The Chicago White Sox won in walk-off fashion on Wednesday as they defeated the Minnesota Twins 9-8 in extra innings.

Twins designated hitter Luis Arraez was at the top of his game, collecting four hits from five at-bats, and he was active early on as he knocked a lead-off single and came around to score the first run of the contest.

Jose Abreu tied things up for the White Sox in the bottom of the first inning with his RBI double, before the Twins added another pair of runs in the second inning, with Arraez driving one in this time through a base hit.

In his return from the 60-day injured list, Chicago's Eloy Jimenez tied things at 3-3 with a two-run homer in the fourth frame, and it would be the start of a string of home runs.

Minnesota's Jorge Polanco hit a two-run shot in the top of the fifth, which was matched by the White Sox's Luis Robert's two-run blast later in the same inning, tying it at 5-5 after five.

Polanco crushed his second long-ball of the game in the seventh inning, before Jimenez again grabbed the run straight back due to a Twins fielding error.

Minnesota's Gio Urshela would have felt he had given his team the win with a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning, but the White Sox simply refused to go away, with Andrew Vaughn matching it with his own two-run jack to send it to an extra frame.

Jose Ruiz was able to keep the Twins from scoring in the top of the inning, setting up Leury Garcia to be the hero with a walk-off base hit to bring home the winning run.

Ohtani does it again on the mound

Reigning American League MVP and Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani struck out another 10 batters and drove in two runs himself in his side's 5-2 away win against the Miami Marlins.

Ohtani finished with no earned runs from seven innings, giving up just two hits and three walks in 100 pitches, and with the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, he came through with a two-out base hit to bring home two runs.

It is his third start in a row with at least 10 strikeouts, and the fifth time in his past 10 starts. He is eighth in the majors in strikeouts with 111 from 14 starts – he is also the only pitcher in the top 25 to have started less than 15 games.

His strikeouts-per-nine-innings number of 12.3 is the second-best figure of all starters. With the bat, Ohtani is also 14th in the league in home runs, having sent 18 balls over the fence this season.

Judge knocks grand slam in Yankees rout

AL MVP favourite Aaron Judge continued his impressive season with a grand slam in the New York Yankees' 16-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yankees fought their way to a 5-0 lead through seven innings as Luis Severino was lights-out on the mound and Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka all hit solo home runs.

In the eighth inning, after a single and two walks loaded the bases, Judge connected on his 30th home run of the season to blow the game open. Judge is the only player with more home runs than Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber (27).

Aaron Judge is in the midst of a stellar season that is only driving up the price of his next contract for the New York Yankees or whichever team ultimately signs the slugger. 

Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner said that even if negotiations with Judge take place during this season, the team won’t release details or give any public updates until after the season is over.  

Judge turned down an eight-year contract in the range of $230million before the season, and said he wouldn’t negotiate again until after the season. He signed a one-year, $19 million deal last month that avoided an arbitration hearing. 

Judge could become the most sought after free agent in years if he hits the market, especially after this season during which he is batting .281 with a major-league leading 29 home runs with 60 RBIs.  He is the biggest reason why the Yankees lead baseball with a 58-23 record – matching their second-best 81-game start in franchise history – and are in complete control of the American League East.  

"No matter what happens during the season, we’re not going to give any updates. We’re just not going to," Steinbrenner said Wednesday. "I completely agree with Aaron, and still do, that in no way, shape or form can this be a distraction. So the sole focus is winning a championship. That’s all anyone needs to worry about right now." 

Steinbrenner said the Yankees have "no regrets" about the financial terms of their initial offer.  

"We made an offer that I feel was a very good one. It was based on the numbers, of course, but it was also based, in part, on what he means to the organization. We just didn’t get a deal done." 

Rafael Nadal says he does not know if he will be able to play in his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after aggravating an abdominal injury during his five-set victory over Taylor Fritz.

Nadal, 36, has been vocal about his struggles physically during the tournament, but had been determined to push through the pain in an effort to keep his chances at the calendar slam alive, having already won this year's Australian Open and French Open.

