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Djokovic cruises into semis at US Open tuneup

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images 2020 08 27T193022.548 Djokovic cruises into semis at US Open tuneup

World number one Novak Djokovic cruised into the semi -finals of the ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open on Wednesday while Japan ’s Naomi Osaka withdrew to protest the shooting of a black man by police in Wisconsin.
Djokovic , who launches his bid for a fourth US Open title and 18 th Grand Slam crown on Monday , needed only 62 minutes to rout Germany ’ s Jan-Lennard Struff 6 – 3 , 6 -1 .
The 33 -year – old Serbian , who seeks a fourth US Open title and 18 th Grand Slam crown, advanced to a Thursday semi -final against Spain’ s Roberto Bautista Agut , who upset defending champion Daniil Medvedev , last year ’s US Open runner- up from Russia, by 1 -6 , 6 – 4, 6 – 3 .
Djokovic had no issues with a prior neck injury , testing himself well on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts in the same spectator -less Covid -19 bubble quarantine atmosphere where the US Open will be played.
“ It was great . I feel very good , ” said Djokovic who is 21 – 0 this year .
“ Started a little bit tight an opening couple of games of my service games . Managed to defend well .
“ Ever since that first break early in the first set, I never looked back . I really played very aggressively when I have a chance . I was playing my shots . I was very pleased with my serve .”
Fourth seed Osaka , a two- time Grand Slam champion, rallied to defeat Estonia ’ s Anett Kontaveit 4 – 6, 6 -2 , 7 -5 in a quarter – final .
But she withdrew from her Thursday semi against Belgian 14 th seed Elise Mertens , who eliminated American Jessica Pegula 6 – 1, 6 – 3 .
The move came in the wake of African -American Jacob Blake being shot in the back on Sunday in Kenosha , Wisconsin .
– ‘Sick to my stomach’ –
“ Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach ,” Osaka posted in a Twitter statement .
“ Before I am an athlete , I am a black woman . And as a black woman , I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis.
“ I don ’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.”
Mertens reached a Friday final against the winner between two -time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Tunisia ’ s Ons Jabeur 7 – 6 ( 11 / 9 ) , 6 – 2 , and Britain ’s Johanna Konta , who beat Greece ’s 13 th-seeded Maria Sakkari 6 -4 , 6 – 3.
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The other men ’ s semi -final will send Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas , who advanced down 5 – 6 when American Reilly Opelka retired, against Canada’ s Milos Raonic, who defeated Serbian Filip Krajinovic 4 -6 , 7- 6 ( 7 / 2 ) , 7 -5 .
Djokovic won this event, typically played in Cincinnati , in 2018 after five prior finals losses and looks like he could claim a second title in three tries while warming up for the US Open and testing the improvements made to his games since the COVID -19 shutdown .
“ Everything was worked on in the last six months , ” he said.
“ Looked into what can be upgraded. I worked on every single shot. It ’s good that it ’ s paying off so soon after the break . Hope to keep it going . ”
Bautista Agut , ranked 12 th, fought back after being blasted in the first set.
“ It was a fantastic comeback for me ,” he said. “ I had to fight a lot to stay there in the second set. It was a really tough match. I’ m glad to get through.”
His reward is an on -form Djokovic , who has won five of the past seven Grand Slam titles as he chases Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — both absent from the New York bubble — for the all – time Slam title record .
“ He ’s very solid . I’ ll try to play my best game against him ,” the Spaniard said . “ If I can play a good level , it ’ s going to be a good match. ”

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Europa: Bale ready to fly, says Mourinho

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images 2020 10 29T091438.930 Europa: Bale ready to fly, says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho says Gareth Bale has worked hard to improve his fitness levels .
The Portuguese manager added that the Wales forward would be ready to “ fly ” when he takes the field against Royal Antwerp in the Europa League later on Thursday .
Bale had been nursing a knee injury since his return to Spurs last month on a season-loan loan from Real Madrid but has got up to speed in recent weeks .
Mourinho confirmed Bale would start the Group J match and was confident the Wales international was ready to deliver .
“ Bale is playing and we all have not just a feeling but the data to show that Bale is arriving , ” Mourinho told reporters .
“ He ’s been quite a great example for everybody . A big guy like him travelled to Burnley , stayed on the bench for 90 minutes , didn’t play one minute .
“ His behaviour as a team guy is incredible. We can see already Gareth at a good level and hopefully he can fly because he’ s working very hard .”

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UCL : Juventus Vs Barcelona Today At 9pm

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MRF2020 JuventusvBarcelona 1038x519 1 UCL : Juventus Vs Barcelona Today At 9pm

The headline news in the footballing world last week was, of course, that Cristiano Ronaldo had tested positive for Covid-19.
Said test result means Ronaldo has already missed two games for Juventus.
First up, the veteran hitman was unable to feature over the weekend as Andrea Pirlo’s side were held to a 1-1 draw with Crotone.
Then, Ronaldo would also miss Juventus’ Champions League opener on Tuesday, in which the Serie A champions were able to see off Dynamo Kyiv by two goals to nil – Alvaro Morata was on target for both strikes that day.
How Ronaldo can feature vs Barcelona
Whilst Juventus probably weren’t too concerned about not being able to call upon Ronaldo vs Kyiv, they will no doubt be desperate to have their star man back for next week’s Champions League clash.
Next up, Juventus are set to take on Hellas Verona in the Serie A on Sunday. The Bianconeri are then set to go head-to-head with Barcelona in a Champions League tie on Wednesday.
Given said outfits are clear favourites in Group C, Wednesday’s tie could go a long way to deciding who tops the table.
As a result, Juve really need Ronaldo back. And according to reports emerging from Italy, UEFA will allow Ronaldo to feature vs Barca if, on Wednesday, he can prove he at least has ‘a low viral load’.
Returning a negative Covid-19 test is not said to be necessary for UEFA, however, if Ronaldo wishes to feature vs Verona, the Portuguese standout must provide a negative test by Friday:

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UCL : Manchester United Vs Leipzig Today At 9pm

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images 2020 10 28T184030.899 UCL : Manchester United Vs Leipzig Today At 9pm

Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the weekend did little to dispel the common criticism of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as incapable of unlocking a bunkered defense. The Reds shaded the stalemate, even coming close to a win with Marcus Rashford’s late curler, but can have no complaints with the result. Frank Lampard’s back three — more like a back five, really — kept United at bay and denied the likes of Daniel James and Rashford space to operate. New season, same old problem.
(3) Thankfully, RB Leipzig are unlikely to follow in Lampard’s footsteps on Wednesday night. The Bundesliga leaders know only one speed: all out. Whether in attack or on the press, Leipzig are aggressive and refuse to sit back. Expect them to push high up the pitch, playing the ball vertically to stay on the front foot, and overloading the flanks to gain a numerical advantage. This profile plays into counterattack-loving Manchester United’s hands, but RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is quite gifted at throwing tactical curveballs.
(4) Coming out of the international break, Solskjaer seems to have found his preferred midfield pivot: Scott McTominay and Fred. The pair started in the wins at Newcastle and PSG and the Chelsea draw, controlling the middle and providing defensive support that had been sorely lacking in earlier matches. Their strong play, though, leaves Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek out in the cold. Solskjaer has found minutes for Pogba as a super-sub of sorts, but Van de Beek is still struggling for a chance.

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