Rafael Nadal Shows No Sign of Problems with Injured Hip in Exhibition Loss to Carlos Alcaraz 

Rafael Nadal speaks onstage during The Netflix Slam media availability event at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images/AFP)
Rafael Nadal speaks onstage during The Netflix Slam media availability event at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Rafael Nadal Shows No Sign of Problems with Injured Hip in Exhibition Loss to Carlos Alcaraz 

Rafael Nadal speaks onstage during The Netflix Slam media availability event at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images/AFP)
Rafael Nadal speaks onstage during The Netflix Slam media availability event at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images/AFP)

There has been plenty of mystery around Rafael Nadal and his health because he has played just 12 official matches since the 2022 US Open.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner played an unofficial event Sunday, losing to fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz 3-6, 6-4 (14-12) in The Netflix Slam before a sellout crowd of 9,489. The 37-year-old Nadal showed no apparent sign of any issues related to his hip.

Nadal said during a courtside interview with Netflix while up 5-2 in the first set that his performance at that point was “much better than expected.”

The match was also a bit of a physical test for Alcaraz, who injured his right ankle Feb. 20 in the Rio Open. Like Nadal, he didn't show any noticeable signs of being physically limited.

The question facing Nadal now is whether he will be ready for the French Open in May. Nadal has dominated that event like no other, winning the major 14 times.

The match against Alcaraz was an encouraging sign, but Nadal said beforehand he wasn't sure what the future holds at Roland Garros and beyond.

Nadal withdrew from the Australian Open in January after suffering what he called a micro tear on his surgically repaired hip. He later skipped a tournament in Doha, Qatar.

Nadal gets another test at Indian Wells this week. It'll be his first competitive tennis since Melbourne. He was in California preparing for the hard-court event before traveling to Las Vegas to face Alcaraz.

“I need to spend more time on the tour, at least to practice with the professional players even if not playing many official matches,” Nadal said the day before the exhibition. “That's the important thing right now, is to be in rhythm again. I was not able to play the way I expected. I had to pull out from Doha, so let's see.”

Men's tennis is seeing a sort of passing of the torch. Nadal's longtime rival, Roger Federer, took his 20 Grand Slam titles into retirement two years ago. Nadal stayed on tour, but whether he adds to his Grand Slam total is a big question.

Novak Djokovic, who turns 37 in May, could be the only dominant player from that generation to still be near his peak. The world's top-ranked player won three of his 24 career major titles last year.

But there is a younger generation of players coming onto the scene. The 20-year-old Alcaraz already has two major championships. Jannik Sinner, 22, won his first Grand Slam title by taking the Australian, beating Djokovic in the semifinals before rallying from two sets down to defeat former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev.

“I would say the game is in good hands and has been in great hands,” said eight-time major champion Andre Agassi, who was promoting the exhibition in his hometown. “We just watched and will continue to watch probably the greatest generation that certainly has ever played the game and arguably we'd be lucky if we ever anything close again.”

Agassi said he encouraged Alcaraz to learn all he can from Nadal.

“He's a guy you can say over the years has handled himself with class, dignity and also humility,” Agassi said. “It is authentically real. When you talk about the French Open, it is a lifetime away for him right now because all that matters is what he's going to do (Saturday night), what he's going to do (Sunday), what he's going to do every step of his day.”

Alcaraz said he has taken a lot of inspiration from watching Nadal over the years, particularly noting his ability to fight for every point has left an especially lasting impression. That was proven again in the exhibition when Nadal fought off five match points in the super tiebreaker.

“The way that he finds solutions when things are not going well, I think that's incredible,” Alcaraz said. “I would say that's the most I learned from him and I try to put in my own game.”

How much game does Nadal have left?

He's not even sure at this point as one of the greatest careers of all time gets closer to the end.

“It's my body more than anything else because my mind is healthy,” Nadal said. “I have a passion for what I am doing.”