During his quarter-final win against Fritz, family members were imploring Nadal to retire from the match as his clear discomfort appeared to be getting the better of him at times.

He admitted in his post-match media appearance that his condition worsened during the match, saying he will prioritise his health if he has to make a tough decision.

"I don't know [if I will be able to play] – I am going to have some more tests, but it is difficult to know," he said.

"I had these feelings for a couple of days, but without a doubt, today was the worst day. There has been an important increase of pain and limitation.

"I am worried. I don't have a decision. I need to know different opinions and I need to check everything the proper way.

"There is something more important than winning Wimbledon, and that is health."

The winner between Nadal and Kyrgios will face the winner of Novak Djokovic's semi-final against Cameron Norrie in the decider.

Zion Williamson received the ultimate present on his 22nd birthday. 

As a thank you, he wants to deliver a championship to the New Orleans Pelicans. 

Williamson officially signed his five-year, $231million rookie max extension with the Pelicans at a YMCA in New Orleans where he was hosting a camp.  

He signed the deal on Wednesday, the same day he turned 22, and sitting alongside Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon, executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin and coach Willie Green, Williamson – not surprisingly – said this is the number one birthday he has ever had. 

"For the Pelicans to give me this birthday gift, I'm not going to let them down," Williamson said. 

A year ago on his birthday, Williamson found out he broke his foot forcing him to miss the entire 2021-22 season. Now that he has been cleared to play, he has lofty goals. 

"I want to prove that I'm a winner, it's as simple as that," he said. "The ultimate goal is to win a championship. And I feel like that's what we're all striving for." 

The Pelicans made the playoffs this past season without Williamson and took the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns to six games before being ousted. 

With Williamson in the fold, the hope is he can help the franchise take the next step. 

"It's gonna all come together at some point throughout the course of the season," Green said. "And when it does, I think we can be a scary team."

Williamson has only appeared in a mere 85 games since being the top pick of the 2019 NBA draft, but he has been outstanding when healthy, averaging 25.7 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting just over 60 per cent. 

Since his rookie season, Williamson has been instrumental to New Orleans' success. The Pelicans have won 47.1 per cent of their games while averaging 116.4 points in the 85 games Williamson has played, compared to winning 40.4 per cent of the games and an average of 111.1 points in the contests he has missed.  

"Adding [Zion] back on the court with the group that we have is going to be a lot of fun but also really dangerous for the entire league and all of the 29 teams that have to face us night in and night out," Langdon said. "We are incredibly excited about that."

Suiting up alongside Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, Williamson gives the Pelicans another scoring threat making the offense even more dangerous. New Orleans' offense thrived after acquiring McCollum last February, averaging 115.9 points after the trade compared to an average of 105.9 points in their first 54 games. 

"We have an opportunity to be able to run toward sustained success for quite a long time," Griffin said. "We're young, we're talented, and most importantly – we are very hungry." 

Bradley Beal's five-year, $251million contract with the Washington Wizards includes a no-trade clause that makes the three-time All-Star guard the only player in the NBA to have a "true no trade clause", according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. 

Marks also says Beal is the 10th player in NBA history to have the clause in a deal, joining LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and John Stockton. 

Beal was eligible to negotiate the clause because he has been in the league for at least eight seasons and spent at least the previous four campaigns with his current team.

He has been with the Wizards since they selected him third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. 

Beal's 25.8 points per game since the 2016-17 season is the 10th-highest scoring average in the NBA over that span. He was limited to 40 games in 2021-22 before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left wrist. 

Thomas Bryant is once again a Los Angeles Laker after the free agent centre signed a one-year contract with the team on Wednesday. 

A second-round pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft, Bryant was then traded to the Lakers on draft night but only appeared in 15 games with Los Angeles, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds. 

He was then waived by the Lakers following his rookie year and signed with the Washington Wizards, where he has spent the past four seasons. 

His last two years with Washington were marred by injury, however, as he appeared in a combined 37 games due to a torn ACL suffered in January 2021.  

