Australian Open chief Craig Tiley is confident tennis' season-opening grand slam will take place in Melbourne next year despite suggestions the tournament may be played overseas.

The federal government in Australia is sticking to predictions that international borders will be closed until at least the middle of 2022, leaving the feasibility of hosting the Australian Open shrouded in doubt.

It has even been suggested in a recent ABC report that alternative destinations are being explored, with Dubai and Doha said to be being considered as potential venues.

But Tiley, speaking to RSN, believes the timeline on opening up borders will be altered in time for the tournament, which traditionally takes place in January.

"We're talking about two weeks of quarantine and the borders remaining closed until the middle of next year, but I'm an optimist," Tiley said.

"I think that's going to be too long. I think it's going to be brought forward because we're going to get on top of it with the vaccines and how we manage the virus.

"If we don't, we're going to be extremely challenged."

This year's tournament was blighted by logistical issues, with several players forced into quarantine after being exposed to coronavirus on chartered flights into Australia, while just days before the event was due to begin more than 500 players and officials were made to isolate after a worker at an Australian Open quarantine hotel tested positive for COVID-19.

Novak Djokovic, the men's singles champion in Melbourne, was chief among those critical of the conditions players had to endure.

"The players have been travelling around the world in a bubble so there's no place in the world anymore where there's quarantine requirements for them and so they're used to certain conditions," Tiley added.

"We [in Australia] still have this 14-day requirement but of course the positive is we don't have any community transmission of the virus."

LeBron James insists he will be fit for the Los Angeles Lakers' play-in tournament showdown with the Golden State Warriors and believes Stephen Curry should be named the NBA's MVP.

The Lakers rounded out an injury-hit regular-season campaign with a 110-98 triumph over the New Orleans Pelicans, with James nailing 25 points at Smoothie King Center.

Despite a fifth straight win, the Portland Trail Blazers' 132-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets consigned the Lakers to seventh position in the Western Conference and having to go through the new play-in route involving the teams from seventh to 10th.

It means the Lakers have to win one of up to two games to make the playoffs, with their first opportunity to do so coming against the Warriors on Wednesday.

James' fitness for the fixture was shrouded in doubt when he appeared to aggravate the ankle injury that saw him miss 26 of the Lakers' final 30 regular-season games.

However, he insists it was just a "tweak" and fully expects to feature, saying: "I'll be fine.

"I'll be in the line-up on Wednesday. The time is now and I'm ready for it."

Having to go through the play-in may not be the ideal situation for the defending champions, who have been decimated by injury this term with both James and Anthony Davis missing significant periods of time.

But James says the team are feeling confident having begun to hit their stride at the end of the regular season.

"I don't look at our seeding. It doesn't matter," he added. "Obviously we know we wanted to play a lot better this season, but injuries took a toll on our team. 

"We're finally starting to get whole, starting to feel a little bit better about our situation."

In Golden State, James and the Lakers come up against a red-hot Curry, who scored 46 points in the Warriors' 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies to secure the NBA's scoring title.

Curry finished the regular season with a scoring average of 32.0 and became the first player 33 years or older to lead the league in scoring since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1997-98 (35 years at end of season and averaged 28.7ppg).

He also joined Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships.

James has no doubt that Curry should be awarded with another individual honour.

"I mean, just look at what he's done this year. I don't know anything else if you're looking for an MVP. If Steph is not on Golden State's team, what are we looking at?" James asked.

"We get caught up in the records sometimes. We get caught up in the, okay, who has the best record instead of just saying who had the best season that year. And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year."

NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-98 but they did not avoid the play-in tournament.

LeBron James – who appeared to tweak his ankle – posted 25 points for the streaking Lakers, who claimed their fifth consecutive victory, however they did not end the regular season high enough in the Western Conference to bypass the NBA's new play-in format involving the seventh through 10th seeds in pursuit of the playoffs.

The Lakers needed help from the Denver Nuggets but the latter lost 132-116 to the Portland Trail Blazers, leaving the Los Angeles franchise seventh in the west and set to face Stephen Curry's eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors for a playoff berth.

