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- Alexander Zverev reaches first Grand Slam final
- Dortmund announce formation of women’s team
- Sebastian Vettel joins Aston Martin team for 2021 season
Zverev reaches final after remarkable comeback
Alexander Zverev will face Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s US Open final after completing a remarkable comeback in his semifinal against Pablo Carreno Busta.
Zverev fell two sets behind Carreno Busta after making 36 unforced errors. But he cut down on the mistakes to defeat the 20th seeded Spaniard 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in 3 hours and 23 minutes to reach the final.
It was the first time in the 23-year-old Zverev’s career that he overcame a two-set deficit. Sunday will be the German’s first ever Grand Slam final.
Thiem defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets 6-2, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) in the other semifinal. It was the second Grand Slam final the Austrian has reached this year — he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in February.
Williams packs her bags after loss in US Open
Serena Williams will have to wait a little longer before claiming a historic 24th Grand Slam singles title as she crashed out of the US Open on Thursday. The 38-year-old started strongly against semifinal opponent Victoria Azarenka before going down 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Azarenka is to face face Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s women’s final.
Borussia Dortmund to form women’s team
In a letter to club members on Thursday, Borussia Dortmund announced their intention to form a women’s team ahead of the 2021-22 season. The team will enter at the Kreisliga B level in the western region of Westfalen, the eighth tier of German women’s football , with the aim being to get BVB in the Bundesliga within the first ten years.
Dortmund were the only remaining team among the top 16 men’s sides in Europe without a women’s team. By entering the ladder at the bottom of the pile, BVB have followed in the footsteps of Ruhr rivals Schalke.
Vettel finds a new home for 2021
Four-time Formula One drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel has joined the newly rebranded Aston Martin works team for 2021 “and beyond”, the British outfit announced in a statement on Thursday.
“I still have so much love for Formula 1 and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid,” Vettel said in confirming the long-speculated move. “To do so with Aston Martin will be a huge privilege.”
The 30-year-old German was already slated to leave Ferrari at the end of the season having not had his contract renewed. Next season, Vettel‘s teammate will be the young Canadian Lance Stroll, whose billionaire father Lawrence owns his new team, currently known as BWT Racing Point.
Serena keeps bid for 24th Grand Slam alive
Serena Williams advanced to the semifinals of the US Open on Wednesday, coming back from a set down to overcome unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-2 to keep alive her bid for a 24th singles Grand Slam title. That would match Margaret Court’s record for the most singles Grand Slam wins.
Williams smashed 20 aces, the most she has had in eight years, taking her tally for the tournament to 64 so far.
“Sometimes when I’m serving, I just tell myself, I don’t care if my arm falls off, I’m going to keep serving,” she said.
Williams moves on to face Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the semifinals. Azarenka advanced by beating Elise Mertens, 6-1, 6-0.
Lionel Messi returns to Barca training
Lionel Messi rejoined the rest of his Barcelona teammates in team training on Wednesday for the first time since publically declaring his desire to leave before deciding to stay to avoid a legal dispute.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had been practicing separately from the group since returning to the club on Monday, but after passing two coronavirus tests, was given the all clear to take part in team training under new head coach Ronald Koeman.
South African athlete Caster Semenya was defiant Wednesday after she lost an appeal at Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court against testosterone level restrictions for female runners.
Semenya, 29, who reportedly is intersex, has said she won’t use medication to allow her to continue racing the 800 metres. “A man can change the rules but the very same man can not rule my life,” the two-time Olympic 800 metres champion said on Twitter.
Alexander Zverev through to US Open semis
German fifth seed Alexander Zverev advanced to his first US Open semifinal by recovering from a poor opening set to defeat Croatia’s Borna Coric 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 on Tuesday. In doing so, he seized what he knew was a unique opportunity to win what is usually the last Grand Slam of the year.
“The Novak news shocked us all,” Zverev said of after Nowak Djokovic getting disqualified for inadvertently hitting a line judge with the ball earlier this week. “Obviously for us younger guys, we see that as a massive opportunity. But we have to put our head down and do our job.”
The 23-year-old German‘s next opponenent will be Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who edged Denis Shapovalov of Canada 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3 in a marathon that ended at after 1 a.m. on Wednesday local time.
