his run Thursday in the U.S. Open
Wheelchair Competition, part of a field of 20, that also includes
Kgothatso "KG" Montjane, who this year became the first black South
African woman, wheelchair or not, to play at Wimbledon.
Wheelchair tennis has been
around for more than four decades with 120 professional events in 80
countries, but only recently become a mainstay all four Grand Slams.
It has been played at the
U.S. Open since 2005, but did not have a match in Arthur Ashe
Stadium until last year. It will have two more played there this
"The Grand Slams
incorporating wheelchair tennis has brought a new sense of notoriety
and professionalism to our sport," said Jason Harnett, the USTA's
national manager for wheelchair tennis.
"The fact that we're engaged
here has made it much more popular with the able-bodied population,
because now they have access to our elite athletes."
It has also led to some new
milestones for the sport. Australian Dylan Alcott beat Wagner in
January in an Australian Open final that was played for the first
time inside Rod Laver Arena and in front of a national TV audience.
"Those are some huge
strides," said the 44-year-old Wagner, who has been playing
competitively since 1999.
This week's competition will
include men's and women's singles and doubles, as well as quad
singles and doubles, which involves players who have substantial
loss of function in at least one upper limb.
Wagner plays in the quad
division. He was a community college tennis player before an
accident at the beach when he was 21. He was jumping for a Frisbee
when he was flipped by a wave and landed on his head.
He understands that the
first thing fans see during a wheelchair match is the chair. They
also notice that athletes can play the ball on the second bounce,
which is the only rules difference between wheelchair and
It's OK to notice the
wheelchair, as long as that's not all fans see, said 27-year-old
American Dana Mathewson, who lost her ability to walk when she was
10 years old because of a rare neurological disease.
What they can expect from a
match, she said, is elite players whizzing around the court, flying
into the net and getting to shots that seem impossible to make.
"We are athletes, one and
the same as everybody else here," she said. "We work just as hard.
We prepare just as well. It's just that we do things a little bit
differently. But we are athletes, and that's what we want people to
The players say it is hard
for many of them to make a living solely by playing wheelchair
tennis. The wheelchair athletes here are competing for $350,000 in
total prize money, and the singles winners ($31,200 for men and
women, $23,400 for the quad) will take home less than a first-round
loser receives ($54,000) in the main singles draw, said Wagner.
The players said the next
big step for the sport will be to increase the size of the draws at
major tournaments, so the money is spread among more players and
fans aren't seeing the same 20 athletes over and over.
But Montjane, who was born
with a congenital condition that affected the growth of her limbs,
said she and most wheelchair athletes aren't playing just for the
"I am a woman who came from
a disadvantaged background and grew up with a disability," she said.
"For me, it's about giving hope and sharing with others that we live
in the world of possibilities. You're disability doesn't define your
Germany looking for fresh start after disastrous World Cup
Joachim Loew, head coach of the men's German
national soccer team, addresses the media during a press conference
in Munich Germany, Sept. 5, 2018. Germany will face the team of
France for a UEFA Nations Cup match in Munich on Thursday, Sept. 6,
2018. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)
Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press
— Expect a complete transformation despite the same personnel when
Germany plays World Cup champion France on Thursday.
coach Joachim Loew is still in charge, Reinhardt Grindel is still
the head of the country's soccer association, and there are only
three new players in a squad under pressure to produce results, and
"It's up to
the team to light the spark and get excitement going again," Loew
said Wednesday. "Then the fans will get back on our side."
shadow over the team that won the 2014 World Cup is Mesut Ozil, who
retired from international soccer amid accusations of racism. The
Arsenal midfielder felt he was made a scapegoat for Germany's
first-round exit at the World Cup in Russia after being subjected to
abuse over his pre-tournament photo with Turkish President Recep
particularly scathing of Grindel for adding fuel to the fire - the
federation president acknowledged he handled the affair badly by
calling on "answers" from the player - and Loew remains bitter that
his efforts to get in touch with Ozil failed.
player tenders his resignation like that, then you don't bring him
back eight to 10 weeks later," Loew said.
under tremendous pressure to show his decision to stay is the right
one, while Grindel and the federation are under pressure after
leaving the decision in his hands. The only post-World Cup
managerial change was to put assistant coach Thomas Schneider in
charge of the scouting department.
23-man World Cup squad, Loew has called up 17 for the initial UEFA
Nations League game against France in Munich and the friendly
against Peru in Sinsheim three days later.
new call-ups - Nico Schulz of Hoffenheim, Kai Havertz of Bayer
Leverkusen and Thilo Kehrer of Paris Saint-Germain - maintain Loew's
long-established tendency to introduce new players after major
33-year-old Mario Gomez has retired, while Sami Khedira, Sebastian
Rudy, Kevin Trapp and the injured Marvin Plattenhardt were all
dropped - albeit with good chances of forcing their way back into
The likes of
2014 champions Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Thomas
Mueller remain the cornerstones of the team, despite their inability
to lead Germany into the knockout round in Russia after losses to
Mexico and South Korea.
wrong if you think the only way up is with young players," said
Loew, who wants a reaction from his established players. "I expect
them to get the cart going again."
City winger Leroy Sane has been recalled and will be motivated to
show his World Cup omission was a mistake.
assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2006 World Cup before he took
the top position, indicated there would be some tactical changes
against France but not a major change in the team's philosophy.
be complete nonsense," said Loew, who highlighted defensive work as
a priority. "We have to regain the conviction of defending our own
goal come hell or high water."
'Throw-in nerd' challenges perceptions at Liverpool
this Saturday, April 8, 2017 file photo, Liverpool manager Juergen
Klopp applauds fans after Liverpool beat Stoke 2-1 in the English
Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Chelsea at the
Britannia Stadium, Stoke on Trent, England. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira,
STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer
manager Juergen Klopp is covering every base in his bid to win the
team's first English league title since 1990.
offseason when Liverpool spent $200 million — more than any other
Premier League club — to strengthen the playing squad, Klopp also
made an intriguing signing in his technical staff: The first
throw-in coach in English soccer.
Gronnemark, who has represented Denmark in both bobsled and track
and field, has had a long-held fascination with one of soccer's more
glossed-over tasks ever since he watched his two cousins, Bent and
Johnny, launch balls onto the field as a kid growing up in northern
Denmark. He even holds the official world record for the longest
ever throw-in, at 51.33 meters (about 56 yards) in 2010.
coaches it to some of the world's top players.
"I know it's
the weirdest job in the world," Gronnemark, a self-confessed
"throw-in nerd," told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
also increasingly vital, he said, in a sport that he believes is
playing catch-up when it comes to analytics and marginal gains
compared to American football, basketball, hockey and track.
there are 40 to 50 throw-ins per game and Gronnemark has calculated
that teams end up losing the ball on more than 50 percent of the
occasions their players receive throw-ins under pressure. He watches
matches on TV with his son, and gets frustrated when he sees the
mistakes being made at these restarts.
totally passionate about throw-ins," Gronnemark said. "I think about
throw-ins every day."
persuaded to hire Gronnemark on a freelance basis after inviting him
to Liverpool's training base. Gronnemark, who was already employed
by Danish club FC Midtjylland and an unnamed top-flight German team,
spent time with the Liverpool squad on a preseason camp in France
and now works with the players, particularly the fullbacks, a few
times per month.
"When I met
him, it was 100 percent clear I wanted to employ him," Klopp said.
"You cannot have enough specialists around you ... We have the
fitness, medical department, we have the nutrition, and now we have
somebody for throw-ins."
has played four league games so far, winning all of them , and both
Klopp and Gronnemark said they are happy with how the players have
responded to the throw-in work on the training ground.
funny thing, to be a throw-in coach," Gronnemark said. "Some people
are really curious. Some people say, 'What is this?' And some laugh
a little, but that's OK for me.
the players have been receiving it totally cool, been positive, and
been giving it their best."
wouldn't go into the specifics of his work at Liverpool but he is
open about his general philosophy in an area he describes as being
"neglected and under-rated."
He works on
three types of throw-in: Long, fast and clever.
throws can be into the opposition penalty area — making it a virtual
set-piece situation — and down the line to give more options to the
player, usually a fullback, who takes it. Fast throw-ins create
counterattacking situations, particularly useful for a team like
Liverpool which has quick forwards like Mohamed Salah and Sadio
Mane, while clever throw-ins help a team keep possession better and
avoid putting players under pressure at restarts.
decision to hire Gronnemark was met with ridicule in some quarters.
In comments widely shared on social media , BeIN Sports pundit Andy
Gray, a former Everton, Aston Villa and Scotland striker, said
mockingly: "I'm giving you a lesson: Pick the ball up with both
hands, take it behind your head, throw it in, keeping both feet on
going to some clubs later this month," Gray added, "to teach them
how to kick off."
said there would always be people who are "critical, skeptical,
laughing at you, making fun of you," but pointed to the achievements
he has had at his clubs.
at FC Midtjylland, Mads Dohr Thychosen, improved the length of his
throw-in from 22.25 to 34.50 meters. From one of his long throw-ins,
the team scored a goal that helped it become Danish champion last
"It can be a
great success even if there are no goals from the throw or even if
you aren't taking a long throw," Gronnemark said. "Some clubs are
using my knowledge in one way, some in another way. It's important
to just fit into a club's playing style."
