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What does the Beijing Olympics' machine-made snow tell us about climate change and the future of winter sports? – The Globe and Mail

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Machines pump out snow at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, a venue for the Beijing 2022 Olympics. The Games get under way Feb. 4.AFP via Getty Images

There’s something about this Winter Olympics that sets it apart from all others: Basically none of the snow fell from the sky.

In a way, it came from below, made with water from reservoirs that supply about 400 automated snowmaking machines. By the end of the Games, approximately 2.5 million cubic metres of machine-made snow will cover the ski and snowboarding venues.

Previous Winter Games have made use of snowmaking machines, known as snow guns or snow cannons, beginning with Lake Placid in 1980. Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 were particularly known for their lack of natural snow, but this year’s competition in Northern China will make history as the first to feature virtually 100-per-cent machine-made snow.

White ribbons will run through otherwise parched, brown terrain. That fact has underscored the impacts of climate change on high-performance winter sports and the mountains and glaciers that sustain them. It has also raised questions about the effects of machine-made snow on nature and athlete safety.

“We haven’t seen anything with this much artificial snow before,” said Madeleine Orr, a Canadian sport ecologist at Loughborough University London. “We don’t exactly know how this will impact the environment or the athlete, but we know it won’t be good.”

A statement like that – and the conversation around snowmaking in general – is polarizing. Even Dr. Orr’s use of the word “artificial” would cause snowmaking folk to bristle, since the white stuff they produce is typically additive-free and made with just water and air; they prefer the term “technical.” Environmentalists say snowmaking disrupts nature’s delicate balance. Snowmakers say they simply borrow water from nature for the winter and return it in the spring. Athletes say machine-made snow is often necessary but isn’t a silver bullet for a warming planet.

A microscopic comparison of machine-made snow, whose crystals are blob-shaped, and the latticed hexagons of natural snow.USDA

For many people around the world, part of the magic of winter is watching snow fall from above, blanketing trees and enticing children to play outside. It’s practically synonymous, particularly in Canada, with rosy cheeks, shovels and winter sports. It’s hard to imagine, then, that it’s unlikely to snow any in meaningful amount at this year’s Games.

It is difficult to pin down the precise average annual snowfall for the mountain zones of Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, which will play host to downhill skiing, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and snowboarding events. But historical data from nearby weather stations suggest the area receives an average of about 20 centimetres of snow over the course of a year. Calgary, which held the Winter Games in 1988, gets more than 10 times that.

As global temperatures rise, ski destinations around the world are experiencing shorter seasons and increasingly unpredictable snow levels.

Over the past few decades, snowmaking has become much more important to a ski resort’s success. An estimated 95 per cent of resorts around the world today rely to some extent on snow cannons. One major snowmaking company told The Globe it’s installing its machines at ever-higher altitudes and is developing increasingly powerful systems because suitable weather windows are shorter than ever before.

Canada’s skiers in action on Feb. 3: At top, Brodie Seger at a men’s downhill training session in Yanqing, and at bottom, Justine Dufour-Lapointe at a women’s moguls qualification round in Zhangjiakou. Each winter sport involving a snow course has its own requirements for how much and where snow is needed.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images; Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Snow requirements for a selection of winter sports

SPORT REQUIREMENTS GOVERNING BODY
FREESTYLE SKI AND SNOWBOARD MINIMUM 1 METRE OF PACKED (COMPRESSED) SNOW AS A BASE, BUT IDEALLY MORE IF TEMPERATURES ARE HIGH (IE ABOVE FREEZING) AS THEY MUST EXPECT SOME TO MELT EACH DAY (UP TO 30 CM PER DAY DEPENDING ON TEMPERATURE AND EXPOSURE TO SUN AND WIND) INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (FIS)
SKI JUMPING SNOW COVER FOR PLASTIC-COVERED JUMP HILLS IS MIN. 35 CM ABOVE THE PLASTIC MATTING SURFACE; FOR JUMP HILLS WHERE PLASTIC COVERING IS NOT USED, SNOW COVER MUST BE MIN. 30 CM INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (FIS)
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI EVENTS SUFFICIENT BASE COVER REQUIRED ACROSS THE FULL COURSE (SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF SNOW NOT SPECIFIED) INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (FIS)
ALPINE SKI EVENTS VARIABLE DEPENDING ON ALTITUDE, EXPECTED TEMPERATURES AT THE LOCATIONS AT THE TIME OF COMPETITION ETC. FOR BEIJING 2022 GAMES, AGREED REQUIREMENT OF MIN. 1 METRE MACHINE-MADE SNOW IN ALL SECTIONS INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (FIS)
BIATHLON NO SPECIFIC MINIMUMS BUT A REQUIREMENT THAT THERE IS SUFFICIENT BASE SNOW THROUGHOUT THE COURSE AND THAT IT IS EVENLY GROOMED INTERNATIONAL BIATHLON UNION (IBU)
NORDIC COMBINE NO SPECIFIC BASE SNOW MINIMUMS BUT THERE ARE REQUIREMENTS LINKED TO WIND CONTROL INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (FIS)