Andre Drummond had a double-double for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis finished with 14 points for the Lakers, who will have to win one of up to two play-in games to clinch a regular playoff position.

Portland locked up the sixth seed and their eighth straight playoff berth, meaning they will go head-to-head with the third-seeded Nuggets in the opening round.

The Utah Jazz, meanwhile, clinched the NBA's best record (50-20) for the first time in their history.

Jordan Clarkson finished with 33 points and All-Star Rudy Gobert contributed 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz, who eased past the Sacramento Kings 121-99.

The Jazz edged the Phoenix Suns (51-21), who pipped the San Antonio Spurs 123-121, for top spot in the NBA – the first time they have finished with sole possession of the league's best record.

 

Curry crowned scoring champ

Curry earned his second scoring title after posting 46 points in the Warriors' 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Curry pipped Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal to the award, having finished the regular season with a 32.0 points per game average. Two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion Curry became the first player 33 years or older to lead the league in scoring since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1997-98 (35 years at end of season and averaged 28.7ppg). The 33-year-old also joined Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships.

James Harden was absent due to injury management, but the Brooklyn Nets still secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference with a 123-109 win at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Durant put up 23 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Irving added 17 points as he joined an elite list of shooters. Irving finished the regular season with a 50.6 field-goal percentage, 40.2 three-point percentage and 92.2 free-throw percentage – becoming the ninth member of the 50/40/90 club. He also joined Larry Bird, Curry and Durant as the only players to average at least 25 points per game during a 50/40/90 season.

The New York Knicks secured fourth position in the east via a 96-92 win over the Boston Celtics. The Knicks – back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13 – will have home-court advantage for their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, who routed the Houston Rockets 124-95.

The Wizards' season appeared dead and buried following an horrendous start, having acquired Russell Westbrook to team up with Beal. But the Wizards will face the Celtics as the eighth seed in the play-in tournament thanks to their 115-110 victory against the Charlotte Hornets. Westbrook recorded 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, while Beal had 20 of his 25 points after half-time.

Tyrese Maxey flexed his muscles as Eastern Conference top seed the Philadelphia 76ers rested their stars in a 128-117 victory over the Orlando Magic. In the absence of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and Danny Green, rookie Maxey had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He became the only rookie this season with multiple 30/5/5 games – LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edward only had one such game.

Precious Achiuwa's career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds helped the shorthanded Miami Heat rout the Detroit Pistons 120-107. Tyler Herro (16 points and 11 assists) and Gabe Vincent also had double-doubles as the sixth-seeded Heat prepare to face third seed the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round in the east.

 

Houston's woeful season comes to an end

After a blockbuster trade sent wantaway superstar Harden to the Nets in January, the rebuilding Rockets crumbled. A crushing loss to the Hawks left the Rockets with a 17-55 win-loss record – their worst campaign since going 14-68 in 1982-83.

 

Sit back and enjoy!

The Nets produced a stunning piece of offense against the Cavaliers in the second quarter. After dispossessing Cleveland, Blake Griffin played a behind-the-back pass to Irving, who passed the ball ahead to Mike James. James tossed the ball off the backboard for Durant to slam down.

 

Sunday's results

New York Knicks 96-92 Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers 125-113 Toronto Raptors
Washington Wizards 115-110 Charlotte Hornets
Phoenix Suns 123-121 San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors 113-101 Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Hawks 124-95 Houston Rockets
Brooklyn Nets 123-109 Cleveland Cavaliers
Philadelphia 76ers 128-117 Orlando Magic
Miami Heat 120-107 Detroit Pistons
Chicago Bulls 118-112 Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves 136-121 Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers 110-98 New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Thunder 117-112 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers 132-116 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 121-99 Sacramento Kings

 

Play-in tournament

After a day off, the Eastern Conference play-in tournament gets underway on Tuesday. The Wizards will meet the Celtics in a seventh vs eighth battle, while the ninth-seeded Hornets face the 10th-seeded Pacers for a spot in the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Angels emerged from the jaws of defeat to stun the Boston Red Sox 6-5 thanks to two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani hit a two-out, two-run homer to lift the Angels past the Red Sox in the ninth inning in MLB action on Sunday.

