Gael Monfils missed out on a place in the Belgrade Open quarter-finals as the second seed was stunned by qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-4).

World number 15 Monfils would have been expected to breeze through against Carballes Baena, whose lone ATP title came back in February 2018.

But Monfils was trounced in the first set and, despite coming back from a break down to win the second, he could not avoid a shock loss as Carballes Baena reversed a 4-1 deficit in the decisive tie-break on Wednesday.

Carballes Baena's triumph sets up a last-eight clash with eighth seed Federico Delbonis, who beat Thiago Monteiro 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-4 at the ATP 250 event in Serbia.

Dusan Lajovic also moved through to the quarters after easing past Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-4, with Andrej Martin the fifth seed's opponent after upsetting third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-4).

Elsewhere, top seed Lorenzo Sonego suffered a second-round exit at the Emilia-Romagna Open as Sebastian Korda claimed a surprise win.

Korda entered the tournament with just one clay-court win to his name in 2021 but followed up a first-round success over Andreas Seppi with a 6-1 7-5 defeat of Sonego.

Yoshihito Nishioka is his next opponent after the Japanese saw off Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-2.

Jaume Munar and Richard Gasquet also progressed, as did Jan-Lennard Struff, Norbert Gombos, Marco Cecchinato and Tommy Paul.

 

Third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova beat Clara Burel – and the persistent rain - to reach the quarter-finals of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Alexandrova is the highest-ranked player remaining in the tournament after top seed Bianca Andreescu withdrew on Tuesday with an abdominal injury.

The world number 33 converted six of her 10 break points to see off Burel 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 10 minutes as she reached her fourth quarter-final of the season, two of those on clay.

Barbora Krejcikova awaits Alexandrova in the last eight after battling back from a set down to beat Caroline Garcia 3-6 6-2 6-1.

Previous Strasbourg champion Garcia held serve throughout the opening set to open up a convincing lead, but Krejcikova did likewise in the second and third sets to advance through.

Number four seed Yulia Putintseva is also into the quarter-finals after Jil Teichmann retired injured when two games down in the opening set.

Arantxa Rus had a walkover win of her own, with French wildcard Harmony Tan a set down when having to withdraw through injury.

Wednesday's other matches also came to an early end because of rain. 

Jule Niemeier leads Shelby Rogers 6-4 2-1 ahead of the resumption of that match on Thursday, which is also when Zhang Shuai and Sorana Cirstea will begin their second-round contest – the winner of which will go through to the semis following Andreescu's withdrawal

Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson will reunite for 'The Match' in a blockbuster showdown with Aaron Rodgers and Bryson Dechambeau - and the playful trash talk has already begun.

Mickelson made history on Sunday by becoming the oldest major winner of all time with a two-shot victory at the US PGA Championship.

The 50-year-old has been a regular at this event since the first instalment in 2018, where he defeated Tiger Woods in a one-on-one match up to earn a lucrative $9million payout.

In May 2020, Mickelson first partnered NFL legend Brady – who earned a seventh career Super Bowl ring by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to glory in February – where they were beaten by Woods and Peyton Manning.

And six months ago, 'Lefty' partnered NBA legend Charles Barkley to overcome Manning and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

Once the announcement for the latest version, which will take place on July 6 at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, was made Brady could not help but take a light-hearted dig at the Green Bay Packers' star quarterback Rodgers.

"Two old guys against the young bucks @PhilMickelson. @b_dechambeau better get used to laying up because we know @AaronRodgers12 isn't going for it," Brady wrote on Twitter.

Mickelson also took to social media, posting: "It's game time! My partner @tombrady and I are back and ready to settle some unfinished business. See you in Montana @AaronRodgers12 @b_dechambeau."

It was revealed on the PGA Tour's official website that 'The Match' will "include donations made to Feeding America, among additional charitable beneficiaries", and the competition format will be modified alternate shot match play.

Dan Martin went solo to claim a maiden Giro d'Italia stage victory and leader Egan Bernal finally showed signs of weakness on a brutal final climb.

Martin moved away on his own just over 10 kilometres from the end of the gruelling 193km stage 17 from Canazei to Sega di Ala and there was no catching the Irishman.

The Israel Start-Up Nation rider was the only member of a breakaway group, which had included eight men at one point, who was not reeled in.

Martin's victory completed a Grand Tour clean sweep, with two Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana successes already to his name.

He finished 13 seconds ahead of Joao Almeida and crossed the finishing line 30 seconds before Simon Yates, who showed he is still very much up for the fight in the battle for the maglia rosa.

