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Update August 2017


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Update August 29, 2017

Williams wins at US Open to stay in No. 1 hunt; Konta out

Venus Williams, of the United States, serves to Viktoria Kuzmova, of Slovakia, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 28, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — Venus Williams stayed in the crowded hunt for the No. 1 ranking — even though she had no idea that she has a shot at that spot.

Johanna Konta, a Wimbledon semifinalist just last month, dropped out of that chase with a first-round exit as the U.S. Open got started Monday.

The No. 9-seeded Williams overcame a mid-match lapse to pick up a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium against Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, a 19-year-old qualifier who is ranked 135th.

It was the first tour-level, main-draw match of Kuzmova's career, and the 967th for Williams, who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, in addition to her five Wimbledon championships. Williams is in her 19th U.S. Open; she reached the final in her 1997 debut, about eight months before Kuzmova was born.

"I had no idea what she looked like, who she was, anything. But she played amazing. She played well, served well, competed well. Definitely a match I had to earn," said Williams, who at 37 is the oldest woman in the field. "I definitely wasn't expecting or planning on dropping sets today. But things happen. That's why we play the match, because you have to win the match. So it's just all about regrouping. It's the first round. You figure out what's going on."

She was up a set, plus a break in the second at 2-0, when she faltered. Kuzmova broke for 2-1, then pulled at even at 3-all before taking three games in a row to force a third set. But Williams righted herself there, breaking for a 2-0 lead, then digging out of a love-40 hole with five consecutive points for 3-0 and was on her way.

Williams entered the U.S. Open as one of eight women with a chance to rise atop the WTA rankings by tournament's end.

Not that it was foremost on her mind. Indeed, she said she was unaware of that possibility.

"I just want to win, and if you get the win, you get the ranking," said Williams, who was already at No. 1 in 2002.

Before the American's match was over, that number of ranking contenders was reduced to seven, because the No. 7-seeded Konta was bounced by 78th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

"I don't take anything for granted," said Konta, who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon just last month. "I think it would be quite obnoxious of me to come in here expecting I have a right to be in second week."

Konta, who lost to Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals, figured to be Britain's best chance for a deep run these two weeks, because the country's top male player, Andy Murray, withdrew on Saturday with an injured hip.

Instead, she was among a crop of seeded players on the way out the door at a tournament already missing several top names, including the biggest in women's tennis: Williams' older sister Serena, who is expecting a baby.

"We always coach each other, pretty much," Williams said.

While the most anticipated matchup of Day 1 was scheduled for Monday night — five-time major champion Maria Sharapova's first Grand Slam action since her doping suspension, against No. 2 seed Simona Halep — the afternoon was filled with quite a few seeded players joining Konta on the way out.

For every victory by someone such as Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza or 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, there was a surprise or two.

The men's seeded losers included No. 21 David Ferrer, who was the runner-up at the 2013 French Open, No. 25 Karen Khachanov and No. 32 Robin Hasse. On the women's side, there as No. 21 Ana Konjuh, No. 24 Kiki Bertens and No. 32 Lauren Davis.


England take control of 2nd test, set Windies 322 to win

England's Dawid Malan plays a shot against the West Indies during day four of the second test at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Monday Aug. 28. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Leeds, England (AP) — England wrestled control of the second test away from the West Indies late on the fourth day on Monday, declaring their second innings on 490-8 and setting the tourists a tough target of 322 to win.

England earned their supremacy — and a chance at a second straight series victory of the summer — through half-centuries by captain Joe Root (72), Dawid Malan (61), Ben Stokes (58), Moeen Ali (84) and Chris Woakes (61 not out).

Although none of them went on to dominate the innings with a century, the English batsmen put together a series of partnerships to fight back from a 169-run first innings deficit, and from 94-3 early in their second innings.

They ultimately took the game away from the West Indians after tea on the fourth day.

"It was a fantastic day," Ali said.

After being in control for the first three days, West Indies are now up against it and need the second-highest total to win a test at Headingley, and the highest since Don Bradman's Australia team made 404-3 batting last in 1948.

West Indies were 5-0 at stumps after Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell survived six tricky overs at the end of the day, and a couple of loud England appeals.

In a sign of things to come on a wearing pitch, and illustrating the final-day challenge facing the West Indies, Ali bowled one over of spin at the very end of the day and immediately looked dangerous.

England already lead the three-match series 1-0 after victory by an innings in the first match. Another win at Leeds will mean two series wins out of two for England this summer ahead of the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year.

Root and Malan set up England's second innings push against the West Indies with their stand of 118 for the fourth wicket, and Malan and Stokes put on 91 to continue England's comeback.

But Ali's fiery 84 from 93 balls down the order, with 14 fours, firmly changed the momentum of the test in the final session of the day. He put on 117 with Woakes for the eighth wicket, and Woakes and tailender Stuart Broad added another 46 before Root declared.

When Ali came to the crease, England had just lost three wickets in six overs to offspinner Roston Chase and were 327-7 and just 158 runs ahead. By the time Ali was caught trying to heave legspinner Devendra Bishoo out the ground, England's lead was heading for 300.

West Indies, hopeful at tea of pushing for a first test victory in England since 2000, were completely demoralized at stumps.

"We let them slip away and now we have to really fight hard to save this test match," Chase said.


Canelo-GGG to MayMac fans: We've got a real show for you

Boxer Canelo Alvarez works out as he hosts an open-to-the-public media workout at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Monday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Greg Beacham

Los Angeles (AP) — Oscar De La Hoya had no desire to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s victory over Conor McGregor last weekend. Neither did middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who smirked at the idea of taking the time away from his family.

"I just thought it was a fraud, and I still think it's a fraud," De La Hoya said Monday.

But now that Mayweather's farewell victory over the UFC champion went off without a major embarrassment for boxing, De La Hoya and fellow promoter Tom Loeffler hope their upcoming megafight between Saul Alvarez and Golovkin will be carried to new heights by a surge of interest created by the spectacle of the summer.

If you liked Floyd and Conor, they think you're going to love Canelo and Triple G.

Golovkin meets Alvarez on Sept. 16 in the same Las Vegas arena where Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round last Saturday. The result was no surprise to De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez, or to Loeffler, who guides Golovkin's career.

"We were all pretty convinced that Floyd would win," Loeffler said. "We were just hoping that it wouldn't be a disaster where people were going to say, 'We're never going to buy another pay-per-view.'"

Loeffler and De La Hoya are both grateful that most casual sports fans seemed to enjoy Mayweather's 10th-round stoppage victory: The unusual fight appeared to be competitive, and it largely entertained people who don't watch every big fight.

And if those casual fans now want to see the best that boxing has to offer, De La Hoya and Loeffler are selling Mexico's biggest star against an unbeaten Kazakh knockout artist for four middleweight title belts.

"I'm glad that so many people bought the fight so they can see what boxing is all about, and what boxing is all about is September 16th with Canelo and Triple G," De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya sent out a furious, profane tweet to his 1.8 million followers one day before the bout, declaring that Mayweather and McGregor were "disrespecting the sport of boxing." De La Hoya didn't back down from that opinion during public workouts in downtown Los Angeles for Alvarez and Golovkin, who attracted well over 1,000 fans standing in 90-degree downtown Los Angeles heat for four hours.

"Only Mayweather knows, why it lasted 10 rounds," said De La Hoya, who lost a close fight to Mayweather in 2007. "Obviously, Mayweather is not the biggest puncher in the game. If there was a Canelo in there, obviously it would last one round."

Golovkin said he might watch the replay of Mayweather-McGregor this week, but didn't seem terribly interested. Alvarez, who took his only career defeat against Mayweather in 2013, said he ordered the pay-per-view, but "to see a show, not a fight. I knew what I was getting."

"We weren't negative on that event," Loeffler added. "We just made it clear that this is the real boxing match, and that was a spectacle. It was the most popular MMA fighter against the most popular boxer. ... You shouldn't sell it as a real, competitive fight. But we were happy that it wasn't a disaster to where people would be down on buying this fight."

Although Loeffler praises McGregor's showmanship and MMA skills, he likened the matchup to Muhammad Ali's infamous 1976 fight with Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki.

"It was really more of an exhibition," Loeffler said. "It wasn't really a boxing match."

But don't mistake Loeffler for an Oscar-style hater. He thinks the long-term benefits of that short-term curiosity outweigh the drawbacks.

"The more boxing exposure we can get for the sport in general, the more fights that can be made," Loeffler said. "It brought (boxing) to the mainstream. It got a lot of attention that many other events never have a chance of getting. But I really think (Alvarez-Golovkin) is the highlight of boxing for this year."


Shakib five-for helps Bangladesh into 88-run lead

Bangladesh's Mehedi Hasan Miraz, second right, celebrate with his teammates after the dismissal of Australian cricket team captain Steve Smith during the second day of their first test in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP) — Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan became only the fourth bowler to take five wickets in an innings against all nine test nations as Bangladesh took an 88-run lead against Australia in the series-opening test on Monday.

Shakib returned figures of 5-68 to help his side dismiss Australia for 217 after which Bangladesh ended the second day on 45-1.

Opener Tamim Iqbal was batting on 30 with nightwatchman Taijul Islam yet to open the account.

Trailing by 43 runs in the first innings, Australia got the lone success in the penultimate over of day two when left arm spinner Ashton Agar dismissed Soumya Sarkar for 15. Usman Khawaja completed the catch at the third attempt at long-on to ensure Bangladesh wouldn't be unscathed.

Shakib was aided by offspinner Mehidy Hasan who finished with 3-62.

"Any lead would be competitive on this wicket," Mehidy said. "You saw us taking a lead despite scoring just 260 runs on the board. We have many batsmen to bat still in the second innings, so I think we have the edge.

"Our bowlers did extremely well. Shakib Al Hasan has been exceptional. Taijul and me supported him. Our plan was to keep the ball in right place."

Shakib ended the resistance of Pat Cummins, removing him for 25 straight after tea and then took the wicket of Josh Hazlewood to complete the five-for.

He joined an elite list which consists of Sri Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath, and South African fast bowler Dale Steyn.

Cummins and Ashton Agar stalled Bangladesh's progress to steer Australia to 193-8 at tea, combining 49 off 143.

However, in the first over after tea, Shakib got Cummins to end the stubborn partnership. Cummins scored 25 off 95 with one four and one six.

Agar took the onus and added another valuable 24-run with Hazlewood (5).

Agar was not out on 41 off 97, hitting two fours and one six.

"I believe that we can chase anything because I think we can bowl them out pretty quickly tomorrow," Agar said.

"It's going to be hard, any lead is competitive out there at the moment with the way the wicket's going, but I'm sure our batters will all learn from our first innings."

Cummins got a life on 11 as Shafiul Islam put down an easy chance off Shakib's delivery.

Bangladesh had a genuine chance of wrapping up the Australian innings when Shakib removed Glenn Maxwell for 23.

But the resistance came from Agar and Cummins who survived for 90 minutes before tea on the tricky wicket.

Hasan broke through right after lunch having dismissed Matthew Wade for 5 but Maxwell posed a threat until he was stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim.

Shakib had ended Australian opener Matthew Renshaw's watchful innings in the over before lunch to give Bangladesh the upper hand.

Renshaw survived almost two sessions, facing 94 balls for his 45 runs while Australia lost five wickets, until he edged to Soumya Sarkar at slip.

Hasan struck early, after Australia resumed day two at 18-3, when he dismissed skipper Steven Smith (8) to make the total 33-4.

Renshaw and Peter Handscomb (33) resisted the Bangladesh spinners on a tricky wicket in a 69-run fifth-wicket stand and appeared to be settling in, despite Renshaw getting reprieves on 14 and 42.

But left-arm spinner Taijul Islam got a vital breakthrough with a ball that kept low and trapped Handscomb lbw.


Dembele arrives trying to avoid comparisons with Neymar

French soccer player Ousmane Dembele gestures during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tales Azzoni

Madrid (AP) — Newly signed Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele said there is a long way to go before he can be compared to Neymar, the Brazilian star he is replacing at the Catalan club.

As he was officially introduced to fans on Monday, the 20-year-old Dembele tried to avoid any parallels with Neymar, who left in a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in the offseason.

"There is a difference between me and Neymar," Dembele said through a translator. "He is one of the best players in the world, he is excellent. I'm young, I've only played two seasons as a professional. I'm trying to learn every day, I'm trying to improve."

Dembele said he was fulfilling a dream by joining the club he cheered for since he was a child, and that he was looking forward to playing alongside Lionel Messi.

"I want to learn from him," he said. "He is a fantastic player, the best in history. It will be an honor to play in his team. I want to see how he plays, I want to see what he does on the field and off the field. I'm here to learn."

Barcelona paid 105 million euros ($125 million) to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, plus possible add-ons that could reach 147 million euros ($175 million) and would make the Frenchman the second-highest transfer in soccer history.

"It's not a pressure," he said. "The market has changed. What is important is that I do my job on the field. I'm not going to be affected by the amount of the transfer."

Barcelona said more than 17,000 fans were at the Camp Nou Stadium to get their first look at Dembele in a presentation that was delayed by approximately two hours because of a bureaucratic issue that was keeping the youngster from signing the new contract.

Dembele underwent a medical before finally signing the contract alongside Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu.

He changed from his suit into the team's No. 11 shirt that Neymar used to wear, then greeted the crowd before doing a few tricks with the ball and exchanging passes with members of the club's youth squads.

He also received the keys to the car he was awarded from one of the team's sponsors.

Before his first press conference as a Barcelona player, Dembele posed with the team's shirt along with his family.

Dembele's five-year contract has a buyout clause of 400 million euros ($478 million).

He was signed after Neymar left for PSG in a deal worth more than 220 million euros ($262 million) just before the start of the season.

Barcelona initially tried to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool but negotiations did not develop.

Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez did not dismiss the possibility that Coutinho may still arrive, saying that the club was still negotiating to bring one or two players before the end of the transfer window on Friday.

Barcelona have already added forward Gerard Deulofeu, who was with Everton but used to play for the team's youth squads, and Brazil midfielder Paulinho, who was playing in China.

Barcelona won their first two games in the Spanish league.


Baffling paradox between Verstappen & Ricciardo at Red Bull

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 27. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Jerome Pugmire

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (AP) — The paradox at Red Bull is baffling: Daniel Ricciardo keeps getting on the podium while teammate Max Verstappen can hardly finish a race.

Verstappen's early retirement from Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix was the sixth time he failed to finish a Formula One race this season.

Ricciardo's third place was his sixth podium so far.

Since finishing third in China at the second race of the season, Verstappen has failed to finish six of the past 10 races.

He already counts twice as many DNFs — failures to complete a race — as last season, with eight GPs remaining.

When Verstappen made the switch from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in the fifth race of last season, he secured a brilliant win on his team debut at the Spanish GP. He went on to secure six more podiums in a brilliant breakthrough season that earmarked him as a future — and potentially multiple — world champion.

With another year left on his Red Bull contract, the 19-year-old Dutchman will hope for far better fortunes in 2018. There will be plenty of offers elsewhere if he grows tired of an increasingly frustrating situation.

"For a top team this can't happen," he said after a cylinder failure ended his race on lap 8. "In the beginning you can say it's bad luck; but if it's happening again, you can't call it bad luck anymore."

Verstappen was so exasperated after his latest setback that he sarcastically compared his car to Fernando Alonso's malfunctioning McLaren in terms of reliability — or lack of. Alonso has finished only three races as McLaren still struggles badly with its Honda engines.

"We just need to solve it within the team," Verstappen said, demanding improvement. "I just want to finish races and have good results ... At the moment I am not a happy person."

The Italian GP is this weekend, and Verstappen could be hit with grid penalties if the team has to make some more engine changes.

Red Bull uses Renault as its engine supplier, and although the relationship has improved somewhat, it remains a tense one.

Team Principal Christian Horner pointed the finger at Renault after Verstappen's latest incident.

"The engine supplier is going to have to come up with some explanations," Horner said. "We're now staring down the barrel of engine penalties at Monza, which pretty much writes off the weekend there, so it's enormously frustrating."

Horner has been openly critical of Renault in the past, and appears to be running out of patience once again.

"We pay a hell of a lot of money for the engine," he said. "They need to sort it out."

