World Sports News in Brief

Nadal's win over Tsitsipas in vain as Zverev reaches semis

Saturday, 2019-11-16 08:31:37
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Tennis - ATP Finals - The O2, London, Britain - November 15, 2019 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his group stage match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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For the second time in three days at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal fought off one of the game’s rising powers but beating Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas proved in vain as his semi-final hopes vanished on Friday.

The indomitable Spaniard delighted his fans in the 02 Arena as he recovered from losing the opening set to beat Tsitsipas 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5, after which he was presented with a huge trophy for sealing the end-of-year number one ranking. Sadly for Nadal, and all those who were looking forward to him taking on Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals, Germany’s defending champion Alexander Zverev had not read the script.

* Sweden's joy at qualifying for Euro 2020 thanks to a 2-0 win away to Romania on Friday was tarnished by the racist abuse suffered by their striker Alexander Isak when he replaced Marcus Berg in the 78th minute. Sweden travel to Stockholm on Saturday ahead of their final group game against Faroe Islands at the Friends Arena on Monday.

* Spain clinched top spot in Group F in style by hammering Malta 7-0 at home on Friday for their biggest win of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign as seven players got on the scoresheet. Spain had sealed their place at next year's tournament last month in unconvincing fashion by drawing 1-1 with both Norway and Sweden but they created a party atmosphere in Cadiz with a superb display of attacking football.

* Defending champion Alexander Zverev reached the last four at the ATP Finals with a 6-4 7-6(4) defeat of Russian debutant Daniil Medvedev on Friday and consigned Rafael Nadal to an early exit at the same time. Spaniard Nadal had earlier beaten group winner Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5 in a near three-hour battle to keep his hopes alive but needed Medvedev to do him a favour by beating Zverev.

* Italy won 10 internationals in a row for the first time in their 109-year history when goals from Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti gave them a 3-0 victory at Bosnia & Herzegovina in a lop-sided Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday. The result meant coach Roberto Mancini improved on Vittorio Pozzo's run of nine straight wins between 1938 and 1939.

* Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick will remain on the champions' bench at least until Christmas, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Friday. Flick took over last week from Niko Kovac and won both games in charge - against Olympiakos in the Champions League and against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

* Lionel Messi returned from international suspension to score the winner in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Brazil in Saudi Arabia on Friday. The Barcelona strike scored after 14 minutes to give Argentina a deserved victory in the so-called Superclasico. The result extended Brazil’s winless run to five games since they lifted the Copa America in July, their worst such run since 2013.

* Finland striker Teemu Pukki scored twice as the team beat Liechtenstein 3-0 to book a place at Euro 2020 and reach the finals of a major soccer tournament for the first time.

* Norway kept alive their slim hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020 with an easy 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands in a Group F qualifier on Friday.

* Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari one-two in practice for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix on Friday, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen third fastest on an incident-filled afternoon at a damp Interlagos. Vettel, a three-times winner in Brazil, lapped in one minute 09.217 seconds on soft tyres with Monegasque team mate Charles Leclerc, who has a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change, 0.021 slower.

* Germany will not be among the tournament favourites if they qualify for next year's Euro 2020, coach Joachim Loew said on Friday ahead of their final two qualifiers. The Germans, who take on Belarus on Saturday before facing Northern Ireland on Tuesday, are level with leaders Netherlands on 15 points. Northern Ireland are third on 12. The top two earn automatic qualification and Germany could qualify as early as Saturday.

* Manchester City's attempt to halt a UEFA investigation into allegations that the club breached financial fair play regulations has failed after its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was thrown out on Friday.

* La Liga's hopes of staging Villarreal's game with Atletico Madrid on Dec 6 in Miami have ended after a local court declined a request to grant an injunction against the Spanish football federation, who oppose playing the match abroad.

* Former world No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentine has withdrawn from an exhibition match with 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer because of ongoing knee problems. The 31-year-old will be replaced by German Alexander Zverev for Wednesday's clash at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, organisers said on Friday.

* Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez has been ruled out of Colombia's friendlies against Peru and Ecuador after suffering a knee injury while training. The 28-year-old will return to Spain to undergo medical treatment under the supervision of Real Madrid's medical staff, the Colombian Football Federation said in a statement on Friday.

* Uruguay beat Hungary 2-1 in a soccer friendly in the brand new Puskas Arena of the Hungarian capital Budapest on Friday evening.

Reuters, Xinhua