Brooksby tops No. 2 Ruud; Jabeur out, too; Djokovic wins
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Jenson Brooksby has eliminated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in four sets in the second round of the Australian Open. This upset comes a day after Mackenzie McDonald beat defending champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal. So a pair of 20-something Californians have knocked out the top two players in the men’s bracket at Melbourne Park. The main beneficiary might be nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. He won his second-round match Thursday night. The surprises were not limited to the men. No. 2-seeded Ons Jabeur also lost in the second round. Jabeur and Ruud were both runners-up at two Grand Slam tournaments in 2022.
Murray edges Kokkinakis after 4 a.m. at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis have played deep into the night at the Australian Open until Murray emerged with a five-set victory that ended just after 4 a.m. They began playing on Thursday and finished on Friday at Margaret Court Arena before hundreds of enthusiastic spectators who remained. It was the second consecutive five-setter this week for three-time major champion Murray. The 35-year-old from Britain has an artificial hip. Kokkinakis is a 26-year-old from Australia who is ranked 159th and has never been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament.
Analysis: Right coach can turn around a franchise quickly
The Jaguars and Giants combined for seven wins last season. Now, they’re two victories away from playing in the Super Bowl. Both teams hired new coaches who quickly delivered success. Doug Pederson took Jacksonville from 3-14 and consecutive No. 1 overall picks to the AFC South title. Brian Daboll led New York from a 4-13 mark to the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2016. Pederson and Daboll weren’t the only new coaches who reached the playoffs. Mike McDaniel (Dolphins), Kevin O’Connell (Vikings) and Todd Bowles (Buccaneers) also did it. That should be encouraging for the five teams looking for new coaches this offseason.
Stampede outside stadium in Iraq kills 2, injures dozens
BAGHDAD (AP) — A stampede outside a stadium in southern Iraq has killed two people and injured dozens. The stampede occurred on Thursday in the southern city of Basra as spectators gathered to attend the final match in the first international soccer tournament held in the country in four decades. The Iraqi News Agency said some of the 60 people who were injured outside the Basra International Stadium, which holds some 65,000 spectators, are in critical condition. A doctor in the city told The Associated Press that two people were killed. The final match in the eight-nation Arabian Gulf Cup is scheduled to be held later Thursday between Iraq and Oman.
Flyers coach Tortorella defends Provorov’s Pride boycott
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella is defending Ivan Provorov’s decision to cite religious beliefs as his reason to boycott the team’s pregame Pride celebration. Provorov cites his Russian Orthodox religion as the reason he did not participate in warmups on Tuesday before the game against the Anaheim Ducks. Tortorella says Provorov “did nothing wrong.” The Flyers wore LGBTQ-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow tape during the warmup. Provorov says his choice was to stay true to himself and his religion.
Belarus coach who removed sprinter from Olympics charged
A Belarusian track coach who tried to force a sprinter to return home from the Tokyo Olympics after she was critical of the team has been charged with breaching the sport’s integrity standards. The Athletics Integrity Unit says Yury Maisevich broke rules involving honesty, dignity and protecting reputation. The charges stem from the ouster of 200-meter sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya. She went on social media during the Olympics to question why she had been entered in the 4×400 relay without her knowledge.
Analysis: Hard to know what’s next for Nadal with hip injury
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — This is hardly the first time Rafael Nadal’s body has betrayed him. That much we know. What no one — not even the 22-time Grand Slam champion himself — can possibly pinpoint accurately is what comes next. There are so many questions. How seriously did Nadal injure his hip during a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss to 65th-ranked Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open’s second round? Was there damage to a muscle, joint or cartilage? What will recovery entail? When might Nadal return to the ATP Tour? And how much more of this sort of thing is he willing to put up with? Nadal turns 37 in 4 1/2 months. His loss Wednesday gave him his earliest exit from a major tournament in seven years.
Mackenzie McDonald, who beat Nadal, eyes more in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It was a long road back to elite-level tennis for Mackenzie McDonald. His victory over defending champion Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open showed just how much things have changed for the 27-year-old Californian who was a college star at UCLA. McDonald tore a hamstring tendon playing doubles at the 2019 French Open and was not able to walk for several weeks. He returned to Roland Garros a year later and faced Nadal there. McDonald was excited about that matchup and lost easily. He went into the rematch this week with more belief and now has a chance to equal his best Grand Slam showing by reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic worried about leg, bothered by heckler in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic says he is worried about his left hamstring after beating 191st-ranked French qualifier Enzo Couacaud 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0 in the second round of the Australian Open. Djokovic also was bothered by a persistent heckler during the match. Djokovic says his leg is such a concern that he is not practicing on the days before his matches. He is seeking a 10th trophy at Melbourne Park and a 22nd Grand Slam title overall. He took the court knowing that No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 2 seed Casper Ruud already were out of the tournament.
Cowboys-49ers rivalry set for record-tying 9th playoff game
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — For Kyle Shanahan, the chance to coach the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboys in a playoff game is a throwback to when that rivalry was the biggest in football. Shanahan’s formative years were spent watching his father, Mike, as offensive coordinator in San Francisco battling the Cowboys in three straight NFC title games. After the rivalry went dormant for more than a quarter-century as the proud franchises rarely enjoyed success at the same time, it is having a rebirth with San Francisco set to take on Dallas for the second straight postseason when they meet Sunday in the divisional round.