Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Tennis-Lajovic upsets Murray in first round of Miami Open
Serbian Dusan Lajovic beat Andy Murray 6-4 7-5 at the Miami Open on Wednesday, sending the Briton packing in the first round with his first hardcourt win of the season. Lajovic thrust his fists to the air after surviving a 16-shot rally on the final point, setting up a meeting with American Maxime Cressy, who won their only prior encounter.
Soccer-Ronaldo talks up Saudi league’s competitiveness
Cristiano Ronaldo said he has been surprised by the level of competitiveness in the Saudi Pro League since joining Al Nassr in January. “I think you should look at the (Saudi Pro League) in a different way,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to say that the league is a Premier League, that would be a lie.
Baseball-World Baseball Classic final smashes US viewership records
The riveting World Baseball Classic (WBC) final that saw Japan beat the U.S. 3-2 on Tuesday in Miami drew a combined audience of 5.2 million in the U.S., a record for a WBC game, Major League Baseball said on Wednesday. Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout in a showdown between two of the game’s best players to seal Japan’s third win in five editions of the global showcase.
Baseball-Astros’ Altuve has thumb surgery, expected to miss two months
Houston Astros’ standout second baseman Jose Altuve had surgery on his broken right thumb on Wednesday and will not be able to resume baseball activities for about two months, the MLB team said. Altuve, whose reigning World Series champion Astros team open their MLB season on March 30, suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch while playing for Venezuela in a World Baseball Classic quarter-final game on Saturday.
Soccer-Lazio to ban three fans for life over ‘antisemitic’ behaviour
Lazio will ban three fans for life from attending any games at the Stadio Olimpico due to antisemitic behaviour during the Rome derby on Sunday. Authorities reviewed security camera footage to identify a fan wearing a Lazio shirt with the name ‘Hitlerson’ and the number 88, a reference to the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute, during their 1-0 win over AS Roma.
Cuba rips Miami for ‘vile’ treatment of its players at World Baseball Classic
Cuba on Wednesday slammed Miami authorities and baseball officials for allowing what it called “vile and organized” attacks against its players at the semi-final of the World Baseball Classic last week. Sunday’s game matched the U.S. team against Cuba at LoanDepot Park in Miami, a city that is home to the largest population of Cuban Americans in the United States, as well as many of the most vocal opponents to Cuba´s communist-run government.
‘Napoli fan’ prosecutor steps aside from legal case against Juventus
One of three prosecutors accusing Italian soccer club Juventus of financial misconduct has left the case after the emergence of derogatory comments he made about the team, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. In a video shot at a legal conference in Milan in 2019, a year before the inquiry into top-flight Serie A club Juventus opened, Turin prosecutor Ciro Santoriello said: “I am a huge fan of Napoli (soccer team), I hate Juventus”.
Tennis-Defending champion Swiatek pulls out of Miami Open
Iga Swiatek has withdrawn from the Miami Open due to a rib injury, the world number one and defending champion said on Wednesday. Top seed Swiatek was due to begin her campaign against American Claire Liu in the second round on Thursday after being given a bye in the first round.
Olympics-IOC and Games cannot be referees in political disputes – Bach
The Olympic Games and its ruling body, the International Olympic Committee, cannot be referees in global political disputes, its president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday, defending the IOC’s plans to includes Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris 2024 Games. Speaking at a political forum, Bach said the Games should stay away from politics otherwise they would lose their uniting powers, citing examples of past boycotts in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tennis-Andreescu downs Raducanu in Miami Open battle of Grand Slam winners
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu beat Britain’s Emma Raducanu 6-3 3-6 6-2 at the Miami Open on Wednesday in a first-round clash of former U.S. Open champions looking to recapture top form after a spate of injuries. Andreescu, coming off a third-round loss to world number one Iga Swiatek at Indian Wells, served seven aces and saved 11 of the 12 break points she faced against Raducanu to set up a clash with Greek seventh seed Maria Sakkari.
(With inputs from agencies.)