World Sports News in Brief

Barty through to Beijing semis, Osaka ends Andreescu's win streak

Saturday, 2019-10-05 08:31:48
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Tennis - China Open - Women's Singles - Quarterfinals - National Tennis Center, Beijing, China - October 4, 2019. Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova. (Photo: Reuters)
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World number one Ash Barty battled back from a set down to beat Czech Republic’s seventh seed Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-4 6-3 to advance to the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing on Friday.

In another battle of Grand Slam champions, Japan’s Naomi Osaka beat US Open holder Bianca Andreescu 5-7 6-3 6-4 in a thrilling encounter, ending the Canadian’s 17-match winning streak to book her place in the semi-finals. Osaka became the fifth player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen after Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and Andreescu.

* Cuban Yaime Perez was rewarded for her persistence as she won the discus gold medal at the world athletics championships on Friday, having left empty-handed in her three previous appearances in the event. Perez, 28, produced a throw of 69.17 metres with her fifth attempt to overtake compatriot Denia Caballero, the world champion in 2015.

* Bahamian Steven Gardiner powered to victory in the 400 metres at the world championships on Friday, one month after he was personally affected by the hurricane which devastated his country. Gardiner, who was troubled by an Achilles tendon problem earlier in the season, won in 43.48 seconds, making him the sixth-fastest 400m runner in history, as he went one better than the silver medal he claimed in London two years ago.

* Lifted by a packed stadium, Qatar's Mutaz Barshim soared to victory in the men's high jump at the world championships on Friday to give the hosts a long-awaited first gold medal. With the crowd on their feet for every jump, Barshim delivered the performance they demanded by clearing 2.37 metres on his first attempt before watching on as his rivals failed to match his effort. Barshim becomes the first man to successfully defend the world high jump crown.

* Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto beat Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia in a photo finish to successfully defend his 3,000 metres steeplechase world title on Friday. In the home straight the race came down to a 100m sprint and Kipruto just won it, dipping to edge out the 18-year-old Girma on the line in a winning time of eight minutes, 1.35 seconds. Girma was 0.001 seconds back and had to settle for silver, Ethiopia's first ever medal in the event.

* American Dalilah Muhammad broke her own world record to win the women's 400 metres hurdles at the world championships with a time of 52.16 seconds on Friday, edging out compatriot Sydney McLaughlin in a gripping race. The 29-year-old Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic champion, crossed the finish line 0.04 seconds faster than her previous world record set in July.

* Southampton are not looking to rush Mali winger Moussa Djenepo back from a hip injury and his return has been delayed because he is in danger of re-injuring the muscle when he attempts to shoot, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Friday. Djenepo has not played for Saints since scoring in a 1-0 win at Sheffield United in the Premier League last month and Hasenhuettl said he hoped the 21-year-old close-season recruit would return to training after the international break.

* Formula One will have more races than ever next year but less testing, with the number of pre-season days in Spain reduced from eight to six and tests during the season scrapped altogether. Formula One announced on Friday that two three-day winter tests will be held at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya from Feb. 19-21 and 26-28. The season will start in Australia on Mar 15 and end in Abu Dhabi on Nov 29.

* Kevin De Bruyne will miss Belgium’s next Euro 2020 qualifiers but Eden Hazard is back as they look to keep up their 100per cent record in Group I and secure their place in the finals. Midfielder De Bruyne was left out of the 28-man squad named by coach Roberto Martinez on Friday due to a groin injury picked up playing for Manchester City at Everton last weekend.

* Soccer's world governing body FIFA and the World Health Organisation agreed on Friday to work together to ensure tobacco-free environments at stadiums and to promote healthy lifestyles through football. The United Nations agency will also provide advice to FIFA regarding healthy diets, food safety, mass gatherings and the risks associated with alcohol.

* Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori's call ups to the England national team for this months' Euro 2020 qualifiers are a "natural progression" after their performances for Chelsea this season, manager Frank Lampard said on Friday. With Chelsea operating under a FIFA-enforced transfer ban, Lampard has had to turn to academy players, with Abraham leading the way with seven Premier League goals in seven appearances.

* Claude Puel is returning to coaching, replacing Ghislain Printant at St Etienne on a three-year-deal, the Ligue 1 club said on Friday. Former Leicester and Southampton coach Puel, 58, will be back in the French elite three years after leaving Nice, having also led Monaco to the first division title in 2000.

* Top seed Dominic Thiem held off a spirited display from Britain's Andy Murray in a 6-2 7-6(3) victory to reach the China Open semi-finals in Beijing on Friday. Alexander Zverev continued his steady progress this week with a 7-6(3) 6-2 win over American Sam Querrey. From 2-2 in the second set, Zverev reeled off four consecutive games to set up a semi-final showdown with Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who struck 25 winners and committed just seven unforced errors in a clinical display to beat American John Isner 7-6(3) 6-3.

* Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino dismissed any talk about his future at the club on Friday and said he hoped to spend many more years in North London. Spurs were hammered 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s Champions league clash but Pochettino said the defeat would force him and his players to work harder and recover "their best feeling," hopefully in Saturday’s Premier League game at Brighton.

* Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is facing yet another injury crisis in defence ahead of the visit of the newly promoted side after confirming that left back Marcelo, who did not train, will be absent with a hamstring injury. Already without injured duo Ferland Mendy and Nacho, who can deputise for the Brazilian, Zidane will have to improvise when it comes to team selection.

* Uncapped Sergio Reguilon, Pau Torres and Gerard Moreno were handed their first Spain call-ups on Friday after being named in coach Robert Moreno’s squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Norway and Sweden. Spain coach Moreno was unable to call up Barcelona’s 16-year-old Ansu Fati, after local media reports suggested he was in line to be fast-tracked to the senior setup after receiving Spanish citizenship last month.

* Honda's MotoGP leader Marc Marquez had a huge crash and was taken to hospital on Friday before returning to set quick laps in practice for what promises to be a title-deciding Thai Grand Prix. The Spaniard, 98 points clear of closest rival Andrea Dovizioso with five races remaining and a sixth title beckoning, ended the day's second session at the Chang International circuit sixth fastest.

* World number one Novak Djokovic continued his dominant form in Tokyo to storm past Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1 6-2 and into the semi-finals of the Japan Open Tennis Championships on Friday. Big-serving American Reilly Opelka ended local favourite Yasutaka Uchiyama’s hopes of a maiden ATP Tour semi-final appearance with a 6-3 6-3 victory over the qualifier.

* Rafa Nadal has pulled out of the Shanghai Masters due to a wrist injury that cut short his participation in last month's Laver Cup, the world number two said on Friday. The 33-year-old, who claimed his 19th Grand Slam title at this year's US Open, said that he had not had enough time to practise sufficiently due to inflammation in his left wrist.