Nadal returns, Djokovic looking for redemption in Rome

first_imgRafael Nadal returns to competition after a six-month enforced break while Novak Djokovic is looking to make up for his US Open disqualification as the short clay-court season got underway in Rome on Monday without spectators.The tournament at Rome’s Foro Italico normally takes place in May but was pushed back after the coronavirus pandemic which turned the calendar upside down.”Obviously, it’s not the same thing. There is no public, we are in a bubble, we cannot enjoy the city,” said Nadal, who will play his first competitive match since his win in Acapulco at the end of February. “But at least we have a tennis tournament.”Nadal, 34, is the second seed behind world number one Djokovic in the tune-up for the final Grand Slam of the season at the French Open on Sept.27.”Excited to be back. Circumstances have been, you know, heavy for everyone, tough ones,” said Nadal who is targeting a tenth title in the Roman capital. Professional tennis was shut down from March until early August.  And the world number two opted out of the US hard court tour because of coronavirus concerns and citing the “madness” of the new calendar. “Without regret,” he insisted before his second round tie midweek against 27th-ranked compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open.”I am similar to always, maybe a little bit worse because I didn’t compete for the last six months.”But here I am. I arrived with plenty of time to try to have the right practices. That’s what I am doing. I know I have a tough match against Pablo. He’s playing great.” “It’s going to be a good test. I’m excited about going back to the competition without big expectations.”But third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas does not believe the lack of competition will have an impact on two-time defending champion Nadal who has a 61-6 record in the tournament.”I don’t think Rafa will be struggling much playing here,” said Tsitsipas. “Regardless of how he feels, I’m sure he’ll find a way. He always finds a way every single year.”Four-time Rome winner Djokovic, who has reached nine finals in the Italian capital, wants to turn the page on his dramatic disqualification in the round of 16 at the US Open, after throwing the ball involuntarily at a lines judge. “It’s great that I have a tournament right after that happened, because I feel like the earlier I get back in a competition mode, the faster I’ll overcome that memory and kind of reprogram it,” the Serb told reporters in the Italian capital.”When you hit a ball like I did, you have a chance to hit someone on the court. The rules are clear, I accepted that. “I’m going to take this in, you know, as profound as possible for me as a big lesson.”Djokovic had been unbeaten this year before his US Open exit and is targeting a title he last won in 2015.”Rafa obviously decided to stay on clay and practice, surely that gives him more advantage, but even if he didn’t practice for that long on clay, he would still be the number one favorite in Roland Garros or any other clay tournament because he’s Rafa, you know,” he added. “And playing on clay he’s the ultimate challenge.”It’s going to be adjustment challenge, you know, how quickly can we adapt, how quickly can we adjust to this new surface.”The women’s tournament will be without Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty, who will not compete again this season because of coronavirus concerns.Serena Williams, suffering from an Achilles tendon problem, and US Open champion Naomi Osaka will also skip the Rome event.World number two Simona Halep, absent in the United States, will be the top seed.Czech Karolina Pliskova, seeded third, is the defending champion in Rome. center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Villa out of relegation zone as Trezeguet sinks Arsenal

