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Update August 2017

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Update August 31, 2017

Malaysia wins 145 golds to become SEA Games champions

Fireworks explode above the national stadium during the closing ceremony of the 29th South East Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Aug. 30. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Eileen Ng

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AP) — Host Malaysia has won 145 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games to emerge as overall champions for the first time in 16 years, making it a double celebration in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the nations’s independence from British rule.

The medal bounty exceeded Malaysia's record of 111 golds in the 2001 games that it last hosted, and comes as a bonus ahead of the Independence Day celebrations on Thursday.

Thailand, champions in four of the last five games, had 72 gold medals.

Vietnam had 58, Singapore 57, Indonesia 38, Philippines 24, Myanmar 7, Cambodia 3 and Laos 2. The sultanate of Brunei and new state Timor Leste (East Timor) failed to win any gold in the region's largest multi-sports event that ended Wednesday.

The biennial Games, which started in 1959, covers a wide range of sports, many that are on the Olympic program. It also includes sports distinct to the region such as the pencak silat martial art, sepak takraw that is played with a rattan ball, and Thai kickboxing muay thai.

Malaysia's medal haul was a big jump from the 62 golds they won at the 2015 games in Singapore, but it isn't surprising as host countries can tailor the program to match their strengths. In 2007, Thailand took 183 golds out of 477 on home soil while host Indonesia finished with 182 out of 554 in 2011.

The next SEA Games will be contested in the Philippines in 2019.

Malaysia's organization and some games results attracted controversy.

Indonesia accused Malaysia of cheating in the pencak silat competition after two Malaysians won gold in the men's artistic doubles. Indonesia team manager Edhy Prabowo alleged that the duo, who had lost many times to Indonesia, were awarded an unfairly high score.

The allegation came after a gaffe by Malaysia in printing the Indonesian flag upside down in a souvenir guidebook for the games. The error made the red-and-white Indonesian flag resemble Poland's and caused anger in Indonesia, where "shameonyoumalaysia" became the most popular hashtag on Twitter.

Malaysia was quick to apologize for the "unintentional" mistake and said it would reprint the guide books.

In athletics, a Malaysian woman was criticized after she overtook a Vietnamese competitor to win the gold medal in a women's walk event by apparently running in the final stretch to the finish line. Officials also complained that games venues and timing were changed at the last minute.

Sharapova wins another 3-setter to reach US Open's 3rd round

Maria Sharapova, of Russia, returns a shot from Timea Babos, of Hungary, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 30, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Howard Fendrich

 New York (AP) — No one, not even Maria Sharapova herself, knew quite what to expect from her return to Grand Slam tennis at the U.S. Open.

It had been 19 months since she had entered a major tournament. She played only nine times anywhere since returning from a 15-month doping suspension in April. Two three-set tussles into her stay at Flushing Meadows, it's clear that Sharapova's game might be patchy, but she is as capable as ever of coming up with big strokes in big moments — and maybe, just maybe, could stick around for a while in a depleted draw.

Sharapova became the first woman into the third round at the U.S. Open by using 12 aces to help set aside a poor start and coming back to beat Timea Babos of Hungary 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was the highlight of a busy day that featured 87 singles matches on the schedule after rain washed out most play a day earlier.

"It wasn't my best tennis," Sharapova acknowledged in an on-court interview. "It felt like it was a scrappy match."

Sure was, particularly in the early going. Sharapova made a whopping 19 unforced errors in the first set alone, including a pair of missed forehands that handed over the opening set to the 59th-ranked Babos. But as the match went on, Sharapova looked more and more like someone who used to be ranked No. 1 and owns five major titles — including the 2006 U.S. Open — than someone who needed a wild-card invitation from the U.S. Tennis Association because she is now 146th, on account of her ban and lack of play.

"In the second set, I just felt like I was physically fresh and that gave me a lot of confidence," said the 30-year-old Russian, who wore a strip of black tape on the left forearm that bothered her earlier in the month. "I just wanted to be fittest player out there in the end, and I really felt like I was."

She cut down her miscues to 12 unforced errors in the second set, then just five in the third, and finished with a 39-13 advantage in winners, looking as strong as she did while eliminating No. 2 seed Simona Halep in a three-set thriller in Ashe on Monday.

"It was definitely tough to control the emotions yesterday, because as much as you want to be happy about that match and what I accomplished there, you want to move on really fast," Sharapova said. "And so finding that balance is really hard. Today I felt like going into the match I just wanted to get it done. And I did."

