Barbora Krejcikova has won her first Wimbledon title after going the distance against Jasmine Paolini in the final on Saturday.

After a scare in the second set, the Czech rallied in a tight decider to win 6-2 2-6 6-4 in just under two hours on Centre Court.

Krejcikova could not have hoped for a better start as she asserted her dominance with a vital break in the first game.

Though Paolini successfully defended two break points during her next serve, she struggled to match her opponent's intensity as Krejcikova raced to a 5-1 advantage.

Paolini came out on a mission in the second set, though, with the Italian reeling off three games in a row.

A second break for Paolini forced the decider, and it was not until the seventh game of that set that Krejcikova found the edge.

A gripping final game swung one way and then the other, Paolini clawing back two championship points either side seeing a break attempt of her own reeled in by Krejcikova.

Yet it was a case of third time lucky when Paolini went long, handing Krejcikova her second major crown.

Krejcikova shines in the spotlight

Krejcikova said before the final that she wanted to enjoy her time in the spotlight after making complaints last year that other names on the WTA Tour were being given more focus.

She had won just three singles matches in five months coming into Wimbledon, but firmly put that form behind her.

On her way to the title, she pulled off three big shocks, knocking out Danielle Collins, Jelena Ostapenko, and Elena Rybakina.

Krejcikova's triumph on Saturday means she has won 13 main draw matches at the All England Club, level with her career-best at the Australian Open (13).

And, following her French Open win three years ago, Krejcikova is just the first Czech player in the Open Era to secure the Women's Singles grand slam titles at different events.

So close, but so far

It has been quite the year for Paolini, who reached her first-ever grand slam final at the French Open last month, only to lose to Iga Swiatek.

And one has become two with this dream run at SW19.

Before this year, she had never won a match at All England Club, exiting in the first round in her previous three appearances. In fact, she had not won a Tour-level match on grass until June, when she reached the semi-finals of Eastbourne.

She went on to win six more at Wimbledon, but could not maintain that momentum in the final.

Paolini has now joined an unwanted list as the sixth woman to lose both the French Open and Wimbledon finals in the same calendar year, after Evonne Goolagong (1972), Chris Evert (1973 and 1984), Olga Morozova (1974), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (1995 and 1996) and Venus Williams (2002).

Another stellar shooting exhibition from Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard assisted West Coast Fever to another clinical performance in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League, as they toppled Melbourne Mavericks 76-57 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 11,841 at RAC Arena, in Perth, on Saturday.

While the 19-goal victory didn’t push the Fevers to the top of the standing as they had hoped, it did ensure they ended the regular season on a high heading into the finals. They provisionally sit second on the standings on 44 points, same as leaders Melbourne Vixens, who were 62-52 winners over Queensland Firebirds.

However, reigning champions Adelaide Thunderbirds (40 points), could overtake both to finish regular season as minor premiers, with a win over Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday.

Still, Fowler-Nembhard, who shot 69 from 69, including a solitary Supershot worth two goals, and her team have much to celebrate as they have regained some semblance of rhythm when it matters most. Alice Teague-Neeld (five goals from six attempts) and another Jamaican Shanice Beckford (two goals from three attempts) supported the top-rated shooter.

Meanwhile, another Jamaican Shimona Jok led the Mavericks with 30 goals from 34 attempts, with support from Eleanor Cardwell (21 goals from 24 attempts) and Gabrielle Sinclair (six goals from eight attempts), but it was not enough for them to make the finals in their inaugural SSN season.

Both teams started the game strongly, with the Jamaican shooters as Fowler-Nembhard and Jok exchanging goal-for-goal at opposite ends of the court. However, Fever gradually asserted some authority on the contest and opened up a five-goal lead to end the first quarter at 20-15.

The second quarter was a stark contrast to the first as both teams struggled to maintain possession due to some unforced errors, before the Mavericks regained their composure and scored a few unanswered goals to reduce the deficit.

That shift in momentum forced Fever’s Head coach Dan Ryan to move Sunday Aryang into goal defence, while Jess Anstiss took the wing defence bib, and Kelsey Browne entered the game in centre. Those changes had immediate impact, as Aryang picked up a rebound off a missed effort from Jok.

From there, Fever ensured they remained on top at 34-30 at the half-time interval, though they were outscored 14-15 in what was a strong second quarter for the Mavericks.

Like they did in the first, the two teams traded goals for most of the third quarter until Aryang picked up an incredible intercept for the Fever. That, along with a few missed efforts on the Mavericks’ part, allowed Fever to widen the gap to a 13-goal lead at 56-43 heading into the final quarter.

