Bryan Armen Graham

Author's details

Name: Bryan Armen Graham
Date registered: January 21, 2015
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/boxing

Latest posts

  1. Andre Ward, boxing’s pound-for-pound world No1, announces shock retirement — September 21, 2017
  2. Jake LaMotta, former boxer whose life was subject of Raging Bull, dies aged 95 — September 20, 2017
  3. How boxing won the lottery but lost the ticket once again — September 20, 2017
  4. The US Open showed black women have made American tennis great again — September 11, 2017
  5. Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League – as it happened — August 19, 2017

Author's posts listings

Sep 21

Andre Ward, boxing’s pound-for-pound world No1, announces shock retirement

  • Undefeated pound-for-pound king announces his retirement at 33
  • Ward says ‘my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport’
  • Olympic champion had not lost as a pro or amateur since he was 13

Andre Ward, the unified light heavyweight champion widely recognized as the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.

The Olympic champion attributed a physical toll and waning desire to his decision to walk away at the relatively young age of 33.

Related: Nobody won at the Golovkin-Álvarez fight – and boxing was the biggest loser

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/21/andre-ward-retirement

Sep 20

Jake LaMotta, former boxer whose life was subject of Raging Bull, dies aged 95

  • Bronx boxer captured world middleweight championship in 1949
  • ‘He had eyes that danced, all the way to the very end’

Jake LaMotta, the Bronx boxer who captured the world middleweight championship in 1949 and whose life was later the subject of the 1980 film Raging Bull, died on Tuesday because of complications from pneumonia. He was 95.

LaMotta’s wife, Denise Baker, said the longtime professional boxer died on Tuesday at Palm Garden of Aventura nursing home in Florida.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/20/jake-lamotta-former-boxer-whose-life-was-subject-of-raging-bull-dies-aged-95

Sep 20

How boxing won the lottery but lost the ticket once again

The sport took a step forward with Saturday’s gripping fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez – and two steps back with more dubious judging

George Foreman once said boxing is the sport to which all other sports aspire, and for 47 electrifying minutes on Saturday night that maxim rang as true as the middleweights Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez, two of the finest pure fighters of their generation, met in a contest of extreme physical and psychological intensity, holding a sold-out arena and a worldwide audience of millions in their thrall. It was that rarest of unicorns: a main event that managed to exceed the years of hype that preceded it. The sport could have scarcely dreamt of a better advertisement. Until, that is, the decision.

Whenever boxing asks the broader public to lean forward and pay attention, it seems a self-defeating blow is never too far ahead, reminding everyone why they abandoned the sport in the first place.

Here’s the official scorecard for tonight’s #CaneloGGG fight. pic.twitter.com/2sVE8GVNG0

Related: Canelo Álvarez v Gennady Golovkin – in pictures

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/20/gennady-golovkin-canelo-alvarez-how-boxing-won-the-lottery-but-lost-the-ticket-again

Sep 11

The US Open showed black women have made American tennis great again

It’s not hyperbolic to say the game in the States is alive because of African American players like the Williams sisters and Sloane Stephens

There’s been no shortage of anxiety over the future of American tennis over the last decade.

Andy Roddick’s abrupt retirement during the 2012 US Open left the United States without an active men’s grand slam champion for the first time in 129 years, since the inception of what then was called the US National Championships. And while Venus and Serena Williams have combined for 30 major singles championship, 121 WTA titles and 173 finals appearances – and counting – the hand-wringing over their successor on the women’s side persisted.

Related: Sloane Stephens’ win over Madison Keys warms hearts after poor US Open final | Kevin Mitchell

Related: Sloane Stephens 2.0: positivity pays off in unlikely US Open run

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/11/sloane-stephens-us-open-tennis-venus-williams

Aug 19

Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League – as it happened

5.17pm BST

Related: Sadio Mané makes vital breakthrough for Liverpool against Crystal Palace

5.02pm BST

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for following along with us and be sure to check back later for a full match report.

5.00pm BST

Liverpool outshot Palace by a margin of 18 to four. They were more accurate in their passing, created more chances and had a two-to-one advantage in possession. But they were still made to sweat before Mané’s late winner, which prompted a collective sigh of relief on Merseyside.

4.53pm BST

There’s the final whistle and Liverpool have their first win of the season, snapping Crystal Palace’s improbable streak of three straight victories at Anfield.

4.52pm BST

90 min+1: Liverpool continue to probe for the all-important insurance goal. And Saleh is denied a golazo toward the far post by a fully extended Hennessey!

4.49pm BST

90 min: There will be four minutes of stoppage time. Get ready for a nervy finish after last week’s final-reel flop.

4.48pm BST

89 min: Back-to-back chances for Liverpool through Solanke and Robertson but it’s still 1-0. Now the hosts make their final switch as Lovren comes on for Firmino.

4.45pm BST

84 min: Palace making their final switch with Jeffrey Schlupp coming on for Patrick van Aanholt.

4.44pm BST

81 min: Mo Salah heads on target from a cross but it’s a bit too on target, hit directly at the keeper who easily makes the save.

4.39pm BST

79 min: Two straight corners for Palace, their first and second of the day, and both of them are played short. Mystifying, really, given Liverpool’s seemingly institutional struggles on set pieces.

4.39pm BST

76 min: An attack-minded substitution for Palace as Sullay Kaikai replaces Luka Milivojevic.

4.34pm BST

And finally the breakthrough for Liverpool as Mane pokes home the opener when the ball deflects off a Palace defender to his foot. Persistence pays off!

4.32pm BST

71 min: Dominic Solanke replaces Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool’s second sub.

4.32pm BST

70 min: Liverpool’s best chance of the second half. Chaos in front of the goal with Wijnaldum and Mane both missing chances.

4.27pm BST

69 min: Henderson showed yellow for a foul on Cheek.

4.26pm BST

67 min: Liverpool continue to struggle to break Palace down. A nervous energy grows in the crowd. Could Solanke, who looks as if he’s about to come on, offer a spark?

4.22pm BST

63 min: Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt is shown a yellow card for time wasting.

4.20pm BST

61 min: An hour gone and Jordan Henderson has just seen his low show handled by Hennessey. A first substitution now as Mo Saleh is coming on for his Anfield debut, replacing Daniel Sturridge.

4.17pm BST

57 min: Firmino works himself into a tight angle but still manages to put a shot on goal. Alas, it sails over Hennessey’s crossbar. The pace has picked up over the past few minutes.

