Update on the latest sports
Falcons host Patriots in rematch of 2017 Super Bowl
ATLANTA (AP) – The NFL’s Thursday night game is a rematch of the 2017 Super Bowl. The New England Patriots will go for their fifth straight victory when they visit the Atlanta Falcons.
The 6-4 Patriots are on quite a roll behind rookie quarterback Mac Jones, blowing out the Browns 45-7 in their last game. The 4-5 Falcons were on the opposite side of a rout last week, falling behind 36-3 at halftime on the way to a 43-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Matt Ryan will be looking to bounce back from the lowest-rated game of his 14-year career.
Ryan is one of only a handful of players left from the team that lost to the Tom Brady-led Patriots in the 51st Super Bowl, when New England rallied from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons 34-28 in overtime. Ryan says he’s long since put that miserable evening in the rearview mirror.
Barty finishes year as WTA’s No. 1 for 3rd consecutive time
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Wimbledon champion Ash Barty has finished No. 1 in the WTA singles rankings for the third consecutive season.
The 25-year-old from Australia joins Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert as the only women to lead the year-end rankings three straight times. This week is Barty’s 95th in a row atop the WTA and 102nd overall. Barty’s title at the All England Club in July was her second at a Grand Slam tournament. She also won the 2019 French Open. She went 42-8 this season.
Katerina Siniakova topped the doubles rankings for the second time. The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic is coming off a title Wednesday at the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico, alongside doubles partner Barbora Krejcikova. They won the French Open and a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics together, part of Siniakova’s total haul of five doubles titles in 2021.
Barty also collected five titles, going 42-8. She last competed at the U.S. Open in September and announced in October she was done for the year and would not enter the WTA Finals.
Doubts over China tennis star’s email raise safety concerns
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – A Chinese professional tennis player not seen in public since she accused a former top government official of sexual assault purportedly sent an email claiming she was safe and that the allegation was false. But the message has only amplified concerns about her safety and demands for information about her well-being and whereabouts.
Women’s Tennis Association chairman and CEO Steve Simon questioned the authenticity of what Chinese state media said was an email intended for him in which Peng says she is safe and that the assault allegation is untrue. Simon has demanded a full investigation and the WTA said it is prepared to pull tournaments out of the country if it doesn’t get an appropriate response.
Kardashian West helps fly Afghan women soccer players to UK
LONDON (AP) – Members of Afghanistan’s women’s youth development soccer team have arrived in Britain after being flown from Pakistan with the help of a New York rabbi, a U.K. soccer club and Kim Kardashian West.
A plane carrying more than 30 teenage players and their families, about 130 people in all, landed at Stansted Airport near London early Thursday. They will spend 10 days in coronavirus quarantine before starting new lives in Britain.
English Premier League club Leeds United has offered to help support the players. The players managed to get to Pakistan and gain U.K. visas, and were finally able to fly to Britain after a U.S. charity approached Kardashian West, who paid for their chartered plane.