Novak Djokovic was made to work by Kwon Soon-woo for his place in the second round of Wimbledon as the reigning champion advanced with victory in four sets on Monday.

In the first match of this year's tournament on Centre Court, which had its roof closed due to rain, Djokovic was pegged back at 1-1 but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The six-time champion has now won each of his past 22 matches at the All England Club and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the next round.

Djokovic had yet to play on grass in 2022 prior to his opening clash with Kwon and he was far from his fluent best in the first two sets in particular.

Kwon earned the first break of the match in the third game with a glorious forehand, though Djokovic hit back with two breaks of his own to edge the opening set.

The world number 81 earned the only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set, with Djokovic squandering three break points of his own in the following game.

However, the Serbian showed good signs of recovery – and some impressive shots around the court – by holding throughout the third set and breaking Kwon in the eighth game.

Kwon failed to take advantage of two break points in the second game of the final set and it was plain sailing from that point on for Djokovic.

He completed the job in just under two-and-a-half hours and is the first male player in the Open Era with 80 or more main draw wins in all four grand slam tournaments.

Data slam: Djokovic winning streak continues

Djokovic may have slipped down to third in the ATP rankings after a disrupted campaign, and he was not at his best against Kwon, but he remains the man to beat at Wimbledon.

He is without defeat at SW19 since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, with Monday's victory his 80th in 90 matches in the tournament.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 30/29
Kwon – 31/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 15/2
Kwon – 7/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 4/8
Kwon – 2/6

Glen Ella says Eddie Jones will be thriving on coming under fire and expects England to step up when they face Australia in a three-match Test series next month.

The 62-year-old heads back to his homeland with the Red Rose smarting from a chastening warm-up hammering at the hands of the Barbarians following a disappointing Six Nations campaign.

Jones is undefeated against his country of birth during his England tenure, and famously oversaw a series whitewash in 2016.

Ella, a former school-mate of Jones who also played club rugby with him at Randwick and was his assistant six years ago, feels he will conjure up a response with his back against the wall and with key men to return.

"I sit here laughing when I see some of the press that is coming out of England," he told The Guardian. "Some of it is warranted, there’s no doubt about that, but this is what he thrives on.

"They’ll come over here and put three good games together, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

"He thrives under that kind of pressure and that probably brings the best out of him, especially away from England, in an environment that he knows.

"He probably left not on the best terms in Australia but the one thing about Eddie is that he’s got a lot of belief in himself and a lot of belief in his team."

The Wallabies will have a point to prove after failing to get the better of England under Jones and they are a different proposition under Dave Rennie.

"It’s harder coaching a foreign team, as Eddie is finding at the moment, and to win the Australian public over they need to win the series," Ella added.

"But it’s a different Australia these days and especially with the Super Rugby sides on the up, there’s big expectation. England have beaten the Australians eight times under Eddie and so [Australia’s] got a lot to answer for."

 

Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl duo Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe have missed out on selection for the Tour de France.

Cavendish equalled the all-time record for stage wins at the Tour last year, matching Eddy Merckx's tally of 34 victories - which had stood since 1975.

The Manxman looked to have boosted his hopes of making the eight-man team by triumphing at the British National Road Championship on Sunday, having featured at the Giro d'Italia for the first time in nine years.

But Fabio Jakobsen has a superior record in sprints this season, with 10 wins compared to Cavendish's five, and the Dutchman has got the nod for Le Tour, which starts in Copenhagen on Friday.

Kasper Asgreen, Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq, Mikkel Honore, Yves Lampaert and Michael Morkov are the other seven riders to be picked.

Cavendish and Florian Senechal were named as first-reserve riders on Monday, while Alaphilippe was not included.

"Over 3,300 kilometres and more than 55,000 meters of elevation promise to make for a tough race," Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels said. 

"After the first ITT, we have two other days in Denmark, which should be for the sprinters, that is if we won't have any echelons.

"The cobblestones stage will be a very tricky stage, as everyone will want to be at the front, and after this we'll have a lot of climbing, with many iconic ascents of the Tour de France.

"The climbers will get plenty of opportunities at this edition, unlike the sprinters, who'll have to fight in many of the stages against the time limit.