4.15pm BST

55 min: Van Aanholt cuts back and Benteke has a sitter but he’s missed it! Oh dear! A golden opportunity there.

4.10pm BST

52 min: Milner’s free kick sails over the wall and over the goal entirely. Goal kick to Palace.

4.09pm BST

50 min: An incisive run by Joek Matip and he’s hacked down on the edge of the box. A free kick for Liverpool from a highly promising position forthcoming.

4.06pm BST

47 min: And they’re off in the second half … and it doesn’t take long for Liverpool to press the issue. Firmino surges into the area and see his shot turned away for a Liverpool corner, the first for either side on the day. Nothing comes of it, but a promising start for the hosts.

4.02pm BST

The teams have emerged from the tunnel and we should be under way for the second half momentarily.

3.51pm BST

We’re goalless through 45 minutes in the first match of the season at Anfield. Not much to speak of, save for the inspired debut of the young left back Robertson.

3.47pm BST

45 min: The fourth official signals for one minute of stoppage time.

3.44pm BST

40 min: Firmino with an excellent chance for Liverpool, but it’s stopped by the keeper. Then a quick counter by Palace and less than a half-minute later Puncheon puts a shot on goal that Mignolet parries away.

3.41pm BST

38 min: Another set piece for Liverpool right on the edge of the box, this one from an even more direct angle. Sturridge takes it but cracks it directly into the wall.

3.38pm BST

35 min: Another set piece for Liverpool, this one from a dangerous spot right on the edge of the area. Robertson takes it and swings it onto the onrushing Sadio Mane, who can’t quite take advantage. That’s Liverpool’s third solid chance today and Roberton has been involved in all three. Otherwise, it’s been a bit dire for the Reds.

3.35pm BST

33 min: Ward wins a free kick for Palace, but moments later he tries to put Dann through but it’s mistimed and he’s caught offside.

3.30pm BST

28 min: A chance for Liverpool as Firmino finds Sturridge, whose left-footed shot from outside the area is wide and high of the target.

3.27pm BST

22 min: Dann tries to put Benteke through but the offside flag goes up. An observation from HP Tinker, via email:

I think the entire Liverpool back four may have cost less than a Jonny Evans.

3.25pm BST

20 min: Twenty minutes down and the standout on the Liverpool side has been Andy Robertson, who shown promise and industry in his competitive debut for the club.

3.20pm BST

17 min: Christian Benteke wins a foul in the attacking half, but the ensuing free kick smashes into the Liverpool wall and back toward the halfway line.

3.17pm BST

14 min: An even start for both sides. Robertson surges down the left flank for Liverpool and swings it in to Matip, who can’t connect with it. And too bad. A gorgeous cross and he really should have done better with it.

3.12pm BST

10 min: Liverpool attacking up the left side. Milner makes an overlapping run on to a through ball and breaks free through the Crystal Palace defense before uncorking a low shot at Hennessey, who falls on to it for an easy save.

3.10pm BST

8 min: Milner commits a foul on Andros Townsend as he attacks down the right flank and now Crystal Palace will have their first good opportunity of the game. The free kick is swung into James Tomkins, whose header is close but off the mark.

3.06pm BST

4 min: Georginio Wijnaldum is fouled by Luka Milivojevic and wins a free kick in the defensive half. Liverpool move into attack down the left side and the ball is crossed into Sturridge, but he can’t quite reach it and now Crystal Palace are on the counter.

3.06pm BST

3.04pm BST

2 min: A speculative shot from Jordan Henderson from about 25 yards, but it’s easily corralled by the keeper.

3.04pm BST

1 min: And they’re off! Crystal Palace attacking from left to right in black away kits, Liverpool from right to left in all-red strips.

2.48pm BST

Here’s a look at today’s teams. Klopp has made five changes from the side who beat Hoffenheim on Tuesday. Daniel Sturridge, Ragnar Klavan, Joe Gomez, James Milner and debutant Andrew Robertson come into the team, replacing Mohamed Salah, Alberto Moreno, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Emre Can.

Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer makes two changes: James Tomkins and Andros Townsend, replacing Jairo Riedewald and Wilfried Zaha.

2.25pm BST

Hello and welcome to Anfield for today’s Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Jürgen Klopp’s men are out to rebound from last week’s season-opening draw at Watford, where a moment of defensive negligence in injury time cost them points. A mid-week win over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League play-off lifted the move somewhat and now they’ll look to notch their first league win against a side who’s had their number in recent years. Indeed, Crystal Palace have taken three straight at Anfield including a 2-1 scalp in April, but they enter on a down note after dropping their league opener 3-0 to newly promoted Huddersfield Town last week.

Plenty more to come with kick-off just over a half hour away. We’ll be back with the teams in short order.

10.30pm BST

Bryan will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s the team news:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Klavan, Matip, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Firmino, Sturridge, Mane. Subs: Karius, Lovren, Salah, Can, Origi, Solanke, Flanagan.

Related: Liverpool reject £119m Barcelona offer for Philippe Coutinho

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/19/liverpool-v-crystal-palace-premier-league-live

Aug 19

Will McGregor v Mayweather save American boxing – or bury it?

What does it say about the sport’s long-term health that a one-off stunt will be boxing’s biggest event in the US for years?

Jimmy’s Corner is a classic dive on 44th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan, a half-block east from the neon marquees and flashing Jumbotrons of Times Square. The bar is warmly lit and slender, hardly wider than a walk-in closet, open seven days a week from 11.30am to 4am. The booze is cheap, the jukebox is loaded with Stax classics and the walls are a dense assemblage of posters, memorabilia and photographs culled from owner Jimmy Glenn’s panoramic life in boxing.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/19/will-mcgregor-v-mayweather-save-american-boxing-or-bury-it

Aug 12

Pyeongchang 2018: growing North Korea fears dim hopes for Olympic unity

Next year’s Winter Games in South Korea were cast as a potential refuge from the specter of war – but in the current climate, can they still offer respite?

The Olympics have traditionally been cast as a respite from from politics, danger and strife, an opportunity for the world to come together in the spirit of peaceful competition and a reminder that what brings us together as a union of five continents is stronger than what deigns to pull us apart.

Those noble ideals have been at the fore throughout the build-up to next year’s Winter Games, which kick off six months from now in the sleepy resort town of Pyeongchang, South Korea, clustered in the Taebaek Mountains – a scant 50 miles from the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that has divided the Korean peninsula for more than six decades. Even as the ever-present tensions between the countries escalated amid North Korea’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month and two nuclear bomb tests last year, Pyeongchang loomed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bridge the divide between the neighboring nations.