But the curious thing is that Ricciardo, with the same supposedly treacherous engine, is in fine form.

This raises the question as to whether Verstappen's aggressive, full-on driving style may be less suited to the car than his Australian teammate's more patient approach.

"I do a lot of things with my driving style which are very nice to the car," Ricciardo said, adding with a jokey tone. "I actually talk to it a lot during the race."


Update August 28, 2017

Mayweather dominates McGregor in late rounds to go 50-0

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, hits Conor McGregor in their super welterweight boxing match Saturday, Aug. 26, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) — Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on a show in the last fight of his spectacular career.

Conor McGregor didn't do so badly, either.

Mayweather figured out a 50th opponent Saturday night, letting McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes in the 10th round.

It was a smashing end to a career that earned Mayweather more money than any fighter before him — including an estimated $200 million for his last bout.

"I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see," Mayweather said. "I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight."

Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.

Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC fighter landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a man who had never been in a professional boxing match before.

McGregor boxed surprisingly well but after landing some shots in the early rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam. Mayweather then went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.

"I turned him into a Mexican tonight," McGregor said. "He fought like a Mexican."

Though Byrd cautioned McGregor for hitting behind the head on two different occasions, there were no real fouls in the fight and McGregor never tried to revert to any MMA tactics

McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor.

Mayweather was credited with landing more than half his punches, as he solved McGregor's defense after a few rounds. Ringside stats showed him landing 170 of 320 punches to 111 of 430 for McGregor.

In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. He switched from southpaw to conventional at times and used his jab well, but Mayweather's experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.

"Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end," Mayweather said. "I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn't go the distance.

McGregor was trailing badly on all three ringside scorecards through the ninth round, with scores of 89-81, 89-81 and 87-83. The Associated Press had it 87-84.

Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn't make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million, he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, landing at will as McGregor desperately tried to clinch.

The end was near as the two fighters came out for the 10th round and Mayweather went right after McGregor again. He landed a punch that set McGregor reeling across the ring, then landed a combination that had McGregor defenseless as Byrd moved in to stop the bout. McGregor didn't complain when the fight was stopped and went over and hugged Mayweather.

"I was a little fatigued," he said. "He was composed in there, that's what 50 pro fights can give you."

He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.

"I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued."

McGregor's challenge of Mayweather was fueled by social media and turned into a spectacle as the two fighters promoted the bout. It figured to make him $100 million or so, and gave McGregor a name and brand outside of the UFC.

He also got some respect from a fighter who has been in the ring his entire life.

"He's a lot better than I thought he'd be," Mayweather said. "He's a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight."

After all the talk and hype, the fight unfolded like most in boxing figured it would. Mayweather, a 5-1 favorite, took a few rounds to establish his dominance but once he did it was a one-sided fight.

Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.

"This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I'm looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame," Mayweather said. "I picked the best dance partner to do it with.

Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and "49-1" on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather's businesses.

The capacity crowd of 14,623 cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.


Hamilton holds off Vettel's late move to win Belgian GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, center, celebrates on the podium after winning the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 27. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Jerome Pugmire

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (AP) — For a brief moment, Lewis Hamilton feared he had lost the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel, on quicker tires with about 10 laps to go, drove up right alongside him on a long straight, and Hamilton thought "this might be it."

But the British driver fended off his rival heading into the corner.

"It worked out perfect. It was great to go into Turn 5 having just done enough," Hamilton said. "He was able to get way too close. It was only just enough to stay ahead."

After that, Vettel never got another chance to pass Hamilton and conceded some ground in the title race.

Hamilton's third Spa win helped him trim championship leader Vettel's advantage over him to seven points, with eight races left in what is shaping up to be a nail-biting finish.

Hamilton's fifth win this season was his 58th overall, having equaled Michael Schumacher's pole position record of 68 in Saturday's qualifying.

Vettel finished about 2 seconds behind Hamilton.

"I was waiting for Lewis to make a mistake and he didn't," the German driver said. "I'm not entirely happy."

The track was more suited to Mercedes than Ferrari, and Hamilton said improvement can still be made.

"This weekend we definitely didn't have the race pace. The car is not quite where we need it," said Hamilton, who was competing in his 200th GP. "It was only just enough to stay ahead."

Four-time F1 champion Vettel has 220 points to three-time champion Hamilton's 213 heading into next weekend's Italian GP in Monza.

"The positive thing is that we had really good race pace," Vettel said.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished third — for his sixth podium of the season — ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, with Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas fifth.

Ricciardo showed great race intelligence and opportunism to pass Bottas after the safety car came out 10 laps from the end.

Hamilton made a good start to the race on the long climb up to Eau Rouge, but Max Verstappen's hopes ended on lap 8 when his Red Bull lost power.

"I can't believe this," Verstappen said. His exasperation was understandable — it is the sixth time this season he has failed to finish the race, and some 80,000 Dutch fans had crossed the border to cheer him on.

"I'm not happy at all," Verstappen said. "I am very disappointed for the fans who buy an expensive ticket to watch."

The 19-year-old Verstappen secured a podium with third place in China but has been hit with reliability issues since.

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso retired on lap 27 in the latest setback as McLaren continues to struggle with Honda engines. The Spanish driver has completed only three races so far.

The Spa track, nestled in the Ardennes forest, is the longest in F1 at 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) and the race is often full of incident.

There was one heated clash between Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, prompting the safety car to come out after they made contact with each other on lap 30, sending debris onto the track.

Their tense relationship is degrading fast.

After bumping on the track at the Azerbaijan GP in June, they did it again when they touched wheels as Ocon moved on the outside of the track shortly after the start, with Perez responding by squeezing the Frenchman against the barrier.

Later the pair came into contact again with Ocon's front wing flying away and a tire dropping off Perez's car as a result.

This prompted a furious, expletive-laced outburst from Ocon.

After both cars pitted for repairs, Ocon finished ninth but Perez had to retire just before the end.

The safety car stayed out for four laps, which was too long for Hamilton's liking, and he used an expletive of his own to complain.

"There was hardly any debris about," Hamilton said afterward.

Drivers worry that their tires lose heat if they stay behind the car too long.

But Vettel failed to capitalize.

"Maybe that was the problem, my restart was too good," Vettel said. "I was too close."


Arsenal routed at Liverpool as Spurs draw with Burnley

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge, left, celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game against Arsenal during their English Premier League match at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, Sunday Aug. 27. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Rob Harris

Liverpool, England (AP) — Humiliation for Arsenal at Liverpool. More Wembley frustration for Tottenham.

The north London clubs had an afternoon to forget in the Premier League on Sunday before the two-week international break.

An error-strewn display by Arsenal was punished at Anfield where Liverpool surged to a 4-0 victory.

At the same time in the capital, Tottenham were heading for only their third victory in 12 matches at Wembley until Burnley struck in stoppage time to claim a 1-1 draw at English football's national stadium.

Chelsea, who beat Tottenham at their temporary home for the season last Sunday, followed up with a 2-0 victory over Everton as the champions showed they have quickly recovered from a shock opening-day loss to Burnley.

West Bromwich Albion missed out on a third consecutive win when they were held 1-1 by Stoke. It leaves Manchester United, who beat Leicester 2-0 on Saturday, as the only team with a perfect record after three of 38 rounds.

___

RUTHLESS LIVERPOOL

This was the platform for Liverpool's attacking unit to flourish, and they seized it. There were certainly no signs Liverpool missed Philippe Coutinho, who is embroiled in a transfer stand-off, as Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and substitute Daniel Sturridge scored.

Liverpool went ahead in the 17th minute when the opener was gifted. Firmino ghosted into the penalty area to meet Joe Gomez's cross unmarked and sent a downward header past goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Even after conceding, Arsenal remained as chaotic and lethargic, never looking capable of mounting a comeback — particularly after conceding again five minutes before halftime. A counterattack launched from inside the Liverpool penalty area by Gomez was completed by Mane's shot into the far corner of the net.

The third goal was conceded just after Arsenal had taken a corner. Salah pinched the ball off Hector Bellerin and was given the freedom to dart forward unchallenged before the Egyptian netted his third Liverpool goal.

Salah turned provider for the fourth with a cross met by the unmarked Sturridge and headed past Cech.

Arsenal didn't even manage a single shot on goal as Arsene Wenger's side endured a second successive loss. It was a quiet day for Loris Karius, who was unexpectedly selected ahead of Liverpool first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

"We're very disappointed with the way we performed but we have to accept it," Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey said. "We're sorry to the fans that came up. It's not good enough and we have to do something about it.

"We're going to have to change something if we're to compete this year. That wasn't good enough. Liverpool showed what it's going to have to take to compete for the Premier League."

___

TOTTENHAM'S TRAVAILS

The mantra from Tottenham is: Don't blame Wembley. There's little point — last season's runners-up are stuck there for the season while their White Hart Lane home is redeveloped.

Harry Kane's failure to score in this game, or any game in August in the Premier League, certainly can't be blamed on Wembley. The league's top scorer last season, Kane missed several chances to build on Dele Alli's opener. It proved costly when Chris Wood marked his Burnley debut by striking in the equalizer in stoppage time.

"If some people think about (Wembley being a problem) they need to stop," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. "We are responsible to do better and try to win, and the way today we conceded a goal it was not the problem of Wembley."

___

CHELSEA ON TRACK

Memories of the opening day loss to Burnley are fading at Chelsea after victory over Tottenham was followed by midfielder Cesc Fabregas and off-season recruit Alvaro Morata securing goals to sweep aside Everton.

Yet doubts persist about Antonio Conte's future as the champions' squad has not been reinforced as significantly as he hoped ahead of the summer transfer window closing on Thursday.

"I'm totally committed to the club," Conte said at Stamford Bridge. "I'm a coach, I'm not a manager. The best of my work is on the pitch, to try to improve my players, to try to improve my team.

"Then when you want to strengthen your squad you have to give your opinion and speak with your club. But then the club go to the transfer market and try to solve the situation, try to help us."

___

PULIS FRUSTRATED

West Brom led through Jay Rodriguez's strike but a defensive mistake was exploited by Peter Crouch, who headed Stoke level.

"It was disappointing," West Brom manager Tony Pulis said after being held by his former club. "For all their possession I didn't think that they created all that many clear-cut chances. These things happen. They bring Crouchy on and without him doing anything his presence unnerves defenders."


Johnson pulls off a stunner over Spieth in Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson holds up his trophy after winning The Northern Trust golf tournament over Jordan Spieth in a playoff on Sunday, Aug. 27, in Old Westbury, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Doug Ferguson

Old Westbury, N.Y. (AP) — In a FedEx Cup playoff opener that felt like a heavyweight bout, Dustin Johnson delivered back-to-back blows to beat Jordan Spieth in The Northern Trust.

One was a putt from 18 feet.

The other was a drive that traveled 341 yards.

Down to his last shot, Johnson watched his 18-foot par putt stay on the high side of the hole and thought for sure it would miss. He took two steps of hope to the right, and then pumped his fist in a rare show of emotion when it swirled around and dropped in the back side of the cup for a 4-under 66 to force a playoff.

Given new life, Johnson relied on his strength and powered a drive over the lake to the far edge of the fairway. It was the longest drive all week on the 18th hole, and it left him a 60-degree wedge to 4 feet for birdie and a victory he badly needed.

The No. 1 player in golf finally looked the part again.

"It was fun to be in the hunt again and know that my game is going to hold up under pressure," Johnson said.

Spieth lost for the first time in six tries when leading by two shots or more, and there wasn't much he could do except take back that tee shot into the water on the par-3 sixth hole after building a five-shot lead. Johnson played bogey-free over the final 29 holes.

"I didn't lose the tournament," Spieth said after closing with a 69. "He won it."

It was great theater between Johnson and Spieth, good friends who now are No. 1 and No. 2 in the world.

"I thought that was a fun show," Spieth said. "I was hoping it wasn't going to be that much fun."

Johnson made up a five-shot deficit in five holes, and they battled along the back nine with big shots and big moments.

They were tied on the par-3 17th when both hit into a bunker, and Johnson blasted out to 4 feet with an easier shot and angle to the hole. Spieth had 18 feet for par and knocked it in, like he always seems to do.

On the closing hole, Johnson showed the kind of golf I.Q. that belies his simple outlook on life. After he sliced his drive up the hill and into a nasty lie in the rough, he chose to lay up instead of trying to hammer a shot to an elevated green.

But he made it pay off with a par that got him into the playoff after Spieth lagged a 75-foot putt perfectly to get his par.

They finished at 13-under 267.

Johnson was angry with himself after his tee shot in regulation for not taking it over the water, even with a light wind in his face.

"Right after I hit my drive, I was like, 'What am I doing?" Johnson said. He told his caddie, brother Austin Johnson, that if they got into a playoff, he wouldn't make the same mistake twice. It took the most clutch putt Johnson has made in his career, and he blasted his best drive of the week.

Spieth knew it was going to be tough when they returned to the tee and felt the wind switch in their favor.

"I was hoping he was not going to notice that," Spieth said.

Johnson won for the first time since he wrenched his back during a spill down the stairs that knocked him out of the Masters and derailed his dominance in golf. He had won three straight tournaments against strong fields until that injury.

"I feel like the game is finally back in form like it was before the Masters," Johnson said.

Of his 16 victories, this was the first time Johnson faced a must-make putt on the final hole, and he delivered a par putt that even Spieth thought was going to miss on the high side of the hole.

"But his body language was hanging in," Spieth said. "I'm like, 'Does that really still have a chance?' And it came around and lipped it. My initial thought was, 'I just did that exact thing to him the hole before.'"

The Northern Trust never looked as though it would contain so much drama.

Spieth began with a three-shot lead and he stretched it to five shots with a 30-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole.

Five holes later, they were tied.

Spieth's tee shot on the next hole banged off the rock wall and into the water on the par-3 sixth, and he made double bogey. On the ninth hole, Spieth took three putts from just off the left side the green, and Johnson made a 7-foot birdie putt for another two-shot swing.

No one else really had a chance.

Jon Rahm (68) ran off three straight birdies early on the back and briefly was one shot behind, though he had stronger holes ahead of him and fell back. Jhonattan Vegas (65) was within two shots after playing the scoring holes. They tied for third, four shots behind.

Otherwise, it was a matter of who finished among the top 100 in the FedEx Cup to move on to the TPC Boston next week for the second playoff event.

Bubba Watson shot a 70 and tied for 10th, to become one of eight players to qualify for the second playoff event all 11 years of the FedEx Cup. David Lingmerth and Harold Varner also moved into the top 100. That marked the fewest players outside the top 100 to advance since 2007.

Johnson moved to the top of the list. Spieth is right behind. They will play together the opening two rounds next week in Boston.


England lead West Indies by 2 runs, 7 wickets left

England's Dawid Malan, centre, swings at the ball during day three of the second test match at Headingley in Leeds, England, Sunday Aug. 27. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Leeds, England (AP) — Joe Root and Dawid Malan began the fightback to take England to 171-3 in their second innings, only two runs ahead of West Indies at stumps on Day 3 of the second test on Sunday.

Root was 45 not out and his unbroken partnership with Malan was worth 77 by the close at Headingley, edging England just ahead after West Indies finished on 427 all out in their first innings.

Root was on course to reach 50 for the sixth time in 11 innings this summer, and Malan was 21 not out. In a further boost to England, opener Mark Stoneman made 52, a maiden half-century in his second test and relief for one of England's struggling newcomers.

It was a battle for Stoneman, who faced 124 deliveries for his half-century and also played through the pain of a dislocated little finger, which he sustained halfway through his innings.

West Indies had applied the pressure on England earlier in the day to take a 169-run first-innings lead. That was set up by centuries on Day 2 from Shai Hope (147) and Kraigg Brathwaite (134) and a 75-run partnership on Sunday between West Indies captain Jason Holder (43) and Jermaine Blackwood (49).

Holder had a standout day when he followed up on that effort with the bat by taking 2-44 with the ball at the start of England's second innings.

Holder forced out Alastair Cook and Tom Westley, both caught behind by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, and England were 94-3 before Root and Malan came together and began to rebuild England's second innings.

West Indies still have a good chance at a first test victory in England in 17 years, mostly down to the batting of Hope and Brathwaite and the all-round work of Holder.