"Overall, the race has something for everyone, and that's why we are going there with a balanced team."

Alaphilippe was widely expected to be picked after racing in the French National Championships two months after his Liege–Bastogne–Liege crash, but there is no place for the popular 30-year-old.

"Concerning our reserves, we must stress out that they showed a lot of professionalism, continued to train and remained focused in these past couple of weeks, and even brought two victories at the Nationals," Steels added.

"The decision to leave Julian home was a very difficult one, as he is one of the team's most emblematic riders and we wrote so many great moments together at the Tour.

"Julian worked hard to get back into shape after what happened to him in Liege, but it is felt that for a rider like him it's always important to be on top of his game and be able to compete with the best riders of the peloton in a race like Le Tour.

"That's why we decided to give him more time to recover and build back his condition, so that he can be at 100 per cent for the second part of the season."

The ATP and WTA decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points due to the banning of Russian and Belarusian players was "very disappointing", given there was "no viable alternative".

That was the message from the All England Club's chairman Ian Hewitt in an interview with ESPN ahead of the third major of the year starting on Monday.

Numerous sporting and financial sanctions have been imposed on Russia for their ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with Saint Petersburg stripped of the right to host the Champions League final and Russia removed from Qatar World Cup qualifying.

The All England Club followed suit by confirming Russian and Belarusian athletes would not be permitted to play at this year's championships, but the WTA and ATP responded by stripping the major of its ranking points.

Wimbledon's organisers stuck with their decision, questioning the punishment from those governing bodies, and Hewitt says the ban was justified for reasons outside the sport.

"One was a route to consider having personal declarations from players and, frankly, we did not think that was the right approach for a tournament of our kind," Hewitt said.

"We were not willing to put in jeopardy any safety of players, and we think that that route would have involved implications for players' safety or safety of their families, which really left no other viable alternative.

"But also, it was very important to us that Wimbledon, given the profile that we have, should not be used in any way by the propaganda machine which we know the Russian government employs in relation to its own people and how their position in the world is presented, and that would be.

"We just would not countenance Wimbledon success or participation in Wimbledon being misused in that way.

"So as a result of the combination of reasons, we were left with no viable alternative other than to decline entries; we hugely regret the impact on the individual players affected. 

"But we also hugely regret the impact on so many innocent people, which the tragic situation in Ukraine has caused."

The punishment of Russian and Belarusian stars meant world number one Daniil Medvedev will not feature at the grass-court major, and neither will Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth in the world.

Women's world number six Aryna Sabalenka was another to miss out, alongside 13th-ranked Daria Kasatkina and 20th-ranked Victoria Azarenka, but Hewitt stands by the call.

"In relation to the decision of the ATP and WTA to remove ranking points, yes, we are very disappointed with that, we believe it is a disproportionate approach and, frankly, we believe it is more damaging to the interests of a large majority of players, and we regret that decision of the ATP and WTA," he added.

"We respect that opinions do differ, but we would have hoped that there would have been a different way of tackling that in the interests of the players. 

"But as regards our decision, we certainly stand by our decision, and I'd say now our primary focus is to get on with the championships and prove that we are really a championship that is the pinnacle of the sport."

Andy Murray's respect within both the women's and men's professional game could make him an ideal future tennis commissioner, believes Pam Shriver, as Wimbledon gets underway.

The three-time grand slam winner has battled back through injury to reach his best form in arguably half-a-decade and will take to SW19 once more this week.

Murray is nevertheless approaching the final stages of his career, and Shriver – a veteran in women's doubles – thinks that he could turn to the administrative side of the sport once done.

The 35-year-old has often been a strong advocate for equality within the sport, earning the respect of several leading players and figures across the game.

"He could be a future commissioner of tennis," Shriver told Stats Perform. "He has that kind of respect, I think. If he wanted to be a leader when he's finished, he could be a very influential [one].

"I think Andy Murray will be known for his upstanding core values of equality. I know he's well respected in every female locker room on the planet.

"I think the influence of his mom being his coach and such an influential figure in his life [has shaped him]. He's just very popular, I think, in both [the] men's and women's locker rooms."

Murray returns to Wimbledon as he looks to maintain the strong form he showed earlier in June at the Stuttgart Open, facing Australian James Duckworth in the first round on Monday.