From “Slippery Slopes”, produced by Loughborough University London, The Sport Ecology Group, Protect Our Winters U.K.

Dr. Orr is the lead author of a recent report titled Slippery Slopes: How Climate Change Is Threatening the Winter Olympics. The report features several athletes who describe myriad concerns regarding climate change and the increased use of machine-made snow, including unpredictable ski seasons that make it hard to find reliable training and competition facilities; athletes getting injured because they’re pushing the limits on courses with suboptimal conditions; an increase in rockslides; and solid, icy half-pipes and superpipes that may increase the risk of serious injury.

“Yes, we’ve always needed a push from artificial snowmaking, but we’ve come to an irreversible crossroad where artificial snowmaking is now carrying a heavy load,” Canadian freestyle skier Philippe Marquis, who competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, says in the report. “Where will we be in five years? Ten years? Fifty years?”

According to research cited in the report, only six of the 19 previous Winter Olympics locations could reliably host the Games by the 2080s under a high-emissions scenario. Vancouver and Whistler, which held the Winter Olympics in 2010 and struggled to get adequate snow cover at one of the venues, is not one of them. It is considered “non-reliable” by as early as 2050; even advanced snowmaking technology would not be able to counteract the projected rise in temperatures.

In the International Olympic Committee’s 2015 analysis of host-city bids for the 2022 Games, the evaluation commission noted that China’s proposed mountain venues see low precipitation rates and short cold seasons. “The Zhangjiakou and Yanqing Zones have minimal annual snowfall and for the Games would rely completely on artificial snow,” the commission said. It said this would require a “diversion of water from existing reservoirs” that “may impact other land uses.”

China, the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, has promised to deliver a carbon-neutral, “green and clean” Olympics. For environmentalists, that pledge is impossible to square with the realities on the ground.

The alpine ski site is adjacent to, and part of the same mountain ecosystem as, the 4,600-hectare Songshan National Nature Reserve, for example, and the Games are taking place in the country’s water-scarce north. Among the principal causes of water scarcity in the area is climate change, the IOC commission said in its report, noting that construction projects would require detailed environmental impact assessments.

Parched grass covers a hill where a machine blows snow for cross-country skiing practice in Zhangjiakou.Aaron Favila/The Associated Press

According to the Beijing Organizing Committee’s pre-Games sustainability report, released last month, local water-management authorities in the Yanqing and Zhangjiakou zones concluded that water usage for the Games would not affect regional water consumption. All the water required for snowmaking, the committee said, comes from surface water collected from rainfall and snowmelt.

Just how much water the snowmaking effort will require won’t be known until the competition is over, but the company that built the systems for all the ski and snowboard venues has an estimate. Based on mathematical calculations and the number of snow cannons they have at the Games, Italian-based TechnoAlpin said more than 1.6 billion litres of water could be used.

Companies such as TechnoAlpin and SMI Snowmakers, which has equipment at one of the Beijing venues and has produced snow at previous Winter Games, including Vancouver, say their work is not consumptive. Whatever water is pulled from reservoirs and pumped into their machines is, for the most part, returned to the groundwater system when the snow melts.

Still, the water inevitably cycles through ecosystems in ways that nature did not intend. The IOC commission said it is “of the opinion that Beijing 2022 has overestimated the ability to recapture water used for snowmaking” and that this should be “carefully considered in determining the legacy plans for snow venues.”

Snowmaking technology has come a long way in the past 20 years or so, particularly in terms of temperature, humidity and wind gauges that can increase energy efficiency and reduce water consumption.

