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Two matches, a tumble and tears but Konta past world No1 Kerber at Eastbourne

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 19:29
  • Konta sees off Ostapenko 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 and world No1 Kerber 6-3, 6-4
  • Fears of concussion after bang to the head led to uncontrollable sobbing

Johanna Konta needed a statement win after some worrying slippage since her Tour breakthrough in Miami nearly three months ago but she could hardly have envisaged making it twice on the same afternoon by beating the reigning French Open champion and the world No1.

Related: Andy Murray pulls out of Hurlingham Club match as hip problem persists

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Venus Williams ‘at fault’ in fatal car crash, say Florida police

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 18:34
• 79-year-old passenger in other car dies two weeks later
• Crash remains under investigation; Williams not charged

Venus Williams caused a car crash this month that led to the death of a passenger in another vehicle, according to a police report released on Thursday.

Palm Beach Gardens police say witnesses told investigators that Williams ran a red light in her Toyota Sequoia SUV, causing a 9 June crash that injured 79-year-old Jerome Barson, who died two weeks later.

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Ivan Gazidis calls for a united front from Arsenal supporters next season

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 18:24

• Chief executive offers staunch backing for Kroenke and Wenger
• ‘All our conversations are based around winning the Premier League’

Ivan Gazidis on Thursday evening implored a gathering of Arsenal supporters to unify behind the club for next season. After a period of division that he admitted made him feel “real regret”, the club’s chief executive, speaking at an end of season event at the Emirates, urged the fanbase for a clean slate. “There has been disagreement. There has been a lack of unity and a dissatisfaction. The board knows that. I beg you, please come together and give our manager and this team support. I want the atmosphere to be united and it has been a struggle because we haven’t had that.”

While Gazidis insists work is ongoing to try to improve in a variety of departments, he still found himself having to defend the way the club is run. He reiterated the board view that Arsène Wenger has all the qualities they look for in a manager, then launched a firm defence of the majority owner Stan Kroenke, who at the end of last season dismissed a substantial takeover bid offered by the shareholder Alisher Usmanov.

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Leeds youngsters keep St Helens at bay thanks to late Ryan Hall try

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:40
• Leeds Rhinos 24-22 St Helens
• Rhinos move up to second with fullback Jack Walker outstanding

Leeds Rhinos strengthened their position in the Super League play-off places with a hard-earned victory against St Helens. The Saints have been steadily improving since the arrival of their new coach, Justin Holbrook, and arrived here on a run of four wins from six games following his appointment to threaten a push for the top four before the Super 8s.

But that charge was quelled against a Leeds side who, while far from their best, were able to overcome the absence of more than half a dozen frontline players to move back up to second before the remainder of the weekend’s fixtures.

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UK Sport faces rebellion by ruling bodies over funding

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:30
• Agency must be scrapped, says UK Athletics chairman, Ed Warner
• 11 sports left without UK Sport funding before 2020 Olympics

Ed Warner, the UK Athletics chairman, has called for UK Sport to be scrapped amid an organised revolt against how the Olympic and Paralympic funding agency operates.

Warner claimed UK Sport should be disbanded after 11 national governing bodies left without lottery and exchequer funding for the four-year cycle to Tokyo 2020 amid claims they had been “thrown off a cliff” by the organisation.

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Simon Harmer grabs nine wickets for Essex and they do for Middlesex

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:28
• Compton hits first century since August but to no avail
• Derbyshire end tortuous two-year wait for a victory

These are heady days for Essex cricket. By defeating Middlesex by an innings and 34 runs, despite losing a day to rain, they sit proudly top of the County Championship by 28 points, after seven years out of the top flight. They have won three in succession and, whisper it, in turning over the title winners so emphatically, have the look of champions themselves.

Related: County cricket: Essex thrash Middlesex to go 29 points clear - as it happened!

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Sam Warburton warns All Blacks to be braced for Lions physical backlash

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:00
• Captain says side were ‘hurt’ at being ‘physically outplayed’ in the first Test
• ‘The All Blacks are all human beings and anybody can get put under pressure’

Sam Warburton is backing the British & Irish Lions to storm back into the series and ask physical questions of New Zealand in Saturday’s second Test. The recalled Warburton rates the game as “the biggest challenge of my career” and predicts a furious response to the defeat at Eden Park.

