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Update August, 2019


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Warholm runs 2nd fastest 400 hurdles ever at Diamond League

Karsten Warholm from Norway reacts after winning the men's 400m hurdles race and running new Meeting Record, during the Weltklasse IAAF Diamond League international athletics meeting in the stadium Letzigrund in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, August 29, 2019. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)

Associated Press

Zurich (AP) — Karsten Warholm ran the second-fastest time in history to win the men's 400 meters hurdles in 46.92 seconds at the Diamond League finals on Thursday.

The 23-year-old world champion from Norway took 0.20 seconds off his lifetime best, but was 0.14 behind the 27-year-old world record set by Kevin Young winning the 1992 Barcelona Olympics title. Young was in Zurich for Thursday's race.

Warholm was pressed hard by Rai Benjamin who clocked 46.98, lifting the 22-year-old American into a tie for third all-time. Track great Edwin Moses is now fifth on that list with 47.02.

"It was crazy," Warholm said. "I knew that I will do a good time but this race and with this new (personal best), it*s just amazing."

Four world-leading marks were set on a warm evening at the storied Weltklasse meeting, one month before the world championships open in Qatar, where the 400 hurdles is shaping up to be a standout duel.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo ran 21.74 in the women's 200; Juan Miguel Echevarria's opening leap of 8.65 meters won the men's long jump; and Lijiao Gong's 20.31 meters took the women's shot put.

In the men's 100, Noah Lyles surged late to win in 9.98, leaving world champion Justin Gatlin back in fourth.

Racing into a slight headwind, Lyles trailed late in the race before blasting past his American teammate Gatlin in the next lane.

"I followed my race plan, my execution was great," Lyles said. "The race was not as fast as I wanted."

Lyles will focus on the 200 at the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 worlds in Doha, where the 37-year-old Gatlin could be the best American hope for the 100 title.

Gatlin timed 10.08 behind runner-up Zhenye Lie of China, who clocked 10.04 and 2011 world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who was third in 10.07.

Miller-Uibo, the Olympic champion over 400, is now the 11th-fastest woman all-time in the 200. Sporting green-streaked hair, Miller-Uibo's personal best was a huge 0.26 faster than Elaine Thompson's previous world-leading mark in 2019.

Dina Asher-Smith of Britain was second in 22.08  and Thompson, the Olympic 100 and 200 champion from Jamaica, clocked 22.44 in third.

In the long jump, Echevarria set a world-leading mark by 24 centimeters.

Gong took the women's shot put victory from Chase Easley of the U.S., who set a lifetime best of 19.68 meters. Gong's 20.31 mark was 47 centimeters beyond her own world's best this season.

Donavan Brazier of the United States won the 800 in a personal best 1:42.70 after overhauling Nijel Amos in the closing meters.

Salwa Eid Naser, the 2017 world silver medalist, won the women's 400 in 50.24. The Nigeria-born runner who competes for Bahrain is unbeaten over 400 this season.

Sydney McLaughlin led an American podium sweep of the 400 hurdles in her season-best time of 52.85. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the 1,500 in 3.57.08. World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech took the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:01.71.

In another field event win for China, Lyu Huihui won the women's javelin at 66.88. Magnus Kirt won the men's javelin at 89.13. Both were more than a meter behind their world-leading season's best.

The Diamond League finals are split over two meetings, and are completed next week in Brussels.


23-year-old Townsend of US upsets Halep at Open

Taylor Townsend, of the United States, reacts after scoring a point against Simona Halep, of Romania, during the second round of the US Open tennis championships Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — The pure, raw emotion from Taylor Townsend came through after she delivered one last crisp forehand volley to complete her U.S. Open upset of two-time major champion Simona Halep, then clenched her fists, raised her arms and yelled, "Yes! Yes!" before patting her heart.

And there it was again, moments later, when Townsend's voice cracked and tears began to flow as she told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, "I mean, this means a lot. It's been a long journey. Just haven't been able to get over the hump."

Make way for another young American woman making Grand Slam waves. Townsend, a 23-year-old qualifier ranked 116th, pulled off the biggest victory of her up-and-down career with an entertaining, net-rushing, serve-and-volleying brand of lefty tennis Thursday, surprising former No. 1 Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the second round at Flushing Meadows.

"It's been a long road. A lot of haters. A lot of people who weren't sure. I mean, I've heard it for a really long time that I was never going to make it, that I wasn't going to be able to break through or do this or do that," Townsend said. "This was a huge, monumental moment. It was a very defining moment for me to realize that I belong here."

She was marked for greatness long ago: She was the singles and doubles junior champion at the 2012 Australian Open, turned pro later that year at age 16, then cracked the top 100 in the rankings while still a teen. But a drop out of the WTA's top 300 followed and she came into Thursday 9-16 at Grand Slam tournaments and 0-10 against top-10 women.

Still, Townsend never let up and never gave up on herself over the years — or on Thursday, even though she knew full well she had lost all six sets the two women had contested previously.

She was able to put aside the early deficit of a set. And get over that she wasted a pair of match points, one via double-fault, while serving for the win at 5-4 in the third. And steady herself nearly 15 minutes later, when Halep, who won Wimbledon in July and was seeded No. 4 at the U.S. Open, was a single point from winning this thing herself at 6-5.

"When I've played her before, I was just trying to make balls (in). I think I played not to lose," Townsend said. "And today I played to win."

How did she do it?

By moving forward at every opportunity, something rarely seen these days on tour. She won the point on 64 of her 106 trips to the net; Halep went 6 for 10. And Townsend serve-and-volleyed 61 times, Halep once.

"Never played with someone coming so often to the net," Halep said. "Didn't miss much. It's unbelievable."

It was an attention-grabbing result on a busy day at the year's last major tournament, with all but nine of Wednesday's scheduled singles matches carried over because of rain. The weather was just right Thursday, and so result after result poured in, including Andrea Petkovic's 6-4, 6-4 elimination of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and, among the men, unseeded American Denis Kudla's 7-5, 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 win over No. 27 Dusan Lajovic, and unseeded Briton Daniel Evans' 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 defeat of No. 25 Lucas Pouille.

Three-time U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal reached the third round when his opponent, Thanasi Kokkinakis, withdrew with an injured right shoulder.

Townsend now will try to get to the fourth round at a Slam for the first time. For all that time various folks spent fretting about how U.S. women's tennis will do once the Williams sisters move on, the group looks to be in pretty good shape at the moment.

"Honestly, that conversation doesn't really matter to me. It's an ever-evolving door. Any time that someone has one good result or two good results, they're 'The Next.' You know what I mean?" Townsend said. "It was, like, maybe I was, maybe I wasn't. I don't know. But it doesn't matter, because I'm here now."

Later Thursday, 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who grabbed a ton of attention by reaching Wimbledon's fourth round, played for a shot to face defending champion Naomi Osaka next in New York.

Caty McNally, 17, pushed Serena Williams to three sets Wednesday. Sofia Kenin, 20, beat Williams at the French Open and is into the third round in New York. At Roland Garros, Amanda Anisimova, 17, became the first player born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. And there are 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, 26, and runner-up Madison Keys, 24.

"I give all the credit to the players, because it's a healthy competition," said U.S. Fed Cup captain and head of women's tennis Kathy Rinaldi. "They're all pushing each other on and off the court. And so it's really fun to watch. But in the meantime, I think they're very supportive of one another as well."

Osaka moved on earlier Thursday with a couple of famous fans in her courtside guest seats: Colin Kaepernick and Kobe Bryant.

The No. 1 seed beat Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who three years ago began kneeling during the national anthem at his team's games, has been working out in the New York area in hopes of getting another shot in the NFL. Bryant, the retired NBA superstar, came to the U.S. Open to promote a new book.

"It's just funny to me," Osaka said. "You know, like, last year compared to this year, there is no way, like, Kobe would sit in my box. Yeah, Kaepernick, too."


Vietnam and Netherlands races put on 2020 F1 schedule

Vietnam’s F1 circuit in Hanoi.

Associated Press

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (AP) — Next season's Formula One season will feature 22 races, with the Vietnam Grand Prix making its first appearance and the Netherlands GP returning after a long absence.

Both were expected to be added in 2020, but one race from this season's 21-race schedule had to be cut to make room and Germany dropped off the calendar.

The city of Hanoi hosts the Vietnam race on April 5 with the Dutch GP on May 3 at the Zandvoort track on the Dutch coast, which hosted 30 F1 races from 1952-85 and will now be rebuilt.

Monza's hosting of the Italian GP on Sept. 6 remains subject to the signature of an expected contract extension.

The season opens as usual with the Australian GP on March 15, and ends at the Abu Dhabi GP on Nov. 29.

Drivers will need to cope with a testing schedule featuring seven back-to-back race weekends.

The 2020 calendar will be submitted for approval at motorsport governing body FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting on Oct. 4.


Inter signs Alexis Sanchez on loan from Man United

Alexis Sanchez, second from right, waves to fans upon his arrival at the Coni (Italian Olympic Committee) office for medical checks, in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Sanchez will leave Manchester united on a loan deal with the Italian Serie A soccer team, Inter Milan, Italian news agency ANSA said. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Associated Press

Milan (AP) — Forward Alexis Sanchez has joined Inter Milan on loan after underperforming at Manchester United.

Inter and United both confirmed the season-long deal Thursday.

While financial details were not announced, the teams are expected to both pay a share of Sanchez's hefty salary — the highest on United's squad. The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Inter will pay Sanchez 5 million euros per season with United covering the remaining 7 million euros.

At Inter, Sanchez will rejoin former United teammate Romelu Lukaku, who joined the Nerazzurri in a club-record 80 million euro transfer at the start of the month.

Lukaku was among the scorers as Inter beat Lecce 4-0 in its Serie A opener in coach Antonio Conte's debut on Monday.

For the 30-year-old Sanchez, it's a return Italy after establishing himself at Udinese from 2006-11.

Sanchez scored only five goals in 45 appearances for United over the last 1 ½ seasons after moving to Old Trafford from Arsenal. He also played for Barcelona.


Djokovic deals with pain, Federer faces deficit at US Open

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Juan Ignacio Londero, of Argentina, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — Maybe, just maybe, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are feeling some lingering after-effects of their historic Wimbledon final last month.

For Djokovic, it's in the form of a left shoulder that is hurting right now and probably contributed to slower-than-usual serves in the U.S. Open's second round Wednesday night.

