France’s great home hope, Caroline Garcia, was bundled out of Roland Garros in the second round after a dramatic encounter with Russian Anna Blinkova.

As the fifth seed, Garcia is by a distance the top-ranked French player in either the men’s or women’s singles but the country’s wait for a new grand slam champion goes on.

Blinkova, ranked 56, had never beaten a top-five player before but battled back from a set down to triumph 4-6 6-3 7-5, finally taking her ninth match point.

Nerves were clearly affecting the 24-year-old, who served for the match twice, while the partisan Philippe Chatrier crowd were willing Garcia on, but Blinkova did not let the opportunity for the biggest win of her life slip away.

Former world number three Elina Svitolina continued to impress in her comeback grand slam, taking inspiration from husband Gael Monfils as she saw off Australian Storm Hunter 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Less than 11 hours after completing an emotional five-set win over Sebastian Baez, Monfils was back at Roland Garros cheering on Svitolina.

“I watched him, but not live, I was screaming in my room,” said the Ukrainian. “It was an unbelievable match. I don’t know what he is doing here now, I think he should be resting, but I’m really thankful for him coming to support me, especially in this tough match.”

Svitolina is playing her first slam in more than a year following the birth of baby Skai last October.

The new mother and father are juggling the day job with childcare, and Svitolina said: “It’s the first tournament for us where we are both playing at the same tournament, and Skai is here with us in Paris as well. It’s really, really special.

“So far everything is going well and we really enjoy our time off the court together and on the court we try to be focused and play as good as we can.”

Svitolina is also having to put to one side thoughts of the troubles in her homeland and is using the situation to inspire her on court.

She said: “When I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine. And me, I’m fighting here on my own frontline.

“I cannot be sad. I cannot be distracted in some ways. I’m just going to lose. I have a flag next to my name so I’m fighting for my country, and I’m going to do that each time I step on the court.”

Third seed Jessica Pegula had an untaxing afternoon, taking the first set 6-2 against Camila Giorgi before the Italian pulled out.

Ninth seed Daria Kasatkina produced the shot of the tournament so far, a fizzing tweener winner, in a 6-3 6-4 victory over former finalist Marketa Vondrousova, while 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko lost out 6-3 1-6 6-2 to American Peyton Stearns.

Caolan Boyd-Munce has agreed a one-year contract extension with St Mirren, who have confirmed star striker Curtis Main, Charles Dunne, Joe Shaughnessy and Richard Tait will all move on.

The 23-year-old midfielder joined Saints in March on a deal until the end of the season and the club has taken up the option to extend that until the summer of 2024 with an appearance-based option for another year.

The Northern Irishman – who began his career at Glentoran and had spells at Birmingham and Middlesbrough – made three appearances for the Buddies last season with his first start coming in Saturday’s match against Rangers at The SMiSA Stadium.

Manager Stephen Robinson told “Caolan was never going to come into the first team fold straight away because he hadn’t played for a long time.

“What we could see three months ago, he is now starting to achieve. Sometimes, that gamble is worthwhile.

“He’s different from what we have. He will find passes and put people through on goal as he gets fitter and stronger.

“We believe that come August/September, he has a real chance of starting games for us and pushing on. There’s so much more to come from him.”

“The option for a different type of midfielder who is similar to an Ethan Erhahon (who left for Lincoln in January) makes us stronger as a squad.”

Robinson, who has 20 players under contract for next season, did not expect 31-year-old striker Main, a key player since joining from Shrewsbury two years ago, to extend his time in Paisley.

The former Morecambe and Motherwell manager will also have to bolster his defence this summer.

Club captain, Shaughnessy, 30, joined the Buddies from Southend in 2020 and was out of the team earlier in the season.

Fellow centre-back Dunne, 30, arrived from Motherwell two years ago while full-back Tait, 33, also signed from the Steelmen in 2020.

In a general squad update, the Buddies website said: “Offers were made to Charles Dunne, Curtis Main and captain Joe Shaughnessy, but all three have decided that their futures lie elsewhere.

“With over 250 combined appearances between them, we thank them immensely for their respective contributions to St Mirren and wish them the very best in their new challenges.

“Richard Tait also departs after almost three years at the club where he made 87 appearances and scored three goals. We sincerely thank Richard for his contributions and wish him the very best in whatever comes next.

“Tony Watt and Thierry Small have returned to their parent clubs, Dundee United and Southampton, respectively. We thank them for their time at St Mirren and wish them all the best for their future.

“An offer to Youth Academy graduate Jay Henderson remains on the table.”