James says he 'stands with Nike' in reference to Kaepernick
In this Monday, July 30, 2018, file photo, LeBron
James speaks at the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in
Akron, Ohio. James says he "stands with Nike," a clear reference to
the company's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign. The basketball
superstar- and new Los Angeles Laker - made the remarks as he
received an award Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, for his style and his
philanthropy from the Harlem Fashion Row. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)
Jocelyn Noveck, AP National Writer
(AP) — Clutching his young daughter in
his arms, LeBron James said on Tuesday that he "stands with Nike," a
clear reference to the company's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign.
basketball superstar — and new Los Angeles Laker — made the remarks
as he received an award for both his style and his philanthropy,
from Harlem's Fashion Row. The fashion collective partnered with
Nike for the New York event, both a fashion show and an awards
ceremony which focused on diversity in the fashion world. The
evening culminated in the reveal of the latest LeBron James Nike
basketball shoe: a women's sneaker designed by three female
African-American designers and inspired by strong African-American
remarks, James paid tribute to the three women in his life — his
mother, wife and 3-year-old daughter, Zhuri.
He noted how
his mother had raised him alone, and given him "a sense of pride, a
sense of strength, a sense of no worry."
you, Gloria James, I'm able to be in a position today where I can
give back and showcase why I believe African-American women are the
most powerful women in the world."
star, who was wearing one of his favored shrunken-fit shorts suits
by designer Thom Browne, called his daughter "my rock."
always told me if you ever have a girl, she'll change you," said
James, who also has two sons. "I was like, nobody's changing me, I'm
a man." But she did, he said.
did she change me, she's made me a better person," James said. "A
more dedicated person, a stronger person, I guess a more sensitive
remarks, he said he stood "for anybody who believes in change." He
added: "I stand with Nike, all day, every day."
the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, unveiled his first ad of
the new campaign Monday. "Believe in something, even if it means
sacrificing everything," it said.
endorsement deal has sparked vigorous debate, with some fans
expressing displeasure over the apparel giant's support of a player
known for starting a wave of protests among NFL players against
police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.
fans were even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on
their gear — and posting the results on social media.
Kaepernick and his Nike campaign, which marks the 30th anniversary
of Nike's "Just Do It," received plenty of support from the fashion
world in attendance Tuesday.
Hardison, an activist for diversity in fashion and a former
supermodel who was also honored by Harlem's Row, said she was happy
with Nike's move. "It's such a divided situation in our world right
now," she said of the negative reaction by some fans. "But I'm such
a huge, huge, wholehearted supporter of Colin that I'm very proud
that someone understands what he's done and (is giving) him some
African-American designer Tracy Reese said she loved the new Nike
tastefully done," she said. "And really, this is the time to stand
up for what you believe in. Colin Kaepernick has done that and I
think that we need to follow his example and really go where the
heart leads, instead of where everybody expects you to go."
at the ceremony were Harlem streetwear designer Dapper Dan and
stylist Jason Rembert. A fashion show highlighted the work of
designers Kimberly Goldson, Undra Duncan and Fe Noel, who together
helped create the new shoe.
Former world half marathon champion Paul Koech dies at 49
In this Saturday, April 26, 1997 file photo,
Sally Barsosio and Paul Koech, right, both from Kenya, celebrate
winning the Trevira Twosome 10K run in New York's Central Park.
Former world half marathon champion Paul Koech of Kenya died on on
Monday Sept. 3, 2018, but no cause of death was given. He was 49.
(AP Photo/Gino Domenico, File)
Kenya (AP) — Paul Koech, a former
world half marathon champion and long-time teammate of Kenyan great
Paul Tergat, has died. He was 49.
track and field federation said Wednesday that Koech died Monday
after a short illness. The federation did not release any more
"Paul was a
great track, cross-country and road-racing athlete," Athletics Kenya
the world half marathon championship in Zurich in 1998. At the 1996
Atlanta Olympics, he finished sixth in the 10,000 meters and the
following year was fourth at the world championships. Tergat won
silver in both of those races.
Koech ran the third-fastest 10,000 in history, finishing second
behind Tergat as his friend broke the world record in the event.
said it was "deeply saddened" to hear of Koech's death.
Koech was a
major in the Kenyan armed forces and a member of the Athletics Kenya
executive committee at the time of his death.
head of the Kenyan Olympic committee, said Koech was highly
patriotic and hard working.
belief he is no longer with us," Tergat said. "This was a very good
friend of mine and not only did we represent the country together
but he believed entirely in national duty.
someone who was a refined officer. He was firm, never believed in
any short cuts ... this is very painful."
Koech was a
three-time Kenyan cross-country champion, an impressive feat in a
highly competitive running nation. He often got the better of Tergat
at national championships but he never managed to win the coveted
world cross-country title. He did win individual silver behind
Tergat and the team gold with Kenya at the cross-country worlds in
1998, his best season.
racer but a truly humble and gracious person who always had time for
a chat at a race," former Australian distance runner Lee Troop wrote
Update September 05, 2018
Pushing endurance beyond limits at Ultra Trail Mont Blanc
A competitor approaches some goats as he competes
in the 170km Ultra-Trail of Mont-Blanc (UTMB) race, near Chamonix,
French Alps, Sunday, Sept 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
France (AP) — Since its maiden edition
was held in rain, cold and hail back in 2003, the Ultra Trail Mont
Blanc has gained legendary status in the runners' community.
Set up in a
breathtaking setting in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, the
170-kilometer race with a total vertical gain of 10,000 meters — a
height greater than Mount Everest — is regarded by many as the
world's most difficult ultra-endurance event. Just finishing it is
considered a victory by the legion of amateurs competing alongside
the elite runners.
manages the emotions of experiencing one of the most incredible
adventures of their lives and, at the same time, the fear of knowing
if they will be capable of getting to the end," three-time winner
Kilian Jornet wrote in his book "Run or Die."
finishing in Chamonix, the annual high-altitude race takes a pack of
about 2,300 runners through three different countries (France, Italy
and Switzerland) and across rivers and glaciers. Last weekend, the
weather was so cold and windy that runners had to deal with
temperatures that felt like minus-10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees F).
winner in the men's event was Xavier Thevenard, a Frenchman who
covered the distance in 20 hours, 44 minutes, 16 seconds. The last
finisher crossed the finish line more than 26 hours later.
IndyCar to debut in Austin, return to Laguna Seca in 2019
drives during the IndyCar auto race Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in
Portland, Ore. Sato won the race. (Ben Ludeman/The Oregonian via
— IndyCar will make its debut at Circuit of the Americas in
Texas and return to Laguna Seca, California, as part of its 2019
schedule released Tuesday drops Phoenix and Sonoma, California from
track in Austin replaces Phoenix in March as the second race on the
schedule. The road course opened in 2011, hosts a Formula One race
and, at 4.048 miles, becomes the second-longest circuit on IndyCar's
hosted 22 open-wheel races until 2004. The road course near Monterey
was last the site for an Indy car season finale in 1996. It replaces
Sonoma as the IndyCar season finale next season.
Record-breaking Cook to end England cricket career
England's Alastair Cook plays a shot off the
bowling o India's Ishant Sharma fduring play on the third day of the
4th cricket test match between England and India at the Ageas Bowl
in Southampton, England, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. England and India
are playing a 5 test series. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Steve Douglas, AP Sports Writer
batsman Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after
this week's test against India, saying Monday there is "nothing left
in the tank" after 12 record-breaking years in the team.
and gritty left-handed opener, Cook is leaving the international
game holding a slew of national records in tests: most runs
(12,254), most appearances (160), most centuries (32) and most tests
at captain (59). He played in 158 straight tests — a world record —
and captained England from 2012-17, during which the team won
back-to-back home Ashes series and a first series victory in India
in 27 years.
of not sharing the dressing room again with some of my teammates was
the hardest part of my decision," the 33-year-old Cook said, "but I
know the timing is right."
endured a lean summer at the top of the order for England, averaging
only 15.57 in seven innings against India. But he stands sixth in
the all-time list of leading test run-scorers, just above West
Indies great Brian Lara, and needs 147 at The Oval to move past Sri
Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara in fifth place.
probably not the most naturally gifted cricketer," former England
captain Alec Stewart said, "there will be others with far more
natural talent that haven't got the mental strength.
combination of what Cook has, both talent and mental strength, has
meant he's played for a very long time and has broken every single
will play next summer for English county Essex, made his test debut
in March 2006 as a late replacement for Michael Vaughan and made an
unbeaten 104 in the second innings. He missed the third test of that
series because of illness but hasn't missed one since.