Not quickly, though: She already has spent nearly 5 hours on court, and so perhaps the yelling and fist-pumping she showed at the end against Babos were as much a reflection of a sense of relief as celebration.

If her 14 return winners were a key to getting past Halep, it was Sharapova's serving that really made a difference down the stretch against Babos: She won 16 of the last 19 points she served.

With so many matches going on, there were plenty of names to keep tabs on. Two other past U.S. Open champions, Juan Martin del Potro and Svetlana Kuznetsova won in the afternoon, while two-time winner Venus Williams faced Oceane Dodin of France at night. After that, 2008 Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was scheduled to meet 18-year-old Canadian qualifier Denis Shapovalov.

There was a mix of first- and second-round matches thanks to Tuesday's postponements, and No. 14 Nick Kyrgios, No. 22 Fabio Fognini, No. 26 Richard Gasquet and No. 27 Pablo Cuevas all lost their openers. Two top-10 men whose opening matches also were delayed — and will have to get back on court Thursday — expended little energy: No. 6 Dominic Thiem beat Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-1, 6-1, and No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov was a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 winner against qualifier Vaclav Safranek.

The only seeded woman to exit in the afternoon was No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 by Christina McHale of the U.S.

After US Open loss, Kyrgios says: 'Keep letting people down'

Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, returns a shot from John Millman, of Australia, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 30, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — A post-loss news conference with Nick Kyrgios often feels more like a therapy session, and Wednesday at the U.S. Open was no exception.

There was a lot to unpack afterward.

The 14th-seeded Kyrgios lamented the injured right shoulder that limited his effectiveness from the third set on during a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 exit against another Australian, 235th-ranked John Millman. Kyrgios called the series of health issues that have hampered him all year "diabolical." He stated that he doesn't care enough about working hard and, therefore, his coach should find someone else to work with.

And he closed by covering his face while saying, "I keep letting people down."

Kyrgios is a supremely talented and temperamental 22-year-old who has reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals and just this month beat 15-time major champion Rafael Nadal en route to the final of the Cincinnati Masters. He is also someone who gets in trouble for his on-court actions, such as lobbing insults at his opponent or being accused of not giving his best effort.

When Kyrgios was asked Wednesday whether he plans to continue being coached by former player Sebastien Grosjean, the reply was rather startling — or rather, would have been, coming from any other professional athlete.

"I don't know, honestly. I'm not good enough for him," Kyrgios responded. "You know, he's very dedicated. He's an unbelievable coach. You know, he probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am. He deserves a better athlete than me."

When a reporter returned to that topic, asking Kyrgios to explain what he meant, he said: "I'm not dedicated to the game at all."

"I mean, you know what I mean: There are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day. The 'one-percenters.' I'm not that guy."

Asked whether he envisions ever being "that guy," Kyrgios answered: "I really don't know. Probably not. Honestly not."

He then referenced his impressive run in Cincinnati and described his routine there.

"I was playing basketball ... every day for two hours. Like, I played an hour of basketball before I played (2013 French Open runner-up) David Ferrer in the semifinal," he said. "I was ... getting a milk shake every day. I was less dedicated. And this week I was dedicated — and my shoulder starts hurting."

Against Millman, Kyrgios' shoulder was massaged by a trainer during changeovers in the third set. During that set, Kyrgios also had an argument with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after being warned for using bad language.

Kyrgios pleaded that he hadn't said anything improper, but Ramos said a linesperson had reported him.

"For obvious reasons," Ramos said, "I cannot repeat what he said you said."

As for his body, Kyrgios stopped playing during Wimbledon because of a hip injury — part of a three-match run in which he retired each time.

"I have had a diabolical year at these Slams. It doesn't surprise me. It's just the story of my career, really. I will have good weeks; I'll have bad weeks," he said. "It's just a roller-coaster."

Bangladesh win 1st test against Australia by 20 runs

Bangladesh's Sakib Al Hasan, right, celebrates the dismissal of Australia's Glenn Maxwell, left, during the fourth day of the first test in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Aug. 30. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP) — Left-arm spin bowler Shakib Al Hasan claimed the second 10-wicket haul of his career as Bangladesh sealed a landmark 20-run victory over Australia in the series-opening test on Wednesday.