Inter's Future Bright under Inzaghi but Off-field Uncertainty Reigns

Inter Milan are riding high after winning their 20th league title. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Inter Milan are riding high after winning their 20th league title. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
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Inter's Future Bright under Inzaghi but Off-field Uncertainty Reigns

Inter Milan are riding high after winning their 20th league title. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Inter Milan are riding high after winning their 20th league title. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Inter Milan are flying high after sealing the Serie A title by winning the Milan derby but off-field uncertainty is still the order of the day for the new Italian champions.
Last season's run to the Champions League final looked like a one-off for Inter, one of Europe's grand clubs who like much of the continent's football royalty have to deal with a huge resource gap to the Premier League and state-backed clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, AFP said.
And their situation off the field is yet to fully stabilize even as they receive a second star on their jersey for their 20th league crown.
Hanging over Inter for the past three years has been an emergency loan taken out with investment fund Oaktree, which must be paid in full next month and after interest reportedly amounts to between 375-380 million euros.
That loan -- whose exact figure Inter would not confirm to AFP -- had been taken out in 2021 as Inter and other Italian clubs were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Oaktree can, much like Elliott did with Milan in 2018, take control of Inter should that loan either be not repayed or refinanced by Inter's Chinese owners Suning.
Inter president Steven Zhang appeared bullish at Sunday's Formula One Chinese Grand Prix, strongly hinting that come the summer he will still be president.
"Every day there are rumors (about Suning selling)... What I can say is that we will continue to fight, continue to win," said Zhang to Sky Sport on the paddock at the Shanghai International Circuit.
"None of the rumors are true. As long as I'm the president, as long as I'm the owner we're going to continue to win."
New deal
Zhang was not in Milan for -- Champions League final aside -- the biggest game of Suning's near eight-year reign as owners, and in fact hasn't been there for months.
Zhang, who lost a court case with China Construction Bank over personal debts of 320 million euros, is negotiating a reported 400-million-euro loan with another US fund, this time with Pimco, which Inter will use to pay off Oaktree and keep the club with Suning.
Contacted by AFP, Pimco said that they "couldn't discuss ongoing negotiations".
While effectively kicking the can down the road with another reported three-year loan with even higher interest than the 12 percent negotiated with Oaktree, strong performances on the pitch and in the transfer market should boost accounts which have taken a beating since the pandemic.
Inter's posted losses of 85 million euros in 2022/23, following even heavier losses of 140 million euros and 245.6 million euros in the previous two seasons as stadiums were partially or fully closed due to the pandemic.
Zhang also basically confirmed a contract extension for Simone Inzaghi, who has done a superb job in difficult circumstances since replacing Antonio Conte three years ago and is expected to sign an extension until 2027.
Stadium uncertainty
New deals for captain Lautaro Martinez and Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella are also in the offing, while this summer is set to be the first in some time where a star player won't need to be sold to balance the books.
"I've said many times that it's a gift for me as president to work with a coach like Inzaghi," added Zhang.
"He gives me confidence and keeps the environment calm and stable. We're going to continue together."
Inter also remain in limbo with regards to getting their own stadium after plans to build a new ground on the San Siro site with AC Milan petered out last year.
Inter have pushed ahead with a new stadium project in the town of Rozzano, just south of Milan, which corporate CEO Alessandro Antonello has said is the club's priority despite talks with AC Milan and Milan city council over potentially taking possession of a renovated version of the current San Siro.
Italian construction group WeBuild is working on a feasibility study for a renovation to be finished in June which the city of Milan hopes can convince its two world famous football clubs to stay within its borders.
Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala has repeatedly expressed worry about what will happen to the San Siro if both teams leave, with AC Milan having bought land in suburb San Donato Milanese for their own stadium project.


