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Canadian Bianca Andreescu defeats Greece's Maria Sakkari to advance to Miami Open final – TSN

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MIAMI — Canada’s Bianca Andreescu is heading to the final of the Miami Open after yet another three-set victory.

The eighth-seeded Andreescu fought back from a break down twice in the third set to beat No. 23 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4) in a match that finished at 1:35 a.m. ET on Friday.

Andreescu has won her past four matches in three sets and has won six three-setters in a row overall. Eight of her 11 matches this year have gone the distance.

The Canadian will face top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia in the final of the WTA 1000 event on Saturday. Barty beat No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 6-3 in the first semifinal on Thursday.

Andreescu finished Sakkari off on her third match point of the tiebreak. She took charge by taking two points in a row off Sakkari’s serve to go up 5-2.

The Canadian double-faulted for just the second time in the match on a pivotal point, giving Sakkari a break to go up 6-5 in the third set. But Andreescu broke right back without dropping a point to send it to a decisive tiebreaker.

Thisis Andreescu’s third tournament back after a 16-month absence in the aftermath of a knee injury. She’s trying to recapture the form of her breakthrough 2019 season when she won three tournaments, including the U.S. Open.

Sakkari broke Andreescu to go up 3-2 in the third set, but couldn’t hold the lead.

The Canadian tied it at 4-4 with her own break. Andreescu ran down a shot before Sakkari hit one wide to finish the game.

Sakkari rallied from a break down to win the second set.

Andreescu’s consistency dropped as the set went on with several unforced errors leading to the decisive break that put Sakkari up 5-3.

Sakkari tied it at 3-3 with her first break of the second set, running down a forehand to stay in the game before overpowering Andreescu with some aggressive shots.

Sakkari had 10 winners in the second set, eight more than the Canadian.

Andreescu looked to be in trouble early in the match but saved two break points to hold serve, then broke her opponent for the first time to go up 3-1.

But she was unable to seize control when she fired a backhand long to give the break right back on her next service game, and 33 minutes in the Greek had it back to 4-4.

Sakkari wouldn’t go away, but Andreescu went shot for shot and saved two set points before finally putting a backhand past her opponent to take the first-set tiebreaker, which took one full hour to complete.

Andreescu returned from her 16-month layoff in February at the Australian Open, losing in the second round of the Grand Slam.

The 20-year-old Canadian followed that up by reaching the semifinals of an event in Melbourne for players eliminated early from the Australian Open, but a leg injury suffered there kept her out until Miami.

Andreescu entered Thursday night’s match 32-1 in North America since the start of 2019,

The 25-year-old Sakkari ended No. 2 seed Naomi Osaka’s 23-match unbeaten run with a 6-0, 6-4 win over the Japanese player in the quarterfinals.

In her previous match, Sakkari fought off six match points in a win over American Jessica Pegula.

Sakkari had a career record of 2-9 in semifinals heading into the match against Andreescu.

All four Canadian men have been eliminated in the singles draw.

In women’s doubles, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos face No. 8 seeds Luisa Stefani of Brazil and Hayley Carter of the U.S. in a semifinal on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2021.

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UEFA threaten to ban breakaway clubs from all competitions

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By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – European soccer‘s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.

In a joint statement https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/mediaservices/mediareleases/news/0268-12121411400e-7897186e699a-1000–statement-by-uefa-english-fa-rfef-figc-premier-league-laliga-le with Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider “all measures”, including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.

UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries “may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League”.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we….(and) also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way,” the statement added.

In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation” – meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.

Sunday’s UEFA statement said: “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

 

(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)

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Netherlands and Poland seal narrow Billie Jean King Cup playoff wins

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(Reuters) – The Netherlands and Poland both needed deciding doubles wins to battle through their Billie Jean King Cup playoffs on Saturday but Britain, Italy and Canada all enjoyed easier passages.

In Den Bosch, the Dutch were without world number 11 Kiki Bertens for the second day because of injury and found themselves trailing China 2-1 after Wang Xiyu beat Lesley Kerkhove in Saturday’s opening singles.

But Aranxta Rus beat Wang Xinyu to level the tie and then teamed up with Demi Schuurs to defeat Zhang Shuai and Zu Yifan to send the hosts through.

It was equally tight in Poland where the hosts were pushed to the brink by Brazil.

Brazil’s Carolina Meligeni Alves took the tie into a deciding doubles with a win over Katarzyna Kawa but the Poles prevailed 3-2 as Kawa and Magdalena Frech came back from a set down to beat Meligeni Alves and Luisa Stefani.

Kazakhstan also won a deciding rubber to see off Argentina.

Britain led 2-0 overnight against Mexico in London but Marcela Zacarias beat Heather Watson to keep alive the tie.

Katie Boulter proved too strong for Giuliana Olmos though to clinch the tie for the hosts.

Italy beat Romania 3-1 while Canada‘s teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez sealed her country’s path as she gave her side an unassailable 3-0 lead over Serbia thanks to a three-set win over Nina Stojanovic.

Ukraine eased past Japan 4-0 while Anastasija Sevastova secured Latvia’s 3-1 victory over India.

The eight winners move forward to next year’s qualifying round where they will hope to reach the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

The old Fed Cup was re-branded last year and named after the American great and 12-times Grand Slam singles champion who won the inaugural tournament nearly 60 years ago.

This year’s 12-team Finals were postponed because of the pandemic and a new date has yet to be finalised.

 

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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Motor racing-Canadian Grand Prix cancelled for second year

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(Reuters) -The Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row, CBC Radio reported on Thursday although Formula One said discussions remained ongoing.

With the spread of new COVID-19 variants and Canada battling to contain a third wave of the virus, Montreal public health authorities concluded that even if run behind closed doors without spectators the risks were too high, reported the CBC.

F1 officials, according to the CBC, wanted to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the hundreds of staff, crew members and drivers and rely on private medical staff and have the entire operation run in a bubble.

The race is scheduled to follow on immediately from Azerbaijan, whose grand prix is scheduled for June 6 in Baku and is due to go ahead after also being cancelled last year.

“We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment,” an F1 spokesperson told Reuters.

The Autosport website quoted a spokesperson for the Canadian promoter as saying the radio report referred to “a document of recommendations from public health.

“We as an organisation have not had confirmation from our public health officials and won’t comment until we get an official confirmation.”

Canada, with some of the world’s toughest travel rules, obliges its citizens and residents arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

International arrivals are required to quarantine for up to three days in a hotel.

One of Canada‘s biggest sporting events, it would mark the second consecutive year the grand prix has been removed from the F1 schedule due to the spread of COVID-19.

Media reports have suggested Turkey is on standby to be slotted in as Canada‘s replacement.

The Istanbul circuit is logistically convenient for freight coming from Baku and was brought in last year also at short notice to bolster a calendar ravaged by the pandemic.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto/Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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