Continuing on 329-5 in their first innings, West Indies had to recover from the early shock of losing two wickets off the first two balls of the day, when Hope went without adding to his overnight score of 147 and Dowrich was out for a first-ball duck.

James Anderson opened the day in dramatic fashion with those two dismissals in his 5-76, taking England's leading test bowler of all-time to 497 career wickets and just three short of becoming only the sixth player to take 500 test wickets.

The Holder-Blackwood partnership put the West Indies innings back on track, though, as the pair took the attack to the England bowlers. Holder hit seven fours before being caught at mid-on going for an eighth boundary. Blackwood also collected seven fours but was run out one short of a half-century. Gabriel and Kemar Roach added more handy runs with their 21-run stand for the last wicket. Gabriel eventually fell leg before wicket to Ben Stokes two balls after he was given out caught at gully but successfully reviewed the decision, with the ball coming off his shoulder.

That total gave West Indies a handy advantage in their quest to level the three-match series and bounce back straightaway from a humiliating innings defeat in the first test.

Root and Malan were in the process of dragging England back into the match after both were given let-offs. Malan got away with a thin edge when on 4 and, possibly more damaging for the West Indies, Root was dropped when on 10 by Kyle Hope in the gully.


Sung Hyun Park rallies to win CP Women's Open

Sung Hyun Park, of South Korea, tees off on the 15th hole during the final round of the 2017 Canadian Pacific Women's Open, in Ottawa on Sunday, Aug. 27. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ottawa, Ontario (AP) — Sung Hyun Park added the Canadian Pacific Women's Open title to her U.S. Women's Open crown with a comeback victory Sunday at Ottawa Hunt.

Park birdied the final hole for a 7-under 64 and a two-stroke victory over fellow South Korean player Mirim Lee. Four strokes behind leaders Nicole Broch Larsen and Mo Martin entering the round, The 23-year-old Park finished at 13-under 271. She won the U.S. Women's Open last month in New Jersey for her first LPGA Tour title.

"I can't think of anything. I can't believe this," Park said. "I think it was a perfect game today. Everything was. There were no mistakes today, and I think it was perfect."

Park had five birdies in an eight-hole stretch on Nos. 3-10, and also birdied the par-4 16th before her closing birdie on the par-5 18th.

"I think this golf course fits my game," Park said. "My shots and putting were good. I think this week was just perfect for me. That's how I got the confidence on this golf course."

Lee had two eagles in a 68.

Michelle Wie withdrew before the round and was taken to Ottawa Hospital for surgery to remove her appendix. Wie was tied for 23rd, six strokes back entering the day.

Larsen had a 70 to drop into a tie for third at 10 under with Cristie Kerr (69), In Gee Chun (70), Shanshan Feng (68) and Marina Alex (68). Martin was another stroke back after a 72.

"I really enjoyed this week," Chun said. "Today is Sunday, so a lot of spectators come out here. I really like their support for the players. I really appreciate it. Sung Hyun had a really good round today. But I don't know, my game was not really bad, so I'm happy for her to win this week. I'll just keep going to next week."

Alex had her best career finish.

"I thought the overall setup was great," Alex said. "I thought they set the course up perfect today."

Canadian star Brooke Henderson followed her course-record 63 with a 71 to tie for 12th at 7 under. The 19-year-old major champion is from nearby Smiths Falls.

"These crowds were so incredible," Henderson said. "I just could never have imagined this many people coming out to watch me play golf. It's amazing. Definitely a week I'll remember forever."

Park joined her countrywomen In-Kyung Kim (three victories) and So Yeon Ryu (two) as the only multiple winners this season. Park has 10 career Korea LPGA victories.

She was looking forward to see her dog Ato at her Florida base during a two-week break.

"It's been a while since I've seen my dog, so I'm planning to play with my dog during my vacation," Park said.


Stanton hits No 50 to help Marlins beat Padres 6-2

Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton hits a home run against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, Aug. 27, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Miami (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton hit his 50th home run to break an eighth-inning tie, helping the Miami Marlins sweep the San Diego Padres with a 6-2 victory on Sunday.

Stanton became the first National League player to reach 50 homers since Prince Fielder hit 50 for Milwaukee in 2007. Stanton's 17th homer in August tied him for the second-most in MLB history in the month, behind Rudy York's 18 in 1937.

With the score 2-all, Dee Gordon singled to lead off the eighth. Stanton then drove a 2-1 pitch from Clayton Richard (6-13) into the hedge in center field.

The All-Star slugger also walked, doubled home a run and singled in four plate appearances, hiking his average to .296. He increased his RBI total to 108, a career high.

Dan Straily, Kyle Barraclough (5-1) and two other pitchers combined on a seven-hitter. The Marlins' three-game sweep and fourth consecutive victory overall gave them 13 wins in the past 16 games.

TWINS 7, BLUE JAYS 2

Toronto — Byron Buxton homered three times and set a career high with five RBIs, powering the Twins to the win.

Buxton had four hits, scored four runs and stole a base in his first career multihomer game. Kyle Gibson (8-10) pitched into the seventh inning as Minnesota earned a rare series victory north of the border.

Coming into the day, the Twins had a half-game lead over the Angels and Mariners in the race for the second AL wild card. Minnesota has won a major league-best 15 games since Aug. 6.

Nori Aoki homered for the Blue Jays, who have dropped seven of nine. Joe Biagini (3-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.

INDIANS 12, ROYALS 0

Cleveland — Yan Gomes hit a grand slam to highlight Cleveland's nine-run second inning, and the AL Central-leading Indians completed a three-game shutout sweep.

Carlos Carrasco (13-6) allowed six hits in seven innings, and the Indians, who haven't given up a run in 28 innings, outscored the Royals 20-0 in the series.

It's the first time Cleveland has posted three straight shutouts since 1956.

Kansas City hasn't scored in 34 consecutive innings, a team record and the longest drought in the majors this season.

Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund (1-2) was charged with seven runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.

PHILLIES 6, CUBS 3

Philadelphia — Rookie Rhys Hoskins homered for the fifth straight game and made a diving catch to start a game-changing triple play in the fifth inning, leading Philadelphia to the victory.

Nick Williams also connected for the Phillies, who have gone deep in nine straight games, hitting 20 homers over that span.

Hoskins led off the eighth with a drive to left-center to give him 11 home runs in his first 18 games, becoming the fastest in major league history to reach 11 homers. Hoskins, who has 24 RBIs, was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 10.

Nick Pivetta (5-9) allowed three runs in five innings to get the win. Hector Neris worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save.

Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs for the NL Central-leading Cubs. John Lackey (10-10) yielded five runs, four earned, and six hits in five innings.

BREWERS 3, DODGERS 2

Los Angeles — Jimmy Nelson took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and the Brewers beat Yu Darvish in his return from the disabled list.

Hernan Perez homered and Domingo Santana had two hits and an RBI for Milwaukee, which took two of three at Dodger Stadium. The Brewers pulled within two games of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.

Los Angeles had gone 19-0-3 in series since dropping two of three games at home against Washington from June 5-7.

Nelson (10-6) was charged with two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 29th save.

Darvish (8-10) lasted only five innings.

YANKEES 10, MARINERS 1

New York — Masahiro Tanaka finally flourished under the sun, Starlin Castro had four hits and the Yankees took advantage of a record five errors by the Mariners in the first inning.

Mariners shortstop Jean Segura committed three early miscues — two on one play. Third baseman Kyle Seager and left fielder Ben Gamel also botched balls as the Yankees scored six runs, one earned, in the first inning against Andrew Albers (2-1).

That made it an unusually easy afternoon for Tanaka (10-10), who entered 0-6 with an 11.81 ERA in seven starts during the day this season. He struck out 10 while pitching seven innings of one-run ball.

New York took two of three in the series and moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Boston in the AL East after Baltimore completed a three-game sweep at Fenway Park with a 2-1 victory.

Seattle's five errors were the most in an inning in club history. The previous major league team to make five errors in one inning was the 1977 Chicago Cubs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

ORIOLES 2, RED SOX 1

Boston — Adam Jones and Trey Mancini hit back-to-back RBI doubles against Doug Fister in the first inning, and the Orioles held on for a three-game sweep of the AL East-leading Red Sox.

One outing after his shocking one-hitter, in which he gave up a leadoff homer and held the Indians hitless the rest of the way, Fister (3-7) again struggled in the first inning before settling down. But this time the Red Sox couldn't erase the early deficit, stranding 13 and batting 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

It was the fourth straight loss for Boston, matching its longest losing streak of the season.

Baltimore's Wade Miley (8-10) allowed one run in five-plus innings. Brad Brach got the last five outs for his 17th save as the Orioles won their fourth in a row.

ASTROS 7, ANGELS 5

Anaheim, California — Brian McCann tripled with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, rallying Houston to the road win.

Jose Altuve sparked the winning rally with a two-out single against Cam Bedrosian (3-3). Josh Reddick then singled and Yuli Gurriel walked before McCann's drive just got over a leaping Mike Trout in center field, giving Houston a 7-5 lead.

The Angels loaded the bases against Ken Giles in the ninth, but designated hitter Albert Pujols flied out to center field to end the game. Joe Musgrove (6-8) got the win and Giles earned his 26th save.

DIAMONDBACKS 11, GIANTS 0

Phoenix — Patrick Corbin pitched seven-plus innings in his fourth straight win, J.D. Martinez homered twice and Arizona pulled away for the victory.

Paul Goldschmidt, Martinez and Daniel Descalso hit consecutive homers in Arizona's nine-run eighth inning. The Diamondbacks swept the three-game series and have won six of seven, maintaining a 1 1/2-game lead over Colorado for the top NL wild card.

Corbin (12-11) allowed five hits and struck out eight.

Giants starter Chris Stratton (2-3) struck out 10 in six innings. He allowed two runs and four hits.

San Francisco has lost four of five to fall to 52-80.

ATHLETICS 8, RANGERS 3

Oakland, California — Matt Olson and Matt Chapman hit consecutive homers in the second inning, and the Athletics beat the Rangers to complete a three-game sweep.

Shin-Soo Choo hit his 16th home run and the Rangers added an unearned run, but managed little else against Jharel Cotton (7-10) and three relievers. Blake Treinen retired five batters for his seventh save.

The loss dropped Texas three games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.

Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (6-5) was charged with three runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

METS 6, NATIONALS 5

Washington — Amed Rosario hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the Mets cut down the potential tying run at the plate for the final out in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

With two outs in the ninth and pitcher Edwin Jackson pinch-running at first base, ex-Met Daniel Murphy sent a sharp grounder into right-center field for a double. When rookie right fielder Travis Taijeron booted the ball, Jackson was waved around third.

Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares, quickly backing up Taijeron, grabbed the ball and threw to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who relayed a strike to catcher Travis d'Arnaud in time to get Jackson.

Cabrera hit a three-run homer for New York, which led 5-0 after three innings. Jerry Blevins (6-0) got the win and A.J. Ramos worked two innings for his 25th save in 27 chances.

Joe Blanton (2-3) got the loss.

RAYS 3, CARDINALS 2, 10 INNINGS

St. Louis — Logan Morrison hit his second homer of the game in the 10th inning, sending Tampa Bay to the road win.

Morrison drove a 97-mph fastball from Sam Tuivailala (3-3) into the right-center field bleachers with one out in the 10th for his 31st homer.

Sergio Romo (3-1) got three outs and Alex Colome worked a scoreless 10th for his major league-leading 39th save in 44 chances.

All five runs in the game were scored on solo homers.

Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter connected for St. Louis.

ROCKIES 3, BRAVES 0

Atlanta — Jon Gray pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning and Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer, leading Colorado to the victory.

Gerardo Parra had two hits and scored two runs as Colorado took two of three from Atlanta for its first road series win since also winning two of three at Washington from July 29-30.

Gray (6-3) struck out seven and walked two. Jake McGee worked the ninth for his third save.

Mike Foltynewicz (10-10) lost his fourth straight start despite allowing only one run and four hits in five innings.

WHITE SOX 7, TIGERS 1

Chicago — White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito threw seven scoreless innings to earn his first major league victory.

Giolito (1-1) allowed three hits in his second start with the White Sox after they acquired him in a December trade with Washington.

Matt Davidson homered and Yolmer Sanchez had three hits for the White Sox, who have won four of five.

Ian Kinsler hit his 14th home run for the Tigers, who lost for the 16th time in 21 games. Matthew Boyd (5-8) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.

PIRATES 5, REDS 2

Cincinnati — John Jaso and Starling Marte each drove in two runs as Pittsburgh earned its second straight win.

A.J. Schugel (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings and Felipe Rivero got three outs for his 16th save.

The last-place Reds left 11 runners on base, including three in the ninth, while slipping to 2-4 on their nine-game homestand.

Reds rookie Tyler Mahle (0-1) allowed three runs and four hits in five innings in his first major league start. He walked four and hit a batter.


Update August 26 - 27, 2017

Mayweather, McGregor easily make weight for big fight

Floyd Mayweather Jr., center left, and Conor McGregor face off during a weigh-in Friday, Aug. 25, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Greg Beacham

Las Vegas (AP) — Floyd Mayweather weighed in at a trim 149 1/2 pounds Friday for his boxing showdown with Conor McGregor, who also made weight at 153 pounds.

The undefeated boxer and the two-division UFC champion were comfortably below the 154-pound limit when they stepped on the scales before a raucous crowd at T-Mobile Arena, which will host the so-called Money Fight on Saturday night.

The enthusiastic turnout included thousands of McGregor's vocal Irish fans, who sang and waved flags. Mayweather was the villain as usual, but his cheering section also appeared to be more robust than normal for the American antihero.

Mayweather had expressed doubt McGregor could make the weight, but the Irishman roared and flexed as he came in well within the mark. McGregor is making his professional boxing debut in Vegas.

"I'll stomp my foot in the center of that ring, and I won't go nowhere," said McGregor, who expects to weigh around 160 pounds by the first bell.

Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) came in remarkably light, and he is likely to have a noticeable size disadvantage. Although Mayweather had a bulging six-pack, McGregor claimed he wasn't impressed.

"He looks blown out and out of shape," McGregor said. "That's the worst shape I've ever seen him in. I'll stop him in the second round. Let's see who can take it. I see a man afraid."

Mayweather expressed no concern about his own weight disadvantage. The 40-year-old champion's game is built on speed and elusiveness, not brawn.

"Weight doesn't win fights," he said. "Fighting wins fights."

Mayweather also wasn't bothered by the crowd booing him.

"I've been here before," Mayweather said. "I know what it takes in a fight of this magnitude. He did a lot of (talking). I did a lot of this. Tomorrow, it comes down to the fighters."

Not everything went perfectly for Mayweather at the weigh-in. His protege, Gervonta Davis, was stripped of his 130-pound IBF title when he weighed in at 132 pounds for his co-feature undercard bout against Francisco Fonseca.

The 22-year-old Davis, who fights for Mayweather Promotions, was due to defend the belt for the second time in front of a vast pay-per-view audience. But Davis also had trouble making the limit for his first title defense against Liam Walsh in May, needing three tries to hit it.

Davis and Fonseca will still fight, but only Fonseca can win the belt.

"My fans and supporters, I apologize," Davis wrote on Twitter. "I will make it up!"

Tickets were free for the event, and fans got a show from hip-hop star YG beforehand. The building appeared to be essentially full, but that might not be the case on fight night: Ticket prices for Saturday's show are trending down, with many below the original list price.

Some tickets at the T-Mobile arena could be had for as little as $1,100, while seats closer to the action were being listed on secondary markets for less than they originally cost. A day before the fight, there were also hundreds of tickets left at the box office.

Jesse Lawrence of TicketIQ, a reseller and market analysis site, said promoters misjudged their market when they priced the arena from $2,500 in the upper sections to $10,000 at ringside. He said roughly 10 percent of the 20,000-seat arena remained for sale.

There were also plenty of closed circuit seats available at hotels owned by MGM Resorts at $150 each.

While ticket sales have been spotty, the fight is still expected to do huge numbers on pay-per-view. Up to 50 million people are expected to watch the bout in the United States alone.


Hamilton tops 2nd practice for Belgian GP; Raikkonen 2nd

 

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the second practice session ahead of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 25. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Jerome Pugmire

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (AP) — Lewis Hamilton increased the pace on quicker tires and posted the fastest time in the second practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.

