Update on the latest sports
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – All of the top 10 seeded women have reached the third round at the Australian Open for the first time since 2007.
It’s the first time it’s happened at any Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2009. No. 5 Elina Svitolina closed out Day 4 – and the second round of singles action – with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Lauren Davis of the U.S.
In other action Thursday:
– Rafael Nadal had a scary moment in his 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-1 second-round win over Federico Delbonis – when his wayward forehand hit a ball kid in the head. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and apologized. She gave the thumbs up to show she was OK and Nadal gave her his headband ater the match he gave her his headband.
– Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs) composed himself after a third-set lapse in which he lost five straight games to beat Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 and advance to the third round at the Australian Open.
– Two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem (teem) broke local wild-card entry Alex Boult’s serve in the third game of the fifth set and advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 win.
– Seventh-seeded Alexander Zverev also advanced about the same time with a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-5 win over Egor Gerasimov. Zverev has pledged $10,000 toward the bushfire recovery effort in Australia for every match he wins in Australia and promised to donate his full prize money if he claims his first major title this year in Australia.
– Fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev needed a medical timeout for a nose bleed before beating Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 and advancing to the third round.
– Taylor Fritz’s 4-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2 comeback victory over two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson gives the United States five men in the Australian Open’s third round for the first time since 2008. The 29th-seeded Fritz has never been further at a major tournament. This was the second time in his career that he has managed to win a match in five sets after dropping the opening two.
– Danielle Collins is out of the Australian Open in the second round a year after making her Grand Slam breakthrough with a run to the semifinals at Melbourne Park. The 26th-seeded American bowed out Thursday with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 loss to Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
– Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has beaten British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round. Halep ended 2019 ranked fourth, her sixth consecutive year-end top five finish.
– Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova continued her strong recent form at the Australian Open by advancing to the third round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Laura Siegemund.
– Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic (BEHN’-chihch) and Donna Vekic (VEH’-kihch) have advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park. Bencic beat 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 7-5, 7-5 while the 19th-seeded Vekic defeated Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2.
– In the first completed match at Rod Laver Arena on Day 4, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Garbine Muguruza (gahr-BEEN’ muh-guh-ROO’-thah) beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
– Venus Williams is not quite done at the Australian Open. She has entered the mixed competition at Melbourne Park. She hasn’t won a mixed doubles championship at a major in 22 years, when she and Justin Gimelstob took home the trophies from the 1998 Australian Open and French Open. Her partner this time is Juan Sebastian Cabal.
Major League Baseball to sponsor US Olympic softball team
NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball is using its financial muscle to support the U.S. women’s softball team, which already is assured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics while the American men’s baseball team struggles to qualify.
MLB announced an agreement Thursday to become presenting sponsor of the women’s “Stand Beside Her” tour, a slate of exhibition games leading up to the Olympic tournament from July 22-28.
As part of the deal, the softball team’s official training facility will be at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, the old Dodgertown spring training camp.
MLB Network will include programming from the tour, which currently starts Feb. 4 in Tampa, Florida, and has about three dozen stops.
Softball began as an Olympic sport for the 1996 Atlanta Games. The U.S. won gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004 with players that included Dot Richardson, Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza, then lost to Japan in the 2008 gold medal game.
Baseball and softball were dropped for the next two Olympics, then restored for this year.
The U.S. men’s baseball team stumbled in its first attempt to qualify. The U.S. has two more chances to join Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea in the Olympic field: an Americas tournament in Arizona from March 22-26 and a final tournament in Taiwan from April 1-5.
Royals star catcher Salvador Perez to become US citizen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kansas City Royals star catcher Salvador Perez is about to become a U.S. citizen.
The team says Perez passed his citizenship exam earlier this month and will be joined by Chief U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips on the Royals FanFest main stage Friday at the Kansas City Convention Center to take the oath of allegiance.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said the “entire organization and the community of Kansas City look forward to celebrating this historic and special moment.”
Perez signed with the Royals as a 16-year-old prospect from Venezuela, but shot through the minor league system. He made his big league debut in 2011 and was named the Most Valuable Player in the Royals’ five-game World Series win over the New York Mets in 2015.
Perez was sidelined last season by Tommy John surgery but is preparing to return to the roster this year.