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Alexander Zverev Beats Injury Scare To Reach Rome Semis As Danielle Collins Sets Up Aryna Sabalenka Clash

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Alexander Zverev reached his 18th Masters semi-final in Rome on Wednesday but only after a worrying fall which sparked memories of the horror injury he suffered at the French Open two years ago. The world number five from Germany defeated Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3 to set up a last-four duel with Alejandro Tabilo, the Chilean journeyman who had stunned Novak Djokovic earlier in the tournament. Zverev’s moment of concern came in just the third game on centre court at the Foro Italico when he fell on the clay and landed on his front.

The 2017 champion cut his left wrist and a finger in the tumble and required treatment from the tournament physio before he continued the match.

Zverev, 27, suffered a serious ankle injury at the 2022 French Open after falling on the clay of Roland Garros during his semi-final against Rafael Nadal and missed the rest of the season.

On Wednesday, however, he was able to dust himself down to defeat Fritz in 90 minutes, firing 20 winners with six aces and not facing a single break point.

“Taylor has been one of the best players on clay this year. To have a win like that is great for me, especially after the fall,” Zverev said. 

“I still have a little bit of pain, so once the adrenaline settles I’m going to check out tomorrow what it is. But definitely happy with the win.”

Zverev is the highest-ranked man left in the event after Daniil Medvedev’s elimination on Tuesday.

As well as Djokovic’s exit, Italian world number two Jannik Sinner and third-ranked Carlos Alcaraz both dropped out injured before the tournament.

Holger Rune, who lost last year’s final to Medvedev, Madrid champion Andrey Rublev — ranked sixth in the world — and beaten finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime have also been eliminated.

Chile’s Tabilo will play his first-ever Masters 1000 semi-final at the age of 26, after seeing off unseeded Zhang Zhizhen of China 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

“I just can’t believe it right now, still trying to soak this in… Definitely an unforgettable two weeks for me,” said a delighted Tabilo, the 29th seed who knocked out top-ranked Djokovic on Sunday.

“It’s definitely the best tennis of my life right now, trying to keep a poker face there because inside I’m just so nervous, every time trying to close out the match gets a little bit tighter.”

Tabilo, in fact, had far less trouble on Wednesday than he did in his battle with Karen Khachanov in the previous round, not facing a single break point on his way to the biggest match of his career at the last major tournament before the French Open.

Collins wins 19th of 20 matches

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka needed just an hour and 13 minutes to see off Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 on her way to the semis, improving her record against her Latvian opponent to three wins and no defeats.

Sabalenka will next take on Miami Open winner Danielle Collins who eased past Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3.

“With this amazing atmosphere and with this amazing support… that’s why I’m super motivated here and that’s why I always say that this is the dream tournament for me to win,” said Sabalenka.

The 26-year-old could get a rematch of the Madrid final which she lost in dramatic fashion to world number one Iga Swiatek earlier this month.

Sabalenka, who has won the two most recent Australian Opens, was in a different class to Ostapenko, a former French Open winner, who could do nothing in the face of some punishing hitting.

Rome is the first time since the 2013 French Open that the top three women have reached the last four of a WTA event of 250 level or higher, with Swiatek and world number three Coco Gauff in the other semi-final on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Collins, ranked 15 in the world, announced in January that this would be her final season on the tour before retiring. 

She now has 19 wins in her last 20 matches, dating back to the start of Miami where she captured her first WTA 1000 title. 

Her only loss since came against Sabalenka in three sets in the fourth round of the Madrid Open. 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Iga Swiatek Saves Match Point To Beat Naomi Osaka At French Open

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Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast Naomi Osaka.© AFP




Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast fellow four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 7-5 in a breathtaking second-round clash at the French Open on Wednesday. World number one Swiatek trailed 5-2 in the final set but the Pole won the last five games of the match to keep her bid for a third successive Roland Garros title on track.

She is attempting to become only the fourth woman in the Open era to lift four Roland Garros titles and just the second — after Serena Williams — to complete the clay-court treble of Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same season.

