New York Rangers great Henrik Lundqvist retired from the NHL after a stellar 15-year career in the league.

A five-time All-Star and Vezina Trophy recipient as the NHL's top goaltender in 2011-12, Lundqvist made the announcement on Friday.

Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals for the 2020-21 season, but the 39-year-old never made an appearance after undergoing open-heart surgery in January.

The Swede finished his NHL career with a 459-310-96 record, a 2.43 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 15 seasons with the Rangers, while he went 61-67 with a 2.30 GAA, .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 130 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Lundqvist ranks sixth in NHL history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games played (887), ninth in starts (871), ninth in time on ice (51,816:51) and 17th in shutouts.

"Obviously there are a lot of emotions right now," Lundqvist said at a news conference in Sweden. "For me, it started here in Scandinavium when I was five years old I saw my first hockey game here. That's how it started.

"I also want to thank all the coaches and all the players that I've had the opportunity to play with and I want to thank all the clubs that I've represented. Jarpen, where it all starter, Rogle BK, Frolunda of course, and the New York Rangers. All of them have meant so much to me during that time and place. A big part of my life has been dedicated to those teams.

"At last I want to thank all the fans. I've felt so much support here at home playing for Frolunda and the national team, and in New York. It's been giving me so much joy to feel that support. I will be forever grateful for it. ... That is obviously something that I will miss, the intense feeling of being in a rink competing."

Initially drafted in 2000, Lundqvist enjoyed an outstanding rookie season in 2005-06, ranking fourth for save percentage (92.2 per cent) and fifth-lowest for goals against average (2.24). 

The 2011-12 campaign brought Vezina Trophy recognition as he kept eight shutouts in 62 games, again ranking fourth for save percentage (93.0 per cent) and fifth-lowest for goals against average (1.97). 

Lundqvist did enjoy success at international level with Sweden as he claimed a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2017 Ice Hockey World Championships.

He is the Rangers' leader in wins, shutouts, games played, starts, saves, time on ice and goalie points (27, all assists). Lundqvist is also New York's postseason leader in wins, shutouts, games played, games started, saves and time on ice.

"It is with mixed emotions that The New York Rangers offer our best wishes and heartfelt gratitude to Henrik Lundqvist on the announcement of his retirement," the Rangers said in a statement. "Henrik's commitment to excellence made him one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey, and we are so fortunate to have witnessed his greatness firsthand for 15 years.

"As we congratulate Henrik on an extraordinary career and a lasting legacy of success, charity and character, we are honoured to announce that we will retire his number and raise his jersey to the rafters at an upcoming game this season. Henrik is, and always will be, a Ranger."

Ash Barty reached her sixth semi-final of the year after winning the battle of grand slam champions against Barbora Krejcikova at the Western & Southern Open.

World number one and top seed Barty – the Wimbledon titleholder – dispatched French Open champion Krejcikova in straight sets in Cincinnati on Friday.

Another slam champion awaits Barty in the form of Angelique Kerber, while wildcard Jil Teichmann continued her fairytale run with victory over Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic.

 

Coffee the tonic for in-form Barty

Australian star Barty was too good for Krejcikova, winning 6-2 6-4 at the WTA 1000 tournament.

Barty had to battle from a break down in the second set against the fast-rising Krejcikova, who has shot up from 65th in the world to a career high of number 10 this year.

After extending her season record to 38-7, Barty talked about the importance of drinking coffee in the morning.

"I travel with a French press and an AeroPress, just to have two options. Usually every tournament we go to, one of us has a cafe that we have been to before, so I have got a little section of all my local cafes from the tournaments, so we try and get out to those if we can," she said.

"This year, some places we haven't been able to; some places we have. It's been nice to get some sort of a mixture, but I'm pretty simple. I'm just a black coffee cup in the morning, and then I'm set."

Three-time major champion Kerber is next up after she was 6-4 3-3 ahead before Petra Kvitova retired hurt due to a stomach problem.

 

Teichmann takes down another star

Unheralded Swiss and world number 76 Teichmann claimed another scalp, this time upstaging countrywoman Bencic 6-3 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

Teichmann stunned world number two Naomi Osaka en route to the quarters and maintained her giant-slaying form in Cincinnati, where 10th seed Bencic became the latest victim.

"We hugged before the match; we hugged after the match," Teichmann said of the Bencic meeting. "We know that once we step on court it's business, it's just another player I have to deal with, and she had the same mindset. At the beginning it's obviously a bit special, but once we're in it, we just look at the game, not looking at the opponent, or at least I do that way."

