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Curry, short-handed Warriors knock out Rockets in Game 6

Mercedes chief fears collision as Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton for Spain pole MONTMELO, Spain: Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted Saturday that he fears a possible reprise of Lewis Hamilton’s spectacular 2016 opening lap collision with Nico Rosberg in this Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.Wolff winced at the memory of the crash that saw both…

Curry, short-handed Warriors knock out Rockets in Game 6

Mercedes chief fears collision as Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton for Spain pole

MONTMELO, Spain: Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted Saturday that he fears a possible reprise of Lewis Hamilton’s spectacular 2016 opening lap collision with Nico Rosberg in this Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.Wolff winced at the memory of the crash that saw both Mercedes men out of the race three years ago.“I hope we will not be coming back to 2016,” he said.“These guys (Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas) are in a totally different place with each other and they know how important it is to stay out ahead. Barcelona is a track where it is so difficult to overtake.”But, he admitted, he was concerned.“A bit nervous is probably the right way to describe my state of mind,” he said.Hamilton and Rosberg’s crash in 2016 gifted a maiden victory to Max Verstappen on debut with Red Bull.Bottas on Saturday grabbed pole position by beating Hamilton by six-tenths of a second in final qualifying, leaving them with a Mercedes front row lockout.Wolff’s anxieties were raised by seeing the battle in Baku last month, when the pair fought for the lead on the opening lap at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.“We might have a little chat about that,” said Wolff, of his plans for Sunday’s pre-race briefing.“But they know exactly what to do and not do.”Bottas completed a hat-trick of pole positions Saturday when he outpaced Hamilton in a tightly-contested qualifying.The Finn, who leads defending five-time champion Hamilton by a single point in this year’s title race, completed a treble after taking the prime grid position in both China and Azerbaijan.Bottas clocked a stunning track record lap in 1min 15.406sec to finish six-tenths clear of his teammate in the top 10 shootout on a dry and gusty day at the Circuit de Catalunya.Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was third ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull, Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari and Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull.Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of his Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Daniel Ricciardo in his Renault.“I really enjoyed that,” said Bottas. “The adrenaline rush you get from laps like that is great so I am really pleased.“The season has started well, the way I hoped for, and I feel better in the car.”Hamilton congratulated Bottas and conceded that he had been unable to extract the maximum from his car on a circuit where he was hoping to land his own hat-trick of three straight Spanish poles.“My final laps in Q3 just weren’t strong enough. Ultimately, I didn’t do the job,” Hamilton said.“It’s great to have another Mercedes 1-2, but I can reverse it tomorrow that would be great.”Vettel was also disappointed as Ferrari failed to deliver the pace that could bring an end to Mercedes domination.“The car doesn’t feel too bad, but obviously we are not quick enough,” he said. “It seems to be more than an achilles heel here… I spoke to Valtteri and they were happy with their car.”In cooler conditions than on Friday, the opening Q1 session saw several cars struggling for grip, not helped by a gusty wind.Nico Hulkenberg ran off track in his Renault at turn four and after traversing a gravel-trap hit the barriers. He managed to recover and, after pitting for a new front wing, rejoined the fray.His efforts were in vain, however, and he was eliminated in 16th place along with Lance Stroll of Racing Point, Antonio Giovinazzi of Sauber and the two Williams men, British rookie George Russell and Robert Kubica.“Thanks again everyone for getting the car ready and apologies for FP3,” said Russell on team radio, referring to his final practice crash that required a gearbox change and will land him a grid penalty.As if to signal his intentions, Hamilton was first out for Q3, but it was Bottas who showed the way in 1:15.406 to take pole on his first run, six-tenths ahead of his Mercedes teammate.

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Qatar in talks to buy stake in Leeds United

DUBAI: Qatar is in talks to buy a stake in UK football club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported. Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football. It currently controls France’s Paris Saint-Germain. “Qatar Sports Investments will be…

Qatar in talks to buy stake in Leeds United

DUBAI: Qatar is in talks to buy a stake in UK football club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported.

Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football. It currently controls France’s Paris Saint-Germain.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” a person familiar with the talks told FT. “Qatar has been looking into the prospects of entering English Football for the past two years.”

QSI’s chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha, judicial sources said.

Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, has been under investigation since March in a probe of the bidding process for the 2017 and the 2019 world championships.

French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.

Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

As well as probing the world athletics championships the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.

Prior to the decision to charge him, Al-Khelaifi had been questioned in March as “person of interest” in the case revolving around the 2011 payments by Oryx which were made at a time when Doha was seeking to host the 2017 world athletics championship and the 2020 Olympics.

Investigators were seeking to determine whether, in return for the payments, Lamine Diack used his influence to gain votes for Doha among IAAF members and also to obtain a date change for the competitions to avoid the heat of the Qatar summer.

(With AFP)

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Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

DUBAI: Qatar is in talks to buy a stake in UK football club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported. Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football. It currently controls France’s Paris Saint-Germain. “Qatar Sports Investments will be…

Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

DUBAI: Qatar is in talks to buy a stake in UK football club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported.

Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football. It currently controls France’s Paris Saint-Germain.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” a person familiar with the talks told FT. “Qatar has been looking into the prospects of entering English Football for the past two years.”

QSI’s chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha, judicial sources said.

Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, has been under investigation since March in a probe of the bidding process for the 2017 and the 2019 world championships.

French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.

Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

As well as probing the world athletics championships the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.

Prior to the decision to charge him, Al-Khelaifi had been questioned in March as “person of interest” in the case revolving around the 2011 payments by Oryx which were made at a time when Doha was seeking to host the 2017 world athletics championship and the 2020 Olympics.

Investigators were seeking to determine whether, in return for the payments, Lamine Diack used his influence to gain votes for Doha among IAAF members and also to obtain a date change for the competitions to avoid the heat of the Qatar summer.

(With AFP)

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Lewis Hamilton snatches dramatic Monaco Grand Prix pole position with record lap

PARIS: After a tantrum in Italy last week, Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday. The ATP said the Australian player cited illness as the reason. Last week at the Italian Open, the 36th-ranked Kyrgios was defaulted and fined during his second-round match after an outburst of rage. Trailing against Norwegian qualifier Casper…

Lewis Hamilton snatches dramatic Monaco Grand Prix pole position with record lap

PARIS: After a tantrum in Italy last week, Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday.

The ATP said the Australian player cited illness as the reason.

Last week at the Italian Open, the 36th-ranked Kyrgios was defaulted and fined during his second-round match after an outburst of rage. Trailing against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, Kyrgios slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court.

Kyrgios was fined and lost ATP points but escaped suspension and was expected to play in Paris.

His withdrawal came only days after Kyrgios posted a video online in which he said the French Open “sucks” when compared to Wimbledon, where he trained recently.

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Also on Friday, Roger Federer played down his chances of winning the French Open on his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, saying that title-winning form might not be “in his racquet.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion missed the French Open in 2016 through injury before sitting out the next two clay-court seasons in order to focus on Wimbledon.

But he will make his Roland Garros return on Sunday with a first-round tie against unheralded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Federer admitted that he is unsure of his title chances, but did compare his current situation with when he ended a five-year Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in 2017.

“(I) don’t know (if I can win the tournament). A bit of a question mark for me. Some ways I feel similar to maybe the Australian Open in ‘17,” the 2009 French Open winner said.

“A bit of the unknown. I feel like I’m playing good tennis, but is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet.

“But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that’s a challenge in itself.”

Despite being the third seed, Federer faces a tricky draw, with a possible quarter-final against Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas — who beat him in the Australian Open last 16 — and a potential last-four clash with 11-time champion and old adversary Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, Nadal said on Friday that he “doesn’t care” if he is the red-hot favorite to lift a record-extending 12th French Open title, insisting that there are a host of players in contention for the trophy.

The world number two holds an incredible French Open win-loss record of 86-2, and hit top form by winning his ninth Italian Open last week with a final victory over old rival Novak Djokovic.

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