The Angels were on the verge of losing their fifth consecutive game before star pair Mike Trout and Ohtani entered the frame in the final inning of the series finale at Fenway Park.

After Trout hit a bloop single to keep the game alive with two outs, Ohtani smashed a home run off Matt Barnes to snap the Angels' four-game skid.

"Coming off a losing streak and the first two games of the series, the way we lost, it wasn't a good way to lose," Ohtani, who is now tied for the MLB lead in homers with 12, said through a team translator. "So, it was huge for us and the team to come up with this. We showed that we can beat any team."

 

Wild walk-off win for White Sox, Duvall sinks Dodgers

Jose Abreu dashed home with the game-winning run as the high-flying Chicago White Sox walked off 4-3 against the Kansas City Royals. The American League (AL) Central-leading White Sox rallied from a 3-2 deficit as Abreu scored on a wild Wade Davis pitch.

The Houston Astros celebrated their sixth straight win by defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2. Lance McCullers Jr. pitched six scoreless innings for the Astros, scattering five hits and striking out five.

Adam Duvall delivered for the Miami Marlins, who topped World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 behind his three-run homer in the fifth inning. The Marlins avoided a series sweep.

Maikel Franco homered and drove in three runs for the Baltimore Orioles, who avoided a three-game sweep by rallying past the New York Yankees 10-6. Aaron Judge homered for the third successive game, but it was not enough for the Yankees.

Alex Wood kept his perfect record intact after the San Francisco Giants accounted for the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1. Wood – who improved to 5-0 this season – gave up one run and eight hits. The Giants pitcher struck out six batters and walked one for the National League (NL) West leaders.

The Chicago Cubs were 5-1 winners over the Detroit Tigers as Kyle Hendricks carried a shutout into the ninth inning. Hendricks allowed eight hits and struck out a season-high eight batters in just over eight innings without allowing a walk.

 

Stroman struggles

New York Mets ace Marcus Stroman was off the pace in the team's 7-1 rout at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Stroman gave up homers to Manuel Margot, Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe. Stroman – who dropped to 0-4 in his last five starts – gave up five runs and six hits in six innings.

 

Vladdy hits longest homer of his career

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was at it again in the Toronto Blue Jays' thrilling 10-8 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. Guerrero hit his 11th homer of the season, a 465-foot solo drive in the eighth inning – the longest home run of his career.

 

 

Sunday's results

Baltimore Orioles 10-6 New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants 4-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Toronto Blue Jays 10-8 Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels 6-5 Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs 5-1 Detroit Tigers
Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 New York Mets
Milwaukee Brewers 10-9 Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 7-6 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 6-2 Texas Rangers
Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 3-2 Cleveland Indians
Miami Marlins 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals 3-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres 5-3 St Louis Cardinals

 

Diamondbacks at Dodgers

It will be an all-NL West clash when the Diamondbacks and Dodgers open their series on Monday. Both teams are coming off losses as Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers, while Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner takes to the mound.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Stephen Curry has "never been better" after he capped a stellar regular-season NBA campaign with the scoring title.

Warriors superstar Curry added a second scoring crown to his collection thanks to his 46-point outburst in Sunday's 113-101 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Curry pipped Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who scored 25 points in the team's 115-110 win over the Charlotte Hornets, to the award.

Entering the regular-season finale, two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion Curry was 0.4 points per game ahead of Beal.

Curry finished the regular season with a scoring average of 32.0 points as he added to his 2016 crown, while Beal ended the campaign with 31.3 points per game.

"He's never been better, I can say that," Kerr said when asked if this was the best season of Curry's career as the Warriors secured eighth position in the Western Conference and a play-in tournament berth.

"He's been great for a long time, though, so it's hard to say he's at his best now because he's been like this for years. I think what's different this year is just the supporting cast is different.

"We've got a much younger team; he's been asked to do a lot more with this group and he's gone above and beyond what we've asked of him.

"Just an incredible season and I'll just leave it at that: He's never been better than he is right now."

Curry became the first player 33 years or older to lead the league in scoring since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1997-98 (35 years at end of season and averaged 28.7ppg).