Related: Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea echoes loudly in void of US diplomacy

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/12/pyeongchang-2018-olympics-north-korea-south-peace

Aug 12

Chelsea v Burnley: Premier League – as it happened

  • Burnley weather fightback to shock nine-man Chelsea in London
  • Clarets score first league victory over Blues since 23 April 1983

5.04pm BST

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for following along with us and do check back later for a full match report.

5.04pm BST

A stirring fightback from the undermanned league champions falls short, but leaves a far better aftertaste for Chelsea supporters than what might have been if they’d bowed 3-nil. A note from reader David Rathborne, via email:

That wasn’t the sound of Chelsea being booed by their own fans at half time, that was the sound of the home fans booing the referee. With good reason. And that’s the sound of Chelsea fans applauding their team off at the final whistle, despite having lost, followed by booing of the referee.

4.56pm BST

There’s the whistle and Burnley have completed a famous victory at Stamford Bridge and only their second win over Chelsea in the league in more than 40 years. Gripping theater, this Premier League!

4.55pm BST

90 min+4: Burnley aren’t just sitting back and running out the clock. Just now Heaton tries to pick out Vokes with a through pass, but the timing is just off and Vokes is ruled offside.

4.52pm BST

90 min+2: David Luiz goes down near the halfway line and it’s a free kick to Chelsea. Charly Musonda replaces Andreas Christensen, Chelsea’s third and final substitution.

4.51pm BST

90 min: The Burnley free kick is cleared and Chelsea are on the counter once more. The fourth official signals for four minutes of added time.

4.50pm BST

89 min: Rudiger shown yellow for a foul on Vokes and Burnley will have a free kick from a dangerous position.

4.49pm BST

And David Luiz runs onto a flick from Morata and pounds it into the back of the goal. Chelsea are down to nine men with only a few minutes left but they’re not done yet!

4.47pm BST

87 min: Alonso goes down in the area, a bit too easily to be honest. Nothing from the referee, correctly.

4.45pm BST

85 min: Morata has a go from outside the box but the shot, while on target, doesn’t have the power required to challenge the keeper.

4.42pm BST

81 min: And Chelsea are down to nine men after Fabregas is sent off for a challenge on Cork with a second yellow. He was booked in the first half for dissent.

4.39pm BST

78 min: Kantes shot from the right side of the area is blocked. Moments later David Luiz is shown yellow, apparently for protesting to the referee.

4.37pm BST

77 min: Arfield is shown yellow for a rough challenge on Alonso.

4.36pm BST

75 min: It’s going to be a double substitution for Burnley. Scott Arfield comes on for Johann Berg Gudmundsson, while Jonathan Walters replaces Steven Defour.

4.35pm BST

73 min: Christensen appears to score for Chelsea … but the flag is up! Upon further review, it looks as if Morata was offside when he took the final touch before the ball went over the line, which it would have done anyway. Had he left it, it would be Chelsea 2-3 Burnley with more than 15 minutes to play.

4.30pm BST

The Blues pull one back as Burnley are caught sleeping a bit. Willian floats a cross across the area toward Morata, who sneaks behind his marker and heads it into the goal.

4.23pm BST

63 min: Another chance for Chelsea, this time by Alonso, whose left-footed shot is blocked. Moments later Ben Mee is given a yellow for an overzealous challenge on Morata.

4.22pm BST

61 min: Signs of life for Chelsea! Marcos Alonso takes the free kick and pounds a left-footet bolt toward the top-right corner. It’s saved by a fully extended Heaton, but only just. Corner for Chelsea.

4.21pm BST

60 min: Robbie Brady is shown the yellow card for a hard foul at the hour mark, Burnley’s first booking of the year.

4.19pm BST

58 min: Chelsea make their second substitution of the match as Alvaro Morata comes on for Michy Batshuayi.

4.17pm BST

55 min: Hendrick wins a free kick off a hard challenge by Fabregas, who’s already on a yellow. The referee sprints up and the crowd swells nervously. Fortunately, he’s spared a sending off and Chelsea will continue with 10 men.

4.14pm BST

51 min: Chelsea win a corner, only their second of the day, but nothing comes of it. They’re on the attack again moments later as Alonso carries it into the area from the left side. He looks to cross but it caroms off a Burnley defender back toward him. The crowd and Alonso cry for a handball and the replay does confirm it struck the lower-shoulder area. Alas, no call.

4.11pm BST

49 min: Rudiger has a go but misses the target. Moments later Fabregas finds Alonso, whose left-footed shot from outside the area is parried away. Surely that was Chelsea’s best chance of the match.

4.10pm BST

46 min: We’re off and running again in the second half with no changes for either side. Almost immediately, Kanté wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4.07pm BST

A sampling of your thoughts from an interesting first half at the Bridge.

Alix, via email:

Must disagree with Prateek Chada. The champions being humiliated at home on opening day by a mid-table team shows “the system” is working perfectly.

No matter how you spend you still can’t be sure of buying a title, even in this day and age.

Just had an image flash up in my mind of Mourinho sitting in a lotus position in front of his TV having just found his Nirvana…

What’s Neymar’s buy-out clause?

3.56pm BST

That’s the sound of the defending champions being booed off the pitch by their home fans at half-time of the season opener. Chelsea won 19 of 21 matches across all competitions at Stamford Bridge last year while Burnley took a scant seven points away from Turf Moor all season. So naturally the Clarets lead 3-0 in this one. Bear in mind: Burnley have only beaten Chelsea in league play once in the last 40 years: back on 23 April 1983 when both sides were in the second division.

3.52pm BST

45 min+2: Vokes wins a free kick on a David Luiz foul. A subsequent shot misses the mark and that should be the last kick of the half.

3.51pm BST

45 min: Chelsea finally win their first corner of the match. Nothing comes of it. The fourth official signals for three minutes of injury time.

3.46pm BST

A surreal opening here at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea go three down inside the first 45 minutes. This one started with Jeff Hendrick winning a free kick on the right flank. Defour took the kick and found Vokes in the center of the area, who made no mistake in heading it past the keeper.

3.42pm BST

Cork picks out Ward on the left side of the area, who carries it toward the goal before uncorking a left-footed shot from a tight angle past the keeper. A peach of a strike and Chelsea find themselves two goals down and a man down at home against a side that finished in the bottom five last year.