At the time of his first triumph on Centre Court in 2013, the Briton was considered part of a 'Big Four' in men's tennis, only for his subsequent struggles with injury to see him slip away from his rivals.

But Shriver believes he has achieved what he set out to do and can be proud of a still exemplary career, adding: [He] wanted to end the 77-year drought at Wimbledon [and he did].

"I'd say along with [Stan] Wawrinka, [he's one of] the two guys that managed to break through more than once during the era of the big three."

Pam Shriver says Serena Williams has built an "all-time great legacy" in tennis and expressed her relief that the legendary American will make her comeback at Wimbledon.

Williams has 23 grand slam singles titles to her name and is just one short of Margaret Court's all-time record as the 40-year prepares to return to The All England Club as a wildcard.

She has not played a singles match since suffering an ankle injury in last year's Wimbledon opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Seven-time Wimbledon singles champion Williams will face world number 113 Harmony Tan in the first round on Tuesday, hoping to prove doubters wrong once again.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach the singles final at SW19 and in 2016 she became the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Shriver, who reached the last four at Wimbledon in 1981, 1987 and 1988, cannot wait to see Williams back on court at the grass-court major.

"It's fantastic. I mean a month ago, I said it in interviews during Paris [the French Open], it just didn't look likely, there were no signs that were pointing towards her coming back," Shriver told Stats Perform.

"She hadn't posted anything of her workouts, never said anything about it. She'd sort of hinted at it sort of playful way like with a post with Aaron Rodgers, one of our best quarterbacks here.

"And she had sort of put it out there that she was going to play Wimbledon, but then it was like, okay, but who are you working with? Where are you practising? How much are you? Or how much time are you putting into it?

"You're going to go 12 months without a singles match and just rock up at Wimbledon. But it is great news that our last sighting of Serena on the tennis court isn't her limping off Centre Court last year midway through a first set."

 

Williams' first major title came 23 years ago at the US Open and Shriver has hailed her compatriot's astonishing longevity.

"It's an all-time great legacy, starting in 1999 when she won her first major as a 17-year-old at the US Open, upsetting [Martina] Hingis on Arthur Ashe Court," she added.

"She was the first of the Williams sisters to win a singles major. She's been making history since the late 1990s.

"She is now entering her fourth decade of trying to make history on the court and I think it's been exciting to have watched most of it.

"[There are] little things that are so impressive, her Olympic record, incredible. The way she won the gold medal in London in 2012 was as dominant a performance I've ever seen on a foreign tennis court.

"She and Venus are 14-0 in major doubles finals. So look, if you compare her numbers to Martina Navratilova’s numbers, tournament wins-wise, then Martina blows Serena away.

"But that was back in an era where the intent was to play a lot more and there was more of an emphasis placed on tour titles. During Serena’s 20-odd-year career, the emphasis the entire time has been on how many majors can you win. And that's what she's been focused on, especially in the last 10 years."

Emma Raducanu's struggles after winning the US Open were predictable, according to Pam Shriver, who compared becoming a grand slam finalist at such a young age to "going through a trauma".

Raducanu begins her Wimbledon campaign against Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday, having endured an injury-plagued 2022 season after becoming the first qualifier to win a major in New York last September.

The 19-year-old lasted just 36 minutes when making her first grass-court appearance of the year at the Nottingham Open earlier this month, with a side strain the latest in a series of niggling injuries to befall Raducanu.

Fellow British star Andy Murray said on Sunday that Raducanu's rapid rise to stardom had been "difficult to navigate", a view shared by Shriver, who was just 16 years old when she reached the 1978 US Open final, going down to defending champion Chris Evert in straight sets.

Shriver, whose best singles Wimbledon runs saw her reach the last four in 1981, 1987 and 1988, says the monumental nature of Raducanu's achievements always made a difficult year likely.

"I put it down to the fact you won the US Open. It was life-altering, turn-you-upside-down," Shriver told Stats Perform.

"I mean, I didn't know it as far as being a teenage winner, but I was 16 years and two months old playing my second major when I got to the finals, beating [Martina] Navratilova in the semis. It was my home major. 