Jack McMillan dropped down a division when he signed for Partick Thistle to get more game time and become a better player, but his goal was always to put that improvement to use back in Scotland’s top flight.

The 25-year-old has already achieved the first part of the plan he made when he left Livingston last summer, his performances in the cinch Premiership play-offs so far being evidence of that.

The right-back has scored three of Thistle’s 16 goals in their four matches to date, the latest a header against Ayr in his 50th appearance of the season.

This week he gets the chance to complete the other half of his target when Thistle take on Ross County for a place in the top division.

McMillan said: “I enjoyed my four years at Livingston, it was a great time, but my reason for leaving was to get more game time and play regularly.

“I have managed to do that this season – this will be my 51st start in a row.

“But I would like to get back up to the top division and continue to learn and improve.

“I feel I have improved massively. You can only improve from the games that you play and to play 50 this year is incredible. Touch wood, I have not had any niggles or injuries so far.

“I have hit numbers attacking-wise, I set targets and I have exceeded them.”

McMillan’s move was the second time he went one step back to go two steps forward, having left Motherwell in January 2018 after playing 16 games for the Lanarkshire club.

He was quickly back in the Premiership after helping Livi to play-off success which relegated Thistle in the process, and he sees major similarities in the situation he finds himself now.

“In my time at Livingston, the group were very, very tight,” he said. “You probably saw that on the park. It’s very similar traits to this dressing room as well.

“When we came up with Livingston, we would have beaten anybody. It was that kind of mood that we were in. We had a great season. We were tipped for relegation that season so to go up through the play-offs was massive.”

Thistle have lost just once in 17 matches since Kris Doolan took over as manager three months ago.

McMillan said: “The momentum has been there for a while, maybe since the new manager came in.

“He has tweaked a few things, especially formation, and that has helped the players, especially the two full-backs, myself and Holty (Kevin Holt). It has helped us go forward and play that free-flowing football that we have been doing.”

Diogo Dalot says everyone at Manchester United feels like they are “at the start of a special journey” after signing a new deal until at least 2028.

The 24-year-old right-back joined from Porto in 2018 and has gone on to make 107 appearances in all competitions for the club.

Dalot, who spent the 2020-21 season on loan at AC Milan, has now signed new terms at Old Trafford for the next five years, with the option of a further season.

“Playing for Manchester United is one of the highest honours that you can have in football,” the 11-cap Portugal international said.

“We have shared some fantastic moments over the past five years and I’ve grown so much and my passion for this incredible club has only increased since the day that I joined.

“As a group of players, we all feel like we are at the start of a special journey right now.

“I can assure you that I will dedicate myself relentlessly to helping this group to achieve our aims and make the fans proud of this team.

“That drive continues this week with everyone intensely focused on preparations for the FA Cup final.”

Dalot began the season superbly under Erik ten Hag, but much-improved Aaron Wan-Bissaka may get the nod to start Saturday’s FA Cup final at right-back.


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Irrespective of his role against Manchester City this weekend, United football director John Murtough is delighted by the strides the full-back has made.

“Diogo is an excellent defender, with a great combination of pace, strength and versatility,” he said. “He has consistently developed, improving year-on-year since joining the club in 2018.

“Diogo’s work ethic and professionalism is superb; the way in which he prepares himself every day in order to perform at his highest level is exactly what we all want from a Manchester United player.

“Diogo has a strong mentality, high standards and a great personality, and we are delighted that he will remain an important member of the squad for the coming years.”

Any delay to the Betfred Derby caused by protesters would be a “big negative” for everybody involved, according to Aidan O’Brien.

The animal rights group Animal Rising has made no secret of its intention to cause as much disruption as possible at Epsom on Saturday.

Some of its members made it on to the track at Aintree before the Grand National, causing around a 10-minute delay, but while there was an attempt to repeat that at Ayr and the Scottish National the following weekend it was quickly thwarted by police and security staff.

The Jockey Club, which owns Epsom and Aintree, among other courses, has admitted it may well be harder to prevent the protestors from gaining access to the track this weekend due to the public areas around Epsom.

However, it was granted a High Court injunction last week which means those that do attempt to enter the track itself or other prohibited areas could be subject to proceedings for contempt of court, which may lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.

In the National, Hill Sixteen suffered a fatal fall at the first fence, with trainer Sandy Thomson adamant afterwards the delay caused by what he called “ignorant” protesters had been a contributing factor.

“It’s out of our control,” said O’Brien.

