An emotional Viktor Troicki apologised to his team-mates after declaring he "messed up in the crucial moments" of Serbia's Davis Cup defeat to Russia on Friday.

After the two nations had split the singles at one win apiece, they combined to play out an absorbing, see-saw doubles encounter for the right to face Canada in the last four.

Serbia's pairing of Troicki and Novak Djokovic failed on three occasions to get over the line, allowing Russian duo Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov to battle back from the brink and seal a dramatic victory.

Djokovic – who had beaten Khachanov earlier to level the tie – attempted to console his distraught compatriot on the court in the immediate aftermath, while members of the Serbia squad were unable to hold back the tears during a poignant post-match press conference.

For Troicki, the hero in his country's 2010 Davis Cup success against France, the result was tough to take.

"I never experienced such a moment in my career, in my life," Troicki told the media. "I let my team down and I apologise to them.

"We had chances to finish it. We didn't do it. I messed up in the crucial moments.

"God gave me once to be the hero, to win the Davis Cup in the deciding rubber. Now he took it away. I'm really, really disappointed in myself that I couldn't hold my focus until the end and finish."

Serbia had been hoping to send off Janko Tipsarevic on a winning note, the 35-year-old having already announced this year that he would retire after the new-look tournament in Spain.

Team captain Nenad Zimonjic admitted it was not the finish he wanted for a group of players he described as his country's golden generation.

"I see it as an end, because it is Janko's last match, but he's obviously going to be here for us all the way, not just for this tie and in the future, because we are really good friends," Zimonjic said.

"You dream maybe to go all the way, to celebrate with a victory, but sometimes it doesn’t happen what you want to happen.

"But the main thing that everybody knows here [is] how much we care for each other and love each other, and that's what got us here."

All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu has signed a new three-year, $50million deal with the Chicago White Sox.

Abreu last week agreed an initial $17.8m one-year contract extension, but that was expected to be extended.

The White Sox on Friday announced that the 32-year-old has committed to a deal that will earn him $11m next year, $16m in 2021 and $18m 2022.

Abreu will also receive a $5m signing bonus and $4m in deferred payments.

The Cuban led the American League with 123 RBIs this year, batting .284 with 38 doubles, 33 homers and 85 runs over 159 matches.

"I have to give a special thank you to [White Sox owner] Jerry Reinsdorf and all the people involved with the White Sox who made this possible," said Abreu."This is a dream come true for me and my family.

"To the fans, I told you I would come back. I never doubted it. Everybody knows the group of talented players that we have, and I want to help guide them and together make the Chicago White Sox a championship team."

Abreu's new contract was confirmed a day after the White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year contract.

Matthew Stafford will miss a third straight game for the Detroit Lions after head coach Matt Patricia confirmed the quarterback will not play against the Washington Redskins.

Quarterback Stafford previously missed the defeats to the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with a back injury, leaving the Lions with a 3-6-1 record.

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft had started the previous 136 games prior to this absence, with Jeff Driskel replacing him as starter.

"He [Stafford] won't be on the field," Patricia confirmed to the media ahead of the Week 12 trip to Washington, before praising the 31-year-old for continuing to demonstrate his leadership qualities despite being out of action.

"What Matthew has done is phenomenal. We have a lot of players that are maybe not out there for the week who help the players get ready," he added.

"He's done a great job at practice of being on the sidelines and going through the keys, going through the tendencies and going game plan with Jeff.

"He brings a lot of value to our team by just being there, just with his general presence. What he does as a leader for us is really important."

Stafford made clear on Thursday that he still hopes to return to action this season, even though Detroit's recent slump has pushed them out of the playoff picture.

"I love playing football," he told the media.

"I appreciate all the hard work that all the guys in this locker room and in this organisation put into going out there and trying to win games on Sunday and I love being a part of that."

Driskel has thrown for 478 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in back-to-back defeats for the Lions.

Nico Hulkenberg has ruled out retiring from Formula One but knows he will not be on the grid next season after being axed by Renault.