Kewell Tells Yokohama to Summon Spirit of Istanbul to Reach Final

Harry Kewell won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and now coaches Japanese side Yokohama F-Marinos. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
Harry Kewell won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and now coaches Japanese side Yokohama F-Marinos. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
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Kewell Tells Yokohama to Summon Spirit of Istanbul to Reach Final

Harry Kewell won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and now coaches Japanese side Yokohama F-Marinos. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
Harry Kewell won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and now coaches Japanese side Yokohama F-Marinos. Anthony WALLACE / AFP

Harry Kewell says his Yokohama F-Marinos side can emulate his 2005 Istanbul success with Liverpool and "do something magical" in Wednesday's Asian Champions League semi-final second leg.
Kewell won European club football's biggest prize almost 20 years ago as Liverpool roared back from three goals down to beat AC Milan on penalties, although the Australian lasted just 23 minutes before going off injured in the final.
The former Leeds and Liverpool winger took over as Yokohama coach at the start of this year and has taken the Japanese club to their first Asian Champions League semi-final.
They lost the first leg to Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 in South Korea but Kewell believes his team can channel the same spirit that saw Liverpool upset the odds in Istanbul.
"I was part of a special team that night that was able to come back from a scenario where a lot of people thought it was dead and buried," he said on Tuesday.
"It just goes to show that a game is never finished, especially when you've got a hunger and a desire in a team.
"And I see that hunger and desire in this team to go out there and do something magical."
Kewell is one of Australia's greatest players but he has never reached the same heights as a manager in lower-league English football.
He was sacked by fifth-tier Barnet in 2021 after failing to win in his first seven matches as manager.
Youth movement
Kewell has made a solid start in Japan and is taking inspiration from former Liverpool team-mate Xabi Alonso, who has clinched the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen.
"He's gone out there and taken a team to be virtually unstoppable, not only in the Bundesliga but also in Europe as well at this present time," said Kewell.
"I think it's fantastic to see young coaches now coming in with a different mindset, a different attitude and a different way of playing."
Kewell was preceded at Yokohama by fellow Australians Kevin Muscat and Ange Postecoglou.
Postecoglou left to join Celtic and hired Kewell as a coach, before moving on to Tottenham in the Premier League.
Kewell said he has been trying to put his own stamp on Yokohama rather than asking Spurs boss Postecoglou for advice.
"We're both very busy concentrating on our own teams," he said.
"I did speak to him briefly at the start to get a bit of information but generally wherever I go, I make my own mind up on what I see and how I approach things."
Ulsan qualified for next year's expanded 32-team Club World Cup in the United States by beating Yokohama in the first leg.
They are aiming to win the Champions League for a third time.
"We won the first leg but we have to forget about the result," said coach Hong Myung-bo.
"We will try to play with stability but this is an away game and there will difficult times."
The winner of the tie will face Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates or Saudi side Al-Hilal in a two-legged final.
They play later Tuesday in the other semi-final in Riyadh with Al-Ain leading 4-2 from the first leg.


Alcaraz, Nadal Continue Recovery from Injuries at Madrid Open While Djokovic Skips Tournament

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
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Alcaraz, Nadal Continue Recovery from Injuries at Madrid Open While Djokovic Skips Tournament

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)

Carlos Alcaraz is back from injury to try to win a third consecutive Madrid Open this week, with Rafael Nadal also in Monday's draw but top-ranked Novak Djokovic missing.

Alcaraz will be competing in his first European clay-court event of the season after skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona because of a right arm injury. The 20-year-old Spaniard begins his title defense against Alexander Shevchenko or Arthur Rinderknech.

Nadal, a record five-time champion in Madrid, continues his comeback from injury by facing American wild-card Darwin Blanch in the first round. The 22-time Grand Slam champion will then meet 10th-seed Alex de Minaur if he advances.

Nadal lost to De Minaur in the second round at the Barcelona Open last week in his first tournament for more than three months.

The 37-year-old Nadal last won the Madrid title in 2017, when he beat Dominic Thiem in the final.

Three-time champion Djokovic will not play for a second consecutive year in Madrid, reducing his clay-court preparations for his French Open title defense.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner is still likely to have the Italian Open in Rome to hone his clay game in mid-May before the event at Roland Garros starts on May 26.

Djokovic is yet to win a title this season after losing in the semifinals of Monte Carlo. He also skipped the Miami tournament in March.

Top-seeded Jannik Sinner, who beat Djokovic in the Australian Open final, will open his Madrid campaign against Lorenzo Sonego or a qualifier.