For Federer, it's in the form of slow starts: He's lost the opening set each of his first two matches at Flushing Meadows for the first time in 19 times he's entered the Grand Slam tournament.

If they're going to reprise their rivalry late next week in the semifinals, both will need to improve.

Djokovic was repeatedly visited by a trainer for shoulder massages at changeovers during a ragged 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory over 56th-ranked Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina. Djokovic is a righty, of course, but he uses his other hand both for ball tosses on serves and on his two-fisted backhand — and both were less effective for stretches.

"I was definitely tested. This is something I've been carrying for a quite a while now," said Djokovic, who repeatedly shook his left arm between points while serving in his first-round match Monday and did that again this time. "It wasn't easy playing with the pain and you have to fight and hope you get lucky with some shots."

Even though he won for the 35th time in his past 36 Slam matches, including in a fifth-set tiebreaker against Federer at the All England Club on July 14, the Serb looked uncomfortable and went away for stretches, including trailing 3-0 in the second set.

Asked how he plans to prepare for his next match Friday, Djokovic replied with a laugh: "I'll probably freeze my arm for 48 hours, not do anything with it, and then see what happens."

Federer, meanwhile, is not about to start trying new tricks now, despite needing to come back twice already.

He got to the third round by beating Damir Dzumhur 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 on an afternoon when rain postponed all but nine scheduled singles matches and every doubles contest.

Still, it's not as if the guy is going to seek some sort of magic solution. Working up more of a sweat in the gym before heading to the court, say. Or playing an extra practice set.

What he chose to focus on, instead, is looking on the bright side: "Can only do better," Federer said, "which is a great thing, moving forward."

At a Flushing Meadows flush with surprises so far — half of the top 12 seeded men already were gone by the time Federer stepped into Arthur Ashe Stadium — he cleaned up his act quickly.

Indeed, Federer was one of the lucky ones who will stay on the usual play-one-day, get-a-day-off Grand Slam schedule. Only matches at Ashe or Louis Armstrong Stadium, the event's two arenas with a retractable roof, were held.

That included a loss by two-time champion Venus Williams to No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina, and victories for No. 2 Ash Barty, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys on the women's side, and a win for No. 7 Kei Nishikori on the men's.

The night program included Williams' younger sister, Serena, against 17-year-old American Caty McNally.

"You go through a little phase where you don't start so well and everybody asks you right away, 'What are you going to do?' You're like, I don't know. Just go back to the drawing board. Just do the same things again. You hope for a better outcome," said Federer, owner of a total of 20 major trophies, four ahead of Djokovic. "I don't think there is, per se, a secret to a good start, other than warming up well, being well-prepared mentally, not underestimating your opponent. I did all of that. You know me, I will always do that."

He also ceded the first set to 190th-ranked Sumit Nagal of an eventual four-set victory Monday.

Federer called that pattern "just a bit frustrating, more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there."

Against Dzumhur, who is ranked No. 99 now but has been as high as No. 23, Federer fell behind 4-0 after all of 15 minutes. He was sluggish and his shots were off-target, to the tune of 12 unforced errors within the match's first 19 points.

"Basically," Federer concluded, "the entire set, just sort of donated."

Hardly ideal, on this particular day or in the big picture: Never in the 107-year history of the tournament has a man gone on to claim the trophy after losing the first set in both of his first two matches.

What matters right now, of course, is that Federer is still in the draw.

Borna Coric, who was seeded 12th, was the latest to exit, withdrawing because of a lower back strain before he was supposed to face Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday. That followed losses Tuesday by a quartet of top-10 men all on Rafael Nadal's half of the bracket: No. 4 Dominic Thiem, No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 9 Karen Khachanov and No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut.


Leicester beat Newcastle on penalties in League Cup

Leicester City's James Maddison scores his side's first goal of the game during their English League Cup Second Round soccer match against Newcastle at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Associated Press

London (AP) — Kasper Schmeichel saved two penalties Wednesday as Leicester beat Newcastle 4-2 in a shootout to reach the third round of the English League Cup.

Schmeichel saved efforts from Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden at St. James' Park after the only all-Premier League matchup of the day ended 1-1.

James Maddison gave Leicester the lead in the first half with a free-kick before Yoshinori Muto equalized in the 53rd.

Bournemouth also needed penalties to get past League Two side Forest Green after a 0-0 draw. Goalkeeper Mark Travers saved all three spot kicks by the visitors as Eddie Howe's team won the shootout 3-0.

Everton needed two late goals to get past League One team Lincoln 4-2. Lincoln had taken the lead after just 21 seconds through Harry Anderson and then made it 2-2 in the 70th with a volley from Bruno Andrade.

But summer signing Alex Iwobi scored his first goal for Everton to restore the lead for good in the 81st and Richarlison added a late goal for the visitors.

Sunderland, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea also advanced Wednesday.

The Premier League teams playing in Europe will enter the competition in the third round, with defending champion Manchester City visiting Preston. League Two side Colchester, which beat Crystal Palace on penalties on Tuesday, was rewarded with a home game against Tottenham.


Phillies pound out 17 hits, rout Pirates 12-3

Philadelphia Phillies' Rhys Hoskins runs to third base after hitting a triple off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller during the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Associated Press

Philadelphia (AP) — J.T. Realmuto had three hits, including a homer and a triple, Corey Dickerson also went deep and the Philadelphia Phillies got 17 hits in a 12-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.

Cesar Hernandez contributed three hits and three RBIs. Rhys Hoskins doubled, tripled and drove in a run to help the Phillies stay close in the NL wild-card race.

Every Phillies starter had at least one hit and RBI.

Starling Marte homered and had three hits for Pittsburgh, and Josh Bell hit a two-run shot.

Pirates rookie Bryan Reynolds, who began the day leading the NL in batting, went 0 for 3 to snap his seven-game hitting streak and drop his average to .330.

Vince Velasquez (6-7) went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

Mitch Keller (1-3), a 23-year-old rookie making his seventh career start, pitched into the fifth for Pittsburgh and gave up eight runs on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.

YANKEES 7, MARINERS 3

SEATTLE (AP) — Aaron Judge hit the 101st homer of his career, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford also went deep, and New York completed a three-game sweep of Seattle.

Sanchez hit a towering two-run homer in the first. Ford snapped a 2-2 tie with his sixth home run in the past 14 games, and Judge broke the game open with a two-run shot as part of New York's four-run fifth inning. LeMahieu added his 23rd of the season in the ninth.

James Paxton (11-6) gave up just one hit but was done after five innings due to control problems. Paxton issued a season-high five walks.

Seattle had just one hit until Tom Murphy doubled in the ninth.

Justus Sheffield (0-1) allowed six hits and struck out five.

BREWERS 4, CARDINALS 1

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Keston Hiura homered and drove in three runs, Jordan Lyles turned in another strong start and Milwaukee snapped St. Louis' six-game winning streak.

The NL Central-leading Cardinals had won 15 of 18 and were trying for a three-game sweep. The Brewers ended a three-game skid.

Hiura hit a solo home run in the fourth, sending a 3-0 fastball from Flaherty into the left-field seats. Hiura added an RBI double in the eighth.

Lyles (9-8) struck out five of the first seven Cardinals he faced. He fanned nine in 5 1/3 innings. Josh Hader struck out three in two scoreless innings to earn his 26th save.

Jack Flaherty (8-7) allowed five hits and three runs, two earned, in six innings. He struck out seven, walked one and took the loss.

INDIANS 4, TIGERS 2

DETROIT (AP) — Jason Kipnis homered twice and Francisco Lindor also went deep to lift Cleveland to another win over Detroit.

Cleveland is 14-1 against the last-place Tigers this year, and that's a big reason the Indians are firmly in the postseason hunt.

Aaron Civale (2-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none. Brad Hand finished for his 32nd save in 37 chances.

Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed two runs in six innings, but Buck Farmer (5-5) allowed Lindor's one-out solo shot in the eighth, which bounced of the top of the wall and over in center field. That gave the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Dawel Lugo homered for Detroit.

REDS 5, MARLINS 0

MIAMI (AP) — Aristides Aquino tied a National League rookie mark with his 13th home run this month, powering Anthony DeSclafani and Cincinnati Reds over Miami.

Eugenio Suarez hit his 38th homer, connecting in the fourth straight game for the Reds.

Aquino hit a three-run shot in the first. The 24-year-old outfielder matched the NL homer mark for rookies in a month set by Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers in June 2017.

The major league rookie record for homers in a month is 18 by Rudy York of Detroit in August 1937. Aquino, who got one at-bat in the majors last year, also doubled as the Reds beat Miami for the third straight day.

DeSclafani (9-7) had his longest outing of the season, throwing seven innings of two-hit ball. He struck out eight and walked one.

Sandy Alcantara (4-12) gave up four runs and six hits, struck out eight and walked one in six innings.

NATIONALS 8, ORIOLES 4

WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out eight to reach the 200 mark for an eighth straight season, Kurt Suzuki homered and drove in four runs and Washington beat Baltimore.

Scherzer allowed two runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings. Wander Suero (5-7) followed Scherzer as the National won for the sixth time in seven games.

The Nationals scored five runs on five hits in the first inning against Asher Wojciechowski (2-7).

Chance Sisco and Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, who settled for a split of the four-game season series.


Career change for Carli Lloyd? How about the NFL?

Baltimore Ravens' Sam Koch holds the ball for United States soccer player Carli Lloyd as she attempts to kick a field goal after the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens held a joint NFL football practice in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Associated Press

Philadelphia (AP) — Fresh off the United States' victory in the Women's World Cup, could Carli Lloyd be entertaining thoughts about a career change?

The 37-year-old soccer star nailed a 55-yard field goal during a joint practice between the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens last week. And on Wednesday she was peppered with questions about a possible NFL future.

"It's gone from just having fun kicking to, 'Will she play in the NFL?' At first I was just laughing about it but the more that I spoke with my husband, he's all for it and my friends and family, they're really encouraging me to potentially take up this opportunity," said Lloyd, who is in Philadelphia with the national team for a victory tour match against Portugal on Thursday night.

It's not the first time she's hit a long field goal. During the World Cup qualifying tournament last fall, she got a 45-yarder at the Cowboys' practice facility in Texas.

Lloyd is well known for her kicking ability. In the World Cup title match in 2015, Lloyd scored three goals including a blast from midfield to give the United States a 5-2 victory over Japan.

