Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
The world number one will require a victory over in-form Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals. Tsitsipas, 21, is definitely there though after thrashing Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-2 in the evening match. Novak Djokovic faces Roger Federer on Thursday in a must-win match for both players.
* Andy Murray will play Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round of the ATP Cup, with Bulgaria qualifying among the final six teams in the nation-based tournament. Murray, on the comeback trail after hip surgery, was initially to face Roger Federer in a blockbuster Group C clash in Sydney.
* Bob and Mike Bryan, the greatest doubles pair in the history of tennis, have announced they will end what they describe as a “magical ride” in 2020 after one more crack at the US Open. The 41-year-old Californian twins, famous for their trademark chest-bump celebration, will bid farewell at Flushing Meadows, scene of their Grand Slam debut in 1995. Playing almost exclusively with each other throughout their 25-year careers, the Bryans captured a professional era record 118 titles, including 16 Grand Slam titles, 39 ATP Masters 1000s and the ATP Finals title four times.
* Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not return to the LA Galaxy for the 2020 MLS season, the team said in a statement on Wednesday. The 38-year-old Swedish striker tallied 52 goals and 17 assists in 53 starts for Galaxy, the team he joined in March 2018 from Manchester United.
* Senegal showed their teeth on the opening day of qualifiers for the 2021 African Cup of Nations but other continental heavyweights struggled to find form on Wednesday. Nigeria could only scrape a 2-1 home win over tiny neighbours Benin while Cameroon were held to an embarrassing home draw by the Cape Verde Islands. Senegal, runners-up in this year’s Nations Cup in Egypt, beat Congo 2-0 at home with first-half goals from Sidy Sarr and Habib Diallo as Sadio Mane provided an assist.
* Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday predicted big moves in the driver market for 2021 but expected Ferrari to remain the closet challenger to his Mercedes team next season. Hamilton secured the championship with a second-place finish at the US Grand Prix in Texas. He and most other top drivers will see their contracts expire at the end of next year, and fans have already been speculating about where they will end up.
* England could field one of their youngest sides in their 1000th international when they face Montenegro in a Euro 2020 qualifier at Wembley, manager Gareth Southgate said on Wednesday. Southgate picked the youngest England starting side this century when they upset Spain 3-2 in Seville in the Nations League last year and he said the record could be broken again on Thursday.
* Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose says he is prepared to run down the final 18 months of his contract and leave for free after not being handed a new deal by the Premier League club. Left back Rose, 29, who has started nine out of Spurs’ 12 league games this season, told the London Evening Standard the club’s hierarchy looked to offload him in the close season by leaving him out of their pre-season trip to Asia in July.
* Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been appointed as FIFA’s new chief of global football development, with the Frenchman set to oversee the growth of the sport plus technical matters, soccer’s world governing body said on Wednesday. The 70-year-old was recently linked with the Bayern Munich job following the sacking of Niko Kovac but said that while he was approached he was never a candidate for the job.
* Portugal’s Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to play in their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Lithuania and Luxembourg despite concerns over his fitness which came to the fore last weekend, coach Fernando Santos said on Wednesday. Ronaldo was substituted in the 55th minute of Juventus’ win over AC Milan in Serie A on Sunday, the earliest he has been taken off by the Italian champions, and he was visibly furious with coach Maurizio Sarri as he stormed down the tunnel.
* French carmaker PSA said on Wednesday its Peugeot brand would once again take part in the Le Mans 24 hours motor race in 2023, one of the sport’s most famous endurance events. Peugeot had won the race in 2010, coming ahead of Audi, before withdrawing when it faced financial problems.
* The battle to be best of the rest behind the Mercedes drivers heats up in Brazil this weekend with Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel chasing Formula One’s bronze medal position. Even if Mercedes have clinched both titles, with Lewis Hamilton securing his sixth in Texas, there remain some bragging rights to be had as the 21-race season heads into the penultimate round.
* French cyclist Raymond Poulidor, best known for failing to win the Tour de France while coming agonisingly close on numerous occasions, has died aged 83, French media reported on Wednesday. Nicknamed “Pou-Pou” and a public favourite because of his perennial runner-up status, Poulidor’s rivalry with compatriot Jacques Anquetil – who won the Tour de France five times – gripped the country in the 1960s.
* Spain’s all-time top scorer David Villa announced on Wednesday he is retiring from football at the end of the Japanese top flight season. Villa, who has been playing in Japan with Vissel Kobe since the beginning of this year, made the announcement with a statement on his official Twitter account as well as calling a news conference.