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.
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.
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 was held later Thursday, with Iraq defeating Oman 3-2.
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.
NFL: 5 teams to play home games in Germany, London in 2023
The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will each play international games during the NFL’s 2023 regular season. The Chiefs and Patriots will play in Germany. The Bills and Titans are the designated home teams for two games at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, while the Jaguars will host a game at Wembley Stadium as part of their multi-year commitment to playing in the United Kingdom. Opponents, dates and times for the games will be released when the full schedule is announced later this year. There will be no international game in Mexico in 2023 due to renovations taking place in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
In Paris, Bulls and Pistons enjoy sights, culture and opera
PARIS (AP) — The Detroit Pistons are playing a game in Paris on Thursday night. But two nights before the game, the Pistons were the spectators and the City of Lights played for them. The Pistons had a team party at the Paris Opera House to highlight their trip to France’s capital for a game against the Chicago Bulls. It’s been a midseason immersion into French cuisine, wine and culture for both teams. Everybody saw the Eiffel Tower, everybody saw the Champs-Élysées, but both teams decided they couldn’t come to Paris and not make every effort to enjoy the opportunity.
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.
Antoine Davis on scoring binge at unheralded Detroit Mercy
DETROIT (AP) — Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy is the nation’s leading scorer. He recently broke the Division I record for career 3-pointers. He now has 513 and could break the all-division record of 526 soon. Davis is also third on the all-time scoring list, just 18 points from becoming No. 2. After Detroit Mercy plays this Saturday at IUPUI, there is a good chance that only the late Basketball Hall of Famer Pete Maravich will be ahead of Davis on the NCAA all-time scoring list.
Bruised Ronaldo scores twice to edge showdown with Messi
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Grimacing in pain from his bruised cheekbone Cristiano Ronaldo steadied himself before scoring from the penalty spot for his first goal in Saudi Arabia against a Paris Saint-Germain team featuring his old foe Lionel Messi. Messi had already scored early in Thursday’s exhibition game when Ronaldo was flattened by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas after about 30 minutes in Riyadh. Ronaldo’s cheekbone was bright-apple red but he was all smiles after netting his second goal. Messi’s Qatari-backed PSG won 5-4 against a combined XI of Saudi Arabian teams Al Nassr and Al Hilal, captained by Al Nassr’s new signing Ronaldo. Although his team lost Ronaldo edged perhaps the final instalment of Ronaldo vs. Messi as one of the greatest rivalries in soccer history resumed in an unusual location.