Robert Gesink took the red jersey on home soil after Jumbo-Visma dominated the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana in Utrecht on Friday.

It was a day to remember for the Dutch team as they hit the ground running in the team time-trial.

Jumbo-Visma covered the 23.3-kilometre route in 24 minutes and 40 seconds, with Gesink first across the line to ensure he will don La Roja for stage two from 's-Hertogenbosch back to Utrecht on Saturday.

Ineos Grenadiers were 13 seconds back in second place, with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl third at the start of the last Grand Tour of the year.

Jumbo-Visma's fit-again defending champion Primoz Roglic could not have asked for a much better start to his bid to become the first rider to win the Vuelta in four successive years.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco were fourth, with Chris Froome's Israel Premier Tech down in 16th.

 

Roglic confident after 'perfect' start

Slovenian Roglic abandoned the Tour de France last month, having soldiered on despite suffering a dislocated shoulder and a back injury when he crashed on stage five.

Having been passed fit for a shot at history in a race he has dominated, the 32-year-old was delighted with the start his team made.

He said: "It's a great feeling. I think it's well deserved. It was really nice to be out today with huge crowds and with my guys. Everyone did a perfect job, so we were enjoying.

"My condition is good enough to win today. I'm super happy about it. It was a pleasure today, the guys did a really great job. Twenty days more to come."

On Gesink being in red, Roglic said: "He's the one that deserves it the most, it's a pleasure racing for so many years with him. I started with him in the team, he taught me a lot and it's nice to win as the home team with a home rider."

 

STAGE RESULT (TEAM)

1. Jumbo-Visma 24:40
2. Ineos Grenadiers 24:53
3. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl 24:54
4. Team BikeExchange-Jayco 25:11
5. UAE Team Emirates 25:13


CLASSIFICATION FINAL STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) 24:40
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3. Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) same time

Through an injection of funds from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) will be able to send a national team of twenty-five swimmers to the upcoming XXVI Goodwill Swim Meet in Trinidad & Tobago.

The members, aged 9-17, will compete at the regional meet from August 19-21 against other Caribbean countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, Guyana, Suriname, Bahamas, Grenada and Curacao.

JOA’s sponsorship of JMD$1.2 million will go to reducing the overall costs to parents for accommodation and participation. JOA CEO and General-Secretary Ryan Foster believes in our young national athletes and their potential to represent Jamaica at all levels.

“Swimming is an essential sport, investing in the national team for the Goodwill Swim Meet will solidify our commitment to develop and promote our local athletes,” CEO Foster said.

Speaking at a recent press conference to announce the team’s plans for the meet, Vice President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica, Georgina Sinclair, explained that the Goodwill Swim Meet is the premier swim meet in the Caribbean and is a launching pad toward higher levels of competition. 

Sinclair said, “The competition at the Goodwill Meet is fierce and provides swimmers with a taste of regional rivalry. In 2019 team Jamaica doubled its previous medal haul of 32 medals when the team won 65 medals: 21 gold, 22 silver and 22 bronzed, placing 2nd overall out of 9 participating countries behind the winners, Trinidad and Tobago.” 

Goodwill Jamaica National Swim Team Head Coach Kafia Rapley shared, “The team has been training very hard for these championships, and I know they are ready,” she added, “I am excited to see how they will perform, and I believe they will each do very well in both their individual and relay events.”

 

The Los Angeles Lakers' decision to give LeBron James a two-year contract extension worth $97.1million is as much about the player's brand as his ability, says sport finance expert Dan Plumley.

James had been entering the final year of a contract worth $44.5m. His new deal includes a player option for the 2024-25 season.

The extension takes the 37-year-old to $532m in guaranteed career earnings, which would mean he is the highest-paid player in the history of the league.

Despite his increasing years, James is still one of the top performers in the NBA, averaging 30.3 points per game in the 2021-22 season.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Plumley admitted he is surprised by the short-term nature of the deal not usually seen in US sports, but understands the brand of the athlete is often as important as the ability.

"I think that's now more the case than ever in every professional sport," said Plumley, who is principal lecturer in sport finance at Sheffield Hallam University. "Every team's looking at how they can use their superstars across respective sports.