He will be
remembered, among other things, for the graceful way he often tucked
the ball off his hips for a single. He had a rare ability to bat for
long periods — he has five double-centuries in tests — without
losing focus and concentration whatever the conditions. And he
almost always pulled out a big score when it was most needed, for
the team and also for himself to get over dips in form.
surpassed his own mentor, Graham Gooch, when he exceeded 8,900 test
runs three years ago and that meant so much. As a 7-year-old, Cook
lined up to get Gooch's autograph outside Essex's ground and they
went on to become close friends.
my sounding board, especially in the early years of my career,
spending hour after hour throwing balls at me with his dog stick,"
Cook said. "He made me realize you always need to keep improving,
whatever you are trying to achieve."
faces the tough task of finding a replacement at the top of the
batting order, with Cook having had 12 opening partners since Andrew
Strauss' retirement in 2012.
selfless dedication to the England cause and his desire to succeed
are an object lesson to any professional cricketer," ECB chairman
Colin Graves said. "He fully deserves to be remembered as one of
England's greatest ever cricketers."
Good for business? Nike gets political with Kaepernick ad
This image taken from
the Twitter account of the former National Football League player
Colin Kaepernick shows a Nike advertisement featuring him that was
posted Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Twitter via AP)
By Mae Anderson, AP Business Writer
New York (AP)
— Why do it?
touched off a furor by wading into football's national anthem debate
with an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback
who was the first athlete to kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner"
to protest police brutality against blacks and hasn't played a game
The ad copy
reads: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing
The ad, part
of Nike's 30th anniversary "Just Do it" campaign, has outraged many.
Online, people threatened boycotts and posted videos and photos of
shoes set on fire, Nike gear thrown in the trash, and swoosh logos
cut out of products.
corporations steer clear of politics, and marketing experts
disagreed Tuesday over whether the Kaepernick campaign is good
noted approvingly that it made a big splash and set Nike apart. And
they said it could solidify Nike's bond with athletes, especially
black ones, an important consideration for a company that relies
heavily on sports stars to endorse its products.
Gordon, CEO of Engine Shop, a sports and entertainment marketing
agency, said the ad is provocative but "authentic to who they are
and the communities they represent and speak to," including the
"Even in the
face of potential backlash, they support their athlete partners, and
that's an incredibly powerful statement to the athlete community,"
athletes in the campaign include tennis star Serena Williams, New
York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Shaquem Griffin, a
linebacker whose left hand was amputated when he was 4. But the
Kaepernick ad struck a nerve, timed just before the NFL season kicks
off on Thursday.
Nike did not
return a request for comment about its strategy. Its stock closed
down more than 3 percent Tuesday.
Saunders, managing director of the data and analytics firm
GlobalData, called the Kaepernick strategy "commercially imprudent."
campaign will generate both attention and discussion which is,
arguably, one of its central aims," he said. "However, it is also a
risky strategy in that it addresses, and appears to take sides on, a
highly politicized issue. This means it could ultimately alienate
and lose customers, which is not the purpose of a marketing
experts think the strength of Nike's brand will help it weather the
storm and perhaps benefit from it, too. Nike is one of the world's
largest sports apparel companies, with $34.5 billion in revenue last
stand for is almost as important as what you make," said Allen
Adamson, co-founder of marketing firm Metaforce. "It's a polarized
marketplace. No matter what you do, you offend some people. They're
focused on what they stand for, and if that upsets some users, so be
Passikoff, founder of marketing consultancy Brand Keys, said an ad
like Nike's will divide people, but the outrage won't last.
"My guess is
that the audience that is reacting so badly to this aren't buying a
lot of Nikes anyway," he said. "They'll move on to the next thing.
Welcome to the 21st century."
in Beaverton, Oregon, has made waves before. An ad for the company's
sport hijab went viral in 2017. And a 2010 commercial featuring a
voiceover by Tiger Woods' late father when the golfer was trying to
recover from a sex scandal drew mixed reviews.
Nike made news when the French Open banned Williams' Nike-branded
black catsuit. Nike responded by posting an image of her on social
media with the line "You can take the superhero out of her costume,
but you can never take away her superpowers."
the risk of a backlash in taking a political stand in their
was mocked in 2015 for trying to start a discussion about race by
writing the slogan "Race Together" on its cups. Pepsi ended up
pulling a commercial that showed Kendall Jenner giving a Pepsi to a
police officer; some said the ad trivialized the "Black Lives
Sweeney, sports communication professor at the University of North
Carolina, said the Kaepernick ad was created to provoke people, and
in that respect, it succeeded.
have a negative reaction or a positive reaction, but you have a
reaction," he said. "They wanted something that would stop the
presses and stop people in their places."
the ad has made them bigger fans of the brand.
what Nike did was a tremendous step in fighting against the people
who misunderstand the protests by Kaep and players," said Seth
Buchwalter, of Portland, Oregon, a lifelong Nike customer.
Callaway, of Omaha, Nebraska, said he doesn't agree with kneeling
during the national anthem and thinks it is unfortunate Nike is
featuring Kaepernick, though he said he doesn't buy many Nike
products and won't make any changes in his shopping habits.
mind them protesting brutality," he said. "I just wish they wouldn't
do it during the anthem."
Business Writer Josh Funk contributed to this report from Omaha,
Tiger Woods returns to Ryder Cup as a wild card
Tiger Woods smiles he
speaks during a news conference where he was announced as a
captain's pick to the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, Tuesday, Sept. 4,
2018, in West Conshohocken, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer
Conshohocken, Pa. (AP) — Tiger Woods
and Phil Mickelson, golf's most prominent players for more than two
decades, never realized the Ryder Cup would mean so much.
it's the culmination of a comeback that began in January after a
fourth surgery on his lower back. For Mickelson, more than setting a
record by playing his 12th Ryder Cup, the 48-year-old gets what he
believes will be his last chance to capture that gold trophy away
Jim Furyk added them to his team Monday evening as wild-card
selections, along with Bryson DeChambeau.
to be a vice captain in late February, and he set a goal to be in
Paris on Sept. 28-30 as a player.
incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and
now to have accomplished a goal like that," Woods said. "To be a
part of this team, and now to be a player is just ... beyond
had qualified for every team since 1995, a streak that ended this
year when he finished No. 10 in the standings. His 12th appearance
breaks the Ryder Cup record held by Nick Faldo.
has only been on three winning teams — at Brookline in 1999,
Valhalla in 2008 and two years ago at Hazeltine. His last time
overseas was at Gleneagles, where he infamously closed out a losing
press conference by questioning captain Tom Watson and the direction
the PGA of America was taking the U.S. team.
That led to
sweeping changes in the U.S. structure, mainly by giving players a
mostly likely my last chance to go over to Europe and to be a part
of a winning U.S. team in Europe. We haven't done that in 25 years,"
Mickelson said. "I set out this year on really a strong commitment
and journey to get on the team. I got off to a great start this
year. It's been a really good year, and although I fell just shy of
making it on points, it feels great to be a part of this team and
serve this team in any way I can."
has one more captain's pick he will announce on Monday after the BMW
Championship, and it might not be as easy as this one.
"Not that it
was an easy decision," Furyk said with a smile. "But it could have
been a lot more difficult."
Mickelson were logical choices. Woods briefly had the lead Sunday in
the British Open until he tied for sixth, and he shot a career-best
final round of 64 to finish second in the PGA Championship.
Mickelson won another World Golf Championship in March, though he
hasn't seriously contended since then.
narrowly missed out on one of the eight automatic spots by missing
the cut at the PGA Championship, and the 24-year-old Californian
knew he had to show Furyk some form in the three weeks before the
picks were announced.
He won the
first FedEx Cup playoff event by four shots. He won the next FedEx
Cup playoff event by two shots.
"I wanted to
be a part of this experience so badly that I worked twice as hard,"
DeChambeau said. "And it showed, and it paid off."
is believed to be the leading candidate for 12th and final spot.
Furyk invited him as part of a small group that played Le Golf
National on the weekend before the British Open. Finau tied a PGA
Championship record with 10 birdies in the second round while
playing with Furyk.
FedEx Cup playoffs, he was runner-up at one event and tied for
fourth at the other.
captain Thomas Bjorn announces his wild-card selections on
Wednesday, with Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey among the
likely picks. Still to be determined was whether former Masters
champion Sergio Garcia, who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup
playoffs, gets a nod.
Americans who qualified on their own were Brooks Koepka, Dustin
Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson,
Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed. Throw in Woods and Mickelson, and
that gives the U.S. team a lineup that has combined for 31 majors.
mean as much in foursomes and fourballs, on a European course before
the singing and chanting of Europeans fans.
heading over into foreign soil," Furyk said. "It's going to be an
interesting crowd. They are boisterous, I have a lot of respect for
them and we are looking for players that we thought would handle
that situation well and would thrive, love the challenge. And naming
these three players, that's what we've done."
no longer be a vice captain, though Furyk said he would continue to
lean on his advice. Woods was an assistant at Hazeltine and at the
Presidents Cup last fall at Liberty National in a U.S. route.
former world No. 1 David Duval to replace Woods. Furyk also said
Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar would fill out his lineup of vice
captains, joining Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.