3.38pm BST

36 min: Ten minutes from half-time and Chelsea are still looking for their first shot on target.

3.35pm BST

33 min: A good spell of possession now for the Blues but they aren’t able to generate a shot from it before it’s given away and Burnley are on the counter.

3.32pm BST

28 min: Burnley keeping the pressure on after their surprise opener, winning a corner. Nothing comes of it and moments later the goal-scorer Vokes is whistles for a foul on Fabregas in the Chelsea half.

3.29pm BST

Lowton crosses into Vokes, who pounds a right-footed shot from the middle of the area into the bottom-left corner for the opener! Welly welly well!

3.27pm BST

21 min: Prateek Chadha checks in via email.

This game is the perfect illustration of how “there is no value” in the transfer market and how FFP is a joke. Surely there is something wrong with a system thay lets Chelsea spend 70 million pounds to buy Morata to warm the bench and that too while not needing to even move Costa out. (And lets be clear that he has been benched as Batshuayi has been preferred after a full pre-season).

3.20pm BST

18 min: A first substitution for Chelsea as Andreas Christensen replaces Jeremie Boga.

3.20pm BST

16 min: Now Fabregas has been shown a yellow for what appears to be sarcastic applause to the referee, who’s lost control of proceedings a bit early on.

3.17pm BST

14 min: And Gary Cahill is sent off for a reckless studs-up challenge of Steven Defour directly in front of the referee. Chelsea are down to 10 men with less than 15 minutes on the clock! Looked a bit harsh to be fair.

3.14pm BST

11 min: Rudiger has a go from outside the area and it’s deflected away.

3.12pm BST

10 min: Willian surges up the right side into the area and chips a cross toward Boga, but the Ivorian is whistled for a foul.

3.08pm BST

6 min: A bit of a slow start for the Blues but they’ve kept possession for a spell here, building up slowly from the back before a long ball over the top winds up in the hands of the Burnley keeper.

3.04pm BST

3 min: Burnley win a free kick. It’s floated toward the far post in the general vicinity of Ben Mee, but he’s unable to get a head on it. Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso is shown yellow for a hard challenge.

3.02pm BST

1 min: And they’re off! Burnley attacking from left to right in white shirts and claret shorts, Chelsea from right to left in traditional all-blue strips.

3.00pm BST

The teams have taken the field at Stamford Bridge and we’re moments from kick-off. We’ll take it over with minute-by-minute coverage from here.

2.32pm BST

Hello and welcome to today’s match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Antonio Conte’s men are out to open their title defense on the right foot and will be favored to do so against a Burnley side in the top flight for a second straight season for the first time since the 1970s.

Kick-off is just under a half hour from now. Here’s a look at today’s teams.

4.20pm BST

Bryan will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s what Gary Cahill had to say about the Blues’ title defence:

Gary Cahill has suggested Chelsea will have to rely on keeping players fit this season if they do not add to their depleted ranks.

Antonio Conte’s side, deprived of the injured Eden Hazard and with new signing Tiemoué Bakayoko sidelined after knee surgery, looked short of resources during their Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday and Cahill was not the only person to notice the squads listed in the Wembley programme showed Chelsea could potentially select from 17 fewer players than their opponents.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/12/chelsea-v-burnley-premier-league-live

Aug 09

eSports could be medal event at 2024 Olympics, Paris bid team says

  • Paris bid committee co-president to meet with IOC about competitive gaming
  • In April, it was announced eSports will be medal sport at 2022 Asian Games

eSports could be added to the Olympic programme as an official medal sport in 2024.

Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris bid committee, has confirmed that he will speak with the International Olympic Committee and eSports representatives about the full-fledged inclusion of competitive video gaming when the Games come to France in seven years’ time.

Related: Anti-doping in eSports: World’s largest gaming organization will test for PEDs

Related: Is it time for eSports gamers to be recognised as athletes?

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/09/esports-2024-olympics-medal-event-paris-bid-committee

Aug 03

The brilliant Caeleb Dressel doesn’t need to be the next Michael Phelps

The young American sprinter, fresh off a record-tying seven golds at worlds, could be in position to become the face of swimming at the Tokyo Olympics

Caeleb Dressel knew the comparisons were inevitable. The 20-year-old University of Florida student had barely toweled off after capturing his seventh gold medal at last week’s world aquatics championships when he found himself cast as the heir to Michael Phelps as the face of swimming in the United States and, potentially, the world.

Not only had the American sprinter become the first swimmer to win seven golds at a single worlds since Phelps in 2007, Dressel joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to win seven titles at any long-course international championship.

Related: Adam Peaty: ‘The main question is – how fast can we go?’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/aug/03/caeleb-dressel-swimming-michael-phelps

Jul 30

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester rivals whet US appetite for elite game | Bryan Armen Graham

American fans flock to the International Champions Cup but there is concern that while enriching top European clubs it may not be helping the US domestic game

On Saturday night a sellout crowd of 66,014 spectators footed between $240 (£183) and $3,500 (£2,665) to watch a pre-season friendly between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the pièce de résistance of the two-week summer exhibition tour featuring high-profile European clubs known as the International Champions Cup. The rights holder ESPN delivered the type of blanket coverage more typical of a Super Bowl or World Cup final, committing no fewer than 25 on-air personalities to south Florida and broadcasting live on location throughout the week.

This is to say nothing of the 35,728 fans who paid $20 to $30 – plus parking – to watch both clubs’ training sessions on Friday night.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jul/30/barcelona-real-madrid-international-champions-cup

Jul 15

Venus Williams’ glorious reinvention undaunted by Wimbledon final defeat

Late-career revival is certainly not over yet and remarkable tennis odyssey now sets sights on US Open, which she won in 2000 and 2001

Venus Williams’ preposterous longevity in a sport notorious for burnout cases is impressive enough, not even accounting for the incurable autoimmune disease that has compromised her tennis for most of the past decade. The 37-year-old American’s road to the Wimbledon final included three straight victories against opponents born in 1997, the year Williams made her Wimbledon debut. But she came up short against the imperious Garbiñe Muguruza, a star-in-waiting who did what young lions do to older champions.

Yet Williams’ runner-up finish is the type of accomplishment that will strain the credulity among future generations. The oldest player in the top 300 – the third-oldest in the top 1,000 – came within one win of becoming the oldest Wimbledon ladies’ singles champion since 1908. This was a big deal.