Bangladesh's 10th victory in 101 test matches — and their first over Australia in five matches — gave them a 1-0 lead in the two-match series despite opener David Warner's century that helped Australia's early and optimistic chase of 265 runs for victory.

Bangladesh's win on the fourth day came in the first test the two teams have contested since 2006. A planned tour of Bangladesh by Australia in 2015 was canceled due to security concerns after an Italian charity worker was shot dead in Dhaka, and the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

The loss again highlighted Australia's historic batting issues on pitches in subcontinental Asia — a 2-1 series loss in India this year came after a 3-0 defeat in Sri Lanka in 2016.

If Bangladesh also win the second test, starting in Chittagong on Monday, Australia's test ranking could slide to as low as sixth.

Bangladesh have won tests against England, Sri Lanka and Australia in the past year. In the previous 16 years of their test history, the Bangladeshis had defeated only Zimbabwe and a second-string West Indies team affected by a player strike.

"It's a great feeling, credit to the boys, especially to Shakib," Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said. "They were ahead of us today, but we had some belief since many of their batsmen are not used to playing in these conditions. I think this was a big statement."

In his 50th test but his first against Australia, Shakib confirmed his status as the game's leading allrounder with match figures of 10-153 to add to his first-innings run total of 84.

"The best feeling is to contribute to the team's win," said Shakib, who was man of the match. "It was an important test for us since we hardly play against Australia. It worked as an inspiration."

Shakib returned figures of 5-85 in the second innings to help Bangladesh bowl out Australia for 244 runs one hour after the lunch break.

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam's 3-60 and offspinner Mehidy Hasan's 2-80 assisted in the win.

Australia were comfortably placed at 158-2 thanks to Warner's first century on the subcontinent, resuming the day on 109-2 and needing 156 runs on the fourth day.

But Shakib got the vital wickets of Warner and captain Steven Smith, who combined for 130 runs, within 13 runs.

Warner hit 112 off 135 balls, including 16 fours and one six, his 19th century before being baffled by delivery that kept low. Smith also was dismissed by a similar delivery which ended his innings of 37, lasting for 99 balls.

Those crucial two wickets triggered a collapse as Islam joined Shakib to turn the match around.

Islam got Peter Handscomb (15), forcing him to edge to slip where Soumya Sarkar completed a tough catch. Islam then removed Ashton Agar (2) with a return catch before Shakib trapped Matthew Wade (4) in front.

Glenn Maxwell was the final obstacle and Shakib completed his five-wicket performance, disturbing the batsman's wicket with a delivery that kept low and spun sharply in the first ball after lunch.

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins combined for 29 runs in a ninth-wicket stand to provide Australia with some hope before Hasan broke through, dismissing Lyon for 12.

Ignoring his side strain which will force him to return injured to Australia and not play in the second test, Josh Hazlewood came in to bat but Islam trapped him leg before wicket to end the match.

"We let ourselves down a bit in the first innings with the bat," Smith said. "It was quite difficult batting in the second innings here and I thought we did quite well getting 240 in the end."

Indians sweep Yankees, who stagger into Red Sox series

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers the ball to the New York Yankees during the first game of their baseball doubleheader Wednesday, Aug. 30, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

New York (AP) — Trevor Bauer and Ryan Merritt shut down the Yankees' offense, leading the Cleveland Indians to a doubleheader sweep that damaged New York's chances to win the AL East.

Bauer (14-8) won his career-best seventh straight decision, Jose Ramirez tied his big league high with four hits and the Indians took advantage of Gary Sanchez's passed ball in a two-run first inning that stood up for a 2-1 win in Wednesday's opener.

Yandy Diaz hit a two-run single in a four-run first inning against rookie Jordan Montgomery (7-7) in the second game, and Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes and Francisco Lindor added home runs in a 9-4 blowout that completed a three-game series sweep and extended the Indians' winning streak to seven games.

Defending AL champion Cleveland has won 16 of 20, opening a 7 1/2-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central and moving a season-high 20 games over .500 at 76-56.

Cody Allen struck out three of four batters for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

Jaime Garcia (1-2) gave up two runs, six hits and three walks in five-plus innings.

Merritt (2-0) began 16 of 22 batters with strikes, allowing one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.


Baltimore — Welington Castillo went 4 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs and Jonathan Schoop singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as Baltimore beat Seattle for its season-high seventh straight victory.