In chase of a 24-goal winning margin to secure top spot, the Fever threw it all on the line in the final quarter, as they applied consistent pressure to the Mavericks, who never really had a response, but did well enough to deny the host a wider margin of victory.

Warren Gatland remains optimistic his young Wales side can turn into a "really good team" despite their series defeat to Australia.

Wales' losing streak extended to nine matches on Saturday as Filipo Daugunu scored two tries to secure a 36-28 triumph for the Wallabies in Melbourne.

Gatland's men were punished early on as their opponents raced into a 17-0 lead but showed grit and determination to get back into the contest before the break. 

However, Wales' mistakes proved costly as Daugunu sealed the win with 12 minutes remaining, leaving the Dragons without victory in Melbourne since 1969. 

Head coach Gatland believes his young side will be able to turn their losing streak around if they cut out those key mistakes. 

"We worked so hard for our points today and we're showing a little bit of inexperience in terms of how we've gifted them points," Gatland told Sky Sports.

"It's frustrating but I can't question how hard the boys work. We need to be honest with ourselves in terms of how we allowed them some soft tries.

"When you look at the tries they've [Australia] scored, it's a bounce of a ball or something's happened, so that's disappointing. First half, I felt the guys kept trying, we scored a couple of nice tries and gave ourselves a chance to win the game.

"We've got a group of young men who have been excellent, and they've just got to learn from those experiences and be more accurate in big moments.

"I'm telling you, this is going to be a really good team. They're working incredibly hard and there's a good buzz within this group. We just probably need to be a little bit more streetwise.

"I think they'll learn a lot from this tour and they've got the autumn to look forward to and then the Six Nations."

Wales will now prepare for their upcoming Test fixture with Fiji in November, with the pressure mounting on Gatland following a poor run of results. 

Filipo Daugunu's two tries ensured Australia edged a thrilling encounter with Wales 36-28 to extend Warren Gatland's side's losing streak to nine matches. 

Daugunu secured the triumph 12 minutes from time in Melbourne as Wales were punished for making several costly errors. 

A bright Wales start was punctuated when Daugunu opened the scoring, capping off a slick Australia move that started on their own line.

The Wallabies raced into a 17-point lead through Jake Gordon's score, but Wales got themselves back into contention via a driving maul as Dewi Lake bundled over.

Noah Lolesio converted a penalty shortly after for the hosts, but Wales would take advantage of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto's sin bin when Lake doubled his tally.

Liam Williams reduced the deficit to two points shortly after the break, only for Australia to regain control through Allan Alaalatoa's first try in 69 Tests. 

Daugunu's second of the game late on put Australia further ahead, but Rio Dyer found a way over following the restart to set up a nervy finish at AAMI Park. 

However, it proved to be too big of a mountain to climb, with Wales now preparing for their next Test against Fiji in Cardiff in November, and the pressure is on Gatland.

Data Debrief: Wales' woeful run rolls on

Wales' defeat in Melbourne was their ninth in a row, with their last victory a group-stage win over Georgia at the 2023 World Cup. It is the Dragons' worst run since 2003 under Steve Hansen.

The Dragons also have a dismal record Down Under. They have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1969. 

England captain Jamie George says his side have "no ceiling" to their potential after another narrow defeat to New Zealand on Saturday.

Steve Borthwick's men were undone by a late fightback as the All Blacks triumphed 24-17 at Eden Park, following up a close 16-15 victory for the hosts in the first Test.

It could have been a different story, however, as England crossed for a third try that would have set up a conversion to draw 24-24 before a lengthy TMO review saw them penalised for obstruction in a maul.

George insists England must take all of the positives from their 2-0 series defeat, having threatened a first win in New Zealand since 2003.

"We're a significantly better team than when we started and there are hugely exciting times ahead for this England team," George told Sky Sports.

"We'll welcome New Zealand back to Twickenham in November and we look forward to that, but I don't think there is a ceiling in this team.

"You look at the age demographic, hugely talented guys who are desperate to learn, and it's an absolute pleasure to be a part of."

England scored through Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Tommy Freeman tries, both via Marcus Smith kick passes.

Fly-half Smith, aged just 25, represents one of the more experience heads in the side as England attempt to build for the future.

"If you look at guys like Fin Baxter and Ollie Sleightholme winning their first caps against the All Blacks, they'll never forget it and I thought they built on it nicely," Smith said.

"We've got a lot of young lads – I'm feeling old at the minute! But I think we are building to something.

"The belief we have as a group is growing, and on another day we get a result here or last week."