Related: New Zealand and Rieko Ioane run away with first Test against Lions

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Sam Warburton’s return provides Lions with welcome injection of belief

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:00
The Lions captain goes into the ‘most important’ game of his career convinced his beaten side can still fight back against the All Blacks in the second Test

Thirteen teams have been to take on New Zealand in the past eight years, between them they have played 47 games and won none. The prospectors who came in the 1860 gold rush got better returns than the rugby players who have made the trip lately. In this series the British & Irish Lions, outthought and outfought, 1-0 down with two Tests to play, find themselves in a position from which they have come back just once in the past 100 years. The 2017 tour is in the balance. They are a side who come together in a short time and, riven with natural divisions between men who spend the rest of their lives trying to beat each other, can fall apart more swiftly still. Hope is a precious commodity, expectation vanishingly rare.

Related: Lions’ Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell start in second All Blacks Test

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Leon Goretzka drives Germany past Mexico into Confederations Cup final

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:37
• Germany 4-1 Mexico
• Germany face Chile in Sunday’s final

It was over before it really began. Two goals in the opening eight minutes from the tournament breakout Leon Goretzka secured Germany a place in the Confederations Cup final on Thursday, and even a valiant fightback from Mexico could not revive the game in Sochi.

Despite leaving almost a dozen of their best players in Germany – including Manuel Neuer, Marco Reus, Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng – the world champions’ next generation were at their clinical best during the semi-final. Timo Werner added a third in the second half, before a late goal from Ajax’s Amin Younes eliminated any thought of a Mexican fightback after a stunning long-range strike from Marco Fabián briefly lifted Mexico.

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Waldgeist continues to attract punters’ money in the Irish Derby

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:14
• Aidan O’Brien has five colts lined up for Curragh Classic
• Fixed Odds Betting Terminals review delayed to autumn

Waldgeist, runner-up in the Prix du Jockey Club [French Derby] at Chantilly, edged to within a quarter of a point of joint-favouritism for Saturday’s Irish Derby on Thursday, despite the failure of heavy rain to arrive as forecast at The Curragh, which will stage the Classic.

Wings Of Eagles, the 40-1 winner of the Derby at Epsom, remains the favourite for the race at a best price of 9-4 after a final field of nine was declared on Thursday with Waldgeist, who will attempt to give André Fabre his third success in the race, next in the list at 5-2.

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Saúl answers Spain’s call as latest generation seeks to redeem rare failure | Ed Aarons

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 14:24
The Atlético Madrid midfielder has inspired Spain to the European Under-21 Championship final against Germany after the shame of failing to qualify in 2015

Saúl Ñíguez, like several of his Spain team-mates who will contest the European Under-21 Championship final on Friday night, has a point to prove. For the second and final time the Atlético Madrid midfielder, whose brilliant hat-trick destroyed Italy in the semi-final on Tuesday, will attempt to win this competition, at the end of an international youth career that started in 2009 for the under-16 side.

Related: Atlético Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez recalls the night when he feared his career was over

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In career best form: Richie Porte a genuine Tour de France contender | Kieran Pender

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 14:00

The Australian enters the famous race in ominous form and better placed than ever before to wrest the yellow jersey from his main rival Chris Froome

It may be now or never for Richie Porte. If the cyclist is to join the exclusive club of Australians to have won the Tour de France – current membership: Cadel Evans – 2017 is his year. After faltering in recent attempts, Porte enters the 104th edition of the famous race in the best form of his life. When the action begins on 1 July with an individual time trial in Düsseldorf, the maillot jaune will be firmly within his reach.

BMC Racing Team have announced their intention to go “all in” for Porte this year, and will send a roster to match: Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, climber Nicolas Roche and Italy’s Damiano Caruso are among the riders with a brief to assist their leader. Porte showed ominous pre-Tour form with a second-place finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, but was let down by tactical errors from his colleagues on the final stage. The additions of Van Avermaet and Caruso should ensure BMC can match the firepower of Chris Froome’s Team Sky.

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State of the union: can Australian rugby reclaim the glory days? | Bret Harris

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 14:00

The ARU’s trophy cabinet hasn’t been refreshed in a while, and the Wallabies fan-base is dwindling. It’s time for Australian rugby to get back to basics

In August last year, at a well-tended oval on Sydney’s affluent north shore, a undeniably significant moment for the game of rugby union came to pass. There was little fanfare, no reporters or camera teams present, yet when the Northbridge No1 Oval at the Shore School – a blue-ribbon nursery for rugby talent – was reconfigured to host Australian rules football matches, it was a sign the goalposts had, quite literally, shifted.

For many, the incursion of AFL into this rugby heartland was emblematic of the current state of the code. Battles are being lost on so many fronts, from the Wallabies all the way down to the grassroots and some believe the game in this country should start from scratch.

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Germany v Mexico: Confederations Cup semi-final – live!