The Mercedes driver was second quickest behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the morning practice, but that was with Raikkonen on ultra softs and Hamilton on the slightly slower softs.

With both on ultra softs in P2, Hamilton showed extra pace, clocking 0.262 seconds clear of Raikkonen and 0.427 ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

"The car felt strong straight out of the box," said Hamilton, who has won four races this season.

Mercedes upgraded the engines on both cars for this weekend, meaning it has made its fourth specification change on the power unit. Any further changes this season will incur penalties.

Ferrari has kept its third engine and has another permitted change remaining over the eight races following Belgium.

"We made some good steps with the set-up right from the start of P1, which is a really encouraging way to kick off the weekend," Hamilton said.

But he added a note of caution with regard to the car's actual race speed compared to Ferrari: "It looks tight at the top on the long-run pace."

In a further boost for Hamilton, championship leader Sebastian Vettel was only fifth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen in P2.

Toward the end, a thunderstorm drenched the vast seven-kilometer (4.3-mile) Spa circuit that cuts through the forest of Ardennes, enveloping it in darkness.

"Aquaplaning already," Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo said.

Ricciardo then sought refuge in the team garage, along with the other drivers, as the session petered out.

Because of its location, the Spa track is famed for its micro-climate, meaning it can be sunny on one side and raining on the other.

"It's going to be usual Spa weather," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. "Bring your sun cream and your umbrella."

The third practice is on Saturday morning followed by qualifying, where Hamilton looks to equal F1 great Michael Schumacher's pole position record of 68.

Vettel leads Hamilton in their title fight by 14 points.

Raikkonen went quickest in the morning after having repairs on his Ferrari. The Finnish driver went into the garage for about 20 minutes after an apparent suspension problem, but came back and overtook Hamilton's time.

The first practice was interrupted after about 20 minutes when Felipe Massa lost control of his Williams and went off track into the gravel, buckling a couple of wheels. Massa, who missed the Hungarian GP last month because of vertigo, sat out P2 because the team had to change his chassis.

When P1 restarted, Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas also went into the gravel. After some small repairs, he placed sixth fastest.

Bottas, who has won two races and finished on the podium in the last five, was less upbeat than Hamilton.

"We had some trouble setting up the car and I didn't feel too comfortable in the beginning. In the end it was getting better, we made quite big steps," Bottas said. "The performance of our car in general is looking good. However, there is still a lot of margin to optimize the car."

The 19-year-old Verstappen, meanwhile, is going to enjoy huge support, with up to 80,000 Dutch fans flocking over the Belgian border to cheer him on over the weekend. That is four times more than came to see the Dutchman race last year.

"It's brilliant to see so much orange around the place. Everything's sold out, rammed. To see so much support for Max is quite phenomenal," Horner said. "He's had a lot of bad luck so far this season, and where better for it to change than at effectively his home grand prix?"


West Indies bowl England out for 258 in 2nd test

West Indies Jason Holder celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Dawid Malan during the second Test match at Headingley, Leeds, England, Friday Aug. 25. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Leeds, England (AP) — West Indies bowled England out for 258 on Day 1 of the second test on Friday, raising hopes that the tourists can be competitive after a morale-sapping defeat in the series-opener.

Quick bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach had four wickets each to lift West Indian spirits and restrict England, despite a century by Ben Stokes and a record-equaling half-century by captain Joe Root.

West Indies were 19-1 in reply in their first innings at stumps at Headingley, 239 runs behind. James Anderson removed Kieran Powell for 5, helped by Alastair Cook's 150th test catch. That took Anderson to 493 test wickets and edged England's leading test bowler a little closer to becoming just the sixth player to 500 test wickets.

Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo kept Anderson and England's attack at bay for 17 balls at the end of the day for his 1 not out. Kraigg Brathwaite was 13 not out.

Despite the shaky start with the bat by West Indies, the day still belonged to the visitors, a surprise turnaround after they were beaten by an innings and 209 runs in the first test and expected to struggle again badly in the second.

England's decision to bat first was compromised by another failure by their new-look top order. Opener Mark Stoneman was out for 19 in his second test and No. 3 Tom Westley out for 3 in his second series. Alastair Cook (11) also failed, and England were 71-4 when Dawid Malan, another of the new batsmen, played on to Jason Holder on 8.

It could have been even better for West Indies if Powell held onto a simple chance at slip when Root was on 8. Stokes also survived a chance when on 9.

Having survived the drop, Root held England together with his 59, making a half-century in 12 consecutive tests and equaling the record of South Africa's AB de Villiers. Stokes hammered 100 from 124 balls with 17 fours, sharing half-century partnerships with Root and Moeen Ali.

That took England to a respectable total, but the outcome of the first day would have been pleasing to West Indies after seeing England rack up 514-8 declared in their only innings of the first test.

Gabriel justified his recall to the team with 4-51, including the wickets of Cook, Stokes, and Jonny Bairstow. Legspinner Bishoo, another bowler brought back by the West Indies after missing the heavy defeat at Edgbaston, collected the wicket of Root.


Johnson, Spieth, Fowler part of logjam at Northern Trust

Jordan Spieth. (AP Photo/File)

Doug Ferguson

Old Westbury, N.Y. (AP) — Two swings cost Dustin Johnson the lead. It wasn't long before Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler caught up to him in The Northern Trust, setting up a weekend of star power in the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.

Johnson, finally looking like the No. 1 player who looked unstoppable in the spring, appeared on the verge of building a big lead at Glen Oaks Club until consecutive tee shots wound up on the wrong holes and forced him to scramble just to escape with bogey.

Fowler made up a five-shot deficit in six holes playing alongside Johnson, making a 15-foot birdie on the last hole for a 66 to join Johnson and Jhonattan Vegas (65) atop the leaderboard. And then Spieth put together a stretch Friday afternoon reminiscent of his British Open victory, minus a shot from the driving range, in a 65.

Spieth began the back nine with five straight birdies, matching his longest birdie streak on the PGA Tour. It ended with a bogey on the par-3 15th when his tee shot nearly found the water, but then he answered with a 40-foot birdie putt up the slope on the 16th.

Even without his best year with his best club, Spieth has won three times and captured the third leg of the Grand Slam. But his putter doesn't leave him for long.

"Putter has been streaky for me this summer, which is better than just kind of not-so-great, which it was before that," he said. "So I've been able to mentally use one or two good putts to make me feel like I'm putting awesome.

"I got on the good side of the streak on the back nine today."

Spieth made pars from the bunkers on the last two holes to join the others at 6-under 134.

He wasn't alone in running off a string of birdies. Matt Kuchar looked as though he might miss the cut until his caddie encourage him to try to get back to even par. Kuchar ran off four straight birdies and kept right on rolling, ending his round of 64 with eight birdies on the last 10 holes.

Kuchar and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (68) were one shot out of the lead.

Watson is at No. 113 in the FedEx Cup, and only the top 100 after The Northern Trust advance to the next playoff event at the TPC Boston. Watson says he won't play the rest of the year once he is eliminated. A big finish this week could delay that another month, a nice problem to have.

Jon Rahm, who played with Johnson and Fowler, had a 68 and was two shots behind along with Justin Rose (68) and Russell Henley (72).

Seventy players made the cut at 2 over par. That included Geoff Ogilvy, who went bunker-to-bunker-to-bunker on his final hole and had to make a 4-foot putt for double bogey. If he had missed, then it would have let 11 players back into the tournament. Among those missing the cut were Hideki Matsuyama, the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs, who three-putted the last hole and missed by one.

The cut ended the season of 13 players, a group that included Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker and former PGA champion Jimmy Walker.

Johnson looked so sharp early on that he didn't have a birdie putt longer than 12 feet over his first six holes, though he converted just two of them. He reached 8 under when he hammered a driver and a fairway metal to the back of the green on the 629-yard third hole, two-putting for birdie.

But his tee shot on No. 4 was inches away from the third fairway, and his next shot struck a tree. He had to get up-and-down from 50 feet right to save bogey. The next tee shot was so far left it was in the rough on the fourth hole. He clipped branches, hit a poor chip and had to two-putt from 80 feet for his bogey.

"But other than that, I felt like it was a really solid day," Johnson said. "I'm really pleased with the way the golf game is right now and I'm looking forward to this weekend."

Fowler, meanwhile stuffed it on No. 4 and rolled in an 8-footer on the par-3 sixth over water, and just like that they were tied.

"Pretty stress-free," Fowler said. "I've been driving it well this week, which is key around here. You don't want to play out of the rough."

Phil Mickelson limited his mistakes and made four birdies in a round of 68, which left him six shots behind but gave him two more rounds at Glen Oaks to post the kind of scores that would make him a viable pick for the Presidents Cup. Rory McIlroy chipped in for birdie on the tough par-3 second and shot 68. He was seven shots behind.

The focus was at the top with so many popular players contending — Spieth, Fowler, Johnson at the top.

"That's what tends to happen in the playoffs," Spieth said. "As less guys make the next tournaments, you start to get players that are playing very well, and to no surprise, those guys are toward the top. ... Should be an exciting weekend."


Gavrilova upsets Radwanska in Connecticut Open semifinals

Australia's Daria Gavrilova celebrates her win over Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, on Friday, Aug. 25, in the semifinals of the Connecticut Open tennis tournament in New Haven, Conn. (Catherine Avalone/New Haven Register via AP)

Pat Eaton-Robb

New Haven, Conn. (AP) — Australia's Daria Gavrilova will be playing for her first career title Saturday at the Connecticut Open.

The demonstrative 23-year-old upset top-seeded defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4 in Friday night semifinals.

She will face Dominika Cibulkova for the championship of the last WTA tuneup before the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam event of the season that starts Monday in New York.

The second-seeded Cibulkova beat qualifier Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-1, 6-3 in the afternoon.

"I'm really hungry for it," Gavrilova said. "Yeah, it will feel like I've achieved something pretty special."

Cibulkova also has some motivation. She is looking for her ninth career win, but her first this season.

She pumped her fist and shouted "Finally" after nailing a forehand volley to put away Mertens.

"I didn't win three matches in a row the whole season this year," Cibulkova said. "It's finally here. Before this tournament we were all setting some goals for the next few tournaments. I said, OK, my first goal is I want to win three matches in a row. After this one it's finally happening, it's finally here."

Gavrilova, who grew up in Russia, moved to Australia when she was 18 and switched her nationality in December 2015, appeared in control throughout her match with Radwanska.

The world No. 10 could manage just three points during her first two service games and found herself in an early 0-4 hole from which she could not recover.

"Just a couple of games slipped away in the beginning," she said. "Suddenly it was love-4. I was trying to come back. I was close. But then anyway she really played some good shots in important moments."

The 28-year-old Pole battled back to 5-4, but Gavrilova, ranked 26th in the world, served out the set, making a nice drop shot during the final game.

The pair traded breaks in the second set and were at 3-3 when Gavrilova broke again. She won the match's final point with an emphatic overhead smash, pumping her fist in the air.

This will be her third career final. She lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Moscow last October and to fellow Australian Sam Stosur in Strasbourg in May.

Cibulkova, ranked 11th, broke Mertens five times in their 70-minute match to reach her first final this year.

Mertens, who won her first career title in Hobart, Australia in January, went up a break early in the second set, but gave back that advantage on her next serve.

Cibulkova came back twice in the set from 15-40 down to win games. She broke the 21-year-old in the seventh game of the set on a double fault and again to close the match.

"This just shows how strong I was on the court today," she said. "I started to return much better her second serve in the end of the match. That's why I broke her and I won in the end."

This will be her first final in eight appearances in New Haven.

The 28-year-old has overcome a shoulder injury and said she's been putting a lot of mental pressure on herself since last year's breakthrough win in Singapore last year.

"Just going to the match, I wanted to give my 100 percent, not really think about a score, if I have to win or not," Cibulkova said. "That became my priority in the beginning of the year. I was just thinking about that too much, I should be the one winning this one. It was just not working for me."


Tigers' Cabrera banned 7 games, Yankees' Sanchez 4 for fight

Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees players get involved in a bench-clearing fight during the sixth inning a of their baseball game Thursday, Aug. 24, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Mike Fitzpatrick

New York (AP) — Two of baseball's biggest hitters were suspended Friday after taking some menacing swings with their fists.

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was banned seven games and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez got barred four games for their actions on a fight-filled afternoon at Comerica Park.

Major League Baseball handed out the penalties one day after the Yankees and Tigers got into a trio of beanball-related clashes during Detroit's 10-6 victory.

Also suspended were Tigers reliever Alex Wilson (four games), New York catcher Austin Romine (two games) and Detroit manager Brad Ausmus (one game). All four players were appealing and remain eligible until the process is complete.

Sanchez, an All-Star bopper on a powerful tear at the plate lately, was in the lineup for Friday night's home game against Seattle, catching and batting third for the playoff contenders.

"It's going to be four games that I'm not going to be able to help the team and I know they need me, so it's not a good feeling," he said through a translator.

New York began the day 4˝ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East but leading the wild-card race.

Cabrera and Wilson also contested their penalties, keeping them available for Friday night's game at the Chicago White Sox. Ausmus can still manage until Wilson's situation is decided.

Detroit entered 55-71, far out of the playoff chase in the American League.

Cabrera, who squared off with Romine at home plate in the most furious fight of the day, was annoyed that 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankees rookie Aaron Judge was not punished. The two-time AL MVP said Judge and Sanchez tried to hit him while he was on the ground.

"There was a lot of people going after me over there and I got a suspension," Cabrera said in Chicago. "I'm not surprised. They're MLB, they do whatever they want and they have to control this situation. But be fair. See the video, see the people who throw punches, see the people who were after me when I was on the floor. That's it."

Replays clearly showed Sanchez throwing punches at prone Tigers players who were down near the bottom of piles.

"Things got out of control pretty quickly there," Sanchez said. "I have a really good relationship with Romine. In the moment of everything, instinct takes over. I went out there to defend my teammate, my team. Definitely the situation got out of control a little bit there, but at the end of it all, what you're trying to do is you're trying to go out there and protect your team."

Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, ejected after hitting Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch, was not suspended or even fined.

Detroit starter Michael Fulmer also avoided any punishment despite hitting Sanchez with a pitch after he homered off the right-hander.

The announcement was made by Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who is now Chief Baseball Officer for MLB. In all, there were eight ejections in the game.

All five individuals who got suspended also were fined an undisclosed amount. Others fined for their actions included Yankees manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Rob Thomson, outfielder Brett Gardner, reliever Tommy Kahnle and Tigers shortstop José Iglesias.

Kahnle was ejected for throwing behind Cabrera after Sanchez was plunked by Fulmer.

"The guy threw at me," Cabrera said, not buying Kahnle's explanation that the pitch simply got away. "C'mon, why didn't you say you threw? Be a man and say you threw."

Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth inning after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch, prompting the benches to clear for a third time.

Wilson essentially acknowledged he drilled Frazier on purpose to "take care" of his teammates and "make a stand." The pitcher felt as though that contributed to his suspension.

"In this case, I think, honesty was not the best policy," Wilson said, adding that he was only surprised by the length of his ban. "It's amazing to me. I tell the truth versus not saying anything, and somebody watches the video, that it's a difference. But obviously, it is at this point. I guess lesson learned."

"I really don't think I did anything wrong. I didn't hurt anybody. I put a bruise on the guy's leg — and that's the first ball that was below the waist on the day," he added. "From where I stand, it could have been a lot worse. But lesson learned on speaking the truth in certain situations and we'll move on."

MLB said Cabrera was suspended for "inciting the first bench-clearing incident and fighting," while Sanchez was penalized "for fighting, including throwing punches."

The news release also said Wilson was punished "for intentionally throwing a pitch" at Frazier "while warnings were in place for both sides." Romine was banned for "fighting, including throwing punches," and Ausmus got barred "for the intentional actions of Wilson while warnings were in place."

"I still think I was defending myself," said Romine, whose brother, Andrew, plays for the Tigers.

A pair of Yankees players, first baseman Garrett Cooper and outfielder Clint Frazier, received fines for going onto the field while they were on the disabled list.