Related: Garbiñe Muguruza crowned Wimbledon champion after beating Venus Williams

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/15/venus-williams-reinvention-undaunted-by-wimbledon-final-defeat

Jul 14

Marin Cilic overcomes Sam Querrey to reach Wimbledon final – as it happened

4.28pm BST

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for following along with us and do check back later for Kevin Mitchell’s full match report.

4.24pm BST

Cilic makes the Wimbledon final for the first time in his 11th attempt. #Persistence. That’s a record for the Open era. The 6ft 6in Croat is also the tallest finalist at the All England Club since the majors allowed professionals to compete with amateurs in 1968.

By reaching the final on his 11th appearance @cilic_marin is top of the Open Era list for most attempts before reaching the #Wimbledon final pic.twitter.com/EKOVbvQwfl

4.20pm BST

Related: Marin Cilic reaches first Wimbledon final with win over Sam Querrey

4.15pm BST

Marin Cilic is through to his second major final and first at Wimbledon after a 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over Sam Querrey. He will face the winner of today’s second semi-final between Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych. Good on Cilic to keep his cool in a closely fought match against a cool, confident opponent. The difference came on their second serves, where Querrey won less than half of the points (26 of 54) compared to two-thirds for Cilic (28 of 42).

4.08pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 5-7 Cilic

Querrey double-faults, only his third of the day. Not ideal. He wins the next point but then sends a cross-court forehand long and wide, challenging it unsuccessfully. Cilic two points from the final at 15-30. Then Querrey sends another backhand sailing past the baseline and Cilic has a pair of match points. He squanders the first by dumping a backhand into the net, but then crushes a forehand winner down the baseline for the break and the match!

4.05pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 5-6 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another love hold for Querrey, including his 24th and 25th aces followed by a backhand winner. He’s a perfect 17-for-17 on first-serve points won this set. Do-or-die service game ahead for Querrey to try and force a fourth-set tiebreaker.

4.02pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 5-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey opens with an ace but makes an unforced error on the backhand side for 15-all and now Cilic is three points from the final. But Querrey steadies himself and wins the next three points to hold for five-all.

3.59pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 4-5 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic falls behind love-15 when Querrey hits a backhand volley winner. The umpire asks the crowd to turn off the cell phone. Pretty embarrssing moment for someone. Hope it wasn’t Barry Gibb. Now Cilic rattles off three quick points to fight back to 40-15. An unforced error by Cilic makes it 40-30, but Querrey can’t return another blistering Cilic serve into the court and the Croat holds. Querrey will now serve to stay in the tournament.

3.56pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 4-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey wins the first two points and it looks like just another routine service games, but Cilic responds with a pair of clean winners for 30-all then a drop-shot winner for 30-40. All of a sudden, Cilic has a chance for a break point to get back on serve in the fourth. And he capitalizes! Cilic pounces on a 79mph second serve and forces Querrey into an error on the backhand side. Querrey’s vulnerability on the second serve laid bare there: he’s 23 of 49 (47%) and just two for nine in this set.

3.52pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 4-3 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another love hold for Cilic punctuated by an ace. Both times Cilic’s been broken today, he’s responded with eight straight points across his next two service games.

3.50pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 4-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey races out to 40-love, but dumps a volley into the net followed by a double fault, only his second of the day. But before it can get uncomfortable, the American calmly uncorks an ace to hold serve.

3.45pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic fires in his 20th and 21st aces, then sees Querrey make an unforced error on the backhand side for 40-love. A forehand winner then gives the Croat yet another love hold, but he’s still down a break in the fourth.

3.43pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 3-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Uh-oh. Querrey in danger of giving it right back as he falls behind 15-40 on a botch overhand smash. But he saves the first with a forehand winner, then the second when Cilic makes an unforced error on the forehand side for deuce. Querrey than crushes an ace and forces Cilic into a forehand error to escape with the hold from double break point down. Wow!

3.39pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 2-1 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Querrey hasn’t even come within touching distance of a break very often today, but he’s forced Cilic into an error for 30-all. He then jumps on a second serve and forces Cilic into another error on the forehand side for 30-40. One break-point chance and he makes the most of it, forcing Cilic into another error for the precious service break!

3.35pm BST

Fourth set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Cilic gets it to 30-all on Querrey’s serve, but the American responds with his ninth and 10th aces of the day for the hold.

3.33pm BST

Fourth set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Quick love hold for Cilic, who is just dialed in on his serve.

3.30pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-7 Cilic

Querrey wins a point on his serve to start and Cilic follows by winning both on his. Two more for Querrey on his serve, then an unreturnable smash by Cilic and they’re knotted at 3-all at the changeover. Cilic wins the next point and they’re still on serve as Querrey serves at 3-4. And, oh dear! Just as back-to-back unforced errors cost Cilic dearly in the business end of the first-set tiebreaker, now Querrey mixes in a pair of unforced errors at the worst possible time. Cilic now serving at 6-3 with a pair of set points. He needs only the first, crushing a cross-court forehand winner out of Querrey’s reach and he’s now one set from his first Wimbledon final.

3.23pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-6 Cilic

An easy hold for Cilic capped by a 134mph ace, his biggest serve of the match. Massive tiebreaker afoot.

3.17pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey holds at love in two shakes of a lamb’s tail and the pressure is back on Cilic, who must hold to force a third-set breaker.

3.16pm BST

Third set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Querrey pounces on a second serve, pounds Cilic back on the baseline and takes him up the line for an easy forehand winner. The No24 seed is three points from the set. But Cilic steels himself and rattles off four quick points, punctuated by a 115mph ace out wide, for the critical hold. That’s Cilic’s 48th winner of the match against only 14 unforced errors.

3.10pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

A whiff of pressure on Querrey and Cilic rips a forehand winner for love-15, but the American strings together a few winners for 40-15. An unforced error by Querrey makes it 40-30, but Cilic returns in kind to gift Querrey the hold. Now Cilic will serve to stay in the third set.

3.07pm BST

Third set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic holds at love once more, this time in a scant 72 seconds, and he’s won eight straight points on his serve since getting broken.

3.05pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey races out to a 40-love edge. Cilic pulls one back with a forehand winner but Querrey closes out the hold with an ace.

3.04pm BST

Third set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic rebounds from his first and only broken service game of the day with another love hold, including his 14th ace (to Querrey’s seven).

2.57pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey backs up the break with an easy hold, capped by a forehand smash winner. A promising turn in the narrative for the American.