Prior to the injury, Bryant was off to an encouraging start to the 2020-21 season, averaging 14.3 points on 64.8-per-cent shooting, along with 6.1 rebounds in starting the first 10 games for Washington. 

Bryant, who turns 25 years old on July 31, played well at times in his return last January, averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 27 games. 

The Lakers are hopeful after another off-season of training that he will be able to regain his prior form and provide frontcourt depth.

Rafael Nadal is hopeful he will overcome an abdominal injury that plagued him during his victory over Taylor Fritz in time for Friday's Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

The 22-time grand slam winner recovered from behind to edge Fritz 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) in a thrilling contest on Centre Court on Wednesday.

Nadal called for a medical time-out in the second set and never fully recovered from the issue, with his movement restricted throughout the four-hour-and-20-minute battle.

However, Nadal showed incredible mental and physical resilience to dig deep and see off first-time grand slam quarter-finalist Fritz and set up a showdown with Kyrgios.

Speaking in his on-court interview, the Spaniard admitted he was not entirely sure he would be able to see out his quarter-final tie after playing through the pain barrier.

"The body in general is fine," he said. "The abdominal [area] is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit different.

"For a lot of moments I was thinking I will not be able to finish the match, but the court energy was something else.

"I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches, in front of you guys, I can’t thank you enough. It has been a tough afternoon. [Fritz] is a great player, all the credit to him.

"He's been great the whole season. But from my personal side it was not an easy match at all, so I'm just very happy to be in the semi-final.

"I hope to be ready to play it. Nick is a great player on all surfaces but especially on grass, he is having a great grass-court season.

"It's going to be a big challenge and I'm going to need to be at my 100 per cent to have a chance, and that is what I'm going to try to do."

 

Nadal has now won all eight quarter-finals contested at Wimbledon and is on a 19-match winning run at grand slams – three short of his own record of 21, which he set in 2010.

The victory over Fritz marked only the second time Nadal has won a fifth-set tie-break at a major, having previously prevailed against Dominic Thiem at the 2018 US Open.

It was also the first time since the same stage four years ago, against Juan Martin Del Potro, that Nadal has come through a five-set match at Wimbledon.

He has two days to recover ahead of facing Kyrgios, who had earlier defeated Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach a first grand slam semi-final.

"Tomorrow I'm going to have some more tests. But it's difficult to know [how I'll feel]," Nadal said when providing a further update on his fitness.

"It's obvious that I am not the kind of player that I didn't have a lot of things [injuries] in my tennis career, so I am used to have things and I am used to hold pain and to play with problems.

"Knowing that, when I feel something like I felt, that is because something is not going the proper way. But let's see. 

"It's obvious that today is nothing new. I had these feelings for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day.

"There has been an important increase of pain and limitation. I managed to win that match. Let's see what's going on tomorrow."

Nadal leads Kyrgios 6-3 in their previous nine career matches, including victories in two of their three meetings in majors.

Tiger Woods is unsure how long he will be able to play elite-level golf as he prepares for his 22nd Open appearance, having missed last month's U.S. Open in order to ensure his fitness for another outing at St Andrews.

Fifteen-time major champion Woods made a sensational return at the Masters in April, defying the odds to make the cut after suffering serious leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

The 46-year-old has won three Open titles, the most recent of which came in 2006 when he edged out fellow American Chris DiMarco for a two-shot victory, becoming the first man since Tom Watson in 1982 and 1983 to win the tournament in consecutive years.

And Woods says missing last month's U.S. Open, won by Matt Fitzpatrick at Brookline, was a decision he took in order to protect his participation at St Andrews, where he won Open titles in both 2000 and 2005.

"The plan was to play the U.S. Open, but physically I was not able to do that," he told BBC Sport.

"There's no way physically I could have done that. I had some issues with my leg, and it would have put [The Open] in jeopardy, and so there's no reason to do that."

Woods also said he experiences "very difficult days when moving off the couch is a hell of a task, and that's just the way it is."

As the golf legend looks forward to The Open, which begins on July 14, he accepts his window to play at the majors is closing due to his injury troubles.

