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WWE fans get in on action for historic Saudi showdown

PARIS: Novak Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak ended in the French Open semifinals because he made some odd strategic choices, because the wild weather bothered him, because the chair umpire got under his skin.Mostly, though, because Dominic Thiem managed to outperform Djokovic at his own brand of defense-to-offense, speed-and-power baseline game.Thiem put an end…

WWE fans get in on action for historic Saudi showdown

PARIS: Novak Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak ended in the French Open semifinals because he made some odd strategic choices, because the wild weather bothered him, because the chair umpire got under his skin.Mostly, though, because Dominic Thiem managed to outperform Djokovic at his own brand of defense-to-offense, speed-and-power baseline game.Thiem put an end to the No. 1-ranked Djokovic’s bid for a fourth consecutive major championship Saturday with a dramatic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory in a wind-whipped and rain-interrupted match that spanned more than four hours over two days.“I don’t want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss,” said Djokovic, who had won nine of his past 10 five-setters and was 29-9 overall in such matches. “I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him.”It wasn’t easy. Shouldn’t be against Djokovic, who kept digging holes for himself and climbing out.Thiem wasted two match points with quick unforced errors when serving for the victory at 5-3 in the fifth, but he made his third chance count, smacking a forehand winner to break Djokovic in the last game.“An epic match. I mean, so many ups and downs. And rain, going back to the locker, on court again. Somehow I had the feeling that I had the lead in the whole match, and then at the end, it got so tough,” Thiem said. “Both of us, we could win, and I luckily got the better in the end.”

Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic great each other after their semifinal match at the French Open in Paris on June 8, 2019. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Djokovic was stopped two victories short of collecting his fourth consecutive major championship, a run that began on the grass at Wimbledon last July, then continued on the hard courts of the US Open and Australian Open.Instead, it is Thiem, an Austrian ranked No. 4, who now gets a chance to win his first Grand Slam trophy on the red clay of Roland Garros.Thiem will face 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s final. Nadal won that one, part of an 8-4 lead for the Spaniard in their head-to-head series.“All the time, if someone reaches the finals here, it’s against Rafa,” Thiem said with a laugh.It will be the fourth straight day that Thiem is in action because of postponements, whereas Nadal will be well-rested, having played his quarterfinal Tuesday and his semifinal Friday, when he beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Beating Thiem again would allow Nadal to raise his Grand Slam total to 18 titles, moving him with two of Federer’s record for a man.

Ashleigh Barty wins first major title

In the women’s final, which started 1½ hours late Saturday because it followed Thiem-Djokovic at Court Philippe Chatrier, No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia won her first major title by beating unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3.On Friday, Thiem had just broken Djokovic to go up a break at 3-1 in the third set when their match was suspended because of a shower. They resumed 18½ hours later, in dry, breezy conditions. The wind that was so fierce Friday — spreading loose, rust-colored clay dust from the court surface all over the place, making for something that seemed like a sandstorm — was much more manageable Saturday. It rippled players’ shirts but did not cause havoc with serve tosses and shots the way it had the evening prior.“One of the worst conditions I have ever been part of,” Djokovic said about Friday. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Open final for women against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Repeatedly, they engaged in long and entertaining points that lasted 10 shots, 20 shots or more. They used anticipation and enviable court coverage to track down each other’s shots. They walloped the ball from all angles.The very longest of these exchanges tended to go Djokovic’s way: He won 37 of 61 points (61 of nine or more strokes.For whatever reason, Djokovic often felt compelled to try to shorten points often, hardly his usual strategy. So that led to this key statistic: He won only 35 of 71 points when he went to the net. Thiem, meanwhile, took 18 of 20 on his more judicious forays forward.Serving at 15-all while down 6-5 in the third set, Djokovic was agitated by a warning from chair umpire Jaume Campistol for letting the serve clock expire. Djokovic wouldn’t let it go, complaining so much he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.The lack of focus drifted into his play, too, including a serve-and-volley attempt that handed that set to Thiem.After forcing a fifth, Djokovic faltered again, getting broken to trail 3-1 when he missed a volley, before Thiem held for 4-1, shortly before rain came.Djokovic was a point from losing when Thiem served at 5-3, 40-15. Except Thiem couldn’t close. Dumped a backhand into the net. Pushed a backhand wide. Sent a forehand long. Slapped a backhand into the net.Hard to recover from that sort of collapse.But Thiem regrouped. It was Djokovic who faltered — and who lost, something he hadn’t done on a Grand Slam stage since the 2018 French Open quarterfinals.

