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French Open begins as top players grumble over cold weather – CNN International



The tournament’s 10th seed was 2-1 up against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in the first round when she took matters into her own hands after light rain paused the match.
When she was asked to remain on court by a match official while a decision was taken about whether play should continue, the Belarusian tennis player said she would not carry on waiting outside.
“I’m not going to sit here because I’m going to get frozen,” she told the supervisor.
After complaining that it was only 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), the two-time grand slam winner said she lived in Florida and was “used to hot weather.”
“It’s ridiculous, it’s too cold. What’s the point? Sitting here like ducks,” Azarenka added.
When the match resumed 50 minutes later, the Belarusian quickly took control of the game, beating her opponent 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour. Her victory was watched by just nine spectators, according to Reuters.
Speaking about the interruption, Azarenka said: “I think it’s very tricky at the moment to have these conditions. So definitely not going to sit here and complain, but sometimes I think there are smarter ways to handle situations.”
Over in the men’s draw, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who is hoping to win his 13th French Open title, has also stressed that conditions are different this year, after the clay tournament was delayed from May to late September because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The ball is super slow, heavy. It’s very cold. Slow conditions,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard also said that he has “always” been “beatable” on clay, commenting that Novak Djokovic has defeated him “a lot of times” on the surface.
Nadal’s opening match against the Belarusian Egor Gerasimov is scheduled for Monday.

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Belichick wins Breeders' Stakes, Mighty Heart denied Canadian Triple Crown – TSN



TORONTO — Josie Carroll completed the Triple Crown sweep Saturday, just not the one that mattered.

The Carroll-trained Belichick claimed the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack for his first career victory. But it came at the expense of stablemate Mighty Heart, the one-eyed colt that was looking to become the first OLG Canadian Triple Crown winner since Wando in 2003.

“Very (bittersweet),” Carroll said. “It’s very exciting to win with this horse, he’s a horse I’ve said had a lot of promise from the beginning.

“But how often do you get the opportunity to win a Triple Crown? I thought Mighty Heart ran his little heart out. Unfortunately he was hooked all the way with that one horse and never got a chance to relax.”

Jockey Daisuke Fukumoto took Mighty Heart, the even-money favourite, to the lead from the start, which like he did in the $1-million Queen’s Plate that his horse ended up winning by a whopping 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Belichick as a 13/1 longshot. But Kunal, and jockey Emile Ramsammy, kept pace with Mighty Heart for three-quarters of a mile.

Mighty Heart still held the lead after a mile, and while Kunal had dropped back to seventh, Told It All was giving Mighty Heart chase in second. Not having the chance to relax and settle in then took its toll on Mighty Heart, who simply ran out of steam and finished seventh.

“It’s different when they’re running easy and you’ve got a horse dogging you,” Carroll said. “Especially a competitive horse like (Mighty Heart), he wasn’t going to let that horse get away from him and I think he used most of his race up against one competitor.

“I think had (Mighty Heart) got a chance to relax . . . he would’ve had a lot more finish.”

Fukumoto agreed.

“He was sharp like in the Queen’s Plate,” he said. “I tried to take hold and he relaxed a little bit in the backstretch but with the mile and a half you need the stamina . . . he got tired.

“He gave me many experiences and I’m so proud of him. I want everyone to keep following him when he runs again next time.”

Contreras, who in 2011, won all three Triple Crown races with two horses – had Belichick sitting eighth at the start and moved him up to fourth after a mile. The 3/1 second pick surged into the lead with a quarter-mile remaining and posted an impressive four-length victory in 2:32.51 on a good turf.

“It’s a hell of a way to break your maiden,” Carroll said. “I’ve said all along this was a good horse, I wasn’t surprised to see him jump up today.

“He’s still lightly raced and he’s a big, rangy horse that’s still growing into himself. I don’t think he’s even done growing yet.”

Contreras, who won his third Breeders’ title, said after a somewhat difficult start, Belichick settled in and had plenty left when it counted most.

“They kind of broke early in the race so I just tried to see them and relax my horse as much as I could,” he said. “He was very uncomfortable, this horse has a different style to run so I just let him be happy wherever he wanted to be.

“Turning for home, I was just in hand all the way to the quarter pole. I asked him to run from the stretch home and he did.”

Meyer, a 54/1 longshot ridden by Sahin Civaci, finished second ahead of English Conqueror, a 12/1 pick that was supplemented for this race and ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The field was reduced to 11 horses after Olliemyboy was scratched earlier Saturday.