Teichmann will take on fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who advanced to her second successive WTA 1000 semi-final after Paula Badosa retired down 7-5 2-0.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel believes Romelu Lukaku is the "perfect fit" as he hailed the star signing's "quality" and desire to return to Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku is in line to make his second debut for Chelsea against London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday following his £97.5million (€115m) switch from Serie A champions Inter.

The Belgium international forward left Chelsea in 2014, eventually joining Inter from Manchester United in 2019, scoring 64 goals across all competitions – his 24 Serie A goals in 2020-21 guiding the Nerazzurri to their first Scudetto in 11 years.

Lukaku converted 25 per cent of his 96 shots in Serie A, scored 20 big chances from 39 and added a further 11 assists last term, while the 28-year-old Lukaku ranks fourth for shot conversion in Europe's top five leagues since joining Inter in August 2019 – scoring 24.2 per cent of chances that have come his way.

Tuchel heaped praise on Lukaku, telling reporters: "Once you bring players with the amount of money [spent] but also the status and the quality [of Lukaku] then of course expectations do not get lower.

"It's actually the same for us. My expectations do not get lower so let's be positive about it. It does not work without quality. We are not doing magic on the sidelines.

"We could feel that he tried hard and we could reach already a point which is very important and has maybe not been mentioned – how much does the player want to play for Chelsea?

"How much of the story does he want to write at this club? Is this the next step on his way to [somewhere else]? Or is this like 'yes, I would love to but I am happy where I am' or is this 'yes, this comes at the right moment and I will actually walk to you'. And this is what Romelu absolutely transported to us.

"There were not many names and one of the absolute top solutions was Romelu.

"In the end, we can only push for things that people have and Romelu brings something to the squad on which we are absolutely aware and convinced by.

"So at the moment it is more fun than pressure. It looks like the perfect fit and it's our job of course to bring out the best of this group."

Chelsea have won their last four away Premier League London derbies, last winning five in a row between January 2005 and January 2006 under Jose Mourinho.

The Blues have won 15 of their last 20 away Premier League matches in August (D3 L2), although this is their first away league match against Arsenal in this month since 1984, when they drew 1-1 at Highbury with Kerry Dixon cancelling out Paul Mariner's opener for the Gunners.

Jon Rahm claimed the outright lead following the second round of The Northern Trust, but the world number one was not completely happy as he voiced his frustration with the FedEx Cup play-offs format.

Rahm carded a four-under-par 67 for a one-stroke advantage at the halfway stage of the opening FedEx Cup play-offs tournament on Friday.

In a tie with Justin Thomas for the three-shot lead following Thursday's round, Spanish star Rahm ended day two alone atop the leaderboard at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, where the top 125 players are competing.

Rahm – fifth in the FedEx Cup rankings heading into the first of three play-off events – has his fifth career second-round lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour, and third of the season.

He is yet to make a bogey through two rounds – it is the first time in Rahm's PGA Tour career that he has played the first 36 holes without a bogey (110th start).

Rahm, though, was irked at the end of play as he discussed the FedEx Cup format, which sees only one winner of the season-ending Tour Championship and FedEx Cup, having previously seen the possibility of separate champions.

"I don't think it's fair," Rahm said post-round. "I don't like that at all. No. I think you have the play-offs itself, and if you win the first two and if you don't play good in the last one ... you can end up with a really bad finish.

"I don't like it. I understand the system. And the way I was told by one of the PGA Tour officials, [if] I'm a Patriots fans and the Patriots win everything to get to the Super Bowl and they don't win the Super Bowl, you don't win the Lombardi Trophy, right?

"My answer was, they still finished second. They have to understand that golf is different. You could win 15 events, including both play-offs events, and [under the current system implemented last year] you have a two-shot lead. I understand it's for TV purposes and excitement and just making it more of a winner-take-all, and they give you a two-shot advantage, but over four days that can be gone in two holes, right."

Tony Finau's second-round 64 earned second position at 11 under, a shot better off than 2017 FedEx Cup champion Thomas (69), Keith Mitchell (64) and Xander Schauffele (62).

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka (64) and former world number one Jordan Spieth (62) – second in the rankings – are four strokes off the pace, while Bryson DeChambeau is two strokes further back following his 65.

Rory McIlroy – the 2019 FedEx Cup winner – narrowly avoided the cut at one under following his 70, but defending tournament champion and FedEx Cup holder Dustin Johnson (72) failed to qualify the weekend alongside Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.