Update September 04, 2018
Wolfsburg is on the rise again in the Bundesliga
In this Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 photo Wolfsburg's players celebrate
their side's 3rd goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between
Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg in Leverkusen, Germany. Wolfsburg
is bucking expectations after starting the Bundesliga with two wins over
highly rated Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via
Fahey, Associated Press
Berlin (AP) — From champions
to relegation survivors, Wolfsburg's recent woes on the field have
coincided with those of Volkswagen, the German club's main backer.
However, the car manufacturer is on
the rise again after its emissions scandal, and so is the soccer team
after back-to-back seasons in the relegation playoffs.
Wolfsburg opened its Bundesliga
campaign with wins over highly rated Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen. The
2009 champions, now under coach Bruno Labbadia, are well-organized and
playing with a commitment and hunger that had been lacking since 2015.
That was the year Wolfsburg
finished second behind Bayern Munich and won the German Cup before the
breaking of the Volkswagen scandal. Results, coincidentally, suffered
The win over Leverkusen was
unexpected, and the first time in 13 tries that Labbadia won against his
"We drew a lot of strength from the
relegation playoff (against second-division club Holstein Kiel) and on
top of that the team worked really hard in pre-season," Labbadia said
Saturday after his team's sixth consecutive win across seasons and
including the German Cup.
Wolfsburg even had to come from
behind after Leon Bailey put Leverkusen ahead. The players didn't panic,
but combined well and fought for the equalizer, which came through an
own-goal by goalkeeper Ramazan Ozcan. New signing Wout Weghorst then got
his first Bundesliga goal and Renato Steffen sealed it with another.
"It was really pleasing to see how
much of a unit we were and how the team got the deserved reward for the
performance," Labbadia said. "We hurt them with our shape. It was a good
day for us."
Wolfsburg also needed a bit of luck
to defeat Schalke, with Daniel Ginczek getting the winner in injury
The signing of Weghorst has added
some much-needed bite to the team's attack. The 25-year-old Dutchman
scored 27 goals across all competitions for AZ Alkmaar last season.
Wolfsburg also appointed Joerg
Schmadtke as sporting director in the offseason. The 54-year-old
Schmadtke, a former goalkeeper, enjoyed notable success as sporting
director with Cologne, Hannover and Alemannia Aachen.
Wolfsburg fans chanted "league
leaders, league leaders" after the win propelled it to the top for the
afternoon, but Schmadtke said he wasn't interested in the standings "but
the fact we stayed stable after conceding a goal is comforting."
Wolfsburg was without injured
captain Josuha Guilavogui, and goalkeeper Koen Casteels was missing to
attend the birth of his daughter.
Casteels is the sixth Wolfsburg
player to become a father in a little over a month after Marvin
Stefaniak, Yunus Malli, Paul-Georges Ntep, Weghorst and Steffen.
"That can give you a push," Steffen
said. "But I can't get a child every week now."
Compared to previous years, Bayern
Munich kept transfer activity to a minimum in the offseason, with just
Serge Gnabry and Renato Sanches returning from loan spells, while Leon
Goretzka's free transfer from Schalke was already announced in January.
Spanish defender Juan Bernat
departed for Paris Saint-Germain but it looked at one stage as though
there would be more business between the sides. PSG made a reported
offer for Germany defender Jerome Boateng and was also interested in
Neither deal came to fruition, and
Bayern has hit out at the French club for not following through.
Bayern sporting director Hasan
Salihamidzic had already criticized PSG's "strange tactics," and now
president Uli Hoeness has said the side should fire its sporting
director, Antero Henrique.
"I would advise Paris Saint-Germain
to change its sporting director," Hoeness told Monday's Kicker magazine.
"This man is not a figurehead for the club. If PSG wants to be a world
club, it can't put up with such a sports director."
Borussia Dortmund has developed a
reputation for bringing in young players thanks to success with the
likes of Christian Pulisic, Jadon Sancho and Mario Goetze, while
Aleksander Isak and Dan-Axel Zagadou are waiting to follow suit.
The next prospect could be
13-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko, a Cameroon-born forward who has been
scoring at leisure since he joined Dortmund's youth setup from St. Pauli
Strong and direct with a clear eye
for goal, Moukoko was the leading scorer for Dortmund's under-15 team -
while still 12 - to help the side win the Regionalliga West title and
earn a call-up for Germany's under-16 team last year. He scored the
decisive goal at Bayern Munich in the final, finishing the season with
40 goals in 28 games.
This season, with the under-17s,
has begun as the last continued. Moukoko already has six goals from four
"We're going to give him all the
time in the world for his development," Dortmund youth coordinator Lars
Ricken told Kicker. "He can't play with the professionals until he's 17.
So nobody needs to start gasping because of him."
Moeen Ali bowls England to series victory over India
England's Sam Curran celebrates taking the final Indian wicket pf
India's Ravichandran Ashwin as England win the 4th test match by 60 runs
during play on the fourth day of the 4th cricket test match between
England and India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Sunday,
Sept. 2, 2018. England and India are playing a 5 test series. (AP
Southampton, England (AP) —
Moeen Ali started the fourth test as England's "second spinner." By the
end of it, he was England's No. 1 bowler.
Ali's match figures of 9-134 led
England to a 60-run victory in the fourth test as the hosts completed a
series victory on Sunday with an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-game
England had set India a
second-innings target of 245 after being bowled out for 271 early on Day
4 and appeared in trouble when Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane's
fourth-wicket century stand took India within sight of victory.
However, Ali, who had been left out
of England's test side all season to work on his game in county cricket,
dismissed both to turn the game back in England's favor, before India
was eventually all out for 184.
"It's obviously great to be back,"
Ali said. "It's great to come back and win the game. I just felt it's
not a bad thing to go back to county cricket and really enjoy my cricket
The fourth day in Southampton was
typical of the series as the momentum swung back and forth between the
Having resumed on 260-8, England
added just 11 runs with Curran run out for 46. India's first-innings 273
had given it a 27-run lead, meaning England set the tourists a
challenging but reachable target of 245 with almost two full days left.
It initially looked like the same
old story for India's struggling batting lineup, as England made inroads
Stuart Broad bowled Lokesh Rahul
for a duck, before James Anderson (2-33) got his first wickets of the
match as he trapped Cheteshwar Pujara (5) leg before wicket and had
Shikhar Dhawan (17) caught at slip to leave India 22-3 at the Rose Bowl.
However, Kohli (58) and Rahane (51)
put the pressure back on England as they patiently batted India into a
strong position approaching tea.
Not for the first time in the
match, Ali responded, taking the crucial wicket of Kohli just before tea
in the first of his four second-innings wickets.
Ali had taken 5-63 in the first
innings and was finally rewarded in the second when Kohli gloved his
delivery to Alastair Cook at short leg. He finished with 4-71.
"Today was probably the best I've
seen (Ali) bowl in an England shirt," England captain Joe Root said.
"That's such a testament to the way he has gone about things and the way
he has come back."
With the partnership broken,
England returned with confidence after tea and Ben Stokes (2-34) quickly
removed Hardik Pandya for a duck.
Rishabh Pant struck a brisk 18 from
12 balls before being caught on the boundary off Ali, who then claimed
the other key wicket of Rahane, leg before wicket, to all but end
Stokes dismissed Ishant Sharma for
a duck and Ali got his ninth wicket of the match as Mohammed Shami (8)
launched the ball straight to Anderson at long on.
Fittingly, it was Sam Curran (1-1),
whose first-innings 78 guided England to a competitive total, who took
the final wicket. The 20-year-old all-rounder dismissed Ravichandran
Ashwin (25) to end the match.
"England worked hard," Kohli said.
"They were relentless with the ball."
The fifth and final test starts at
the Oval in London on Friday.
McLaren signs British teenager Norris to replace Vandoorne
driver Lando Norris of Britain steers his car during the first practice
session ahead of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps,
Belgium, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Woking, England (AP) — British
teenager Lando Norris will drive for Formula One team McLaren next year in
place of Stoffel Vandoorne.
McLaren says it has signed the
18-year-old Norris to a "multi-year" deal.
Norris has been the team's reserve
driver and has taken part in practice sessions in Belgium and Italy.
He says "although I've been part of the
team for a while now, this is a special moment, one I could only hope would
Norris, who is currently second in
standings in the Formula 2 feeder series, will partner with Carlos Sainz Jr.
The 24-year-old Sainz Jr. was announced last month as the replacement for
Fernando Alonso, who is leaving F1 at the end of the season.
As high heat returns, Tsurenko a weary winner at US Open
Tsurenko, of Ukraine, kneels on the court during her match against
Marketa Vondrousova, of the Czech Republic, in the fourth round of the
U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in New York. (AP
By Brian Mahoney, AP
New York (AP) — Lesia Tsurenko
leaned on her racket, looking like she was about to collapse.