Esteban Ocon will take Hulkenberg's seat at the Enstone squad next year, partnering Daniel Ricciardo.

A move to Haas was mooted as a possible option for the German driver, but Romain Grosjean was retained along with Kevin Magnussen.

Williams are the only team not to have finalised their line-up for 2020, with Robert Kubica leaving after one year back in the sport as George Russell's team-mate.

Hulkenberg has accepted he is surplus to requirements, yet says he is not finished in the sport.

"It looks like, in all honesty, that there is no seat available now," he told Sky F1.

"I guess it [Williams] is not the right seat for me and the timing... I'm not the right person for them to be honest.

"I'm not retiring. I love Formula One, I love what we do here, I love the competition. I can live with it. I think 10 years is a long time and a fair share of Formula 1.

"But for sure I'm going to miss it next year when I have to watch the first race on TV."

Hulkenberg reiterated that reverting to being a reserve driver is not an option.

"To go and do that, when you're young and at the beginning, and I did that in 2011, I think that's the right and obvious thing to do," the 32-year-old said.

"To do that when more advanced in the career, it's kind of a hard one to take when you've raced so many years consecutively. That role, I'm not sure about."

Hulkenberg is 13th in the 2019 driver standings with 37 points ahead of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi on December 1.

Bath will seek specialist help to aid Joe Cokanasiga's recovery after the England international returned from the Rugby World Cup with a knee injury.

The Premiership club released a statement on Friday that said Cokanasiga will be "unable to begin a competitive campaign for the club", with no scheduled time announced for the wing's return to action.

"In order to provide Joe the best possible management plan and rehabilitation process, Bath's medical department are enlisting the services of world-leading specialists to ensure expert opinion is considered to deliver an optimal pathway to recovery," the statement read.

"The club's priority is to maximise his chances to perform at the very highest level."

The 22-year-old has won nine caps for England and played once at the World Cup, scoring two tries in the 45-7 win over the United States.

As well as Cokanasiga, Bath will also send Zach Mercer to see a specialist to discover the extent of the knee issue he suffered during the European Champions Cup game against Ulster.

Henry Thomas, meanwhile, will miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"Joe is a phenomenal talent and a powerful athlete, and we must manage him very carefully in the coming months to allow for the issues he has come back from Japan with to begin to be resolved," Stuart Hooper, the club's director of rugby, said.

"We have no doubt that Henry, Zach and Joe can come back stronger and our performance department will support them in every possible way to ensure they have the best rehabilitation and return to performance."

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is wary of being bitten by the "big dogs" chasing him as the battle for the Race to Dubai title hots up at the DP World Tour Championship.

Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead on 12 under at the halfway mark at Jumeirah Golf Estates after carding a three-under second round of 69 on Friday.

The Frenchman, who signed for a stunning 63 on day one in Dubai, led by seven strokes on the back nine but bogeyed the last after also dropping a shot at 15.

Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm are in a share of second place in what promises to be a dramatic tussle to be crowned European number one on Sunday, with the Englishman in pole position for that honour as it stands.

Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader heading into the season-ending tournament, has work to do at three under, while Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick are also in contention.

Rory McIlroy is six shots adrift of leader Lorenzo-Vera, who is braced for a tense weekend as he eyes a maiden European Tour triumph.

The world number 96 said: "Tactically I know what I have to do, and I know that the winds are going to be different this weekend.

"I'm not going to push more than what I'm doing now. I'm trying to trust my putter 100 per cent and that's what I can do.

"I've got a three-shot lead and it's better than three shots behind. It's just going to be stressful because it's big dogs behind me that are going to try to bite me, so it's going to be interesting."

Fleetwood, winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge last weekend, knows he must not suffer a lapse in concentration with so much at stake.

"It's just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes," he said. "There's a lot going on over the weekend; there's a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.

"There's a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that."

Andy Murray will not feature for Great Britain in their Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Germany on Friday after Kyle Edmund was once again picked for singles action.

Murray was rested for the Group E victory over Kazakhstan on Thursday that secured Great Britain's place in the knockout stages of the new-look tournament in Spain. 