“Any delay would be a big negative. Things happen every day to test us all and you just have to make the best of a situation whichever way it has fallen and it will be the same for everybody, that’s all any of us can do really.

“Obviously it is not ideal for anybody (if there is a delay). The horses, the people involved, everybody.

“Hopefully everybody will see sense and it won’t be like that, but all any of us can do is our best and hopefully everybody will see sense and look at the welfare of the animals and people and everybody first.”

O’Brien appears to have finalised his Derby plans, with Adelaide River and Chester winner San Antonio getting the go-ahead to join favourite Auguste Rodin.

O’Brien usually flies his runners in on Derby day, but has been forced to rethink with the race moved to a 1.30pm start time to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final.

“I think we’re going to run three, Auguste Rodin, Adelaide River and San Antonio at the moment,” he said.

“They all came out of their last races well, the two from Chester seem fine and Auguste Rodin seems fine.

“They are leaving Ballydoyle on Thursday afternoon, I think that’s the plan. We usually travel on the day, but with the early start we couldn’t take that risk.

“We don’t have any choice other than to take them earlier this year, we think it’s the sensible thing to do and the responsible thing to do.

“The fillies’ race (Oaks on Friday) is not as early as the colts, but we’re sending them early so they are doing the same route as the colts.

“We just think it’s the responsible thing to do for everybody involved and we’ll see what happens.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman has named her squad for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Sixteen of the 23-player contingent were part of the team that won Euro 2022, but there are some notable absentees through injury, form or retirement.

Here, the PA news agency compares the two squads.


Wiegman’s World Cup squad is far less experienced than her Euro 2022 selection, with a total of 733 caps at an average of 32 per player compared with 973 – 42 per player – among their predecessors.

Six players have fewer than 10 caps, compared with only four of last year’s contingent, while another half-dozen have amassed at least 50 caps – versus nine of the Euros squad.

Four of the five most-capped players who featured at Euro 2022 – Jill Scott (157), Ellen White (107), Demi Stokes (67) and Nikita Parris (65) – have retired or been overlooked this time, with Lucy Bronze (104) now leading the way ahead of Alex Greenwood (74).

Captain Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby are also absent through injury, while – of the seven new faces – only Jordan Nobbs (71) has more than 10 caps to her name.

As a result of the influx of new players, the average age of England’s squad has fallen slightly since the Euros, from 26.9 to 26.4.

Brighton’s 20-year-old winger Katie Robinson is the youngest player to be selected, ahead of Chelsea’s Lauren James (21).

Manchester City midfielder Laura Coombs is the oldest at the age of 32.


The Lionesses are not at full strength in attack, with those going to the World Cup having scored a combined 114 goals at international level compared with their predecessors’ 202.

Season-ending injuries to Mead and Kirby, as well as White’s retirement, have limited Wiegman’s options in forward areas.

Manchester United duo Ella Toone and Alessia Russo – who starred as substitutes in the last tournament – are likely to feature from the start in Australia and New Zealand, while Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly – who top scored in the Women’s Super League having switched from her previous full-back position – provides another option up front.

However, there remains a shortfall elsewhere in the squad, with seven outfield players having never scored for England compared with just two of the side that won the Euros.

The absence of key attackers has led to a decline in England’s scoring output since Euro 2022. The Lionesses have netted 32 goals in their last 11 matches at an average of 2.91 per game, as opposed to 106 in their first 20 outings under Wiegman at a rate 5.30 per game.

Club representation

There are nine clubs represented in England’s World Cup squad, compared with only six at Euro 2022.

Manchester City have provided six players, down from 10 last time but still the most of any club ahead of WSL champions Chelsea and runners-up Manchester United on four apiece.

Meanwhile, Arsenal – the other team involved in this season’s thrilling title race – have only one representative in Lotte Wubben-Moy.

The rest of the squad is made up of three players from Aston Villa, two from Barcelona and one from Bayern Munich, Brighton and Tottenham.

David Wotherspoon has expressed his gratitude to those who helped him achieve “10 magnificent years” at hometown club St Johnstone.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined Saints from Hibernian in 2013, helped the Perth club win the Scottish Cup for the first time in 2014 and was part of the side which remarkably won the Scottish Cup and League Cup double in 2021.

St Johnstone confirmed on Tuesday that the Canada international is one of 14 players who will be leaving this summer as new manager Steven MacLean revamps his squad.

Wotherspoon posted on Twitter: “After 10 magnificent years, playing at the club I grew up supporting, my time has come to an end.

“The memories created throughout my time at St Johnstone have been incredible and will never be forgotten.

