World Sports News in Brief

Leclerc leads Ferrari practice one-two after drain drama

Saturday, 2019-04-27 07:00:19
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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc - F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan - April 26, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Charles Leclerc set a scorching pace on an incident-packed Azerbaijan Grand Prix Friday with Ferrari top of the practice timesheets after an early drain drama that wrecked George Russell's Williams.

The 21-year-old Monegasque lapped the six km Baku street circuit with a best time of one minute 42.872 seconds, 0.324 quicker than his German team mate Sebastian Vettel. The Ferraris were comfortably clear of their closest challenger Lewis Hamilton, the champion and overall leader for Mercedes, who was 0.669 slower than Leclerc on a sunny afternoon.

* Bayer Leverkusen reignited their Champions League hopes with a 4-1 comeback win over Augsburg on Friday to make it three victories in a row and move within two points of fourth place. Leverkusen are now on 51 points in sixth place with three matches left in the season. Eintracht Frankfurt, who host Hertha Berlin on Saturday, are fourth on 53.

* World half marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for an Athlete Biological Passport violation, the AIU said on Friday. London Marathon organisers said Kenyan Kiptum had left London and will not take part in Sunday's race.

* Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly will have to start Sunday’s Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix from the pitlane after failing to stop to have his car weighed at the end of Friday’s second practice. The rules require a driver to stop when asked for random checks to ensure cars and drivers adhere to the weight limit mandated by the governing International Automobile Federation.

* World number one Naomi Osaka came from behind in the final set to beat Croatian Donna Vekic 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) on Friday and move into the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semi-finals. Earlier, world number three Petra Kvitova came back from a set down to beat Anastasija Sevastova 2-6 6-2 6-3 and move into the tournament's semi-finals for the third time in her career.

* Arsenal must be optimistic and recover their confidence ahead of Sunday's trip to Leicester City after losing three of their last four Premier League games, manager Unai Emery said on Friday. The London club are looking to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three seasons but now find themselves in fifth place, a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with three games to go.

* Paris St Germain striker Neymar has been suspended for three Champions League games for insulting match officials following the French side's elimination from the Champions League, UEFA said on Friday. Neymar labelled the video assistant referee system a 'disgrace' after Manchester United were awarded a decisive last-gap penalty at the Parc des Princes to advance into the quarter-finals on away goals.

* Olympique Lyonnais substitute Moussa Dembele grabbed a late goal to earn a 3-2 win at Girondins de Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Friday and strengthen their Champions League qualifying hopes. Dembele scored five minutes from time, after Bordeaux's Vukasin Jovanovic was sent off for abusing a linesman in the 73rd, to put OL on 62 points from 34 games, with fourth-placed St Etienne six points behind before hosting Toulouse on Sunday.

* Chelsea cannot afford to lose at Manchester United on Sunday (Apr 28) in what will be a 'difficult match' for both teams looking to finish in the Premier League's top four, the London club's manager Maurizio Sarri said on Friday. Chelsea are fourth in the standings, three points behind Tottenham Hotspur, a point above Arsenal and three above United. If Chelsea finish outside the top four, they will have to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League.

* Manchester City's bid to retain their Premier League title takes them to Burnley on Sunday and Clarets manager Sean Dyche has warned Pep Guardiola's side not to expect a comfortable path to three points. Burnley are all but mathematically safe from the threat of relegation that has hung over them for most of this campaign, sitting in 15th place, nine points above 18th placed Cardiff City with just three games remaining.

* American soccer pioneer Jimmy Banks died on Friday at the age of 54 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, US Soccer said. Milwaukee-born Banks and team mate Desmond Armstrong became the first two African-Americans named on a US World Cup squad when they were included on the roster for the 1990 tournament.

* Manchester United still have a chance to finish in the top four despite a rocky campaign and the sacking of their manager in December, the Premier League club's boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday. United sacked Jose Mourinho in December when the club were 11 points adrift of the top four. Solskjaer has been reeling in their rivals but after some poor games recently United are sixth with three games to go, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

* Bournemouth midfielder Junior Stanislas will be out of action for up to four months after undergoing an operation on his hamstring, manager Eddie Howe said on Friday. Stanislas was substituted after 23 minutes in their 1-0 home defeat by relegated Fulham last week and joins a growing list of long-term injury absentees at the club that includes Simon Francis, Lewis Cook and Charlie Daniels.

* Liu Shiwen shut out two-time defending champion and Chinese team captain Ding Ning in the women's singles semifinals and went on to win the mixed doubles gold at the table tennis worlds in Budapest on Friday. A women's singles semifinal saw Liu come from two sets down to crush the more heralded teammate 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-0, 11-2.

* China displayed its prowess by taking three of the four berths in the women's singles semifinals at the Asian Badminton Championships in Wuhan on Friday. Chen Yufei, Cai Yanyan and He Bingjiao all made it to the semifinals with straight-set wins.

Reuters, Xinhua