England next face Australia at home in November when head coach Borthwick hopes to continue the improvements.

"I think they'll be rightly proud of their efforts. The team is progressing," Borthwick said after the defeat.

"Clearly we've got work to do to get to where we want to be, but we're making steps forward."

England narrowly missed out on inflicting New Zealand's first defeat at Eden Park in 30 years as the All Blacks came from behind to win 24-17 on Saturday.

The victory was secured by Damian McKenzie's penalty five minutes from the end, with New Zealand also sealing the 2-0 Test series win.

Mark Tele'a was the star for the All Blacks as he scored a try in both halves, pouncing on an England mistake for his first.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso responded just moments later, after latching onto Marcus Smith's cross-field kick, with the latter then setting Tommy Freeman up in the same way to see England take a one-point lead into half-time.

They then opened up a four-point gap with a penalty, but New Zealand found their fight, with Beaumont Barrett wonderfully bursting in behind to set Tele'a up for his second.

England were denied the chance to cross for a late try, which could have set up a 24-24 draw with the conversion, but a television match official referral saw them penalised inches from the line.

"In the second half we were not as accurate as we wanted to be, we gave away a few too many penalties and gave them easy points and territory," Maro Itoje told Sky Sports after the game. 

"When you are playing a good team, you cannot really do that. We gave their backfield opportunities to run it back at us. Beauden Barrett and the rest are good players, so we don't want to give them opportunities, but we live and we learn.

"It is tough, but I think we showed some improvements in the way we play the game, but at the end of the day it just wasn't good enough today.

"We are at the start of the journey, we are a young team, and we can only get better for these experiences."

Data Debrief: All Blacks hot streak stays alive

New Zealand are now unbeaten across their last 49 Test matches at Eden Park (W47 D2), with their last loss in the city of Auckland coming against France in 1994.

Meanwhile, England have won just two of their last nine Test matches away from home (L7, excluding neutral venues) after winning three in a row previously. However, each of their last four losses outside of England have come by margins of fewer than 10 points.

Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 33rd home run and the New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 in a game marred by a late benches-clearing incident on Friday night.

Benches cleared in the bottom of the ninth after Baltimore’s Heston Kjerstad was hit in the helmet by a pitch from closer Clay Holmes. There was some pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde walked toward the New York dugout and pointed at someone, at which point Yankees catcher Austin Wells tried to restrain Hyde.

The teams met for the first time since the Orioles took two of three in New York last month. Since then, the Yankees are 6-13 and Baltimore is 8-12.

Gerrit Cole rebounded from a poor start in his last outing by allowing one run and five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Tommy Kahnle and Luke Weaver each worked one inning and Holmes pitched the ninth for his 21st save.

The Orioles had their lead in the East trimmed to one game over the Yankees as they lost their fourth straight. They have scored three runs during that skid and are 1 for 26 with runners in scoring position.

New York scored twice against rookie Cade Povich in the second.

Anthony Volpe singled and moved to third on an error by right fielder Anthony Santander. He scored on Jose Trevino’s double and Jahmai Jones singled home another run.

Judge led off the third by sending an 0-2 pitch from Povich over the wall in left field for his first RBI in nine games. Judge walked in his other four plate appearances.

Surging Mets hold off Rockies

Jose Iglesias and Harrison Bader each homered twice and the New York Mets fended off the last-place Colorado Rockies, 7-6.

Mark Vientos also went deep and had an RBI double for the Mets, who are 4-0 on a six-game homestand against the struggling Nationals and Rockies heading into the All-Star break. New York has won six of seven overall and is 24-10 since it was 11 games under .500 on June 2.

Sean Manaea pitched seven effective innings, throwing a season-high 107 pitches. He allowed three runs and five hits while walking one and striking out nine.

He left with a 7-3 lead, but Charlie Blackmon homered to open the eighth and Brenton Doyle’s two-run shot later in the inning made it a one-run game.

Edwin Diaz worked around consecutive two-out walks in a hitless ninth for his 10th save.

Vientos and Iglesias hit back-to-back home runs in the second and Bader’s blast one batter later gave the Mets three homers in an inning for the first time since July 1, 2023, against San Francisco.

Hendricks pitches Cubs to 5th straight win

Kyle Hendricks pitched seven shutout innings and Nico Hoerner and David Bote each knocked in two runs as the Chicago Cubs stretched their season-best winning streak to five games with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hendricks didn’t allow a runner to reach second base and gave up five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He rebounded from three straight losses to improve to 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 27 career appearances against the Cardinals.

Chicago was coming off consecutive shutouts in Baltimore and had a scoreless streak of 32 2/3 innings snapped in the ninth on Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single.