Bernal had won stage 16 in impressive fashion on Monday, but looked in trouble on steep sections on a long final ascent in the maglia rosa.

The INEOS Grenadiers had to grit his teeth as Yates shot up the mountain in front of him, yet is still in a strong position with an advantage of two minutes and 21 seconds over Damiano Caruso.

Yates moved into third place overall, with three minutes and 23 seconds to make up on the 2019 Tour de France champion from Colombia.

Bernal has been troubled by a lingering back injury and had to really dig in, with great support from team-mate Daniel Martinez, as Yates made a statement in the final week of the race.

Hugh Carthy dropped off the podium to fifth as he suffered late on another hugely challenging day.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 4:54:38
2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) +00:13
3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +00:30
4. Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) +01:20
5. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +01:20

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 71:32:05
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +02:21
3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +03:23

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 135
2. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 113
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) 110

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 180
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 109
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 79

Dirk Nowitzki was a "lucky charm" for the Dallas Mavericks as he watched their Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, according to head coach Rick Carlisle.

Nowitzki, a 14-time All-Star, spent his entire NBA career in Dallas, winning a championship under Carlisle in 2011 when he was Finals MVP.

But the 2007 MVP retired in 2019 and so was restricted to the role of spectator as the Mavs looked to build on a Game 1 first-round playoff win on Tuesday.

His presence was enough to inspire his former team, too, with the German pictured with current Mavs superstar Luka Doncic following the game.

Doncic led the way with 39 points in an impressive 127-121 win, improving his postseason average to 32.0 points per game. That is the highest mark of any Dallas player regardless of games played, with the top spot previously belonging to Nowitzki as he scored 25.3 points across 145 playoff appearances.

There is a long way to go before Doncic can think about repeating Nowitzki's Finals run – a Miami Heat series in which he averaged 26.0 points – but the support of the team's greatest ever player is a boost.

"I saw him and [wife] Jessica in the hotel yesterday," said Carlisle, Mavs coach since 2008.

"It gives you a profound lift when you're in between the first two games of the playoffs and you see that playoff warrior who we've been through so many battles with.

"He said that he was going to be coming to the game, which was great news.

"And I certainly believe that him being there tonight was a lucky charm for us. It never hurts, never hurts."

Although Doncic was the obvious star once again, there was also a big performance from Tim Hardaway Jr, who contributed 28 points and made six attempts from beyond the arc. Both were career playoff highs.

Hardaway said: "[It was] 2-0 when Dirk gets in the building, I'll tell you that.

"Yeah, Dirk, we saw 'Dirky' earlier in the day, we knew he was there and we were happy we were able to pull out a victory.

"It's still a long series and the job is not done at all. It's just creeping into what we can become and we've just got to keep on focusing in and locking in."

Paul George insists the Los Angeles Clippers are not concerned despite falling 2-0 behind to the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round series.

The Clippers have had home advantage so far but now head to Dallas with a significant deficit.

Tuesday's Game 2 saw the Mavs run out 127-121 winners, again led by Luka Doncic.

The Slovenian had a 31-point triple-double on Saturday and added another 39 points this time, maintaining a remarkably high standard in the postseason.

Doncic's eight career playoff games have all come against the Clippers – this year and last – and he has tallied 32.0 points per game on average.

His total of 256 points is the sixth-most for any player across their first eight playoff games from 1963-64 onwards, trailing only Anthony Davis, Bob McAdoo, LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who scored a league-high 287 in 1970.

The Clippers appear to have no answer for the 22-year-old, as George himself acknowledged.

But the seven-time All-Star, who has averaged 20.3 points across the same eight games against the Mavs, says his team are not worried.

Although the Clippers are now on a five-game losing run in the postseason dating back to last year's series against the Denver Nuggets, George said of their "level of concern": "I mean, there is none.

"It's a competition. We've got to rise to the occasion. The fact of the matter is if we don't, we're done for.

"But it's no level of concern. We've just got to play our game. We've got to play through this. We've got to incorporate our defense.

"Luka's going to get his touches. We've just got to do a better job defensively of just quieting everybody else."

The Clippers lost their final two games of the regular season to the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the bottom two teams in the Western Conference.

They therefore finished on the same record as Denver and slipped into the fourth seed, seemingly to ensure they would avoid the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending champions who they now cannot meet until the West Finals.

However, playing into a series with Dallas, who they defeated last year, only served to motivate the Mavs.

Doncic said: "I didn't know they were doing that. Somebody told me that in the first game.

"But if you want to win the championship, at the end of the day, you've got to win against everybody. So, I don't think that makes a big statement. You just go out there and play."