Schoop, Mancini and Craig Gentry also homered for the Orioles, who completed their first three-game sweep of Seattle since 2012. In this one, Baltimore fell behind 6-2 in the third inning before coming back.

Mitch Haniger homered and hit two doubles for Seattle, which completed an arduous 12-game East Coast trip with five straight defeats. After winning two of three in Tampa Bay and Atlanta, the Mariners went 1-2 at Yankee Stadium and came up empty against the sizzling Orioles.

After Baltimore went up 7-6 in the sixth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Manny Machado, Seattle pulled even in the eighth when Haniger connected off Brad Brach (4-4).

In the bottom half, Castillo singled off Christian Bergman (4-5) and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt before being replaced by pinch-runner Caleb Joseph. Tim Beckham then hit a liner to short, and Joseph was called out on a relay to second. But a replay overturned the call, and Schoop followed an intentional walk to Machado with a single to center off Marc Rzepczynski.

Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 13th save.


Washington — Stephen Strasburg tossed a complete game six-hitter and also homered, Wilmer Difo added a home run and Washington beat Miami to complete a three-game sweep.

Washington, which has won four in a row, extended its lead in the NL East to 15 games over the Marlins. Miami, which had won 13 of 16 prior to arriving in Washington, had not dropped three in a row since July 14-16.

The Marlins had no answer for Strasburg (11-4), who struck out eight. Strasburg threw 110 pitches. It was Strasburg's second complete game in 179 starts and his first since Aug. 11, 2013, against Philadelphia.

Strasburg is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts since returning from a disabled list stint for right elbow nerve impingement.

Miami left-hander Adam Conley (6-6) made it through the first four innings unscathed before Strasburg launched the first pitch of the fifth to right-center for his second home run this season and third of his career.


Milwaukee — Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar homered in the sixth inning, and center fielder Keon Broxton made a leaping catch over the wall for the final out.

Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his 30th save. Chase Anderson (8-3) gave up two hits — both homers — in six innings, three earned runs, struck out six and walked two to improve to 4-0 in nine starts at Miller Park this season.

Santana hit his 22nd homer of the season and Villar's was his 10th, giving Milwaukee a franchise-record nine players with at least 10 homers in a season.

Carlos Martinez (10-10) allowed 10 hits, six runs — three earned — and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings.


Denver — Justin Verlander struck out nine over six commanding innings and aided his own cause by driving in his first career run.

Verlander (10-8) allowed one run and three hits. His only mistake was a curveball that Charlie Blackmon hit for a solo homer in the sixth. Verlander ignited the offense with an RBI single in the second.

Nicholas Castellanos added a solo homer and James McCann sealed the game with a three-run shot in the fifth to help Tigers take two of three from Colorado.

The Rockies finished August with a 12-15 record — their first losing month of the season. They saw their lead for the second NL wild card shrink to three games over Milwaukee.

Chad Bettis (0-2) struggled with his control in his fourth start since returning from treatment for testicular cancer. He allowed five runs in five innings.

BRAVES 9, PHILLIES 1, First game

BREAVES 5, PHILLIES 2, Second game

Philadelphia — David Freitas lined a go-ahead RBI double for his first career hit, Ender Inciarte had three hits and Atlanta beat Philadelphia to complete a doubleheader sweep.

Julio Teheran (9-11) allowed one run and five hits, striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.

Inciarte was 3 for 5 with one RBI after going 5 for 5 with four RBIs to lead the Braves to a 9-1 victory in the opener.

Philadelphia's Game 2 starter, Mark Leiter Jr. (2-4), allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Braves starter R.A Dickey (9-8) struck out nine over eight innings in Game 1.

Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer off Jerad Eickhoff (4-8) in the first.

Update August 30, 2017

West Indies chase down 322 in remarkable win over England

West Indies Shai Hope celebrates after scoring the winning runs during day five of the second test against England at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Tuesday, Aug. 29. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Leeds, England (AP) — West Indies chased down 322 on the final day for a remarkable victory against all expectations in the second test against England on Tuesday.

Shai Hope carried West Indies home at Headingley with a personal milestone as he became the first man in more than 500 first-class games at the Leeds ground to make a century in both innings.

He was 118 not out in the second innings as West Indies made 322-5, winning by five wickets at the very end of the final session of the match when all three results were still possible.

"Someone had to do it so I just put my hand up and did it for the team," Hope said.

