US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic up against the US double team of Kemba Walker and Myles Turner. (Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2019

US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

DONGGUAN: Deposed champions the US lost 94-89 to Serbia in a dead-rubber at the Basketball World Cup on Thursday, a day after surrendering their 13-year unbeaten run.

A young Team USA made up of second-tier NBA stars were defeated 89-79 in the quarterfinals by France on Wednesday, bringing a premature close to their World Cup defense.

More significantly, it was the reigning world and Olympic champions’ first defeat in a major competition since the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.

Thursday’s “classification” game in Dongguan was the final that never was: The holders against the favorites.

The US were headed for a humiliating second loss in as many days, down a scarcely believable 32-7 after the first quarter.

The Americans, who have already qualified for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, failed to score a point during one barren five-minute period.

A rout was on the cards for Serbia, whose tournament also came to a surprise quarterfinal end, at the hands of Argentina.

The Americans’ 70-year-old coach Gregg Popovich chewed his lip and brooded.

But the US fought back in the second quarter and reduced the deficit to just four points at half-time.

Going into the fourth quarter, Serbia —  led once more by the Sacramento Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic — were only three points ahead.

But with nothing but pride to play for, the US comeback fell narrowly short. They have another classification match on Saturday.

Bogdanovic, who has been one of the players of the tournament, led all scoring with 28 points.

For the Americans, Harrison Barnes had 22 points. In Friday’s semifinals, Spain play Australia and France take on Argentina.


British golf star joins elite field for Saudi tournament

Updated 27 February 2020

British golf star joins elite field for Saudi tournament

  • The Saudi Ladies International will be the first professional women’s golf tournament held in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: English golf star Georgia Hall is the latest big name to be confirmed for the history-making inaugural Saudi Ladies International, the first time professional female golfers will play competitively in the country.

Hall stunned the golfing world in 2018 when she became the first English player in 14 years to win the Women’s British Open. The 23-year-old also won the Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit in 2017 and 2018 as well as winning the Player of the Year accolade.

Last year Hall was part of a victorious European team that shocked the US for a first Solheim Cup victory in six years. The Bournemouth-born star competed in five matches in a tightly contested cup, with Europe winning by 14½ points to 13½.

The Saudi Ladies International will be the first professional women’s golf tournament held in the Kingdom. Hall is one of many headline names competing at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), near Jeddah, from March 19-22.

“I am pleased to be part of the first Saudi Ladies International as they look to make golfing history in the country,” said Hall. “From what I’ve seen of the golf course, it looks like a stunning setup on the Red Sea and a pretty challenging test — it’s a brilliant chance for us to showcase our game to newcomers to golf.”

Amy Boulden, who broke onto the golfing scene in 2013, will also compete in the debut tournament. “Our game continues to break new ground, and coming to new places like Saudi Arabia for the first time shows the ambition of Golf Saudi and the Tour,” she said. “I want to play well in a big event that can give me some momentum for the season.”

Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth, another big name in the field, said: “Playing golf in front of new fans is the best way to expand the game and hopefully we will inspire more girls to pick up a golf club and get involved in our great sport.”

A field of 108 female professionals will contest the $1 million prize fund, one of the richest prizes on the recently expanded LET calendar. Players from across the golfing globe will tee off in the Kingdom for the watershed tournament.

I am pleased to be part of the first Saudi Ladies International as they look to make golfing history in the country.

Georgia Hall, English golf star

Among the big names are Thai teenage sensation Atthaya Thitikul, a two-time winner on the women’s tour at just 17 years of age, as well as experienced South African star Lee-Anne Pace, who has 12 worldwide victories to her name.

Order of Merit winner Beth Allen, three-time LET winner Carly Booth and Solheim Cup winner Azahara Munoz are other leading players lining up for the tournament.

“Hosting another prestigious Championship in Saudi Arabia adds to an exciting golf calendar for fans in the region. With top female golfers from around the world coming to compete, it will be the first time we will see elite female golfers compete in the country,” said Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation.

“The championship is open for everybody to attend throughout the four days and I encourage everybody to go along, watch world-class sport and enjoy the sport and entertainment on offer,” he added.

Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, which is set within KAEC, has had a busy start to 2020, already playing host to the European Tour’s Saudi International.

At last month’s second staging, Major champion Graeme McDowell came out on top, marking his first title on the European Tour since 2014 and pushing his world ranking from 104 to 47.