Curry also joined Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships.

Earlier this season, Curry claimed top spots on the Warriors' all-time scoring and assists lists, while surpassing Reggie Miller for second position on the NBA's three-pointers made standings.

Curry, who had his 11th 40-point game of the season, added: "I've been blessed to be back healthy and be able to just play night in, night out at a high level. And the work that goes into it, it pays off, and it's something that I really, really rely on, especially at this point in my career.

"As the years go on, that is the difference-maker for me. Nobody really sees it on a day-to-day [basis], but I'm really proud of what I put into it, and the team -- they know who they are -- that help me and push me and motivate me. I'm going to keep doing that until I can't anymore."

World Series MVP and Los Angeles Dodgers star Corey Seager has landed on the injured list, but he will not require surgery on a broken hand.

Seager suffered a fractured right hand during Saturday's 7-0 MLB rout of the Miami Marlins, having been hit by a Ross Detwiler pitch in the fifth inning.

An X-ray on Sunday revealed the extent of the injury ahead of a trip to the 10-day IL, though Seager escaped surgery in a boost for the Dodgers.

"Fortunately, I think we dodged a bullet on that one," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We're just kind of going to let it heal."

Roberts, however, is unsure when two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Seager will return.

"I don't know," Roberts said. "You've just got to let it happen."

Seager has been hitting .265 this season, with four home runs. But the 27-year-old shortstop hit .375 with four RBIs in his last six games.

The Dodgers (22-18) are third in the National League (NL) West in 2021 following Sunday's 3-2 defeat to the Marlins.

Stephen Curry added a second NBA scoring title to his growing list of achievements after the Golden State Warriors superstar edged out Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Curry used a 46-point outburst in the Warriors' 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday to pip Beal, who had 25 points as the Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-110.

Entering the regular-season finale, two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion Curry was 0.4 points per game ahead of Beal.

Curry finished the regular season with a scoring average of 32.0 points as he added to his 2016 crown, while Beal ended the campaign with 31.3 points per game.

In the process, Curry became the first player 33 years or older to lead the league in scoring since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1997-98 (35 years at end of season and averaged 28.7 PPG).

Curry also joins Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships.

Earlier this season, Curry claimed top spots on the Warriors' all-time scoring and assists lists, while surpassing Reggie Miller for second position on the NBA's three-pointers made standings.

Curry has helped the Warriors clinch eighth position in the Western Conference this season and a play-in tournament berth.

Jude Bellingham said it was "fantastic" for Borussia Dortmund to seal their place in next season's Champions League as team-mate Jadon Sancho achieved a feat last accomplished by David Beckham.

At the age of 17, Bellingham has found himself thrust into Bundesliga action at the heart of Dortmund's midfield, and the former Birmingham City youngster could be heading for Euro 2020 duty with England at season's end.

A challenging campaign for a talented Dortmund squad is ending on a high, with their 4-1 DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig on Thursday followed by Sunday's 3-1 Bundesliga victory at Mainz.

That result means Dortmund, who sit third with one round of games remaining, are certain to finish in the top four. Bellingham piled praise on interim head coach Edin Terzic, who replaced the sacked Lucien Favre in December, for getting the team to tick over the closing weeks of the campaign, having looked doubtful at one stage to earn a Champions League spot.

"I'm very happy," said Bellingham. "I knew what the club's expectations were. We fell a bit short throughout the season, especially in the league.

"We were in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and won the cup. Today we've qualified for the Champions League again after being in a difficult position. That's fantastic, I'm very happy."

Bellingham added, quoted on Dortmund's official website: "Edin has a brilliant personality. He got the best out of us players, wanted to make everyone better. He's done a great job with his team. We are very happy to have him."

Goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus in the first half at Mainz were both teed up by Sancho, helping Dortmund on their way to a seventh successive win.

In the process, winger Sancho became the first Englishman from any of Europe's top five championships to reach 10 assists in three consecutive league campaigns since Beckham, who strung together four such seasons from 1997-98 to 2000-01 with Manchester United.