The medical team had already asked
if she wanted to stop, and this time Tsurenko was thinking about it.
"At some point," she said, "I just
thought that it's over for me for today."
Doubled over between points, not
even running during some of them, Tsurenko said she was dizzy, unable to
deal with the heat that returned to the U.S. Open on Monday after a
brief comfortable spell.
"I don't think she was struggling
so much," Marketa Vondrousova said. "She was just acting."
The aching — or acting, according
her opponent — Tsurenko eventually pulled out a 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2
victory to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
The high temperatures that baked
the courts at Flushing Meadows last week were back, with U.S. Open
officials reinstituting the extreme heat policy that allowed women to
take a 10-minute break between the second and third sets, and men to do
so between the third and fourth.
But even the players who got off
the court fairly quickly had a tough time while they were playing with
temperatures in the low-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius) that are
expected to remain at least through Tuesday.
"It's not easy to play in these
kind of conditions," Novak Djokovic said after winning his fourth-round
match in straight sets. "At the same time, you can't do anything but try
to be tough and survive, you know, find a way to win."
That's what Tsurenko was telling
The Ukrainian didn't know why she
was struggling so much, because it wasn't as hot as her first-round
match last Tuesday, when six players quit their matches, with five
citing cramps or heat exhaustion.
Her temperature and blood pressure
were checked during a medical timeout when she led 5-4 in the first set.
"The physio asked me a few times if
I want to stop," Tsurenko said. "She saw that I cannot breathe well. She
said something (was) wrong that my eyes were — I don't know what she
said exactly, but something wrong with my eyes. She thought I cannot
play. She asked me a few times if I want to stop."
Tsurenko bent over between points
in the first-set tiebreaker, left the court for more treatment after
losing it, and then fell behind 2-0 in the second. It was about then
that she considered quitting, though Vondrousova didn't believe it.
"I wasn't like, 'Oh, she's going to
retire,' or something. I knew she was going to play normal," said the
teenager, who got treatment after the second set.
Tsurenko, who upset No. 2 seed
Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, faces No. 20 Naomi Osaka in the
quarterfinals. She said she was proud of herself for what she overcame
to get there.
"As a tennis player, I know that we
play in different type of conditions," she said. "Sometimes it goes like
this. You need to survive."
DeChambeau makes it 2 straight wins in FedEx Cup playoffs
Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the third hole during the final round of
the Dell Technologies Championship golf tournament at TPC Boston in
Norton, Mass., Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf
NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Bryson
DeChambeau plays golf differently from everyone else and is getting the
results everyone wants.
It doesn't take a scientist to
figure that out.
For the second straight week in the
richest part of the PGA Tour season, DeChambeau took down one of the
strongest fields of the year by playing his best golf on the weekend to
win the Dell Technologies Championship, becoming only the second player
to capture the opening two playoff events in the FedEx Cup.
He closed with a 4-under 67 on
Monday, making three straight birdies to close out the front nine and
keeping his distance the rest of the way for a two-shot victory over
Justin Rose on the TPC Boston.
"I wouldn't have written it any
better, to be honest with you," DeChambeau said. "I've been playing some
great golf this whole year. And I knew it was a matter of time before
something cool showed up."
Vijay Singh won the opening two
FedEx Cup events in 2008, when the points system was different and
points were not reset before the final playoff event. That allowed Singh
to effectively wrap up the $10 million prize early.
DeChambeau, with his third victory
this year, was assured of being the No. 1 seed when he gets to the Tour
Championship, no matter what happens next week at the third playoff
event outside Philadelphia.
And he would appear to be a shoo-in
to be one of U.S. captain Jim Furyk's three Ryder Cup picks to be
announced Tuesday. The idea is to find the hottest player to fill out
the team, and no one has been close to DeChambeau over the last two
The 24-year-old Californian is
known as the "Mad Scientist" for his approach to the game, from his
single-length clubs (34 inches, roughly the length of a 7-iron), to his
work on biomechanics to the calculations that go into every shot.
Nine calculations, to be exact.
DeChambeau doesn't want to give
away all his secrets, but they range from yardage and wind to air
pressure and adrenaline.
"He's facing the biggest and best
fields," Rose said. "There's a lot of conjecture about how he goes about
it. But when he delivers as he is now, it just proves it."
How much better can he get?
"You can always get better,"
DeChambeau said. "How much? I would say it depends on what I can do in
the restrictions of my biomechanics. So it's all about error tolerances
and being ... less sensitive to error. So that when you do feel like you
mess up, it's not going to be that big of a mess-up. I hope that makes
"But I can say there is another
DeChambeau, who started the year at
No. 99 in the world, moved to No. 7, one spot past Rory McIlroy. He
finished at 16-under 268 and made $1,620,000 for the second straight
Starting the final round one shot
behind Abraham Ancer, and among 10 players within four shots of the
lead, DeChambeau had a two-putt birdie from 50 feet on No. 7, took the
lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 220-yard eighth hole, and then
hit his approach to 6 feet to a back right pin at No. 9 for his third
Cameron Smith of Australia tried to
make a run at him with a pair of late birdies, but DeChambeau answered
with a birdie on No. 15 to keep his lead at two shots. Needing an eagle
to catch him on the par-5 18th, Smith came up short and into the hazard
and made bogey.
Rose birdied three of his last four
holes for a 68 and wound up alone in second.
Ancer couldn't keep pace, dropping
three shots in the tough four-hole stretch early on the back nine. The
27-year-old Mexican hit into hazard on the 18th and finished with a
bogey for a 73. The small consolation for Ancer was moving from No. 92
to No. 56, which at least made him among the top 70 who advance to the
BMW Championship at Aronimink.
A few others also were happy to
have another week left in a long season.
Peter Uihlein, the former U.S.
Amateur champion in his first full season on the PGA Tour, birdied his
last three holes for a 68. He played with Keith Mitchell, another PGA
Tour rookie, who birdied his last two holes for a 69. Both moved into
the top 70.
Matt Kuchar failed to advance
beyond the second playoff event for the first time in 10 years, meaning
he won't get another chance to state his case as a potential Ryder Cup
pick. Furyk makes his fourth selection after the BMW Championship.
The likely choices Tuesday would
seem to be DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods — they finished
Nos. 9, 10 and 11 when qualifying ended for eight automatic berths after
the PGA Championship. Woods closed with a 71 and tied for 24th.
Mickelson, who has played on every Ryder Cup team since 1995, boosted
his case by winning a World Golf Championships event in Mexico in March,
and he made nine birdies Monday in a closing round of 63.
"So fortunate also that it's the
day before the Ryder Cup picks, although I don't feel that should be a
bearing," Mickelson said. "I think you have to look at the big picture
through the course of the year statistically. ... But it certainly
Zenit St Petersburg signs Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio
file photo dated Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, Juventus' Claudio Marchisio during a
Serie A soccer match against Bologna at the Dall' Ara stadium in Bologna,
Italy. Zenit St. Petersburg has signed 32-year old Italian defender Claudio
Marchisio for two years on a free transfer, after he was released by
Juventus. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)
St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) —
Zenit St. Petersburg signed Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio on a free
transfer on Monday after he was released by Juventus.
The 32-year-old Marchisio arrives in
Russia on a two-year contract after a deal which required Russian Football
Union approval because it was finalized outside the usual registration
Marchisio left Juventus last month
following what the club called "the agreed termination of his contract." He
spent 25 years with Juventus since joining at the age of seven.
"I like the club and its ambition,"
Marchisio said in a statement on the Zenit website. "When I left Juventus, I
promised that I wouldn't move to any other Italian team, so I wanted to find
a club which shared my values."
Marchisio added he will join the Zenit
squad at the weekend. Zenit said he will be available for Europa League
The industrious Marchisio played nearly
400 games for Juventus, winning seven Serie A titles, but was less prominent
since a cruciate ligament injury in 2016. He played 15 times in Serie A last
Marchisio has played 55 times for
Italy, but only once since 2015.
Zenit finished a disappointing fifth in
the Russian Premier League last season but leads the table in this campaign
after six games.
Year after missing US Open, Nishikori shines in return
Nishikori, of Japan, smiles after defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber, of
Germany, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament,
Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
By Dan Gelston, AP Sports
New York (AP) — Kei Nishikori was
so crushed about missing the U.S. Open last year, he couldn't even watch
the tournament. Nishikori's season was over with torn tendons in his
right wrist, and he knew how much he'd ache to play if he flipped on the
"I didn't really want to see any
matches," he said.
A year later, Nishikori might want
to catch some U.S. Open highlights.
He's starring in them.
The Japanese standout still has
some soreness in the wrist he hurt in August 2017, but it hasn't slowed
him down in his return to Flushing Meadows. Nishikori, the 2014
runner-up, beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 on Monday to reach
the final eight for a second straight Grand Slam tournament.
"He pushed me around,"
Up next is a rematch of the '14
final against No. 7 seed Marin Cilic, who beat 10th-seeded David Goffin
7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4 later Monday.