Ibrahimovic unlikely to return before January, says Mourinho

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (AP Photo/File)

Manchester, England (AP) — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho does not expect Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play a part in the group stage of the Champions League, estimating the newly signed striker is unlikely to return from a knee injury before January.

Mourinho said on Friday he will include Ibrahimovic in United's Champions League squad, but only because there is space in the 25-man group.

"I just think he will be an extra man for us in the second part of the season," Mourinho said. "Normally, we say January, after Christmas.

"But I have no idea at all. The right way is not to think about it, and just let him do his work step by step and come back when he is really ready."

Ibrahimovic signed another one-year deal on Thursday to seal a return to United, who released him during the summer while he recovered from a serious right knee injury sustained during a Europa League game in April.

United offered him the use of their training-ground facilities to carry out his rehabilitation after he underwent surgery.

"A player that gets injured with the Manchester United shirt, fighting for the club — the club has to be there for him," said Mourinho, who was speaking ahead of United's Premier League game against Leicester on Sunday.


Update August 25, 2017

Everton, Milan advance to join Arsenal in Europa League draw

Ajax first goal scored by Amin Younes, obscured, during their Europa League, Play-off, 2nd match Rosenborg vs Ajax, in Trondheim, Norway, Thursday Aug. 24, 2017. (Ole Martin Wold / NTB scanpix via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Starting his first game after a 45 million pound ($57 million) transfer, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from 45 meters to ensure Everton advanced to the Europa League group stage on Thursday.

Sigurdsson struck less than 15 seconds into the second half to bring Everton level on 1-1 at Hajduk Split and advance from the playoff round with a 3-1 victory on aggregate. The Iceland midfielder completed his move from Swansea last week.

AC Milan had a more comfortable evening to book its place in the 48-team group-stage draw on Friday in Monaco.
Leading 6-0 from the first leg last week, Milan won 1-0 in Macedonia against Shkendija.

Former European champions had contrasting fortunes.

Marseille, the 1993 Champions League winner, beat Domzale 3-1 to advance 4-1 on aggregate.

Red Star Belgrade, the 1991 European champion, beat visiting Krasnodar 2-1 to advance having scored more goals away from home with the two-leg series tied at 4-4.

However, four-time European champion Ajax was ousted from both UEFA competitions in August.

Transferring to the Europa League playoffs after elimination in the Champions League third qualifying round, Ajax lost at Rosenborg 3-2 after a 1-0 loss in the home leg.

Coach Roberto Mancini avoided an early exit for his Zenit St. Petersburg team. The 2008 UEFA Cup winner needed extra time to beat Utrecht 2-0 and overturn a one-goal loss from the first leg.

Dynamo Kiev, which also moved across from the Champions League, advanced beating Maritimo 3-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal, Lazio and Villarreal are among clubs which had direct entry to the 48-team group-stage draw in the top-seeded pot.

They are joined by Lyon, which hosts the final on May 16.


Johnson finding groove, trails Henley by 1 at Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson waves on the 15th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (AP) — Golf hasn't felt this easy to Dustin Johnson since he was making it hard for anyone to beat him.

Coming off a week in the Bahamas and switching back to his old putter to rely more on feel, Johnson ran off three birdies over his last six holes at Glen Oaks Club and finished with a 5-under 65 to trail Russell Henley by one shot after the opening round of The Northern Trust.

Johnson missed only two fairways and two greens Thursday afternoon, and he finished with a shot up the hill to 4 feet for one last birdie that gave him his lowest round since he won at Riviera in February to rise to No. 1 in the world.

"Today was much easier than it has been in the past," Johnson said. "I've been saying it's close and I've seen signs of it. But today was the first day where I felt like all day I was really in control of the swing. Hit a lot of really good shots. Drove it well. Did everything really well. It's the first time in a long time I've done that."

He specifically used as a reference the weeks leading into the Masters, when Johnson looked nearly unstoppable by winning three straight tournaments. And then he was stopped by a staircase in his rental home at the Masters, slipping in socks and wrenching his back. He had to withdraw from Augusta National the next day, and since then he has been trying to get over the back injury and get back his game.

The first of four FedEx Cup playoff events moved this year to Glen Oaks, a course no one in the field knows particularly well. It is spacious and immaculate, the contoured greens that can be difficult to negotiate outside of close range.

Henley brought a conservative strategy of aiming for the safe part of the green, and he converted eight birdies.

Seven of them were from 12 feet or closer, a testament to how well he was playing. He also chipped in from 80 feet.

"I don't know what the key is, or the secret," Henley said. "I just tried to hit the fairway, make sure I hit the green when I was in the fairway, and the greens are great and I rolled in a couple of putts."

Scott Brown, Camilo Villegas and Chris Kirk were at 66, and it was an important start for Villegas and Kirk.

The top 100 in the FedEx Cup after this week advance to the second playoff event at the TPC Boston. Kirk is at No. 97, Villegas is one spot behind. It was even better for a few players who opened with a 67, such as Bubba Watson (No. 113), Martin Flores (No. 118) and Harold Varner III (No. 123).

Flores only got into the top 125 by finishing with an ace, a par and a birdie at the Wyndham Championship.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, needs to see a score much better than his 72, which featured two straight birdies at the end but also a pair of double bogeys. Mickelson has played in every Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup since 1994, and he is in danger of being left out of the Presidents Cup next month at Liberty National.

U.S. captain Steve Stricker has said he needs to see signs from the five-time major champion, and Mickelson knows that.

"I would love to be on that team, but I've got to bring something to the table," Mickelson said.

PGA champion Justin Thomas, still sluggish from a busy week of trying to deal with his new status as major champion, wasn't expecting much out of his game and dropped two shots early before he rallied for a 68. In his first start since his two-shot victory at Quail Hollow, Thomas was not introduced on the tee as the PGA champion.

"After the drive I hit, I'm kind of glad they didn't," he said.

He hit it on the toe of the driver, a duck-hook that he says would have gone about 130 yards. He was exaggerating. It went 221 yards after it clanged out of the trees and into the fairway, leaving him a 2-iron to the green when most players are hitting a wedge or short iron.

British Open champion Jordan Spieth had a 69, while Hideki Matsuyama, the No. 1 seed going into the PGA Tour's version of the postseason, didn't make a birdie and opened with a 74. Rory McIlroy made three bogeys on the back nine and shot 73.

Johnson switched to a TaylorMade Spider putter during the playoffs last year, and he stuck with that up until returning this week and going back to what he used when he won the U.S. Open last summer at Oakmont.

"I got a little bit more feel with the putter instead of the Spider I was using," he said. "I was getting a little bit too mechanical and I was worrying about too many things when I was putting instead of just putting."

He ran a long birdie putt some 15 feet by the hole at No. 2 and three-putted for bogey. After that, his speed was better and his game was sharp. The 65 was his best round since a 64 in the second round at Riviera.


India opts to bowl in 2nd ODI vs. Sri Lanka

India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar, left, reacts after bowling a delivery to Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella, center, during their second one-day international cricket match in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (AP) — India captain Virat Kohli has won the toss and sent Sri Lanka into bat in the second one-day international at Pallekele on Thursday.

India leads the five-match series 1-0 after winning the first game convincingly by nine wickets. It retained the winning combination for the second game.

Sri Lanka made three changes, dropping all-rounder Thisara Perera, leg spin bowler Hasaranga de Silva and left-arm wrist-spin bowler Lakshan Sandakan.

Batsman Milinda Siriwardana, seamer Dushmantha Chameera and spinner Akila Dananjaya were recalled.


Hamilton hungrier than ever as he prepares for 200th F1 race

In this file photo dated Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the pit lane at the Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, FILE)

By Jerome Pugmire, AP Sports Writer

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AP) — As he prepares for the 200th race of his distinguished Formula One career, three-time champion Lewis Hamilton feels hungrier than ever.

He has Michael Schumacher's pole position record of 68 within his grasp and championship leader Sebastian Vettel firmly in his sights. Heading into the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend he is 14 points behind Vettel in their hard-fought title race. Pole position on Saturday would tie Schumacher's mark.

"Mentally, I'm ready for whatever's to come," Hamilton defiantly told reporters on Thursday.
"I'm here for blood. I'm here to win and I'm here to stay."

The British driver came close to winning in his debut season in 2007, losing by one point to Kimi Raikkonen. The year after, Hamilton beat Felipe Massa by one point.

"You'd think after 200 races your passion and desire to win would fade, but it's stronger than ever," Hamilton said. "It's crazy to think I'm reaching that milestone."

Turning his thoughts to catching Vettel, he thinks his Mercedes team must improve its overall reliability in the remaining nine races.

"Ferrari has been the most consistent. We need to turn that around, that's something we've been tackling from an engineering perspective," he said. "You apply a driving style and the car doesn't like it. You have to try a number of techniques, change a bunch of settings."

The inconsistencies experienced by Mercedes, particularly with rear balance and tire management, have come as a surprise considering how totally dominant the Silver Arrows were over the previous three years.

Hamilton also feels he could have done more.

"There are a couple of races I could have done better," Hamilton said. "I want the next nine races to be tens (ten out of 10)."

He definitely sounds ready to take it to Vettel. They have both won four races so far and had heated words after a tense racing incident at the Azerbaijan GP on June 25.

If it goes down to mind games, Hamilton fancies himself to come out on top.

"You don't ever want to show weaknesses, and don't want to show that you're struggling mentally or physically," Hamilton said. "I take a lot of inspiration from Serena (Williams), (Roger) Federer and (Valentino) Rossi."

There is much at stake with Hamilton aiming for a fourth world title, and Vettel a fifth. Vettel won his last title in 2013.

Vettel has matched Hamilton for outright pace at times. But the track at Spa — nestled in the dense forest of Ardennes and the longest in F1 at seven kilometers (over four miles) — is more suited to Mercedes because of its fast corners and long straights.

Ferrari's last win in Spa was Kimi Raikkonen's back in 2009. Mercedes has won the past two.

Furthermore, if Hamilton needs any extra motivation, he need think about only last year's race.

Although Hamilton finished third, it almost felt like a victory given that he started from the back of the grid after incurring a 15-place grid penalty.


Update August 24, 2017

Sparkling Liverpool back in the Champions League

Liverpool's Emre Can celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during their Champions League qualifying play-off second leg match against Hoffenheim at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Aug. 23. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Steve Douglas

Liverpool, England (AP) — Juergen Klopp had just seen his Liverpool team slice open Hoffenheim to score a third goal in the opening 21 minutes when he turned to the celebrating Anfield crowd and roared: "That's football!"

Liverpool returned to the Champions League group stage in some style on Wednesday.

With the attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane combining brilliantly, Liverpool beat Hoffenheim 4-2 with a devastating attacking display to seal a return to Europe's elite club competition after a two-year absence.

The Reds advanced 6-3 on aggregate in the qualifying playoff and will be placed in the pot of third seeds in Thursday's draw.

"The start of the game was like a thunderstorm," Klopp said. "We were so dangerous, so clinical. We could have scored even more."

Hoffenheim are playing in European competition for the first time in their history this season and were swept away on another atmospheric night at Anfield.

Emre Can scored goals either side of Salah's tap-in as Liverpool surged 3-0 ahead. The third goal was masterful, with Mane breaking clear, cutting inside and backheeling the ball to Firmino, whose cross to the far post was tucked home on the volley by Can.

"I think we've scored a few nice goals," Klopp said of his nearly two years in charge, "but that was outstanding."

With his team now needing five goals to progress, Hoffenheim's 30-year-old coach, Julian Nagelsmann, threw on an extra attacker in the 24th minute and Mark Uth had an immediate impact, drilling a low shot into the corner four minutes later.

Neither defence covered itself in glory in the first half, and the goals kept coming after halftime. Jordan Henderson robbed Hoffenheim captain Kevin Vogt to run through on goal, before passing across for Firmino to slot into the bottom corner in the 63rd.

"He was impossible to defend," Klopp said of Firmino, his deep-lying striker.

Sandro Wagner headed in a late goal for Hoffenheim.

"We were running around like headless chickens," Nagelsmann said of his team's display in the first 30 minutes, "and they were scoring the kind of goals they always score in the Premier League."

"Sometimes," he added, "you just have to admit your opponent is better."

Liverpool produced their exhilarating performance without star playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who remains unavailable — officially because he is both ill and injured — amid sustained interest from Barcelona.

On this evidence, the Reds don't need him, although their defensive frailties were exposed again, especially on the flank of left back Alberto Moreno.

Liverpool join Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Europa League winners Manchester United as part of a five-strong English representation in the group stage.

Here's a look at the other second legs in the playoffs:

___

COMPETITION NEWCOMER

At the fourth time of asking, Qarabag has made it through Champions League qualifying to become Azerbaijan's first representative in the group stage.

Qarabag were beaten 2-1 at FC Copenhagen but advanced on away goals, with the score 2-2 on aggregate. Dino Ndlovu's 63rd-minute goal proved decisive for the visitors, who had never previously progressed beyond the third round of qualifying.

Federico Santander and Andrija Pavlovic scored for Copenhagen, who have to settle for a place in the Europa League.

___

REKINDLING MEMORIES

Apoel Nicosia produced one of the most unlikely Champions League story lines in recent times in 2012 by becoming the first Cypriot team to reach the quarterfinals.

They are back in the group stage after drawing 0-0 at Slavia Prague on Wednesday, securing a 2-0 win on aggregate.

___

SPORTING, CSKA ADVANCE

CSKA Moscow reached the group stage for the fifth straight year and Portuguese team Sporting made it there for the third time in the last four seasons.

Georgi Schennikov and Alan Dzagoev scored for CSKA in a 2-0 win over Swiss team Young Boys, completing a 3-0 aggregate win.

Sporting scored five goals away from home in a UEFA competition for the first time since 1986 in winning 5-1 at FCSB, the Romanian club formally known as Steaua Bucharest. It was the same score on aggregate.


McGregor has boxing skill, but enough to beat Mayweather?

Conor McGregor speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, in Las Vegas. McGregor is scheduled to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Greg Beacham

Las Vegas (AP) — Before Conor McGregor had even heard of mixed martial arts, he wanted to be a boxer. He first stepped into Crumlin Boxing Club nearly 20 years ago in muddy football boots and started punching a heavy bag.

McGregor returned constantly for the next seven years, determined to become tough enough to dissuade bullies in his Dublin neighborhood. He competed in amateur boxing matches against opponents of all sizes and shapes over the years, developing tenacity and power.

"There were no weight rules, no limitations on who you could fight," McGregor recalled Wednesday. "We would just have an opponent assigned to us. That was always the joke: Everybody at the Crumlin Boxing Club had to fight heavyweights, no matter what size you are. But it was a good lesson. You must be prepared for any eventuality. You must be ready to fight. That's how I was brought into this game."

McGregor is on top of the fight game this week before his Saturday showdown with Floyd Mayweather (49-0), the most accomplished boxer of his generation. McGregor, a former plumber who has never had a professional boxing match, will make roughly $100 million for stepping into the ring for the first time in the spectacle of the summer.

And though McGregor moved into MMA training in his teens and eventually rose to win two UFC belts, he is no boxing neophyte. While he has other strengths, McGregor's MMA career has been built in large part on his boxing-bred punching power, which is considered exceptional by his sport's standards.

Oh, and he also doesn't lack confidence, which is no small thing when facing odds as daunting as McGregor's chances against Mayweather.

"No fighter can train for what I bring into the ring or into the octagon," McGregor said. "I am too skilled. I am too diverse. My movement is too much for them. All of these men will fall."

But for McGregor to make Mayweather fall, he'll either need to land an astonishing home-run punch, or he'll have to show more creativity and sustained boxing skill than MMA usually demands.

While McGregor's versatility and smarts have made him the UFC's biggest star, he can use only one discipline against Mayweather — and no serious people outside McGregor's camp doubt Mayweather has more boxing skill. Still, McGregor has devoted himself to boxing in recent weeks, bringing in former champ Paulie Malignaggi among his many sparring partners and recruiting Joe Cortez, the veteran boxing referee, to instruct him on the finer points of etiquette.

"Fighting in Vegas, I just don't see how Conor outpoints him (for a decision)," UFC President Dana White said. "Conor is going to get in there to rough him up and try to knock him out."

White and McGregor's other fervent backers believe in his one-punch knockout power, which he showed most memorably in dethroning longtime UFC champion Jose Aldo. But one-punch knockouts are rare in 8-ounce boxing gloves, which diffuse the impact of a blow more than tiny UFC gloves.