Nucleator nozzles are the heart of the machines. Using compressed air and water mist, they spit out tiny ice crystals, which are blown through a fan. While the crystals are flying through the air, another nozzle sprays water droplets. The droplets attach to the crystals and become snow as they fall to the ground.


HOW A SNOW CANNON WORKS

Weather station

Measures temperature and

relative atmospheric humidity

Turbine

blows ice

crystals

and atomized

mist into

the air and

snow up to

60 metres

Control unit

Air compressor

Custom-control software maximizes

snow output in any weather condition

Water is pumped to the snow gun

Water nozzle atomizes water into a fine mist

Nucleator

nozzle

Ice

crystals

Water

droplets

Ice crystals are

produced when

water is injected

into compressed air

in the nucleators

Snow forms when

water droplets

combine with

ice crystals as

the mixture falls

to the ground

and freezes from

the outside in

Reuters, Sources: TechnoAlpin

HOW A SNOW CANNON WORKS

Weather station

Measures temperature and

relative atmospheric humidity

Turbine

blows ice crystals

and atomized

mist into the air

and snow up to

60 metres

Control unit

Air compressor

Custom-control software maximizes

snow output in any weather condition

Water is pumped to the snow gun

Water nozzle atomizes water into a fine mist

Nucleator

nozzle

Ice

crystals

Water

droplets

Ice crystals are

produced when

water is injected

into compressed air

in the nucleators

Snow forms when

water droplets

combine with

ice crystals as

the mixture falls

to the ground

and freezes from

the outside in

Reuters, Sources: TechnoAlpin

HOW A SNOW CANNON WORKS

Weather station

Measures temperature and

relative atmospheric humidity

Water nozzle

atomizes water

into a fine mist

Nucleator

nozzle

Turbine

blows ice crystals

and atomized

mist into the air

and snow up to

60 metres

Water

droplets

Ice

crystals

Control unit

Ice crystals are

produced when

water is injected

into compressed air

in the nucleators

Snow forms when

water droplets

combine with

ice crystals as

the mixture falls

to the ground

and freezes from

the outside in

Air compressor

Water is pumped

to the snow gun

Custom-control software maximizes

snow output in any weather condition

Reuters, Sources: TechnoAlpin

The process is swift, creating snow that, under a microscope, looks nothing like the classic hexagonal flakes that fall from the sky. Machine-made “snowflakes” have a more cylindrical, almost pellet-like shape.

“There’s nothing beautiful or delicate about it,” said former NASA planetary scientist Peter Wasilewski, who ran a winter program in Lake Placid for the U.S. space agency from 2001 to 2015. He said the extent to which machine-made snowflakes differ from natural ones was an incidental discovery by microscopists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1990s.

As someone who has studied snow and ice for decades, Dr. Wasilewski explained what makes natural snowflakes so unique. “All the snowflakes that you see falling to the ground have at their core a tiny piece of dust,” he said. “When snowflakes get nucleated in the atmosphere, they don’t get accelerated through moisture. They gently fall down. Depending on the temperature and moisture content they fall through, they’ll form needles or wings.”


