World Sports News in Brief

Osaka suffers woeful Fed Cup return

Saturday, 2020-02-08 09:43:10
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Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 24, 2020. Japan's Naomi Osaka in action during the match against Cori Gauff of the US. (Photo: Reuters)
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Naomi Osaka’s return to Japan’s Fed Cup team after a year’s absence turned sour on Friday as the world number 10 suffered a thrashing at the hands of Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The two-time Grand Slam champion was expected to give Japan a huge boost in their bid to overcome five-time champions Spain at the La Manga Club near Murcia, but lost 6-0 6-3. Claycourt specialist Carla Suarez Navarro, playing in her last home tie for Spain, then beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-4 to put Spain 2-0 ahead going into Saturday’s reverse singles.

* Lille snatched a 2-0 win at Angers in Ligue 1 on Friday to boost their Champions League hopes as they moved level on points with third-placed Stade Rennais. Victor Osimhen and Renato Sanches scored either side of the break to put Lille on 40 points from 24 games, behind Rennes on goal difference.

* President Olivier Letang is leaving Stade Rennais with immediate effect, the Ligue 1 club said without elaborating on Friday. Board president Jacques Delanoe has been appointed on an interim basis. Under Letang, Rennes won the French Cup last year, their first trophy in 48 years.

* Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti is not in favour of closing the Premier League transfer window after the season gets underway because it makes managing players looking for a move away more difficult. Premier League clubs agreed on Thursday to move the last day of the close-season transfer window back to the end of August or early September, in line with Europe's top leagues. The move was agreed upon so clubs could avoid losing players to European rivals after the window closed when English clubs were barred from recruiting replacements, with the window set to close on Sep 1 this year.

* Pep Guardiola poured cold water on the idea of Manchester City signing Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the close season on Friday, saying he would prefer the Argentine forward to finish his career at the Spanish club. British and Spanish media reported that Messi has a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away for free in the close season even though his contract runs till 2021, sparking speculation of his departure from the club after 16 seasons.

* Formula One plans to change its governance structure to enable the sport to close quickly any loopholes in the 2021 technical regulations, making it harder for any one team to take a dominant position. The sport is set to enter a new era next year, with sweeping rule changes aimed at making the track action more competitive and cheaper.

* Organising Euro 2020 across 12 countries will help avoid leaving abandoned stadiums after the tournament is done and dusted, UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said on Friday. The June 12-July 12 tournament marks the 60th anniversary of the competition and Epstein told reporters at Global Sports Week in Paris that UEFA has "no plan to do (this format across multiple countries) again at this stage".

* Champions Bayern Munich will have winger Kingsley Coman in the squad when they host fellow title contenders RB Leipzig on Sunday, with the Frenchman returning after a two-month injury break, coach Hansi Flick said on Friday. Coman had been sidelined since mid-December with a knee injury.

* Sheffield United are nowhere near the relegation zone and are pushing for a spot in next season's Europa League but manager Chris Wilder said on Friday that his primary focus is on ensuring their Premier League survival. The Blades, who won promotion to the top flight last season, are sixth in the standings with 36 points after a stellar campaign but Wilder's target is 40 points which virtually guarantees a team stays up.

* Argentina become the first South American team to reach the Tokyo Olympic football tournament when they beat Colombia 2-1 to top the regional qualifying group with a match to spare. Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia are challenging for the second qualification place with the final round of games taking place on Sunday.

* FC Basel centre forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel has returned to full training after recovering from surgery to treat a brain aneurysm, the Swiss Super League side have said. The Dutch 31-year-old, who has also played for Sporting Lisbon and Norwich City, was diagnosed with the condition in August last year during scans following a concussion and underwent surgery immediately.

* Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda received a hero's welcome in Rio de Janeiro on Friday as he arrived to join Brazilian first division club Botafogo. Hundreds of fans - some bearing Japan flags - gathered at the arrivals hall of Rio's Galeao international airport and chanted his name to the beat of samba drums.

* The president of Paraguay's Olimpia has vowed to sign former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor if the club can attract 20,000 members over the weekend. Marco Trovato revealed that talks are at an advanced stage with the 35-year-old Togo international, who is a free agent after parting ways with Turkish side Kayserispor in December.

* A brace from Timothy Chandler and Filip Kostic secured Eintracht Frankfurt a hammering 5-0 victory over Augsburg at the curtain raiser of the 21st round in Bundesliga on Friday. With the result, Frankfurt moved to the 9th position for the moment meanwhile Augsburg slipped to the 11th place in the Bundesliga standings.

* Athletic Club Bilbao were drawn to play Granada, while Real Sociedad face Mirandes in the semifinals of the Spanish Copa del Rey at the headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation on Friday. The semifinals are played over two legs with the first game next week and the return in the first week of March.

* Chinese women's football team survived a "very difficult" virus quarantine to beat Thailand 6-1 at an Asian 2020 Olympic qualifier on Friday. The Chinese side, on their arrival in Brisbane, Australia on January 29, were put in quarantine until February 5 when a letter from the local health authority cleared them, leaving them only one day to fly to Sydney and prepare for the Thailand tie.

* A second-half strike by Jordyn Huitema earned Canada a grinding 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying championship semi-final on Friday, to secure their place at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

* Bologna striker Musa Barrow scored twice and set up another goal as they beat hosts AS Roma 3-2 in the Serie A on Friday and piled pressure on Roma coach Paulo Fonseca following their second straight league loss. Leaders Juventus, on 54 points, travel to Hellas Verona on Saturday while Inter host AC in the Milan derby on Sunday.

* Chief executive creative director Mansai Nomura said on Friday that they have completed nearly 80% of the work for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Around 1,000 people will be selected to be Olympic assistant cast members with a further 1,200 chosen for the Paralympic Games.

Reuters, Xinhua