Hector Neris walked Nolan Arenado with two outs to load the bases before striking out Lars Nootbaar for his 13th save in 17 chances.

Novak Djokovic says Carlos Alcaraz is "as complete a player as they come", after setting up a rematch with the Spaniard in this year's Wimbledon final.

The seven-time champion booked his place in a 10th SW19 showpiece - and sixth in a row - following a straight-sets victory over Lorenzo Musetti on Centre Court.

Reigning champion Alcaraz once again stands in the way of an eighth Wimbledon crown - and record-breaking 25th major title - with Djokovic aiming to avenge his defeat by the Spaniard in last year's final.

And the Serb paid tribute to the 21-year-old, who is eyeing a fourth career major and second of the season - adding to last month's French Open triumph.

"He's a great example of a player that has an all-round balance," Djokovic said.

"He has a great team around him, great values in his life, a lot of charisma and is someone who carries himself superbly. That's one of the reasons why he is so popular.

"He's one of the greatest 21-year-olds we've ever seen, and we're going to see a lot of him in the future, no doubt. He's going to win many Grand Slams, but hopefully not in two days. He can do it when I retire.

"He already beat me here in a Wimbledon final in a five-set thriller, so I don't expect anything less than a huge battle. He is as complete a player as they come, so it's going to take the best of my ability to beat him."

Djokovic's run to the final is all the more remarkable considering he underwent knee surgery just over a month ago following his withdrawal from Roland-Garros.

And despite the initial uncertainty surrounding his participation in the grass-court major, he is thrilled with the strides he has made in such a short space of time.

"There was plenty of doubt," admitted Djokovic. "I came into London eight days before the tournament started. I didn’t know [if I would play] and was keeping everything open until the day of the draw.

"I played a couple of practice sets with top players and that proved to me that I was in a good enough state to not just be in Wimbledon, but to go deep into the tournament. That kind of mentality is there and is ever present.

"I'm obviously very, very pleased and satisfied to get to another final, but I don't want to stop there."

Jalen Brunson signed a four-year, $156.5 million extension with the New York Knicks on Friday.

The figure is $113 million less guaranteed than he would have been eligible to receive next offseason, but it puts the Knicks in a much better position financially to build a championship-caliber roster around him.

The deal was first reported by ESPN, with Brunson’s agent telling the organisation his client chose the extension over a five-year, $269 million contract he could have received as a free agent in 2025.

It’s an unprecedented move for the All-Star guard who finished fifth in MVP voting last season after he averaged career highs of 28.7 points and 6.7 assists in 2023-24.

Those numbers were far better than expected when the former second-round pick signed with the Knicks in 2022, with some questioning if a player who had mostly been a backup in Dallas was worth more than $100 million.

Brunson, 27, helped the Knicks reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013 before falling to the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Brunson broke his hand in the second half and the Knicks were already dealing with a plethora of injuries to key players.

He has blossomed into one of the league's most impactful players and leaders and earned All-NBA honours after totalling 11 40-point games in the regular season.

Brunson’s extension will begin with the 2025-26 season and his decision to take less money should help the Knicks manage their payroll after a busy offseason in which they re-signed OG Anunoby to a five-year contract worth more than $210 million and acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets.

Novak Djokovic says Carlos Alcaraz is "as complete a player as they come", after setting up a rematch with the Spaniard in this year's Wimbledon final.

The seven-time champion booked his place in a 10th SW19 showpiece - and sixth in a row - following a straight-sets victory over Lorenzo Musetti on Centre Court.

Reigning champion Alcaraz once again stands in the way of an eighth Wimbledon crown - and record-breaking 25th major title - with Djokovic aiming to avenge his defeat by the Spaniard in last year's final.

And the Serb paid tribute to the 21-year-old, who is eyeing a fourth career major and second of the season - adding to last month's French Open triumph.

"He's a great example of a player that has an all-round balance," Djokovic said.

"He has a great team around him, great values in his life, a lot of charisma and is someone who carries himself superbly. That's one of the reasons why he is so popular.

"He's one of the greatest 21-year-olds we've ever seen, and we're going to see a lot of him in the future, no doubt. He's going to win many Grand Slams, but hopefully not in two days. He can do it when I retire.

"He already beat me here in a Wimbledon final in a five-set thriller, so I don't expect anything less than a huge battle. He is as complete a player as they come, so it's going to take the best of my ability to beat him."

Djokovic's run to the final is all the more remarkable considering he underwent knee surgery just over a month ago following his withdrawal from Roland-Garros.