Captain Leon Smith admitted after the 2-1 win that he was unsure if the Scot - who had laboured to a three-set victory over Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in his team's opening outing - would return to the line-up.

And Edmund, who played instead against Kazakhstan, recording an impressive victory over Mikhail Kukushkin, has retained his spot in the line-up.

His opponent in the opening match will be Philipp Kohlschreiber, with Dan Evans then going up against Jan-Lennard Struff.

If required, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski will once again team up for the doubles. Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies are scheduled to be their opponents.

The winners of the tie will go up against either Argentina or hosts Spain - who also meet in Friday's second session in Madrid - in the last four.

In the other half of the draw, Russia knocked out Novak Djokovic's Serbia courtesy of a hard-fought doubles win, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov saving three match points before eventually prevailing. Next up will be Canada, who qualified for the semi-finals on Thursday.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead in the DP World Tour Championship, while Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm boosted their chances of winning the Race to Dubai title on Friday.

Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a one-shot lead ahead of Rory McIlroy after signing for an opening 63 - the lowest first round in the history of the tournament.

The Frenchman led by a mammoth seven shots on the back nine at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but his advantage over Fleetwood and Rahm was reduced to three when he bogeyed the last hole.

Lorenzo-Vera, bidding to win a first European Tour title in what is the last event of the season, is 12 under after signing for a three-under 69 on the Earth Course.

The world number 96 started with back-to-back birdies and hit the turn in 33 after further gains at the seventh and eighth holes, but a second dropped shot of his round at 15 and another at 18 mean he is not sitting quite so pretty.

Fleetwood carded a four-under 68 and is course to be crowned European number one for a second time, a seventh birdie of the day at the final hole also enhancing his prospects of winning back-to-back titles.

The Englishman, who claimed the Nedbank Golf Challenge title last weekend, was seven adrift of Lorenzo-Vera when the leader chipped for a birdie at 14, but is well poised in a share of second place with Rahm.

Rahm sunk a putt from around 12 feet for an eagle-three at 18, recovering well on the back nine after a double-bogey at the eighth.

The Spaniard and Fleetwood both know they can be crowned Race to Dubai champion if they finish solo second, provided Bernd Wiesberger fails to shoot up the leaderboard.

Austrian Wiesberger started the season finale as the man to catch and will be guaranteed to fend off the rivals chasing him down if he finishes outright second, but is joint-13th following a 71.

Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick, the other two contenders to win the Race to Dubai, are in a share of 13th and 17th respectively.

McIlroy is six shots off the lead after a disappointing 74, while Tom Lewis sits five behind Lorenzo-Vera on seven under.

Floyd Mayweather Jr has announced he is coming of retirement in 2020 and will work with UFC president Dana White to deliver a "spectacular event".

The unbeaten five-weight world champion boxer caused a stir when he returned to the ring in 2017 to take on UFC star Conor McGregor in a blockbuster super welterweight bout in Las Vegas.

Having won that fight, Mayweather hung up his gloves once more – but the 42-year-old appears set for another comeback, if his Instagram posts are anything to go by.

In one post, Mayweather wrote alongside a picture of himself in boxing shorts with his hands taped: "Coming out of retirement in 2020."

In another, next to an image of him sitting with White, he added: "@danawhite and I working together again to bring the world another spectacular event in 2020."

Mayweather included 'boxing', 'UFC' and 'MMA' in his list of accompanying hashtags.

Although Mayweather has previously dismissed the idea of adding to his tally of 50 professional boxing fights, he has expressed a willingness to participate in money-spinning exhibition matches.

Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoyed an historic performance as the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 137-129 in the NBA.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo posted his second triple-double of the season via 24 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo became the first Bucks player with a 20-point, 15-rebound and 15-assist game.

Bucks team-mate Eric Bledsoe added 30 points and six assists as Milwaukee improved to 12-3 for the season following six straight wins.

The Trail Blazers – playing without Damian Lillard – lost their third consecutive game, despite a game-high 37 points from CJ McCollum.

