Update on the latest in sports:
Thiem fends off Paire in 5 at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem held off Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 6-3 in a first-round Australian Open match that finished after 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
Thiem, a French Open finalist last year, got the decisive break in the eighth game of the fifth set and had two match points when he coasted to 40-15 in the next game.
But the No. 61-ranked Paire wasn’t finished yet. He saved one with a rifling forehand winner, another when his miscued forehand clipped the net and landed on Thiem’s side, and yet another with a deep forehand winner. Then he ran out of luck.
Thiem will next play Australian wild-card entry Alexei Popyrin, who beat Mischa Zverev 7-5, 7-6 (7), 6-4 earlier on day two.
Serena Williams wins Australian Open return
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – It was quite a return for Serena Williams.
In her first match at the Australian Open since winning the 2017 title while pregnant – and her first official match anywhere since a loss in the chaotic U.S. Open final last September, Williams overpowered Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2 in the first round today.
Other seeded winners today include No. 4 Naomi Osaka and No. 7 Karolina Pliskova.
Simona Halep climbed out of a deficit of a set and a break to avoid becoming the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose in the Australian Open’s first round in 40 years. Halep reeled off the last four games, and 13 of the final 15 points, to come back and beat Kaia Kanepi 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2.
Yasmani Grandal, Brewers finalize $18.25M, 1-year contract
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Catcher Yasmani Grandal and the Milwaukee Brewers have finalized an $18.25 million, one-year contract.
The deal, agreed to last week subject to a successful physical, includes a $16 million salary this year and a $16 million mutual option for 2020 with a $2.25 million buyout due Dec. 31. Grandal has until the third day after the World Series to decide on the option, and the Brewers have until the fifth day.
Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers in November. He is eligible for free agency again after this year’s World Series and cannot be given a qualifying offer by the Brewers.
Trump’s burger-fest brings roasting from late-night TV hosts
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s offer of greasy burgers and fries to the college football champion Clemson Tigers at the White House yesterday has brought a roasting from late-night TV hosts.
Trump, a fast-food lover, said he paid for the meal himself because of the partial government shutdown. Trump joked that otherwise, first lady Melania Trump and Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, would have to make salads.
Late-night TV hosts ridiculed the president, with NBC’s Seth Meyers joking, in a Trumpian voice: “Normally I would have a salad for dinner on Monday, but they told me they only eat every fast food.”
Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR’) of CBS asked whether Trump was “just projecting your favorite foods onto them.”
The fast-food feast apparently startled some of the players. Clemson offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst tweeted “I mean you’re not just gonna NOT eat the Big Macs stacked in a pile right?”
Takeda corruption probe sullies 2020 Tokyo Olympics and IOC
TOKYO (AP) – The president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and a powerful IOC member has again denied corruption allegations against him.
Tsunekazu Takeda suggested today that any guilt was with others at the Japanese body.
Takeda read a seven-minute prepared text and then took no questions from hundreds of media.
Innocent or guilty in a bribery scandal that French authorities suspect helped land the games for Tokyo, the scandal has cast a shadow over the upcoming Olympics that open in 18 months. It also underscores failed efforts by the International Olympic Committee to clean up its bidding process with billions swirling around the preparations of every Olympics.
FIFA maintains Afghan soccer boss’ ban during abuse probe
ZURICH (AP) – Afghanistan’s soccer federation president has lost a first legal battle with FIFA. Keramuudin Karim has been implicated in sexual and physical abuse of female players.
FIFA says chief ethics judge Vassilios Skouris dismissed Karim’s appeal against a 90-day interim ban while an investigation continues.
Ethics investigators secured the provisional ban, which can be extended by 45 days, in December after media reports of allegations by Afghan national team players.
FIFA was alerted last year to reports of abuse which allegedly happened at federation headquarters in Kabul and a training camp in Jordan.
In fallout from the allegations, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani also ordered an investigation and Danish sportswear brand Hummel canceled a national team sponsorship deal.