Sancho missed a chunk of this season due to a muscle injury and has made just 25 Bundesliga appearances in 2020-21, but the 21-year-old has still managed 11 assists and eight goals.

Last season he managed 16 assists and 17 goals, while in 2018-19 the teenage Sancho totted up 14 assists and 12 goals.

Sancho – a rumoured Manchester United and Liverpool target – has enjoyed a remarkable week, becoming the first Englishman to score in the DFB-Pokal final as he netted twice in the thumping win over Leipzig.

He tweeted on Sunday that it was "objective complete" for Dortmund as they followed up the silverware with a place at Europe's top table next term, a result that may make it easier for the club to keep the likes of Sancho and Erling Haaland, two of Europe's most coveted young players.

Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden will miss Sunday's regular-season finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to injury management.

Harden has played twice since returning from an 18-game injury lay-off caused by a hamstring strain – the star-studded Nets winning both games against the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls.

But the Nets, who are looking to lock up the second seed in the Eastern Conference in pursuit of a maiden NBA championship, are taking no risks ahead of the playoffs.

Harden – returning from the longest injury absence of his stellar career – posted 18 points, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks in his comeback game against the Spurs on Wednesday.

The former MVP had five points, seven assists and five rebounds in Saturday's 105-91 victory over the Bulls.

Harden is averaging 24.6 points, 10.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game this season, having joined the Nets in a blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets in January.

Steve Nash's Nets (47-24) are second in the east, behind the Philadelphia 76ers (48-23) – who also secured the number one seed.

Rafael Nadal believes his ability to handle pressure was key to a record-extending 10th Internazionali d'Italia win on Sunday.

Nadal overcame Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3 to seal his first Masters 1000 triumph of the year, while improving to 4-2 in the finals he has played against the Serbian at the Foro Italico venue in Rome.

Victory also gave Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

The 34-year-old king of clay-court tennis was delighted to get his hands on the trophy for a 10th time and said there has been no let-up in his motivation to succeed.

"It's amazing to have the trophy with me again, one more time here in Rome," Nadal said.

"I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. After achieving 10 at Roland Garros, 10 in Monte Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one. It's a super important tournament for me.

"I went through a lot of things during the week. Some positive, some great moments, some lucky moments, suffering moments. At the end I think I played a very solid week of tennis. It's the right moment to win an important title."

Nadal added, quoted on the ATP website: "I don't put extra pressure on myself at all. I want to win every day and every tournament that I play. But the passion and the motivation to try is always the same. I know how to handle the pressure."

Nadal plans to rest for a few days before making minor tweaks to his game ahead of a tilt at a record-breaking 21st grand slam title at the French Open, which starts on May 30.

"I'll take a couple of days off and then start working," Nadal added. "I think I can work on a couple of things that I can do a little bit better. I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with those improvements, because when you improve, you're able to do it every day for a longer time.

"I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work on over the next couple of weeks, and I'm going to do it. Work, relax mentally, and work the right way."

Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego.

However, he insisted fatigue was not behind his defeat.

"Not at all, I did not feel any fatigue," Djokovic said. "He managed to break my serve and played better, that's it.

"Until the last shot it was quite close. I had my shot to win it, but it wasn't meant to be. I didn't feel fatigue. Actually, I was very happy with the way I felt on the court. I could have gone for another few hours.

"I could have easily gone out of this tournament in the quarters. I'm very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually.

"Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played at a high level. Unfortunately the decisive moments in the first and third sets just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate."

Tyson Fury has announced his heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua is "100 per cent on" for August 14 in Saudi Arabia.

The respective teams for the two rivals have been involved in protracted negotiations over a unification fight, but it appears a date has now been agreed upon by both sides.

Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO titles will be on the line in the bout, while the unbeaten Fury currently holds the WBC belt.

In a video posted on social media on Sunday, Fury made clear his delight as he confirmed the details for the bout, while he also promised to "smash" his fellow Briton when they finally face each other.

"I've got some massive news for you all, guys. I've just got off the phone with Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia and he's told me that this fight is 100 per cent on," he said.

"August 14, 2021, summertime. All eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and I cannot wait, repeat, cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all time.

