Thiem beats Murray to make Barcelona final
Dominic Thiem claimed his first win over world number one Andy Murray to book his place in the final of the Barcelona Open on Saturday 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
The Austrian will face Rafael Nadal, who moved to within one win of a 10th Barcelona title when he swept past Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of the clay court event.
Murray squeezed past Albert Ramos-vinolas in a three-hour encounter on Friday and looked flat-footed as Thiem roared through the opening set with three breaks of serve in just over half an hour. The Scot had to stave off another break point in a marathon opening game to the second set. But he held on and then jumped at his chance to take the match to a decider.
Murray, though, still looks a pale shadow of the player that rose to number one on a spectacular run at the end of last year as he struggles for form and fitness after an elbow injury.
Thiem had to battle back from a break down in the third, but broke Murray another three times in the decider to win.
MLADENOVIC ENDS SHARAPOVA COMEBACK
Former world number one Maria Sharapova crashed out of Stuttgart Grand Prix semifinal in her first event back after a 15-month doping suspension, losing to France’s Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday.
Wildcard entrant Sharapova, a five-time grand-slam winner, squandered a 6-3, 2-0 lead as Mladenovic clawed her way back into the game to win after two
Sharapova had not lost a set in the previous three matches of her comeback this week. Her defeat means she will finish outside the top 200 when the rankings are released on Monday ruling out French Open.
Sharapova, who was banned for using meldonium after testing positive at the 2016 Australian Open, has also received wildcards for forthcoming tourna
KYRGIOS BEREAVED, PULLS OUT OF ESTORIL
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the Estoril claycourt tournament on Friday following the death of his grandfather, the world number 16 announced on Twitter.
Kyrgios, who was due to be top seed at the Portuguese event starting on Monday, said he was heading home to attend the funeral of his grandfather Christos Kyrgios who lost his battle against cancer.
“I have unfortunately withdrawn from the Estoril Open to go back to Australia and attend my grandfather’s funeral,” said the controversial 22-year-old Australian star.
“The decision was a hard one but my family is very important to me and I feel the need to be around my loved ones at this time as well as pay my respects to my
One front-runner Sebastian Vettel stunned Mercedes to take Ferrari’s first pole position since 2015 on Saturday with teammate Kimi Raikkonen completing a front row lockout at the Russian Grand Prix.
The pole, Vettel’s 47th, ended a run of 18 in a row for once-dominant world champions Mercedes, who had Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton right behind the two red cars in third and fourth places. The German, a four-time world champion with Red Bull, has won two of the first three races and leads triple champion Hamilton by seven points in the championship.
As a measure of Ferrari’s achievement in breaking the Mercedes stranglehold and returning to form, the pole was only the Italian team’s sixth since 2008. It was also Ferrari’s first front row sweep since Brazilian Felipe Massa, now with Williams, and Raikkonen qualified first and second at the French Grand Prix — a race no longer on the calendar in June 2008 thumb back to the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, 31 races ago, to find the last time Mercedes had no car on the front row.
“The first run was not really tidy, so I left it to the end, and I improved sometime in the last sector,” said Vettel, who had to wait before confirmation came over the radio that Mercedes were beaten.
“I immediately opened the radio ‘tell me about the others, tell me about the others!’,” he said. “When I got the message we got it I was over the moon. The car was phenomenal this afternoon.”
Bottas was fastest in the first two phases, with the choice of tyres coming into play, and those who had suspected the champions were hiding their pace in
WADA REINSTATES MADRID DOPING LAB
Madrid’s Anti-doping Laboratory was reinstated by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) on Friday, more than a year after it was suspended. The suspension, which followed WADA’S declaration last March that the Spanish Anti-doping Agency (AEPSAD) was non-com pliant, prohibited the lab from carrying out any Wada-related anti-doping activities.
AEPSAD, which had missed a deadline for required changes to its drug-testing procedures, was removed from the non-compliant list early last month and an inspection of the Madrid lab fol
France's Kristina Mladenovic sent Maria Sharapova packing.