But she acknowledged that kicking in the NFL is very, very different from scoring from 50-yards out — like wearing pads and facing 300-pound opponents.

"You can't really touch a kicker, but it happens. I'm not naive to that. But there is that part of it, no doubt. And there's challenges as far as being with all males and the locker room and there's a whole range of things, and I get that," she said. "But I'm not afraid to step up in front of the whole world and actually do it."

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, a veteran of five Super Bowls, said earlier this week that he thought Lloyd's kick was "pretty cool."

But like Lloyd, he also said it's one thing to kick in practice, and another to perform in a game.

"For you to go out and hit a ball without a rush and a snap and a hold and no get-off time and stuff, it's different than doing live stuff," Vinatieri said. "But I saw it, it was pretty impressive how far she kicked the ball."

U.S. coach Jill Ellis, who is stepping down from the team following the victory tour, joked when asked about it: "Did you hear the next one that I'm going to be her agent?"

Ellis said if any woman could break into the NFL, it would be Lloyd.

"When I first came on the scene, I saw Carli Lloyd strike a ball and I said, 'Holy crap that's the hardest I've ever seen a woman hit a ball,'" Ellis said. "She certainly has the velocity, and I think it's very cool. I think it would be great."


Coco's comeback: Gauff erases deficits to win US Open debut

Coco Gauff, of the United States, reacts after defeating Anastasia Potapova, of Russia, during the first round of the US Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — Here's how new all of this is to Coco Gauff: She didn't quite realize she only has to play every other day at the U.S. Open.

"I'm still used to playing juniors," the American said with a chuckle, "so I forgot about the day off."

She's still just 15. She's competing in just her second Grand Slam tournament. And yet she's definitely showing she can perform like someone much older and more experienced.

With her parents jumping out of their front-row seats over and over again, and a raucous partisan crowd backing her at Louis Armstrong Stadium, Gauff trailed by a set and a break, then again by a break in the third set, before coming up big down the stretch to get past Anastasia Potapova of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in her debut at Flushing Meadows.

"Honestly, I mean, I really don't remember the match too well," Gauff said, "because everything is still a blur."

Here is what is clear: She displayed the same sort of gumption she did while saving match points in a Centre Court comeback at Wimbledon during her captivating run to the fourth round there last month.

Gauff simply does not give in or give up.

As strong as her serve and other strokes are, she's already showing an ability to make adjustments during a match and figure out ways to win, time and again. Gauff was ranked 313th when she got a wild-card invitation into qualifying at Wimbledon, then became the youngest player in history to make it through those preliminary rounds at that prestigious tournament.

After beating Venus Williams in the first round, then a 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist in the second, Gauff got to Week 2 before her surprising showing there ended with a loss to eventual champion Simona Halep.

It was all enough to persuade the U.S. Tennis Association to provide a wild card into its event, a special entry she needed because her ranking is 140th.

On a busy Day 2 at the year's last Grand Slam tournament, there still were matches involving 2017 champion Sloane Stephens and the temperamental Nick Kyrgios to be played later.

Earlier, four top-10 seeds in the bottom half of the draw all tumbled out in the first round: No. 4 Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open runner-up; No. 8 Stefanos Tsitipas, an Australian Open semifinalist; No. 9 Karen Khachanov, a French Open quarterfinalist; and No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, a Wimbledon semifinalist. The biggest beneficiary of all of those departures could be three-time champion Rafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, who found no such trouble, easily putting together a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory at night over John Millman, the Australian who upset Roger Federer a year ago in New York.

In women's action, defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka dropped her first five games against 84th-ranked Anna Blinkova, wasted a match point in the second set, then finally put together a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory.

A couple of years ago, when Gauff was 13, she got a chance to practice with Osaka.

"Her dad and my dad are actually quite cool," Osaka said Tuesday. "She seems to be doing great."

Gauff's father and mother were kind of quiet in the early going at Armstrong, until their daughter waved to her guest box after falling behind 3-0 early.

"I was telling them to get hyped up more. I needed more positive energy. I was nervous. Just looking at them when they're giving me a fist pump gives me a little reassurance," Gauff explained. "I think they were nervous. They wanted to stay more reserved, too. I was like, 'No, I need you guys to come on, stand up.'"

They obliged, yelling and clapping after what seemed to be each point Coco won. Dad also pounded a fist on his chest repeatedly.

"I think I gave them a heart attack, especially my mom," Gauff said. "And my dad, he looks a little bit tired over there, too."

Gauff did not start well against the 72nd-ranked Potapova.

Not well at all.

Gauff, who is based in Florida, double-faulted three times in her first service game on a breezy evening with the temperature sliding down to about 70 degrees.

Maybe she was trying to be too fine, sending shots right near the lines. The high-risk, high-reward strategy more often yielded results in the former category than in the latter at the outset. Both players hit the ball violently while covering the court well, creating lengthy, entertaining points often introduced by serves at, or above, 100 mph.

They seemed like a couple of talented and experienced veterans with the benefit of years on tour, not a pair of teens each in the U.S. Open's main draw for the first time. Potapova is a past Wimbledon junior champion, and still only 18, so this was the youngest matchup in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

Soon enough it was 5-1, and then that set belonged to Potapova, with Gauff turning to her guest box and putting her palms up, as if to ask, "What can I do differently?"

Not much later, when Potapova broke to open the second set, Gauff's shoulders slumped and she whacked her racket against her right leg.

And that's when her turnaround began.

With spectators roaring their approval, Gauff broke right back and was on her way to dominating the second set.

There was some trouble still awaiting. Gauff went down 1-0 in the third set, then took four games in a row. But at 4-1, Potapova took a medical timeout and a trainer massaged her right shoulder. She quickly pulled even at 4-all.

Gauff took command from there, breaking and then serving out the victory. This is still all so new to her. She doesn't show it, though.

"I know we're going to see each other a lot in the future. I hope we do see each other in the future," Gauff said, "but hopefully in the finals, not in the first round."


Veteran prop Franks omitted from All Blacks World Cup squad

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, Canterbury Crusaders and All Black prop forward Owen Franks answers reporters’ questions at a news conference in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Steve McMorran

Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — Steve Hansen has cut 108-test veteran prop Owen Franks and gambled on the age and fitness of other players in naming a 31-man All Blacks squad which will attempt to win the Rugby World Cup for the third consecutive time.

While the squad announced Wednesday has an average age of 28 — equivalent to the squads that won the Webb Ellis Trophy in 2011 and 2015 — Hansen's first-choice lineup, led by 33-year-old captain Kieran Read, is considerably older.

Hansen's main gamble with injury is the selection of lock Brodie Retallick, who has been sidelined since the Rugby Championship with a severe shoulder injury. His gambles on age include the selections of fullback Ben Smith at 33 and center Sonny Bill Williams, who will play his third World Cup at 34.

Hansen described Franks as "one of the great All Blacks" but the selectors couldn't find room for him in the squad.

"He certainly has shown true character," Hansen said. "Unfortunately ... we believe the game requires us to have big, mobile No. 1s and No. 3s and in this case we feel the guys we've named are more-so than he, therefore we had to make a tough decision.

"I'm very respectful of how he coped with it — it's a mark of the man."

Hansen opted not to select blindside flanker Liam Squire, who ruled himself out of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series because of fitness concerns but made himself available for the World Cup after playing in the National Provincial Championship.

Three Barrett brothers are going to the World Cup, with playmaker Beauden Barrett joined by Scott, a lock, and Jordie, an outside back.

Hansen's loyalty to rugby league convert Williams, who earns selection ahead of the younger and fitter Ngani Laumape, has been perplexing to All Blacks fans as he has only been considered good enough to be a bench player in the knockout stages of previous World Cups.

The New Zealand squad includes four players — Ben Smith, Read, lock Sam Whitelock and hooker Corey Flynn — who played in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand and 10 who played in the 2015 Cup in Britain.

Notable newcomers include the Crusaders wingers George Bridge and Sevu Reece, who were outstanding in New Zealand's most-recent 36-0 test win over Australia, and Richie Mo'unga, who has become New Zealand's starting flyhalf this season.

In the front row Joe Moody and hookers Codie Taylor and Dane Coles are joined by relatively inexperienced props Angus Ta'avao, who has played only seven tests, and Atu Moli, aged 24. Franks was dropped for the second Bledisloe Cup test and was due to quit test rugby after the World Cup but that departure has unexpectedly been brought forward.

Retallick and Whitelock were the winning locking combination in '15 and are supported by Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu, who forced his way into the squad with a strong performance in the last Bledisloe Cup test.

Luke Jacobson's unexpected elevation in place of Squire allows Read to continue at the back of the scrum and Sam Cane and Ardie Savea to share the open-side duties.

Brad Weber has been chosen as the third scrumhalf behind Aaron Smith and T.J. Perenara. Beauden Barrett and Mo'unga are the flyhalves, although Barrett will likely continue at fullback.

Ryan Crotty returns from injury to join Williams, Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown in midfield.

___

New Zealand:

Props: Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tuungafasi. Hookers: Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Codie Taylor. Locks: Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock. Backrowers: Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Matt Todd.

Scrumhalves: T.J. Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber. Flyhalves: Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga. Midfielders: Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams. Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, Ben Smith.


Barcelona 'closer' to Neymar deal, club official says

Brazilian forward Neymar is shown appearing for Paris Saint-Germain in this August 10, 2019 photo. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Associated Press

Barcelona, Spain (AP) — A Barcelona official involved in the negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar says the Catalan club is "closer" to reaching a deal for the player's return.

Javier Bordas told Spanish media Tuesday there is no agreement yet with PSG but negotiations are ongoing.

Bordas says "there is no deal yet" but "we are closer."

Bordas was among the Barcelona representatives who traveled to Paris for talks with PSG officials on Tuesday.

Neymar did not play with PSG this weekend.

The Brazilian forward became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros in 2017. His two seasons with the French champions were disappointing compared to the club's huge expectations.


Woods has surgery on left knee for minor cartilage damage

Tiger Woods, left, greets fans as he walks to the 14th fairway after hitting his tee shot during the final round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Medinah Country Club, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Doug Ferguson

New York (AP) - A season that began with Tiger Woods celebrating a fifth Masters title ended with a fifth surgery on his left knee.

This one wasn't serious.