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Sixth season of ​​Formula E to start in Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah in November

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch and pace bowler Mitchell Starc stole the show as the holders eased to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday. Finch equalled his career-best one-day international score with a masterful 153 and Steve Smith chipped in with 73 as Australia scored 334-7. Needing a World Cup…

Sixth season of ​​Formula E to start in Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah in November

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch and pace bowler Mitchell Starc stole the show as the holders eased to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday.

Finch equalled his career-best one-day international score with a masterful 153 and Steve Smith chipped in with 73 as Australia scored 334-7.

Needing a World Cup record run-chase to claim a shock win, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start thanks to a first-wicket partnership of 115 between captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.

But Perera departed for 52 and when Karunaratne fell on 97 the game swung back in Australia’s direction.

Starc was the catalyst with a fiery spell of three wickets in six balls, Australia eventually dismissing Sri Lanka for 247 thanks in large part to his 4-55 from 10 overs.

Kane Williamson added three wickets of his own as Australia made it four wins from their five group matches after previously beating Afghanistan, the West Indies and Pakistan.

Their lone defeat in the 10-team tournament came against India and their latest victory puts them well on course for a semifinal berth.

Sri Lanka, who lost their last seven wickets for 42 runs, have only one win from their five matches, a disappointing run that includes two washouts.

They face a struggle to reach the semifinals with only four matches left, a spell that features encounters with title contenders England and India.

Sri Lanka had briefly looked capable of surpassing the World Cup chase set by Ireland, who made 329-7 to beat England in 2011.

Karunaratne and his opening partner Perera blasted 24 from the first two overs and reached their fifty partnership in just the seventh over.

But Starc bowled Perera and Jason Behrendorff dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne for 16 as Australia hit back.

A six from Kusal Mendis in the 31st over signalled Sri Lanka’s intent to get cracking.

But crucially Karunaratne stumbled short of his maiden World Cup century when he carelessly flicked Richardson to Glenn Maxwell at backward point.

That left Sri Lanka 186-3 and set the stage for Starc to turn the screw by dismissing Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera and Mendis in quick succession.

Mendis’s mistimed drive off Starc reduced Sri Lanka to 222-7 and shattered their resistance.

Earlier, Finch took the Sri Lanka attack apart with a dazzling display that included 15 fours and five sixes.

He was well-supported by Smith’s 73 from 59 balls and the pair put on 173 runs for the third wicket.

Together with opening partner David Warner, Finch took the attack to the Sri Lankans after being put in to bat under cloudy skies in south London.

The pair passed 50 for the opening wicket for the fourth time in five games at the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had no answer to Finch’s brutal assault and by the time he departed, caught by Karunaratne off Isuru Udana, he had put Australia in a commanding position.

Maxwell’s quick-fire 46 from 25 balls rubbed salt into Sri Lanka’s wounds.

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Finch, Starc shine as Australia beat Sri Lanka in World Cup

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch and pace bowler Mitchell Starc stole the show as the holders eased to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday. Finch equalled his career-best one-day international score with a masterful 153 and Steve Smith chipped in with 73 as Australia scored 334-7. Needing a World Cup…

Finch, Starc shine as Australia beat Sri Lanka in World Cup

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch and pace bowler Mitchell Starc stole the show as the holders eased to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday.

Finch equalled his career-best one-day international score with a masterful 153 and Steve Smith chipped in with 73 as Australia scored 334-7.

Needing a World Cup record run-chase to claim a shock win, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start thanks to a first-wicket partnership of 115 between captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.

But Perera departed for 52 and when Karunaratne fell on 97 the game swung back in Australia’s direction.

Starc was the catalyst with a fiery spell of three wickets in six balls, Australia eventually dismissing Sri Lanka for 247 thanks in large part to his 4-55 from 10 overs.

Kane Williamson added three wickets of his own as Australia made it four wins from their five group matches after previously beating Afghanistan, the West Indies and Pakistan.

Their lone defeat in the 10-team tournament came against India and their latest victory puts them well on course for a semifinal berth.

Sri Lanka, who lost their last seven wickets for 42 runs, have only one win from their five matches, a disappointing run that includes two washouts.

They face a struggle to reach the semifinals with only four matches left, a spell that features encounters with title contenders England and India.

Sri Lanka had briefly looked capable of surpassing the World Cup chase set by Ireland, who made 329-7 to beat England in 2011.

Karunaratne and his opening partner Perera blasted 24 from the first two overs and reached their fifty partnership in just the seventh over.