MACHINE-MADE vs. NATURAL

SNOW CRYSTALS

Varies by moisture content and temperature

Saturation

Dendrite: Forms at just

below 0 C in supersaturated

air, or at -20 to -25 C in lower

humidity

Plates: Machine-made crystals

have less time in air to grow –

simple shapes form dense,

granular snowpack

Solid plates

Thick plates

Sector plates

Solid prisms

Moisture-

starved, low

temperature

crystals

Hollow prisms

Fine, granular

snow

Natural powder snow forms in low humidity – extreme cold

preserves crystal structure to retain light, fluffy texture

graphic news, Sources: TechnoAlpin; USGS

MACHINE-MADE vs. NATURAL SNOW CRYSTALS

Varies by moisture content and temperature

Saturation

Dendrite: Forms at just

below 0 C in supersaturated

air, or at -20 to -25 C in lower

humidity

Plates: Machine-made crystals

have less time in air to grow –

simple shapes form dense,

granular snowpack

Solid plates

Thick plates

Sector plates

Solid prisms

Moisture-

starved, low

temperature

crystals

Hollow prisms

Fine, granular

snow

Natural powder snow forms in low humidity – extreme cold

preserves crystal structure to retain light, fluffy texture

graphic news, Sources: TechnoAlpin; USGS

MACHINE-MADE vs. NATURAL SNOW CRYSTALS

Varies by moisture content and temperature

Saturation

Plates: Machine-made crystals have less

time in air to grow – simple shapes

form dense, granular snowpack

Dendrite: Forms at

just below 0 C in

supersaturated

air, or at -20 to

-25 C

in lower

humidity

Solid plates

Thick plates

Most complex

structures formed

by crystals falling

over longer period

Sector plates

Solid prisms

Moisture-starved,

low temperature crystals

Hollow prisms

Fine, granular

snow

Natural powder snow forms in low humidity – extreme cold preserves crystal structure

to retain light, fluffy texture

graphic news, Sources: TechnoAlpin; USGS

Michael Mayr, the Asia manager for TechnoAlpin, said that while “snowflakes from heaven” differ from the ones his company makes, venues that use machine-made snow have an upper hand when it comes to creating ideal conditions: they can strategically adjust the snow quality to suit the needs of different sports. Beijing’s National Alpine Ski Centre, for instance, requires wet snow that can be packed down to form a hard, fast surface. That venue requires the most water, owing to the large area that must be covered and the density of the snow. One cubic metre of snow at the alpine venue weighs roughly 600 kilograms. The National Biathlon Centre, on the other hand, requires much lighter, drier snow. One cubic metre of snow there weighs roughly 400 kilograms. Mr. Mayr emphasized that TechnoAlpin does not use chemicals to make snow.

Joseph VanderKelen, SMI’s Michigan-based president, said the ability to create optimal conditions for elite competition is critical because the stakes are so high: “When weather and Mother Nature are at play, you want to be sure to secure enough snow for the Olympics.” Mr. VanderKelen, who worked in water planning at B.C.’s Whistler Blackcomb resort in the 1980s, said his customers are “super sensitive” to environmental issues; the health of their resort is directly tied to the health of the planet. He said it’s up to his customers to decide whether to use an additive – for example, a product containing a natural protein that increases the number of nucleation sites in the source water – to increase their snow production, especially in warmer weather.

Alexis Pinturault of France skis past snowmaking machines on a training run.Luca Bruno/The Associated Press

Views on sustainability aside, many athletes like the experience of training and competing on machine-made snow. The Fédération internationale de ski, which governs ski and snowboard competitions in many countries, said in an e-mail that machine-made snow creates a “more consistent surface from the top to bottom, or start to finish, of a course.” Beijing, the federation said, has “one of the most state-of-the-art, and environmentally sound, snowmaking systems.”

Lesley McKenna, a three-time snowboard halfpipe Olympian for Britain, said the ski and snowboard communities care deeply about the environment. She grew up skiing the slopes of the Scottish Highlands, at a resort that today is experiencing shorter and increasingly unreliable ski seasons. “We’re losing winter,” she said in an interview from Aviemore, Scotland.

Ms. McKenna, the athlete ambassador for the U.K. chapter of non-profit Protect Our Winters, said some European glaciers have become so diminished over the past few decades that they’re “almost unrecognizable.” In some cases, she said, resorts have had to shut down T-bars or chairlifts because the glacier tongue has retreated from the bottom pitch.

“There’s just no snow on it,” she said. “It’s gone.”

Beijing 2022: More from The Globe and Mail

Illustration by The Globe and Mail

Explainers

Visual guide: Team Canada skaters explain ice dance’s mix of artistic flair and technical precision

Olympic guide: How to watch the 2022 Winter Games, and who to pay attention to

Sports columnist Cathal Kelly

A midnight hustle: What it was like arriving in Beijing ahead of the Olympics

There hasn’t been a fun Olympics for a decade, but at least Beijing is honest about what we’re getting instead

Washington’s diplomatic boycott is worse than meaningless

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Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Durant, Brogdon, Melton, Knicks – hoopsrumors.com

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The potential price tag for acquiring Kevin Durant isn’t what should matter most to the Raptors, argues Scott Stinson of The National Post, who says that determining whether Durant would actually be motivated and invested in playing for Toronto should be the most important factor for the team’s lead decision-makers.