"I had a tonne of headlines, I had to play Chris Evert in the finals, who was the most famous female tennis player of that moment. It changed my life, and I didn't even win it. 

"I had a hard time winning matches the next 12 months, it took me 18 months to kind of get back on track. It really shakes you. It's almost like going through a trauma, you need some help to get your orientation, your footing. 

"She went from like [number] 350 in the world to like winning a US Open in a few months, so it doesn't surprise me she's struggling."

Raducanu has an 8-11 singles record in 2022 and has attracted media attention for making repeated changes to her coaching team.

A series of coaches including Nigel Sears, Andrew Richardson and Torben Belts have left Raducanu's team since Wimbledon 2021, and Shriver thinks the 19-year-old's coaching merry-go-round has contributed to her challenging season, along with a lack of fitness.

"First off, she just had way too many injuries," Shriver added. "Short term, if she's not healthy enough, that's going to be tough right there. If she can't last at four-all in the third, maybe she should just play singles, not play multiple events. 

"I really would like to see her get a team around her that is consistent, that stays for a couple of years. I don't think this many transitions, especially when you come off what she's come off, winning a major, is good. 

"I think it's proven to not have been good, even though you can say, 'oh, she's mature, she can take this from this coach and this from that coach, and then she can weave it together'.

"I can't do that, and I'm almost 60 – it's much harder. It's much easier said than done, right? She needs to find a coach who is a really experienced coach, who can help navigate this difficult part of her career."

Joe Schmidt will help New Zealand prepare for the first Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistants tested positive for COVID-19.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend and Scott McLeod is the latest coach to contract the virus.

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt will work with the New Zealand squad this week in the absence of that trio.

Centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive for COVID-19, so Braydon Ennor has been called up to join the squad in Auckland.

Foster said: "Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday's training this week, and we're really grateful to have his help.

"We've planned for this kind of disruption and we've got back-up plans and people on standby.  Joe was one of those people we could call on."

Foster added: "I've got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

"Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together."

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar added yet another incredible accomplishment to his resume by being named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs, as his side secured the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 win in Game 6.

In doing so, Makar became the first player to ever win all five of the Hobey Baker Award for best player in college hockey, the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year, the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the NHL's top defenseman, the Conn Smythe Trophy, and a Stanley Cup.

It is a resume that will likely book his place in the Hall-of-Fame when all is said and done – and he does not turn 24 years old until October.

Speaking to ESPN after the final siren sounded, Makar said it was a dream come true.

"I just look at [my teammates], and all the work these guys have put in," he said. "They've been here so many years, the ups and downs.

"It's just so awesome to be a part of them getting rewarded for all their hard work and success over the years. I'm just so proud of the boys.

"You grow up, you see [the Stanley Cup trophy] as a kid, you have pictures of it on your wall.

"All I think about is everyone that got me here – my family is in the stands, so it's amazing, wherever they are. It's just surreal, amazing."

He added: "It's just been building over time. I've been here only three years, with a couple tough exits in playoffs.

"It was just all leading up to this. Oh man, if you told me this was going to be three years in, I would've said I don't know… it's just amazing, I don't have any more words."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar spoke about what it felt like to guide this team to the mountaintop.

"I'm feeling every emotion you could possibly think of," he said. "I'm just so happy and so proud of these guys, and what they've put in.

"To see them get rewarded for all their hard work is hard to describe. There's this sense of relief, a sense of satisfaction – it's still sinking in.

"When the buzzer went there was almost disbelief that we got the job done. It's been an amazing ride, and I'm just grateful that I've been able to be a part of it with this team."

He went on to touch on just how hard it is to actually make it all the way, and the evolution he has seen over the past couple of seasons.

"It's so difficult to get here, and that's why I'm so impressed with the Tampa Bay Lightning to be able to do it three years in a row and win two Cups, it's incredible," he said.

"We've gone from just being a skill team that was fun to watch, to digging in and getting more competitive in a lot of areas, and more determined in a lot of areas, but they're such a close-knit group and a resilient group.

"Whether we've learned that with maturity, or the last couple seasons of heartbreak, this group has been so focused to accomplish their goals, that's why I'm so happy they got rewarded. It's been a long journey for a lot of these guys, and it's been an amazing ride."