"This is going to be the biggest sporting event to grace planet Earth. Do not miss it. All eyes on us."

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn revealed recently that organisers in Saudi Arabia plan to "shock the world" with a purpose-built venue for the much-anticipated bout.

Joshua has previously fought in Diriyah, beating Andy Ruiz Jr there in December 2019 to avenge the only loss of his professional career to date.

"They want to create something very, very special. Last time they built a stadium for the Andy Ruiz Jr fight in just seven weeks and it held 18,000," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"This will be a similar set-up. They have the opportunity to hold it indoors but they want to create something that will shock the world.

"They want to build a stadium just for this fight."

Rafael Nadal sealed a record-extending 10th Rome Masters title with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 win over Novak Djokovic at the Internazionali d'Italia.

It marked a first Masters 1000 triumph of the year for Nadal, who improved to 4-2 in the finals he has played against Djokovic at the Foro Italico venue.

Victory also secured Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego, but he showed no signs of fatigue in the opening stages in Rome.

The Serbian broke in Nadal's first service game to go 2-0 up, although Spaniard Nadal hit back in the next game before levelling matters at 2-2.

Nadal then broke again, taking advantage of an unconvincing service game from Djokovic at 5-5 on his way to sealing the opening set in one hour and 15 minutes.

Djokovic survived a break point at 1-1 in the second set, before breaking Nadal in the next game to move 3-1 ahead.

The Serbian reeled off five games in a row in all, setting up set point with his fifth ace of the match. He forced a backhand error from Nadal to take the second set in 43 minutes.

Nadal saved two break points at 2-2 in the final set, which provided him with the confidence to break to love and open up a 4-2 lead.

He sealed victory in two hours and 50 minutes, converting his second championship point when Djokovic sent a backhand long.

Paul Pierce and Chris Bosh are among the notable names to be included on the 2021 list of inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pierce sits 16th on the all-time list for points in the NBA, finishing with 26,397 at the end of a career that included winning a title with the Boston Celtics.

Selected 10th overall in the 1998 draft by Boston, the former Kansas Jayhawk was a 10-time All-Star who also played for the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers.

Bosh was a two-time champion during his time as part of a Miami Heat roster that also included fellow 'big three' members LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

An 11-time All-Star, Bosh – who was drafted by the Toronto Raptors – helped the United States win gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. His career was cut short due to a blood-clotting condition in 2017.

Former players Chris Webber and Ben Wallace are also to be honoured, along with Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson from the WNBA.

The international committee selection goes to Toni Kukoc, a three-time NBA champion with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls as they dominated between 1996 and 1998.

Bill Russell, meanwhile, is one of the coaches chosen having already been selected as a player. He is joined by Rick Adelman and Jay Wright.

The delayed ceremony for a 2020 class including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant was held on Saturday in Connecticut.

Egan Bernal produced a storming finish to win stage nine of the Giro d'Italia – a result good enough to see the Colombian take over as the new race leader.

Bernal claimed a long-overdue maiden Grand Tour stage triumph following a gruelling 157-kilometre ride from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice that concluded with an uphill finish on a gravel track.

Geoffrey Bouchard and Koen Bouwman were involved in a breakaway group but were unable to remain clear, the duo overtaken within 500 metres of the line.

A determined Bernal pushed hard to claim potentially crucial time in the battle for the maglia rosa, finishing seven seconds clear of Giulio Ciccone and Alexandr Vlasov, who were second and third respectively.

The 2019 Tour de France winner now has a 15-second cushion over nearest rival Remco Evenepoel in the overall standings.

"I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour," Bernal said in his post-race interview.

"I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now. I was thinking I would do well today but I was not sure whether I could have won the stage.

"My team-mates had a lot of confidence in me, they told me I could do it: this victory is for them, they really believe in me."

Attila Valter had held the pink jersey heading into the stage, yet he found the going tough on the final climb and finished almost a minute behind the stage winner.

Meanwhile, Matej Mohoric was taken to hospital following a dramatic crash during proceedings. Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed the Slovenian would undergo tests and was to be kept under observation, as per the UCI's concussion protocol.