Woods said Tuesday on Twitter he had arthroscopic surgery last week to repair what he described as minor cartilage damage. In a statement Woods released on social media, Dr. Vern Cooley said he looked at the rest of the knee and found no additional problems.

"I'm walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks," Woods said, adding that he looked forward to traveling to Japan in October for a planned Skins Game exhibition and the ZoZo Championship on Oct. 24-27.

Mark Steinberg, his agent at Excel Sports, described the knee as little more than "irritating."

"It was bothering him, but arthroscopic these days is different than we had years and years ago," Steinberg said. "He's up and walking now. This will have no effect on the fall or winter."

Woods has a light schedule the rest of the year — Japan in late October, his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December and then the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia. He is the U.S. captain and could play as a captain's pick. He won't have to make that decision until a week after the Japan event.

Woods has dealt primarily with back issues the last six years. He had the first of four back surgeries in the spring of 2014, and the last one in 2017 to fuse his lower spine when it reached a point he feared he might never compete again.

He returned a year later and capped off his comeback with a victory in the Tour Championship. The final piece was a major, and Woods delivered the most memorable week of the year in April at Augusta National when he won the Masters for his 15th major.

But that was his lone highlight.

He missed the cut in the PGA Championship and the British Open and was never a factor in the Memorial or the U.S. Open. He withdrew after the opening round of The Northern Trust to start the FedEx Cup playoffs, and he failed to reach the Tour Championship.

He said about his health at the BMW Championship that "body-wise it's the same. If it's not one thing, it's another. Things just pop up."

"I'm making tweaks and changes trying to play around this back and trying to be explosive and have enough rest time and training time," he said at Medinah. "That's been the biggest challenge of it all."

Woods first had surgery on his left knee as a freshman at Stanford in 1994 to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove fluid and cysts after the 2002 season, and another after the 2008 Masters to repair cartilage damage. Two months later, after winning the 2008 U.S. Open, he had reconstructive surgery to repair his ACL.

Steinberg described this surgery as "more cleanup maintenance."


Back at US Open, Serena beats Sharapova for 19th time in row

Serena Williams returns to Maria Sharapova during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Howard Fendrich

New York (AP) — Serena Williams was not about to let Maria Sharapova make a match of this.

So facing a break point early in the second set, Williams conjured up a backhand passing shot so good, so powerful, so precise, that Sharapova had no chance to reach it. Williams watched the ball land, and then raised a clenched left fist toward the night sky.

In her first match at the U.S. Open since last year's loss in a chaotic, controversial final, Williams stretched her winning streak against Sharapova to 19 matches with a nearly flawless performance that produced a 6-1, 6-1 victory Monday.

Asked whether she could even imagine losing that many matches in a row across 15 years against one opponent, Williams paused for a moment, then replied: "Gosh, I never thought about it like that."

She now leads their head-to-head series 20-2.

"Every time I come up against her," Williams said, "I just bring out some of my best tennis."

Sure did this time; the whole thing lasted all of 59 minutes.

Williams won twice as many points, 56-28. She saved all five break points she faced and lashed serves at up to 115 mph. She broke five times.

"I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone," Williams said. "I don't know. It's just perfect for me."

Few players would have stood a chance against Williams the way she was hitting balls deep and true — and certainly not a diminished Sharapova, who is ranked 87th after missing much of this season with a bad right shoulder that needed surgery. This was a showdown fit for a final, at least in theory: These two met in a title match at each of the other three Grand Slam tournaments but never had faced each other in New York.

Williams arrived at Flushing Meadows, where she's won six titles, accompanied by questions about her back, because spasms that flared up this month forced her to stop playing during the final of one hard-court tuneup tournament and pull out of another one entirely.

Didn't seem to be an issue against Sharapova.

Not one bit.

"The body's good. I feel good," Williams said. "My back's a lot better. So I'm excited. This is going to be fun."

A year ago, she was beaten by Naomi Osaka in straight sets in a U.S. Open final that devolved after a back-and-forth between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos. When Williams was asked Monday night what she thought of the U.S. Tennis Association's decision that Ramos would not officiate any match involving her or her older sister, Venus, at this year's tournament, this was the reply: "I don't know who that is."

LOL, as the kids say.

Williams was calm and cool as can be against Sharapova, only rarely showing the slightest hint of emotion with a cry of "Come on!" or the occasional fist pump, such as the one after the key backhand on break point.

Sharapova called that shot "great."

It shaped up, at least, as far and away the most intriguing matchup on Day 1 at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.

Few athletes in any sport have been as popular in recent decades.

Williams owns 23 major singles title, Sharapova five.

Both have a career Grand Slam.

Both have been ranked No. 1.

So, yes, there were plenty of other matches around the grounds Monday, with Roger Federer dropping his first set of the tournament against a qualifier ranked 190th before coming back to eliminate Sumit Nagal of India 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, No. 1 Novak Djokovic opening defense of his title with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena, and 21-year-old American Reilly Opelka providing the biggest upset of the afternoon in his U.S. Open debut by eliminating No. 11 Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3.

And, sure, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber continued her rough Grand Slam year with a first-round exit against Kristina Mladenovic by a 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 score, while 2016 runner-up Karolina Pliskova and reigning French Open title winner Ash Barty both struggled through rough starts before emerging.

The Williams family only dropped a total of three games in two matches Monday, because Venus beat Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-0 earlier.

Nothing brought out the spectators the way Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova did, with full-throated roars greeting them when they walked from the locker room into a dimly lit stadium.

When the lights came on, Williams proved far more ready for prime time.

Only once before had Sharapova lost a night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, going 22-1 until Monday.

"I've had a lot of tough matches here and a lot of tough losses," Williams told the crowd afterward, "but coming out here tonight makes it all worthwhile."


New Zealand draws series 1-1 with innings win vs. Sri Lanka

 

New Zealand team members celebrate the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya de Silva during day five of the second test cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Krishan Francis

Colombo, Sri Lanka (AP) — New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 65 runs in the second test to level the two-match series 1-1 on Monday.

Needing 187 runs in the second innings to make New Zealand bat again, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 122 runs in the final session despite a fighting 51 off 162 deliveries from wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.

Sri Lanka won the first test by six wickets in Galle.

The match was curtailed by rain for most part but New Zealand played positive cricket to force a result.

Sri Lanka started the last session at 88 for seven hoping to salvage a draw, with Dickwella batting with purpose and joined by defiant tailender Suranga Lakmal.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson used some aggressive field placings, sometimes placing as many as five fielders around the bat.

The tactic paid off when Lakmal (14 from 45 balls) gloved a catch to batsman Tom Latham — who hit a fine 154 in New Zealand's innings — at forward short-leg. Crucially that dismissal ended a 41-run partnership in 132 balls between Dickwella and Lakmal, batting at No. 9.

Dickwella tried to sweep spinner Ajaz Patel and was also caught by Latham, close to the bat.

Fast bowler Trent Boult bounced at No. 10 batsman Lasith Embuldeniya whose evasive play resulted in a catch to Williamson at third slip, taking New Zealand over the line to victory.

"(It) was a much improved performance from us. It was a great effort to push for victory especially with the weather," Williamson said after the match. "It was a tough series overall and deserves to be one all."

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said his batsmen should have been more patient.

"I think it was a good batting wicket," he said. "We kept losing wickets regularly. We should have been able to (build) partnerships."

In the first session, Kusal Perera opened the batting with Lahiru Thirimanne because of Karunaratne's extended stay off the field with an injury during New Zealand's innings.

Thirimanne was run out before Sri Lanka had scored and Kusal Perera (0) was caught behind by BJ Watling off paceman Boult, leaving Sri Lanka two down for four runs.

Sri Lanka lost its third wicket with the total 11 when Angelo Mathews (7) fended an outswinger from seamer Colin de Grandhomme to Ross Taylor at slip.

Dhananjaya de Silva (1), who scored a century for Sri Lanka in the first innings, stepped out against left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel to drive on the on side but only managed to give a catch to Southee at slip.

William Somerville bowled Kusal Mendis for 20 runs, with an impeccable off spinner. The well-flighted delivery drew the right-hander forward outside off stump to defend and the ball turned sharply after pitching, sneaked through bat and pad to hit off stump.

Karunaratne made 21 before being trapped lbw by fast bowler Tim Southee bowling round the wicket with the total on 73. He reviewed the decision unsuccessfully.

Dilruwan Perera departed without scoring, caught by Ross Taylor off Southee.

Southee returned best bowling figures two for 15. Boult, Patel and Somerville also took two wickets each.

The New Zealanders batted for 25 minutes earlier Monday before declaring at 431-6, having added 49 to their overnight total. Sri Lanka made 244 in its first innings

De Grandhomme was out for 83 on the second delivery of day five, without adding to his overnight score, when he was caught off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya's bowling.

He faced just 77 deliveries and smashed five sixes and five boundaries to give New Zealand the advantage.

Watling posted his seventh test century and remained unbeaten on 105, including nine boundaries. Southee hit two sixes and two boundaries to reach 24 in a 10-ball cameo.

Off spinner Dilruwan Perera returned 3-114 and Embuldeniya was even more expensive with 2-156.


Rodriguez homers in 11th to lift Phillies over Pirates 6-5

Philadelphia Phillies' Sean Rodriguez (13) celebrates with teammates after hitting a winning home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Michael Feliz during the 11th inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Associated Press

Philadelphia (AP) — Sean Rodriguez lined a home run leading off the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Josh Bell hit a solo homer off Philadelphia closer Hector Neris to tie it at 5 in the ninth after Corey Dickerson hit a two-run shot against his former team in the eighth to give the Phillies a one-run lead.

But after stranding five runners in the ninth and 10th, the Phillies won it when Rodriguez went deep against Michael Feliz (2-4) for his fourth career walk-off homer. Rodriguez was in a 1-for-21 slump before he connected.

Philadelphia moved within a game of the idle Cubs for the second NL wild card.

Bryce Harper homered with two outs in the eighth in his first game back from paternity leave to cut it to 4-3. After J.T. Realmuto's infield single, Dickerson ripped one out to put the Phillies ahead 5-4.

Dickerson, acquired from the Pirates before the July 31 trade deadline, has 21 RBIs in 19 games for the Phillies.

Brad Miller also had a two-run shot for Philadelphia. Mike Morin (1-0) tossed two scoreless innings for the win.

CARDINALS 12, BREWERS 2

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Marcell Ozuna's bases-loaded double keyed a six-run second inning and surging St. Louis pounded out a victory over Milwaukee.