As Stinson writes, Durant’s motivation in asking for a trade out of Brooklyn remains a bit nebulous, especially since he just signed a four-year extension last August. That should concern vice chairman and president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, because dealing for a superstar who might not be engaged or on the same page as the club could be disastrous, according to Stinson.

Drawing parallels between Ujiri’s trade for Kawhi Leonard in the 2018 offseason to the Durant sweepstakes now doesn’t make sense, per Stinson, because the situations aren’t similar.

Leonard was coming off an injury that caused him to miss almost the entire 2017/18 season, was on an expiring contract, and the Raptors teams led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan had been given ample time to breakthrough in the East, but couldn’t get past LeBron James. The Raptors finished second in the East in the two years after Leonard left Toronto, so obviously the team remained competitive and didn’t mortgage its future to acquire him, Stinson writes.

Durant, on the other hand, has four years remaining on his deal, so obviously it will cost significantly more to land him, plus the current version of the Raptors is ascendant, with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., and Precious Achiuwa among the new additions who made significant contributions to a team that improved its win total from 27 to 48. Dealing away from an emerging core only for Durant to balk at the idea of staying could put Toronto in a hole that would be difficult to climb out of, says Stinson.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Could a lesser role on the Celtics benefit Malcolm Brogdon from a health perspective? “The knock against him coming out of college is that he had terrible knees,” a rival general manager told Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “I mean, some of the examinations were really suspect in terms of how long his lower body would be able to take NBA pounding. So that’s why he ended up going in the second round, because he was damn near red-flagged. So the fact of the matter is he’s probably better off coming off the bench with limited minutes, trying to be impactful in 18 rather than trying to play 30 and always being injured. The question becomes how he’ll accept that.” Boston reportedly views Brogdon as a sixth man, and he said shortly after the deal was announced that he’s motivated to win a championship and is willing to sacrifice his individual stats for the betterment of the team.
  • De’Anthony Melton believes he’s a “great fit” for the Sixers, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscriber link). “Once I saw the team, I’m like, ‘OK, that’s a great spot,’” Melton told The Inquirer by phone last week. “That’s a great fit for me. … I understand what this team needs. I understand what this team is trying to do. I’m ready for the task at hand. I’m ready for whatever’s to come.” Melton was acquired from the Grizzlies in exchange for the No. 23 pick (David Roddy) and Danny Green in a draft-day swap.
  • Signing free agent guard Jalen Brunson was a solid move for the Knicks but they still look like a play-in team on paper, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post opines. According to O’Connor, while Brunson is a good player and the best point guard the Knicks will employ in years, neither he nor RJ Barrett or Julius Randle are capable of being the best — or second-best — players on a championship-caliber team, and unless something drastic changes, New York will begin 2022/23 as “just another barely relevant club.”

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Ailing Nick Kyrgios prevails at Wimbledon, advancing to 3rd career Slam quarter-final – CBC Sports

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Much quieter, much calmer than in his previous match, Nick Kyrgios overcame a troublesome right shoulder to deliver 35 aces and beat Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2 at Wimbledon on Monday to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in 7 1/2 years.

The unseeded Kyrgios improved to 6-0 over his career in five-setters at the All England Club and collected his tour-leading 11th grass-court victory of the season.

“I need a glass of wine, for sure, tonight. For sure,” Kyrgios told the crowd during his on-court interview in London, after swapping out his rule-conforming white hat and shoes for red versions.

Playing before a nearly full house at Centre Court, the 27-year-old Australian only occasionally displayed his unusual repertoire of trick shots — a between-the-legs swing here, an underarm serve there — or the temper that earned fines of $10,000 US for spitting in the direction of a heckling spectator at the end of his first-round match and $4,000 for an audible obscenity during his tempestuous win against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.

Against Nakashima, an unseeded 20-year-old from California, Kyrgios repeatedly was visited during changeovers by a trainer, who massaged and manipulated his shoulder. There was a stretch where Kyrgios’ high-speed serves dipped from above 217 kilometres per hour to closer to 177, but he eventually seemed to get past that and was back to producing unreturnable offerings over and over.

After Nakashima evened things by taking the fourth set with a break, then went up 1-0 in the fifth, Kyrgios surged to the finish. He earned five games in a row, before serving it out and closing this way from love-30: cross-court forehand passing winner; hanging in on an 11-stroke exchange until Nakashima missed a backhand; 216 km/h service winner; forehand volley winner.