Mohoric somersaulted over his handlebars after coming off during a descent, with his bike splitting apart after making contact with a crash barrier.


STAGE RESULT  

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:08:23
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +07secs
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) "
4. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +10s
5. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.15
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.21

Points Classification

1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

King of the Mountains
 
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

Marc Marquez had forecast the need to "gamble" on Sunday, but he was angry with his execution after crashing twice at a flag-to-flag French Grand Prix he briefly led.

The Repsol Honda superstar was hoping for a wet race to give him the best chance of a first victory since his injury at Le Mans.

The looming dark clouds delivered early in Sunday's race and Marquez, starting from sixth on the grid, stormed into contention.

Aiming for a fourth French GP win – only he and Valentino Rossi have three MotoGP victories – Marquez emerged from the pit lane in the lead after switching bikes.

That advantage did not last long as a dramatic fall saw the Spaniard flip through the air after flying off the slippery surface.

Yet that was not the crash that upset Marquez, who continued the grand prix and had recovered to reach 11th when he skidded off the track a second time and was ruled out.

"In the rain, I had a better chance of having a good race, but also of crashing," he told Sky Sport. "In the dry, I saw that there was a limit, but after the flag-to-flag I felt good.

"In the first crash, the bike slid a lot. Even with the medium tyre, at the beginning, I had to be a bit calmer, but it can happen.

"Then I got back on the bike and I was running very fast. The second fall is the one that angers me most.

"The first could happen because it was wet, I was warming the tyres... it happened to many riders.

"The second makes me angry because I was pushing too hard even though I was struggling to stay 100 per cent focused on the bike. At that point, I was thinking more about getting back in to put on the dry tyres than about riding.

"That's why it made me angry. There is a risk and I need to manage it better."

Although Marquez shouldered his fair share of blame, he was disenchanted with the performance of his Repsol Honda bike.

He said: "If it is a step back, what can be used to take the races more calmly? If we look at the Honda crashes, it's not just me. All our bikes have crashed.

"We're working on it. It is true that I crashed twice in Jerez, though.

"Here, due to the conditions we had, we had a good weekend, but today was not a good Sunday. Today I was not good, I didn't risk when I had to risk and I risked too much when I didn't have to."

Marquez was not the only former champion to make a costly mistake, with 2020 title-winner Joan Mir unable to finish after his own crash.

The Suzuki Ecstar rider went down approaching the pit lane and then dashed towards his second bike on foot when the damaged first would not restart.

The failure to enter the pit lane with his machine meant Mir was not allowed to continue.

"I don't know what happened honestly," he said. "For my part, I have to say sorry to the team because I made a mistake.

"I saw that the bike was not running and I started to run to the box. I knew I had to come with the bike, but the bike was a bit damaged and I started to run.

"I don't know why, the adrenaline or something. But from this experience I will learn for the future, I will not repeat it, that's for sure."

Victory instead went to Jack Miller for the second race running, his tally of MotoGP wins swelling from one through 102 grands prix to three through 104.

Miller ran off into the gravel at one stage and later had to serve a double long-lap penalty, but he has back-to-back wins for just the second time in all categories, having also achieved the feat in Moto3 in 2014.

"That was hectic, very hectic," he said, adding: "It's absolutely amazing. I can't believe it.

"Back-to-back wins like this are just fantastic and I can't thank the team enough. They're awesome."

Amanda Anisimova raced into the second round at the Emilia-Romagna Open, where she could now face wildcard Venus Williams.

Venus and Serena Williams have each entered the event in Parma to prepare for the French Open, although Bianca Andreescu has been forced to withdraw.

Both Williams sisters have qualifiers in their openers at the start of next week, but Venus – absent in Rome with a knee injury – already knows tricky teenager Anisimova lies in wait beyond that.

Anisimova was a force in the 2019 clay-court season, then just 17 but winning the Copa Colsanitas – still her sole WTA Tour title – before beating Simona Halep at Roland Garros to reach the French Open semi-finals.

A return to the red dirt in 2020 yielded only three wins, though, two of them at the major before Halep gained revenge, and this season has been similarly testing.