But Starc bowled Perera and Jason Behrendorff dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne for 16 as Australia hit back.

A six from Kusal Mendis in the 31st over signalled Sri Lanka’s intent to get cracking.

But crucially Karunaratne stumbled short of his maiden World Cup century when he carelessly flicked Richardson to Glenn Maxwell at backward point.

That left Sri Lanka 186-3 and set the stage for Starc to turn the screw by dismissing Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera and Mendis in quick succession.

Mendis’s mistimed drive off Starc reduced Sri Lanka to 222-7 and shattered their resistance.

Earlier, Finch took the Sri Lanka attack apart with a dazzling display that included 15 fours and five sixes.

He was well-supported by Smith’s 73 from 59 balls and the pair put on 173 runs for the third wicket.

Together with opening partner David Warner, Finch took the attack to the Sri Lankans after being put in to bat under cloudy skies in south London.

The pair passed 50 for the opening wicket for the fourth time in five games at the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had no answer to Finch’s brutal assault and by the time he departed, caught by Karunaratne off Isuru Udana, he had put Australia in a commanding position.

Maxwell’s quick-fire 46 from 25 balls rubbed salt into Sri Lanka’s wounds.

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Taylor puts England in World Cup last 16 with game to spare

Reims, France, June 14, 2019 Agence France Presse: Cristiana Girelli fired Italy into the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup on Friday with a controversial VAR-assisted hat-trick that helped see off hapless Jamaica 5-0, while Japan beat Scotland 2-1 to put their campaign back on course.Italy join France and Germany in the knockout stages…

Taylor puts England in World Cup last 16 with game to spare

Reims, France, June 14, 2019 Agence France Presse: Cristiana Girelli fired Italy into the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup on Friday with a controversial VAR-assisted hat-trick that helped see off hapless Jamaica 5-0, while Japan beat Scotland 2-1 to put their campaign back on course.Italy join France and Germany in the knockout stages following the Juventus striker’s treble and a late brace from Aurora Galli, which gives Milena Bertolini’s side a perfect six points — three more than both Australia and Brazil — and puts them both top of Group C and through with a game to spare.“We never thought we would have got this kind of result at the outset of the tournament,” said Bertolini, whose side were among the outsiders before the start of the World Cup.“Honestly I don’t think I could have imagined this a year ago (when Italy secured qualification).”However the penalty with which Girelli opened her tournament account caused controversy, with referee Anna-Marie Keighley pointing to the spot after a VAR check in the 10th minute for a what looked like a soft foul on Barabara Bonansea.Girelli then missed the spot-kick, but Keighley allowed her to retake following another VAR check that Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider had encroached.The 29-year-old made no mistake the second time round — two minutes after the original penalty was given — before doubling Italy’s lead 13 minutes later when she bundled home Bonansea’s flick-on from a corner.Girelli became just the second Italian woman to score a World Cup hat-trick just after the break when she beat Schneider to a looping cross.“I couldn’t have even dreamed scoring a hat-trick in the World Cup, it’s an incredible personal satisfaction,” said Girelli.Substitute Galli completed the rout, first firing home a long-range effort in the 71st minute before neatly taking Manuela Giugliano’s through ball and rounding Schneider to slot home the fifth 10 minutes later.Italy can now guarantee top spot in the group by getting a result from their final game against Brazil, although their superior goal difference means they can lose and still maintain first place.Earlier Japan coach Asako Takakura insisted there is more to come from her young team after the Nadeshiko gave their campaign a shot in the arm by beating Scotland 2-1 in Rennes.Mana Iwabuchi set the 2011 winners on their way and Yuika Sugasawa converted a penalty as Japan closed in on the last 16, just four days after a disappointing display in a goalless draw against Argentina.Takakura’s side will now go into their final Group D game against England, who will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Argentina later on Friday, with a chance of finishing top and ensuring a more favorable draw in the last 16.“It was a must-win game and, although there were difficult moments, we needed to be aggressive and score goals, and that is what we did,” said the coach.“We have beaten a wonderful Scottish team, but there is room for improvement so we will discuss how we can get better.”Scotland got a goal back late on through substitute Lana Clelland, but they will be disappointed at offering nothing going forward until it was too late after being 2-0 down at half-time, just like in their opening defeat against England.“I thought we saw the real Japan today. Their movement was incredible — we knew it would be, and we tried to set up in a way to stop them,” said Scotland coach Shelley Kerr.“In spells of the game we didn’t do that, which sometimes can be understandable because you’re playing against world-class players.”Their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 at their debut World Cup are slim before a final group game against Argentina in Paris.

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