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:16

6.16pm BST

Germany: ter Stegen, Kimmich, Ginger, Rudiger, Henrichs, Rudy, Goretzka, Hector, Stindl, Draxler, Werner.
Subs: Trapp, Mustafi, Plattenhardt, Wagner, Demirbay, Leno, Can, Younes, Sule, Brandt.

Mexico: Ochoa, Layun, Araujo, Moreno, Alanis, Aquino, dos Santos, Herrera, dos Santos, Jimenez, Hernandez.
Subs: Cota, Marquez, Reyes, Fabian, Vela, Talavera, Damm, Peralta, Reyes, Lozano.

1.34pm BST

It won’t be long before football does the decent thing, clearing the stage for cricket, tennis and golf. It is summer, after all. But before that, the 2017 Confederations Cup must reach its climax! And to be fair, this, the second semi-final between reigning world champions Germany and Concacaf Gold Cup holders Mexico, promises to be a doozy.

Both teams are unbeaten in this competition so far, with two wins and a draw apiece. Germany have seen off Australia and Cameroon, and drawn with finalists Chile. Mexico meanwhile have beaten New Zealand and hosts Russia, and scrambled a draw against Portugal.

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Team Sky are not the force they used to be, says Richie Porte

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:00
• BMC rider also plays down talk he is favourite for the Tour
• ‘Chris Froome has won three and there’s no reason he can’t win a fourth’

As he prepares to take on his former team-mate Chris Froome in the Tour de France, Richie Porte has claimed Team Sky, where he worked with the Englishman for four seasons, are “not as strong as they used to be”.

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Women's Cricket World Cup: Meg Lanning leads Australia to Sri Lanka win

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:46

• Sri Lanka 257-9; Australia 262-2 (Australia win by eight wickets)
• Atapattu’s stunning 178 not out in vain as Lanning hits unbeaten 152

Meg Lanning underlined her status as the No1 batsman in women’s cricket with a superb unbeaten century to seal an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Bristol. The Australia captain scored 152 as the world champions chased down their target of 258 inside 44 overs to wrap up their second victory of the Women’s Cricket World Cup.

An upset looked to be briefly on the cards after Chamari Atapattu single-handedly propelled her side to a 257-9 with a record-breaking 178 not out – the highest proportion of runs (69.2%) scored by an individual in a women’s ODI. The magnificent knock, which included six sixes and 22 fours, was also the biggest score against Australia.

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Steve Collins and Nigel Benn’s fiftysomething rematch rated ‘unlikely’

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:46
• Pair claim to have agreed to a third fight two decades after their retirements
• Board has not received a licence application from either former boxer

The British Boxing Board of Control has not received a licence application for Steve Collins or Nigel Benn, and considers a fight between the two “unlikely”.

Related: Nigel Benn: 'Boxing is therapy for rage'

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Usain Bolt insists controversial Müller-Wohlfahrt will fix him for London

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:00
• Bolt visits German doctor over back problems that hampered Ostrava 100m
• ‘One run doesn’t really matter to me – it comes down to the championships’

Usain Bolt has flown to see the controversial German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt in order to fix the back problems that flared up during his narrow win in Ostrava on Wednesday, but he has no doubts he can recover in time for the world championships in London.

Related: Usain Bolt heads for check-up after labouring to narrow win in Ostrava

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The Fiver | The Professionals and ersatz Simone Zaza tribute act Nani

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 10:56

In today’s Fiver: a Saxon student collective, bravery and non-league headlocks

The Fiver has been following every kick of the 2017 Confederations Cup. Factor in whoever drew the MBM short straw for Big Website each day, plus your average audience for ITV4, and that’s at least three people watching every match of Fifa’s 17th most prestigious tournament, either by choice, under duress, or as a result of drifting off midway through The Professionals after trying to keep up with Gordon Jackson’s whisky consumption and waking up with a dry mouth on 87 minutes. The viewing figures could have been even higher, who knows what yet. And hasn’t it been a blast, with some thoroughly exciting fare served up by Australia, Cameroon, Chile, a schoolboy XI from North Rhine-Westphalia, the cast of What We Do In The Shadows, the same old, same old from Concacaf, a jaded Him and 11 increasingly concerned locals. More please, Fifa!

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Chris Froome: 'The challenge is even bigger this year' – video

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 09:40

Chris Froome, the reigning Tour de France champion, talks about his bid for a fourth title, while Team Sky’s general manager, Sir Dave Brailsford, discusses this year’s route. The 2017 Tour de France starts on Saturday 1 July with an individual time trial in Düsseldorf

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