"Of course, it's about first and foremost what they can do on the court, on the pitch, it's absolutely still about that.

"But the other side of it is what do they bring from a commercial side of things and what's the brand association, and what's the fit like, and how can the club or team leverage some of that against the superstars that they've got?

"It's absolutely the case with LeBron James. Of course it is. But I think it's the case across the board now for a lot of professional teams."

With James approaching 40 by the end of the two-year deal and with a history of injuries, there appears to be significant risk in the investment for the Lakers, but Plumley thinks it will be worth taking if it produces a championship or two.

"I think that there's the risk... but there was also the risk of losing him and losing the asset and losing the brand association and the value that somebody like LeBron James brings with the Lakers and everything else he's got going on in his personal life as well," he said.

"We know he's connected to Liverpool [Football Club, minority ownership] and the wider network that he operates in. So there's that at play where you're balancing the risk.

"From the playing side of things, yes, the injury risk is there but I think the Lakers felt that it was enough to get the next two years where they could potentially win something again with LeBron, and that risk was far lower than losing him. I think that's where they've ended up at.

"With the NBA, we know that careers can go a little bit later versus other sports. I think when you balance that off, the Lakers have obviously arrived at the decision that it's better to keep him now for a couple of years than potentially lose him."

In terms of the wider future of the NBA, Plumley understands there is danger in seeing deals increase in size, but believes basketball and other US sports will be safe from significant damage due to their closed nature and draft system.

"I think there's always the danger that you see figures like this, and we know that the salary cap is there, and there will always be a limit on this," Plumley added.

"But we've seen increases in the salary cap over time, which is not unusual when you think about the amount of money coming in. So if there's more money coming in, then there's an argument to raise the salary cap.

 

"I think what teams will always be suggesting and the way that side of things has gone is that there's an expectation that they need to keep raising the salary cap. And that's always okay if you've got the money coming in to support it, so I think that will be the trade-off.

"It's always a risk in any professional team sport. They are reliant on broadcasters and they're reliant on commercial partners to generate that revenue at the league level. And while that's okay and growing, these little increases in salary caps have been okay.

"The question always is 'where's the benchmark?' And if the benchmark has gone higher, because this is the biggest contract we've ever seen, then others will start to look towards that as the new benchmark. And I think that's just the risk in the background that you run.

"American sports are a little bit more protected in that sense, because of the nature of their league systems."

Oleksandr Usyk has claimed "expectations are not met every time" after the Ukrainian surprisingly came in light at his pre-fight weigh in ahead of the rematch with Anthony Joshua.

The heavyweight champion was widely reported to have been bulking ahead of going toe-to-toe with Joshua in Saudi Arabia but, clocking in at 15 stone and 11 pounds, was only marginally heavier than his weight in north London last year.

Usyk, always keeping his cards close to his chest, refused to confirm whether it was a ploy for people to think he would be showing a heavier weight for Sunday's bout and was not drawn into pre-fight verbal jabs when interviewed after the scales.

Joshua also downplayed the significance of the weigh-on and face-off, having clocked in four and a half pounds heavier than last September, and remains focused on getting it done in the ring.

"For me, personally, the face-off doesn't mean anything. It's about throwing leather, the face off doesn't win fights. All of this stuff, weight, none of it matters to me, I'm just looking forward to the fight," he said.

The Brit has been preparing for the fight to go the full distance, just as it did at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when he lost his belts, adding: "I'm 100 per cent ready for 12 rounds and anything less than that is a bonus."

At 32 years old, Anthony Joshua should be enjoying the prime of his career, but in his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk on August 20 he faces the prospect of his status as a truly top-echelon attraction coming to an end.

Joshua, an Olympic gold medallist and maybe the most physically imposing heavyweight in boxing, will contest his 12th consecutive world title fight when he steps into the ring in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with nine wins and two losses over that span.

The Watford-born star has lost before – in a shocking upset via seventh-round knockout against Mexico's Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden – which he proceeded to avenge in style, with a dominant unanimous decision victory in the rematch, also in Saudi Arabia.