2.56pm BST

Third set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server)

A huge opportunity for the American here as Cilic plays a couple of loose points to fall behind 15-40, giving Querrey his first look at a break point all afternoon. Cilic saves the first, but Querrey pounds a screaming backhand winner for the crucial break! That came out of nowhere and not a moment too soon for Querrey.

2.51pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 1-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey double-faults to open his service game then falls behind 15-30. Now a gutting unforced error on a forehand volley and suddently the American is staring down a double break point. He saves the first with a thudding ace, but there will be no escape this time as a missed forehand (upheld by a desperate challenge) gives Cilic the break of serve.

2.48pm BST

Third set: *Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another elementary hold for Cilic at love. He’s won 24 of his last 28 service points (and 52 of 63 on the afternoon).

2.43pm BST

Third set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Uh-oh. Querrey loses the first three points on his serve, the latter at the end of a lengthy rally. Now Cilic will have three break-point chances. He saves the first two on a pair of Cilic errors and the third on a forehand volley winner. Deuce. Cilic errs on the backhand side, but responds with a forehand winner for deuce once more. After trading points Querrey finally strings together back-to-back forehand winners to escape with the hold.

2.37pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 4-6 Cilic

Querrey nets a couple of returns and Cilic is two points from the set. Now Cilic thuds a 115mph ace and he’ll have three looks at a set point. He needs only one, depositing an elementary open court winner after Querrey could barely get back a serve out wide.

2.33pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 4-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Cilic making more headway on Querrey’s serve now and fighting back from 30-love for 30-all, but Querrey serves his way out of it and now Cilic will serve to level the match at one set apiece.

2.30pm BST

Second set: *Querrey 7-6, 3-5 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic backs up the break with brio, holding at love. Just like that, Querrey will serve to stay in the second set. Margins.

2.27pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 3-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Another opportinity for Cilic as Querrey quickly falls behind love-30. And now a missed backhand by Querrey gives Cilic three looks at a break point. The American saves the first, but Cilic crushes a backhand winner to pass an approaching Querrey easily for the first break of the match.

2.24pm BST

Second set: *Querrey 7-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another quick service hold for Cilic, who closes out the game with a 128mph ace.

2.21pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

An opportunity here for Cilic, who wins the first two points to put Querrey in a love-30 hole. Querrey wins the next two points, the latter on an ace, for 30-all. But he blinks on a baseline rally and Cilic will have another break-point chance. Now Querrey mixes in a serve-and-volley for the first time all match (and on a second serve!) and CIlic nets the return for deuce. That’s followed by back-to-back winners by Querrey, who escapes with the hold.

2.18pm BST

Second set: *Querrey 7-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another elementary hold for Cilic, who’s picked up right where he left off with his serve in the first.

2.12pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

An easy hold for Querrey. Says Guardian US contributor Greg Couch:

Querrey is relentlessly attacking Cilic. Playing unbelievably great. Always had this skill but never looked like a champion b4 now

2.10pm BST

Second set: *Querrey 7-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server)

An easy hold for Cilic, who needed one after cracking at the end of that tiebreaker. He finishes off the game with a forehand volley winner and Querrey will serve at 1-all.

2.08pm BST

Second set: Querrey 7-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Only 10 unforced errors combined in the first set, but those last two made all the difference. Querrey serving to open the second and falls behind love-15 on a Cilic winner. He wins the next two points, but Cilic scratches back with a pair of winners and forces deuce for the first time all afternoon. Now Querrey misses on a forehand and it’s the first break-point chance either player has had today. But Querrey rattles off the next three points to escape with the hold.

2.01pm BST

First set: Querrey 7-6 (6) Cilic

Cilic wins the opening point on his serve. Querrey wins his first but then Cilic crushes a forehand winner to move ahead a mini-break. Cilic now serving at 2-1, dialing in an ace and forcing Querrey into an error. Querrey, serving at 1-4, wins both points but he’s still behind a mini-break. Cilic serving at 4-3: Querrey wins a point on a backhand volley winner, then the next point on a backhand error by Cilic. Now it’s Querrey ahead a break, serving at 5-4. Querrey misses on a forehand and they’re back on serve at 5-all. Now Cilic misses on a backhand and Querrey has a set point with Cilic serving at 5-6. A Cilic service winner makes it 6-all. Cilic misses on a first serve and then nearly misses on a second, but a challenge will give him a second serve again. Oh dear. The stewards are moving in the crowd toward someone in the crowd who appears to need medical assistance. We hope they’re OK. But due to the interruption, it’s possible the umpire will give Cilic a first serve. More than three minutes have passed since the last point by the time Cilic steps to the line again. And, yes, Cilic is given a first serve. Interesting wrinkle, that. And Cilic makes a bad error on a backhand, spraying it wide. Now Querrey will be serving for the set at 7-6! And as the clouds break on Centre Court, Cilic misses on a backhand again and Querrey takes the first set, 8-6 in the tiebreaker!

1.48pm BST

First set: Querrey 6-6 Cilic

Clinical hold for Querrey and we’re headed to a tiebreak. Only seven combined unforced errors in the set.

1.44pm BST

First set: *Querrey 5-6 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another easy hold for Cilic, including his sixth ace. And now Querrey will serve to force a first-set tiebreak.

1.41pm BST

First set: Querrey 5-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Another easy hold for Querrey. Very few opportunities today for the returner, who’s only managed more than one point in a game so far (when Cilic had 15-30 in Querrey’s first service game).

1.39pm BST

First set: *Querrey 4-5 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic holds at love, capping the game with a 125mph ace down the T. Only seven lost points combined on serve.

1.35pm BST

First set: Querrey 4-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey falls behind love-15 when Cilic smashes an angled backhand winner from the baseline. But Querrey brushes aside the threat by rattling off the next four points, including the last on a 107mph ace out wide.

1.32pm BST

First set: *Querrey 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another drama-free service hold for Cilic, who’s now won 16 of 19 points on his serve (84%), compared to 12 of 15 for Querrey (80%).

1.28pm BST

First set: Querrey 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey races out to a 40-love advantage before Cilic pulls one back on a forehand winner. But the American responds with a forehand winner of his own to lock down the stress-free hold. Both guys dealing on their serve and working very quickly.

1.26pm BST

First set: *Querrey 2-3 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Another easy hold for Cilic, who’s now won 12 of 14 points on his server. With both players serving like this, it likely this entire match will come down to a few crucial points here and there.