The Cardinals, who have won five straight, jumped on starter Gio Gonzalez (2-2) for eight runs in the first two innings en route to their 14th victory in 17 games.

Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong each homered and drove in three runs for St. Louis, which moved a season-high 14 games above .500. The Cardinals extended their NL Central lead to three games over the Cubs. The third-place Brewers dropped 5½ back.

Despite being staked to a 9-1 lead, starter Adam Wainwright lasted just 3 2/3 innings, throwing 90 pitches. He allowed two runs on six hits with three walks.

John Gant (9-0) relieved Wainwright and struck out three in 2 1/3 hitless innings.

ATHLETICS 19, ROYALS 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Marcus Semien homered, tripled and drove in a career-high seven runs as Oakland set season highs for runs and hits in a rout of Kansas City.

Jurickson Profar, Matt Chapman and Khris Davis also went deep for the Athletics, who are locked in a tight race with Cleveland and Tampa Bay for the two American League wild cards. Josh Phegley drove in three runs and scored three times. Four players had three hits and every starter got at least one as Oakland finished with 22.

Seth Brown singled in the first two at-bats of his big league career, scored twice and drove in a run.

Homer Bailey (12-8) threw six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits, to beat his former team.

Oakland scored five runs in both the second and third, backed by Semien's big hits.

Royals starter Brad Keller (7-14) lasted just 1 1/3 innings, exiting after Semien's bases-loaded triple put Oakland up 5-0.

ROCKIES 3, BRAVES 1

DENVER (AP) — Ryan McMahon hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift Colorado over Atlanta, ending the Braves' eight-game winning streak.

McMahon drove a fastball from Jerry Blevins just over the scoreboard in right field for the second game-ending homer of his career. Nolan Arenado started the inning with a walk against Anthony Swarzak (1-2).

Jairo Diaz (5-3) blew a save in the ninth but got the win as the Rockies stopped a four-game skid.

It was a makeup from an April 10 game postponed due to inclement weather, forcing Atlanta to crisscross the country.

REDS 6, MARLINS 3

MIAMI (AP) — Sonny Gray pitched into the seventh inning, Freddy Galvis drove in four runs and Cincinnati stopped a three-game slide.

Gray (10-6) walked five, but limited Miami to two runs and two hits. The right-hander improved to 4-0 in August, allowing three runs in five starts.

Galvis had three hits and Eugenio Suárez hit his 36th homer for the Reds.

Neil Walker and Jorge Alfaro homered for the Marlins. Pablo Lopez (5-6) allowed four runs in five innings.


South Africa's RWC squad: Kolisi captain & Etzebeth included

South Africa's Siya Kolisi, front row - second from left, speaks during the 31-man squad presentation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Gerald Imray

Johannesburg (AP) — South Africa included experienced lock Eben Etzebeth in its Rugby World Cup squad on Monday, despite claims that he was involved in a bar fight and another altercation on the street at a beach resort over the weekend.

Etzebeth issued a public denial saying he was not involved in either.

Etzebeth was among the 31 players named by coach Rassie Erasmus for the World Cup in Japan starting next month. Flanker Siya Kolisi will captain the squad after recovering from a knee injury that saw him miss the Springboks' entire victorious Rugby Championship campaign.

Etzebeth denied any involvement in the incidents, and the South African rugby body said it was standing by him. There was no immediate indication that police were investigating the claims that Etzebeth, a 78-test veteran, assaulted and racially abused a man in the coastal town of Langebaan, near Cape Town, in the early hours of Sunday.

"It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan as has been reported on social media. Multiple witnesses can corroborate that," Etzebeth said in a statement.

SA Rugby said it had "no tolerance" for acts of violence or racism "but we also trust our people to act responsibly and tell the truth. We have spoken to Eben and he categorically denies any physical or racial abuse."

The 6-foot-8 Etzebeth is a key part of the Springboks' forward engine room and is one of five players in the squad with more than 50 test caps. Fullback Willie le Roux, utility back Frans Steyn, flanker Francois Louw and prop Tendai Mtawarira, who has played 110 tests, are the others.

Erasmus sprang no surprises with his selection as South Africa goes in search of a third World Cup title — to move level with New Zealand — and first since 2007.

The Springboks have the toughest possible start to their campaign when they face two-time defending champion New Zealand, which won the inaugural World Cup in 1987, in their first game on Sept. 21.

A New Zealand win would perhaps have been a foregone conclusion two years ago, when South Africa was slumping to a series of embarrassing and historic losses under former coach Allister Coetzee, including a record 57-0 defeat by the All Blacks.

Erasmus has turned the Springboks around rapidly since taking over in early 2018.

The Springboks beat New Zealand in New Zealand last season and drew 16-16 away against the All Blacks last month, a result that helped South Africa win its first southern hemisphere title in 10 years. The Boks are unbeaten this season.

"We just want to say thank you for supporting us through the tough times," captain Kolisi said. "We've been working hard the last two years to make sure we gain a bit of respect."

Kolisi, who is South Africa's first black test captain, missed two months with injury but made a successful return to action in the World Cup warmup game against Argentina just over a week ago.

Apart from Kolisi, every other member of the squad played some part in the Rugby Championship.

"We set out with the goal of growing the depth of the squad and I am confident that any of this 31 can step into a playoff match at the Rugby World Cup and deliver an outstanding performance," Erasmus said.

"We've been working towards this moment for the best part of two years and we've been lucky in achieving most of our goals this season. But the results and performances up to now will mean nothing once we are in Japan. It is a case of back to square one."

___

Squad:

Backs: Willie le Roux, Warrick Gelant, Cheslin Kolbe, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Frans Steyn, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach, Herschel Jantjies.

Forwards: Schalk Brits, Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Steven Kitshoff, Tendai Mtawarira, RG Snyman, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.


Man City, Spurs discover high bar for VAR on penalty calls

Tottenham's Harry Kane falls after he was tackled by Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Rob Harris

London (AP) — With VAR in its third weekend in the Premier League, Manchester City and Tottenham now know just how high the threshold is for penalty calls to be overturned by video reviews.

City was denied a penalty even when Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma stood on David Silva's foot. The champions were leading at the time and Sergio Aguero went on to score his second goal in a 3-1 win.

But Tottenham had no such good fortune against Newcastle later on Sunday. Trailing to Joelinton's goal, Tottenham thought it had a late chance to grab an equalizer when Harry Kane tumbled after being impeded in the penalty area by Jamaal Lascelles.

But referee Mike Dean had already let play continue without awarding a spot kick. And when the VAR review finally took place, the original decision was not overruled — indicating a lack of clear evidence the original decision was wrong — and Newcastle won 1-0.

Tottenham lost its first match of the season a week after VAR did help the London club gain a point at the Etihad Stadium when a City handball was spotted in the run-up to what looked like being Gabriel Jesus' winner.

City manager Pep Guardiola is exasperated by how VAR is being applied.

"It was clear hands last game, clear hands. A penalty today? No, please," Guardiola said sarcastically. "The challenge this season will be amazing for us after winning back-to-back two titles, the challenge will be great."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino wasn't going to blame the application of the new technology.

"I trust in the VAR," Pochettino said. "I am happy to have VAR and more than happy that they check. But if it's not a penalty you keep going."

There was one penalty awarded on Sunday, enabling Wolverhampton to grab a stoppage time equalizer against Burnley.

Unlike in the City and Tottenham games, referee Craig Pawson had already pointed to the spot when Raúl Jiménez was fouled by Erik Pieters. Jiménez netted from the spot to cancel out Ashley Barnes' strike and seal a 1-1 draw for Wolves.

SILVA SERVICE

On his 400th City appearance, David Silva was as influential as ever in pulling the strings for his team.

With City already leading through Aguero's strike, Silva slipped in the ball for Sterling to get his fifth goal in three league games.

It came just before Harry Wilson scored directly from a brilliant free kick to reduce the deficit back to a single goal before halftime.

Then, after Silva was denied a penalty after being caught by Lerma, the Spaniard jinked into the penalty area to set up Aguero for City's third.

"He has a sense to move between the lines like nobody else in the world," Guardiola said of Silva. "He is a fighter."

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Tottenham looks to Christen Eriksen to unpick teams like Silva does for City. That's when the Dane is starting.

Just like in the opening game against Aston Villa, Eriksen was only deployed in the second half as doubts linger over his future ahead of the transfer window closing on the continent in a week.

"It is so difficult the situation," Pochettino said.

Unlike against Villa, when Eriksen's arrival inspired a comeback, Tottenham couldn't find a way to break through a resolute Newcastle.

Kane barely got a touch in the opposition penalty area and Son Heung-min was lacking sharpness on his first appearance of the season after serving a suspension.

Jan Vertonghen hasn't been injured. But after being dropped from the squad against Villa, the defender has now watched successive games as an unused substitute.

Davison Sanchez fared no better in central defense, allowing Christian Atsu's cross to fly over him as the unmarked Joelinton had the space to control the ball before striking past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

BRUCE CELEBRATES

Rafa Benitez had to wait until the 11th match of the season to win in the Premier League last year. Steve Bruce has collected three points in his third, after taking charge of his hometown club when Benitez grew frustrated with the limited resources and took a job in China.

Bruce hopes the victory at Tottenham will earn him a bit of respect.

"Whoever was going to replace Rafa was going to have a tough time," Bruce said. "The easier thing to do would have been to say 'No' to the challenge.

"But I'm as determined as everyone to take the club forward, and days like today ... I'll remember it a long time."


McIlroy ends season with a $15 million bang at East Lake

Rory McIlroy waves to the gallery after winning the Tour Championship golf tournament and The FedEx Cup Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Doug Ferguson

Atlanta (AP) — Rory McIlroy marched to the 18th green Sunday at East Lake with victory in hand and $15 million in the bank.

Even better was what he saw — and heard — behind him.

The scene was all too familiar. The gallery ducked under the ropes and rushed to encircle the green to watch the finish of a class performance in the Tour Championship. Before long, the chants began to ring out: "Rory! Rory! Rory!"

This time, McIlroy had the stage to himself.

A mere bystander last year amid the chaotic celebration of Tiger Woods' return to victory, McIlroy soaked up the perfect ending to a solid year when he surged past Brooks Koepka, held off Xander Schauffele and captured the FedEx Cup and the richest payoff in golf.

