World No. 1 Swiatek survives scare at French Open; Medvedev and Tsitsipas crash

Poland's Iga Swiatek in action during her 4th round match against China's Qinwen Zheng on May 30, 2022. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)
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Updated 31 May 2022

World No. 1 Swiatek survives scare at French Open; Medvedev and Tsitsipas crash

  • Tsitsipas, the 2021 runner-up to Novak Djokovic, was defeated by Danish teenager Holger Rune
  • Swiatek survived a scare at the hands of injured Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen

PARIS: Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek took her winning streak to 32 matches in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday, while men's world number two Daniil Medvedev and fourth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out.

Swiatek, of Poland, survived a scare at the hands of injured Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, dropping the first set before going on to make the quarter-finals.
Swiatek prevailed 6-7 (5/7), 6-0, 6-2 to equal the third best winning streak this century of 32 matches set by Justine Henin 14 years ago.
“She played amazing tennis,” said Swiatek. “I am proud to be still in the tournament.”




China's Qinwen Zheng during her 4th round match against Poland's Iga Swiatek on May 30, 2022. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Qinwen said severe stomach cramps ruined her hopes of completing a shock win against world number one Swiatek.

“I couldn’t go against my nature. I wish I can be a man so that I don’t have to suffer from this. It’s tough,” Zheng said, in reference to her menstrual pain.

In an 82-minute opening set, 74th-ranked Zheng saved five set points, had two of her own and then clawed her way back from 2/5 down in the tiebreak to stun the top seed.
As the 2020 Roland Garros champion’s streak looked in peril, Zheng required a medical timeout at 0-3 in the second set for a leg injury.

Zheng, who had defeated 2018 champion Simona Halep on her way to the fourth round, returned with her right thigh heavily strapped and quickly dropped the second set.
Swiatek carved out a double break in the decider against her tiring opponent, whose injury contributed to her 46 unforced errors, and will face US 11th seed Jessica Pegula for a place in the semifinals.

Pegula downed Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to add a last-eight place in Paris to similar runs at the Australian Open in 2021 and 2022.
Daria Kasatkina and compatriot Veronika Kudermetova ensured there will be a Russian in the semifinals after they set-up a last-eight clash.
Kasatkina, seeded 20th, took advantage of Italian Camila Giorgi’s 37 unforced errors to win 6-2, 6-2.
Kudermetova reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final as the world number 29 came back from a set down to defeat 2018 semifinalist Madison Keys of the United States, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.

‘Best tennis in recent weeks'

US Open champion Medvedev was beaten by 20th seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just 1hr 45 min on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Tsitsipas, the 2021 runner-up to Novak Djokovic, was defeated by Danish teenager Holger Rune 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 earlier in the day.
Cilic will face Russia’s Andrey Rublev in his third career Roland Garros quarter-final.




Croatia's Marin Cilic in action during his 4th round match against Russia's Daniil Medvedev at the French Open on May 30, 2022. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

“It’s one of the most beautiful matches of my career, it was fantastic from the first to the last point,” said Cilic, adding he is playing his “best tennis in recent weeks.”
Medvedev had enjoyed his best run in Paris 12 months ago when he reached the quarter-finals.
He hadn’t dropped a set at this year’s tournament but was completely outplayed by the 33-year-old Cilic who broke serve five times.
Medvedev was unable to carve out a single break point as the Croatian got the better of the Russian for the first time in four meetings.
Rublev made the quarter-finals for the second time when Italian opponent Jannik Sinner retired with a left knee injury with the Russian 1-6, 6-4, 2-0 ahead.
Rune became the first Danish man to reach the French Open quarter-finals when he shocked Tsitsipas.
Rune, just 19 and ranked 40, swept to a memorable win on the back of 54 winners.




Denmark's Holger Rune in action during his 4th round match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open on May 30, 2022. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

With fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz already into the quarter-finals, it’s the first time two teenagers have made it this far in Paris since Hendrik Dreekman and Andrei Medvedev 28 years ago.
In a tense fourth set, Rune gave up a 5-2 lead and fought off three more break points in the 10th game before securing victory when Tsitsipas hit long.
“I was very nervous and I knew that if I went away from my tactics I would lose,” said Rune, who won his maiden ATP title in Munich in the build-up to Paris.
“I told myself just stick to the plan and that gave me a confidence boost. It’s so great to still be here.”
Tsitsipas said he would be ready for Rune when they meet again.
“I can see something different next time with this opponent. I’m pretty convinced I can do way better,” said the 23-year-old.
Rune will next face eighth-seeded Casper Ruud who became the first Norwegian man to reach the last eight with a 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

The 23-year-old is also into his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final as he continues an impressive season which has seen him win two clay-court titles.