Asked how long he could continue at the top level, Woods said: "I don't know. I really don't.

"If you asked me last year whether I would play golf again, all of my surgeons would have said no. But here I am playing two major championships this year.

"I will always be able to play golf. Whether it's this leg, or someone else's leg, or a false leg, or different body pieces that have been fused, I'll always be able to play.

"Now if you say play at a championship level, well, that window is definitely not as long as I would like it to be."

The Carolina Panthers have agreed to acquire former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2024.

Mayfield was expected to return as Cleveland's starting quarterback next season before the Browns surprisingly signed Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March.

Cleveland then signed Watson, who sat out all of last season amid allegations of sexual misconduct, to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract.

With Watson's availability for the upcoming season still unclear, there was a slight chance Mayfield could remain with the Browns despite his trade demand.

But that ended Wednesday, and Mayfield will now head to a Panthers team that has not reached the postseason since 2017.

Mayfield went 29-30 in 59 regular-season starts with the Browns after they selected him No. 1 overall in 2018.

He led Cleveland to its first playoff appearance in 18 years in 2020 as the Browns reached the AFC Divisional Round before losing to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

That was Cleveland's only playoff appearance during Mayfield's tenure.

Now, Mayfield will compete with Sam Darnold for the Panthers' starting job, with the winner of that battle getting to face the Browns at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in Week 1.

 

 

Nick Kyrgios was in disbelief after reaching his first grand slam semi-final with a Wimbledon victory over Cristian Garin, suggesting his best chances of major success had been wasted.

Kyrgios produced an impressive display on No. 1 Court to down his Chilean opponent 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5), becoming the first unseeded Wimbledon semi-finalist since Rainer Schuttler and Marat Safin in 2008.

The Australian, who had lost two previous grand slam quarter-finals (at Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open the following year) has courted controversy during a box-office run at SW19, spitting in the direction of a spectator during his opener last week before labelling Stefanos Tsitsipas "soft" after an ill-tempered third-round match.

And the 27-year-old, who took a moment to sit and savour his win before conducting his court-side interview, thought he had squandered any chance of grand slam success earlier in his career.

"Amazing atmosphere out here again, I just never thought I'd be at a semi-final of a grand slam, honestly, I thought my ship had sailed," he said.

"You know, I didn't go about things great earlier in my career, and may have wasted that little window.

"But I'm just really proud of the way I've come back out here, and of my team."

Kyrgios put the rows and trick-shots to one side during a professional performance, serving 17 aces and saving eight of the nine break points conjured by Garin.

Asked how he had found consistency without working with a full-time coach, Kyrgios said: "I don't have a coach, I would never put that burden on someone!

"Each and every one of my team plays a very important role, [but] I feel like no-one knows my tennis like I do. 

"I've been playing this sport since I was seven, and to reach a semi-final of a grand slam… I'm pretty happy."

Kyrgios' clash with Garin represented Wimbledon's first quarter-final between two unseeded players since 2008 (Arnaud Clement v Schuttler), and the Australian said he never felt in control against a tough opponent despite posting a straight-sets win.

"Honestly, I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot, he's a hell of a player, he's obviously feeling very confident, it's been a hell of a tournament from him to make the quarter-finals," he continued.

"I felt I got a bit lucky on a couple of break points here and there, it could easily have been him standing here.

"I'll just take that and prepare for my next match.

"I don't want to think about the semi-final just yet, there's a lot to be done from now until then. We'll go back, my dad will cook dinner as always, we'll watch a movie and just chill out. That's it."

Rafael Nadal's hopes of landing a first calendar slam remain alive after he dug deep to edge Taylor Fritz in a fifth-set tie-break and reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

Competing at this stage of a grand slam for a 47th time – compared to a first time for Fritz – Nadal battled through the pain barrier to win 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) on Centre Court.

Nadal, who was regularly checked over by his physio, will now face Nick Kyrgios as he looks to add to the Australian Open and French Open crowns already won this year.