“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month and a half. I’m just proud of the way I steadied the ship,” Kyrgios said. “Honestly that’s what I was thinking about: I’ve never lost a five-set match here. … I was like, ‘I’ve been here before. I’ve done it before.”‘

Garin wins in comeback fashion

This will be Kyrgios’ third appearance in a major quarter-final. The others came as a teenager at Wimbledon in 2014 — when he surprised then-No. 1 Rafael Nadal along the way — and at the Australian Open in 2015.

“I stepped out here against one of the greatest of all time and beat Nadal,” Kyrgios said. “So, these are all things I have in the back of my mind.”

Kyrgios next faces unseeded Cristian Garin, a 26-year-old from Chile who authored the fortnight’s first comeback from two sets down, saving two match points and turning things around to defeat No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) after more than 4 1/2 hours.

Garin, who is ranked 43rd, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final in his 15th major appearance.

Dabrowski eliminated

Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Australian partner John Peers were eliminated in the mixed-doubles quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Monday, ending Canada’s involvement in the professional draws at the grass-court Grand Slam.

Dabrowski and Peers fell 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to Croatia’s Mate Pavic and India’s Sania Mizra.

Peers and Dabrowski, seeded fourth in the tournament, combined for 13 aces but converted just one of their three break point chances. Pavic and Mizra broke their opponents twice on three opportunities.

Pavic is a former partner of Dabrowski. They won the Australian Open in 2018 and reached the French Open final in 2018 and 2019.

Dabrowski and Mexican partner Giuliana Olmos were eliminated from the women’s doubles event on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Americans Danielle Collinas and Desirae Krawczyk.

The Canadians in the singles main draws — Denis Shapovalov, Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Rebecca Marino — were eliminated over the first two rounds at the All England Club.

Several Canadians are still playing in the junior draws at Wimbledon.

Nadal converts 4th match point to seal win

Everything went smoothly for Rafael Nadal against Botic van de Zandschulp until it came time to close out their fourth-round match at Wimbledon.

Serving for the win at 5-3 in the third set, Nadal was broken for the second time in the match and he then failed to convert three straight match points when leading 6-3 in the ensuing tiebreaker.

That was the end of the Dutchman’s resistance, though, as Nadal converted his fourth match point for a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) win on Centre Court.

The Spaniard is playing his first grass-court tournament since 2019, when he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals. He is looking for his third Wimbledon title and has a chance at a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open to take his career tally to a record 22 major titles.

He will next face 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz, the only American man left in the draw. The 24-year-old has yet to drop a set and will be making his major quarter-final debut after defeating qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

2019 champ Halep moves on

Simona Halep is living up to her status as the only former Grand Slam champion left in this year’s women’s draw.

The Romanian beat fourth-seeded Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-2 on Centre Court to return to the Wimbledon quarter-finals and extend her winning streak at the All England Club to 11 matches.

The 16th-seeded Halep won the title in 2019 but missed last year’s edition with an injury, while the 2020 tournament was cancelled because of the pandemic. This was, however, Halep’s first win over a top-five ranked player on grass.

The former No. 1, who also won the French Open in 2018, has yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament and consistently got the better of Badosa in the baseline rallies. She finished with only nine unforced errors and saved the only break point she faced.

Badosa’s loss means No. 3 Ons Jabeur is the only top-10 seed left in the women’s tournament.

Halep will meet No. 20 Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat Harmony Tan of France 6-2, 6-3. Anisimova had eliminated French Open runner-up Coco Gauff last week; Tan eliminated 23-time major champion Williams in the first round.

The other quarter-final on their side of the field will be 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia. Rybakina made it to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Petra Martic, while Tomljanovic is there for the second straight year after beating Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Cornet ended No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak on Saturday.

“I didn’t really think I could do it,” said Tomljanovic, who lost to eventual champion Ash Barty in last year’s quarter-finals. “After some tough moments this year, I thought: Am I ever going to get a chance again? I can’t believe a year later, I’m in the same position.”

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Argos miss tying convert as Bombers escape with win – TSN

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TORONTO — Although Boris Bede missed a routine convert that would have tied the game and forced overtime, his Toronto Argonauts teammates blamed themselves for their heartbreaking loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“A whole lot more points were missed than just on missed kicks,” Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson said Monday night after his team slipped to 1-2 in the standings.