Milwaukee Bucks superstar and NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo purchased a stake in the Milwaukee Brewers, the MLB franchise announced on Friday.

After leading the Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years, Finals MVP Antetokounmpo is now part of the Brewers' ownership group in Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo follows in the footsteps of star Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes by buying into the city's baseball team – the 2018 NFL MVP invested in MLB outfit the Kansas City Royals in 2020 before joining the ownership group of MLS side Sporting Kansas City this year.

"The city of Milwaukee means so much to me," two-time NBA MVP Antetokounmpo said.

"I am honoured to be joining the Brewers ownership group to further my commitment and dedication to this great community.

"I take great pride in my city and I'm excited about what we can build together."

Antetokounmpo finished the NBA Finals averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015 (35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists) is the only other player to average 35, 10 and five in a Finals series.

After Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, Antetokounmpo is the third player to win a regular season MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP across his career.

Antetokounmpo added during Friday's news conference: "Man, this is unbelievable.

"This is a dream come true for a kid from Sepolia, Athens, Greece, born from immigrant parents. I could have never imagined I would be in this position.''

Antetokounmpo is the first new individual investor added to the Brewers ownership group since chairman Mark Attanasio purchased controlling interest in 2005.

"We are honoured to have Giannis join our team of Milwaukee Brewers investors," Attanasio said. "Giannis is a great athlete, a world champion, and a true local hero with international renown."

The Brewers – NL Central champions in 2011 and 2018 – are eyeing their first National League pennant and World Series title.

Manny Pacquiao is a man on a mission as he attempts to reclaim the WBA 'super' welterweight belt he was riled to relinquish.

The Filipino superstar tackles Cuban defector Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas in a title bout on Saturday night, gently teasing it might be his last fight.

That seems unlikely, given the 42-year-old expressed such an obvious hunger for more success in the pre-fight news conference.

But Pacquiao might have to think seriously about his future should Ugas spring a huge surprise after being called into the main event at late notice.

Pacquiao was meant to face Errol Spence Jr, but the American withdrew from the bout with a torn retina in his left eye.

Spence's stand-in Ugas was promoted to be recognised as the WBA's champion when Pacquiao was controversially stripped of his title in January, relegated to champion-in-recess status due to inactivity.

Now raring to go, two years since he last fought, with COVID-19 pandemic factors largely the cause of his absence, Pacquiao said he "felt bad" about Spence's setback.

"But it's a good thing that Ugas wanted to challenge me in the ring, and a good thing we can settle the dispute about the WBA belt. It will be good for us to talk in the ring, settle down in the ring on Saturday," Pacquiao told a news conference.

"I feel young. I'm just happy doing this. Boxing is my passion and I'm enjoying doing the training camp and excited to undergo the sacrifices and discipline especially to prepare for a fight like this.

"The coaching staff were trying to stop me, because I wanted to do more but they told me I might get over-trained."

Speaking at Friday's weigh-in, Pacquiao added: "I don't want to be taking this fight lightly. I don't want to be over-confident for this fight, but I want to make sure that tomorrow night we get a victory. I will do my best. I will give my best for my fans and of course the honour of my country."

Ugas, who won a bronze medal for Cuba at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, majorly troubled Shawn Porter in a WBC title fight in March 2019, and he wants to show there is merit in him owning the WBA belt.

Pacquiao feels disenchanted by the WBA's decision, saying it was "not good" that he had been stripped of that title out of the ring.

"Let's see if he will get the belt on Saturday. Both of us are champions," Pacquiao said this week. "It might be my last fight or there's more, one at a time. That's my answer to the question of whether it's my last fight."

Ahead of the tussle as the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ugas said: "This has been a long road for me. It's a short-notice fight but I'm thankful for this opportunity and I'm ready.

"I have come to prepare for 12 hard rounds. If this is the final fight that the legend Manny Pacquiao has, [I want to show] that he fought against a guy who brought his best and who is a world-class fighter."

RECENT HISTORY

Pacquiao has had a busy time of it, but not so much in the boxing ring. The coronavirus crisis has kept him occupied in his day job as a senator in the Philippines, where some expect him to make a bid to become president next year, a move that would surely end his boxing career. Pacquiao has made allegations of corruption in government, which have been denied, as he pulls no punches in his second career.

'PacMan' last fought against Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in July 2019, where Ugas won on the undercard. Ugas has since had a seventh-round stoppage win over Mike Dallas Jr and a split-decision victory against Abel Ramos.