The remainder of the field, in order of finish, included: Deviant; Clayton; Enchant Me; Mighty Heart; Muskoka Giant; Told It All; Glorious Tribute; and Kunal.

Carroll had expressed concern last week about a potentially soft turf course given all the rain the fell in the Greater Toronto Area. However, she said the surface wasn’t a major factor in Saturday’s race.

“I went up on it this morning and Woodbine did a really good job on this turf,” she said. “It was a good course.

“It had a little cut to it but there’s nothing wrong with a little give on the turf. It really wasn’t that soft of a turf.”

Belichick has now finished in the money in all four of his career races (win, twice second, third) and received $240,000 for Saturday’s victory.

“Mighty Heart is the little scrapper but Belichick, he’s just a dude,” Carroll said. “He can be really, really laid back but he’s also full of himself.

“He knows who he is and climbs all over top of the people when they’re trying to walk him. He just always has to assert himself.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

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UFC lightweight champion Khabib retires after beating Gaethje – Al Jazeera English



Khabib Nurmagomedov chokes Justin Gaethje unconscious to retain title, announces retirement following death of his father and coach.

UFC superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement after defeating Justin Gaethje to successfully defend his lightweight title and retain his perfect record.

The undefeated 32-year-old mixed martial artist from Dagestan, Russia, collapsed in the centre of the octagon and sobbed after choking his American opponent unconscious at UFC 254 on Saturday.

On getting up, he took off his gloves and left them on the mat.

“This is my last fight in the UFC,” he said.

His father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away in July due to complications caused by COVID-19.

Nurmagomedov said in the post-fight interview that he talked to his mother for three days before deciding to accept the fight against Gaethje in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

“There’s no way I’m going to be back without my father. I spoke to my mother. She don’t know how I fight without father, but I promised it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow it.”

The American troubled the champion with leg kicks but succumbed to a triangle choke in the second round as Nurmagomedov cemented his claim to be the most dominant MMA fighter of all time with a 29-0 record.

Social media erupted in celebration and tribute following Nurmagomedov’s win and retirement announcement.

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Mighty Heart, horse with N.S. connection, falls short in bid for Canadian Triple Crown –



Mighty Heart, the one-eyed colt with a Nova Scotia connection, narrowly missed winning the OLG Canadian Triple Crown on Saturday.

“It’s been a crazy journey,” Cape Breton’s Siobhan Brown, Mighty Heart’s groom, said from Toronto before the Breeders’ Stakes race, the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

The three-year-old horse took an early lead at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, but fell short after he ran out of steam, finishing seventh.

His stablemate, Belichick, captured the title instead.

Mighty Heart is held outside trainer Josie Carroll’s stable by exercise rider Des McMahon. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Mighty Heart, nicknamed Willie, lost his left eye in a paddock accident when he was just two weeks old — but he’s never let that stop him.

Last month, he won the Queen’s Plate, the opening leg of the Triple Crown with a winning time of 2:01.98, the second-fastest since 1957. He went on to capture the second jewel, the Prince of Wales Stakes, only a couple weeks later.

If he had won the Breeders’ Stakes, he would become the first horse since Wando in 2003 to capture the Triple Crown — and the first to do it with one eye.

Mighty Heart was only two weeks old when he lost his left eye in a paddock accident. (Submitted by Siobhan Brown)

Brown has been Mighty Heart’s groom since last year. She said she understands Mighty Heart’s disability because she has epilepsy.

“I totally get, you know, not being all there so we just kind of bonded from that and it’s been really nice,” she said.

But she said it was his personality, sense of humour and his kindness that made her want to be his groom.

Mighty Heart, a one-eyed thoroughbred racing horse, is hoping to capture the Canadian Triple Crown. The colt, which lost an eye in a paddock accident at a young age, would be only the eighth horse in more than 60 years to win the coveted prize. Greg Ross has more. 1:51

“He just needs some love and he’s one of those [horses] that needs that confidence boost and time and patience,” she said. 

“… And the more I’ve worked with him now, I’ve just absolutely fallen in love with him.”

Earlier Saturday, Brown said her family back home in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were rooting for Mighty Heart.

“It’s so amazing to see such a community come together for something that nobody really knew anything about, because we don’t have thoroughbred racing at home.” 


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