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said: "This time of year you shouldn't need extra motivation. NBA playoff basketball is a self-explanatory adjective.

"It is raw passion. It's all about the team. It's all about one thing. And that is a group of guys getting together and making a stand on every possession.

"If you can't get excited for that, you know, you should be in some other line of work, because they're not pulling people off the street to do these jobs."

However, George added of the Mavs: "That's the team that's the most dangerous, the team [where] I'm pretty sure everyone expected to us win this.

"They were the underdogs, and when you're a lower seed, you really don't have high expectations, so they're playing free, they're playing with confidence.

"I think we were giving them a little too much confidence, so that's on us to shut that down.

"But they're playing with it. They're playing their game. They're playing with confidence. They're making shots.

"The supporting cast for Luka is being aggressive and they're doing their job."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis said he wanted to "make a statement" in his side's 109-102 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday after a "terrible" Game 1 performance.

Davis led the way for the Lakers with a brilliant display at both ends of the court, contributing 34 points and seven assists, along with 10 rebounds and three blocks.

The performance came after an underwhelming return in the opening game when the Lakers were beaten 99-90, with Davis scoring 13 points and providing just two assists.

"Locked in. I know my performance the other day was terrible," Davis told ESPN. "To win a series or to win games, I can't have that performance.

"I put it on myself, as all leaders do. I wanted to make a statement this game. Come out with more energy and effort at both ends on the floor… it paid off today."

LeBron James landed a crucial three-pointer which stretched the Lakers' lead to nine points inside the final minute. He would finish with 23 points, four rebounds and nine assists as LA levelled the first round series.

Davis insisted James did not need to tell him anything about how to respond from his underwhelming display.

"We've been together for a while now," Davis said. "He don’t have to be in my ear. He saw it on my face.

"We didn’t talk much at all today. [The] first time we talked when was when we got to the arena. He just knows.

"I knew I can't have my team in that position with my performance. Since last year he's always been on me about perfection. Playing hard, playing through environments like this, it's paying off.

"It's getting to the point where I don’t need ‘Bron to tell me what I need to do. I know now. I put it on myself to be better for my team."

James added: "He responds to games like Game 1. He's not a guy who talks about it. He goes out and does it."

Game 3 will take place at the Staples Center in LA on Thursday and Davis said he expects the crowd to be "crazy exciting and loud".

Suns guard Chris Paul will hope to feature more heavily in that game after struggling with a shoulder complaint throughout Tuesday's meeting, including sitting out most of the final quarter.

"I took him out," Suns coach Monty Williams said in the post-game video conference. "It was all me looking at him holding his arm the way he was holding it.

"I couldn’t watch him run like that. He was trying to make plays, he battled, he's a warrior. I just made a decision to take him out."

He added: "He's not able to make the passes he wants. He was labouring tonight… We're hopeful it'll get better over the next 48 hours, but I don’t want to say too much."

The Tampa Bay Rays' 11-game winning streak ended as they went down 2-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday in the MLB.

With veteran Rich Hill on the mound, the Rays were exceptional in the outfield in the early innings with Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier pulling off spectacular catches from Andrew Benintendi.

Hill, at the cherry ripe age of 41, tossed down 13 strikeouts across seven innings for the Rays.

But the Royals got their go-ahead run in the sixth inning when Cam Gallagher touched down from Salvador Perez's hit.

Shohei Ohtani hit his 15th homerun of the season, a 117 mph rocket, as the Los Angeles Angels won 11-5 over the Texas Rangers, while the San Diego Padres made it 10 wins from their past 11 with a 7-1 victory at the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

Guerrero moves to 16, DeGrom returns

Vladimir Guerrero moved into the outright lead for most homeruns this season in the Toronto Blue Jays' 6-2 win over the New York Yankees.

Guerrero hit his 16th homer of the 2021 MLB season in the third inning, as Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber started for the first time since last week's no-hitter.

Kluber only sent down 58 pitches across three innings, allowing his first hit in 39 batters, before being hastily replaced by Michael King, with fears of a shoulder injury.

The result ended the Blue Jays' six-game losing streak too.

Jacob deGrom returned for his first game since April 28 with ride side tightness and pitched five innings with nine strikeouts as the New York Mets won 3-1 over the Colorado Rockies.

It was not a perfect return for deGrom, allowing only his third homerun of the season, when Ryan McMahon homered in the second inning. It was the first he has allowed in the strike zone too.

Right-hander Edwin Diaz stepped up to finish the job for the Mets with three strikeouts, sending down a 100 mph pitch on the corner to end the game.

