Nadal, Murray advance to Barca Open quarter-finals
Third seed Rafael Nadal remained on course for a 10th Barcelona Open title after reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Kevin Anderson on Thursday. World number one Andy Murray also advanced as he stepped up his recovery from an elbow injury by breezing past Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-4.
Sharapova eases past Makarova into Stuttgart quarters
Former world number one Maria Sharapova eased past fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 6-1 on Thursday to reach the Stuttgart Grand Prix quarter-finals and continue her winning comeback from a 15-month doping ban. The 30-year-old Russian, who has won five Grand Slams and is among the highest-paid athletes in the world, returned to action on Wednesday with a straight sets win over Roberta Vinci following her suspension for the use of banned substance meldonium.
Spieth/Palmer share lead New Orleans team event
Jordan Spieth and fellow American Ryan Palmer birdied three of their final five holes to grab a share of the lead after the opening-round foursomes matches at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday. World number five Spieth and good friend Palmer combined for an alternate-shot, six-under-par 66 that left them tied atop the leaderboard with Kyle Stanley and Australian Ryan Ruffels.
Defeat nothing to be scared of, Klitschko tells Joshua
Wladimir Klitschko told IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defeat was “nothing to be scared of” at a packed news conference ahead of their sell-out title fight at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Ukrainian Klitschko, 41, said he was obsessed with reclaiming the heavyweight titles he lost against Britain’s Tyson Fury in November 2015 – his first defeat in 11 years.
NBA: Injury to Warriors coach Kerr runs deeper than basketball
The back pain that threatens to keep Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr out for the rest of the NBA playoffs is a setback for the team, but colleagues on Thursday said they were more concerned about seeing someone they admire suffer so much. News that the pain and headaches that kept the 51-year-old coach away from the team for the first 43 games last season had returned earlier this month shocked fans in the Bay Area, where Kerr is a beloved figure.
First African-born MLB player gets hit in debut
Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gift Ngoepe became the first African-born player to appear in a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday and marked his debut by getting a hit in his first at-bat. The 27-year-old South African, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, entered the game against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning.
Motor racing: Alonso says Indy 500 is even bigger than he thought
Fernando Alonso had a hunch that entering next month’s Indianapolis 500 was going to be a big deal but on Thursday he confessed to a misjudgement – the race was even bigger than he had imagined. Speaking to reporters at the Russian Grand Prix after attending an IndyCar race in Alabama at the weekend, the double Formula One world champion expressed surprise at the level of interest in the United States.
FIFA compliance official pleads guilty in US bribery case
A member of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee pleaded guilty on Thursday to U.S. charges that he took close to $1 million in bribes in exchange for using his influence within the global soccer governing organization. Richard Lai, 55, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn, according to U.S. prosecutors. As part of the plea, Lai has agreed to pay $1.1 million, prosecutors said.