The 28-year-old Nishikori hardly
resembles the player he was then, when he became the first man from Asia
to reach a Grand Slam singles final. He altered his serve in the wake of
the wrist injury. His confidence is soaring, too, after he reached the
quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Naomi Osaka also reached the
quarterfinals Monday, only the second time in the professional era that
a Japanese man and woman reached that round at the same Grand Slam
event. Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date did it at Wimbledon in 1995.
"I always thought that if I can
keep up with him, that would be really cool," Osaka said.
Four years ago, Nishikori recalled
feeling upbeat before he played Cilic and was surprised he didn't have a
case of nerves.
Once he hit Arthur Ashe Stadium,
the magnitude of the moment hit him.
"I wasn't nervous before the match,
but as soon as I got into the court, it was different," he said. "I
remember I wasn't there for the match. Hopefully, I can come back to
Nishikori was worn down by the time
he reached the final in a remarkable run where he defeated three of the
top five seeds. He beat No. 5 Milos Raonic and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in
five sets in back-to-back matches totaling more than 8½ hours. Then he
upset No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets.
He's made quick work of his
opponents this year.
Nishikori, coached by Michael
Chang, needed four sets to beat Diego Schwartzman, but has two
straight-set victories and didn't even complete two full sets in another
match because Gael Monfils retired with a wrist injury.
Short and sweet — and staying
strong in a deep run.
"I don't have any pressure,"
Nishikori said. "But (I'm) enjoying playing every match and enjoying
playing tennis again a little more than before."
The No. 21 seed returned to the
tour early this year, building his confidence back with a victory in a
Challenger Tour event, then reached the final in Monte Carlo and the
quarterfinals at Wimbledon, where he lost to eventual champion Djokovic.
His success may have eased the
pressure, but a country is keeping tabs on him.
Nishikori, the first Japanese man
to be ranked in the ATP's top 10, was a hero in his home country when he
played in the U.S. Open final. In his hometown of Matsue, hundreds of
fans packed into a convention hall to cheer him on at a
standing-room-only public viewing event. Giant banners emblazoned with
messages of encouragement hung on the walls.
He feels at home in New York, where
scores of Asians root for him, no matter the court or time of match, and
he made a return trip to the semifinals in 2016.
"I feel like I have great support
here," he said.
Update September 03, 2018
Tottenham's Son avoids military duty with Asian Games gold
Korea's Son Heung-min, center, duels for the ball against Japan's Daiki
Sugioka during the soccer men's gold medal match at the 18th Asian Games
in Bogor, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Thailand celebrates on the podium after winning the silver medal for the
women's volleyball match at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia,
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018.(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Zhu Ting plays against Thailand during the women's volleyball gold medal
match at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 1,
2018. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Iran's celebrates after winning the men's volleyball match for gold
against Korea at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday,
Sept. 1, 2018. Iran won gold.(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
By Stephen Wade, AP Sports
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Tottenham
forward Son Heung-min will get to skip military service.
Son avoided the service obligation
when South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in the Asian Games soccer final on
The South Korean government rewards
holders of Asian Games gold medals and all Olympic medals with the
exemption. Military service is compulsory for South Korean males, and
Son would have faced at least 21 months of service and the loss of
millions in income.
Son had a hand in both goals, and
ran wildly around the field at the end, hugging teammates while hundreds
of South Korea flags were whipped about in the stands.
He was thanked Tottenham for
allowing him to play in Indonesia, where he captained South Korea.
"I feel great, feel unbelievable,
feel amazing," he said.
With the match in extra time after
0-0 in regulation, Son got the break he wanted from teammate Lee
In the 93rd minute, Son broke
toward the middle and shuffled a pass to Lee, who drove the ball with
his left foot into the top of the net. He immediately posed atop signage
beside the field, celebrating his minute of glory.
South Korea clinched it eight
minutes later on a leaping header inside the far post from Hwang
Hee-chan. The 101st-minute goal prompted Son to embrace South Korea
coach Kim Hak-bum on the sidelines.
Japan's Ayase Ueda scored on a
header with five minutes left to make it close.
South Korea had 65 percent of the
possession in regulation time, and had a wide edge in shots, and shots
Son almost got the winning goal
himself, but his shot just seconds into extra time sailed inches wide of
the far post.
Saturday was the last full day of
competition at the Asian Games with only one medal event on Sunday —
mixed triathlon. The closing ceremony is also on Sunday.
China, Japan and South Korea — as
always — dominated. But several other nations closed ground slowly,
making the Big Three not quite as dominant.
China had 289 overall, with 132
gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze. Japan won 204 (74-56-74) and South Korea
had 176 (49-57-70). They were followed in the gold-medal ranking order
by: Indonesia (31), Uzbekistan (21), Iran (20) and Taiwan (17). India
and Kazakhstan each had 15.
Japan came up short as South Korea
won gold in baseball with a 3-0 victory. In the bronze medal game,
Taiwan pummeled China 10-0.
China won women's basketball,
defeating the combined Koreas team 71-65. Shao Ting topped China's
scorers with 17 points. Lim Yunghui was the top Korean scorer with 24.
Park Ji-su had 15.
"I still believe that we could have
gotten a gold medal if we had enough practice time," Park, the WNBA
star, said through an interpreter. "We just trained as a combined team
for a month."
The women's squad included nine
South Koreans and three from North Korea.
Dragon boat races also delivered a
gold medal and two bronzes for the combined Koreas teams — the feel-good
story of the Asian Games.
China's men's basketball team also
took gold, defeating Iran 84-72.
As expected, China swept all five
gold medals in table tennis, including the two all-China singles finals
Fan Zhendong defeated Lin Gaoyuan
in the men's final, and for the women Chen Meng beat Wang Manyu.
China beat Thailand 3-0 in the
women's volleyball final, and on the men's side Iran defeated South
Kazakhstan defeated Japan 8-7 to
take the men's gold in water polo.
Japan beat China 7-5 to take gold
in women's rugby sevens, and Hong Kong won gold in the men's version,
beating Japan 14-0.
Japan defeated Malaysia in men's
field hockey, winning a shootout 3-1 after the match was tied 6-6.
AP reporter Niniek Karmini
contributed to this report.
Bach: No Olympic future for esports until 'violence' removed
this Thursday April 19, 2018 file photo, International Olympic Committee
(IOC) President Thomas Bach addresses a press conference in New Delhi,
India. Bach said in Jakarta, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, that he isn't
certain if, or when, esports might be incorporated into the Olympic
Games. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri,File)
By Stephen Wade, AP Sports Writer
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) —
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach isn't certain if,
or when, esports might be incorporated into the Olympic Games.
But he was clear in an interview
with The Associated Press at the Asian Games on Saturday about the need
to meet some conditions before being considered.
"We cannot have in the Olympic
program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination," he told
the AP. "So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are
contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted."
Esports is being held for the first
time at the Asian Games as a demonstration sport, and could be a
full-medal event in four years in Hangzhou, China.
Could the Olympics be next?
The IOC has been mulling over many
of these questions since holding an esports forum in July at IOC
headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bach still needs convincing. He won
an Olympic gold medal in fencing, which uses swords, and tried to draw a
"Of course every combat sport has
its origins in a real fight among people," he said. "But sport is the
civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it's about
killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic
Asian Games organizers several days
ago expressed sympathy for victims of the deadly shooting at a video
games tournament in a Florida shopping mall.
They faulted US gun laws, not
"But I think this is a bigger issue
of gun control and access to guns," said Kenneth Fok, president of the
Asian Electronic Sports Federation, following the shooting.
In a wide-ranging interview, Bach
also talked up Indonesia's chances of landing the 2032 Olympics.
Indonesia President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo surprised the country Saturday
by saying it would bid. It comes as the Asian Games close on Sunday with
Widodo up for re-election in April.
"You see a successful delivery of
the Asian Games," Bach said. "I think this is a very solid foundation
for a good candidature (for Indonesia)."
The IOC has already picked Paris
for the 2024 Olympics and Los Angeles for 2028. A choice for 2032 would
not be made by the IOC until 2025, and Bach said only India and Germany
had expressed preliminary interest
Rio spent about $20 billion to
organize its Olympics, and Tokyo will spend about the same to run the
games and prepare the city.
Bach also asked for realism in the
fight against doping. A Russian state-run doping scandal has blighted
the last three Olympics, beginning with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
He said the fight had to be "every
day with all determination." But even that won't be enough.
"You have to be realist, and this
means that there will never come the day when we will be able to say we
have won the war against doping," he said.
"Unfortunately, it appears to be
that as long as human beings are in competition with each other you will
always have some who are looking for their own advantage even by the
violation of laws and rules."
Bach said he and 2020 Tokyo Olympic
organizers were concerned about scorching temperatures this summer in
the Japanese capital.