Max Scherzer was on song for the Washington Nationals but it was not enough for victory as the Cincinnati Reds triumphed 2-1 with Kyle Farmer and Eugenio Suarez homeruns.

Scherzer pitched seven innings and had nine strikeouts, including eight out of the strike zone.

 

Jack's rough high school reunion

Harvard-Westlake pals Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito reunited in the Chicago White Sox's 8-3 win over the St Louis Cardinals. Flaherty had started with an 8-0 record in his first eight appearances for the Cardinals but that came to an end in a hard day, including a wild pitch to Yermin Mercedes which allowed Nick Madrigal to score. Jose Abreu also returned to form with a homer off Flaherty.

 

Greinke vs Kershaw in Houston

Star pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw faced off with the latter getting the upper hand as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 9-2 at the Houston Astros. Kershaw sent down 81 pitches with 57 strikes and six Ks. He only gave up one run and did not walk anybody.

 

Tuesday's results

Chicago Cubs 4-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 Miami Marlins
Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves 3-1 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 2-1 Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets 3-1 Colorado Rockies
Cleveland Indians 4-1 Detroit Tigers
San Diego Padres 7-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 7-4 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 8-3 St Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers 9-2 Houston Astros  
Los Angeles Angels 11-5 Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants 8-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Oakland Athletics

 

Padres at Brewers

Fernando Tatis Jr and the San Diego Padres  continue their enthralling series away to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Anthony Davis responded after his poor Game 1 by leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 109-102 win over the Phoenix Suns to square their NBA playoffs first round series on Tuesday.

Davis was self-critical after their Game 1 loss, stating "this is on me", and responded with a double-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and seven assists.

LeBron James was brilliant with 23 points, including a final quarter threein the final minute which was the nail in the coffin. James also had nine assists and four rebounds.

The Lakers led by seven at the final change but Phoenix came hard at them, albeit largely without Chris Paul who played limited minutes in the last quarter due to a shoulder issue which hampered him all game.

But the reigning champions rallied, with a Davis block followed by a three-pointer pressing them ahead in the final minutes.

For the Lakers, Dennis Schroder had 24 points, while Andre Drummond had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Paul only managed six points from 23 minutes in a major worry for the Suns moving forward, while Devin Booker impressed with 31 points.

 

KD gets it done, Mavs down Clippers

Kevin Durant got it done at both ends as the Brooklyn Nets claimed a 2-0 series lead against the Boston Celtics with a 130-108 win.

Durant was dominant with a game-high 26 points as well as five assists, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Nets who led by 24 points at half-time.

Joe Harris shot a playoffs career-high seven three-pointers among his 25 points, including 22 in the first half, while James Harden added an impressive 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists for the Nets.

Blake Griffin made two big dunks for the Nets, having not attempted one in his final 25 games for the Detroit Pistons before his move.

Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard traded blows with massive individual performances but the Dallas Mavericks claimed a 2-0 lead in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers with a 127-121 win on the road.

Doncic scored 39 points with seven rebounds and seven assists, with able assistance from Tim Hardaway Jr who made six three-pointers among his 28 points, with Dallas moving ahead in a 30-19 third quarter.

Leonard had 41 points, six rebounds, two steals and four assists, while Paul George scored 28 points with 12 rebounds and six assists for the Clippers, who face an uphill task to turn around the series in Texas.

 

CP3 and Tatum injuries

Injuries to both Paul and Celtics forward Jason Tatum denied spectators the best contest possible, with the former barely entering the court in the last with his shoulder issue which remains an issue for the rest of the series. Tatum left the game in the third quarter after a poke to the eye from Durant. He only managed nine points from 21 minutes, shooting at 25 per cent from the field.

 

Harden's three-point playoffs feat

Harden went past Reggie Miller into sixth on the all-time NBA playoffs three-pointers made list, scoring four-from-eight beyond the arc in the Nets' win over the Celtics. The 31-year-old has 321 playoffs three-pointers, behind Stephen Curry (470), LeBron James (417), Ray Allen (385), Klay Thompson (374) and Manu Ginobili (324).

 

Tuesday's results

Brooklyn Nets 130-108 Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers 109-102 Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks 127-121 Los Angeles Clippers

 

Grizzlies at Jazz

Western Conference top seed Utah Jazz will look to square their series against the Memphis Grizzlies after their upset defeat in Game 1.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash is happy with the continued progress of their 'big three' after Tuesday's 130-108 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of their NBA playoffs first round series.

The Nets opened up a 2-0 lead with the comfortable victory, which comes after the 'big three' contributed 82 points in their 104-93 Game 1 win.