And despite the initial uncertainty surrounding his participation in the grass-court major, he is thrilled with the strides he has made in such a short space of time.

"There was plenty of doubt," admitted Djokovic. "I came into London eight days before the tournament started. I didn’t know [if I would play] and was keeping everything open until the day of the draw.

"I played a couple of practice sets with top players and that proved to me that I was in a good enough state to not just be in Wimbledon, but to go deep into the tournament. That kind of mentality is there and is ever present.

"I'm obviously very, very pleased and satisfied to get to another final, but I don't want to stop there."

Young basketball players across Jamaica are set to score big this summer, thanks to a continued sponsorship from quick service restaurant giant, KFC Jamaica. The company has reaffirmed its commitment to local basketball with a substantial $4.5 million investment in the 2024 Jumpball Basketball Programme and the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA) Star Search Basketball & Life Skills Camp. These pivotal sporting initiatives aim to nurture the next generation of basketball talent in Jamaica, benefiting over 400 young male and female players, ages 8 to 18.

Marketing Manager for Restaurants of Jamaica, Andrei Roper, expressed KFC’s enthusiasm for supporting these initiatives. “Jamaica’s youth have always excelled at sports, particularly basketball. Over the years, we have witnessed the tremendous growth and impact of local basketball programmes such as Jumpball and Star Search on our young players, and we remain committed to consistently extending our support. We are excited to be a part of projects that are as dedicated to youth development as we are at KFC. We value our long-standing partnership with these programmes and appreciate their efforts in supporting youth education and basketball futures. Ensuring their continued growth is a priority for us.”

Through this partnership, KFC will encourage young athletes to take full advantage of the expertise provided by some of the best coaches available, creating opportunities to secure their basketball and educational futures. This includes scholarships to study and play overseas and even the chance to play basketball professionally at the highest level.

This year, KFC has contributed support packages amounting to $2 million in cash and $1 million in meal sponsorship to the JaBA Star Search Basketball & Life Skills Camp, which will be hosted from July 14 to 19 at the GC Foster College in St. Catherine. KFC’s cash support will assist in accommodation expenses for players and local and visiting coaches, transportation, training equipment, speaker and presenter incentives, and other costs for the 120 campers.

“We welcome the continued support of KFC because without them, we could not deliver such an amazing opportunity to our campers. Through this partnership, we will continue to position our young players for the opportunity to grow and excel beyond borders. In the past, hundreds of our players have received scholarships for university and high schools overseas and we just want to continue doing that,” said President of the JaBA, Paulton Gordon.

Jamaica’s longest-running basketball programme, the Jumpball Basketball Camp, has also benefited from a donation of $500,000 in cash and $1 million in meal support from KFC. The camp kicks off in Kingston with the corporate area camp running from July 8 to 11. In keeping with its tradition, the camp will move to other parishes including St. Elizabeth, St. Mary, Manchester, St. Ann, and St. James from July 26 to August 31.

Jumpball Senior Coach, Rohan Robinson, shared, “We are grateful to KFC for extending support to our program for yet another execution. We aim to make summer memorable for young athletes and we could not do it without the help of KFC.”

KFC remains committed to nurturing the talents and aspirations of young Jamaicans, ensuring a brighter future through sports and education. This continued support not only provides young athletes with the resources they need to excel but also inspires them to strive for greatness, both on and off the court.

As the camps gear up to start, the excitement among young basketball enthusiasts is palpable. With the backing of KFC, these budding athletes are poised to make significant strides in their sporting journeys, bringing pride and success to Jamaica’s basketball community.

 

 

 

 


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In a significant boost to Jamaica's youth sports development, real estate giant Century 21 has announced its sponsorship of promising young triathlete Samir Azan. The 13-year-old athlete is set to compete in the Carifta Triathlon & Aquathlon Championships in Barbados on August 17-18, 2024, marking his second appearance at this event.

 Samir, who first represented Jamaica in the 2022 Carifta Aquathlon in Bermuda, has been making waves in the triathlon community with his exceptional performances. His upcoming challenge will see him competing in a grueling event comprising a 400m open-water swim, a 10k bike ride, and a 2.5k run. Despite his young age, Samir has shown remarkable dedication and skill, positioning him as a standout competitor in the 13-15 age group.

 The sponsorship from Century 21 is a testament to the company's commitment to nurturing young talent and supporting sports development in Jamaica. Collet Kirkcaldy, General Manager of Century 21, expressed the company's enthusiasm for backing such a promising athlete.