Casper Ruud, who won the Barcelona title, faces Zhizhen Zhang or Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek and defending champion Aryna Sabalenka lead the women's field, with Swiatek looking to win her first title at the clay-court tournament. She will also be out to capture a third consecutive French Open title.

After a first-round bye, Swiatek meets Wang Xiyu or Ana Bogdan. Sabalenka plays Elisabetta Cocciaretto or Magda Linette in the second round.


Bellingham Scores Late, Moves Madrid Closer to League Title After ‘Clasico’ Win Over Barcelona 

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - April 21, 2024 Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham, Antonio Rudiger and Vinícius Júnior celebrate after the match (Reuters)
Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - April 21, 2024 Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham, Antonio Rudiger and Vinícius Júnior celebrate after the match (Reuters)
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Bellingham Scores Late, Moves Madrid Closer to League Title After ‘Clasico’ Win Over Barcelona 

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - April 21, 2024 Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham, Antonio Rudiger and Vinícius Júnior celebrate after the match (Reuters)
Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - April 21, 2024 Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham, Antonio Rudiger and Vinícius Júnior celebrate after the match (Reuters)

With a late strike by Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid took a huge step toward winning the Spanish league.

Bellingham, who quickly became one of Madrid’s most important players after his transfer last year, likely sealed the title on Sunday by scoring a stoppage-time winner in a 3-2 victory over Barcelona in the final “clasico” of the season.

Barcelona twice took the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, but Madrid rallied to win for a comfortable 11-point cushion over its second-place rival entering the final six rounds.

Bellingham scored the winning goal from a difficult angle one minute into stoppage time with a left-foot strike into the top of the net after a cross toward the far post by Lucas Vázquez, who also scored and set up a goal by Vinícius Júnior.

“He hadn't scored in a while but scored a goal that could be crucial for us winning the Spanish league,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said of the 20-year-old midfielder.

Bellingham hadn't found the net in his last six appearances for Madrid in all competitions. The England international had scored both goals for Madrid when it won 2-1 at Barcelona in the first league clasico of the season.

It was the third straight win for Madrid over Barcelona this season. Madrid is unbeaten in 26 league games, since losing at Atletico Madrid in September.

“The title is a lot closer now. It was a vital match, we had to win it, and we did it,” Ancelotti said. “It was an even game, against a strong opponent that was doing all it could to get back into the title race again.”

The clasico came four days after Madrid eliminated Manchester City on penalties in England to advance to the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona had been eliminated a day earlier by Paris Saint-Germain after a loss at home, leaving the league as the Catalan team's only title opportunity for the season.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, the hero for Madrid in the shootout against City, miscalculated a cross into the area in Barcelona’s first goal and failed to fully clear a ball in front of the goal in the second.

Barcelona, the defending league champion, came to the Spanish capital looking to revive its title chances and took an early lead with a header by Andreas Christensen six minutes into the match.

The hosts equalized with Vinícius converting an 18th-minute penalty kick before Barcelona went ahead again with Fermín López's goal from close range in the 69th. Vázquez, who was fouled after a run inside the area to prompt the penalty converted by Vinícius, evened the match again after a cross by the Brazil forward in the 73rd.

Vázquez was one of the changes made to the squad by Ancelotti after the match against City. He also used Luka Modric alongside Toni Kroos in midfield, and Aurélien Tchouaméni in defense.

Barcelona loudly complained about the penalty awarded to Madrid and wanted one for itself after a challenge on López in the second half. It also complained over a potential goal in the first half when it wasn't clear if the ball crossed the goal line before Lunin batted it away. It took several moments before video review determined that it was not a goal.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández, likely making his last clasico appearance after saying he will leave the club at the end of the season, said his team played better and deserved to win.

“I said yesterday that I hoped the referee wouldn't make any mistake and that he would go unnoticed, but none of that happened,” Xavi said. “It's a shame. It was not a fair result. Everyone saw it"

Xavi said Barcelona would not give up on the league just yet but recognized that it was all-but-over and that Madrid had to be congratulated for its campaign.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong left the field on a stretcher late in the first half after hurting his right leg in a clash with Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde.