Having made 147 for a maiden test century in the first innings, Hope doubled up with his unbeaten ton in the second, the first time that's happened in 127 years of first-class cricket at Headingley.

His second-innings century came under extreme pressure, too. He arrived with West Indies 53-2, teetering, and facing defeat.

"On the fifth day, against high-quality bowling on a used wicket. Great knock," said England captain Joe Root.

Jermaine Blackwood helped Hope take West Indies to victory with a breezy 41 off 45 balls at the end and opener Kraigg Brathwaite did much of the tough early work against the new ball for his 95.

Hope and Brathwaite both made centuries in the first innings of 427 to give the West Indies the early advantage in an enthralling test. England surrendered a big first-innings lead — out for 258 — only to make enough runs in their second innings to declare on 490-8.

England planned to be pushing for victory on the final day but three dropped catches at the end of a test which had a series of missed chances hurt the home team. Former skipper Alastair Cook put Brathwaite down at first slip when the opener was on just 4. Brathwaite survived a second chance, too, on his way to setting up West Indies' thrilling chase.

Cook again missed another one at slip near the end, this time with Hope on 106 and England hoping to apply some final pressure with West Indies still needing 37 to win in the gloom of the early evening.

Hope, who batted for more than five hours, ensured West Indies came through with an innings of grit and composure to seal a test that signaled a big future for the 23-year-old.

West Indies last won a test in England 17 years ago, but more than just ending that dire run in England, this was one of the team's most memorable triumphs anywhere.

It was an astonishing turnaround after West Indies lost the first test by an innings and 209 runs inside three days. In that humiliation at Edgbaston, the tourists lost 19 wickets in a day. The young West Indies team was fiercely criticized for its capitulation in the first test and wasn't given a hope at Headingley.

"What a five days. After getting the kicking we did at Edgbaston, to get the boys back up to achieve what they've done these last five days, it's a great effort," said West Indies coach Stuart Law.

"I think it's put a lot of doubters out there to bed."

The West Indians got 317 of the 322 runs they needed on the final day. They also made the second-highest fourth-innings total ever at Headingley to win a test.

Illustrating the scale of the achievement, only Don Bradman's Australia team in 1948 — a team known as 'The Invincibles' — have made more runs in the fourth innings to win a test in Leeds.

The West Indians' victory levelled the series at 1-1 and gives them a chance of a series win no one expected outside the West Indies camp.

England, with the series-decider at Lord's now their last test before the far tougher Ashes in Australia at the end of the year, must respond like they did against South Africa earlier in the summer. Then, England came back from a big disappointment in the second test to win that series convincingly.

Kerber goes from champ to 1st-round loser at rainy US Open

Angelique Kerber, of Germany, returns a shot from Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 29, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — The question was rather simple after Angelique Kerber became only the second defending U.S. Open champion in the professional era to lose in the first round.

The surprisingly lopsided 6-3, 6-1 loss to 45th-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan under the closed roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium at a rainy Flushing Meadows on Tuesday was former No. 1 Kerber's latest in a long list of disappointing performances in 2017, so she was asked what she thinks went wrong this season.

She sighed, shrugged her shoulders and began to answer: "I don't know."

Moments later, her eyes darting around the room, she added, "This year is a completely different year."

Talk about an understatement. In 2016, Kerber broke through to the top of tennis in a spectacular way. A player with only one previous Grand Slam semifinal appearance reached the first three major title matches of her career, winning two of them: She stunned Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, lost to Williams in the Wimbledon final, and then beat Karolina Pliskova in the U.S. Open final to rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time.

Her follow-up has been quite a flop. Kerber, a 29-year-old German, hasn't won any title of any sort this season. She is only 25-18 overall, 0-9 against opponents ranked in the top 20, and Tuesday's loss assured her of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2015. At Grand Slam tournaments she is 6-4, including another first-round loss in May at the French Open, where she became that tournament's first No. 1 seed to lose so early.

"I know that I'm strong and I know that I will come back stronger, for sure. I know that I will not (be) giving up," said Kerber, the first defending champion to lose in the U.S. Open's first round since Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.

Showers showed up before noon Tuesday and led to the postponements of dozens of matches. The only court used in the afternoon and evening was Ashe, thanks to the retractable cover constructed ahead of last year's tournament.