 "We are absolutely thrilled to support and sponsor Samir Azan in his journey to the Carifta Triathlon & Aquathlon Championships in Barbados. At Century 21, we believe in nurturing potential and providing opportunities for young talents to shine on the international stage. We look forward to seeing Samir achieve great success and inspire others with his dedication and passion,” Kirkcaldy said.

 This partnership is not just a financial boost for Samir but also a morale booster for the entire Jamaican triathlon community. Natasha Cameron, Coach and Secretary General of the Jamaica Triathlon Association, highlighted the significance of the sponsorship.

 “We want to thank Century 21 for coming on board to sponsor one of our athletes. It is not a traditional sport, so getting a sponsor is a big thing for us. We are looking for great things from Samir. He is a dedicated athlete, and we are really hoping to bring home a medal,” Cameron stated.

 As the Carifta Championships approach, all eyes will be on Samir Azan. His training regimen has been intense, focusing on enhancing his endurance, speed, and technique across all three disciplines. The young athlete's journey is a source of inspiration for many aspiring triathletes in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

 The Carifta Championships have long been a breeding ground for young athletic talent, offering a platform for athletes to showcase their skills and gain invaluable international experience. For Samir, the event represents not just a competition but a stepping stone towards greater achievements in his sporting career.

 Century 21's involvement goes beyond just sponsorship; it signifies a broader commitment to community and youth development. By supporting athletes like Samir, the company hopes to inspire a new generation of sports enthusiasts and foster a culture of excellence and dedication.

As Samir gears up for the Carifta Championships, the support from Century 21 and the wider Jamaican community will undoubtedly fuel his drive for success. With his talent and determination, coupled with the backing of a committed sponsor, Samir Azan is poised to make a significant impact in Barbados and continue his ascent in the world of triathlon.

 The entire nation will be cheering for Samir as he takes on this challenging event, with hopes high for a podium finish. His journey serves as a reminder of the incredible potential that lies within Jamaica's young athletes and the importance of providing them with the opportunities and support they need to succeed.

Novak Djokovic will play Carlos Alcaraz in the 2024 Wimbledon final following a straight-set triumph over Lorenzo Musetti on Centre Court. 

Djokovic set up a repeat of the tournament's showpiece a year ago, reaching his 10th SW19 final after emerging a 6-4 7-6 (2-7) 6-4 victor against the Italian. 

The encounter started with incredible intensity, with both players trading blows in an attempt to gain the early advantage. 

However, Djokovic would get the decisive break point in the sixth game, only for Musetti to break back soon after, but the Serbian was able to hold to take the first set. 

The seven-time Wimbledon champion was made to work for his two-set advantage, with his Italian opponent holding onto hopes of completing an unlikely win. 

Musetti produced arguably the shot of the afternoon, striking a stunning backhand to end a 15-shot rally which brought applauds from Djokovic.

But it proved to be in vain as Djokovic showcased his class in the tie break, edging closer to a 97th triumph in SW19. 

The Serbian's victory was confirmed after two hours and 48 minutes worth of action, but could have finished a lot sooner as he squanderd three match points in the final set.

Musetti had the chance to break back to keep the game alive but sent his forehand into the top of the net, with Djokovic making no mistake at the fourth time of asking. 

The world number two will be hopeful of rectifying his defeat to Alcaraz 12 months ago, with another exciting match in store following their five-set thriller that saw the Spaniard claim his maiden Wimbledon crown. 

Data Debrief: Djokovic's Wimbledon love story continues

Djokovic claimed his 97th career men's singles triumph at Wimbledon, surpassing Roland-Garros (96) for the outright most he has recorded at a single ATP-level event. 

He surpassed Chris Evert (96) to go out on his own in fourth place on the all-time list for the most SW19 singles victories among men and women. 

Only Serena Williams (98), Roger Federer (105) and Martina Navratilova (120) have won more.

The Serbian reached his sixth consecutive men's singles final at Wimbledon, matching Bjorn Borg (six, 1976-81). Only Roger Federer (seven, 2003-09) has made more finals in consecutive editions of the event in the Open Era. 

Pittsburgh Pirates phenom Paul Skenes has been chosen as the National League's starting pitcher for Major League Baseball's upcoming All-Star game, the first rookie in nearly 30 years to receive the honour.

Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Torey Lovullo, who will manage the NL team for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic, made the announcement Friday in an interview with SiriusXM MLB Network Radio.

The No. 1 overall pick in last year's MLB draft, Skenes has immediately established himself as one of the sport's premier pitchers and bright young stars. The 22-year-old has gone 6-0 with a 1.90 earned run average through his first 11 major league starts while striking out 89 batters in 66 1/3 innings.

