World Sports News in Brief

Federer begins grasscourt season with win over Millman in Halle

Wednesday, 2019-06-19 06:15:00
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Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 7, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Roger Federer began his preparations for next month’s Wimbledon Championships with a 7-6(1) 6-3 victory over unseeded Australian John Millman in the opening round of the Halle Open on Tuesday.

Competing in his first match since being beaten by eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the French Open semi-finals, the Swiss proved too strong for Millman in the grasscourt tournament. Up next for the 20-times Grand Slam champion is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has won the last two matches of their 17 career meetings.

* Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has helped raise more than 6,000 pounds for the Premier League team's City in the Community charity by donating for auction the grey cardigan he wore during their treble-winning campaign last season. The Spaniard said after their 6-0 FA Cup final victory over Watford last month that he would give away the hooded item of clothing to raise money for the charity.

* Rain forced the cancellation of the second day's play at the Queen's Club Championships on Tuesday, with matches involving the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Juan Martin del Potro rescheduled for Wednesday. As many as 10 singles matches and two doubles contests were set to be played on Tuesday but spells of rain led to a number of false starts before the organisers were forced to cancel the day's play after 17:00 local time (16:00GMT).

* After two weeks enjoying the delights of Mallorca it was time for business for Maria Sharapova on Tuesday as she launched her comeback from a six-month injury lay-off in style. The Russian five-times Grand Slam champion struggled for rhythm initially on the low-bouncing grasscourt at the Mallorca Open but picked up the pace to beat Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6(8) 6-0. It was a small step for the 32-year-old who will face reigning Wimbledon champion and top seed Angelique Kerber in a standout second-round match at the Santa Ponsa Tennis Club.

* World number one Naomi Osaka was tested by Maria Sakkari in her first-round match at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham but eventually went through to the last-16 of the grasscourt tournament with a hard-fought 6-1 4-6 6-3 win on Tuesday. In her first match since her third-round exit at Roland Garros earlier this month, 21-year-old Osaka struggled with her first serve against the world number 33 and took two hours to dispatch her Greek opponent. However, the Japanese, who lost to Sakkari prior to her US Open title run last year, did manage to fire seven aces and won five break points to clinch victory.

* Gareth Bale's agent has dismissed suggestions the Wales forward could leave Real Madrid on loan and said it would take "something exceptional" for the player to leave the Spanish capital. He started only five of Madrid's last 11 games of the season and his chances of holding down a place in the side next season look to have been further compromised by the arrival of Eden Hazard for 100 million euros from Chelsea and Brazilian Rodrygo for 45 million from Santos.

* Michel Platini, the former head of European football association UEFA, was detained for questioning by French police on Tuesday over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament to Qatar. The detention of the former soccer star was first reported by French investigative website Mediapart.

* Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has extended his deal with the Bundesliga club by a year to 2021, the league runners-up said on Tuesday. The Swiss coach took over last year, leading them to second place in the league behind Bayern Munich.

* The 2020 Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) cycle race will start on August 14 in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the race organisers confirmed on Tuesday. The race will spend three days in the Netherlands before returning to Spain.

* Real Madrid on Tuesday presented 18-year-old Brazilian forward Rodrygo Goes to fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The youngster was actually signed a year ago, but spent last season on loan in Brazil in order for him to continue gaining experience.

* Ibrahim Afellay signed a one-year contract at PSV on Tuesday, marking his comeback to the Dutch soccer club after eight years abroad. The now 33-year-old midfielder left PSV, with whom he won four Dutch league titles and one domestic Cup, in January 2011 for FC Barcelona.

Reuters, Xinhua