Kevin Durant starred with 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks on Tuesday.

James Harden had 20 points, including four three-pointers along with five rebounds and seven assists, while Kyrie Irving added 15 points, six rebounds and six assists.

"It's about that time together on the floor, time together to understand, to gel, to make those connections that will afford us more down the line," Nash said post-game.

"It's the time and mindset we need to improve. I keep saying, we're not a team that's running this back three-four-five. We're trying to figure it out as we go.

"Each night is important, not only on the scoreboard but our development."

The Nets are 8-2 with the 'big three' in their line-up this season, but the contribution of Joe Harris, who had 22 points by half-time, to finish with 25 including seven three-pointers, cannot be underestimated.

"It's a nice luxury to have when he’s banging three balls like that and getting the crowd going," Nash said.

Boston lost star forward Jayson Tatum in the third quarter after copping a poke to the eye.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said they needed to be much better all over the court.

"We've got to be way better. We've go to get down the floor quicker, we've got to execute faster, we have to be more detailed and better in our defense," he said.

"I was disappointed in how we played versus the other night."

Former world number one Jordan Spieth said he would not be surprised if this week's US PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson had another major title in him.

Mickelson, 50, made history as the oldest major winner on Sunday when he triumphed at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, claiming his sixth career major title.

The American's major victory in the twilight of his career was similar to golf greats Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters and Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Masters.

Spieth was full of praise for his childhood hero and long-time mentor, when speaking ahead of this week's Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas.

"It seems like all the great ones have that one left at the end," Spieth said.

"I know he'll probably tell you, he thinks he's got more than one left. I don't think anybody will doubt him after this one, but I think it's just wild. I think it's incredible."

The 27-year-old, who has won three major titles, said he watched on in awe as Mickelson triumphed on Sunday for his first major victory since 2013.

"I thought it would be very, very difficult," Spieth said. "He hadn't been in contention in quite a while on the PGA Tour against the guys he was in contention with.

"I know he's won many times on the Champions Tour… I think that might have been something that had been helpful for him as he's coming down the stretch.

"It's just so difficult to be in contention for the first time in a while and be able to tap into that confidence that you're supposed to be there and you're supposed to win."

Spieth's career skyrocketed after playing alongside Mickelson at the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship where he shot a final-round 62. That round prompted Mickelson to call US Presidents Cup Captain Fred Couples to insist on calling up Spieth.

The Texan has long held an adoration for Mickelson, revealing he had got his prized signature in his youth. That adoration has been further reinforced by the recent fears of Mickelson, 23 years Spieth's senior.

"His streak of not being outside the top 50 in the world for however long, that is going to be a very difficult task for anybody going forward to match," Spieth said.

"Then to win a tournament, let alone a major championship, at 50 with how young and stacked the game has gotten is just an incredible feat.

"I think the way he handled Saturday and Sunday, when he did make mistakes - especially on the back nine on Saturday to then close that out and remain in the lead - it was typical Phil."

Julius Randle's breakout season has been recognized after winning the NBA's 2020-21 Most Improved Player which was announced on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old power forward has played a key role in lifting the New York Knicks into the playoffs, with few expecting the franchise to reach the postseason, let alone claim fourth seed in the East.

Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists across 71 games this NBA season, ranking in the top 20 in all three categories. He set career highs in points and assists, equalling his career high for rebounds too.

In his second season with the Knicks, after earlier stints with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers, he made a career-high 160 three-pointers, shooting at 40.1 per cent. He'd previously only made 168 three-pointers at 29.5 per cent across six seasons.

Randle, who was selected for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game for the first time, received 98 first-place votes and 493 total points from the panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.

Matt LaFleur is clinging to hope of Aaron Rodgers returning to the fold with the Green Bay Packers, now the NFL MVP has said he has no gripe with playing or coaching staff.

Reigning NFL MVP Rodgers is eager to leave the team he has represented since 2005, in what would be a seismic trade.

Coach LaFleur finds himself having to deal with Rodgers being absent – the quarterback has missed the start of this week's voluntary organised team activities (OTAs) – but also tasked with keeping the rest of his players focused.

"Aaron definitely knows how we feel about him, how he's such an important part to our football team," LaFleur said on Tuesday.

"[He is] such an important part to our organisation. We're just going to continue to try to work through this and hopefully we can get him back in the building at some point."

Rodgers last season had his highest completion percentage since becoming a starter (70.7) and achieved a passer rating of 121.5 – keeping Jordan Love waiting for his chance.