After scoring 10 points on debut, 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans upstaged the Phoenix Suns 124-121 on the road.

Brandon Ingram (28), JJ Redick (26) and Jrue Holiday (23) combined for 77 points in Phoenix, where the Pelicans extended their winning streak to three games.

Kelly Oubre Jr. led the Suns with 25 points, while Devin Booker had 19 of his own.

 

Rockets at Clippers

On a day the Los Angeles Lakers travel to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Boston Celtics take on the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers host the slumping San Antonio Spurs, Friday's showdown in Los Angeles stands out. Barring anymore load management, it will be the Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and Paul George against Houston Rockets pair James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

The Houston Texans claimed sole possession of first place in the NFL's AFC South with a 20-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins starred as the Texans (7-4) moved clear in the AFC South on Thursday.

Texans quarterback Watson threw two touchdown passes to Hopkins and finished with 298 yards against the Colts (6-5).

The Texans, who were humbled 41-7 by the Baltimore Ravens last week, trailed by four points early in the fourth quarter in Houston.

But the Texans rallied – Hopkins stretching out for a 30-yard reception as Houston moved 20-17 ahead of Indianapolis.

Houston's defence then stepped up and stopped the Colts on fourth-and-seven with three minutes remaining.

There was some late controversy 50 seconds from the end, when Watson ran the ball and had it punched out.

The Colts appealed for the recovered fumble but there was no review and the Texans kept the ball, eventually running out the clock.

After the game, the NFL said, "there was no clear visual evidence of a recovery by the defence".

Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was 16 of 25 for 129 yards, while he rushed for a touchdown.

The Chicago White Sox have signed free-agent All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Chicago and Grandal agreed on a four-year, $73million contract – the MLB franchise announced on Thursday.

Grandal, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2019 season and starred en route to the wild-card game.

The two-time All-Star – who started his career with the San Diego Padres before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 – posted career highs in homers (28) and RBIs (77) last season.

Grandal also led all catchers in games played (153) and was second in extra-base hits (56) and total bases (240).

"There's a lot of young talent,'' Grandal, who will receive $18.25m per year from 2020-2023, said of the White Sox. "The way I looked at it, this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so.''

"He's such a quality guy," White Sox president Ken Williams said of Grandal. "And for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path, and to say, 'I want to be a part of that and I'm going to commit to it early so we can move on to the next thing heading into the winter meetings,' [it] just shows what kind of character we're talking about."

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn added: "Yasmani was absolutely toward the top of our list in terms of offseason priorities. Obviously he was someone we acted on quickly."

Webb Simpson carded a seven-under-par 65 to lead the RSM Classic after the opening round.

Simpson was almost flawless as the American golfer earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.

Playing on Sea Island's Plantation Course – the easier of the two courses used this week – Simpson overcame a slow start, which saw him bogey his second hole.

Simpson was one over par before playing his final 13 holes in eight under to take the first-round lead ahead of Cameron Tringale and Lee Kyoung-hoon – who each played on the Seaside Course – and Rhein Gibson.

"He told me, no matter how I started out, to stay patient," Simpson said of caddie Paul Tesori's advice. "I think he knew scores would be good over there [on the Plantation Course]. He helped me weather the storm."

Simpson – a five-time PGA Tour champion without a win since May 2018 – carded six of his eight birdies on his back nine, closing out the round with three in a row.

"It's been awhile since I've won," 2012 U.S. Open winner Simpson said. "I've given myself chances here. Starting this week, all I wanted was a chance Sunday because I do feel comfortable here."

Scott Harrington, Tyler Duncan, Brian Harman, Alex Cejka, Rory Sabbatini, Scott Brown, Sebastian Munoz, Nick Taylor and Hank Lebioda are five under heading into the second round.

Meanwhile, defending champion Charles Howell III is five strokes off the pace.

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil sent Australia packing as Alex de Minaur's singles victory proved fruitless in the first Davis Cup quarter-final.