Fritz had not dropped a single set en route to the final eight, but facing Nadal initially appeared a challenge too far when the Spaniard broke his serve in the opening game.

However, the number 11 seed responded brilliantly by whittling off five games in a row – breaking Nadal twice – to take the first set and lay down a real marker.

He could not carry that momentum into the second set, with Nadal racing into a 3-0 lead, but the 22-time grand slam winner was struggling with an abdominal injury at that point.

With mistakes again creeping into his game, Nadal called for a medical time-out when pegged back to 4-3, though he was able to successfully serve out the set to level up.

Fritz, who ended Nadal's 20-0 match streak in their most recent meeting in the Indian Wells final earlier this year, took a relatively one-sided third set to regain the lead.

Both players struggled to hold in a tense fourth set, which was tied at 5-5 with the serve in Fritz's favour, only for Nadal to show incredible resolve to break and force a decider.

The final set went the way of the serve until a mammoth seventh game when, at the fourth time of asking, Nadal took his big opportunity, yet the fearless Fritz hit back in the next game as the match went the distance.

But it was Nadal who held his nerve in the tie-break, with a stunning cross-court forehand seeing him break Fritz's serve for the first of five points in a row to get over the line in a match spanning four hours and 20 minutes.

 

Data slam: Nadal taken the distance

Nadal's victory was just his second ever in a fifth-set tie-break at a grand slam, having previously prevailed against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2018.

The Spaniard, who remains on course to meet Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, now has 19 straight grand slam wins in 2022 – three short of his own record of 21, which he set in 2010.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 56/35
Fritz – 56/42

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 19/3
Fritz – 5/7

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 8/14
Fritz – 7/14

Simon Clarke admitted he surprised even himself after edging out Taco van der Hoorn to win an action-packed stage five of the 2022 Tour de France.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider landed the victory from the breakaway on the cobbles of Arenberg on Wednesday, a day in which the General Classification was shaken up.

Jumbo-Visma endured a day to forget in the north-east of France, with Primoz Roglic crashing late on to see his title hopes dented and Wout Van Aert also losing ground.

While Roglic finished just under three minutes off the pace, race leader Van Aert recovered from an early crash of his own to finish just 13 seconds behind rival Tadej Pogacar.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, seeking a third Tour de France crown, rode clear of the main field to shake up the GC standings.

The day ultimately belonged to Clarke, though, with the Australian beating Van der Hoorn in a photo finish in a dramatic 157-kilometre race from Lille that went the distance.

Five men broke away from the pack and Clarke, who recently contemplated early retirement, dug deep to nudge his wheel over the line for his first Tour de France triumph.

"After the winter I had when I had no team, to then have Israel ring me and say we'll give you a chance, it gives you a reality check to make the most of every chance," Clarke said.

"I still can't believe I got it on the line. Taco was well ahead of me with less than 50m to go, both legs were camping and I just lined up the biggest throw I could possibly do.

"I just had to pray it was enough. I need to watch the replay – I still don't quite believe it!"

 

Roglic concedes ground on Pogacar

The leading group was reduced to five men with around 26km to go and it was Clarke who saw the job through ahead of Van der Hoorn, with Edvald Boasson Hagen rounding off the podium.

Stage five was a big one in terms of the GC, with defending champion Pogacar making up two minutes on Roglic to underline his status as favourite for another title.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) 3:13:35
2. Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:02
4. Neilson Powless (EF Education–EasyPost) +0.04
5. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) +0.30


CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 16:17:22
2. Neilson Powless (EF Education–EasyPost) +0:13
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:14

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 178
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 126
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 86

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 11
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1

Nick Kyrgios wasted little time in booking a first career grand slam as he outclassed Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach the last four of Wimbledon.

The Australian, a beaten quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015's Australian Open, dominated en route to a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win in the tournament's first quarter-final between two unseeded players since 2008 (Arnaud Clement v Rainer Schuttler).

Kyrgios has courted controversy on multiple occasions over the last fortnight, spitting in the direction of a fan in the opening round before winning a bad-tempered clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in round three, but he put the theatrics to one side in clinching a last-four spot on No. 1 Court.