TALE OF THE TAPE

MANNY PACQUIAO

Age: 42
Height: 5ft 5.5ins (166cm) 
Weight: 146 lbs
Reach: 67 ins
Professional record: 62-7-2 (39 KOs) 
Major career titles: Eight-division world champion

YORDENIS UGAS

Age: 35
Height: 5ft 9ins (175cm) 
Weight: 147 lbs
Reach: 69 ins
Professional record: 26-4 (12 KOs) 
Major career titles: Holder of WBA 'super' welterweight belt

Inter announced the exit of another key figure behind their Scudetto success as influential technical chief Gabriele Oriali was "relieved of his duties".

Oriali, who has been working in the same role with Euro 2020 champions Italy, departs Inter three months after head coach Antonio Conte walked away from the Serie A winners.

Former Italy midfielder Oriali, 68, who was a World Cup winner in 1982, returned for a second spell on the Inter backroom staff when Conte was appointed two years ago.

At the time, Inter said Oriali was "back where he belongs", yet the two parties will now go their separate ways.

There have been reports in Italy that Oriali may follow Conte to his next job and serve again on his staff.

Conte was linked with Tottenham soon after his Inter exit, which came just weeks after the Nerazzurri won the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years, but he has yet to take up a new appointment.

Inter said in a statement on Friday: "FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that as of today Gabriele Oriali has been relieved of his duties as first team technical manager. The club would like to thank him for his work and wishes him all the best for his future endeavours."

The brevity of that announcement offered no explanation for Oriali's departure, yet with a new coach coming in, in Simone Inzaghi, it was perhaps inevitable that changes behind the scenes would follow.

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti, who was a player at the club when Oriali previously served from 1999 to 2010, separately issued a glowing tribute, striking a different tone to Inter's statement.

 

On Instagram, Zanetti described Oriali as "one of us" and said: "Inter fans do not forget those who leave a mark in the history of this club, just as I cannot forget the days, the work, the moments shared with Lele [Oriali] and Antonio Conte in a long, tiring ride, full of obstacles but extraordinarily successful.

"All this with one goal every day: the good of Inter, ahead of anything else. Do not forget the days at work with Antonio Conte for a group that will remain in the history of Inter with an indelible championship.

"The story of Lele Oriali tells it: with great regret we lose a winner, a real man and above all a great Inter fan. A huge hug to Lele and a huge 'good luck' for the next challenges, the new goals. Inter is and will always be your home."

Thomas Tuchel insists "the door is always open" for Chelsea's academy players to make an impact in the first team, with Trevoh Chalobah the latest example of a young star successfully making the transition.

Tuchel spoke at length about Chalobah on Friday ahead of Chelsea's game against London rivals Arsenal.

Chalobah, who is reportedly to be offered a new contract, "is a guy we absolutely want to keep", Tuchel said.

The 22-year-old joined the Blues at the age of eight but had never featured for the senior side until this season when he was handed his chance under Tuchel following a loan with Lorient.

Through two games, Chalobah is one of only three Chelsea players to feature in every minute for the European champions, scoring a fine goal against Crystal Palace and securing a place in the squad for this campaign.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, is merely the latest example of an academy graduate succeeding, though.

Former coach Frank Lampard was credited with bringing through a number of homegrown stars, as Mason Mount played the most games (80) and minutes (5,868) and Tammy Abraham scored the most goals (29) in all competitions during his tenure.

But that trend has continued since Tuchel's appointment, as no Chelsea player has featured more often than Reece James (30 appearances) while Mount's six goals lead the way.

Abraham has left the club, as has Marc Guehi, while Billy Gilmour has gone out on loan, but Chalobah has joined James, Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in Tuchel's squad.

Asked if there was the opportunity for others to follow, Tuchel replied: "Always. Always, always, always. The door is always open. I love it and I truly believe that the supporters love it.

"The mix between big names, players from abroad, big personalities and famous players, the mix with academy guys, this is what makes the club special.

"When you look in the photo how we raised the trophy in the Champions League, there are so many boys in the academy on this photo. That makes it special and this is how it has to be. It is always about the mix.

"At the same time, there are no gifts on this kind of level. You have to earn your way, you have to overcome obstacles, you have to fight hard for it.

"If you want to make it at Chelsea, it's so much harder than in most of the clubs in Europe. It's simply like this, it's a reality.

"We cannot start to be political and prefer somebody from the academy over another player if he does not provide the same level, because in the end we are here to win football games and to push the group to the highest level.

"But this is what Trevoh did and I'm more than happy to have him in the squad, more than happy about how he managed to make his way through to first-team football at this kind of level.