The match marked the debut of the new state-of-the-art 360-degree video scoreboard at the renovated Bernabeu.

Among those in attendance at the Bernabeu were tennis great Novak Djokovic, former NFL star Tom Brady and actor Andy Garcia.

ATLETICO STRUGGLES

Atletico Madrid followed up its Champions League elimination with a 2-0 loss at Alaves in the Spanish league, missing a chance to strengthen its hold on fourth place.

The defeat against 13th-place Alaves kept Atletico only three points ahead of fifth-place Athletic Bilbao in the fight for a Champions League spot next season. Athletic had been held to a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Granada at home on Friday.

Atletico failed to advance in the Champions League after losing to Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate following a 4-2 loss in Germany on Tuesday.

Alaves, which had lost three league matches in a row, won with goals by Carlos Benavídez in the 15th minute and Luis Rioja in second-half stoppage time.

In other results, sixth-place Real Sociedad was held 1-1 at midtable Getafe, while ninth-place Villarreal won 2-1 at last-place Almeria.


Atalanta Follows Up Elimination of Liverpool with 2-1 win at Monza in Serie A

File photo: Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Atalanta v Liverpool - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, - April 18, 2024 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shakes hands with manager Juergen Klopp after being substituted as Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez prepare to come on as substitutes. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
File photo: Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Atalanta v Liverpool - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, - April 18, 2024 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shakes hands with manager Juergen Klopp after being substituted as Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez prepare to come on as substitutes. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
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Atalanta Follows Up Elimination of Liverpool with 2-1 win at Monza in Serie A

File photo: Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Atalanta v Liverpool - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, - April 18, 2024 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shakes hands with manager Juergen Klopp after being substituted as Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez prepare to come on as substitutes. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
File photo: Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Atalanta v Liverpool - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, - April 18, 2024 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shakes hands with manager Juergen Klopp after being substituted as Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez prepare to come on as substitutes. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Atalanta followed up its elimination of Liverpool in the Europa League with a 2-1 win at Monza in a regional Serie A derby on Sunday.
Ademola Lookman assisted on both goals, first providing the corner kick that Charles De Ketelaere headed in and then setting up El Bilal Toure to finish off a counterattack.
Daniel Maldini pulled one back for Monza in the 89th and then nearly equalized when he hit the post five minutes into stoppage time.
The victory moved Atalanta up to sixth place and one point behind Roma in the race for the final Champions League spot, The Associated Press said.
Atalanta could also qualify for the Champions League if it wins the Europa League, having beaten Liverpool on 3-1 aggregate on Thursday. The Bergamo team faces Marseille in the semifinals.
Atalanta will also look to overturn a 1-0 deficit to Fiorentina in the second leg of the Italian Cup semifinals on Wednesday.
With 21 goals and 12 assists, Lookman became the fifth player to score more than 20 goals and deliver more than 10 assists since the start of last season in Serie A, after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Rafael Leão, Paulo Dybala and Olivier Giroud.
Fiorentina produced two late goals to secure a 2-0 win at last-place Salernitana, moving the Tuscan club up to ninth place and back into contention for a spot in Europe.
Christian Kouame scored with a looping header in the 80th and Jonathan Ikone added another in stoppage time following a rebound of a save by Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Salernitana, which is 13 points from safety with five rounds remaining, is nearing mathematical relegation.
Fiorentina, which has advanced to the Europa Conference League semifinals, ended a five-match winless streak in Serie A. The Viola also have a game to make up against Atalanta.
There was a brief clash between Salernitana and Fiorentina supporters before kickoff that resulted in injuries to 10 police officers, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported — adding that no fans were arrested.
Also, 10th-place Torino, which is also chasing a spot in Europe, drew 0-0 with Frosinone, which is third from the bottom.
Lecce won 3-0 at Sassuolo to move seven points clear of the drop zone, while Sassuolo remained second from the bottom.
Inter Milan can seal the Italian league title with a derby win over AC Milan on Monday.