Garin started strongly as he broke to love in the contest's opening game, but Kyrgios, energised after producing one of the shots of the tournament when stooping for a scarcely believable forehand winner, broke back shortly after.

After overcoming a back-and-forth ninth game to record another break, Kyrgios served the opener out to love before moving through the gears in the second, which he wrapped up in 38 minutes to extend his lead.

Kyrgios's fine serving allowed him to take control of the contest, with his 17 aces in the match moving him clear of John Isner (114) as the player with the most aces at Wimbledon this year (120).

The Australian lost his way for much of the third set, producing a series of unforced errors to give Garin hope, but the Chilean's failure to convert any of his last eight break points saw Kyrgios force a tie-break.

Kyrgios rediscovered his form in the breaker to see out the win, setting up a last-four meeting with either Taylor Fritz or Rafael Nadal.

Data Slam: Kyrgios flying the flag after making quick work of Garin

Kyrgios' win ensured he became the first male Australian player to reach Wimbledon's semi-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

Having being taken to five sets on two occasions in West London this year (by Paul Jubb and Brandon Nakashima), the 27-year-old enjoyed a more comfortable outing on Wednesday when extending the best major run of his career.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Garin 30/23
Kyrgios 35/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Garin 2/5
Kyrgios 17/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Garin 1/9
Kyrgios 3/6

Simona Halep believes she is playing her best tennis since winning Wimbledon in 2019 after returning to the All England Club semi-finals.

The former world number one is enjoying her first SW19 campaign since that triumph three years ago, with the coronavirus pandemic and a calf injury delaying her return.

The final in 2019 was Halep's fifth at a major, but she has not been back to that stage since.

Now, having swatted aside Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 in the last eight for a 12th consecutive victory at Wimbledon – the longest sequence since 20 straight Serena Williams successes between 2015 and 2018 – she is just one win away.

Halep explained after the Anisimova match that confidence was key, having proven her game was back at a high level in reaching six semi-finals in 2022 – second only to Iga Swiatek (eight) on the WTA Tour.

Three of those last-four appearances have now been on grass, with Johanna Konta in 2017 the last player to achieve that feat in a calendar year.

"Definitely I've played the best tennis [since 2019]," Halep said in her on-court interview. "I struggled a lot last year; now, I'm just trying to build my confidence back.

"The tennis is here, so I just have to believe. I've started to do that, and it feels good."

Asked how high her confidence was now, she replied with a smile: "It's good."

Halep has reached the last four without dropping a set, although that spotless record was briefly threatened by Anisimova, who was a double break down in the second set before breaking back and then leading 40-0 on the Romanian's serve.

Yet Halep dug in to serve out the match and avoid a decider against an opponent with a Tour-leading 12 three-set wins this season.

"I'm very emotional right now, because it means a lot to be back in the semis," Halep said.

"I played a tough opponent today; she could crash the ball in the end, and I didn't know actually what to do.

"But I just believed in myself and said that I had to stay there, strong on my legs – they helped me today – and I believed until the end that I could win."

Elena Rybakina sealed her first grand slam semi-final appearance in impressive fashion as she recovered from a set down to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-2 6-3 in Wimbledon's last eight. 

Rybakina was on the back foot after going a set and a break down on No. 1 Court, but the big-serving 23-year-old quickly shifted through the gears to claim a routine triumph and tee up a last-four clash with Simona Halep.

In doing so, she became the first female Kazakh player to reach a grand slam semi-final in the Open Era, with players from the country having lost on each of their previous eight major quarter-final appearances.

Tomljanovic made a terrific start, moving well and winning 85 per cent of first-serve points as she built on a third-game break to take the opener with an impressive showing.

But after being put under pressure by another Tomljanovic break, Rybakina came roaring back to level the contest, winning 11 consecutive points to clinch the second set as the momentum swung her way.

A reinvigorated Rybakina broke again early in the decider as she took seven successive games and, although she had to wait to seal victory after the duo traded breaks, eventually converted her second match point to continue her best Wimbledon run.