He will be hoping the story repeats itself after his convincing defeat at the hands of Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September, as he again prepares for his rematch on the other side of the world, away from all the distractions of friends, family and the celebrity that comes with being the heavyweight champion of the world.

But Usyk is a very different proposition than Ruiz ever was.

Ruiz was a late replacement opponent when he faced Joshua, and it was clear the towering, muscle-bound Brit underestimated the stout, stocky Mexican, as he was shocked early by the challenger's power and never truly recovered.

With a full camp and a renewed sense of focus, Joshua picked apart Ruiz in the rematch, with the fight leaving even the most passionate Ruiz fans questioning how he ever pulled off the upset in the first place.

Usyk, on the other hand, is no late replacement for anyone, and he has been on the same path towards the heavyweight throne as Joshua since their amateur days. At the London 2012 Olympics, where Joshua collected the super-heavyweight gold medal, Usyk ran through the heavyweight division, and has since put together a perfect record in the cruiserweight weight class.

After building a record of 16-0, including going 7-0 in cruiserweight world title fights, Usyk made the decision to make the jump up to heavyweight, and after wins against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora, he earned his shot against Joshua, and took it with both hands.

For Joshua, this time there was no lack of planning, and there was no reason to underestimate Usyk's world-class ability – in other words, there were no excuses. So how can he make sure the rematch is nothing like the original, and become a three-time world champion in the process?

Exploit Usyk's weaknesses

Usyk is a near-perfect heavyweight fighter, with power in his hands to sting anyone, while retaining the foot speed and agility of a much smaller cruiserweight – but like every boxer, he has flaws, and tendencies that can be exploited.

Without a doubt, Usyk fights best as the aggressor, taking the centre of the ring and marching forward to force his opponents to fight with their back near the ropes and nowhere to run.

But Joshua is the bigger (six-foot-six against six-foot-three), longer (82 inch reach against 78 inch reach) and younger (32 against 35) fighter, meaning he has the physical tools necessary to deny Usyk his desired position as the ring general dictating the pressure.

Also, in Usyk's two most competitive world title fights – a majority decision win against Mairis Briedis and a unanimous decision against Murat Gassiev – he showed his defence is far from impenetrable, particularly against left hooks and body shots. The left hook in particular, including feints, seem to draw out the biggest reaction from Usyk, who usually opts to retreat and reset as opposed to firing back a counter.

He is also far from a quick-starter, instead opting to remain relatively cautious through the opening few rounds as he measures his distance and timing, before increasing his pace and volume in the second half of the fight to overwhelm his tiring opponents.

If Joshua is able to hold the centre of the ring early, rely on his length advantage to keep Usyk on the outside, and make a concerted effort to focus on body shots whenever the Ukrainian closes the distance, he could find himself with a healthy early advantage and the momentum heading into the middle stages of the fight.

 

Identify what went wrong in the first fight

Both Gassiev and Briedis fought in an orthodox stance, just as Joshua does, while Usyk fights out of the southpaw stance – meaning Joshua will have his left foot forward, and Usyk will have his right foot forward.

In orthodox versus southpaw matchups, the fight is often decided by the footwork battle, and Usyk dominated in that department for all 12 rounds in his first look at Joshua.

Whoever controls the 'outside' foot position is able to fire straight shots to the body and head with their rear hand, while also being able to easily circle away from their opponent's straight shots as they try to punch across their body diagonally.

While Usyk has the advantage as far as foot speed goes, the problem in the first fight was more about Joshua's willingness to concede the positioning battle and try to punch his way out of it, which led to plenty of flailing swings and a lack of clean connection.

One way to dissuade the southpaw from taking the preferred position is to aggressively use the left hook early – to the head, as Joshua loves to do, but more so the body – as it will come from the direction Usyk is constantly trying to move, lean and escape to, while his southpaw stance naturally exposes the vulnerable liver area.

If Usyk begins to feel like that left hook is coming every time he moves towards it – or absorbs an uncomfortable blow to the liver – he could be more willing to hold a neutral stance and level the playing field, completely changing the dynamic from their first meeting and opening the door for Joshua's power and size advantage to come to the fore.