More to follow…

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Bayern Munich Appoint Vincent Kompany To End Long Search For New Coach

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Bayern Munich’s long search to fill their vacant head coaching position is over with the German giants naming Vincent Kompany as manager in a shock move on Wednesday. The 38-year-old Belgian, a surprise choice with his Burnley side relegated from the Premier League this season, has penned a three-year deal at the Allianz Arena. Normally in contention for the biggest names in the business, Bayern have been searching for months but have been knocked back by several candidates after their first trophyless season for 12 years.

After failed attempts to lure Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann and Austria’s Ralf Rangnick, Bayern tried to hold onto Thomas Tuchel, who had agreed in February to leave in the summer. 

Tuchel however announced in May he “couldn’t agree on terms” to stay with the club and would “stick to the agreement we had in February”.

Instead, Bayern have decided for Kompany, taking a risk on an inexperienced yet promising candidate in one of the biggest jobs in football. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of FC Bayern. It’s a great honour to be able to work for this club – FC Bayern is an institution in international football,” said Kompany in a club statement.

“I’m now looking forward to the basics: working with the players, building a team. Once the basis is right, success will follow.”

Burnley will reportedly receive £10 million ($13 million) in compensation for allowing their manager to leave.

“We understand the allure and prestige of a club like Bayern Munich and respect Vincent’s ambition to explore new opportunities,” Burnley said in a statement.

Alonso 2.0?

After a successful playing career where he captained Manchester City and the Belgian national team, Kompany returned to his first club Anderlecht to begin his managerial career.

He moved to Burnley in 2022 and took them to the Premier League as second-division champions, before crashing back to earth over the past 12 months.

Yet, he crucially retained the support of his old coach at City Pep Guardiola, who advised his former club to go for Kompany due to his leadership qualities and determination to play an attacking brand of football.

“As a coach, you have to stand for what you are as a character,” added Kompany. “I love having the ball, being creative – but we also have to be aggressive and courageous on the pitch.”

Coaching instability has been a feature at Bayern over the past decade and a half, despite their consistent on-field success. 

Guardiola, whose three-year spell in Bavaria ended in 2016, was the last Bayern coach to complete at least two full seasons. 

Used to poaching the best talent from their Bundesliga rivals, Bayern were shunned by Alonso, as he decided to take Leverkusen into the Champions League next season.

However, recreating the Spaniard’s success in Germany looks to have been on the minds of the Bayern board.

Like Alonso, Kompany is a disciple of Guardiola and speaks German thanks to his spell at Hamburg as a player.

But his transition into coaching has not been as smooth as the Leverkusen boss.

He finished third and fourth in his two full seasons at Anderlecht before overseeing Burnley’s lowest ever points tally in the English top-flight to finish second bottom of the Premier League this season.

Kompany, who is the same age as Bayern captain Manuel Neuer, now has a mammoth task ahead of him in reviving Bayern’s on-field fortunes, not to mention navigating the club’s complex backroom politics, which have derailed more experienced coaches.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Carlos Alcaraz Survives Scare At French Open

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Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Jesper de Jong.© AFP




World number three Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong to reach the third round after a four-set triumph on Wednesday. Wimbledon champion Alcaraz, who made the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, scrambled to a 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 second round victory over a player taking part in only his second Grand Slam main draw. The 21-year-old Spaniard was broken five times and hit 47 unforced errors before De Jong, playing his fifth match at the tournament, eventually wilted under the roof of Court Phillipe Chatrier.

“Every player can cause you trouble,” said Alcaraz.

“You have to be focussed in every round, have to play at your best, it doesn’t matter what the ranking is. Jesper has the work and level to break into the top 100.”

Alcaraz goes on to face either American 27th seed Sebastian Korda or South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo for a place in the last 16.

Despite being broken in the second game of the opening set, Alcaraz broke three times himself to grab the advantage.

The battling Dutchman then saved eight break points over the course of the second set before the Spaniard found the killer blow.

However, Alcaraz, who arrived at the tournament under an injury cloud after sitting out the Rome Open with a right arm problem, went off the boil in the third set.

He committed 15 unforced errors to the Dutchman’s five as the qualifier cut the deficit.

Alcaraz then twice had to come back from breaks early in the fourth set before running away with the last four games to triumph.

 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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