first_img“The Kroenkes and the board and the sporting director, I have their full backing. I have that 100 percent. The fans have to believe what I’m saying,” Arteta added.Arsenal’s long-standing weakness at set-pieces reared its head again as Villa snatched the lead in the 27th minute.Tyrone Mings glanced Conor Hourihane’s corner across the six-yard box and Trezeguet was left unmarked to blast a fierce strike past Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez.Trezeguet has been Villa’s savour as the stakes have got higher and his vital goal followed his brace in the victory against Crystal Palace nine days earlier.Jack Grealish, strongly linked with a close-season move, was captaining Villa in what could have been his last home game with the club he supported as a boy.Asked after the match about his future, Grealish said: “I’m not too sure at the moment. I have one aim and that’s to keep Villa in the Premier League. That’s all I’m thinking about.” Watford’s 4-0 thrashing against Manchester City earlier on Tuesday had opened the door for Villa to escape the bottom three. And Villa seized their chance with a first home Premier League win over Arsenal in 18 attempts dating back to 1998. Dean Smith urged Aston Villa to finish the job after they climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone as Trezeguet clinched a priceless 1-0 win against Arsenal on Tuesday night. Smith’s side have their survival fate in their own hands after the Egypt winger’s first-half strike at Villa Park.Advertisement Read Also: Ronaldo waves off Serie A, Europe records for Juventus winArsenal were better in the second half but Bukayo Saka blazed over from a good position 12 yards out.With the tension mounting, Villa rode their luck when Eddie Nketiah’s glancing header hit the post and bounced back into Pepe Reina’s hands.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Villa are now fourth bottom and have moved ahead of third-bottom Watford on goal difference, with Smith’s men on -26 compared to the Hornets’ -27.They head to West Ham for their final game of the season on Sunday, while Watford visit Arsenal and second-bottom Bournemouth, three points from safety, travel to Everton.There are a multitude of permutations that could decide relegation, but Villa will be safe if they can better Watford’s result on what is certain to be a dramatic finale.If Villa and Watford both win, goal difference or goals scored will decide who goes down.“It is a big boost, that’s for sure. We knew we had to get that win to catch Watford and now we have got the season in our own hands,” Smith said.“That’s all you can ask going into the last game. It was a great performance and an even better result against a good team who just beat two of the best teams in Europe.“We have taken the season to the last day. Watford can go and win at Arsenal so we have to make sure we win at West Ham.”Having secured an FA Cup final place by beating Manchester City on Saturday, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta made six changes and Arsenal looked a shadow of the team who impressed at Wembley.“Emotionally and physically it’s been a very demanding week but I saw a team who wanted to fight until the end,” Arteta insisted.Arsenal cannot finish higher than eighth and must win the FA Cup final against Chelsea to qualify for next season’s Europa League.For all the positive signs since Arteta took charge in December, Arsenal will suffer their worst Premier League finish since 1995.“It tells you the gap doesn’t lie. We have to make that smaller and smaller,” Arteta said.“I know where we are in certain areas and where we need to improve. We will get that.”– Arteta plea –A plane trailing a banner reading “Back Arteta Kroenke Out” was flown over Villa Park during the match, but Arteta pleaded with Arsenal fans to trust he has the support of the US-based owner. Loading… Promoted ContentWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?The 18 Most Visited Cities In The World7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?World’s Most Delicious FoodsBoys Deserve More Than Action-Hero Role Models7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Why Go Veg? 7 Reasons To Do ThisA Soviet Shot Put Thrower’s Record Hasn’t Been Beaten To This Day7 Reasons It’s Better To Be A VeganThe Highest Paid Football Players In The Worldlast_img read more

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Slipping Trippier boosts Swans