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic – who spent 13 seasons as a player in Colorado, including both of the franchise's previous Stanley Cup seasons – said he is filled with joy for the older players in the team who may have thought they would never get one.

"It feels great, it's amazing," he said. "This is something you dream of. I'm so proud of the players, particularly the older guys that have been around.

"Guys like [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Gabriel] Landeskog, Erik Johnson, they didn't want to leave, they wanted to be a part of it. I'm happy for those guys.

"You bring in a guy like Jack Johnson who hasn't won, and [Andrew] Cogliano comes in, and these older guys who have been around a long time and now have their opportunity to win their first cup. Being a former player, you know how happy they are, and how relieved they are to have a chance to lift the Stanley Cup."

Though it had been more than two decades since the Colorado Avalanche won a Stanley Cup, the past three years had been particularly difficult, but star Nathan MacKinnon said his side "never stopped believing".

Three consecutive exits in the Western Conference semi-finals saddled the Avalanche with one of the most dreaded of labels – a team that couldn’t translate regular-season success into postseason glory.

That myth has now been busted, and then some, following Colorado’s 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of this year’s Stanley Cup Final, a win which capped one of the more dominant playoff runs in recent memory.

Colorado finished this postseason with a 16-4 record, tied for the second-highest winning percentage of any team since the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for all four rounds in 1986-87. Only the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers of 1986-87, who went 16-2, have produced a better mark.

"Some tough years mixed in there, but it’s all over now," MacKinnon said after registering a goal and an assist in Sunday’s clincher. "We never stopped believing."

That never-say-die attitude was evident in Game 6, in which Colorado erased an early 1-0 deficit against the two-time defending champion Lightning, and throughout this title run. Sunday’s win was the Avalanche’s 10th come-from-behind victory of these playoffs, tying the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins for the most in a single postseason.

"If you surround yourself with great people, you can accomplish great things," defenseman Erik Johnson said, the Avalanche’s longest-tenured player who hoisted the Cup for the first time in 14 NHL seasons – 12 of which have been spent in Denver.

The Avalanche seemed primed for greatness during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, in which they produced 82 points in 56 games to win the Presidents’ Trophy. But a second-straight second-round flameout as a higher-seeded team left many wondering whether one of the league’s most talented teams could turn potential into production when it mattered most.

Last year’s playoff loss to the Vegas Golden Knights served as a constant motivating force for this season’s squad, which dominated the Western Conference with 119 regular-season points before this outstanding playoff surge.

"Our group, ever since last year, we knew coming into training camp that they were committed," Avalanche vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said.

"Nothing phased them this year – they were prepared every day to get better. The coaches had them prepared, and every player bought in.”

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos was in tears as he spoke to reporters after losing to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, ending an 11-series winning streak that spanned the past two championships.

The Lightning took an early lead less than five minutes into Sunday's game, but it would be the only goal they would score, with a pair of second-period strikes from Nathan MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen proving enough to deliver the Avalanche their first Stanley Cup in over 20 years.

While the Lightning were trying to win their third Stanley Cup in a row, for the Avalanche it was the third in the history of their franchise, joining their 1995-96 and 2000-01 successes.

Speaking in the locker room, Stamkos said what would generally be considered a successful season still felt like heartbreak in the moment.

"It's the worst feeling," he said. "Expectations are so high with this group.

"There's probably a lot of teams that get to this position and feel like they had an unbelievable year – but for us it's disappointing.

"Because we know what we have in [our locker room], we know that feeling [Colorado are] having over there right now is the best in the world, and sometimes you forget the other side of it.

"It was just a grind. That's what makes it even tougher, because you realise how hard you worked to get here. The disappointment is something I probably can't put into words."

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman paid respect to the champions, but said he feels his side was just a few bounces away from a three-peat.

"Winning three straight, it's rare in this league," he said. "We lost to an unbelievable team, who only lost four games in the playoffs, so they're deserving champs.

"At the same time, we feel like we were right there – two overtime losses, two close games – but at the end of the day, it's tough."

The Colorado Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup since 2001 by defeating reigning back-to-back champions the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

It is the third Stanley Cup in franchise history, joining the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons.