Skenes' most impressive peformance occurred Thursday, when he did not allow a hit over seven innings and struck out 11 Milwaukee Brewers to lead the Pirates to a 1-0 victory over the NL Central leaders.

"A few really, really good candidates dropped off due to injury or the fact they were pitching on Sunday,” Lovullo told MLB Network Radio. “The answer just became more and more clear. And then certainly what Paul did (Thursday), really, really hammered down the thought that he should be the guy.”

Skenes will be only the fifth rookie pitcher to start an All-Star Game and first since the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hideo Nomo in 1995. Dave Stenhouse (1962), Mark Fidrych (1976) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981) have also accomplished the feat as rookies.

The former Louisiana State University star's 11 career MLB appearances will be the fewest for a starting pitcher in All-Star Game history, breaking the record of 13 set by Fidrych and Nomo.

Skenes will be the first Pirates pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Jerry Reuss in 1975.

The 94th MLB All-Star Game will take place Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas at the home of the 2023 World Series champion Texas Rangers. 

 

Carlos Alcaraz is confident that Sunday will be a good day for the people of Spain as he prepares to defend his Wimbledon crown. 

Alcaraz became just the second Spaniard after Rafael Nadal to reach multiple singles finals at Wimbledon following his 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 6-4 6-4 win on Centre Court. 

The 21-year-old's match against either Novak Djokovic will take place hours before Spain face England in the Euro 2024 final in Berlin. 

"I feel like I am not new anymore. I know how I feel before the final I have been in this position before - I will try to do the things that I didn't do last year and be better," Alcaraz told Annabel Croft in his post-match interview. 

"I will also try the things that went well - it will be a good day for Spanish people as well!"

The world number three went on to jokingly reference the European Championship final, saying: "I didn't say Spain was going to win."

But Alcaraz's quest for a fourth grand slam title was anything but straightforward, coming from a set down to edge a classic against Medvedev.

In a game that saw nine break points converted (Alcaraz six, Medvedev three), Alcaraz acknowledged the difficulties he faced in SW19. 

"I tried to play long rallies and tried to play to the net as much as I can. I tried to not play his game," Alcaraz said. 

"There were a few points that were really long rallies, but I tried to put my own game [on the match]. It was difficult to break the wall!

"Different conditions, but happy with my performance today. He was dominating the match and playing great tennis with his serves. It was difficult for me and he tried to pull out all the shots."

Carlos Alcaraz will have the chance to defend his Wimbledon title after coming from behind to beat Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Friday.

The 21-year-old endured another shaky start, but in the end, was too good for the Russian as he won 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 6-4 6-4 in just under three hours on Centre Court.

Both players got multiple breaks in the first set as momentum ebbed and flowed, though Medvedev looked to be running away with it as he raced into a 5-2 lead.

Alcaraz rallied to force a tie-break, though the Russian took advantage of another slip in concentration as he dropped only one point.

The defending champion, who made a slow start to his quarter-final as well, soon hit his stride and, with the help of an early break, easily held out to win the second.

It was much the same story in the third set as Alcaraz caused more problems with his aggressive serve, not allowing Medvedev back in after edging in front.

The world number five showed some of his early fight in the final set, trading breaks with Alcaraz, but after unsuccessfully defending a break point, he could not maintain his momentum, leaving an opening for the Spaniard to get the win.

He will face either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti for the title on Sunday.

Data Debrief: Back-to-back finals for Alcaraz

Despite not playing at his best for the majority of Wimbledon, Alcaraz once again showed what he was made of.

He is into his fourth final in 14 grand slam main draws, and should he win on Sunday, he could become the youngest player in the Open era to win the men's singles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in a calendar year.

Since the ATP rankings were first published in 1973, Alcaraz has become the youngest player to achieve top-five wins on grass, clay and hard court in consecutive seasons (2023 and 2024).

Indeed, he is just the third player under 22 to win his first five matches of the season against top five opponents, after Bjorn Borg (1977-78) and Rafael Nadal (2006-07). 

England full-back George Furbank has been ruled out of their second Test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Leicester's Freddie Steward will replace him in the starting XV, featuring for the first time since the Six Nations game against Wales in February.

Furbank was one of the standout performers last weekend, though he could not help England over the line as they were narrowly beaten 16-15 in Dunedin.

However, he suffered a back spasm on Friday and has been declared unavailable for the match.

"From our perspective as a team, nothing really changes," flanker Sam Underhill told BBC Sport.

"Their styles are different, but their skillsets are also very similar. They are both very good at running the ball, both very good in the air and both have good kicking games.