But he said he was sleeping "much
easier" than he was two years before the problematic Rio de Janeiro
"We see the preparations are going
on schedule, that you are not confronted with a country that is in
crisis, as Brazil was before the games."
He said he had not been to Brazil
since 2016 and said he had no immediate plans to return.
Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio
de Janeiro organizing committee and IOC member, was suspended by the IOC
after his arrest on bribery, fraud and vote-buying charges.
He has maintained his innocence.
"You can see today the country is
still not out of crisis," Bach said.
Ready, set, go. Coe expects Asian track and field to boom
In this Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 photo,
President of the International Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) Sebastian Coe waits at the medal ceremony for the men's marathon
during the athletics competition at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta,
Indonesia. Coe says China and Japan are the two most improved countries
in athletics over the last six or seven years.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
By John Pye, AP
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Almost
unthinkable to some a decade ago, sprinters from China and Japan are
running sub-10 seconds for the 100 meters.
There's plenty more to come from
Asia, too, according to international athletics federation president
With billions of people, increasing
investment in facilities and coaching and Olympic ambitions, he says the
continent is on the move.
"You could argue Japan and China
are two of the most improved athletics nations over the last six or
seven years," Coe told the Associated Press during the Asian Games,
where China topped the athletics medal standings. "For me, it's very
"They're making very good progress.
If we'd been sitting here a decade ago, talking about potential here for
a China athlete to run 9.8, you'd have probably taken quite long odds on
Su Bingtian ran an Asian Games
record 9.92 seconds to win the 100 in Jakarta, one-hundredth outside his
continental record of 9.91 He ran that in Spain in June, three days
after he'd lost his Chinese national record when Xie Zhenye clocked
Only three sprinters — all American
— have run a faster time in 2018.
Su is expecting to go faster, too,
because he can be pushed by teammates from the Chinese relay that won
the bronze on home soil at the 2015 world championships.
He has been working since late last
year with Randy Huntington, who was coaching Mike Powell when the
American set the long jump world record way back in 1991.
Already, Su's PB has improved. He's
down from 9.99, set in 2015, and this year already he has set the Asian
record in the 60 and the 100. Huntington has predicted China will be a
track and field force at the 2024 Olympics.
Japan took silver in the Olympic
men's 4x100-meter relay at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and bronze at the
world championships last year. The Japanese relay team won the men's
4x100 on the last night of track at the Asian Games and is targeting a
medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Coe said the federations in Japan
and China had "greater clarity" around the importance of coaching. Only
five Asian sprinters have run 10.00 or faster this year, but the
frequency is increasing.
Looking abroad for coaching
expertise isn't the sole domain of China and Japan. South Korea has
brought in a performance director from the United States, India has
drafted in foreign coaches including 72-year-old Galina Bukharina of
Romania, who has been working with world junior 400-meter champion Hima
Harry Marra, who worked with
Olympic champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton, has
been helping out with Indonesia's world junior 100-meter champion Lalu
India placed third, a medal above
Japan, in the track and field standings with seven golds, 10 silver and
two bronze. It also won a fifth straight title in the women's 4x400. It
was a vast improvement on the 2 gold and 13 overall from the Asian Games
South Korea finished with five
medals on the track, including gold in the women's 100-meter hurdles,
but Randy Behr, the head performance coach, was expecting big
improvements in coming seasons with extra emphasis on strength and
conditioning and recovery.
"Asia has been a little bit
intimidated about the weight room and off-season training — the myths
that the U.S. went through in the '70s and 80s," said Behr, who worked
in fitness for the U.S. military and as a coach in track and American
football. "Now they've embraced, 'Hey, it's OK to get in the weight room
and throw some iron around.' It does transfer. It's physics."
While the popularity of track and
field has dropped in some traditional markets, the sport is growing
across the most-populated continent.
"China is growing amazingly. Japan
is solid. Korea, we have a huge ceiling — we're onto something good
here," Behr said. "Asia is on the move.
"I predict Korea with a sub-10 very
soon and, of course, China and Japan — they're not stopping."
The 18-year-old Zohri placed
seventh in the Asian Games 100 final, but was a key runner in the
Indonesia relay team that finished as a surprising silver medalist
between Japan and China.
"There's scope for a lot more,"
two-time Olympic gold medalist Coe said of the stories like Zohri, who
is from the earthquake-ravaged island of Lombok. "Rarely in athletics
are there happy accidents. You can look at something that on the surface
looks like a rough diamond that suddenly emerges."
In the case of Zohri, Coe said
Marra had been "explaining what the next step of the journey is. He's
coaching the coaches, but also has some hands on.
"There's no question at all, the
rough diamond is shining. Everything in athletics is about technique and
coaching. If you haven't got world-class coaching, frankly, it's a rare
happy accident that somebody emerges."
Update September 01, 2018
Usain Bolt makes soccer debut for Central Coast Mariners
Usain Bolt runs the ball during a friendly
trial match between the Central Coast Mariners and the Central Coast
Select in Gosford, Australia, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Bolt, who holds the
world records for the 100- and 200-meter sprints and is an eight-time
Olympic gold medalist, is hoping to earn a contract with the Mariners
for the 2018-19 season in Australia's top-flight competition. (AP
(AP) — Usain Bolt's soccer debut for the Central Coast Mariners on
Friday lasted about 20 minutes against an amateur local team and with
almost 10,000 people in the crowd.
The eight-time Olympic gold
medalist is trying to become a professional soccer player and has been
given a tryout with the Australian A-League club based in Gosford, north
Bolt started on the left wing and
had a clumsy first touch, but settled in and found himself in scoring
positions a couple of times before having a stoppage-time shot blocked.
"I was a little bit nervous, but as
soon as I got on the field I think the nerves went away," Bolt told
broadcaster Fox Sports. "I wish I had more touches, but I'm not fit yet.
I've just got to put in the work and get up to speed."
The Mariners already had a
commanding lead when Bolt went on as a substitute in the 72nd minute —
wearing the number 95 on his shirt — and easily won 6-1.
The 32-year-old Jamaican predicted
it would take four to five months until he's "playing like one of the
Even if he doesn't make it as a
soccer player, Bolt can still draw a crowd. Some critics have said
that's what his trial period in the A-League is all about. Bolt has
regularly said his ambition is real.
The crowd for Friday's match was
about four times bigger than the average home attendance the Mariners
attracted last season. The Australian Associated Press reported that the
exhibition game was broadcast in 60 countries.
Nadal passes test after test, beats much younger foe at Open
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, returns a shot to Karen Khachanov, of
Russia, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament,
Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Fendrich, AP Tennis Writer
New York (AP) — Rafael
Nadal's knee was bothering him. His decade-younger, barrel-chested U.S.
Open foe was bashing the ball.
The defending champion was two
points away from falling into a two-set hole. Then he was two points
away from dropping the third set. And then he was one point from losing
the fourth set and being pushed to a fifth.
As all of those key moments
presented themselves, he managed to come through. The No. 1-ranked Nadal
overcame a shaky start Friday and used his customary relentless style to
wear down No. 27 seed Karen Khachanov physically and mentally,
eventually getting to the fourth round with an entertaining and
back-and-forth 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) victory that took 4 hours, 23
"I escaped a very tough situation,"
Nadal said, "so it's a great thing."
The man he beat in last year's
final at Flushing Meadows, No. 5 Kevin Anderson, got through his own
tough test against an up-and-coming opponent, edging No. 28 Denis
Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
After Nadal ceded the opening set,
he had a trainer put tape under his right knee, which has caused
problems off-and-on for the Spaniard over the years. Nadal later got
more wrapping there during a 10-minute break at 5-all in the second set
while the retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium was shut because of
Just prior to the delay, Khachanov
had served for that set at 5-4, and three times was two points away from
taking it. But he couldn't get closer than that. Nadal broke for 5-all
and, after the delay, broke again to even it at a set apiece, aided by
two double-faults from Khachanov. When Nadal earned that set with a
passing shot that drew an errant volley, he crouched and yelled. Folks
sitting in his guest box rose. A chunk of the crowd gave a standing
ovation. Khachanov swatted a ball in disgust.
Nadal said the brief break was just
what he needed.
"I just trying to calm myself for a
moment. He was playing well," Nadal said. "But for me, the most
important thing is have the right tempo when I am playing. For some
moments I felt things were going too fast in my mind. I didn't take the
time to do the right steps, to go to the ball with the right decision,
with the right determination, with the right timing."
The end of the third set was
similar: Khachanov twice was two points from owning it and couldn't get
across the line, helping Nadal with three double-faults in the
tiebreaker. And while Nadal kept letting set points slip away, four in
all, he made No. 5 count, and how. It was a quintessential Nadal point,
too: a 40-stroke exchange — yes, 40! — that featured so much defense
from Nadal until Khachanov netted a backhand, then tossed his racket on
"I needed that set, of course,"
He had one more pivotal part to get
through: Khachanov's set point in the fourth while ahead 6-5 as Nadal
served at 30-40. But Khachanov put a forehand in the net there, and
after a thrilling point that featured a drop shot, a lob, a leaping
'tweener by Khachanov and a volley winner by Nadal, they headed to
This one was pretty much all Nadal.
