World Sports News in Brief

Tennis: Sakkari stuns defending champion Bertens at Charleston

Friday, 2019-04-05 06:52:59
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Greece's Maria Sakkari celebrates during her match against Great Britain's Johanna Konta - Fed Cup - Europe/Africa Group I - Pool A - Great Britain v Greece - University of Bath, Bath, Britain - February 7, 2019. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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Defending champion Kiki Bertens suffered a surprise 7-6(8) 6-3 loss to Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the round of 16 at the Charleston Open in South Carolina on Thursday.

Earlier, Swiss ninth seed Belinda Bencic extended her fine form with a 6-2 7-5 win over Taylor Townsend to reach the quarter-finals while Croatia’s Petra Martic beat Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-2.

* Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has been handed a one-match touchline ban after accepting a charge of misconduct following Sunday's 2-1 defeat in the Scottish Premiership by Glasgow rivals Celtic.

* Athletic Bilbao have renewed coach Gaizka Garitano's contract until June 2020, the Basque club said on Thursday, rewarding him for taking them from La Liga relegation candidates to top-four contenders. Under Garitano, they have won nine out of 16 games and lost only twice, climbing to eighth in the standings on 43 points and are four points behind fourth-placed Getafe.

* Tottenham Hotspur made a world-record profit of 113 million pounds after tax last year, the Premier League club reported on Thursday - the day after they officially opened their new 62,000-seater stadium. With income rising sharply as a result of player sales, hosting home matches at Wembley and a Champions League run, Tottenham's profit surpassed the 106 million pounds reported by Liverpool earlier this year.

* Wolverhampton Wanderers have exercised the option to sign on-loan striker Raul Jimenez from Benfica on a permanent deal and the Mexican has penned a four-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday. Wolves did not reveal the transfer fee but British media reported it was about 30 million pounds (US$39 million), a club record which surpassed the 18 million pounds paid for winger Adama Traore last year.

* Men and women are competing against each other in a professional golf tournament for the first time at the Jordan Mixed Open which started on Thursday. Forty professionals and one amateur player each from the Challenge Tour, the over-50s Tour and the Ladies European Tour are in the field at the Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba, competing for a prize fund of about US$400,000.

* The 20 Premier League clubs splashed out a combined record 260 million pounds to agents last year, according to figures released on Thursday by the Football Association. Title-challenging Liverpool topped the table with 43.7 million going to agents for the 12 months ending Jan. 31 - more than Manchester City and Manchester United combined.

* England football manager Gareth Southgate received the OBE award at Buckingham Palace on Thursday after steering the national team to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia last Summer. Southgate, 48, was presented the award for services to football by Prince Charles after he was included in Queen Elizabeth's 2019 New Year's honours list.

* Formula One has agreed a long-term deal with Puma for the German sportswear company to become the sport's exclusive merchandise retail partner, it said on Thursday. Formula One said Puma had gained the rights to design, produce and sell Formula One branded products trackside at grands prix. Puma stands and superstores will be present at 17 of the 21 races on the calendar this season.

* France overcame former champions Japan 3-1 in an international football friendly on Thursday as preaparation for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup on their home soil. Goals from Valerie Gauvin, Eugenie Le Sommer and Kadidiatou Diani boosted France's confidence for their World Cup campaign set to kick off two months later. Japan, the 2011 world champions, once leveled the score through Rikako Kobayashi's strike.

* Juventus has extended forward Mario Mandzukic's contract to 2021, the Italian club annouced on Wednesday. Mandzukic, 32, who has scored nine goals in all competitions this season, arrived from Atletico Madrid in 2015 and has scored 43 goals in 159 appearances for the Serie A leaders, in addition to delivering 19 assists.

* Sevilla improved their chances of qualifying for the Champions League by beating fellow top-four chasers Alaves 2-0 at home on Thursday with goals from Roque Mesa and Pablo Sarabia to move within one point of fourth-placed Getafe. The win took Sevilla up to sixth on 46 points, level with Valencia and one point behind Getafe who occupy the final Champions League spot with eight games left.

Reuters, Xinhua