 


Chelsea boss Tuchel given one-game ban after Spurs red card

Updated 19 August 2022

Chelsea boss Tuchel given one-game ban after Spurs red card

  • Tuchel's touchline ban has been suspended temporarily, pending the full written reasons for the decision
  • Conte has been fined £15,000 after both managers admitted improper conduct

LONDON: Thomas Tuchel has been given a one-match suspension and fined £35,000 ($41,000) after the Chelsea manager was sent off following his furious clash with Tottenham boss Antonio Conte, the Football Association (FA) said on Friday.
Tuchel’s touchline ban has been suspended temporarily, pending the full written reasons for the decision, allowing the German to take his place in the dugout for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Leeds.
Conte has been fined £15,000 after both managers admitted improper conduct following a pair of angry exchanges during last Sunday’s stormy 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel and Conte were booked after they first squared up to each other when the Italian celebrated Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s equalizer close to the Chelsea technical area.
Then, after Harry Kane headed Tottenham’s second equalizer deep into stoppage-time, Tuchel shook hands with Conte at the final whistle in such an aggressive way that it drew a fiery response from his counterpart.
The feuding bosses had to be separated by players and coaching staff, but were both sent off by referee Anthony Taylor.
“An independent regulatory commission has today ordered that Thomas Tuchel be fined £35,000 and banned from the touchline for one match, and Antonio Conte be fined £15,000 after they respectively breached FA Rule E3,” the FA said.
“Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte admitted that their behavior after the final whistle of the Premier League game between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC on Sunday, August 14 2022 was improper, and both managers requested a paper hearing.
“These sanctions are subject to appeal, and Thomas Tuchel’s one-match touchline ban has been suspended temporarily pending the independent regulatory commission’s written reasons for its decision that will be made available in due course.”


Police recover Lewandowski’s watch, stolen while signing autographs

Updated 19 August 2022

Police recover Lewandowski’s watch, stolen while signing autographs

  • A young man approached and snatched the watch from the player's wrist
  • Spanish media reported the watch was a Patek Phillippe worth 70,000 euros

BARCELONA: Police said they had recovered Robert Lewandowski’s watch, stolen as the star striker signed autographs before a Barcelona training session.
The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon when the 33-year-old striker, who joined from German club Bayern Munich in July, arrived at training and stopped in front of fans for autographs, Catalan police told AFP Friday.
A young man approached and snatched the watch from the player’s wrist.
Spanish media reported the watch was a Patek Phillippe worth 70,000 euros ($70,300) and that Lewandowski climbed back in his car and gave chase but lost the thief.
The police were alerted at 4:30 p.m. local time (1430 GMT) and within an hour they had caught the 19-year-old, who was hiding in the bushes around the stadium. They recovered the watch which was nearby.
He was arrested for “robbery with violence,” the police said. They explained that even though Lewandowski was not hurt, taking the watch off his body was considered violent.


PSG coach denies bad blood between Neymar and Mbappe

Updated 19 August 2022

PSG coach denies bad blood between Neymar and Mbappe

  • Neymar insisted on taking the team's second penalty against Montpellier last Saturday after Mbappe had missed the first
  • Mbappe did not celebrate after Neymar converted the spot-kick

SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, France: Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said on Friday there is no bad blood between star forward Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Neymar insisted on taking the team’s second penalty against Montpellier last Saturday after Mbappe had missed the first.
Mbappe did not celebrate after Neymar converted the spot-kick.
Galtier called the apparent differences between the two an “epiphenomenon,” suggesting the spat was not a symptom of any deeper problem.
“We saw each other quickly the next day to iron out all that, to say what we had to say to each other,” said Galtier told a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Ligue 1 visit to Lille.
“We had a very pleasant week at work. Everyone worked well. I enjoyed all the sessions this week and this epiphenomenon disappeared very quickly, that is to say the day after our meeting.”
Galtier said after the game that instructions “had been respected” regarding penalty takers.
“There was a precise order in this game, Kylian as number one and ‘Ney’ as number two.”
Other potential penalty takers include Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos, said Galtier, adding that it was “important for our strikers to score goals, to keep the confidence.”
Against Montpellier, in his first competitive game since opting to stay in Paris rather than join Real Madrid, the 23-year-old Mbappe scored in a 5-2 win but cut a frustrated, unhappy and even isolated figure.
Last season, Mbappe was PSG’s outstanding performer, scoring 39 goals in all competitions, while Neymar struggled.
Yet the 30-year-old Brazilian has seemed rejuvenated this season, scoring five goals in three games.