Tour de France race director tests positive, riders clear
All 22 teams will start the 10th stage of the Tour de France after their riders tested negative for COVID-19. However, four members of staff, from French outfits Cofidis and AG2R-La Mondiale, Britain’s Team Ineos and Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott, returned positive tests. Another positive test within a week would rule the teams out of the race.
The organizers also announced that race director Christian Prudhomme had tested positive. French Prime Minister Jean Castex was in the Tour director’s car for part of Saturday’s stage.
Prudhomme, who is not showing any symptoms, normally attends every race but will now self-isolate. “I leave the Tour now for a week, I’m going to do what any French employee would in this kind of case,” he confirmed to news agency AFP. “I’ll be watching the Tour on television, something I haven’t done for 15 years.”
Mbappe tests positive for coronavirus
Paris-Saint Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe has become the latest high profile footballer to test positive for the virus after his club teammate Brazilian forward Neymar was confirmed to have Covid-19 last week.
Mbappe has been ruled out of France’s Nations League game against Croatia on Tuesday and is the seventh PSG player to contract the illness. Two Manchester City players, Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte, also tested positive recently while the Czech Republic were forced to field an entirely new squad for their Nations League match as a result of the virus.
A number of tennis players have also tested positive, with world number one Ashleigh Barty announcing that she won’t defend her French Open title as a precautionary measure. The US Open, being played in New York at the moment, is missing a number of the world’s best players.
The Australian star said it was a “difficult” decision but the health of her family and team came first.
Messi returns to Barcelona training
After discussions, press conferences, videos and endless speculation, Lionel Messi has returned to training with Barcelona.
Tha Argentinian forward was photographed arriving at the club’s training ground a few days after saying he would reluctantly stay put for the upcoming season. Messi had previously said he “wanted to go” and that he felt his contract allowed him to depart the only professional club he’s ever represented for free.
“I wanted to go and it was entirely my right because the contract said that I could be released,” Messi told website Goal last week. “I wanted to go because I thought about living my last years of football happily. Lately, I have not found happiness within the club.”
Though Messi has agreed to stay for now, it’s unclear how happy he is to do so under new coach Ronald Koeman.
Mahrez and Laporte test positive, Foden and Greenwood sent home
Manchester City confirmed on Monday that Algeria midfielder Riyad Mahrez and French defender Aymeric Laporte have tested positive for the coronavirus, though neither are showing symptoms.
City don’t have a game on the opening weekend of the season and the pair could yet be in contention for the club’s opener against Wolves on September 21 after a period in quarantine. The self-isolation period in Britain is a minimum of 10 days.
Meanwhile another City player, Phil Foden, has been sent home from England duty along with Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood after breaching squad coronavirus guidelines.
The pair both made their England debuts over the weekend but reports in Iceland suggested they then had women from outside the ‘bubble’ enter their hotel rooms.
“Unfortunately this morning, it was brought to my attention that two of the boys have broken the Covid-19 guidelines in terms of our secure bubble,” said England boss Gareth Southgate in his press conference.
“So we had to decide very quickly that they couldn’t have any interaction with the rest of the team and wouldn’t be able to train. Given the procedures we have to follow now they will have to travel back to England separately.”
Trans Tasman rugy clash postponed
The Bledisloe Cup rugby union test between Australia and New Zealand, which was slated to be played in Melbourne this year, has been switched to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rugby Australia said on Monday.
The annual three-match Bledisloe Cup series is normally contested as part of the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship, which also includes South Africa and Argentina.
But the state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, accounts for about 75% of coronavirus cases in Australia.
“The decision to swap the All Blacks test to 2022 is a sensible one and I thank [Victorian] Premier Daniel Andrews and the Victorian government for their flexibility and support,” Rugby Australia’s interim chief executive Rob Clarke said in a statement
Djokovic defaulted from US Open
World number 1 Novak Djokovic has been sensationally dumped out of the US Open after striking a female line judge with a stray ball during his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
The Serbian had let a series of set points slip in the opening set and had also recieved treatment for a shoulder injury before he hit a ball in the direction of one of the judges on the back wall.
The ball hit the unsuspecting line judge, who dropped to her knees at the back of the court.
After a discussion of several minutes with officials on court, Djokovic walked over to shake hands with Carreno Busta, and the default was announced.