Turning to Harry Diamond, his caddie and best friend, McIlroy told him, "This walk is a little more pleasant than last year."

He closed with a 4-under 66 to finish four shots ahead of Schauffele, joining Woods as the only players to win the FedEx Cup twice.

"Any time you can do something that only Tiger has done, you're doing something right," McIlroy said.

There was so much more than $15 million — $14 million in cash, $1 million deferred — to this victory.

Regardless of the new format that gave some players a head start to par depending on their FedEx Cup ranking — McIlroy began five shots behind before the tournament started — he wanted to post the lowest score of anyone in the 30-man field.

He shot 13-under 267, the best by three shots.

And when he was paired with Koepka in the final group Sunday, it was a chance for atonement. A month ago, McIlroy laid an egg in the final group at a World Golf Championship, just like he did with Woods the year before at East Lake.

"I thought a lot about that," McIlroy said. "I thought about the final group with Tiger last year, the final group with Brooks in Memphis a few weeks ago, and I really wanted to go out there and play well and really take it to him, and I did that."

The final round turned on the seventh hole with a three-shot swing — McIlroy made a 25-foot birdie, while Koepka lost his tee shot in the trees and made double bogey. There were consecutive two-shot swings on the back nine, and then it was a matter of holding off Schauffele.

McIlroy was four shots ahead until back-to-back bogeys, and he was on the verge of watching his lead shrink to one when he holed an 8-foot par putt on the 16th. Schauffele had to settle for pars, and McIlroy finished with a flourish.

He was the only player to break par all four days.

Schauffele closed with a 70 to finish alone in second, which paid out $5 million.

"There was plenty of excitement today," Schauffele said. "The heart rate was up for most of the round. I thought the course was set up really fair, and if you were in the fairway, it was gettable. And if you weren't, it was exactly what you thought it was. It was just a lot of fun."

Justin Thomas, the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup who started with a two-shot lead, lost his way Sunday morning in the conclusion of the third round when he took triple bogey on the 16th hole with a 9-iron from the fairway. He fell four behind and never caught up. Thomas finished with two birdies for a 68 and tied for third with Koepka, who ended another big year with a pedestrian closing round of 72.

They each earned $3.5 million.

As usual with Koepka, there were no complaints, no excuses.

"He just played better," said Koepka, who hit only five fairways in the last round. "He was impressive to watch. He put it in the fairway a lot, hit a lot of greens. And even his short game, the up-and-down he made on 11, that was pretty tasty right there. And then the way he finished it off was very impressive. Hats off to him."

What looked to be a shootout turned into a runaway for McIlroy.

The marathon final day — 31 holes for McIlroy and contenders — began with big promise for a wild chase for the $15 million prize. Four players took turns atop the leaderboard in the first 35 minutes of golf Sunday morning, which included Schauffele's first hole-in-one of his career with a 5-iron on the 240-yard ninth hole.

The third round had been suspended Saturday after lightning struck a tree and injured six spectators huddled nearby. Police said they were treated and released from medical attention later that night.

Koepka birdied the 18th for a one-shot lead over McIlroy and Schauffele. It was tight for the first hour of the final round, and then it turned quickly.

Koepka was still up by one shot when he yanked his tee shot into the trees left of No. 7 and never found it. He made double bogey, and it became a three-shot swing when McIlroy made a 25-foot birdie putt.

The decisive moment was consecutive two-shot swings — McIlroy birdied Nos. 12 and 13, Koepka missed short par putts on both.

Koepka ended the PGA Tour season with three victories, another major at the PGA Championship, a World Golf Championship and the undisputed No. 1 world ranking. He is the favorite to win PGA Tour player of the year again, though McIlroy at least gave players something to contemplate when they vote over the next few weeks.

The FedEx Cup counts as an official win, giving him three for the year. And he had 14 finishes in the top 10 out of 19 starts, the highest percentage of his career. Whether it's enough — McIlroy doesn't think so — was of little consequence.

McIlroy ticked off every goal he set at East Lake in a performance that $15 million can't measure.

"I'm going to enjoy this one tonight," he said.


Stokes leads England to stunning win in Ashes 3rd test

Ben Stokes celebrates after guiding England to victory on day four of the third Ashes cricket Test match against Australia at Headingley, Leeds, England, Sunday Aug. 25, 2019. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

Associated Press

Leeds, England (AP) — Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes scored a stunning 135 not out as England kept its Ashes hopes alive with a dramatic one-wicket win over Australia in the third test at Headingley.

Stokes scored the winning four Sunday in the afternoon session on Day 4 as England finished on 362-9 in its second innings — chasing what seemed an improbable 359 — after an unbeaten 76-run stand for the 10th wicket with Jack Leach, who scored only 1 run in the partnership.

It's the highest successful fourth-innings chase by England in a test match.

Stokes was dropped by Marcus Harris at third man off Pat Cummins and survived an easy runout chance and clear lbw decision close to the end. The allrounder finished with 11 fours and eight sixes overall in one of the greatest innings by an England batter.

"Today was incredible," Stokes said. "I don't quite know what to say. It hasn't sunk in yet."

The teams are now level at 1-1 in the series. Australia would have secured the famous urn with a 2-0 lead and only two tests remaining in the five-match series.

England started the day on 156-3, still needing 203 more runs to win and stay alive in cricket's oldest regular international series. Captain Joe Root (77) was out early but Stokes and Jonny Bairstow (36) shared an 86-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking England from 159-4 to 245-5 when Josh Hazlewood (4-85) dismissed Bairstow.

England No. 11 Leach survived as Stokes' final partner, with the pair coming together on 286-9. When their 50-run partnership came up, the spinner still hadn't scored. His 1 not out — which leveled the scores — came off 17 balls.

Stokes was man of the match in England's Super Over win over New Zealand in the World Cup final exactly six weeks ago.

"It's one I'll never forget," Stokes said on Sky Sports after Sunday's test win. "I've got to try and take it all in. I'm not sure it'll ever happen again. It's one of the two best feelings I've ever felt on a cricket pitch."

Australia, which was missing injured star batter Steve Smith, scored 179 and 246. England was dismissed for only 67 in its first innings, making the final victory for the hosts even more remarkable.

WASTED CHANCES

Australia had two chances to snatch a famous win of its own in the 125th over of an epic innings, but they instead go down as footnotes in Stokes' story. With England still one run behind, Nathan Lyon dropped a throw from Cummins at the bowler's end when a clean take would have allowed him to easily run out the over-exuberant Leach with ease.

Stokes aimed a big slog-sweep at the very next delivery, missing but given not out leg before wicket by umpire Joel Wilson. Replays showed he was out but Australia had wasted its last review in the previous over on a hopeless shout against Leach.

Three balls later Leach fended Cummins to leg for one, guaranteeing a tie, leaving the stage for Stokes. He did not linger, planting Cummins through the covers for a winning boundary before letting loose a guttural roar.

The fourth test starts Sept. 4 at Old Trafford.

Australia won the previous Ashes series 4-0 Down Under in 2017-18.

ALIVE AND KICKING

Day 4 began with four maiden overs and the early dismissal of key man Root, who added just two runs to his overnight 75 before being brilliantly caught at slip by David Warner via bat and pad.

The second new ball was taken shortly after but Stokes joined Jonny Bairstow in a fine, counter-attack partnership worth 86 vital runs in 130 balls. Bairstow's patience snapped on 36 and Stokes was involved in a careless runout of Jos Buttler for one.

Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer came and went before the unlikely figure of Leach soaked up 17 balls in an hour, allowing Stokes to pen his masterpiece.

"We've seen some freakish things already this summer in the World Cup but I didn't think we'd see something similar in this series," Root said. "It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere and test cricket is alive and kicking. This Ashes is alive and kicking."


Alex Rins snatches MotoGP win at Silverstone

Spain's Alex Rins of the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR steers his motorcycle followed by Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team during the MotoGP race at the British Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, in Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Associated Press

Silverstone, England (AP) — Alex Rins snatched victory in the MotoGP British Grand Prix at the final corner on a dramatic afternoon at Silverstone on Sunday.

The Spanish Suzuki rider undercut Honda's Marc Marquez as the pair rounded Woodcote for the last time to win by 0.013 seconds after a race-long tussle between the pair.

However, Rins had earlier benefited from a nasty collision which resulted in Andrea Dovizioso being taken to hospital after losing consciousness.

Dovizioso's Ducati was catapulted into the air when he hit Fabio Quartararo's Petronas SRT Yamaha coming out of Copse, in the process allowing Rins to move up from fifth to third.

Neither man was seriously injured, but the Italian was sent for checks after medical staff detected memory loss.

Rins then passed Valentino Rossi to engage with Marquez, but left it to the last moment to make his decisive move and clinch his second MotoGP victory.

Maverick Vinales claimed third place 0.6 seconds behind the front two with Rossi a distant fourth.


Australia in strong position to retain Ashes in 3rd test

England's Ben Stokes reacts after he was dismissed by Australia's James Pattinson, second left, for eight runs during play on day two of the third Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

LEEDS, England (AP) — Australia moved into a strong position to retain the Ashes after skittling out England for 67 before pushing its lead to 194 runs on a wicket-tumbling second day of the third test on Friday.

Holding a first-innings advantage of 112 runs, the Australians were 82-3 by tea with Marnus Labuschagne on 13 and Travis Head on 17.

One big partnership for Australia could push victory out of reach for England, which is 1-0 behind in the five-match series and cannot regain the urn if it loses at Headingley.

England posted its second-lowest test total against Australia since 1904 — beating only a score of 52 in 1948 — and its 12th lowest in test history. It is the fourth time since the start of 2018 that England has scored less than 100 in an innings.

By scoring 12, Joe Denly was the top scorer in England's capitulation — the lowest highest score ever in a test innings by the team.

Josh Hazlewood led the Australian attack with figures of 5-30, with fellow pacemen Pat Cummins (3-23) and James Pattinson (2-9) taking the rest of the wickets on a day when England's batting flaws were exposed once again. The English were dismissed in just 27.5 overs.

Jason Roy (9) again fell cheaply, captain Joe Root went for a second-ball duck — having had a golden duck in the drawn second test at Lord's last week — and Ben Stokes rued his decision to be chasing after a very wide one from Pattinson and nicked it behind.

Having reached lunch on 54-6, England lost its last four wickets in the first 23 balls of the second session.