With 25 seconds left in regulation, Bede missed a convert attempt that would have tied the game as the Argos fell to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-22 at BMO Field.

But the Argos pivot pointed to his two interceptions and some other turnovers that led to 17 of Winnipeg’s 23 points.

“It drives us crazy,” Bethel-Thompson said. “It’s been three weeks now and we haven’t seen the real Argos.”

The unbeaten Blue Bombers are the first team in the CFL to reach four wins this season.

“We did enough,” Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said. “That’s what matters.”

Bethel-Thompson overcame a disastrous first half for the Argos to throw for 314 yards. He completed 27 of 37 passing attempts and had two interceptions.

Argos running back Andrew Harris was playing in his first game against the team he helped win consecutive Grey Cups in 2019 and 2021. He was Toronto’s leading rusher with 111 yards on 22 carries.

“When it mattered, we came together,” Harris said. “That’s the best team in the league, unfortunately we lost, but we got some positives once we started playing.”

Winnipeg’s defence opened the scoring on Toronto’s first possession after the game.

While deep in their own territory, Bethel-Thompson’s intended pass to Brandon Banks was picked off by Winnipeg’s Winston Rose for a 46-yard touchdown interception return. Kicker Marc Liegghio converted the extra point that gave Winnipeg a 7-0 lead.

Bethel-Thompson was picked off for a second time in the opening quarter after a bobbled snap led to a rushed throw. That set Winnipeg up with short field position. On the ensuing possession, Winnipeg pivot Zach Collaros connected with Drew Wolitarsky on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Liegghio’s convert put the Bombers up 14-0.

Toronto’s pivot managed just 18 yards of offence in the first quarter.

Winnipeg opened the second quarter with a 15-yard field goal that put the Bombers up 17-0.

Toronto appeared set to get their first points of the game after moving the ball down to Winnipeg’s 29-yard line. They found themselves in a third-and-one situation and decided to go for it but turned the ball over on downs. Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie challenged the spot of the ball after his team’s failed attempt but the spot was upheld by the CFL’s command centre.

The Argos recorded their first points of the game late in the first half. Bede connected on a 52-yard field goal that cut Winnipeg’s lead to 17-3.

Collaros was effective for Winnipeg in the opening half, completing 15 of 17 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown. He also had an interception, but it came in a desperate attempt to add points as time was winding down.

Toronto got off to a much better start in the second half and had a bit of luck to go with it. Bethel-Thompson’s pass in the end zone appeared set to be his third interception of the game. The ball went right to the hands of defensive back Demerio Houston. But Banks managed to strip the ball from Houston’s hands while in the end zone for Toronto’s first touchdown of the game. Bede’s convert trimmed Winnipeg’s lead to 17-10 in the third quarter.

Late in the third, Toronto was on the Winnipeg 10-yard line with a chance to tie the game, but Bethel-Thompson’s completed pass to Banks was fumbled. Malcolm Thompson picked up the ball and lateralled the ball to Nick Taylor who ran the ball up to midfield.

Liegghio connected on a 20-yard field goal on the ensuing possession and put Winnipeg up 20-10 in the fourth quarter.

After the change of possession, tensions began to rise on the Argos sidelines. Banks and offensive lineman Trevon Tate had to be separated by teammates. Toronto general manager Pinball Clemons, who wasn’t on the sidelines to start the game, went down to the field to play peacemaker. Clemons returned to his seat after issues on the sidelines appeared to be under control.

“I’ve got to sit down and talk to those guys, we’ve got to get more disciplined and grow up and be men and find ways to fight through the frustration,” Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said. “We can’t act like that. It looks like Junior College.”

Bede hit his second field goal of the game on Toronto’s next possession to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 20-13. Later in the fourth, Bede connected on a 39-yard field goal to bring Toronto to within four points, 20-16.

Liegghio responded with another field goal to put Winnipeg ahead 23-16 with 1:38 to go in regulation time.

On the ensuing possession for Toronto, Bethel-Thompson engineered one of his better drives of the game. He found Markeith Ambles for a four-yard TD pass to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 23-22, but Bede missed on the point-after attempt to spoil the comeback.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022

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