Man Utd agree to sign Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro

Updated 19 August 2022

Man Utd agree to sign Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro

  • United are set to pay an initial 60 million euros plus a further 10 million euros in add-ons for the 30-year-old
  • "He wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity and I and the club understand that," said Ancelotti

LONDON: Manchester United have agreed to sign Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro in a deal worth up to a reported £60 million ($70 million).
United manager Erik ten Hag has been desperate to land a defensive midfielder since taking charge at Old Trafford and has finally settled for Casemiro after failing to sign Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong.
Troubled United, who sit bottom of the Premier League after embarrassing defeats against Brighton and Brentford, are set to pay an initial £50 million.
The overall fee would rise by another £10 million if certain clauses in the contract are met.
Casemiro has been offered a four-year contract with the option of a further 12-month extension, with the transfer subject to the agreement of personal terms.
The 30-year-old joined Real from Sao Paulo in 2013 and has been a key figure in midfield for the Spanish club, winning five Champions League titles.
“Manchester United is delighted to announce that the club has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of Casemiro,” a statement from United said on Friday.
“The transfer is subject to the agreement of personal terms, UK visa requirements and a medical.”
Ten Hag refused to discuss the transfer at his press conference on Friday, but Real boss Carlo Ancelotti was more forthcoming when speaking to the media in Spain.
“I’ve discussed it with him this morning. He wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity,” Ancelotti said.
“The club understand it. With all he’s done for this club and the person he is, we have to respect it.
“If he doesn’t stay, we’ll have an enormous sense of gratitude to him for all he’s done. We have replacements within the squad.”
Casemiro played alongside current United stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane at Real.
His arrival will fill a void in Ten Hag’s midfield after his prolonged pursuit of De Jong ended in failure.
Casemiro’s wealth of experience and success at the highest level will make him a certain starter instead of either Fred or Scott McTominay in central midfield.
He is unlikely to be available for United’s next match against arch rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday.
Instead, Casemiro’s debut could come at Southampton in the Premier League on August 27.


Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy

Updated 19 August 2022

Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy

  • Top seed Medvedvev kept Denis Shapovalov winless against world No. 1s with a 7-5, 7-5 victory
  • Unseeded Keys was thrilled with her defeat of Swiatek, against whom she had lost two prior matches

CINCINNATI, US: Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev advanced to the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters quarterfinals on Thursday while women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek was upset by American Madison Keys.

Top seed Medvedvev kept Denis Shapovalov winless against world No. 1s with a 7-5, 7-5 victory while Poland’s Swiatek lost 6-3, 6-4 to 2019 Cincinnati champion Keys, who needed five match points to finish off the shock triumph.

Shapovalov, who lost in an hour and three-quarters, has dropped all eight career matches he has played against the elite echelon.

Medvedev moved into a quarterfinal against 11th seed Taylor Fritz after the American stopped No. 6 seed Andrey Rublev 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-5.

“It was a fight today, definitely not easy,” said Medvedev, who clinched the top US Open seeding when Rafael Nadal lost here in the second round.

“The match was pretty tight, played at a great level. My goal was to stay in every point possible and try to put pressure on him if I had the chance.”

Medvedev secured late breaks in both sets as he matched his volatile Canadian opponent.

Medvedev and Fritz have never played.

“We trained together at the start of the season before the ATP Cup,” Medvedev said. “He won Indian Wells, he’s a Masters champion. I need to be at my best to try and beat him.”

Unseeded Keys was thrilled with her defeat of Swiatek, against whom she had lost two prior matches.

“I had a couple of games with a couple of match points,” Keys said. “She beat me pretty badly last time so I’m happy to get the win.”

Swiatek never found an ace and was broken five times as she fought back in vain after standing one game from defeat.

It was the second week in a row that the Pole, who put together a 37-match win streak this season, lost in a Masters third round. She suffered the same fate in Toronto seven days earlier.

Keys plays on Friday against Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who advanced to the last eight 6-2, 6-4 over Alison Riske-Amritraj.

Also ousted was Estonian second seed Anett Kontaveit, who fell to China’s Zhang Shuai 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Top-ranked American Jessica Pegula ended the run of US Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4, sending the Briton onto the practice courts before the Aug. 29 start of her Grand Slam title defense.

Raducanu will head to New York with a 15-18 record since her 2021 title triumph and will drop from the top-10 after failing to reach the quarterfinals.

The teenager put a backhand into the net to give her opponent a match point, with Pegula sending over a service winner to wrap up the victory in an hour and three-quarters on her opponent’s 21st unforced error.

“I didn’t feel amazing out there,” Pegula said after reaching her seventh career quarter-final at a Masters 1000. “I’ve never hit with Emma, there was a lot to get used to.

“I’m happy with how I competed and stayed in it. I’m glad I handled things really well. I’ve been playing very consistently, no dramas, get out there and do what you’ve got to do. I try to do that every single week.”

Czech Petra Kvitova, twice a Wimbledon champion, defeated Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. Kvitova broke six times as her fifth-ranked Tunisian opponent committed six double-faults.

Borna Coric, who upset second seed Rafael Nadal, continued his injury comeback progress by beating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3.

No. 152 Coric is the lowest-ranked ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist since 239th-ranked Ivo Karlovic at 2011 Indian Wells.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, semifinalist at the last two editions, defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3.

John Isner sent down 20 aces in a 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4) defeat of US compatriot Sebastian Korda. At 37, Isner is the oldest Cincinnati men’s quarterfinalist in the post-1968 Open era.

Isner passed Roger Federer, who was a younger 37 when he reached his most recent Cincinnati quarterfinal in 2018.