“Firstly I’d like to thank the players I have had the pleasure of sharing a dressing room with. Such a great group of lads who have supported and shown me great friendships.

“To the managers I have had the pleasure of working under and had so much success with. Thank you for giving me the chance to play for the team I love!

“To the backroom staff and other staff members that work in the club that have helped me out over the years. I am truly grateful for everything you have done for me.

“A big thank you and love to my wife and kids for their support over the 10 years, it’s been so hard on them but they were always there for me through the highs and the lows.”

Bethany England has been included in Sarina Wiegman’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup, while Beth Mead misses out.

Striker England, who has not been involved for her country since last September, is recalled after scoring 12 Women’s Super League goals for Tottenham since joining them from Chelsea in January.

But there is no return for Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner and player of the tournament Mead, having lost her battle against time after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November.

Motherwell have confirmed Josh Morris has been released amid an update on players’ contracts at the cinch Premiership club.

The 31-year-old midfielder signed from Salford on a two-year deal last July.

Morris only played 12 times, the last appearance in a 2-1 home defeat to Celtic in November and had been out with an unspecified injury.

The Fir Park club revealed 14 other players – including Max Johnston, Jake Carroll, Dean Cornelius, Sean Goss, and Jack Aitchison – are out of contract with talks with a number of them ongoing.

Loan players James Furlong, Stuart McKinstry, Jon Obika and Olly Crankshaw have returned to their parent clubs, while Barry Maguire, Connor Shields and Robbie Mahon will be back from temporary stints elsewhere.

Manager Stuart Kettlewell, who took over as Well boss in February following the departure of Steven Hammell, told the club’s official website: “I want to personally thank each individual player for their efforts since I arrived at the club.

“Everyone has made an impact at this club in their tenure and helped steer the club to not only another season in the Premiership, but to a strong finish that will only benefit this club at the start of next season.

“We are still speaking with a number of players at this very early stage of the summer and hope to get clarity on each situation very soon.

“For the players departing the club, I wish them all the very best in the future.”

Malky Mackay feels responsibility rather than pressure as he strives to keep Ross County in the cinch Premiership.

The Staggies finished 11th in the table and will face Championship side Partick Thistle in the first leg of their play-off tie at Firhill on Thursday night, with the return game in Dingwall on Sunday.

Asked if he felt the pressure of the task ahead, County boss Mackay told Sky Sports Scotland: “Not pressure, responsibility.

“I have had responsibility since day one when I took over the job.

“I have a responsibility to the people of the Highlands, to Ross County, the owner, chief executive, my staff – but that is something that every football manager has every time he puts pen to paper at a football club.

“You get everything from me because you have given me the chances to become your football manager and I have a responsibility to make sure I do everything to the best of the football club which is certainly what I have done throughout my whole career.

“So I have a massive responsibility but that is what football managers have to do.

“That’s something that’s part of being a manager rather than a coach. So pressure? No. Responsibility? Absolutely.”

Mackay will bank on Ross County’s Premiership experience when trying to curtail free-scoring Thistle, who have notched 16 goals over the course of their last four play-off ties and who beat Ayr United 8-0 on aggregate in the semi-final clash.

He said: “We put Partick Thistle into the same process as when we look at every other team.

“We look at their strengths and weaknesses. We look at where they can hurt the opposition and where the opposition can hurt them and we have done that.

“So that just goes into the same preparation we would do for every other team, bearing in mind we have played against the 11 Premiership teams three or four times this season.

“So we have played a lot of good teams this season who have big threats at the top level and we will take Partick Thistle just as seriously as we would take the rest.”

London Irish could be the latest victims of the financial crisis gripping the Gallagher Premiership.

Here the PA news agency looks at the clubs most affected by the grim outlook.



The first club placed into administration back in September, Worcester’s future is still uncertain despite being taken over by Jim O’Toole’s Atlas Group.
Entrance into the second tier Championship has been blocked by the Rugby Football Union for their failure to meet certain conditions and their plan of joining with Stourbridge and relaunching in the fifth tier appears dead in the water.


The month after Worcester folded, Wasps followed them into administration as the league suffered the crushing blow of losing one of English rugby’s most famous brands. Further misery was to come as having targeted rebirth in the Championship, the failure to meet certain conditions forced the RFU to revoke their license and demote them to the foot of the rugby pyramid.


London Irish

Burdened by debts of around £30million and with an owner desperate to sell in Mick Crossan, London Irish are shaping up to become the next club to be removed from the Premiership. All staff must be paid today for the month of May for Irish to be granted a deadline extension for their proposed takeover by an American consortium. The clock is ticking.