Love is the young quarterback the Packers acquired with their first-round pick in the 2020 Draft. While Rodgers rose to the challenge, the 37-year-old has also become disenchanted with life at Green Bay.

LaFleur has told his players to avoid allowing the rift to become a distraction.

"We kind of talked about this with our football team," LaFleur said, quoted on nfl.com.

"Right now there's things that are in your control and there are certain things that are out of your control. I think that just our mindset right now is to focus on each individual. [Each individual] is focused on the things that they can control and we need everybody to be at their best for us to continue to progress as a football team. So that's kind of been the focus throughout."

Rodgers said his gripe centres on the Packers' philosophy, offering a rather oblique explanation of the reasons behind his absence in an interview on Monday with ESPN SportsCenter. Reports have pointed to a possible contract dispute.

Rodgers said: "I love the coaching staff, love my team-mates, love the fan base in Green Bay. [It has been] an incredible 16 years.

"It's just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgeting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It's about character, it's about culture, it's about doing things the right way.

"A lot of this was put in motion last year, and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year.

"This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But it is about the people, and that's the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people."

If Rodgers has issues with the Packers front office, he may find his people – those in the locker room – are willing to lend an ear. The longer the impasse persists, however, the more the business of the approaching new season may mean team-mates have to set aside his issues.

According to reports, there were 79 of the Packers' 89 rostered players present on Tuesday as the OTAs continued.

Safety Adrian Amos told packers.com: "Everybody has to focus on themselves as far as getting ready to play. Because regardless of what happens, we've got to go out there and the show goes on.

"Everybody has their personal situations, and you support everybody's personal situations, but I'm getting paid to go out there and perform. Regardless of what's going on around me, I'm getting judged by what I do."

Novak Djokovic celebrated putting his name into "another history record book" after his victory over Mats Moraing at the Belgrade Open.

Djokovic's 6-2 7-6 (7-4) triumph on Tuesday set up a quarter-final tie against Federico Coria, and put the world number one level with Argentine great Guillermo Vilas for the fifth-most match wins in the Open Era (951).

It was his 17th win of the season, as the 34-year-old looks to prepare for the French Open with a third title success in his home tournament.

"With this win I managed to put my name in another history record book," Djokovic said following his victory.

"Obviously being in the same conversation with Vilas and the legends and greats of our game, it makes me really fulfilled and very joyful."

Djokovic has some way to go to make it into the top four on the all-time list, however.

He is 71 wins adrift of Rafael Nadal (1,022), who sits fourth. Ivan Lendl (1,068) is third, behind Roger Federer (1,243), who still has Jimmy Connors' record of 1,274 Open Era wins in his sights.

Despite a tight start, Djokovic got away from Moraing by winning four straight games.

Moraing hit back in set two to force a tie-break, but his illustrious opponent had too much quality.

"I was twice a break up in the second set so I maybe could have finished out the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting, for playing really well, for playing very courageous, very bold tennis," Djokovic said.

After turning 34 on Saturday, Djokovic received a bye to the second round of the Belgrade Open. He lost in the semi-finals of the Serbian Open last month, and came into this event on the back of a defeat to Nadal in the Rome Masters final.

Next up is Coria, who defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-2, though Djokovic's compatriot Pedja Krstin dropped out, crushed 6-0 6-0 by Slovakian Alex Molcan.

At the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, fifth seed Richard Gasquet defeated Daniel Altmeier 6-3 6-3, while Sebastian Korda defeated Andreas Seppi to tee up a tie with top seed Lorenzo Sonego. 

Lorenzo Musetti claimed his 13th tour-level win of 2021 by overcoming Gianluca Mager, and the Italian's reward is a meeting with Yoshihito Nishioka, who beat Sam Querrey.

Bianca Andreescu was in good form again as she saw off Maryna Zanevska to reach the last eight at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Until this week the Canadian had been absent from the WTA Tour since making the final in Miami back in March, missing recent events after a positive COVID-19 test.

But she has now won two straight matches on clay for the first time in her career, having barely played on the surface at tour level before.

Top seed Andreescu was playing an opponent ranked outside of the world's top 250 for a second straight day, though she emphatically did the job against qualifier Zanevska, winning 6-1 6-4 in just 65 minutes.

Aside from needing to recover from 4-2 down in the second set, Andreescu had few problems and converted all five of the break points she forced in the contest.

However, the second seed at the WTA 250 event is out.

Australian Open quarter-finalist Jessica Pegula was upset by Arantxa Rus, losing 6-4 6-4.

Pegula won only 10 of her 31 points on second serve as she was broken on five occasions.