McGregor's ability to pull off perhaps the most improbable upset in sports history likely rests on his chances to land not just one punch, but repeated combinations of blows on Mayweather, who has shown a decent chin on the few occasions he has been hit in the past decade.

If McGregor can't consistently hit Mayweather — and nobody has consistently connected against Money May in over a decade — he can at least avoid embarrassment by not getting knocked out — and there is no doubt McGregor can take a punch. His sparring partners have spoken of his tough chin, and it was evident last year in his two UFC brawls with Nate Diaz. Their second bout in August 2016 devolved into a brutal standup fight that left both men bloodied and bruised.

McGregor's disregard for defence in that bout — or his inability to defend himself from repeated head blows — could be decisive when facing Mayweather, who might be the most precise puncher in the sport. McGregor claims he has worked on defence during his training camp, but his predictions for the fight invariably return to his belief in his own power.

No matter what happens to McGregor at T-Mobile Arena, he will rely on the skills he first learned at the Crumlin Boxing Club, where his mother Mags still works out. The club will be full of his fans when it screens the fight at about 5 a.m. Sunday morning.

"You will see the culmination of everything I've learned and studied," McGregor said. "A great many people helped to get me to what you will see this weekend."


England’s Wayne Rooney ends international career

England's Wayne Rooney announced his immediate retirement from international football on Wednesday Aug. 23. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham/File)

Rob Harris

London (AP) - England record-scorer Wayne Rooney called time on his often tempestuous international career on Wednesday, retiring from duty after spurning an offer to return to the squad.

"I believe now is the time to bow out," the former England captain said in a statement. "I will always remain a passionate England fan."

A return to form since leaving Manchester United to go back to Everton in the offseason had seen England manager Gareth Southgate approach Rooney about returning for upcoming World Cup qualifiers. But the 31-year-old striker has decided to focus on his club career, quitting England duty with a record 53 goals in 119 appearances — more than any other outfield player.

"It was great Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches. I really appreciated that," Rooney said. "However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.

"It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me. Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me."

Rooney never progressed beyond the quarterfinals of a tournament with England and his struggles on the international stage often saw him cast as the fall guy for his country's inability to come close to adding to its solitary title in the 1966 World Cup.

"One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side," Rooney said. "Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team.

"One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan — or in any capacity."

English Football Association chairman Greg Clarke acclaimed Rooney, who broke Bobby Charlton's 45-year England scoring record in September 2015, as "an icon of his generation and an undoubted legend of the game."

"It goes without saying that Wayne has deservedly earned the right to forever be called a Three Lions great," Clarke said. "I know it was always a huge honor for Wayne to pull on the England shirt and led his country as captain with great pride.

"It's with sadness that we see Wayne call time on his international career but we respect his decision and expect to see him continue to contribute to Everton and the rest of the football world for many years to come. From street footballer to England captain, Wayne continues to be an inspiration for all."

And yet much more was expected from Rooney in the Three Lions jersey after announcing himself on the international scene with four goals at the 2004 European Championship at the age of 18.

Although Rooney set records with England, his time away with the national team was sometimes less distinguished. What turned out to be Rooney's final appearance — against Scotland in November last year — was followed by a rebuke over his late-night revelry in the team hotel.

The FA said at the time that Rooney wasn't living up to his responsibilities as captain after being pictured bleary-eyed at a wedding reception at the hotel at a time when his position in the team was already in doubt.

Erratic behavior has followed Rooney on and off the field throughout his career.

Rooney's 2006 World Cup was remembered for his red card against Portugal and then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson urged critics: "Don't kill him, I beg you."

Rooney's fiery character flared again at the 2010 World Cup when Rooney sarcastically sneered into a camera after a draw with Algeria: "Nice to see the home fans boo you. That's what you call loyal supporters."

In three appearances at World Cup finals, Rooney only managed one goal — in the 2014 edition in Brazil when England were embarrassed with a group-stage exit. Further embarrassment was to come two years later when England were eliminated by Euro 2016 newcomers Iceland in the round of 16 — the only game Rooney scored in at the tournament in France.

What was rarely disputed was Rooney's commitment while on the pitch appearing for a country where expectations for the national team far exceed the prospects of success. The dedication saw Rooney, despite the tabloid scandals and hot-headedness in games, appointed captain by then manager-Roy Hodgson in 2014.

Sven-Goran Eriksson, who first called up Rooney as a 17-year-old in 2003, felt Rooney could play at the highest level with England.

"I think it's a pity he will miss the next World Cup with England," Eriksson told broadcaster Sky Sports. "If I was the manager I would try to convince him to delay (his retirement) until after the World Cup ... I think England still needs him."


Lutsenko wins Vuelta's 5th stage, Froome adds to lead

Alexey Lutsenko of the Asatana team. (AP Photo/File)

Alcossebre, Spain (AP) — Chris Froome increased his lead in the Spanish Vuelta during a fifth stage won by Alexey Lutsenko of Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

Froome started the day just two seconds ahead of a trio of riders and with most of this top rivals within a minute.

But after most of them struggled through a hilly stage and then toiled on the race's first summit finish, Froome looks to be in command of a race that he has finished as runner-up on three occasions.

"Looking at the time gaps now, the general classification is definitely taking a bit more shape," Froome said. "And if you think there's just a 3 kilometer climb to the finish, I can definitely be happy."

Lutsenko left behind Marco Haller at the start of the stage's finally climb, a short but steep trudge up to the Ermita de Santa Lucia church and its views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Lutsenko finished the 175.7-kilometer (109.1-mile) ride from Benicassim to Alcossebre in 4 hours, 24 minutes. It was the first grand tour stage win for the 24-year-old Astana rider.

After a small group of breakaway riders trickled across the line, Froome stuck to the wheel of Alberto Contador as the two traded attacks along with Esteban Chaves.

Froome increased his two-second race lead over Tejay van Garderen to 10 seconds. Nicolas Roche, David de la Cruz, Fabio Aru, Vincenzo Nibali and Romain Bardet all lost even more time to the four-time Tour de France winner.

Chaves is third overall, 11 seconds back. Nibali is now 36 seconds behind in sixth place, while Aru trails by 49 in seventh, and Bardet is 12th at 1:37. Contador remains over three minutes behind.

"I'm surprised to see Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru lose some time today - and Romain Bardet, but it's a long race," Froome said.

The route took riders over four category-two climbs and a category-three, before a push up the final category-three ascent.

Thursday's sixth stage is a 204.4-kilometer (127-mile) run from Vila-real to Sagunt including four category-three and one category-two climbs.


Cibulkova rallies to reach Connecticut Open quarterfinals

 

Dominika Cibulkova. (AP Photo)

New Haven, Conn. (AP) — Second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia rallied to beat Alize Cornet of France 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday night to reach the Connecticut Open quarterfinals.

Cibulkova will face sixth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia on Thursday in the U.S. Open tuneup event at The Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Pavlyuchenkova beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (3), 6-0.

Belguim's Kirsten Flipkens set up a quarterfinal against Australia's Daria Gavrilova, beating Romania's Ana Bogdan 6-1, 7-6 (1). Gavrilova advanced Tuesday.

China's Zhang Shuai beat Poland's Magda Linette 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3. Zhang will face Belgium's Elise Mertens, a winner Tuesday.

In the other quarterfinal, top-seeded defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will play eighth-seeded Shuai Peng of China. They also advanced Tuesday.


Sebastien Bourdais to race 14 weeks after Indy accident

Indy Car driver Sebastien Bourdais, of France, is shown in this July 31, 2016 file photo. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

Indianapolis (AP) — Sebastien Bourdais will return to IndyCar competition this weekend after a three-month recovery from an accident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Frenchman fractured his pelvis and right hip during a crash while qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. A return this season seemed to be a stretch, but Bourdais vowed to race in next month's season finale.

Bourdais will do even better than that. His rapid recovery gives him his seat back for the final three races of the season, starting Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park. He had actually been cleared to race earlier this month, but Dale Coyne Racing allowed replacement driver Esteban Gutierrez to drive last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Bourdais is a four-time series champion and won the season-opening race this year at St. Petersburg, Florida.

"You have no idea how excited I am to be getting back in the car this weekend and for the remainder of the season," Bourdais said. "It's been a long 14 weeks and I've worked very hard to get to this point. Following the crash, I had one goal in mind and that was to be back for Sonoma, and here I am getting back in the car with three races to go.

"It's a bit unbelievable but I can't wait to try out that new surface at Gateway this weekend."

Bourdais has tested an Indy car since his accident, but will be back on track in full competitive mode on Friday when the series returns to Gateway.


Update August 23, 2017

Another NZ vs England final at Women's Rugby World Cup

New Zealand's Toka Natua, center right, is challenged by Kathryn Augustyn of the United States during their Women's Rugby World Cup semifinal match in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday Aug. 22. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Belfast, Northern Ireland (AP) — England will defend the Women's Rugby World Cup in the final against four-time winners New Zealand after beating France 20-3 on Tuesday.

New Zealand's Black Ferns crushed the United States 45-12 in the other semifinal.

The final is on Saturday in Belfast. The Black Ferns, who have never lost a final, beat England in three of them.

England won a match of attrition in the rain. The English made nearly 50 tackles in the first quarter alone to withstand a French siege.

The first half finished 3-3, and England went through 20 phases to earn a second successful penalty kick. The English took another 14 phases before Sarah Bern scored the first try in the 61st minute, with a push from fellow prop Vickii Cornborough.

France inevitably rallied, and flanker Julie Annery appeared to score in the right corner, until video replay showed England replacement Megan Jones tackled her legs into touch. In injury time, Jones pounced on a dropped pass in the French in-goal.

In the end, France made 149 tackles, and England 119.

"Our defence won that game," England captain Sarah Hunter said. "We had a white wall. There was no way France was getting across our tryline tonight."

Winger Portia Woodman scored four of the Black Ferns' seven tries, improving her tournament-leading tally to 13. Her first try was the best, a sensational solo effort from scrum ball 40 meters out. She broke four tackles in a weaving run to the posts.

After a competitive first half, in which the Eagles forced turnovers at the breakdowns, New Zealand applied all of the pressure in the second half.

The Eagles, their lineout in disarray, finally succumbed in the last quarter, conceding four tries, two while they had an extra player when New Zealand replacement Linda Itunu was yellow-carded for a head-high tackle.

While a player down, the Black Ferns increased the score from 28-12 to 38-12. Woodman bagged her fourth try, stepping U.S. fullback Cheta Emba, and replacement hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate scored from a cross-kick.

Midfielder Kelly Brazier, who had helped to set up several tries, scored the last as the player of the match.

"When we were down to 14, we knew we had to step it up another notch," Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili said.


Ichiro, Stanton go deep, Marlins beat Phils 12-8 in Game 1

Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton hits a RBI double off Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola to score Miguel Rojas during the fifth inning of the first baseball game in a doubleheader, Tuesday, Aug. 22, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Rob Maaddi

Philadelphia (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki thought about bunting before swinging away and hitting the ball a long way.

Suzuki's pinch-hit three-run homer broke a tie in the seventh inning, Giancarlo Stanton added his major league-leading 46th homer and the Miami Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 12-8 in the opener of a traditional doubleheader Tuesday.

Manager Don Mattingly didn't send Suzuki to the plate to sacrifice so he's happy he took a cut.

"Ich's homer was huge, freed us up," Mattingly said. "If he was bunting, it was on his own for a hit."

Dan Straily (8-8) allowed three runs and two hits — homers to Rhys Hoskins and Cameron Rupp — while striking out 10 in six innings.

"It feels good to contribute something to my team like that," Straily said.

Marcell Ozuna also went deep for the Marlins in a six-run sixth and J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run shot in the ninth.

Cesar Hernandez, Tommy Joseph and pinch-hitter Andres Blanco also connected for the Phillies as the teams combined for nine homers.

"You score that many runs, you should win," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Aaron Nola (9-9) gave up seven runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings in his second straight poor start after 10 excellent outings in a row.

After Christian Yelich gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double, Hoskins drove a two-run shot out to center for his sixth homer in eight games. It was initially ruled a double, but overturned on replay.

Stanton ripped an RBI double for a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Rupp answered with his 13th homer in the bottom half.

Suzuki, who leads the majors with 21 pinch hits, made it 6-3 on his third homer and second career as a pinch hitter. The other was against the Phillies on Sept. 6, 2016.

After Stanton connected one batter later, Yelich singled and Ozuna hit his 28th homer for a 9-3 lead.


Trentin wins 4th stage of Vuelta, Froome keeps lead

Matteo Trentin of the Quick-Step Floors team. (AP Photo/File)

Tarragona, Spain (AP) — Matteo Trentin of Italy won a sprint finish to claim the fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday, while Chris Froome maintained his overall race lead.

Trentin powered past Juan Jose Lobato and had time to lift his arms in victory as he crossed the finish line of the 198-kilometer (123-mile) flat ride from Andorra to the coastal city of Tarragona.

"I was really looking for the victory because I have been going good this season," Trentin said. "Everybody pulled together. It was really beautiful coming into the finish."

The 28-year-old Trentin has now won stages at all three Grand Tours, with two stage wins on the Tour de France and one at the Giro d'Italia.

Trentin's Quick-Step Floors team continued its excellent start to Vuelta. It was second in the opening team time trial, Yves Lampaert and Trentin pulled off a one-two finish in the second stage, and David de la Cruz was second on the third stage.

Two riders, Stephane Rossetto and Diego Rubio, led a breakaway that was neutralized by the peloton with less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to go.

Froome, who finished in 17th place with the same time as Trentin, kept his two-second lead over De la Cruz, Nicolas Roche, and Tejay van Garderen.

"I had a good day," Froome said. "It was a great feeling to be back in red after six years. It's a huge, huge privilege to be in this position."

Wednesday's fifth stage is a hilly 175.7-kilometer (109.1-mile) ride from Benicassim to Alcossebre.

The race ends in Madrid on Sept. 10.


UFC gets aggressive with technology to enhance its fights

UFC wants to change the way fans connect with sports at home or at a live event through sensor-measured data. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Dan Gelston

New York (AP) - The UFC is turning to a high-tech platform that could enhance the way fans watch fights.

The world's leading mixed martial arts promotion has reached a partnership with Heed. The joint venture between WME-IMG and AGT International wants to change the way fans connect with sports at home or at a live event through sensor-measured data.

WME-IMG bought the UFC last year for more than $4 billion.

"Our goal is to revolutionize our sport, our events and ultimately enhance the fan experience," UFC CFO Andrew Schleimer said.

Heed also has struck deals with Professional Bull Riders and Euroleague basketball.

The new format uses sensors that collect data on everything from fan and competitor emotion to real-time event tracking that could change how fights, bull rides or other events are scored.

"This gives us a solution that is better than the human alternative to judging the difficulty of a bull ride," PBR CEO Sean Gleason said.

Gleason said PBR would roll out a side-by-side system in January and use the Heed technology as a full replacement to human judging in 2019.

"We'll have bull meters or information on G-forces that were applied that are available in television, digital products and social apps," he said. "It helps new fans understand the difficulty and nuances of bull riding."

No bull, PBR believed science can almost reinvent the sport.

Heed will outfit both bull and rider with technology that measures spin, direction changes, kicks and rider control.

"It's not only an informational and educational tool for fans but will help new fans understand the difficulties and nuances of bull rides," Gleason said. "None of us have been on a bull, so it's hard to have a frame of reference to how difficult bull riding is and how athletic it is. This tool will help explain that in scientific data. That will be great for the sport. This is revolutionary, not evolutionary for our sport. We are incorporating technology into the core of our scoring and the competitive results."

At the premier European basketball competition, the EuroLeague, sensors will be deployed in all 16 arenas. They will collect data from fans, players and coaches. Heed will transform this information into video content and performance reports for fans on site and at home through TV broadcasting, social media and other digital distribution channels.

Heed sampled its technology on an old UFC fight that kept a running tally of blocks, jabs, hooks, overhands and uppercuts on the side and bottom of the screen.

"Fight Pass could be a very unique place to have some of these specific content and stories that we're creating with Heed," Schleimer said.