Alexander Zverev, who progressed earlier in the day (see below) was one of the first to react.
“It’s very unlucky, very unfortunate,” he said. “The decision was made by the supervisors and, as I said, they’re just doing their job. There’s nothing much else I can say to that. I don’t know what to say. I’m just a little bit in shock now, to be honest.”
Mixed fortunes for Germans at US Open
Alexander Zverev cruised through to his first US Open quarterfinal with a convincing 6-2 6-2 6-1 win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The fifth-seeded Zverev is the first German man to reach the quarterfinal in New York since Tommy Haas in 2007.
But Angelique Kerber’s tournament is over after Jennifer Brady proved too much for the 2016 winner, who came in the tournament with very little match practice.
Czechs name whole new squad
After a u-turn on an initial decision to postpone their game against Scotland on Monday after coronavirus tests (see two entries below), the Czech Republic have named an unfamiliar squad for their Nations League squad.
The only two players with international experience are 36-year-old defender Roman Hubník, who last played for his country in 2016 and striker Stanislav Tecl, who has won just five caps.
Scotland coach Steve Clarke addressed the situation in his prematch press conference, admitting further research would be needed.
“Obviously it will be a new-look Czech Republic team. We have a list of names that I believe is the official squad and myself and the analysts are working our way through so we know what position they play in and how they are,” he said.
“I would be happier if we were playing against the full Czech Republic team but we are in a very strange and disturbing time, if you look at the influence this pandemic has had on everybody,” he added.
Germany are among the countries playing in the competition on Sunday night.
Serena not quite serene
In serious danger of her earliest exit at the U.S. Open since her debut 22 years ago, Serena Williams dug deep to get past compatriot Sloane Stephens.
Williams won 10 of the last 12 games in the battle between former champions to emerge with a with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory and keep her hopes of a 24th grand slam alive.
“In that first set, I don’t think she made any errors, honestly. She was playing so clean. I said, ‘I don’t want to lose in straight sets,”’ said Williams of her opponent. The American then told herself “OK, Serena, get yourself a game.”
She did more than that, and will play 15th-seeded Maria Sakkari for a quarterfinal spot.
Czech Republic to field ‘new players and staff members’ against Scotland
The Czech Republic’s Nations League game against Scotland is due to go ahead on Monday after all, despite positive coronavirus tests in the Czech camp.
The Czech FA had initially announced after Friday’s 3-1 win against Slovakia that the Scotland game was off, after a member of the backroom staff tested positive. As a result, RB Leipzig striker Patrik Schick and West Ham United midfielder Tomas Soucek, who had come into contact with the member of staff, were told to self-isolate, although none of the Czech players have since tested positive.
On Saturday morning, however, the Czechs performed a U-turn, confirming that the game would go ahead after all but with a squad consisting of “new players and staff members.”
Preparing for scenarios where Covid-19 impacted fixtures, UEFA outlined last week that a game could still go ahead as long as a team had at least 13 players, including a goalkeeper, available.
Schick, who scored ten goals for RB Leipzig while on loan from Roma last season, is reported to be on the brink of signing a permanent deal with Bayer Leverkusen worth €25 million – providing he tests negative on Monday and can leave the Czech Republic.
Mick Schumacher wins first F2 feature race
Mick Schumacher, the son of German F1 legend Michael Schumacher, won his maiden F2 feature race when he took the chequered flag at Monza.
The 21-year-old Ferrari junior is driving in his second F2 season – the penultimate step on the motorsports ladder before F1 – and had more podiums than any other driver going into this weekend in Italy.
But despite starting seventh after beaching his car in the gravel in qualifying, Schumacher got off to a typically fast start and quickly moved up to second, before going on to win his first feature race – although he did win a time trial in Hungary last season.
The victory propelled him up to third in the divers’ championship. Schumacher’s father, Michael, won a record 91 Grand Prix, 72 with Ferrari, also a record. He won seven world championships between 1994 and 2004, the final five in direct succession.
He retired for good in 2013 but suffered serious damage in skiing accident later that year. He was placed in a medically induced coma until June 2014 and has been receiving rehabilitative treatment privately since then.
Zverev through in New York, despite delay
Alexander Zverev managed to shrug off a significant delay and progress to the fourth round of the US Open. The German sayid he was told there was “very little chance” his US Open third-round match with Adrian Mannarino would take place because of coronavirus restrictions.