Leicester needed an emergency cash injection of £13million from directors Peter Tom and Tom Scott in to address what chief executive Andrea Pinchen described as “very challenging conditions”. A letter from the club to shareholders sent in March stated that if the funding was not approved, there would be no option but to appoint administrators.


Even Exeter, one of the few clubs in the pre-pandemic era to operate at a profit, were forced to take special measures in December. Chiefs owner Tony Rowe bought a stake in a hotel owned by the club in order for it to service its debts, including Covid loans issued by the Government. Rowe’s intervention has sured up the finances for the time being.

G4D Open champions Brendan Lawlor and Kim Moore will compete in the inaugural Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed event next week.

The tournament at Ullna Golf and Country Club from June 5-6 will see five male players and five female players competing for the same trophy on the same course for the first time.

Lawlor, who edged out Kipp Popert to win the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn earlier this month, will be joined in Sweden by Popert – the current number one on the World Rankings for Golfers with a Disability (WR4GD) – Juan Postigo Arce, Kurtis Barkley and home favourite Rasmus Lia.

“I’m very excited for the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed,” Lawlor said. “The fact that there’s a whole diverse range of disabilities and it’s a mixed field between five men and five women, it’s absolutely game-changing.

“We’ve gained some massive strides in the men’s side of the game and in disability golf, and I think we’re going to gain some massive strides in the women’s side of the game.”

Moore, who won the female category of the G4D Open by four shots, is joined by Aimi Bullock, Julia Bowen, Fiona Gray and Jennifer Sraga.

“I feel with the growing number of new golfers being women, it’s extremely important for the G4D Tour to be opening up the event to both male and female golfers,” Moore said.

“The exposure that this event gets will be huge in motivating and inspiring others with disabilities to give golf a chance.”

Impressive York scorer Mostabshir will head to Royal Ascot for his next start – but connections are still to decide if it will be the St James’s Palace Stakes or Jersey Stakes for the talented son of Dark Angel.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden and a half-brother to Clarehaven’s eight-time winner Mostahdaf, the three-year-old made a taking debut at Kempton in November before being somewhat underwhelming when put on trial for the 2000 Guineas in the Craven.

However, he left that performance well behind him when striding out on the Knavesmire, surging to a commanding five-length success and reaffirming his team’s lofty opinion of him.

Now it is whether to take the leap into Group One company for the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting or drop back in trip to seven furlongs for the Jersey.

“We’ve left him in the St James’s Palace and we may or may not make an entry for him in the Jersey, we’re going to discuss that nearer the time and see how he is,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell.

“I saw him last night and he looks very well. John and Thady and the team are very happy with him and it will be Ascot and one of the races next all being well.”

On the prospect of stepping into Group One company to remain at a mile for the St James’s Palace, he added: “It would be a huge step up into a Group One and we will see nearer the time.

“He was obviously very impressive at York and touch wood he seems to have come out of it in one piece.

“He’s out of a very good mare and his brother and sister improved as they got older so hopefully he keeps going the right way.”

Another Shadwell-owned colt who is a possible for the summer showpiece is Enfjaar following his successful reappearance at Chelmsford.

The Roger Varian-trained colt downed Derby contender Military Order amongst others in a red-hot Newmarket maiden last October and having confirmed the promise of that victory on his return with a professional six-length victory, could be in line for a step up in trip for the Hampton Court Stakes.

“He did it well (at Chelmsford), but I haven’t really spoken to Roger since,” continued Gold.

“There is a thought we might step him up in trip and possibly look at the Hampton Court, but plans are still up in the air with him and I have to catch up with Roger. It was mooted as a possible, but we got no further than that.

“With any luck he is a progressive horse and if we can keep him in one piece we will have some fun with him.”

Ashley Young is to leave Aston Villa at the end of his contract this summer.

The 37-year-old rejoined Villa in 2021 after winning the Serie A title at Inter Milan.

“Aston Villa can confirm that Ashley Young will be leaving the club upon the expiration of his contract,” read a club statement.

“Everyone at Aston Villa would like to sincerely thank Ashley for his service to the club and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

Young made over 100 appearances for Watford before joining Villa in 2007.

He signed for Manchester United in 2011 and won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during nine years at Old Trafford.

Young moved to Inter in 2020 and became the third Englishman to win Italy’s top prize after Jimmy Greaves and Gerry Hitchens in 1963.

The 39-times England international, who can play as a left-back or left wing, made 32 appearances last season and 250 for Villa across his two spells with the club.

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