Heed says its technology can track fan or fighter emotions ranging from sadness and surprise to disgust and fear. The UFC said those tools, along with the fight tracking, could help the company stay more informed on a fighter's health.

"We believe there's a tremendous opportunity for us as UFC and for the fighters to benefit from a health and safety perspective," Schleimer said. "Just by virtue of the types of things that we're capturing, we're going to be very much focused on how we can leverage that to enhance our brand, our promotion and our athletes, which we're always looking to do, anything related to health and safety."


Cavaliers trade Irving to Celtics for Thomas

In this file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, right, shields the ball from Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas during an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Tom Withers

Cleveland (AP) — Kyrie Irving's next cross-over will come against the Cavaliers.

Cleveland's All-Star guard, who asked owner Dan Gilbert to trade him earlier this summer, was dealt Tuesday night to the Boston Celtics in exchange for star Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

Since Irving made his stunning request, the defending Eastern Conference champions have been looking for a trade partner. They found the perfect one in the Celtics, who will now build around Irving and newly signed free agent Gordon Hayward.

Irving's first regular-season game for Boston will be against Cleveland as the Cavs will host the Celtics on Oct. 17 — a date being circled by fans already.

Irving, who made the biggest shot in Cleveland history to win the 2016 NBA Finals, is joining a Boston team that lost to Cleveland in last season's conference finals and has been unable to unseat LeBron James and Co. in recent years.

The Cavs were concerned about getting equivalent value for Irving, who has two years remaining on his contract, but in the 5-foot-9 Thomas they are adding one of the league's most dynamic playmakers. Thomas averaged 28.9 points last season. He missed most of the East finals with a hip injury.

The 28-year-old Thomas, taken with the final pick in the second round in 2011, can become a free agent when his contract ends after next season.

His reputation in Boston was cemented when he led the Celtics through the playoffs last season despite the death of his sister on the eve of the postseason. He also had a front tooth knocked out during the second-round series against Washington and the hip injury eventually forced the team to shut him down early in the East finals, won by the Cavaliers in five games.

Thomas believes he is worthy of a maximum contract and has quoted saying, "They better bring out the Brinks truck."

Cleveland is also getting Crowder, a solid perimeter defender, and a first-round pick that Boston got from Brooklyn. The package could help the Cavs reload if James opts out of his contract next summer and leaves Cleveland for a second time.

The Vertical first reported the possible blockbuster deal.

The Cavs drafted Irving with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. He struggled in his first few seasons but blossomed in recent years alongside James. However, that didn't seem to be enough for the 25-year-old, who has wanted to be the prime player and focal point on his own team.

He got his wish.


Barcelona sues Neymar for 8.5M euro signing bonus

PSG's Neymar applauds with supporters after the French League One soccer match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 20. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — FC Barcelona is suing Neymar for the 8.5 million euro bonus it paid the Brazil striker for signing a contract he later broke to join Paris Saint-Germain on a world-record transfer.

Barcelona said on Tuesday that it wants Neymar to pay back the bonus for a contract in Oct. 2016 that tied him to the club through 2021. It also wants an additional 10 percent interest.

Neymar was able to leave Barcelona earlier this month after PSG paid 222 million euros to trigger a release clause included in his contract.

Barcelona said in a statement that it "has taken these actions in defence of its interests after the unilateral breaking of the contract carried out by Neymar just a few months after having signed his renewal."

The club is also demanding that PSG pay the money, if Neymar is unable to do so.

PSG responded to the demand with a statement later Tuesday, saying it was "surprised to learn of FC Barcelona's statement today announcing the start of legal proceedings in Spain against its former player Neymar Jr. and indicating that should Neymar Jr. fail to pay the monies claimed by his former club, Paris Saint-Germain will be held responsible to pay the outstanding sum."

"Paris Saint-Germain reiterates that, like Neymar Jr., it has always respected all applicable laws and rules in its dealings and, once again, regrets the attitude of FC Barcelona."

Barcelona said the suit was filed on Aug. 11.


Update August 22, 2017

Rooney nets 200th EPL goal, Everton draw 1-1 at Man City

Everton's Wayne Rooney, right, celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the English Premier League match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Monday, Aug. 21. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Steve Douglas

Manchester, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney wheeled away in delight after scoring his 200th goal in the English Premier League, cupping both of his ears with his hands in front of the Manchester City fans who jeered his name and his every touch.

The Everton striker had just joined an exclusive scoring club and, as a former Manchester United player, he was determined to enjoy the moment at Etihad Stadium. He didn't have the last laugh, though.

Substitute Raheem Sterling smashed home an 82nd-minute volley as City fought back for a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium after playing with 10 men for more than a half of a chaotic game on Monday.

The late equalizer slightly soured another landmark occasion for Rooney, the record scorer for England and United — and now only the second player to reach a double-century of Premier League goals after Alan Shearer.

"It was a sweet moment," he said, before adding with a smile: "I am sure the red half of Manchester will have enjoyed it as well."

The 31-year-old Rooney is enjoying something of a career renaissance since leaving United in the offseason to return to his boyhood club. It's now two goals in two league games for a player whose international career might not yet be over.

"It is not bad for someone who is not fit anymore and can't get about the pitch," Rooney said, taunting his critics. "I have always put a shift in for the team and tonight is no different."

On his chances of a recall by England ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers, Rooney said: "I am focusing on Everton. I am sure I will speak to England manager Gareth Southgate over the next few days and we will see what happens."

Rooney scored Everton's goal against the run of play in the 35th minute, meeting Dominic Calvert-Lewin's cross with a first-time shot that struck City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes' heel and deflected into the net off the post.

City were already getting frustrated by their failure to pierce a deep-lying and compact Everton defence, and their chances of victory further receded in the 44th when right back Kyle Walker was sent off for a second yellow card in the space of two minutes. The second booking looked harsh, with Walker barely brushing Mason Holgate's midriff with his elbow as he backed into the Everton full back.

City manager Pep Guardiola didn't want to talk about the incident, except to say: "It was so clear."

Sterling gave City energy after coming on as a halftime substitute. And after smashing a glaring opportunity over the bar from close range, he made amends by meeting Holgate's poor headed clearance with a sweetly struck volley from just inside the area.

Everton also finished the game with 10 men when holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was red-carded in the 88th for his second booking.

The draw left both teams on four points from two matches.

For City, there was delight in getting something out of the game after Walker's dismissal on his home debut, but also a frustratingly familiar feeling to last season. They failed to convert a stream of opportunities until Sterling's late intervention, and conceded from their first and only real chance given up.

The strike pairing of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus didn't appear to be on each other's wavelength in the first half, and Jesus was substituted at halftime. Leroy Sane was uncomfortable at left wing back, giving the ball away before Rooney's milestone goal.

Everton defended obdurately and in numbers, and almost made it five clean sheets in five competitive games this season.

Rooney was denied a second straight winner — he also scored in the 1-0 victory over Stoke last weekend — and was clearly frustrated at the end of the game, picking up a booking for dissent.

Now, the chase is on to catch Shearer, who finished his career on 260 Premier League goals.

"He is still that player that every manager needs in his team," Everton manager Ronald Koeman said of Rooney. "He's that teacher for young players."


Froome takes Spanish Vuelta lead as Nibali wins 3rd stage

Vincenzo Nibali of Italy. (AP Photo)

Andorra La Vella, Andorra (AP) — Vincenzo Nibali of Italy won the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta and Tour de France champion Chris Froome took the overall lead after a strong run in the first mountain stage on Monday.

Froome was ahead with about half a kilometer to go but Nibali made a charge in the final sprint to clinch the 158-kilometer (98-mile) stage from Prades to Andorra La Vella. Froome ended third, behind David De La Cruz of Spain.

The British rider has a two-second overall lead over three riders: De la Cruz, Nicolas Roche of Ireland, and Tejay Van Garderen of the U.S.

"I didn't expect to get the red jersey so early in La Vuelta. It's a great surprise," Froome said. "It's the result of lot of hard work from my teammates as well. They did a fantastic job on the final climb. To be in this position is something I've thought about for a long time, and I worked really hard after the Tour."

Nibali moved to fifth overall, 10 seconds behind Froome.

"It was a difficult stage because of the heat," Nibali said. "The pace was very fast."

Froome is trying to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season. He has never won the Vuelta, finishing second three times, including last year.

He led the way at the end of the final climb with about eight kilometers to go, but lost time through a technical winding descent to the finish, eventually being caught up by the chasing pack.

Yves Lampaert of Belgium, who was wearing the leader's red jersey after winning Sunday's flat second stage, finished only 163rd, dropping to 147th overall.

Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador, who is retiring from cycling after the race, finished 37th to move to 30th overall, more than three minutes from the lead.

Marc Fournier of France became the fifth rider to retire. He was involved in the crash that also saw Anass Ait El Abdia and Javier Moreno abandon on Sunday.


Purists eager for fight after Mayweather-McGregor

This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows Conor McGregor training during a media workout in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) — Look at any boxing website, and the comments will largely all be the same.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight with Conor McGregor is a joke, a spectacle that has little to do with real boxing. No reason to spend two cents on it, much less $100, when there's a real super fight coming up a few weeks later between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.

The backlash is out there, even as the relentless hype switches into another gear. It's one reason that plenty of tickets remain available a week before the fight, and entire rows of $150 closed-circuit seats remain available at hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.

Yes, the pay-per-view sales will be massive simply because of the freak show nature of the event. We love our reality TV, and it doesn't get any more real than two colorful personalities who know how to talk the talk stepping into the unknown in a boxing ring.

It might even be somewhat competitive, if you believe UFC fans who don't seem to get the concept that their man is a boxing novice going up against the master defensive fighter of his generation.

Boxing purists, though, may be saving their money for Golovkin and Alvarez.

"If you are one of those die-hard boxing fans you might be waiting for that one," said StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp, in analyzing the slow ticket sales — at least so far — in the secondary ticket market.

Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya certainly hopes so. He made the Sept. 16 GGG-Canelo fight at the same T-Mobile arena Mayweather and McGregor will compete before that event became a reality..

De La Hoya — who helped make Mayweather a star when the two men fought in 2007 — blasted the McGregor bout as a farce when it was being negotiated and urged boxing fans not to buy it, saying "Our sport might not ever recover."

Indeed, there's some evidence that boxing fans aren't putting their money into what they see as one-sided event, at least yet. Ticket prices are dropping quickly and the closed-circuit seats that sold out in one day for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are available in plentiful supply from the original sellers.

Meanwhile, host hotel MGM Grand has cut its room prices three times for the weekend, and there are hotel rooms readily available on the Las Vegas Strip for less than $200.

But promoters — and Showtime executives — believe there is enough excitement being generated that the pay-per-view — even at a cost of $99.95 — could exceed the record of 4.6 million set by Mayweather-Pacquiao.

"There are the boxing purists who aren't as enthusiastic about this fight, and I understand that," said Stephen Espinoza, who heads the sports division at Showtime. "But I think that's more than compensated by the huge crush of mainstream interest in the event. The event as a whole remains compelling. It's something we've never seen before and no one can reliably predict how it is going to go."

Many in the boxing press have made that prediction, writing that the fight is a mismatch and McGregor doesn't stand a chance. That led Mayweather's promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, to scold writers at his media day for hurting boxing by being too negative about the fight.

"Floyd has single-handedly put boxing on his back. (He's) the reason boxing is being talked about, as much as it is," Ellerbe said. "Just imagine the two years Floyd's been gone, where was boxing then? With the exception of Canelo and the little fight he had, people weren't really talking about boxing. The minute you mention Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, then this thing opens back up."

The best guess is, no matter how many boxing fans boycott the fight, it will do monster pay-per-view numbers from UFC fans and from the simply curious who want to invite a few friends over to watch the spectacle unfold. That will be enough to elevate it to Mayweather-Pacquiao status, even if it doesn't fare as well at the box office in Las Vegas.

But that may say more about America's appetite for reality TV and spectacle than it does about the two sports themselves.


Pakistan to host World XI next month

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi addresses a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 21. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Rizwan Ali

Islamabad (AP) — Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi said Monday that international cricket will return to the country next month when a World XI plays a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore.

"World XI will come in second week (of September) and within next 72 hours I will announce names of the players," Sethi told reporters in Lahore.

The 15-men World XI comprises cricketers from all top test playing nations with former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower as its coach.

"I have the names (of World XI) with me but at the moment I can say that all top players from top cricketing nations will tour Pakistan," Sethi said.

Flower had been assigned to select the World XI squad and the tour is financially supported by the International Cricket Council. According to Sethi, the ICC has promised to give Pakistan $1.2 million over the next three years for the revival of international cricket in the country.

Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are the only foreign countries to tour Pakistan for short limited-overs series since terrorists attacked a Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore in 2009.

The PCB had been trying hard to convince foreign teams to tour Pakistan for the last three to four years. It hosted an incident free final of its domestic T20 tournament — Pakistan Super League — in Lahore in March in which former West Indies captain Darren Sammy also participated.

"Just pray that we keep our security solid," Sethi said. "Punjab (provincial) government has given us the signal that preparations are in full swing and later this month an ICC security team is also coming."

The Federation of International Cricketers Association had its security reservations over the participation of foreign players in the PSL final earlier this year. But Sethi said that FICA recognizes the report of ICC's security team which will visit Lahore next month.

Sethi also said that both Sri Lanka and the West Indies cricket boards had assured the PCB they will tour Pakistan in October and November, provided there were no security problems during the World XI's tour.

Sri Lanka is due to play two test matches, five ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan in October and Sethi said probably one or two Twenty20s could be played in Lahore.

The West Indies tour will comprise of three T20s.


Life bans upheld for 3 officials in doping, bribery case

In this Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013 file photo, Russian Athletics Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev, right, and deputy mayor of Moscow Alexander Gorbenkov, left, attend the closing ceremony at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Lausanne, Switzerland (AP) — Life bans for the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack and Russia's former top athletics official have been upheld in a doping and bribery case.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Monday its judging panel dismissed appeals by Papa Massata Diack and former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev against bans by the governing body.

A coach, Alexei Melnikov, who led Russia's long-distance running program, also had his life ban confirmed.

"The panel concluded that on the evidence adduced, the charges against Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Diack were established beyond reasonable doubt," the court said in a statement. The full reasoned verdict is expected to be published at a later date.

Papa Massata Diack, then an IAAF marketing consultant, is subject to an international arrest warrant and believed to be in his native Senegal. He is wanted for questioning by France authorities in a corruption case linked to Russian doping and blackmail that also implicates his father.

An IAAF ethics committee imposed life bans in January 2016 for an alleged conspiracy to extort money from Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, a former winner of the Boston, Chicago and London Marathons who later turned whistleblower.

The IAAF's case followed a report by German broadcaster ARD in December 2014 alleging that Shobukhova paid 450,000 euros ($530,000) to Russian officials who threatened her with a ban for doping before the 2012 London Olympics. She competed at the Olympics, though did not finish the race.

When Shobukhova was eventually banned for two years in 2014, her husband reportedly received a 300,000 euro ($355,000) refund payment from an account in Singapore linked to Papa Massata Diack, the IAAF investigation found.

Banning the three men last year, the IAAF said they "acted dishonestly and corruptly and did unprecedented damage to the sport of track and field which, by their actions, they have brought into serious disrepute."

Lamine Diack, a long-time International Olympic Committee member who left sport in 2015, is suspected by French authorities of taking more than 1 million euros ($1.18 million) to blackmail athletes and cover up positive tests.


Update August 21, 2017

US beats Europe in Solheim Cup 16 1/2-11 1/2 in Iowa

United States' Lizette Salas, center, celebrates with teammates after her singles match against Europe's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, of England, in the Solheim Cup golf tournament, Sunday, Aug. 20, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Luke Meredith

West Des Moines, Iowa (AP) — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

"I was just, like, 'I just have to go all in and go for it all,'" Thompson said.

Her U.S. teammates followed her lead and the Americans finished off their most-decisive Solheim Cup victory in over 20 years, beating Europe 16 1/2-11 1/2 on Sunday at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer won key matches, and Gerina Piller sealed it with a birdie putt that put her 3 up over Florentyna Parker with three to play in a 4-and-2 victory.