first_img Trippier turned the ball past his own goalkeeper after a mighty goalmouth scramble in the 64th minute which largely summed up an untidy and uninspiring affair. Not that it will matter to Garry Monk’s buoyant visitors who seized their chance to build on last week’s famous win over Manchester United and maintain their hopes of a top-10 finish. Intelligent work by Danny Ings in the 23rd minute served up a chance for Barnes, who seemed surprised by the opportunity and slammed his effort straight at Fabianski from point-blank range. Burnley looked brighter after the break and had a strong penalty shout turned down by referee Jonathan Moss in the 53rd minute. Kightly rescued a lost causes on the left and cut along the goal-line to hit a shot which Fabianski parried, and the ball appeared to strike the arm of Fernandez before being cleared. As the hosts began to stretch the game Barnes came close on the hour mark, latching onto a long ball from Trippier and controlling superbly before firing inches wide of Fabianski’s left-hand post. But just as Burnley looked more likely to break the deadlock it was Swansea who grabbed the lead following a mighty goalmouth melee. Gomis flicked on a Shelvey cross to Cork, whose initial effort at the far post was brilliantly tipped against the bar by Burnley keeper Heaton. The rebound again found Cork whose second shot across goal struck the unfortunate Trippier and was deflected into his own net off the goalkeeper. Burnley hustled gamely for an equaliser with the ever-bright Barnes attempting a snap-shot from the edge of the box which was well saved by a diving Fabianski. And in the 85th minute the hosts came even closer when Boyd crossed from the right and Vokes’ close-range strike was brilliantly parried by the keeper. Despite a generous five minutes of stoppage time the hosts did not come up with another chance and their top-flight future looks ever more precarious. Press Association Bafetimbi Gomis had missed the best chance of the first half but the hosts will count themselves aggrieved to get nothing after just about having the better of a gruelling game. Ashley Barnes – showing no ill effects from the reaction to his challenge on Nemanja Matic last week – looked bright up front while George Boyd and Michael Kightly also had chances. The hosts had a strong penalty claim rejected after Federico Fernandez appeared to handle in the box, and Swans keeper Lukasz Fabianski pulled off two fine late saves to deny first Barnes then substitute Sam Vokes. For long spells it looked like Gomis would be left to rue his awful first-half miss when he sprang the hosts’ offside trap only to splay his effort wide of Tom Heaton’s goal. Moments earlier Gomis had served up what passed for the visitors’ only shot on target in the opening 45 minutes when he drilled a low shot straight at the Burnley keeper. But for Swansea’s late rally it was the home side who had the better of a period big on desire and commitment but lacking in quality. Both sides began surely buoyed by their respective performances against Chelsea and Manchester United last week but it soon became clear there would be few glimpses of a similar level of excitement. Boyd turned in the box to hit a low shot straight at Swansea keeper Fabianski with four minutes on the clock as the hosts started well. A chaotic own goal from Burnley defender Kieran Trippier sealed another grim afternoon for the hosts as Swansea won 1-0 to steal the points at Turf Moor.last_img read more

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Kyle Kuzma leads Lakers into Detroit with dreams of saving hometown Flint

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers “My city doesn’t get a lot of positive light,” Kuzma said, “and I think I’m one of the positive lights of my city and people kind of look at for sure so that’s something that I’m very proud of.”Kuzma has become that point of light thanks to a star-making rookie season. With apologies to Lonzo Ball, Kuzma has been the Lakers most productive rookie, averaging 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. He notched a career high 38 points in the third month of his NBA career.Numerous pro athletes hail from Flint, but Kuzma hopes to set himself apart.“I think my goal is really to be have the biggest impact any athlete has done to that city,” he said. “That’s kind of my goal. Over the years, keep trying to build that community and build hope. That’s something I really want to do as my career progresses.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs “It was a very prosperous place,” Kuzma said. “Hopefully it goes back to that type of level.”There is a long ways to go for that to happen. And one of the first things Kuzma did when he turned pro was help his mom, younger brother and sister, move out of Flint to a suburb in a different water district. Still he stays connected to Flint. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersKuzma will lead the Lakers into Detroit on Monday for the Lakers game against the Pistons at the new Little Caesars Arena. On Sunday he sneaked away to the Flint area since his draft party, the night the Lakers drafted him 27th overall nine months ago. But he never left. In December, he funded a Christmas party for nearly 60 kids at the YMCA where he spent hours and hours. This summer, he will return and host a camp.Always looking forward.Kuzma grew up hearing stories about Flint in the auto boom. General Motors was founded there more than a century ago.Related Articlescenter_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed DETROIT – Kyle Kuzma had just scored 25 points to lead the Lakers to a win against the Memphis Grizzlies, further padding an All-Rookie season foreseen by few. And yet, with a bus rumbling outside of FedEx Forum ready to whisk the Lakers to a waiting charter jet, Kuzma was looking forward, always forward.“I’m going home tomorrow and my mom is cooking spaghetti,” Kuzma said, “so that’s all I’m thinking about right now.”But Flint, Mich., Kuzma’s hometown 66 miles northwest of Detroit, means more than Karri Kuzma’s home cooking. It’s a shrinking metropolis plagued by crime and a continued water crisis.“It’s the water situation, it’s the violence,” Kuzma said. “We don’t have that many police officers. It’s just really a depleted city.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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