"In comparison with war, boxing is child's play."

Those were the words uttered by Oleksandr Usyk in April after he left Ukraine's front line to prepare for the rematch against Anthony Joshua, which takes place in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Eleven months ago, Usyk placed himself on top of the boxing world with a stunning victory over Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium – where he dominated what was only his third fight at heavyweight level.

The aftermath saw talk of a unification bout against Tyson Fury, while questions were also raised as to whether Joshua would walk away, but both of those discussions were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

In February, Russia stunned the world with the invasion of Ukraine and citizens took to the frontline to defend their nation, with Usyk travelling back to Kiev to fight.

Boxing, understandably, was far from the mind of Usyk, who told CNN: "I really don't know when I'm going to be stepping back in the ring. My country and my honour are more important to me than a championship belt."

Usyk will this weekend put his WBO, WBA Super, and IBF titles on the line against Joshua and shoulder the hopes of a nation who have had to cope with unthinkable trauma.

Sport, in situations like this, is largely irrelevant and few would criticise Usyk if he were to struggle in his rematch given the experiences he has endured – but he may find extra encouragement from Joshua's comments ahead of the bout.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Joshua described the months since he lost his belts to Usyk in north London as a "nightmare", words that may sting Usyk's camp given what has transpired away from the ring.

Many would suggest Usyk, having been the underdog in the initial bout and still with limited heavyweight experience, has nothing to lose – but he would be the first to argue that is not the case.

In terms of preparation, Usyk, like Joshua, has made significant adjustments and, having been at the lower-end of the heavyweight scale for the first clash has bulked up for the rematch, while the Brit has done the opposite.

Joshua had the weight, height and reach advantage for the first bout but did not put it into effect, with it clear after the opening five rounds that he was on the back foot and his best chance of winning was a knockout – but he never pushed for a stoppage.

Usyk, now displaying added bulk, may look to be more aggressive and to take the sort of chances that Joshua passed up back in September, though that is an approach he has not shown yet in the heavyweight division.

The champion's past two bouts have gone the distance and he earned unanimous decisions but, in the heavyweight game, it is a brave approach to look to stand firm, as just a single punch can change the picture entirely.

With additional weight behind him, Usyk should be able to hit Joshua harder this time around, but the full force of his strikes may well come from a different source – the support of his nation.

Promoter Alex Krassyuk told Sky Sports that Usyk travelled across Ukraine to visit high-ranking army officials, fans and injured combatants while supporting the resistance of the Russian invasion, where he received significant support and backing to return to the ring for the rematch.

"People want him to fight. People want him to win. They all want the Ukrainian flag to be risen and the Ukrainian anthem to be heard throughout the planet," he said.

That level of support can inspire Usyk when he faces a rejuvenated Joshua.

Albert Pujols produced a career-first as he blasted his 690th home run with a pinch-hit grand slam in the St Louis Cardinals' 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The 42-year-old slugger, who will retire at the end of this season, came off the bench to deliver the slam at the bottom of the third inning to extend the Cards lead to 10-0.

The 374-foot blast was Pujols' 11th home run of the season and his 16th career grand slam, tying him with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Dave Kingman at 10th overall, but it was his first ever as a pinch-hitter.

Pujols drove in five for the game, with two hits from three at-bats, as the Cards flexed their muscle with their fourth win in a row and 12th from their past 13 games.

The victory improved the Cards' record to 66-51, to lead the Milwaukee Brewers (63-54) by three games in the National League Central division.

Right-hander Adam Wainwright helped shut out the Rockies on the mound with seven strikeouts across seven innings, allowing only three hits.

Bregman career-high in Astros barrage

Alex Bregman led the way as the Houston Astros made an emphatic statement with a 21-5 barrage over the Chicago White Sox.

Bregman had a 12-total base day, going four-for-six at-bats with two home runs and two doubles, with a career-high six RBIs.

Houston scored in seven of the nine innings and tied a franchise record with 25 hits, while the 21 runs was joint second-most in Astros history.