Pliskova, who is seeded No. 1, easily advanced by beating Magda Linette 6-2, 6-1, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko got past Lara Arruabarrena 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 in a match that started on Court 17 then was moved indoors at Ashe, and No. 23 Barbora Strycova defeated Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-3. Yet another seeded woman was eliminated when No. 28 Lesia Tsurenko lost to Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-1.

At night in Ashe, No. 15 Madison Keys of the U.S. compiled a 32-9 edge in winners and moved into the second round by beating Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (6). Keys got broken while serving for the match at 6-5, and then faced a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. But Keys delivered a big forehand to force a backhand error by Mertens, starting a three-point run for the American to close out the victory.

The only men's matches completed were at Ashe, where No. 1 Rafael Nadal overcame a first-set hiccup before overpowering Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2. Nadal's possible semifinal foe and chief rival for the title, Roger Federer, was to face 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe at night.

Kerber's exit further thins the women's bracket, which was missing 23-time major champion Serena Williams to begin with because she is expecting a baby. Three of the top seven seeded women were gone before dinnertime on Day 2, with No. 6 Kerber joining Monday's losers, No. 2 Simona Halep — beaten by Maria Sharapova in her first Grand Slam match since a 15-month doping suspension — and No. 7 Johanna Konta.

While Kerber's quick departure was stunning in and of itself, that Osaka would be the one to do it might not be quite so remarkable, even if she is just 19 and never won before against a top-10 woman.

Osaka is comfortable around the grounds at Flushing Meadows, where she has been spending time, and even occasionally practicing, since she was a kid: She was born in Osaka, Japan, so represents that country, but moved to the U.S. when she was 3, has dual citizenship, and used to live on Long Island.

"The site," Osaka said, "feels really familiar to me."

She nearly upended Keys in the U.S. Open's third round last year, leading 5-1 in the third set before losing in a tiebreaker, a collapse on her mind in the latter stages Tuesday.

This time, Osaka held steady, using her powerful baseline game to bully Kerber.

Osaka accumulated a 22-9 edge in winners, broke in half of Kerber's eight service games and saved all four break points she faced.

"It was not my day," Kerber summed up. "Completely not my day."

Hasn't been her year, either.

Warner hits 75 not out as Australia close in on victory

Australia's David Warner plays a shot during the third day of the first test against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Aug. 29. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP) — Opener David Warner hit 75 not out Tuesday as Australia stayed in a position of dominance after Bangladesh set a 265-run target in the first test.

At the end of Day 3, Australia reached 109-2 and need 156 more runs to register only their third victory in the sub-continent in the last decade.

Australia captain Steven Smith, unbeaten on 25, gave Warner good support on the tricky wicket.

Warner started rapidly, hitting two fours off off-spinner Mehidy Hasan in the first over. But Hasan then dismissed Matt Renshaw for 5.

Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan had taken Usman Khawaja (1), forcing him to continue his dismal form in the sub-continent as he top-edged to deep backward square leg after trying to play a sweep shot.

"He's such a big player for us and you could just see it in his eye when he was out there," Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins said of Warner. "He was so focused. We always say 'be the bull' and he looked like he was the bull out there, just focused and taking the game on."

Warner, on 14, survived a tough chance when he edged to first slip off Shakib Al Hasan's delivery. Warner hit 11 fours and one six, facing only 96 balls.

Smith believed he was stumped in the first ball he faced off Hasan and walked off. The TV replay, however, confirmed his feet didn't cross the line.

Coming off an epic series in India in which he piled up 499 runs in four tests, including three centuries, Smith was watchful throughout the innings and hit only one boundary.

Warner kept scoring, much to the disappointment of the Bangladeshi bowlers.

"That last hour or so should give us a lot of confidence," Cummins said. "Smithy and Dave look like they had really good game plans out there and they were in control."

Australia offspinner Nathan Lyon bowled 6-82 to help dismiss Bangladesh for 221 shortly after the tea break.

Lyon's 10th five-for helped Australia claw back into the game when Bangladesh were in charge. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar contributed with 2-55.

Lyon broke through in the sixth over, dismissing nightwatchman Taijul Islam for 4 after Bangladesh resumed at 45-1. He then dismissed Imrul Kayes (2) with a delivery that carried extra bounce.

Cummins gave the vital breakthrough just after lunch, winning a video review against Tamim Iqbal, who was caught behind.

Tamim sent the ball across the rope eight times in his 155-ball 78. It was his second half-century in the match after his 71 in the first innings.