1.23pm BST

First set: Querrey 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey answers Cilic’s love hold in kind. Barry Gibb and Jude Law in the Royal Box today.

Barry Gibb ready to belt out “You Win Again” for King Roger later I suppose @BryanAGraham?

1.21pm BST

First set: *Querrey 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server)

Cilic punctuates the love hold with a 133mph ace. He’s won eight of nine points on his serve. Ominous start.

1.19pm BST

First set: Querrey 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server)

Querrey hits a forehand winner but loses the next two points to fall behind 15-30 and immediately feel a hint of pressure on his serve. But it’s quickly brushed aside with a pair of forehand winners at the net, then he takes the game when Cilic misses on a forehand. Querrey serving the hell out of the ball with an average speed of 129mph in that game, a high of 135mph.

1.15pm BST

First set: *Querrey 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server)

A clincial hold for Cilic to open proceedings: forehand winner, service winner and a forced Querrey error to race to a 40-love lead. Querrey scratches back for a point but Cilic finishes it off when the American misses on a backhand.

1.08pm BST

Reader Chris Page checks in with an update from the gentlemen’s wheelchair singles:

Stefan Olsson just obliterated former world #1 Shingo Kunieda in the Men’s Wheelchair Singles semis. It was clinical and ruthless – like Muguruza’s dismissal of Rybarikova. Here’s hoping Britain’s Alfie Hewett fares better against Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, who Hewett recently beat to win the French Open.

1.06pm BST

The players are on the court going through their warm-ups. The winner of today’s semi-final will top the list for the most attempts before reaching the final at Wimbledon in the Open era, surpassing of Pat Rafter, who reached the final on his eighth appearance here. This is Cilic’s 11th Wimbledon appearance and Querrey’s 10th. Should Querrey win today and reach his first Grand Slam final on his 42nd appearance at a major, he would also join David Ferrer at the top of the list for most attempts before reaching a major final in the Open era.

1.00pm BST

Hi all and welcome to today’s first men’s semi-final between Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic. It’s the fifth career meeting between the pair including their third at Wimbledon and if history is any indicator, we should settle in for a long ride. Both of their past encounters at the All England Club have gone five sets. In fact their third-round meeting here in 2012 is the second-longest men’s singles match in tournament history, with Cilic winning a 17-15 final set in a match that lasted five hours and 31 minutes.

10.11pm BST

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime why not check out Kevin Mitchell’s report on Sam Querrey’s quarter-final upset of Andy Murray.

Related: Andy Murray hobbles out of Wimbledon to Sam Querrey in last eight

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/14/sam-querrey-v-marin-cilic-wimbledon-semi-final-live

Jul 13

Andy Roddick threw away nearly all his trophies during cleaning spree, wife says

  • Roddick’s wife says former world No1 trashed nearly all his trophies
  • Texas native retired with 32 titles in 2012 after a 12-year pro career
  • Roddick, 36, kept trophy from his breakthrough 2003 US Open win

Andy Roddick may have been the most decorated American tennis player of his generation, but good luck finding the silverware to show for it.

Roddick’s wife, Brooklyn Decker, said the former world No1 decided to throw away nearly all of his trophies during a recent cleaning spree at the couple’s home in Austin, Texas.

Related: Of all the dumb traditions of Wimbledon, its sexism is the worst | Greg Jericho

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/13/andy-roddick-throws-away-trophies

Jul 11

Venus Williams beats Jelena Ostapenko: Wimbledon quarter-final – as it happened

4.16pm BST

Related: Venus Williams ends Jelena Ostapenko’s dream run in Wimbledon quarter-finals

4.12pm BST

Thanks all for now. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to check back later for a full match report!

4.06pm BST

Today’s win will propel Williams back into the top 10 in next week’s rankings (at No9). If she wins the title, the 37-year-old will climb back into the top five. Not bad for the oldest woman in the top 300.

4.03pm BST

Williams advances to face the winner of the Jo Konta-Simona Halep, which is next on Centre Court. Williams, who has defeated three consecutive opponents nearly half her age, is the oldest women to make it this far at a grand slam since Martina Navratilova’s runner-up finish at Wimbledon in 1994. She’s one of only two people remaining in the ladies’ draw, along with Muguruza, to have won a major title.

3.59pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 7-5 Ostapenko

Williams not letting up one bit with the serve, flummoxing Ostapenko with well-disguised offerings and even causing her to lose her footing on one occasion. She races out to a 40-love advantage to set up three match points. But she needs only one as Ostapenko can’t return her final serve into the court. They meet at the net for the handshake and Williams waves to the crowd beneath the closed roof on Centre Court.

3.56pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 6-5 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

And Ostapenko blinks! She mixes in a few errors to fall behind 15-40, then nets a forehand from the baseline to surrender the break. Oh dear! Williams will now serve for a place in the semi-finals.

3.54pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 5-5 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Another easy hold for Williams, who mixes in her eighth ace of the day. These two are playing with great efficency with only 67 minutes have passed so far.

3.49pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 4-5 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko races ahead to a 40-15 advantage but mixes in a double fault to make it 40-30. Then she forces Williams into an error to secure the hold. Venus will now serve to stay in the second set. Ostapenko has won 75% of her first-serve points (21 of 28) compared to 76% for Williams (26 of 34).

3.45pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 4-4 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Just what Williams needed: an easy hold. The American is really dialing up on the serve now and keeping Ostapenko on the back foot. A decisive advantage for Ostapenko on the longer points, but there have been so few of them. Only four points have gone longer than eight shots today. Ostapenko has won 11 of the 17 points have gone longer than four shots. Yet an incredible 76 rallies have been shorter than four shots.

3.41pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 3-4 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko double-faults to open the seventh game and the crowd murmurs in concern. But she responds with three straight winners and punctuates the easy hold with an ace. Wow! The young Latvian backs up the break with a purpose and all of a sudden it feels like Williams, who was just chugging along toward the finish line moments ago, could have a fight on her hands.

3.38pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 3-3 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Williams nets a volley but responds with a booming ace, her seventh of the day (to Ostapenko’s zero). Now Ostapenko crushes a forehand winner and Williams contributes a backhand error and all of a sudden the 20-year-old has two break-point chances. She needs only one and doesn’t even need to step off her line: Williams double-faults to gift the break and they’re back on serve in the second.

3.34pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 3-2 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko tries for a backhand winner from the baseline but misses by inches, but wins the next three points for 40-15. She mixes in an error for 40-30, but Williams nets a return and Ostapenko keeps pace with the hold. Alas, the $64,000 question persists: Can Ostapenko make headway on Williams’ serve? She’s had but one look at a break point all afternoon and that feels like hours ago.