Springer and Vlad lead Jays past Yankees

George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr starred to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 9-2 win over the slumping New York Yankees in a key victory for their American League Wild Card hopes.

Springer went five-for-five with two runs and one RBI, while Guerrero blasted a three-run homer in a five-run second inning as the Jays improved to 63-54.

Jose Berrios impressed on the mound with nine strikeouts across six-and-two-third innings, allowing two runs as the Yankees lost for the 13th time in their past 17 games.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was limited to five games last season, and it is looking like he may not be able to even match that total this upcoming season. 

Price, 35, underwent knee surgery last summer and sought help from the NHLPA/NHL player assistance program in October for substance abuse. 

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said the news about Price’s knee is "discouraging" and that the veteran goalie may not play this season. 

"The news about Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement throughout the rehab process," Hughes said. "All last season it obviously continued to create problems for him. This summer he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not. 

"At this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season, quite frankly I don’t know if there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process." 

Hughes said that Price will likely require surgery in order to play again, and that rehab work alone won’t be enough. Hughes expects to have further information on Price’s playing status next month. 

Price made his season debut on April 15, 2022 and lost his first four starts before finishing the season 1-4-0 with a 3.63 goals-against average. 

He is the Canadiens’ all-time wins leader with 361 and ranks third with 49 shutouts.  

Keegan Bradley rode a hot putter to the outright lead after 18 holes of the BMW Championship, finishing Thursday's play with a seven-under 64.

Bradley entered the week ranked 44th in the FedEx Cup standings, outside the top-30 who will qualify for next week's Tour Championship, but put himself in a great position thanks in large part to his work on the greens.

He collected six birdies on the front nine, and according to Data Golf's strokes gained stats, Bradley was the top overall putter in the opening round, picking up 4.00 strokes with the flat stick, while also coming in seventh in the approach category (2.02 strokes gained).

It was a similar story for Adam Scott in outright second at six under, finishing third in putting (3.30 strokes gained) and 11th in approach shots (1.82 strokes gained).

In a tie for third at five under is the trio of Harold Varner III, Shane Lowry and Justin Thomas – but they all made it there in different ways.

Varner excelled in the tee-to-green category, putting a gap on the field as he gained 5.28 strokes, with Lowry in second-place at 3.32. While Varner was the third-best driver on the day, Lowry was actually a negative off the tee, but led the field in the approach category.

Meanwhile, Thomas was solid just about everywhere, finishing on the fringe of the top-10 in tee-to-green, around the green and putting categories – despite lipping out a four-footer for his only bogey on the 15th hole.

The logjam at four under includes Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Cameron Young, and there is a star-studded group one further back at three under featuring Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. McIlroy will be left ruing a calamitous showing at the par-three 15th hole, where he found the water to triple-bogey when he was one stroke off the lead.

U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick headlines the group at two under, Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris are at one under, and recent 20-year-old winner Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim is at even par.

Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm will be disappointed with their rounds at two over, and the previously red-hot Tony Finau is likely out of the hunt as only two players shot worse than his six-over 77.

Promoter Bob Arum is "confident" Tyson Fury will come out of retirement to face the winner of Saturday's heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.

Fury retained his WBC world title with a victory over Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April and stated that was his last fight. 

The Brit appeared to backtrack this month by stating he would be returning to the ring and wanted to face Dereck Chisora for a third time, having already been victorious over his compatriot in 2011 and 2014.

Fury then announced once again that he has retired in a social media post on his 34th birthday last week.

Joshua and Usyk will do battle once more this weekend in Saudi Arabia, after the former undisputed cruiserweight champion took the Brit's IBF, WBA and WBO belts with a unanimous decision victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Arum believes the 'Gypsy King' can be tempted back into the ring to face whoever comes out on top.

He told Sky Sports: "Absolutely - it's really the only fight that makes sense for Tyson Fury.

"I've discussed this with my co-promoter of Fury, Frank Warren, and once this fight is over we're going to put together a total unification match between the winner and Tyson Fury.