In front of their home fans, the Lightning were not going to go down without a fight, opening the scoring less than four minutes into the first period as Steven Stamkos got on the end of an Ondrej Palat pass.

That would be the only goal of the opening frame, and things were back on even footing just two minutes into the second, with Nathan MacKinnon finding the back of the net for the equaliser.

Artturi Lehkonen gave the Avalanche their first lead of the night 13 minutes into the second period, as MacKinnon and Josh Manson were credited with the assists, and from that point on it was a nail-biting grind to the finish as the Tampa Bay crowd tried to will the Lightning back into the game.

Ultimately, Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper rose to the occasion, saving 22 out of 23 shots on goal to repel the late charge from the home team and deliver his side the championship.

The Colorado Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup since 2001 by defeating reigning back-to-back champions the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

It is the third Stanley Cup in franchise history, joining the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons.

In front of their home fans, the Lightning were not going to go down without a fight, opening the scoring less than four minutes into the first period as Steven Stamkos got on the end of an Ondrej Palat pass.

That would be the only goal of the opening frame, and things were back on even footing just two minutes into the second, with Nathan MacKinnon finding the back of the net for the equaliser.

Artturi Lehkonen gave the Avalanche their first lead of the night 13 minutes into the second period, as MacKinnon and Josh Manson were credited with the assists, and from that point on it was a nail-biting grind to the finish as the Tampa Bay crowd tried to will the Lightning back into the game.

Ultimately, Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper rose to the occasion, saving 22 out of 23 shots on goal to repel the late charge from the home team and deliver his side the championship.

Six players and both managers received ejections following a benches-clearing brawl during the second inning of Sunday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.

The nasty incident occurred after Angels pitcher Andrew Wantz hit Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker in the hip with a pitch to begin the second inning, after throwing behind rookie star Julio Rodriguez in the opening frame.

After exchanging words with Wantz and briefly moving towards first base, Winker then charged the Angels’ dugout on the third-base side as both teams’ benches and bullpens emptied.

Numerous punches were thrown in the resulting fracas, which delayed the Angels’ eventual 2-1 win for more than 15 minutes. When order was restored, both Winker and Wantz were ejected along with Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez and shortstop J.P. Crawford, Angels pitchers Raisel Iglesias and Ryan Tepera and each team’s manager – the Mariners’ Scott Servais and the Angels’ Phil Nevin.

Tensions between the American League West rivals were already running high after Seattle pitcher Erik Swanson’s errant pitch sailed over Angels star Mike Trout’s head in the Mariners’ 5-3 victory on Saturday night.

Wantz was not originally scheduled to start the game, with the change coming in the hours leading up to start time, prompting those on the Mariners' side to believe he was brought in with the intent to hit batters.

"It’s classless," Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales said afterward. “To throw at Julio, who’s a kid, over something that happened last night when we were trying to win a ballgame in the ninth inning, (not) put the tying run on base. It’s just classless to come out and change your pitcher before the game.

"It’s clear. The intention is clear."

Wantz, who was making his first career major league start, denied intentionally throwing at either Rodriguez or Winker.

"I was pretty amped up for my first start and the first one just got away from me," he said. "It was sweaty. I was sweating.

"First day game I’ve pitched (in the majors), and that’s that. Second one to Winker was a cut fastball inside and just yanked it. That’s all I’ve got to say."

Nevin also downplayed the incident afterward.

"You play eight games in a matter of a week against the same team, things like this happen," he said. "The scheduling, tensions, that’s baseball sometimes – unfortunately there’s some ugly incidents once in a while. I think that’s just what happened today."

Winker later directed obscene gestures towards several Angels fans as he left the field, actions he expressed remorse for during his postgame interview.

"The only thing I’m going to apologise for is flipping the fans off. That’s it," he said. "As fans, they’re spending their hard-earned money to come watch us play a game, and they didn’t deserve that. So, I apologise to the fans, especially the women and children."

The two teams are scheduled to face one another 11 more times this season, including a four-game series in Seattle from August 5-7. The Mariners will visit Anaheim twice more in 2022, a three-game series in August and a four-game set in September.

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge continued to mount his case for AL MVP on Sunday as he crushed a three-run, walk-off home run to complete a 6-3 comeback win against the Houston Astros.