Australia lost David Warner for 2 to the eighth ball of its innings, lbw to Stuart Broad — the opener's nemesis this series. Warner reviewed but the decision was upheld on umpire's call.

Spinner Jack Leach didn't bowl in the first innings, when Australia was dismissed for 179, and off his first ball of the match, he bowled Marcus Harris through the gate for 19.

Usman Khawaja was the other batsman to depart, nicking Chris Woakes to Roy at second slip for 23.

Jofra Archer, who took 6-43 in Australia's first innings, was generating speeds of 92 mph (148 kph) but was yet to take a wicket. He said after his exploits on Thursday that he was looking forward to a rest on Day 2, only to be needed for action midway through it.

Labuschagne, the replacement for Steve Smith in this test, was showing a willingness to leave the ball outside off-stump, unlike many batsmen in this match. His 111-run stand with Warner on Thursday remains comfortably the biggest partnership of the match and might prove to be the difference.

England already will have to score the highest innings total of the match to win.


Ashley-Cooper to participate in 4th World Cup for Australia

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, center, leaves the field after losing to the All Blacks during a Bledisloe Cup rugby test between the All Blacks and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Brett Phibbs/SNPA via AP)

SYDNEY (AP) — Utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper is expected to participate in his fourth Rugby World Cup after being named in Australia coach Michael Cheika's 31-man squad Friday for the tournament in Japan beginning next month.

Ashley-Cooper will be the second Wallaby after George Gregan to play in four showpiece tournaments, with the 35-year-old Ashley-Cooper having played in 17 Rugby World Cup matches. That's five games behind all-time leaders Jason Leonard of England and New Zealand's Richie McCaw.

The squad, captained by Michael Hooper with Samu Kerevi as his deputy, includes 1,406 caps of test experience, 200 more than the squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in which Australia lost in the final to New Zealand.

Japan will be Hooper's second appearance at the World Cup while 18 players could make their World Cup debuts.

Rookie Jordan Petaia is the only uncapped player is in the squad. The 19-year old missed most of the Super Rugby season with a foot injury.

The Wallabies departed for a 10-day training camp in New Caledonia later Friday and will return to Sydney to play Samoa on Sept. 7 in a final match before the World Cup.

Australia is coming off a 36-0 loss to New Zealand in Auckland, allowing the All Blacks to retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 17th consecutive year.

"These next few weeks are about building and adding that little extra edge as a squad and we'll be working hard to make sure we deliver on the qualities we want people to see when we run out on the field in Japan," Cheika said.

He also promised to play an "unpredictable" brand of rugby in Japan.

"If we don't know what we're doing then the opposition won't either," he said, smiling.

The Wallabies will play their opening match of Pool D against Fiji at Sapporo on Sept. 21, followed by Wales at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo on Sept. 29.

The Wallabies will then take on Uruguay on Oct. 5 and Georgia on Oct. 11. The top two teams in the pool advance to the quarterfinals.

Australia World Cup squad:

Backs: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Christian Leali'ifano, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Will Genia.

Forwards: Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (captain), David Pocock, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga'a, Jordan Uelese.


Tokyo Paralympic lottery opens with 2.3M tickets available

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo's Paralympics could be the big winner with Olympic tickets hard to find and costly.

The lottery for Paralympic tickets for Japan residents opened on Thursday with 2.3 million available. The lottery closes on Sept. 9. A second lottery will be held early next year.

Olympic tickets are experiencing unprecedented demand in Japan and elsewhere. Demand is at least 10 times over supply for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and probably much more than that.

Paralympic tickets should be more available, and less expensive. Tickets for the opening and closing ceremony are about half the price of Olympic tickets. Some event tickets sell for as low as 900 yen, or about $8.

The Paralympics open on Aug. 25, 2020 — one year from Sunday.


Former refugee Bakery Jatta in identity dispute in Germany

In this Aug. 11, 2019 file photo Hamurg's Bakery Jatta waves to fans after a match of Chemnitz against Hamburg in Chemnitz, Germany. (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

By CIARÁN FAHEY Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Bakery Jatta has caused a stir in Germany just by taking his place on the field.

The 21-year-old Hamburg forward, the first refugee to play in the Bundesliga, has become the subject of a dispute regarding his identity.

Hamburg, which now plays in the second division, has his back, and so do the German soccer league and the country's soccer federation.

"As there is no evidence so far of the player's false identity, the eligibility of Bakery Jatta, born on June 6, 1998, remains valid," the federation and German soccer league said in a statement on Aug. 12.

Jatta has appeared in all of Hamburg's games so far this season. The dispute began when Sport Bild magazine reported that Jatta - a Gambian refugee who made his debut for Hamburg in April 2017 - has been playing under a false name and is in fact two years older than he claims.

Two rival teams, Bochum and Nuremberg, have lodged appeals with the German soccer federation after losing their league games to Hamburg, citing the media reports and questioning Jatta's eligibility to play.

Bild has been criticized for its coverage of the case and was forced to apologize for mistakenly using a photo of Jatta's teammate, Gideon Jung, for an editorial column on the subject. Both players are black.

"The one positive: Jatta (or however he's really called now) is no one who scares us," sports editor Walter M. Straten wrote in the Aug. 8 column. "No Islamist, terrorist or serious criminal. He just wants to play football."

Der Spiegel followed up Bild's report by saying Hamburg had been aware of questions over Jatta's identity when it signed him in June 2016, but had "little interest in explaining the case."

Jatta has made 28 appearances for Hamburg in the second division and 16 in the Bundesliga. Hamburg was relegated in 2018.

Authorities told the "Hamburger Abendblatt" newspaper that Jatta entered Germany without a passport in 2015 and was subsequently issued with a valid passport from Gambia.

At a hearing with the federation last week, Hamburg sporting director Jonas Boldt, club chairman Bernd Hoffmann, player agent Efe Aktas and a lawyer accompanied Jatta as he made his case.

"We haven't changed our stance or our position because of Bochum's appeal," Boldt said. "We continue to completely stand behind our player and fellow human being Bakery Jatta. During his appearance at the DFB's control and disciplinary committee he did all that he could to create clarity in the situation."

Both Darmstadt, which drew with Hamburg in its league opener, and Chemnitzer FC, which Hamburg defeated on penalties in the German Cup, decided not to appeal the results of their games. But Bochum followed Nuremberg's lead and Hamburg's next opponent, Karlsruher SC, was apparently deliberating making an appeal if it drops points and Jatta plays on Saturday.

"We continue to see absolutely no reason not to play him due to mere accusations," Boldt said. "I am repeating myself, but we are talking about other clubs appealing results due to speculation and assumptions, where we as a club then have the burden of proof. That really is absurd."

Fans, players and even rival supporters have been showing their support for Jatta.

"This is someone who is integrated, who earns his money here, who pays taxes and everyone is happy. Why does someone need to go digging to make such a story out of it?" Ewald Lienen, the technical director of city rival St. Pauli, told broadcaster NDR. "It's ridiculous."


Swedish women boycotting hockey tournament over dispute

In this Feb. 20, 2018, file photo, Erika Grahm (24), of Sweden, fights for control of the puck with South Korea's Choi Jiyeon (10), of the combined Koreas team, during the first period of the classification round of the women's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Female hockey players in Sweden will go ahead with their boycott of an international tournament in Finland because of their unhappiness about pay and working conditions.

Sweden was to play its first game of the Five Nations Tournament on Wednesday against Japan in Vierumaki, but the squad of 43 players will be absent. They refused to attend a five-day training camp in Sweden last week.

Anders Larsson, chairman of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, said the boycott is damaging the brand of the country's hockey team and is a failure for both the federation and the Swedish team.

"That is why it's so important to try to find a solution," Larsson said in Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

The federation will meet with representatives of the players' union this week to discuss the issue. Larsson said the federation only received official documentation from the union on Monday highlighting the players' grievances.

Last week, the union released a statement detailing 10 of the issues the female players were complaining about. Among them was their unhappiness about the lack of compensation they receive while on duty with the national team. Many of Sweden's players have fulltime jobs away from the rink, so must fit games around work schedules and family needs.

The most recent agreement on compensation for lost work income expired in April.

Other complaints were about things like travel conditions and schedules, the short and long-term vision for women's hockey in Sweden, and a perceived lack of respect. They also have complained about having to wear the same uniforms as the men's team, saying requests to have clothing adapted for women were ignored over the last five years.

Larsson said he felt men and women were treated equally by the federation. He also said he understood why the female players felt disappointed.

"I am absolutely convinced that we will solve (these issues)," Larsson said.

Sweden has traditionally been one of the world's best women's hockey teams but it failed to qualify for the quarterfinals of the world championships in Finland in April after losing three of its four group matches. That meant the team was relegated for the first time in its history and will compete in Division IA of the 2020 women's world championship.

The Five Nations Tournament, which also involves Russia, Czech Republic and host Finland, started Tuesday.


Defending champs Osaka, Djokovic are No. 1 seeds for US Open

In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Serena Williams talks with Naomi Osaka, of Japan, after Osaka defeated Williams in the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, tosses the ball on a serve to Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Defending champions Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are the No. 1 seeds for singles play in the U.S. Open.

Osaka, who beat Serena Williams in last year's final for her first Grand Slam title, recently regained the top spot in the WTA rankings from Ash Barty. Barty is the No. 2 seed, followed by Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina.

Williams was given the No. 8 seed Wednesday by the U.S. Tennis Association. Madison Keys, the 2017 runner-up who just won the Western & Southern Open, rounds out the top 10 seeds.

Djokovic, bidding for his second straight major title, is followed by fellow past U.S. Open champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Dominic Thiem is No. 4 and surging Daniil Medvedev, who won the title outside Cincinnati last week in what was his third straight tournament reaching the final, is fifth.

The draw will be held Thursday and main-draw play begins Monday.


Roy passes concussion test, set to play in 3rd Ashes test

England players, from left, Jason Roy, Jack Leach and Jofra Archer during a nets session at Lord's in London, Tuesday Aug. 13, 2019. England will play Australia in their second Ashes Test match starting Aug. 14 at Lord's. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

LEEDS, England (AP) — England batsman Jason Roy has passed a concussion test after being hit on the helmet ahead of the third Ashes test against Australia starting Thursday and is expected to play.

The opener was hit by a throw-down from former England international Marcus Trescothick, who is working with the team in a temporary capacity, during practice on Tuesday.

Roy was assessed after the incident and was able to continue batting. He will have follow-up checks on Wednesday and on the morning of the match to determine if there are any delayed symptoms.