"Now, if Usyk wins the fight, which I expect, that will be quite easy to do because we're very close to the Usyk people as they're the same people who manage Vasyl Lomachenko who fights for us. If Joshua wins, Eddie Hearn is his promoter. We've talked many times with Hearn about various matches and I'm sure we'll be able to come together on this one.

 "I've talked with him [Fury] and every day is different, but he's a fighter and if the right fight is there then Fury will be up for that fight. The right fight is the unification fight against the winner of Usyk and Joshua and I think - based on my conversations with Fury - he'll be up for that challenge.

"How much longer he will go after that, god only knows and I'm not sure, but I'm confident at least that he'll answer the bell for that major fight."

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh laid it out bluntly when addressing Zach Wilson's availability for the NFL season-opener against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11. 

In his first public comments since Wilson had successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair a torn meniscus, Saleh did not rule out Wilson taking the field against the Ravens.

''If Zach is ready to play, he's going to be the Week 1 starter,'' Saleh said on Thursday. "'If he's not, Joe [Flacco] will. That's no secret." 

Wilson was injured while scrambling in the Jets' preseason opener last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the original diagnosis was he would be sidelined for two to four weeks.

The timeline remained the same after the surgery, and his availability will come down to if he is healthy enough to take the field. 

"It's really going to dictate on how he feels and when he's ready to go," Saleh said. "We're going to make sure we do right by him in terms of making sure that he's 100 per cent healthy. Whenever that is, that's when he'll hit the field."

The Jets plan to be cautious with the 23-year-old, who they selected second overall in last year's draft, as they hope he will be the franchise's long-term answer at quarterback. 

When Wilson hurt his knee last Friday, some feared his injury could miss the upcoming season.  However, he has already returned to the team facility after a cross-country flight and eager to get back to work. 

'"Zach flew back last night and he's here today,'" Saleh said. "'He's already walking. He's in really good spirits. And he's champing at the bit to get to rehab."

Anthony Joshua insists he will not be driven into retirement if he fails to defeat Oleksandr Usyk in his world heavyweight title rematch this Saturday.

Joshua, 32, suffered only the second defeat of his 26-fight professional career when he met Usyk for the first time last September, going down in a convincing unanimous decision to the talented Ukrainian.

While it was considered an upset, Usyk dominated the Brit in a masterclass to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Usyk has built a 19-0 professional record, including a perfect 7-0 in cruiserweight world title fights before deciding to move up to heavyweight.

Joshua has shown his ability to respond to adversity before when he successfully reclaimed his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr after the Mexican had pulled off a stunning stoppage victory six months prior, with that rematch also taking place in Saudi Arabia.

The Englishman has dismissed suggestions he may have to quit if he fails to dethrone Usyk this weekend.

"It’s up to me at the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone else what I do with my career," he said. "I don’t have to do this. Why do I do it? It’s because it’s all I know.

"This is also my 12th consecutive world title fight. I’ve been in world title fights back-to-back 12 times. 

"It happens – if you’re fighting people at world level, you’re meeting people of world-level quality. I’m not fighting people who are below par."

Madison Keys stunned top seed Iga Swiatek 6-3 6-4 to book her place in the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open on Thursday.

Keys arrived in the contest seeking a first career victory over a reigning world number one in six attempts, having failed to win a set in each of the previous five.

The 2019 champion had also lost her previous two showdowns with Swiatek, including a resounding 6-1 6-0 defeat in the Indian Wells Open quarter-finals earlier this year.

After the first games went with serve, Keys went into overdrive; reeling off nine successive games to take full command of the contest at 6-3 5-0.

Swiatek rallied as she rescued match point to avoid the bagel, winning 11 of 12 points to reduce the second-set deficit to 5-3.

The winner of six WTA titles this season, the Pole saved a further match point in the ninth game before claiming what appeared to be another crucial break of serve.

However, former US Open finalist Keys responded magnificently to make it third time lucky against Swiatek, who is now 4-4 since her 37-match winning streak ended with defeat by Alize Cornet at Wimbledon.

Last Thursday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said Tom Brady was taking some planned time off and was scheduled to re-join the team after their preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.  

