Update on the latest sports
Thiem beats Zverev to reach Australian final
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Dominic Thiem (teem) will be playing for a major championship on a hard court for the first time at the Australian Open after losing the last two French Open finals to Rafael Nadal.
The fifth-seeded Thiem dropped the first set against seventh-seeded Alexander Zverev, a 22-year-old German who was playing in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time, before rallying to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).
Zverev says he will donate $50,000 to the recovery effort for the bush fires that have devastated parts of Australia. The seventh-seeded Zverev had pledged to donate all his prize money to the fundraising campaign if he won the Australian Open title.
Also Friday, Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic combined to win their second Australian Open women’s doubles title in three years. The pair routed top-seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-1. It was a third consecutive final at the Australian Open for Babos of Hungary and Mladenovic of France, who were champions in 2018 and runners-up last year.
They also won the 2019 French Open and were runners-up at Wimbledon in 2014 and the U.S. Open in 2018.
3-time All-Star Curtis Granderson retires after 16 seasons
MIAMI (AP) – Three-time All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson announced his retirement Friday after 16 seasons in the major leagues.
Granderson played for seven teams. He was an All-Star for the Detroit Tigers in 2009, and for the New York Yankees in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, he led the majors with 136 runs and led the American League with 119 RBIs while hitting 41 homers. In 2007 with Detroit, he became only the third player to collect at least 30 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and 20 steals in a season.
Last year Granderson batted .183 in 138 games for the Miami Marlins. He also played for Toronto, Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets, totaling 344 career homers and 937 RBIs while batting .249.
Granderson, who has a children’s foundation and has long been active in community work, said he’ll continue to bring baseball to in-need youngsters.
Tokyo Olympic organizers try to dampen cancellation rumors
TOKYO (AP) – Tokyo Olympic organizers are trying to shoot down rumors that this year’s 2020 Games might be canceled or postponed because of the spread of a new virus.
Japan so far has reported no deaths from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200 people in China.
Tokyo organizers told The Associated Press that they “have never discussed cancelling the games.” The IOC told AP that preparations “continue as planned.”
Rumors of a cancellation have spread on social media in Japan amid reports that the Swiss-based IOC had met with the World Health Organization about the outbreak.
The WHO has declared the virus a global emergency.
Track body sees risk in shoes tech but clears Nike design
MONACO (AP) – The governing body of track and field acknowledged Friday that shoe technology poses a risk to the sport, but still cleared distance runners to keep wearing a favored Nike design.
World Athletics published updated guidelines which limited the use of prototype shoes. This includes the high-tech Nike style worn in a sub-2 hour marathon run by Eliud Kipchoge (EHL’-ee-uhd kihp-CHOH’-gee) in Vienna in October.
An expert working group will be created to assess new shoes entering the market but the more established Nike style called Vaporfly can be worn. World Athletics set a rule taking effect April 30 that a shoe must have been available to buy for at least four months to be eligible for use in competition.
The Tokyo Olympics open in just under six months.
Russian government suspends troubled track federation
MOSCOW (AP) – The Russian government suspended its recognition of the country’s track and field federation for a month on Friday, increasing the pressure on officials to cooperate with investigations ahead of the Olympics.
The Sports Ministry’s suspension runs until March 1, two days after the federation is due to elect a new president to replace Dmitry Shlyakhtin.
Shlyakhtin resigned in November after he and six others were charged with filing false documents to give high jumper Danil Lysenko, the current world indoor champion, an alibi for being unavailable for a doping test.
The ministry said the federation’s leadership has since failed to take “the necessary measures for establishing constructive cooperation with the international federation and for resolving the situation which has occurred.”
Wheelchair basketball faces exclusion from Paralympics
BONN, Germany (AP) – Wheelchair basketball was removed from the 2024 Paralympic program on Friday, and could be cut from the upcoming Tokyo Games as well.
The International Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation are in a dispute about how players are graded and which ones should be eligible to compete.
The sport is open to a wide range of disabled athletes with rules requiring teams to include people with impairments of different severity.
The IPC wants to reassess some wheelchair basketball players hoping to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics and block any it considers ineligible. The 2024 Paralympic Games will be in Paris, and the ruling could still be reversed.