Australia batsman Steve Smith will miss the test at Headingley after being diagnosed with delayed-onset concussion after being hit in the neck by a delivery from Jofra Archer during the second test at Lord's.

Australia leads the five-match series 1-0.


US OPEN '19: How well do you know the American tennis major?

In this Sept. 3, 2017, file photo, tennis fans move in and out of Arthur Ashe Stadium during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. How much does each first-round loser in singles at the U.S. Open take home in prize money? Who holds the women's record for most aces in the tournament? See how much you know about the year's last Grand Slam tennis tournament by taking the AP's U.S. Open quiz. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

By HOWARD FENDRICH AP Tennis Writer

How well do you know the U.S. Open, the year's last Grand Slam tennis tournament? Give this AP quiz a try:

1st Round: The women's and men's singles champions at the 2019 U.S. Open will each receive $3.85 million. How much does each first-round loser in singles get?

a.) $8,000

b.) $28,000

c.) $58,000

d.) $108,000

2nd Round: Who holds the record for most aces in women's singles during a full U.S. Open tournament (since 1991)?

a.) Venus Williams

b.) Serena Williams

c.) Karolina Pliskova

d.) Steffi Graf

3rd Round: Who holds the record for most aces in a men's singles match at the U.S. Open (since 1991)?

a.) Pete Sampras

b.) Andy Roddick

c.) Ivo Karlovic

d.) Richard Krajicek

4th Round: Who holds the men's record for most U.S. Open titles across all events in the professional era, which began in 1968?

a.) Bob Bryan

b.) Mike Bryan

c.) Roger Federer

d.) John McEnroe

Quarterfinal: How often have all four men's singles quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament been won by players 30 or older?

a.) three times

b.) twice

c.) once

d.) never

Semifinal: Who was the youngest U.S. Open women's singles champion?

a.) Serena Williams

b.) Martina Hingis

c.) Tracy Austin

d.) Monica Seles

Final: Novak Djokovic's victory over Roger Federer at Wimbledon marked the first time the men's final there was decided by a fifth-set tiebreaker; this was the first year the All England Club used such tiebreakers. The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament with final-set tiebreakers, starting in 1970. How many U.S. Open finals have been decided by a fifth-set tiebreaker?

a.) 3

b.) 2

c.) 1

d.) zero

ANSWERS

1st Round. c. A first-round singles victory at Flushing Meadows guarantees a player $100,000 this year; prize money is $163,000 for reaching the third round, $280,000 for fourth, $500,000 for quarterfinals, $960,000 for semifinals and $1.9 million for a runner-up.

2nd Round. b. Serena Williams not only holds the tournament mark of 70 — her total in 1999, when she won her first of six U.S. Open titles — but also ranks second (with 67 last year), third (65 in 2016), fourth (63 in 2012) and fifth (61 in 2002). She also shares, with older sister Venus, the record for most aces in a U.S. Open women's singles match (18).

3rd Round. c. Karlovic, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Croatian, delivered 61 aces in a 2016 five-set victory over Yen-hsun Lu in the first round. Sampras holds the record for most aces in the tournament in a single year, with 144 while winning the 2002 championship in what turned out to be the final event of his career.

4th Round. a. Bob Bryan has won five men's doubles titles at Flushing Meadows with his twin brother Mike, plus four mixed doubles trophies, for a total of nine. The professional era's overall mark of 16 is held by Martina Navratilova, whose total includes four in singles, nine in women's doubles and three in mixed doubles — including with Bob Bryan in 2006.

Quarterfinal. b. It's happened at Wimbledon each of the past two years — and nowhere else. In 2018, John Isner (33), Kevin Anderson (32), Rafael Nadal (32) and Novak Djokovic (31) reached the semifinals at the All England Club. And last month, Djokovic and Nadal were joined by Roger Federer (37) and Roberto Bautista Agut (31).

Semifinal. c. Austin was 16 years, 8 months, 28 days old when she won the 1979 U.S. Open for the first of her two titles in New York. Hingis was about 2½ months older when she won the tournament in 1997. Seles was 17 in 1991, as was Williams in 1999.

Final. d. There has never been a fifth-set tiebreaker in a U.S. Open men's singles final, even though the rule has been in place for nearly a half-century.


Duckhee Lee downplays deafness, wins ATP tournament debut

Tennis player Duckhee Lee, of South Korea, poses following his tennis match, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, N.C. Lee became the first deaf professional to play in an ATP-level tennis tournament. (AP Photo/Joedy McCreary)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Duckhee Lee tossed the ball into the air for his first serve in an ATP tournament match and blasted it past his opponent with a loud pop.

The 21-year-old South Korean never heard it. He was born deaf.

The tour's first deaf professional player says he doesn't want to be defined by the disability that he has overcome well enough to play at the sport's highest level.

His first appearance in a top-level tournament will last at least until the second round. Lee beat Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open on Monday, earning a matchup with No. 3 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

As much as the opening-round victory meant to Lee and his career, it might have meant even more to hearing-impaired athletes in all sports.

"Don't be discouraged and if you try hard, you can do anything, you can achieve anything you want," Lee said through an interpreter, adding that he "doesn't want people to get discouraged and get down about their disability."

The ability to hear carries a particular importance in tennis. Players often insist on silence during points so they can hear the ball off their opponent's strings and identify the spin in a split-second.

"I'm never going to know what that's like to compete like that," Andy Murray said. "But he's obviously doing extremely well. So it's obviously an unbelievable achievement.

"I know how important hearing is in tennis," he added. "To read the spins and to see how like, if I was to play with headphones on, it's unbelievably difficult to pick up the speed that the ball's coming at, the spin that's coming. We use our ears a lot to pick things up."

Lee makes up for it with his eyes, sharpening his focus on his opponent's swing, how that player makes contact and the speed and spin of the ball as it's racing toward him.

Complicating things further, he also doesn't speak English and reads lips instead of using sign language. He relies on hand gestures from umpires making calls.

Because he can't hear the score announcements, he keeps track of points and games in his head — which can be more difficult in smaller events that don't have courtside scoreboards. It led to a hiccup early during his main-draw debut when he lined up to serve after a game had been decided.

"I think (the umpire) forgot to give the signal" at times during the match, he said, adding that he "was hoping he would give in and out signals."

The debut in Winston-Salem is the next step up the tennis ladder for Lee, who started playing tennis at 7 — the year after he realized he was deaf, though doctors had diagnosed his condition as a toddler.

"People made fun of (me) because of the disability and said (I) shouldn't be playing," Lee said, adding that his motivation was to "enjoy (my) life by overcoming my disability."

Lee made his debut on the ITF Futures Tour at 14 and won eight titles before he turned 18, then reached three finals of the ATP Challenger Tour, including one in June, falling to Dudi Sela at the Baptist Health Little Rock Open in Arkansas. He brought a No. 212 world ranking to the central North Carolina hardcourts.

He'll always remember his first ATP-level victory this week — and not just because of the result. Lee was two points away from sealing the victory when thunderstorms forced a weather delay of nearly 5 hours. He and Laaksonen came back to the court at roughly 10:15 p.m. — and wrapped up their match in 87 seconds.

When he was asked how he spent the delay, Lee got his point across with pantomime, mimicking someone playing table tennis and shooting basketball, because there was both a pingpong table and pop-a-shot machine in the players' lounge.

He smiled as his translator said how "he loves the facility here."


Australia batsman Steve Smith out of Ashes with concussion

Australia's Steve Smith, left, speaks with Australia batting coach Graeme Hick during a nets session at Headingley, Leeds, England, Tuesday Aug. 20, 2019. England and Australia will begin the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match on Aug. 22. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Australia will be without batsman Steve Smith for the third Ashes test against England because of a concussion.

On the fourth day of the second test on Saturday, Smith had to leave the field after being hit on the neck by a fast, sharply rising delivery from Jofra Archer.

Tests were conducted before Smith was allowed to return to complete his innings. Smith complained of headaches later Saturday and was ruled out of the remainder of the match after displaying concussion symptoms.

Australia coach Justin Langer says Smith "felt a bit better yesterday but he is not going to have time enough to tick off everything he needs to do to be ready to play."

Australia leads the series 1-0.


Canada beats New Zealand 122-88 in exhibition basketball

Canada's Melvin Ejim takes a rebound during a pre-World Cup exhibition basketball game against Australia in Perth, Australia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Richard Wainwright/AAP Image via AP)

SYDNEY (AP) — Canada opened with a 10-0 run and seven three-pointers in the first quarter and went on to beat New Zealand 122-88 in a basketball World Cup warm-up game Tuesday.

Aaron Best scored 20 points while Andrew Nembhard added 17 for Canada, which had six players in double figures. Oshae Brissett had 16 points and seven rebounds and Owen Klassen added 12 points.

The Canadians split a pair of warm-up games last week with Australia, a team they will face in the opening round of the World Cup in China on Sept. 1.

Tai Webster led New Zealand with 19 points.

The teams will play again on Wednesday in Sydney. Canada plays Team USA next Monday, also in Sydney.

Australia plays Team USA in games on Thursday and Saturday in Melbourne.


Earl Monroe on what it takes to be great in the NBA

In this Nov. 7, 2011, file photo, Earl Monroe is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

By Associated Press

Earl Monroe is in the Hall of Fame and has an NBA ring. He's also a big supporter of player rights, and he tells PodcastOne Sports Now that free agency movement among teams is helping create even more interest in the league.

A star in Baltimore and New York in a career that spanned 14 seasons before he retired in 1980, Monroe has seen the NBA evolve into a star-driven league and thinks it is for the better. He told co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg that he doesn't begrudge today's huge salaries, but believes players today need to work harder to relate to fans like the players did in his time in the league.

They could also use more nicknames, he said, and recalled how he became known as Earl "The Pearl" Monroe among other monikers in his career.

Monroe also talked about his playing days in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the nation's first African American college athletic conference, and his plans for the 75th anniversary championship week celebration next February in Charlotte, NC.

The hosts also discuss Bill Walton's baseball commentary, and debate what purpose egg salad actually serves.
 


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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] : 

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Duckhee Lee downplays deafness, wins ATP tournament debut

Australia batsman Steve Smith out of Ashes with concussion

Canada beats New Zealand 122-88 in exhibition basketball

Earl Monroe on what it takes to be great in the NBA

 



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