"He joined the academy at I think eight years old, and this is simply fantastic.

"I will always be happy to push players like this, but you have to take your heart into your hands and be brave and courageous enough to take responsibility when it's there. We will never hold you down.

"If you come from the academy, if you can produce, if you are a nice guy, like Reecey, like Mason, like Trevoh, like Callum, we will never stop pushing you. We like it and I truly believe it has to be like this.

"But we cannot go through the door, we can just open it and show them the way. The guys have to go through it themselves."

Mikel Arteta does not believe the return of Martin Odegaard will hamper Emile Smith Rowe's progress, instead believing the move is important to "protect" Arsenal's number 10.

Arsenal announced two new signings on Friday, with Odegaard followed to Emirates Stadium by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Odegaard is already familiar with his surroundings, though, having spent the second half of the 2020-21 season on loan from Real Madrid.

During that time, he started just eight times alongside Smith Rowe in all competitions, although Arsenal won five of those matches.

Now back as a permanent signing, there could be concern Odegaard will limit opportunities for Smith Rowe, who has penned an improved contract and taken on a more prominent role for the new season following interest from Aston Villa.

While the pair are similar players, Odegaard is further ahead in his development and had a greater impact in the final third last term.

He created 2.1 chances and had 1.6 shots per 90 minutes, while Smith Rowe forged 1.7 opportunities and had 0.8 attempts.

But this issue was put to Arteta and he was not concerned, citing Smith Rowe's relative inexperience having made his senior league bow with RB Leipzig in 2019 – five years after Odegaard broke into the Stromsgodset side as a 15-year-old.

"It's the contrary," the Gunners manager said. "What we want is to have Emile in a better place to develop him and have alternatives in that position.

"They are players that can play perfectly together – they showed that last year – and we cannot rely on one player. We already lost a lot of creative players.

"We cannot rely on one player with all the things he showed us, because Emile has never played 50 games at that level yet in his career.

"We will need to protect him and, for sure, we need other players that are able to do that as well."

Mohamed Salah does not need extra motivation to break records and achieve potential legendary status, according to Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds cruised to a 3-0 victory against Norwich in their Premier League opener on Sunday, Salah scoring one and assisting twice.

His 74th-minute curler marked his fifth consecutive goal on the opening day of a Premier League season, a feat never achieved before.

As Klopp's men prepare for Saturday against Burnley, who ended Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield last term, Salah nears another Premier League milestone.

The Egypt forward has scored 98 goals in 159 Premier League games, with only four players ever reaching 100 in their first 160 matches in the competition – Alan Shearer (124), Harry Kane (141), Sergio Aguero (147) and Thierry Henry (160).

Klopp, though, says his part in motivating Salah to achieve such accolades is limited.

"I don't have to," Klopp responded when asked if he needed to encourage Salah. "He knows that, he is aware of all these things.

"He enjoys the time here. I didn't know when he broke the record last week. When he plays as hard as he does, he comes in situations that he can score.

"He is very hungry for goals. There is no doubt about that. With his quality, he can set records in assists as well.

"I have never told him that he could be the, or one of the biggest Liverpool legends ever. That is nothing you go for. Records, yes, but becoming a legend… it [is for] after your career is over. Hopefully, he can stay like this."

Since Salah's return to the Premier League in June 2017, no Liverpool player has created more chances than his 252, while only Andy Robertson can boast as many as his 35 assists.

In the same time period, no top-flight player can match his 96 goals for the Reds, Tottenham's Harry Kane eight goals behind in second.

Indeed, Salah ran riot at Carrow Road as he was involved in nine of Liverpool's 19 shots against - no player was involved in more of their side's attempts on matchday one.

While the 29-year-old continues to cause chaos on the pitch, there is still speculation off the field with his current contract due to expire in 2023.

Asked if there was any progress with a new deal, Klopp said: "I am involved with pretty much everything in the club. We don't speak about these things.

"From the first day he came back, he has been absolutely great. We are all professionals. There are talks and there are talks.

"When there is a decision, we will tell you. Until then, it is only important how the parts work together. Two years left, you can imagine that there are talks."

Chelsea star Kai Havertz has made a €200,000 donation to launch a German Red Cross flood crisis fund after being stunned by the extent of the tragedy.

The North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate regions were severely affected in July, with over 180 deaths recorded and shocking levels of structural damage caused.

Now Germany international Havertz, who hails from Aachen in North-Rhine Westfalia, has expressed sorrow and concern at his homeland being susceptible to such devastating events.