"As a team, we have to trust ourselves to react well to it."

England have failed to beat New Zealand in their own backyard since 2003, while the All Blacks are currently unbeaten in their last 48 matches at Eden Park, a run going back to 1994.

Rory McIlroy was surprised by Keegan Bradley's appointment as the USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup, saying there is no way a player-captain role can work effectively.

The PGA of America confirmed Bradley's appointment on Monday after Tiger Woods decided against leading the team at Bethpage Black golf course in New York.

Bradley just missed out on the team for last year's 16.5-11.5 loss to Europe in Rome but was expected to be in contention for a place at the USA's home tournament, prompting several players to express surprise at his appointment.

While McIlroy believes Bradley's experience of the course will benefit the USA, he is unsure what to make of the appointment.

"It's a surprise for everyone. But he knows Bethpage very well. He went to university in the area. He's obviously very passionate about the Ryder Cup," McIlroy said.

"It's certainly a departure from what the US have done over the last few years, and time will tell if that's a good thing or not."

Asked if serving as a player and captain at the same time can ever work, McIlroy revealed he has rejected the chance to take on such a role for the 2027 event, which takes place in County Limerick, Ireland. 

"Absolutely not," McIlroy said. "I've contemplated it for Adare but there's too much work that goes into it. I've seen what Luke [Donald] went through, preparing for Rome.

"There's no way you can be as good a captain as you need to be and be a playing captain as well. If you want to be the best captain you can be, you can't play. 

"If you want to be the best player, you can't captain. So it's one or the other, especially with how big the Ryder Cup has become and how many things you have to do in the lead-up.

"Keegan is the 19th-ranked in the world so he has a great chance of making the team. If he does, I think he's going to have to give that captaincy role to one of the vice-captains."

Europe will look to win the Ryder Cup on American soil for the first time since 2012 next year, with the event starting on September 25.

Paul Skenes was masterful again, throwing seven no-hit innings with 11 strikeouts as the Pittsburgh Pirates held on for a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

Skenes threw 99 pitches in his 11th major league start and walked one while lowering his ERA to 1.90.

Skenes, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, has surrendered two runs or fewer in nine of his starts and has struck out 89 in 66 1/3 innings.

The combined no-hit bid ended when Jake Bauers opened the eighth with a single off Colin Holderman. The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, but Holderman escaped the jam by striking out William Contreras.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his fourth save, finishing a two-hitter.

Aaron Civale was the tough-luck loser for Milwaukee, as he pitched six-hit ball into the seventh inning.

Pittsburgh scored the game’s lone run in the seventh. Ke’Bryan Hayes reached on a leadoff single, but he was erased when Jack Suwinski hit into a fielder’s choice.

Yasmani Grandal then doubled into the gap in right-center and Suwinski scored from first with a headfirst slide.

The Brewers lost for the fifth time in seven games, while the Pirates have won three of four.

Here are all 11 strikeouts by Paul Sꓘenes in case you missed it.

Play of the Day presented by @STIHLUSA pic.twitter.com/inUgh4YsN7

— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 11, 2024

Phillies finish sweep of Dodgers

Aaron Nola pitched six strong innings and was backed by three home runs as the major league-leading Philadelphia Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-1 victory.

Nola became the majors’ fourth 11-game winner after allowing four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.

Matt Strahm, Jeff Hoffman and Jose Alvarado each pitched one inning to finish the five-hitter.

Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber and Brandon Marsh hit solo homers for the Phillies, who swept the Dodgers for the first time since 2011 – and first at home since 2008.

Philadelphia led every inning of the series except the first one on Tuesday, which ended with both teams scoreless.

Turner’s shot in the first inning off Anthony Banda opened the scoring, and he added an infield single in the fourth.

In the 21 games since he returned to the lineup following a 38-game stint on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, Turner is batting .356 with 11 multi-hit games.

Gavin Lux homered for the Dodgers, who have scored seven runs during a four-game skid.

Astros win 9th straight home game

Six different players drove in a run and the Houston Astros won their ninth straight at home, 6-3 over the Miami Marlins to complete a three-game sweep.

Jake Meyers doubled home a run, Jeremy Pena had a run-scoring single and Jon Singleton and Joey Loperfido added sacrifice flies to help the Astros win their ninth in 12 games.

Jake Bloss allowed two runs and four hits over four innings in his second major league start, while Tayler Scott got the final two outs of the sixth for the win.

Josh Hader struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Bryan De La Cruz and Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit solo homers for the National League-worst Marlins, who have lost eight of 10.  

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