Data Slam: Rybakina serves up a treat

Rybakina came into this contest having served more aces than any other player on the WTA circuit in 2022 (197), and Tomljanovic was powerless to resist as she hit another 15 on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old has now made (44) aces at Wimbledon this year, more than any other female player.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Tomljanovic 14/21
Rybakina 34/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Tomljanovic 1/1
Rybakina 15/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Tomljanovic 3/9
Rybakina 5/9

Simona Halep's remarkable return to Wimbledon continued with a 6-2 6-4 win over Amanda Anisimova on Centre Court to reach the semi-finals.

Former world number one Halep took the title at the All England Club in 2019 but had not been back since, with coronavirus wrecking the 2020 grass-court season before she missed its entirety in 2021 due to injury.

But it is as if the 30-year-old – backed by new coach Patrick Mouratoglou – had never been away, with Anisimova the victim of a ruthless display on Wednesday.

Anisimova might have hoped the omens were positive, given her only prior quarter-final win in a major came against Halep at the 2019 French Open, but she could hardly have been surprised by her opponent's dominance on this surface; Halep beat Anisimova in the last eight in Bad Homburg last month.

The American soon bowed to the pressure generated by Halep's return, losing five games in a row after initially holding to love. Halep seized her first two break point opportunities as Anisimova twice aimed tired shots into the net from the back of the court.

A cross-court backhand from Halep fended off Anisimova's first opening, ensuring the Romanian eased through the opener before the second set followed a familiar theme.

Anisimova held comfortably to start but then again found Halep resolute, falling 0-40 down and eventually going a break behind with a wayward forehand. Once more it was a double break when an Anisimova drop shot fell some way short.

Anisimova belatedly forced Halep back as she served for the match, taking the second of two break points and then remarkably claiming a 40-0 lead against the serve next time out.

However, Halep, having briefly lost control, recovered her composure and was able to celebrate when Anisimova blasted wide.

Data slam: Anisimova helpless against Halep on grass

Anisimova has won 12 matches in three sets this season, the joint-most on the WTA Tour, but a fightback always appeared unlikely against her imperious opponent.

After almost three years away from competitive grass-court action, Halep has returned in formidable form. In three tournaments on grass in 2022, she has reached three semi-finals. The last player to make a trio of such appearances in a single calendar year was Johanna Konta in 2017.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Halep – 11/6
Anisimova – 13/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Halep – 3/1
Anisimova – 0/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 4/6
Anisimova – 1/8 

The WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai has again been cancelled "due to ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions", the PGA Tour has announced.

The event was last played in 2019, when Rory McIlroy took the title.

But the breakout of coronavirus in 2020 denied McIlroy the opportunity to defend his crown, before the tournament could not be held again the following year.

While the PGA Tour is now back in full swing, remaining COVID restrictions in China will again prevent the WGC-HSBC from taking place.

The Tour announced the Bermuda Championship would be played with full FedEx Cup points and an elevated purse of $6.5million.

Australia's Darcy Swain will miss the Wallabies' final two tour games with England after he was banned for a headbutt that saw him dismissed in the first Test.

The Brumbies lock was sent off in the first half for clashing heads with Jonny May, leaving the hosts to play the remainder of the match a man down in Perth.

Their numerical disadvantage did not prove costly after a dramatic 30-28 win over the tourists at Optus Stadium, but Swain will now play no role in the next two Tests after World Rugby upheld his red card.

"Having acknowledged mitigating factors, including the player’s acknowledgement of foul play, clean disciplinary record, conduct at the hearing and expression of remorse, the committee granted the player full mitigation of 50 per cent," the committee said in a statement.

"The committee further determined that given the above off-field mitigating factors and that a three-week sanction would be wholly disproportionate given the level and nature of the offence, the sanction was further reduced by an extra week."

Swain, who celebrated his birthday earlier this week, can still appeal against the decision, which will otherwise keep him out of matches against Eddie Jones' side in Brisbane on July 9 and Sydney on July 16.

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