Havertz will also auction off special edition Nike football boots to boost financial support for the relief effort, he said, with 100 pairs produced. He is also urging others to make cash donations to the fund.

The 22-year-old told Bild he spoke to the German Red Cross about what could be done, saying: "It is important for me to show my support to people: I grew up in the area.

"The pictures of the flood were just terrible to look at. The disaster was only a few weeks ago, but something has already disappeared from the consciousness of many people, you don't really know how those affected are doing there.

"That's why it was important to me to help people. Even if the water may be gone: there are still many without electricity, without a roof over their heads, without clothes. People just lost everything. Friends of friends are affected, the whole thing is very close, tangible."

Extreme levels of rainfall led to the flooding which also affected other countries in central Europe, with Belgium among those hit hard.

Havertz, who scored the winning goal in last season's Champions League final against Manchester City, said it was easy to allow such shocking events to be overtaken in the public eye as the cycle of news moves to the next major story. But his view is that with the flooding, everything should be done to avoid this happening while many continue to suffer.

Ahead of his team's match at Arsenal on Sunday, Havertz hopes his rallying call for the German floods cause is heard.

The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker added: "When natural disasters happen, you notice it and pay attention for a moment, but maybe lose sight of it again.

"The natural disaster on my doorstep changed my thinking. This is not a hurricane in Florida, it happened here, in the middle of Germany."

Ash Barty and Angelique Kerber set up a blockbuster Western and Southern Open semi-final – but Petra Kvitova suffered a fitness scare ahead of the US Open.

World number one Barty won 6-2 6-4 against French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who she also defeated in the fourth round during her Wimbledon title run last month.

Kerber and Kvitova then battled it out for the right to tackle Barty in the last four, but a quarter-final that was building momentum ended prematurely when two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova found a recent stomach problem too troublesome.

Kerber was 6-4 3-3 ahead in the contest, having recovered from being an early break down in the second set, getting her game together as 31-year-old Kvitova began to suffer.

During an injury timeout, which Kvitova called after the fifth game of the second set, the Czech received a massage to her abdominal region and played on briefly, before walking up to the net to concede the match.

It remains to be seen whether the setback in Cincinnati might have consequences for her involvement at Flushing Meadows, with the US Open due to begin on August 30.

Kvitova wrote on Twitter minutes after coming off court: "I stayed out there as long as I could. I have been struggling with a stomach issue for several days and unfortunately couldn't finish the match today. Good luck Angie - sorry to end it that way - and can't wait for the next battle with you."

Kerber said in an on-court interview: "Of course, this is not the way you would want to win the match. I hope Petra will recover as fast as possible and be ready for the US Open.

"I know she's a big fighter and fights until the last points, so I hope she is not too bad and hope she is fine really, really soon."

Kerber has now won 14 of her last 15 matches, with the exception being her Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Barty.

Barty got through in a more routine manner on Friday, albeit having to battle from a break down in the second set against the fast-rising Krejcikova, who has shot up from 65th in the world to a career high of number 10 this year.

Barty said: "Barbora served exceptionally well early in that second set and was able to take advantage of a service game of mine where I just hit too many second serves.

"I wanted to try and get a little bit more positive on her service games and then try to get myself in the points a little bit more. I'm happy to run away with that one in the end."

Mina Harigae and Georgia Hall shared the lead after the second round of the Women's Open at Carnoustie.

American Harigae carded a brilliant 67 on Friday to surge up the leaderboard, with three birdies in her first six holes setting up a strong day.

The 31-year-old had missed the cut in four of her seven majors on United Kingdom soil but ensured she would go into the weekend at the summit after a second successive birdie at the formidable 18th.

She sat alongside Hall at seven under par, the Englishwoman having shot a 69 despite a double bogey at the par-four 15th.

"I'm a much better golfer the last 12 months, I've been playing well," Harigae said. "I just feel like I'm in a good place.

"It was definitely a little softer out there and I thought it was a little breezier than when I played yesterday afternoon.

"So I didn't think it was easy conditions, but also I know it can be a lot tougher."

Kim Sei-young, one of the three to share the overnight lead after round one, was just a stroke further back, level with Lizette Salas.

World number one Nelly Korda and Madelene Sagstrom, who had matched Kim at five under on Thursday, each fell three strokes behind the leaders after second-round 73s.

The best round of the day belonged to Megan Khang, who made the cut at one under after a stunning round of 66 that included five birdies from the 11th to the 18th – a spectacular improvement on her opening-round 77.

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