Mannarino is in a “bubble within the bubble” after fellow Frenchmen Benoit Pairetested positive for COVID-19 but took to the court after a delay of nearly three hours.
“I was waiting around and very relaxed. I was happy he could play,” said Zverev. “He was around Benoit Paire so I guess the New York State called and said he shouldn’t play. It was political, it was not us players just sitting around.”
Zverev, seeded fifth, started slowly and lost the first set before taking the next three to claim the victory. “There is a lot of room for improvement, I’m not at my best yet,” he said. Zverev faces Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next.
Oberdorf haunts Essen as Wolfsburg win
Less than a week after their defeat to Lyon in the Champions League final, Wolfsburg’s women’s team have laid down a marker for their title defense with a 3-0 win over SGS Essen.
The champions made several changes from the loss in San Sebastian, Pernile Harder had moved to Chelsea while Alex Popp was among those on the bench. So it was left to a newer face, Lena Oberdorf to open the scoring in the 17th minute with her first for the club.
Lena Goeßling made no mistake from the penalty spot just after the break before Oberdorf, who only joined from Essen earlier this year, wrapped it up with six minutes remaining.
Tokyo Olympics are most costly Summer Games
The Tokyo Olympics are already the most expensive Summer Games on record with costs set to go higher, a wide-ranging
study from Britain’s University of Oxford indicates.
The Tokyo cost overrun already exceeds 200%, lead author Bent Flyvbjerg explained in an interview with The Associated Press. This is even before several billion more dollars are added on from the one-year delay from the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Football Leaks’ trial begins
The trial of Rui Pinto, the man behind the “Football Leaks” that exposed shady dealings by leading clubs, players and agents, begins on Friday in Lisbon, with the hacker facing 90 charges.
The accusations include attempted blackmail, computer hacking, breach of correspondence and data theft. “I hope to be acquitted because I am a whistleblower and I acted in good faith,” the 31-year-old hacker told Der Spiegel.
AFL virus breach after strip club brawl
Two Australian Rules players were slapped with 10-game bans and sent home in disgrace Friday after a drunken brawl outside a strip club, which broke strict coronavirus regulations.
Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones, who play for reigning champions Richmond, left their bio-secure ‘bubble’ and ventured out into Surfer’s Paradise, a bar-heavy area of Gold Coast, where they got into a fight at 3:30 am Friday.
DFL vote in favor of keeping five substitutes rule
The German Bundesliga will keep five substitutions for the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with the German League Association (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert predicting that the coming campaign would be “the most demanding and difficult in the history of German professional football.”
The 36 clubs in the top two German men’s soccer leagues voted at a German Football League meeting Thursday to continue the rule for next season. That comes after the English Premier League moved back to three substitutions after using five to finish the 2019-20 campaign during the pandemic.
van de Beek honours ex-teammate
Manchester United’s new signing Donny van de Beek has revealed he will wear shirt number 34 in honour of former Ajax team-mate Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered brain damage after an on-pitch heart attack.
“This is a special thing for me because my good friend Abdelhak Nouri… maybe you know the story, he had a heart attack and he’s a good friend of mine. So I decided to take his old number on my shirt and I want to get good memories with this number.”
Bale accuses Real Madrid of making it “difficult” to leave
Bale is out of favour with Real manager Zinedine Zidane and played just 48 minutes of Madrid’s 12 games when the Spanish season resumed after the coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s on the club, I can’t really do anything. I have a contract,” said the Welsh winder. “All I can do is carry on what I’m doing and hopefully something comes up. But as I said, it’s in the club’s hands. They make things very difficult to be honest.”
Schröder and Oklahoma out of the NBA play-offs
A thrilling game seven ended in dramatic fashion as the Houston Rockets clinched a 104-102 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder to progress in NBA’s Western Conference play-offs.
Despite a poor shooting night the Rockets clamped down defensively, forcing Thunder guard Chris Paul into six turnovers while holding Germany’s Dennis Schroder to 5-of-17 shooting.
Neymar amongst PSG trio who test positive for COVID-19
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, has tested positive for coronavirus, sources told AFP on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Brazilian has Covid-19 as well as his Argentinian teammates Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, the same anonymous sources said.