3.29pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 3-1 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

A forehand volley winner by Williams, a backhand error by Ostapenko, a booming ace by Venus. Just like that the American is ahead 40-love. She mixes in a double fault then a backhand error, but Ostapenko is forced into a backhand error and Williams consolidates the break.

3.28pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 2-1 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Oh dear. A nightmarish service game for Ostapenko, who’s broken at love. Errors galore off the backhand side. Could that be the opening Williams needs?

3.26pm BST

Second set: Williams 6-3, 1-1 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Another stress-free hold for Williams, who is getting 25 of 36 first serves in (69%) and has won 19 of 25 of her first-serve points (76%). On we go.

3.20pm BST

Second set: *Williams 6-3, 0-1 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko, unbowed, races to a 40-love advantage. Williams wins one back, but Ostapenko chases down a cross-court return to deposit a forehand winner on the run. Very nice!

3.17pm BST

(Elsewhere on the grounds, the first women’s quarter-final is in the books as Garbiñe Muguruza wins 6-3, 6-4 over two-times major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. She’ll face the Rybarikova-Vandeweghe winner in Thursday’s semis for a place in Saturday’s final.)

3.15pm BST

First set: Williams 6-3 Ostapenko

Williams opens with an error off the backhand side but rattles off three straight points to set up double set point. Ostapenko saves the first with a forehand winner, but Williams closes the show with a service winner and she’s halfway home.

3.12pm BST

First set: *Williams 5-3 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Three quick points for Ostapenko, but Venus scratches back for deuce. It’s as close as Williams has been to a break since Ostapenko’s opening service game. But the Latvian fights off a big return and finishes a long rally with a backhand winner, then finishes off the hold by forcing Williams into an error. Now Williams will serve for the first set.

3.08pm BST

First set: Williams 5-2 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Williams drops the first point on a double fault but rattles off the next four for an easy hold. Her average serve speed is 104mph, compared to 85mph for Ostapenko. Now the French Open champ will serve to stay in the first set.

3.04pm BST

First set: *Williams 4-2 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko showing power off both wings in this game, cracking winners off the forehand and backhand sides for 30-love. Williams answers with a backhand winner, but mixes in a couple of errors to hand Ostapenko the stress-free hold.

3.03pm BST

First set: Williams 4-1 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Williams continuing to play terrific first-strike tennis, keeping Ostapenko on the back foot with her booming serve and shortening the points wherever possible. Three quick points to make it 40-love, then a double-fault from Williams, which is only the fourth point she’s lost on her serve today. Then an unforced error from Williams makes it 40-30, but she pounds an ace for the hold. Camera pans to the stands where thesps Ian McKellen and Ruth Wilson appear deep in conversation. They still haven’t apologized for that lousy Prisoner remake, but we’ll forgive them.

2.58pm BST

First set: *Williams 3-1 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Three quick points for Ostapenko, who appears undeterred by the early deficit. Williams wins a point with a forehand volley at the net and Ostapenko follows with a forced error on the forehand side for 40-30, but she locks down the hold with a forehand winner and Venus will serve at 3-1.

2.54pm BST

First set: Williams 3-0 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Williams dictating points with her big first serve, which is dialed in early today. She forces Ostapenko into errors on the first three points, zooming to a 40-love lead. Ostapenko fights back with a forehand winner, but Williams gets the best of a lengthy rally when Ostapenko overcooks a baseline forehand. A drama-free hold for the five-times Wimbledon champ.

2.52pm BST

First set: *Williams 2-0 Ostapenko (*denotes next server)

Ostapenko crushes a forehand winner but mixes in a pair of unforced errors to fall behind 30-40 and gives Williams her first look at a break point. Another error off the backhand side dooms the French Open champ and gifts the American the early break.

2.47pm BST

First set: Williams 1-0 Ostapenko* (*denotes next server)

Venus opens with a 111mph ace, then forces Ostapenko into an error after a short rally for 30-love. Ostapenko wins the next two points, the second on a forehand winner. But Venus polishes off the easy hold with a pair of aces. Short, sweet points, just how the American wants it.

2.44pm BST

Venus is making her 20th Wimbledon appearance. Ostapenko turned 20 a month ago. They’ve just finished their warm-ups on court and we should be under way in the next few minutes.

2.38pm BST

Hello and welcome to today’s women’s quarter-final between Venus Williams and Jeļena Ostapenko. The opening match on Centre Court between Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino has just ended with Djokovic winning in straight sets, which means we should be under way in less than a half hour.

What awaits is a delicious matchup between the five-times Wimbledon champion and the newly minted French Open title-holder: the oldest player to advance to the last eight of a grand slam since Martina Navratilova in 1994 against the youngest player remaining in the ladies’ singles draw. And age is only where the contrasts between these two begin.

10.53pm BST

Bryan will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s how Venus fared in the last 16:

The five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has returned to the quarter-finals at the All England Club with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over 19-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia. She is joined in the last eight by her compatriot CoCo Vandeweghe, who beat the No5 seed Caroline Wozniacki. There was more success for the US in the men’s draw as Sam Querrey beat Kevin Anderson in five sets to set up a meeting with the reigning champion, Andy Murray. Querrey also reached the last eight last year after his upset victory over Novak Djokovic.

Related: Wimbledon: Venus Williams, Sam Querrey and CoCo Vandeweghe lead US charge

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/11/venus-williams-jelena-ostapenko-wimbledon-2017-live

Jul 01

John McEnroe: ‘A knack for creating controversy where there is none’

New Yorker arrives at Wimbledon one of tennis’s most popular figure despite comments such as those appearing to denigrate Serena Williams

You would have been forgiven if you double-checked the calendar this week on hearing John McEnroe was in the headlines for a spot of controversy. This time, in an interview with National Public Radio, it was for positing Serena Williams would “be like 700 in the world” if she played on the men’s tour.

For the past four decades the 58-year-old New Yorker has been known for his combustible persona and taste for the fight as much as the heavenly talent that carried him to 77 career singles titles, including three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open. Once derided as a brat and pox on a sport with an aura of stuffy conservatism, McEnroe today is regarded as a top broadcaster on two continents and a national treasure – even if the next lapse in tact is never too far away.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/01/john-mcenroe-a-knack-for-creating-controversy-where-there-is-none

Older posts «