"The pitch seemed to have mellowed today but it is unpredictable," Iqbal said. "Anything close to 300 would have been good. However, we'll come strongly tomorrow and a wicket into the morning could have turned the things."

Lyon then got the better of Al Hasan (5), who tried to clear the boundary but holed it out to cover.

Mushfiqur Rahim stalled Australia's progress with support from Sabbir Rahman. Rahim was then run out after scoring 41 off 114.

Rahim's dismissal sparked a collapse as Bangladesh lost three wickets in 10 balls without scoring a run.

With 186-8, Hasan and Shafiul Islam took the score past 200, scoring rapidly.

Lyon completed his five-for by dismissing Shafiul for 9. He then took Hasan for 26 to wrap up the innings.

NFL making $40 million available for medical research

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)

Barry Wilner

New York (AP) — A year after the NFL pledged $100 million in support of independent medical research and engineering advancements, a huge chunk of that soon will be awarded to such research, primarily dedicated to neuroscience.

A Scientific Advisory Board assembled by the NFL is set to launch its program to solicit and evaluate research proposals for funding. The board, comprised of independent experts, doctors, scientists and clinicians, and chaired by retired U.S. Army General Peter Chiarelli, will provide direction for the $40 million allocated under the league's initiative.

"Prevention should always be a focus," Chiarelli says. "Nevertheless, the development of biologically based diagnostics is critical for return-to-play decisions for the NFL, and return to combat/training for the armed forces. Imagine if you had a handheld analyzer that with a single drop could determine whether a player or a soldier had a concussion — and determine the severity of that injury."

The NFL has an ongoing affiliation with the armed forces, and in April partnered with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command on a three-year venture to collaborate on head health research and development.

As always in this era of CTE concerns, any sports-oriented medical studies must be all-encompassing. Developing improved tools for research and design is front and center, as the league's scientific advisory board is seeking to be, with significant financial outlay.

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) can cause memory loss, depression, violent mood swings and other cognitive and behavioral issues in those exposed to repetitive head trauma.

"There have been significant learnings in recent years that have changed the way we look at traumatic brain injury, notably CTE," says Dr. Allen Sills, who came aboard this year as the league's chief medical officer. "I agree with many medical experts that there are still a lot of unanswered questions relating to the cause, incidence and prevalence of CTE. But what is clear is that there's a problem that impacts some athletes in sports like ours, others possibly, too, and we are eager to see CTE research move forward and begin to assemble more pieces of the puzzle.

"The NFL has a responsibility to do everything it can to make the game safer and drive research that advances treatment and prevention and, as we make advances, share them with the broader sports world. Most of the issues we face in the NFL are sport issues, and beyond that they are society issues."

A year out from Commissioner Roger Goodell's pledge to "look at anything and everything to protect our players and make the game safer," one of the areas receiving concentrated attention by the league is developing equipment that provides even more specific and enhanced feedback on improving safety in football. Helmets, shoulder pads and other pads, and footwear all have seen improvements, but there's much more to be done.

The league has embarked on what it calls "The Engineering Roadmap," a $60 million program designed to improve head protection equipment.

"This is a comprehensive and dedicated plan intended to spur innovation and significantly improve head protection for NFL players in three to five years," explains Dr. Jeffrey Crandall, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Applied Biomechanics and chair of the NFL's head, neck and spine engineering subcommittee.

The program is managed in collaboration with NFL Players Association's engineering consultants, Dr. Kristy Arbogast, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Dr. Barry Myers, director of innovation at Duke University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

"A key component of the engineering roadmap is to accurately measure the motion and acceleration the head experiences during play in the NFL by player position, to give design direction for protective equipment," Arbogast says. "To date, we have been doing that via video reconstructions and injury event recreations using crash test dummies. These approaches are incredibly time intensive and, by design, focus on 'events' that must be subjectively selected from game film or injury reports."

But "the engineering roadmap leverages the modeling approach used in other fields to apply computational models to helmet design and evaluation," Crandall adds.

"Many fields have transitioned from primarily an experimental evaluation and design of products to a largely computational development program. Computational models that simulate various designs and use conditions can greatly enhance the thoroughness and efficacy of the design process while simultaneously reducing the time of product development."

Of note is a focus on sensors that can determine all sorts of data to help enhance safety. The league and the players' union are working to develop novel sensor technology capable of accurately recording the motion of the head during impact in varying game conditions and positions. The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response.

