World Sports News in Brief

Hamilton on pole in France, Vettel only seventh

Sunday, 2019-06-23 07:25:53
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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying - Formula One F1 - French Grand Prix - Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France - June 22, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lewis Hamilton seized pole position for the French Grand Prix in track record time on Saturday as Mercedes, chasing their 10th successive win, swept the front row of the grid in dominant fashion.

The Formula One world championship leader and last year's race winner was 0.286 seconds quicker than team mate Valtteri Bottas on another searingly hot afternoon at Le Castellet in the south of France. The front row lockout was the 63rd for Mercedes, a Formula One record. The pole, won in a time of one minute 28.319 seconds, was a record-extending 86th of Hamilton's career and his third of the season.

* Jean-Eric Vergne took another step toward becoming the all-electric Formula E series’s first multiple champion by winning a Swiss ePrix on Saturday. The Frenchman, starting from pole position, secured his third victory of the season.

* Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2024, the Italian Serie A champions said on Saturday. The 21-year-old Uruguay international, who joined Juventus during the 2017-18 campaign, made 40 appearances in all competitions last season to help them seal an eighth straight league crown.

* American Sofia Kenin did what no other player has ever done at the Mallorca Open as she stopped Latvian Anastasija Sevastova reaching the final with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win on Saturday. Second seed Sevastova had reached all three previous finals at the grasscourt tournament that became part of the WTA calendar in 2016 - winning the title once.

* Uganda won at the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in more than 40 years as they upset the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 in their opening Group A match at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday. Uganda last won at the finals in 1978 when they beat Nigeria in the semi-finals and finished runners-up to hosts Ghana.

* Feliciano Lopez and Gilles Simon struck a blow for the old guard as they both held off two of the sport's most exciting young hustlers to reach the Queen's Club final on Saturday. First Frenchman Simon, 34, ground down 23-year-old Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3 in baseline war of attrition, then 37-year-old Lopez used his vast experience to down 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4.

* Double champions Germany, inspired by skipper Alexandra Popp, continued their unbeaten run at the women’s World Cup by beating Nigeria 3-0 to qualify for the quarter-finals on Saturday. Popp, winning her 100th cap, and Sara Daebritz netted in quick succession in the first half with Lea Schueller wrapping it up late on to set up a meeting with Sweden or Canada.

* Nigeria needed a late goal from substitute Odion Ighalo to claim a 1-0 win over a brave Burundi side playing their first-ever match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday. Ighalo, set free by Ola Aina's clever flicked pass, side-footed the ball past Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana in the 77th minute, four minutes after coming on in the opening Group B match.

* Qatar will not be overawed by the sight of Lionel Messi in Sunday's Copa America Group B decider against Argentina, coach Felix Sanchez said as the Asian champions eye a historic triumph to take them into the quarter-finals. Tournament guests Qatar and 14-times winners Argentina each only have one point after two games and must win on Sunday to stand a chance of staying in the competition.

* Norway beat Australia 4-1 on penalties to reach the women's World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2007 following a highly-entertaining 1-1 draw after extra time on Saturday. Norway's Isabell Herlovsen opened the scoring shortly after the half hour but Elise Kellond-Knight's direct corner seven minutes from time sent the game into extra time. Australia missed their first two spot-kicks in the shootout and Ingrid Syrstad Engen buried the winning penalty to send Norway through.

* Rank outsiders Madagascar drew 2-2 with Guinea in their first-ever match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday after taking a shock second-half lead in the second surprise of the day at the tournament. Early in the day, Uganda stunned Democratic Republic of Congo with a 2-0 win in Group A while Nigeria needed a late goal to beat Burundi, another team making their debut at the tournament.

* A blistering back nine saw Chez Reavie romp to a six-stroke lead in the third round of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut on Saturday. Six back at the turn, Reavie birdied seven holes coming home to shoot a seven-under 63 as he took aim at his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years. His 16-under 194 put him comfortably in front of Keegan Bradley (69) and Zack Sucher (71) at TPC River Highlands.

* Senegal coach Aliou Cisse is not concerned about the absence of talisman Sadio Mane when his team kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Tanzania in Cairo on Sunday. Mane is suspended after an accumulation of cautions in the qualifiers and is only available from Senegal’s second game in Group C of the tournament in Egypt.

* Juan Martin del Potro is unsure if he has played the last match of an injury-hit career after re-fracturing his kneecap during the Queen's Club Championships, the Argentine has said. Del Potro's injury curse struck again on Wednesday as the former US Open champion slipped during his victory over Denis Shapovalov and pulled out of the grasscourt tournament.

* Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez is wary of Kenya being something of an unknown commodity when the two teams kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign in a Group C encounter on Sunday. Kenya are making their first appearance in the tournament since 2004. They last played Algeria 22 years ago.

* Ashleigh Barty will become the first Australian woman to be ranked world number one in more than 40 years if she beats her doubles partner Julia Goerges in the final of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Sunday. The 23-year-old, fresh from her maiden Grand Slam triumph at the French Open, has not dropped a set all week and an 11th successive victory will see her displace Japan's Naomi Osaka in top spot and emulate Evonne Goolagong's feat from 1976. Barty sent down 11 aces and fired 24 winners on Saturday to dispatch world number 51 Barbora Strycova from the Czech Republic 6-4 6-4.

* Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni suggested on Saturday that his players would approach their final Copa America group match against Qatar with a more attacking mindset in a bid to unlock the genius of Lionel Messi.

* Iran finished third at the 2019 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship after crushing Indonesia 9-1 at the Pour Sharifi Stadium on Saturday. The hosts lost to Japan 8-4 in the semifinals.

Reuters, Xinhua