A week later, Bowles admitted he didn't know exactly when the future Hall of Fame quarterback would return. 

"We'll see. We'll talk about it next week," Bowles said, via The Athletic. "I'm not concerned about it right now. We're trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said sometime after Tennessee. There's no definitive date for me. We'll keep in touch and find out."

That update seemed to contrast what Bowles said a week ago, when he revealed Brady left training camp to "deal with some personal things" and implied everything was worked out. 

"This is something we talked about before training camp started," Bowles said last Thursday. "We allotted this time because [Brady] wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp."

Brady was not slated to play in Tampa Bay's first preseason game against Miami last weekend or the Titans matchup, so the absence isn't entirely shocking for a 45-year-old quarterback who has had plenty of practice reps over a pro career that began in 2000. 

However, Bowles' uncertainty as to when his first-choice QB will return is somewhat curious. 

Brady famously retired briefly this past offseason before announcing in mid-March that he would return for a third season with Tampa Bay and 23rd in the NFL after leading the league with a career-high 5,316 passing yards in 2021, while also ranking first in passing touchdowns with 43.  

He led the Buccaneers to a 13-4 regular-season record and NFC South crown last year, but their season ended with a 27-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

Tampa Bay begins this season at Dallas on September 11, and Bowles said last week Brady's absence would not affect the seven-time Super Bowl champion's availability for the opener. 

Jamaica Karate will send its first ever delegation to the XXXI U21 Pan-American Karate Championships set to take place in Mexico City from August 25-27.

Twenty-one national sport federations have entered their best youth athletes to compete for the continental title. Amelia Stephenson, Shafan Leslie and Rasandre Evans  will compete at their first Junior PKF Championships and the first for the Jamaica Karate Federation. They will face competitors from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Following the tournament, they will also participate in an international training camp organized by Panam Sports and the Pan-American Karate Federation – a first of its kind.

They will train for 10 days at the Mexican Olympic Training Centre along with an internationally renowned Coach Salah Mesnaoui of Belgium and some of the best international athletes in their weight and age categories.

“This competition and training camp aligns with our long-term strategic goal to expose our youth athletes to more international tournaments and training in an aim to improve competition readiness for key qualification events preceding the 2026 Youth Olympic Games and the 2028 Olympic Games,” the Jamaica Karate Federation (JKF) said in a statement.

“The Jamaica Karate Federation is working in unison toward a vision aiming to put Jamaican karate on the world map. This initial step would not have been possible without the generous support of the Jamaican Olympic Association, the Sport Development Foundation, McKay Security and CEO Jason McKay.”

The athletes will be supported by senior national team members Khalil Gordon and Valentyna Zolotarova, who attained their international coaching licenses at the Senior Pan-American Championships last year. Zolotarova has also attained a WKF Coaching license at the 2021 World Championships in Dubai and has served in the role of Technical Coordinator since being awarded a Qualification of Distinction in the Post-Graduate Program in International Sport Management at the University of London in June 2022.

This achievement is an excellent testament to the kinds of opportunities that are made available to members of sport federations affiliated with the Jamaican Olympic Association. As a JOA member, Zolotarova received a full scholarship from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the World Academy of Sport.

In addition to the achievements of Jamaican youth karate-ka, Vice-President Keith Edwards will also make history as the first judge to attend a Pan-American Championship on behalf of Jamaica Karate.

“The Jamaica Karate Federation President Tony Robinson has made tremendous efforts to maximize opportunities for our delegation and all members are deeply thankful for his leadership and care. Good luck to our athletes in the initial steps toward our unified long-term goals.”

The prize pot for this year's US Open will top $60million for the first time in the competition's history, event organisers have announced.

The 2022 edition at Flushing Meadows gets under way on August 29 and runs for just under two weeks.

It was revealed on Thursday that $60m will be up for grabs, topping the previous record of $57.5m from last year, with both singles champions to receive $2.6m.

Players will be given $80,000 for making the main draw and $121,000 should they make it to the second round. Runners-up in the singles will pocket $1.3m.

In the doubles, the champions will receive $688,000, the runners-up $344,000 and the semi-finalists $172,000.

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