With Pospisil defeating John Millman 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in the opening match, Australia relied on a comeback from De Minaur to haul themselves level.

Next Gen ATP Finals runner up De Minaur – Australia's star player in Thursday's tie with Nick Kyrgios sitting out – did it the hard way, coming from a set down to beat Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 7-5 and tee up a deciding doubles encounter.

But Canada were too good in the doubles – Pospisil picking up where he left off while Shapovalov bounced back from his loss in style via a 6-4 6-4 win.

A break of serve in the opening game against Australian counterparts Jordan Thompson and John Peers paved the way for the pair to claim the first set with ease.

Thompson and Peers looked set to take the match all the way when they earned a 3-0 lead in set two, only for Shapovalov and Pospisil to restore parity before pushing on to seal progression with their first match point.

Serbia play Russia, Argentina face Spain and Great Britain go up against Germany in the other quarter-final ties, which will be played on Friday.

Roberto Bautista Agut has withdrawn from Spain's Davis Cup team following the death of his father on Thursday.

Bautista Agut had played two singles matches for Spain at this week's tournament in Madrid, losing to Andrey Rublev on Tuesday before defeating Croatia's Nikola Mektic on Wednesday.

However, Spain will be without the 29-year-old – who is their number two player behind world number one Rafael Nadal – for the rest of the competition.

"We want to accompany Roberto in these hard times. He is an exceptional tennis player who symbolises the highest values ​​of tennis and sports," Royal Spanish Tennis Federation​ (RFET) president Miguel Diaz said in a statement.

"He is an example, not only as an athlete, but also as a person. I want to transfer in my name all the support of Spanish tennis."

Five-time Davis Cup champions Spain face Argentina in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Antonio Brown has filed his initial response to accusations of sexual assault and rape made against him in a civil lawsuit by his former personal trainer Britney Taylor.

Brown, who was released by the New England Patriots in September, has always firmly denied the allegations.

The 31-year-old has now officially filed his response and counterclaims in Broward County Circuit Court, Florida.

A statement issued to Omnisport by Brown's lawyer Camille E. Blanton read: "In his pleading, Mr. Brown categorically denies each and every allegation contained in the Taylor complaint.

"Additionally, Mr. Brown provided numerous significant facts that were omitted from Taylor's complaint, including Taylor's communications to Brown revealing that Taylor was open to a romantic relationship with Brown, Taylor's travel from Memphis to South Florida 12 days after the alleged 2018 sexual assault, Taylor's arrival at Mr. Brown's residence at 2:42am on the morning of her 2018 return South Florida trip, Taylor's continued communications with Brown after the alleged rape, including a copious amount of text message (SMS) exchanges with Mr. Brown in the hours after Taylor's engagement on May 28, 2018.

"Mr. Brown is committed to his continued aggressive response to Taylor's false allegations.

"Not only does Mr. Brown seek to clear his name, but he also desires to make a statement that there is not an open season to extort professional athletes."

Since leaving the Patriots, former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Brown has claimed he has quit the NFL on several occasions, though he has subsequently refuted those comments.

Great Britain captain Leon Smith has not yet decided whether Andy Murray will be involved in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

Murray – who overcame Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) on Wednesday – was rested for Great Britain's 2-1 Group E victory over Kazakhstan on Thursday.

The tie was level at 1-1 heading into a decisive doubles rubber, with Neal Skupski and Murray's older brother Jamie coming out on top 6-1 6-4.

And Smith says former world number one Murray may not feature on Friday against Group C winners Germany.

"Andy is a team player and understands what is best for the team," Smith told reporters in Madrid.

"There is no awkwardness about who is going to play, who isn't going to play. It is a good, open and honest discussion. That's what we will do again.

"It might be one of the more difficult decisions I've had to make, but it is also better when you have got the quality we've got to be able to have those discussions.

"We can look at who is in the best physical condition, and look at the match-ups again, linking those factors together to do what is best for the team.

"Because we are scheduled tomorrow evening, it gives us time to see if everybody is right and how they feel."

Page 1 of 221
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.