All the momentum was with the Astros early coming off Saturday's meeting where they became the first team in 19 years to hold the Yankees hit-less, and they added to that history to begin this contest.

Jose Altuve gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with a first-inning home run, before the road team jumped ahead 3-0 with a two-RBI single to Maurcio Dubon in the fourth frame.

The Yankees did not have a hit through six-and-a-third innings – making it a streak of 52 at-bats without a hit, the longest dry spell by any team since 1974.

Giancarlo Stanton finally broke the seal with a 436-foot solo homer in the seventh frame, before D.J. LeMahieu tied things up with a two-run shot an inning later.

Neither team was able to find a run in the ninth, forcing extra innings, where Michael King was able to keep the Astros from scoring, setting up Judge to connect on the walk-off winner in the bottom of the 10th.

Judge is the current favourite for AL MVP, and the home run was his 28th of the season – six more than any other player.

Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes put in a solid performance, striking out seven batters in five innings while conceding three earned runs from five hits and two walks.

Astros starter Jose Urquidy was even better, allowing just one run from one hit through seven complete innings.

With the win, the Yankees move their league-best record to 53-20, leading the second-placed New York Mets by six-and-a-half games.

McClanahan shows Cy Young quality

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan has emerged as the top choice for the AL Cy Young Award as the league's most outstanding pitcher, and he dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates in his side's 4-2 win.

McClanahan struck out 10 batters, holding the Pirates to one run from four hits and no walks through his seven full innings.

His dominance was rewarded, keeping the Rays tied at 1-1 until the seventh inning when they would finally find their rhythm and string together three consecutive two-out hits to make sure McClanahan had the lead before he was withdrawn, and was thus credited with the win.

White Sox issue Cease and desist to Orioles offense

Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease was at the top of his game on what turned out to be a great Sunday for star pitchers, striking out a career-high 13 batters in a 4-3 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

His 13 strikeouts in seven complete innings was one shy of this season's most strikeouts in a game, set by Miami Marlins star Sandy Alcantara when he sat down 14 batters against the Atlanta Braves last month.

With the bat, the White Sox jumped ahead in the second inning courtesy of a two-run Gavin Sheets homer, and they held that lead throughout.

South Korea's Chun In-gee has managed to hold on and win the Women's PGA Championship by one stroke, despite finishing her week with back-to-back 75s on Saturday and Sunday.

Chun finished on five under to win her third major championship, but she entered the weekend with a massive lead after rounds of 64 and 69 had her at 11 under, six strokes clear of the chasing pack.

Only nine players finished the tournament under par, illustrating the difficulty of the course and conditions at Congressional Country Club.

In a tie for second was Australia's Minjee Lee – fresh off her U.S. Open win – along with American Lexi Thompson at four under.

Thompson entered the day at five under and shot a 73 to drop one stroke, while Lee came in at two under – and bogeyed her first two holes of the day – but went four under across her final 16 holes for a Sunday 70.

Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul claimed outright fourth place at three under, two strokes clear of the five-woman pack tied for fifth at one under.

That group had three South Koreans – Kim Hyo-joo, Kim Sei-young and Choi Hye-jin – to give the country four of the top nine.

In a notable performance, Australian Stephanie Kyriacou posted four consecutive even-par 72s and finished tied for 10th.

Xander Schauffele was the beneficiary of an 18th-hole double-bogey from leader Sahith Theegala, going on to win the Travelers Championship by two strokes with a birdie at the last.

Schauffele finished the tournament at 19 under with rounds of 63, 63, 67 and finally a 68 on Sunday as wind picked up and the scoring conditions worsened.

The win is the sixth of his PGA Tour career and his first singles win since January 2019, also collecting the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a team format with Patrick Cantlay in April of this season.

It was Theegala controlling the final stages after he moved to 19 under and the outright lead with birdies at 13, 15 and 17 down the stretch, but after finding the fairway bunker on 18, he muffed his first attempt to get out, requiring another two shots to get to the green, before his bogey putt lipped out.

It meant Schauffele only needed par to claim the championship, and he went one better, finishing in style with a perfect drive, approach and putt for birdie.