Rybakina Beats Kostyuk to Win Porsche Grand Prix

21 April 2024, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Kazakhstani tennis player Elena Rybakina celebrates with the trophy during the award ceremony after defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk during their Women's singles final tennis match at the Stuttgart Open Tennis tournament. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
21 April 2024, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Kazakhstani tennis player Elena Rybakina celebrates with the trophy during the award ceremony after defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk during their Women's singles final tennis match at the Stuttgart Open Tennis tournament. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
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Rybakina Beats Kostyuk to Win Porsche Grand Prix

21 April 2024, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Kazakhstani tennis player Elena Rybakina celebrates with the trophy during the award ceremony after defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk during their Women's singles final tennis match at the Stuttgart Open Tennis tournament. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
21 April 2024, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Kazakhstani tennis player Elena Rybakina celebrates with the trophy during the award ceremony after defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk during their Women's singles final tennis match at the Stuttgart Open Tennis tournament. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

Elena Rybakina eased to her third title of the season on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the final of the Porsche Grand Prix.
Rybakina, the world No. 4-ranked player who defeated top-ranked Iga Świątek in the semifinals, saved the three break points she faced and took four from six opportunities to win in 1 hour, 9 minutes, The Associated Press reported.
It’s Rybakina’s tour-leading 26th win of the year. The Stuttgart title comes after wins in Adelaide and Abu Dhabi this season. The Kazakh player’s previous clay-court wins were in Rome in 2023 and Bucharest in 2019.
The 27th-ranked Kostyuk was under pressure from the start as Rybakina broke her serve and sealed the first set in just 30 minutes.
Kostyuk had surprised herself with her run to the final, including three consecutive wins over top-10 players Zheng Qinwen, Coco Gauff and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova. Kostyuk saved five match points against Zheng in the round of 16.
It was Kostyuk’s third final. She won her maiden title in Austin last year, and was runner-up in San Diego last month.


Mutiso Munyao Gives Kenya Another London Marathon Win after Tribute to Kiptum

Mutiso Munyao Gives Kenya Another London Marathon Win after Tribute to Kiptum
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Mutiso Munyao Gives Kenya Another London Marathon Win after Tribute to Kiptum

Mutiso Munyao Gives Kenya Another London Marathon Win after Tribute to Kiptum

Alexander Mutiso Munyao delivered another win for Kenya on a day the London Marathon remembered last year's champion Kelvin Kiptum, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
A race that started with a period of applause for Kiptum, who was killed in a car crash in Kenya in February, ended with his countryman and friend running alone down the final straight in front of Buckinhgam Palace to earn an impressive victory in his first major marathon.
Mutiso Munyao said he spoke to Kiptum after his win in London last year and that the world-record holder is always on his mind when he's competing.
“He’s in my thoughts every time, because he was my great friend,” Mutiso Munyao said. “It was a good day for me.”
It was a Kenyan double on the day, with Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir pulling away late to win the women’s race and cement her status as the favorite to defend her gold in Paris.

Mutiso Munyao denied 41-year-old Kenenisa Bekele a first London Marathon victory by pulling away from the Ethiopian great with about 3 kilometers to go Sunday for his biggest career win.
Mutiso Munyao and Bekele were in a two-way fight for the win until the Kenyan made his move as they ran along the River Thames, quickly building a six-second gap that only grew as he ran toward the finish.
“At 40 kilometers, when my friend Bekele was left (behind), I had confidence that I can win this race,” the 27-year-old Mutiso Munyao said.
He finished in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 1 second, with Bekele finishing 14 seconds behind. Emile Cairess of Britain was third, 2:45 back.
Bekele, the Ethiopian former Olympic 10,000 and 5,000-meter champion, was also the runner-up in London in 2017 but has never won the race.
Mutiso Munyao is relatively unknown in marathon circles and said he wasn't sure whether this win would be enough to make Kenya's Olympic team for Paris.
“I hope for the best,” he said. “If they select me I will go and work for it.”