But fifth seed Anisimova eased through her opener on Sunday, beating home hopeful Jasmine Paolini 6-2 6-1 in just shy of an hour.

Daria Kasatkina, the number four seed, could also face a grand slam winner in round two, with Sloane Stephens – the 2017 US Open champion – potentially her prize after seeing off Hsieh Su-wei in straight sets.

Qiang Wang had to come through three sets but ensured there were no upsets on day one as she defeated Misaki Doi 6-2 5-7 6-1.

Iga Swiatek sealed a place in the world's top 10 in style on Sunday, thrashing Karolina Pliskova without dropping a game in a stunning Internazionali BNL d'Italia final.

The reigning French Open champion was in ruthless form in the showpiece match, dismantling the ninth seed 6-0 6-0 in just 46 minutes on the Rome clay.

Pliskova simply had no answer as she suffered the first double-bagel loss in a WTA final since 2016, back when Anastasija Sevastova was on the receiving end against Simona Halep in Bucharest.

Swiatek showed no mercy to her opponent, losing just 13 points during a lopsided contest. She did face two break points in the third game of the second set, but quickly recovered to hold serve.

The victory secures a third career title for the teenager from Poland, who also triumphed in Adelaide earlier this year.

"I'm really really happy. I'm kind of overwhelmed because at the beginning of this tournament I wouldn't even dream of winning," Swiatek said in her on-court interview.

"It was super tough. We had to fight a lot of stuff.

"Obviously Karolina had a great run here and in previous years she's showing she's a really consistent player."

The new champion had needed to play twice on Saturday due to rain delays during the tournament, overcoming both Elina Svitolina and Coco Gauff in straight sets to progress to the final.

Those results came after a last-16 scare against Barbora Krejcikova, Swiatek twice having to save match points before eventually prevailing in a deciding set.

"I'm really happy we've been able to play with fans because you gave me a lot," Swiatek, who is certain to be inside the top 10 when the updated rankings are released on Monday, said.

"Everything happened during this week. I've been playing two matches in a day, saving set points, saving match points, and you [the crowd] helped me a lot because it's tough.

"I want to thank people that are not here, my family and my cat, I am always thinking about her."

Jack Miller claimed a second consecutive MotoGP victory on Sunday after coming through a chaotic French Grand Prix in which Marc Marquez suffered a dramatic fall from first place and then crashed out.

Miller had just one win from 102 races in the top category heading into the Jerez event earlier this month but now has two from his past two.

The Australian's latest success was far from straightforward but then little was in a wet race at Le Mans.

Miller enjoyed a great start to get ahead of pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo, only for an error to let Maverick Vinales duck through into the lead.

However, after a dry start under looming black clouds, the rain Marquez had hoped for after qualifying duly arrived and Vinales swiftly fell back.

Six-time champion Marquez, without a podium since his return from injury this season, had trailed the front three until the white flag came out but was back tussling with Quartararo by the time the leaders arrived at the pit lane to swap bikes.

A costly error saw Quartararo approach the wrong mechanics, forced to sprint to his other bike as Marquez claimed the lead.

Meanwhile, Miller, who ran off into the gravel prior to the change, was then caught speeding in the pit lane and charged with a double long-lap penalty.

Marquez opted for the medium tyres and tore away from Quartararo into the lead, but the slipperiest section of the track proved his downfall as a brutal crash saw the Spaniard flip off his bike.

Quartararo, aiming to become the first French victor in the top category at this grand prix since 1954, could not hold off Miller despite the penalty, however, and was himself penalised for the earlier pit mix-up.

Miller built a healthy advantage, while Marquez's race was over when he crashed a second time attempting to recover from the back of the field, skidding off the track in 11th but walking away from the incident.

The drama was not quite done, though, as the track dried rapidly and Johann Zarco, who had passed compatriot Quartararo, closed on Miller in his own bid to end the wait for a home winner.

Miller did just enough to hold on, with French fans having to settle for a pair of riders on the podium, Zarco second and Quartararo third.

That was at least enough to take Quartararo – previously without a home podium in all categories – to the top of the 2021 standings as prior leader Francesco Bagnaia trailed him in fourth.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.