"They just bonded. They believed in each other. They played for the person behind them and in front of them. And they played some amazing golf," said Juli Inkster, who joined Judy Rankin as the only U.S. captains to win the Solheim Cup twice.

The Americans are 10-5 in the biennial tournament after their biggest win since a 17-11 triumph in 1996 in Wales. They rallied to win in Germany in 2015, and have taken five of the last seven matches.

Kerr beat Mel Reid 2 and 1 for her record-extending 21st point in the competition, and Creamer edged Georgia Hall 1 up to raise her total to 19 1/2 — second on the U.S. career list.

Thompson ended up halving with Anna Nordqvist, and Angel Yin halved with Karine Icher as the teams split the 12 singles matches.  Lizette Salas and Danielle Kang also won for the U.S. Salas edged Jodi Ewart Shadoff 1 up, and Kang beat Emily Pedersen 3 and 1.

For Europe, Catriona Matthew beat Stacy Lewis 1 up, Caroline Masson topped Michelle Wie 4 and 2, Charley Hull edged Brittany Lang 1 up, Carlota Ciganda beat Brittany Lincicome 4 and 3, and Madelene Sagstrom defeated Austin Ernst 3 and 2.

"We just got outplayed, no doubt about it," European captain Annika Sorenstam said. "I'm just so proud of how hard they fought. What can I say? Just congratulate the USA because they played some awesome golf."

Her team five points down entering the day, Sorenstam tried to keep the mood light by dressing up in a blue and yellow Viking hat and wig and dancing for the cameras before play began.

Nordqvist did her best to set the tone for the Europeans in the opening match, winning the first four holes.

But after a birdie on No. 10, Thompson holed out from 112 yards for eagle on the 11th hole — a shot so impressive that even Nordqvist was compelled to high-five her.

The 22-year-old Thompson followed with an eagle putt on the 15th hole, and a birdie on 16 put her ahead for the first time. Though Nordqvist rallied, earning the half-point by sticking her 154-yard approach on No. 18 within a foot, an American win was inevitable after Thompson's run.

"To me, that was like six points," Inkster said. "It's probably fitting they both got half a point. Both played amazingly. It just shows the heart of her and her determination. You think she's out of it and then the switch goes off."

Nordqvist went 3-0-1 during the week to lead the Europeans.

Creamer was 3-1 filling in for the injured Jessica Korda, matching Kang and Salas for the top U.S. records. Creamer kept her celebration muted following Hall's missed 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole. But this was a huge bounce back event for Creamer after her recent struggles kept her off the U.S. roster until Korda got hurt.

"For Juli to play me four matches, you know — I knew my game was there, but obviously it didn't look like it was," Creamer said.

The 47-year-old Matthew was 3-1 after replacing the injured Suzann Pettersen.


Chelsea’s title defence back on track; Huddersfield win again

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois makes a save during the English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 20. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Rob Harris

London (AP) — Any doubts Antonio Conte had about his Chelsea players were dispelled with a victory over Tottenham that lifted the gloom surrounding the champions.

With a 2-1 victory on Sunday secured through Marcos Alonso's double, the Premier League champions are finally up and running after a tough couple of weeks.

Defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium was followed by a surprise capitulation to Burnley as Chelsea made a losing start to their league title defence. Back at Wembley — Tottenham's home for the season while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped — Chelsea players were smiling again.

Conte too.

"I want to thank my players," Conte said. "They won. They showed me great desire, great spirit, great willingness to fight. I saw today the fighters."

Wembley wasn't the only ground staging a Premier League game for the first time on Sunday. Huddersfield's Kirklees Stadium is now a destination in soccer's richest league, and its occupants have opened their first-ever Premier League campaign with two wins out of two.

Huddersfield's victory at Crystal Palace last weekend was followed by a 1-0 victory over fellow promoted side Newcastle on Sunday.  Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion are the only other teams to open with two wins. The second round will be completed on Monday by a meeting of Everton and Manchester City, who both triumphed last week.

___

TOTTENHAM'S WEMBLEY WOES

It could be a long, grueling season away from White Hart Lane for Tottenham unless the Wembley jinx ends. In 11 matches at the national stadium since it was rebuilt in 2007, Tottenham have only won twice.

And it's now eight losses.

Tottenham fell behind in the 24th minute when Alonso curled a free kick past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Although Chelsea gifted Tottenham an equalizer in the 82nd, when Michy Batshuayi headed into his own net after three minutes on the pitch, the visitors still had time to grab a winner.

Inside six minutes Alonso was on target again, with a shot squirming under Lloris.

"Wembley is not the reason we lost the game," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. "I think the team played really, really well and it's not fair to blame Wembley because for me Wembley is one of the best places in the world, if not the best place in the world to play football."

___

HUDDERSFIELD'S HIGH

It is two wins out of two and two clean sheets for a Huddersfield team playing in the top flight for the first time since 1972 — two decades before the inception of the Premier League.

Aaron Mooy secured the victory over Newcastle with a strike five minutes into the second half.

"I don't have to pinch myself but I didn't expect it," Huddersfield manager David Wagner said. "We only wanted to be brave in every single game, to search for our chance, and I think we've done it so far."


Undisputed champ: Crawford stops Indongo in 3rd round

Terence Crawford stands over Julius Indongo, after a punch brought him down in the second round of their junior welterweight world title unification bout in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 19. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Eric Olson

Lincoln, Neb. (AP) — Terence Crawford took all the drama out of his fight against Julius Indongo, and he did it fast.

Now Crawford is the only undisputed world champion in professional boxing.

Energized by his huge home-state following 45 minutes from his Omaha base, Crawford stopped Julius Indongo in the third round Saturday night to claim all four major belts at 140 pounds.

The fight was the first four-belt unification bout since 2004, when Bernard Hopkins stopped Oscar De La Hoya to claim all the belts in the 160-pound division. Crawford came in with the WBC and WBO belts; Indongo, from Namibia, was the WBA and IBF champion.

"It means everything," Crawford said. "When you start boxing when you're 7 years old, that's your dream to become world champion — and after that you want to become something bigger than world champion. You just don't stop there. You go to the highest level possible."

Crawford's work at 140 pounds probably is finished. A move to 147 looks imminent. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said the plan is for Crawford to go with him to Australia for the expected November rematch between Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao. Arum wants Crawford to fight the winner.

"I'm all for it," Crawford said.

The 29-year-old Crawford was as dominant as ever against Indongo, a 34-year-old from Namibia who was fighting in the United States for the first time after making a rapid ascent to champion.

Though Crawford was a heavy favorite, Indongo had height and reach advantages that caused his camp some concern.

But Crawford sent Indongo to the canvas with a right to the body in the last minute of the second round and just missed with a massive left hook before the bell. At that point he was in firm control.

Midway through the third round, Crawford caught Indongo with a left hook to the body that put him down writhing in pain.

"We knew the body was going to be open, being that he swings so wild," Crawford said. "We felt we could catch him in the middle of his punches. That's what we worked on in the gym."

Crawford (32-0, 23 knockouts) was in his home state for the fifth time in nine fights but for the first time in Lincoln, 45 minutes from his Omaha base.

Indongo (22-1, 11 knockouts) made his rise in his weight division in less than a year after winning bouts in Russia and Scotland.

Crawford entered the ring to roars from the Pinnacle Bank Arena sellout crowd of 12,121 after coming down the steps from the arena concourse. He wore a red No. 140 Nebraska Cornhuskers football jersey, a nod to this city being home to the University of Nebraska.

With fans on their feet and chanting his name, Crawford seized control early. When his final blow took down Indongo, the decibel level increased even more, and Crawford jumped in the air in the middle of the ring in celebration.

Indongo couldn't get up.

"When he hit me, it hurt so bad," he said. "When he hit me like that, my mind was gone."

On the undercard, 20-year-old Shakur Stevenson scored a unanimous decision over Argentinian David Paz in a super featherweight bout. Stevenson (3-0, 1 knockout) flashed superior speed and finesse throughout the six rounds and knocked down Paz (4-4-1) late in the fifth.

Stevenson, of Newark, New Jersey, is considered a rising star in the pro ranks after earning a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics.

"I feel like the competition stepped up this fight and I feel like I put on a good show, a good boxing display," Stevenson said. "I was really trying to get the knockout, and I was trying to get him with a good hard punch. I was trying to hit him with my left hand and my hook. I do need to use my jab a lot more."

Light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) of Ukraine stopped Craig Baker (17-2, 13 KOs) of Baytown, Texas, at 2:40 of the sixth round.


Henrik Stenson closed with 64 to win at Wyndham

Henrik Stenson watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 20. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Joedy McCeary

Greensboro, N.C. (AP) — Henrik Stenson kept making birdies on the back nine Sunday at the Wyndham Championship. They added up to a tournament record — and his first victory of the year.

Stenson closed with a 6-under 64 for a one-stroke victory in the final event of the PGA Tour regular season.

The 2013 FedEx Cup champion finished at 22-under 258 at Sedgefield Country Club, breaking the course's 72-hole record set by Carl Pettersson in 2008 and matched last year by Si Woo Kim.

The Swede earned $1,044,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points for his sixth win on tour and his first since the 2016 British Open.

"It's certainly a good time to start firing," Stenson said. "We know the kind of damage you can do in the playoffs. ... If you get hot and keep on playing well, you have a chance to challenge."

Stenson said he left his driver in his locker all week — "he's a little anxious to get out there and start getting some air time next week," he quipped of the club — and certainly didn't need it on the par-70 Sedgefield course.

For the second straight day, he had four birdies in a five-hole stretch of the back nine.

Ollie Schniederjans shot a 64 to finish second. Webb Simpson was 18 under after a 67."

"I had to keep on making birdies," Stenson said, "because Ollie was surely not backing down.

Stenson had three consecutive birdies on Nos. 15-17 — leaving a 20-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole about a foot short — after he and Schniederjans were both at 19 under.

Stenson's 30-foot birdie putt on No. 17 moved him to 22 under.

He needed it, because Schniederjans kept the pressure on him. The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech player made a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and added another birdie on the par-4 18th hole after placing his second shot 2 feet from the pin.

"I thought I had a two-shot cushion ... and as I walked over (to the 18th hole and) looked around, 'Oh, OK, (Schniederjans) birdied it as well," Stenson said. "So I better scramble a par here to get the win."

With Schniederjans watching the television broadcast and hoping for a tie, Stenson rolled a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 18 off the right edge of the cup, then made a 3-footer to end it.

"When I stuffed it (on No. 18), I thought that's probably going to be a playoff," Schniederjans said. "And he birdied 17 and got par on 18. Hat's off to him — he had a great finish, too. Just one short."

Low scores and tight leaderboards once again were the norm at Sedgefield. With seven holes left for the final pairing, four players — Stenson, Schniederjans, Ryan Armour and Kevin Na — shared the lead at 18 under.

"It was anyone's tournament on the back nine," Stenson said.

Stenson moved to 19 under with a birdie on the 13th and Schniederjans joined him with a remarkable recovery for birdie on the 15th. His second shot careened off a canopy covering the gallery and landed in a greenside bunker, but he chipped to 2 feet of the flagstick and converted the putt.

The other subplot at Sedgefield was the push by the bubble players to qualify for the playoffs that start next week at The Northern Trust for the top 125 on the points list.

Geoff Ogilvy, who was at No. 125, finished at 11 under and earned enough points to move to No. 116.

And Martin Flores, who started at No. 139, jumped to No. 118 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2014 after a 63 highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th. J.J. Henry, Harold Varner III and Rory Sabbatini also played their way into the top 125.

"I was very aware of where I was all day but I knew that I needed to be somewhere inside the top 10, have to," Flores said. "So I was able to get off to a great start and I was able to just keep it going all day."

DIVOTS: Ben Crane was the first player this week to ace the 16th hole, earning 1 million rewards points from the tournament's title sponsor. "Billy Horschel and I did a lot of choreography work beforehand and nailed it, did the right high fives," Crane said about his post-ace celebration.


Muguruza, Dimitrov get their 1st Cincinnati titles

Garbine Muguruza, of Spain, holds the Rookwood Cup after defeating Simona Halep, of Romania, in the women's singles final at the Western & Southern Open, Sunday, Aug. 20, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Joe Kay

Mason, Ohio (AP) — Garbine Muguruza cradled her smiling face in both hands and closed her eyes, taking it all in. The Wimbledon champion had added another title to her breakthrough summer — this one at the expense of a player who can't quite get to No. 1.

Muguruza defeated Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0 for her first Western & Southern Open title on Sunday, needing only 56 minutes to extend her run of success. She also denied Halep yet another chance to move up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

"Honestly, I was thinking in her situation, it must be difficult," Muguruza said. "But I wanted to win the title as well."

On the men's side, seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 for his first ATP Masters title, emerging from a bracket decimated by injuries to top players.

Muguruza won her first title in the U.S. and her second of the year, along with Wimbledon. In three tournaments since, the Spaniard has at least reached the quarterfinals. Now it's on to New York for the U.S. Open, where she's got a history of disappointment.

"The tough matches never go my way, so I want to change that," she said. "I want to find the recipe this year."

It was a big disappointment for Halep — the third time this season that she needed one more win to move up to No. 1 and couldn't get it. She came up just short at the French Open and Wimbledon, and had it in the back of her mind the last few weeks.

Perhaps that had something to do with the poor showing.

"Maybe I feel the pressure and I don't realize it," Halep said. "Maybe I just played bad. I don't know what to say. But it's still there. I still have a chance, so I will work for it and maybe one day it will be there."

Halep also finished as the runner-up at Cincinnati in 2015, losing to Serena Williams. She brought a lot of momentum into this final title match. The Romanian is fully healed from a knee injury that limited her early in the season, and she didn't lose a set all week until Sunday, when she was never in the match.

Muguruza broke her to go up 2-0 in the first set and was in control. Halep won only 12 points in the set, which lasted 23 minutes. Muguruza broke her again to open the second set and faced only two break points all match.

"When I feel on court that I got dominated a little bit — I felt that I cannot control the points — and that's maybe why I got a little big down in my confidence," Halep said.

When it ended, Muguruza congratulated Halep and walked around the court with her smiling face cradled in both hands. Then she put her hands over her heart and reached toward the applauding crowd.

The women's bracket was missing Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Muguruza knocked off defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.

The men's bracket lacked Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and defending champion Marin Cilic because of injuries. Dimitrov took advantage and won a title with his steady serve — he was broken only once all week.

Kyrgios had only two break chances and failed to convert either during the 1-hour, 25-minute final. Neither player had reached a Masters title match until this week. Dimitrov said his shoulder felt heavy as he sensed the moment and served out the match.

"In moments like that, it's so difficult," Dimitrov said. "There's so many things going through your head. Today there was a lot more on the line for me so yeah, the weight was a bit more."

Kyrgios was delighted to reach a final after a hip injury prompted him to quit several matches this summer, including at Wimbledon.

"Where I was three weeks ago — it wasn't good at all — and now I'm in a Masters final," Kyrgios said. "That's a very Nick Kyrgios thing to do. I don't know. It's crazy."


India crush Sri Lanka by 9 wickets in 1st ODI

India's Shikhar Dhawan, left, gestures towards his team's dressing room after scoring a century during the first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Aug. 20. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Dambulla, Sri Lanka (AP) — Shikhar Dhawan scored 132 not out and shared an unbroken 197-run partnership with captain Virat Kohli as India beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets with 21 overs to spare in their first one-day international on Sunday.

Dhawan smashed 20 fours and three sixes in his 90-ball innings, which was his 11th ODI century. Kohli finished on 82 not out off 70 balls after earlier winning the toss and asking Sri Lanka to bat.

The hosts failed to convert a good start into a big score and were dismissed for 216 in the 44th over. Niroshan Dickwella top scored with 64, and shared a 74-run opening wicket partnership with Danushka Gunathilaka (35) and 65 runs for the second wicket with Kusal Mendis (36).

But Sri Lanka quickly slid from a solid 139-2 in the 25th over, losing their remaining eight wickets for 77 runs.

Left arm spinner Axar Patel took 3-34 for India. Seamer Jasprit Bumrah and spinners Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal took two wickets each.

India lost Rohit Sharma to a run out with the score on 23, bringing Dhawan and Kohli together until victory.

The second of five ODIs is on Thursday at Pallekele.
 


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