But there was relief for seventh seed Shelby Rogers, who won an epic contest lasting three hours and 23 minutes against fellow American Christina McHale.

Rogers won 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 in a memorable clash. The eventual winner was a point away from wrapping up the victory in straight sets before later needing to save a match point herself in the decider.

Justin Burrowes won the Alliance National Amateur Golf Championship at the Caymanas Golf Club by a massive 20 strokes to claim his second title in three years.

 Burrowes led on all four days of the championship but Sunday's round was his most impressive.

He shot seven birdies and just one bogey in his final round 66 for a four-day today of 278.

He had birdies on holes 2 and 6 and a bogey on five for a one-under-par 35 on the front nine but saved his best for last with birdies on 10, 12, 13,14 and 17 on the back nine for five-under-par 31 to close the round.

Overall, his scores on each of the four days were 73, 69, 70 and 66 to be 10 under for the tournament.

"Today (Sunday) was a great day.  I felt like I was able to put everything together for once in the past four days.  I drove it well, hit it well, putt it well and made a lot of crucial putts especially coming down the stretch,” he said.

“That was the only real difference between today and the other days.  I just want to thank my coach, parents and all my supporters because without them this would not be possible."

By contrast, William Knibbs, the 2020 national champion, had a rough championship, posting scores of 74, 79, 70 and 75 for a combined total of 10 over par 298.  He was hurt, particularly, by his second-day performance on hole number 10 at he which required six extra shots on a par-four hole.

“Where the performance this week in the tournament is concerned, whilst there were lots of good moments in the tournament, I made a lot of mistakes that had I been at my best I know I would have avoided them,” he said.

“Hats off to Justin, he played really, really well.  I just would have liked to have been closer to him coming into the last day but I do take some pride in knowing that I finished runner-up in this event four of the last five years so there are always positives and negatives."

Zandre Roye scored 70 on the final day for a total score of 303 to claim third.  He had scores of 76, 82, and 75 for the first three days.

Mention must be made of 15-year old Aman Dhiman, who posted the second-lowest score of the championship, a four-under-par 68 on the third day as well as the best score for that particular day.  He sent down five birdies on holes 1, 2, 4, 7 and 16 and only one bogey on hole number 10.

The top two in the Men Senior 7-12 category were Thajae Richards who had a total of 337 and Richard White, 370.

The Men Senior 0-12 category, which was played over three days, was shared by former Cricket West Indies president Dave Cameron (245) and Tony Allison 83 (245) while Vikram Dhuman 78 (245) was third.

The Men Super Senior 0-12 category, also played over three days, was topped by Mike Boyd (235), while George Hugh (240) former JGA president Wayne Chai Chong (240) were tied for second.

 The Men Super Senior 13 and over had one participant, Desmond Brown, who had a three-day total of 282.

 

 

Damian Lillard expects to see Aaron Gordon again in the remainder of their first-round playoff series after an improved defensive showing denied the Portland Trail Blazers superstar a postseason record.

Lillard had 34 points in Game 1 as the Blazers upset third seed the Denver Nuggets.

And the six-time All-Star was in sensational form to start Game 2 with 32 points by half-time, including eight three-pointers from 11 attempts.

That tied Vince Carter's mark for the most threes in a half in the playoffs and Lillard appeared certain to reach Klay Thompson's 2016 game record of 11 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lillard himself made 10 against the same team in 2019.

But the Nuggets switched Gordon onto Lillard and Portland's main man made only a single further shot from beyond the arc as he was limited to five attempts.

It meant Lillard, who led the league with 173 clutch points this season, had only 10 points in the second half and two in the fourth quarter – both from the free-throw line.

Asked about Gordon's defense after Denver levelled the series, Lillard said: "I expect it to continue. [I need to be] just moving around more off the ball, getting more off-ball sets.

"Usually bigger guys can use their length and athleticism on the ball, but when you start to move around on flares and pindowns and things like that, typically you can get a little bit of space."

The Blazers point guard was perhaps surprised the Nuggets did not start by getting Gordon out to him.

"It's just a bigger defender, taller guy, more athletic, just a big body," he said.

"But I'm used to that; usually throughout the regular season, whoever their defensive wing or taller wing is, that's who guards me.

"Like the Phoenix game, Mikal Bridges guarded me; Golden State, Kelly Oubre guards me. I'm always against a bigger wing.

"That's an adjustment they went to in the second half. But I think they just gave me more attention, more so than it was just one guy. I'm never going against one guy."

Even before that change, though, the Nuggets were 12 points up, and they ran out 128-109 winners after 38 points from leading MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.