Switzerland ready to bring back fans
Soccer and ice hockey clubs in Switzerland can have stadiums two-thirds full, starting in October, after a federal decision on Wednesday. The Swiss government said spectators would need to wear face masks and have allocated seats. No fans of away teams will be allowed and contact tracing plans must be in place.
Werner excited by Germany options
In a press conference ahead of Germany’s double header in the Nations League against Spain (Thursday) and Switzerland (Friday), Timo Werner said he’s excited by Germany’s chances in next year’s European Championships.
“We’re still a very good team and always go to tournaments with the aim of winning them. That will be no different at the Euros,” the new Chelsea signing said.
“We have very good attacking players. If we can all stay injury-free, then the team can work incredibly well going forward.”
Osaka and Djokovic through in New York
Fourth seed Naomi Osaka, who was an injury doubt for the US Open, is through to the second round after a 6-2 5-7 6-2 victory over fellow Japanese player Misaki Doi.
“It was difficult [physically]. I knew there was a chance it would get really long. I will have to see what happens tomorrow and how I feel,” Osaka said.
In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic, a heavy favorite in the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, cruised to a 6-1 6-4 6-1 win over Damir Dzumhur.
Wolfsburg draw Albanian side in Europa League qualifiers
Wolfsburg’s quest to qualify for the 2020-21 Europa League group stage will begin in Albania.
The Wolves drew Albanian Superliga runners-up Kukes in the second round of Europa League qualifying. The tie will be a one-off match on September 17 in Zeqir Ymeri Stadium in Kukes, a city in eastern Albania.
UEFA, Europe’s football confederation, has ordered that all qualifying matches be one-match affairs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wolfsburg’s seventh-place finish in the Bundesliga last season put them in the second round of Europa League qualifying. Kukes defeated Bulgarian side Slavia Sofia in the first round of qualifying 2-1 to reach the second stage.
German football fans for scrapping Nations League
The second-ever Nations League is set to kick off this week. According to polling website Bundesliga-Barometer, nearly three-quarters of German football fans (74.7%) don’t think the competition makes sense.
According to the survey, which had 5,145 participants, 80.6% see the Nations League as “an unnecessary burden for the professionals of the major soccer nations.” Most (79.6%) said the competition was too complex, and more than half (56.2%) of those surveyed do not follow the games.
Germany was set to be relegated from the top division in the first iteration of the Nations League after finishing third in their group but remained in the top flight after a format change. They are set to take on Spain in Stuttgart on Thursday and Switzerland in Basel on Sunday.
Spain player to miss Nations League after positive COVID-19 test
Mikel Oyarzabal has withdrawn from Spain’s Nation’s League squad and will miss his country’s opener against Germany after testing positive for COVID-19.
“I want to communicate that I’ve received a positive result from my last test,” The 23-year-old Real Sociedad . “I have to be at home for a few days and I won’t be able to go to the national team.”
He has been replaced in Spain’s squad by Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno. Spain are set to play Germany on September 3 and Ukraine on September 6.
Tiger Woods misses out on Tour Championship
After a poor showing at the BMW Championship over the weekend, Tiger Woods failed to reach the Tour Championship for the second straight year.
He finished tied for 51st at the Olympia Fields course in Illinois, leaving him in 63rd place in the FedEx Cup playoff rankings. The top 30 qualify for the Tour Championship, which is set to begin on Friday at the East Lake Golf Club near Atlanta, Georgia.
Woods finished over par in all four rounds of the tournament at Olympia Fields, the first time he has done so at a tournament since 2010.
The 44-year-old now has two weeks to prepare for next month’s the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Real Salt Lake owner under investigation for racist comments
Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Major League Soccer (MLS) team Real Salt Lake, will sell the company that owns the club, MLS Don Garber has confirmed.
“MLS will work with Mr. Hansen on supporting the sale efforts for the company and will work closely with the club’s executive staff to support the operations of the team during the transition period,” Garber said.
The allegations of racist remarks by Hansen surfaced in a report by The Athletic on Thursday, citing former Real Salt Lake scout Andy Williams. Hansen was already under fire for comments about players deciding to sit out a home match last week in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Despite saying he “strongly disagreed” with those comments, Garber has been criticized for not taking a stronger stand against incidents of racism and alleged racism.