"This athlete exposure data will inform the testing of protective equipment so that future helmet test methodologies and design evolution are relevant to what is actually experienced on the field," Arbogast says.

With a recent study into brain trauma revealing significant numbers of former NFL players among those examined suffering from CTE, the emphasis on injury prevention of all kinds must be paramount.

That means pushing hard on all fronts, particularly equipment innovation and testing.

Crandall sees the engineering roadmap as the correct, well, road to take.

"Beyond the particular outcome of the roadmap," he says, "we will develop an improved understanding of the types and severity of impacts players experience on-field through video analysis and sensors that will be available to examine a broader array of medical and engineering questions."

With, hopefully, benefits for every level of football — and for other sports.

Study says widespread doping ahead of 2011 worlds in Daegu

In this Aug. 30 2011 file photo, Russia's Tatyana Chernova, left, reacts as she crosses the finish line in the Heptathlon 800m at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Chernova was subsequently stripped of her gold from the 2011 world championships for doping offences. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

John Leicester

Paris (AP) — A long-delayed study funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency says one third of athletes may have knowingly doped shortly before they competed at the 2011 track world championships — although few of them were caught at the time.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Sports Medicine, estimated that doping was even more widespread at the Pan-Arab Games in 2011, with at least 45 percent of competitors thought to have doped in the 12 months before the regional multi-sports event.

The researchers said a total of 2,168 athletes at the two events participated in anonymous questionnaires upon which the study was based. The volunteers were offered the choice of replying to the question: "Have you knowingly violated anti-doping regulations by using a prohibited substance or method in the last 12 months?"

After discounting some answers, from athletes who responded so hastily that they may have misunderstood the survey instructions or not carefully considered their response, the team of nine researchers from Europe and the United States came up with estimates of doping prevalence among athletes at the two events: 30 to 31 percent at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and 45 to 49 percent at the Pan-Arab Games.

They said those findings may still have underestimated the extent of cheating.

"There are many reasons to suspect that we may have undershot the true values," Harrison G. Pope Jr., one of the authors, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Pope is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Other experts who did not take part in the study said doping may now be less widespread than it was in 2011 — thanks to improved detection methods and following more recent doping scandals involving Russian athletes, in particular.

Michel Audran, director of France's WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory, noted progress track has made against doping, with more than 100 athletes caught by a biological passport program that tracks competitors' blood and other readings over time for tell-tale signs of doping.

"It's a snapshot of the time," Audran said of the study. "In my opinion, it has diminished a lot since then."

Olivier de Hon, manager of scientific affairs at the Netherlands Anti-Doping Authority, also said he has "good hopes" that doping is less widespread than in 2011. He said the study's methodology was sound.

"It is an estimate but it's a pretty good estimate — within a 10 percent range of what was likely the truth at that time," de Hon said.

"It's a pity it took so long to publish," he added. "It was really new when they conducted it."

The authors said the delay of nearly six years between collecting the raw data and publication this week was due to negotiations with track's governing body, and between WADA and the governing body.

"I don't really know where in the system the delay occurred," Pope said. "What actually happened behind the scenes was quite murky.

"I do know that we wanted to be sure that we had thoroughly satisfied everybody."

An earlier, but subsequently revised, draft of the study was published by the British parliament in 2015.

The IAAF's new anti-doping unit said that while it could not comment on the study's accuracy, it welcomes "any research on the prevalence of doping."

The Athletics Integrity Unit added that it has "no doubt" that "significantly" more athletes are doping than are caught by drug testing.

"As a newly-established body, the AIU is confident that as it builds its investigations and intelligence capability to complement its testing program, the Unit will be able to better detect doping and, ultimately, be able to narrow that gap," it said..




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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Malaysia wins 145 golds to become SEA Games champions

Sharapova wins another 3-setter to reach US Open's 3rd round

After US Open loss, Kyrgios says: 'Keep letting people down'

Bangladesh win 1st test against Australia by 20 runs

Indians sweep Yankees, who stagger into Red Sox series

West Indies chase down 322 in remarkable win over England

Kerber goes from champ to 1st-round loser at rainy US Open

Warner hits 75 not out as Australia close in on victory

NFL making $40 million available for medical research

Study says widespread doping ahead of 2011 worlds in Daegu


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