Denver coach Michael Malone said: "That right there was a playoff game.

"The intensity, you had two high-level players in Damian Lillard and Nikola Jokic playing at their respective levels, the crowd was great.

"But it was chippy. And that's the way it should be. We're both fighting for something. That's the way the playoffs should be. I loved it. That's my kind of game right there."

Aaron Rodgers' discontent in Green Bay dates back to last year but centres around the Packers' philosophy rather than Jordan Love, he said on Monday.

Reigning NFL MVP Rodgers is pushing to leave the team he has represented since 2005.

Reports of his unhappiness first emerged on draft day this year, but there was no late trade as five quarterbacks went in the first round – including three in the top three.

While Rodgers is a three-time MVP, one-time Super Bowl MVP and one-time champion, he had a career-high 48 touchdowns en route to individual recognition in 2020.

The 37-year-old also had his highest completion percentage since becoming a starter (70.7) and a passer rating of 121.5 that he only previously surpassed in 2011 (122.5).

This came after a draft in which the Packers selected QB Love with their first-round pick, rather than providing support to Rodgers.

However, discussing his desire to depart Green Bay on SportsCenter, the veteran said: "With my situation, look, it's never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan.

"I love Jordan; he's a great kid. [It has been] a lot of fun to work together."

Love did not take a single snap last year but is widely considered the man to take the reins when Rodgers eventually moves on.

The Packers great hopes that will be sooner rather than later.

Rodgers, who spent the offseason working on quiz show Jeopardy! and reportedly has an interest in keeping the role long-term, explained his reasoning as he confirmed a report he was skipping voluntary organised team activities.

"I love the coaching staff, love my team-mates, love the fan base in Green Bay," he said. "[It has been] an incredible 16 years.

"It's just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It's about character, it's about culture, it's about doing things the right way.

"A lot of this was put in motion last year, and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year.

"This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But it is about the people, and that's the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people."

Rodgers, who has three years left on his contract and will count for $37.2million against the cap in 2021, ranks 11th all-time for passing yards, although he is only 230 shy of catching John Elway and breaking into the top 10.

Meanwhile, his 412 TDs rank seventh, with Rodgers having thrown more than 1,500 passes fewer than every other QB with over 400 scores.

A touchdown percentage of 6.3 ranks fifth among players with 50 or more games, with Rodgers' next regular season appearance set to be his 198th.

The Packers start the new season at the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

Giannis Antetokounmpo revealed his love for football after leading the Milwaukee Bucks past the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference matchup in the NBA playoffs.

Antetokounmpo led the way as the Bucks routed the Heat 132-98 on Monday for a commanding 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

Two-time reigning MVP Antetokounmpo posted 31 points in 31 minutes, while also tallying 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals on home court in Milwaukee.

A superstar with the basketball, Antetokounmpo also demonstrated his football skills after juggling the ball during a break in play against the Heat.

Afterwards, Greece international Antetokounmpo told reporters: "I can do probably like 300 of those.

"I used to play soccer when I was young. My dad used to be a soccer player. I love soccer.

"I wanted to play soccer. I didn't want to play basketball growing up."

Milwaukee – seeded third in the east – used a 46-20 opening quarter to crush Miami in Game 2 of their NBA playoff clash.

Jrue Holiday (11 points and 15 assists) added a double-double of his own, while Bucks team-mate Bryn Forbes made six three-pointers to contribute 22 points off the bench.

The Bucks set a franchise record for threes made in a playoff game after nailing 22 from beyond the arc.

Forbes, who joined the Bucks in November following four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, said: "That was a huge part in me coming here. You know that there would be these opportunities and we would be in the playoffs. ... It's just great to be in this position, be in the playoffs again and have an opportunity and stage."

"It's just how the game goes," Forbes added. "It's ebbs and flows. Some games you're open a lot more. Some games you aren't. Tonight I think we moved the ball great and had a lot of open shots."

Bucks star Holiday hailed Forbes, saying: "If my man got the hot hand, I'm going to him. And he wasn't missing, so at that point we were running everything to him just to -- really just to see what happens."

It was an impressive shooting display from the Bucks as head coach Mike Budenholzer added: "Guys have got to shoot it with confidence. They've got to let it fly. They've got to know they’re going to get threes.

"I think the activity offensively, the attack, can create good looks for us. We've just got to continue to let it fly when you're open."

"Lots of times, there's just so much talent in the league and so many good teams, sometimes you get the early lead and things just happen and it becomes a close game," Budenholzer said. "Today we were able to keep the focus."

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