In sum, he handled the particularly
crucial points better than Khachanov did. Which, really, should come as
no surprise given the disparity in age, experience and success. One man,
the 32-year-old Nadal, owns 17 Grand Slam titles, three at Flushing
Meadows. The other, the 22-year-old Khachanov, has never been past the
fourth round at a major tournament.
The sort of big hitting the
6-foot-6, 192-pound Russian displayed Friday, including 22 aces and
booming groundstrokes, bodes well for his future.
"That just shows that I'm really
close to this high level against top guys. Hopefully it will be soon on
my side," Khachanov said.
Perhaps, but Nadal is still at the
top of the game.
After they finished, Ashe was the
site for Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams, Part 30. It's their
earliest meeting at a Grand Slam tournament in 20 years.
Earlier, 2017 champion Sloane
Stephens betrayed a lot more emotion on that court than she usually
shows anywhere, all of the double fist pumps making perfectly clear just
how tight and tense things had been during her 6-3, 6-4 win against
two-time runner-up Victoria Azarenka.
Stephens, the No. 3 seed, grabbed
the last three games after returning from a brief break while the Ashe
roof was shut (it was then reopened before Nadal vs. Khachanov).
Stephens went from up a set and 3-1
in the second to down 4-3 when Azarenka took three games in a row.
That's when rain came.
"The man upstairs," Stephens said,
"was looking out for me."
Speedway chief blasts F1 as US GP set to clash with NASCAR
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland takes a tour on the grass
during practice at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy , Friday, Aug.
31, 2018. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Luca
Matar, Associated Press
Monza, Italy (AP) — Texas
Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage lambasted Formula One bosses for
their "infamous indifference" toward fans after the draft calendar for
2019 was revealed on Friday.
The schedule would flip the
traditional autumn pairing of the races in Austin and Mexico City,
putting the Mexican Grand Prix first for the first time.
Pushing the U.S. Grand Prix back a
week to Nov. 3 would conflict with NASCAR's playoff race on the same day
at Texas Motor Speedway, about a three-hour drive north of the Circuit
of the Americas. A similar scenario happened in 2014.
"Shame on Formula One for doing
this to the fans," Gossage said.
"Fans have recognized this as the
NASCAR date on this weekend since its inception long before Circuit of
the Americas was built.
"I would think a lot of fans —
myself included — would enjoy going to both races. Now Formula One is
making fans choose only one. Yet another bad call by Formula One showing
their infamous indifference toward the fans."
Circuit of the Americas President
Bobby Epstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mexico City race organizers' are
also likely to be unhappy as the Mexican GP would be on Oct. 27, several
days ahead of the national Dia de los Muertos holiday celebrations,
despite their desire to link the two events.
The 21-race draft calendar is
subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council when it meets
on Oct. 12.
The order of races is otherwise
very similar apart from the Chinese GP effectively swapping places with
Bahrain and becoming the third destination on the circuit rather than
the second. The race in Shanghai will be the 1,000th grand prix since
F1's inception in 1950.
The season will begin with the
Australian GP in Melbourne on March 17. Brazil (Nov. 17) and Abu Dhabi
(Dec. 1) will be the last two races.
The calendar also includes races in
Germany and Japan.
The German GP was scrapped in 2017
but was reintroduced this year.
F1 also renewed its agreement with
the promoter of the Japanese GP for a further three years, until 2021.
AP Sports Writer Jim Vertuno
contributed from Austin, Texas.
Serena matches her easiest win over Venus in US Open rout
Serena Williams, left, meets her sister Venus Williams after their match
during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Aug.
31, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
By Brian Mahoney, AP
New York (AP) — Serena
Williams equaled her most-lopsided victory ever in 30 professional
meetings with sister Venus, beating her 6-1, 6-2 on Friday night in the
third round of the U.S. Open.
Serena shook off an early ankle
injury to win seven straight games and seize control in perhaps her most
dominant performance since giving birth to her daughter a year ago
The sisters' earliest meeting in a
Grand Slam tournament in 20 years was over early, with Venus unable to
do anything to blunt Serena's power, even after the crowd tried
desperately to get behind her early in the second set.
"It's not easy," Serena said,
despite how easy it looked in a match that lasted just 1 hour, 12
"She's my best friend. She means
the world to me. Every time she loses, I feel like I do. It's not very
easy, but it's a tournament. We know there's more to life than just
playing each other and playing tennis."
They hadn't played this early in a
Grand Slam since Venus won in the second round of the 1998 Australian
Open in their first meeting as pros, and only once over the next two
decades had either won so decisively. Serena won by the same score in a
semifinal victory in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2013.
Serena, the No. 17 seed, will face
Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who knocked out top-ranked Simona Halep in the
Serena, who turns 37 next month,
leads the series 18-12 with her sister, 11-5 in Grand Slam tournaments.
But this one wasn't expected to be so easy, not with Serena still
working her way back into form after returning to the tour in the
But this was the type of tennis
that has brought her to 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the ability to
pound balls all over the court and chase down the rare shots that looked
like they might get past her.
"This was my best match since I
returned," he said. "I worked for it. I worked really hard these last
three or four months. That's life, you have to keep working hard no
matter ups or downs you have. That's what I've been doing."
She pounded 10 aces to just one for
Venus, the No. 16 seed who was perhaps a little drained after two tough
matches to begin the tournament, including a three-setter against 2004
U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opener.
Serena had an easier time in the
first two rounds, though that was expected to change Friday under the
lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium. They had combined for eight titles in
Flushing Meadows, six by Serena, and each had beaten the other in a U.S.
But there was no beating Serena on
this night, and the discouraged look on Venus' face across much of the
match indicated she seemed to realize it.
It looked as if Serena could have
trouble when, in the second game of the match, her right ankle turned
awkwardly when Venus hit behind her on a shot. Serena stood near the
baseline with her back to the court for quite a few seconds, then
motioned to the chair umpire that she wanted to the see the trainer at
the next changeover.
Serena had the ankle treated with a
2-1 lead, then broke in the next game, helped when Venus missed an easy
swinging volley wide. She would break again for a 5-1 lead, then pound
two aces in the next service game to wrap up the first set in 31
Pujara hits 132 to keep momentum with India in 4th test
England's Jonny Bairstow, left shakes hands with India's Cheteshwar
Pujara at the end of the Indian 1st innings, Pujara made 132 not out, during
play on the second day of the 4th cricket test match between England and
India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.
England and India are playing a 5 test series. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
(AP) — Cheteshwar Pujara struck a crucial century to keep the momentum
with India in the fourth test against England after a burst of four wickets
in 16 balls from Moeen Ali threatened to give the hosts the edge on day two
Finding support from tailenders Ishant
Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, Pujara lifted the Indians from trouble at 195-8
by reaching his 15th test century, and ended unbeaten on 132 in a total of
273 all out.
That gave India a lead of 27 runs, and
England openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings negotiated four tricky
overs before stumps.
England was 6-0, trailing by 21 runs,
and a potentially series-defining match was finely balanced heading into the
England leads the five-match series 2-1
after winning the first two tests.
Ali briefly gave England the initiative
for the first time in the test by taking four wickets in an inspired spell
either side of the tea interval, including two in two balls to remove
Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami. That plunged India from 181-4 to
In snaffling Sharma, the allrounder got
his five-wicket haul and had final figures of 5-63 off 16 overs.
"I know deep down I am not a perfect
spinner," said Ali, who was playing in this test only because of the late
withdrawal of Chris Woakes through injury, "but I know on my day I can bowl
a side out."
"We are really pleased," Ali added.
"They were 140-2 and going well, and to bowl them out for just 20-odd runs
ahead is fantastic."
It was one of the most important
innings of his career by Pujara, who wasn't even in India's team in the
first test at Edgbaston.
The tourists were 50-2 when Pujara and
Virat Kohli came together, and they put on a third-wicket stand of 92.
During that partnership, Kohli — playing his 119th test innings — became the
second quickest Indian player to pass 6,000 runs in the longest format.
am Curran, who hit a valuable 78 in
England's first innings, made another key intervention when he got the
prized wicket of Kohli, who played at a full-length ball and nicked it to
Alastair Cook at first slip on 46.
Ali's blitz of wickets began with what
proved to be the last ball before tea by removing Rishabh Pant, who made a
46-ball duck to equal India's record for the longest innings without scoring
in terms of balls faced.
Ali stayed in the attack at the start
of the final session and dismissed Hardik Pandya (4) in his next full over,
with Joe Root taking a sharp catch at short midwicket.
Ashwin (1) was the next to go when he
misguidedly attempted a reverse sweep off Ali, and succeeded in only
bottom-edging onto his stumps.
It was Ali's third wicket in 15 balls
for the loss of eight runs, and when he bowled Shami the very next ball,
England was in the ascendancy.
Pujara ensured that didn't last for