Another Race, Another Victory for Verstappen at Chinese GP

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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Another Race, Another Victory for Verstappen at Chinese GP

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Another Formula 1 race. Yet another victory for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The three-time defending champion won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday starting from pole, his fourth victory in five races this season and his 23rd in the last 27 extending through last season, The Associated Press reported.
Only a brake failure last month at the Australian GP in Melbourne probably kept him from sweeping all five.
Verstappen trailed for only a few laps following a pit stop. Lando Norris of McLaren was about 14 seconds behind Verstappen in second — the eighth time he has been No. 2 in his career as he still seeks his first victory. Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was third.
“It felt amazing,” Verstappen said. “All weekend we were incredibly quick and it was just enjoyable to drive. The car was basically on rails and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Those kind of weekends are amazing to feel.”
The safety car came out twice in the middle of the race. Once after Sauber's Valtteri Bottas stalled at the edge of the track with a blown engine, and again with two nearly simultaneous incidents.
In one, Kevin Magnuessen clipped Yuki Tsunoda, and in the other, Lance Stroll ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen's rule in F1 also extended to Saturday when he took the inaugural sprint race of the season.
This was the first F1 in China since 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out four races. Shanghai-born Zhou Guanyu finished 14th for Sauber, perhaps his last chance to race at home as teams next season will shuffle their driver lineups.
The real competition in F1 for the rest of the season appears to be for the half-dozen places behind Verstappen and Perez. Mercedes' George Russell called it “a fight” for places No. 3 through No. 8.
“Small differences can have a major impact,” Russell said.

The next GP is Miami on May 5 where it's often a celebrity show.


Olympic Champion Jepchirchir Wins Women's Race at London Marathon

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after winning the women's race in a world record time for a women's only race at the 2024 London Marathon in central London on April 21, 2024. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after winning the women's race in a world record time for a women's only race at the 2024 London Marathon in central London on April 21, 2024. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
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Olympic Champion Jepchirchir Wins Women's Race at London Marathon

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after winning the women's race in a world record time for a women's only race at the 2024 London Marathon in central London on April 21, 2024. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after winning the women's race in a world record time for a women's only race at the 2024 London Marathon in central London on April 21, 2024. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya pulled away late to win the London Marathon women’s race on Sunday and cement her status as the favorite to defend her gold in Paris.

Jepchirchir had by far the strongest finish as she easily left world-record holder Tigst Assefa and two other rivals behind to sprint alone down the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace. She finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 16 seconds, with Assefa in second and Joyciline Jepkosgei in third.

That was more than 4 minutes slower than Assefa's world record set in Berlin last year, but it was the fastest time ever in a women-only marathon, beating the mark of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017. The elite women’s field in London starts about 30 minutes ahead of the elite men.


Sweden’s Eckermann Crowned as Champion of 2024 Show Jumping and Dressage World Cup in Riyadh

The Swedish rider, ranked first in the world, succeeded in maintaining his title for the second year in a row. SPA
The Swedish rider, ranked first in the world, succeeded in maintaining his title for the second year in a row. SPA
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Sweden’s Eckermann Crowned as Champion of 2024 Show Jumping and Dressage World Cup in Riyadh

The Swedish rider, ranked first in the world, succeeded in maintaining his title for the second year in a row. SPA
The Swedish rider, ranked first in the world, succeeded in maintaining his title for the second year in a row. SPA

The Vice President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Prince Fahad bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz, in the presence of the President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), Ingmar de Vos, crowned Swedish rider Henrik von Eckermann with the Showjumping World Cup title at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center in the capital, Riyadh, on the final day of the Show Jumping and Dressage World Cup.

The Swedish rider, ranked first in the world, succeeded in maintaining his title for the second year in a row and won the race of 1.60 meters' height without error throughout the tournament during 67.33 seconds, amidst high attendance of audience.

French rider Julien Epaillard won second place in the championship with a time of 66.52 seconds, with 4 faults, while Swedish rider Peder Fredricson came third with a time of 66.39 seconds, with 6 faults.
The championship was launched last Wednesday in Riyadh for the first time in the Middle East, with the participation of 51 male and female riders and 60 horses representing 24 countries, with financial prizes amounting to 2.6 million euros (SAR 10.4 million), which is considered the most expensive in the history of the Showjumping World Cups.