Speaking on the 18th green after his winning putt, he said it felt incredible to convert a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career.

"It's incredible," Schauffele said. "I was looking at birdie just to get into a play-off and saw there was a bit of a hiccup with Sahith when I was standing on the tee.

"I knew I had to hit that fairway and hit it anywhere on the green to make par."

Theegala finished tied for second at 17 under along with J.T. Poston, who was one of three players to shoot 64 or better on Sunday (also Chesson Hadley and Scott Stallings).

In outright fourth was Michael Thorbjornsen following a week he will never forget, finishing at 15 under after being the only amateur to make the cut, closing his week with rounds of 65, 66 and 66 to make a statement about his future on the PGA Tour.

Hadley held outright fifth place at 14 under, going bogey-free with four birdies and an eagle for his 64, while Keith Mitchell and Kevin Kisner shared sixth place at 12 under, with Kisner carding a disappointing 71 on Sunday to take himself out of contention.

The round of the day came from Stallings, who went bogey-free with seven birdies for his 63, rounding out the top 10 in a tie for eighth along with Brian Harman, Chez Reavie, William McGirt and Nick Hardy.

A star-studded group finished tied for 13th at 10 under, featuring world number one Scottie Scheffler, number six Cantlay and fellow top-20 American Tony Finau. It was tough work for the stars, with an even par 70 for Scheffler on Sunday, while Cantlay entered the day one stroke off the lead and carded a 76.

Rory McIlroy and recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon were in the group that completed out the top 20.

Five-time singles champion Venus Williams showed up at Wimbledon on the eve of the championships, sparking speculation over what role she will play.

The 42-year-old American has played just one tournament since losing to Ons Jabeur in the second round at Wimbledon last year.

That lone appearance came at the Chicago Open in August, when she was beaten in her opening match by Hsieh Su-wei.

Williams has not made a retirement announcement, and it may be that she intends to play an active part in Wimbledon, although she has not entered the women's singles or women's doubles.

The American great has seven grand slams among her 49 career singles titles and has won six Wimbledon doubles crowns with sister Serena Williams, among their 14 slams as sport's greatest sister act.

One avenue that may be open to Venus is mixed doubles. She was not listed on Wimbledon's entry list for the invitational doubles, an event for veterans. The mixed doubles line-up has yet to be revealed.

Williams was pictured at Wimbledon by a Getty photographer at the All England Club, carrying a red sports bag, and later in the evening posted on Instagram that she was at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at London Stadium.

Serena has entered the singles on a wildcard, having made her competitive comeback on doubles duty alongside Jabeur at Eastbourne after being absent from the tour since last year's Wimbledon. She is a seven-time singles champion at London's grass-court grand slam.

Novak Djokovic would be delighted by the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final, as he targets revenge for his French Open loss to the Spaniard.

Nadal remains on course for a calendar Grand Slam after following up January's Australian Open victory with his 14th French Open title earlier this month, having overcome Djokovic in a quarter-final classic on the clay in Paris.

The Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph moved him two clear of Djokovic's tally of 20 grand slam titles, while his last-eight win over the Serbian was his 29th in the pair's head-to-head rivalry (Djokovic has 30 wins).

With 59 career meetings, the duo have met one another more often than any other men's pairing in the Open Era, and they could be set for a final showdown at Wimbledon after landing on opposite sides of the draw.

Speaking to Sky Sports, defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he would relish such a contest and insisted Nadal, who has not triumphed on the grass in London since 2010, is among the favourites to take home the title.

 

"If we get to face each other it means we're both in the finals, which I think we both want," Djokovic said.

"It's a very long way [away], but of course you have to put him as one of the favourites, even though he hasn't played at Wimbledon for the last three years [including the cancelled 2020 edition], I think.

"But still, he's Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career and also this year, of course, which gives you a lot of confidence in his case.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of great matches ahead for both of us, and if we get to face [each other] in the final… I'd love to face him in the final and get revenge for Paris!"

Nadal has beaten Djokovic in 11 of the duo's 18 grand slam meetings, although the Serbian holds a 2-1 advantage over their three Wimbledon contests, triumphing in the 2011 final and the 2018 semi-finals.

Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign by facing Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court on Monday, with Nadal taking on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo the following day.

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