Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics because of a setback to his knee suffered during the grass-court season.

Rory McIlroy believes missing the cut at the Scottish Open could prove beneficial as he bids for glory at The Open.

The four-time major winner, who claimed the Claret Jug in 2014, endured a testing couple of days at the Renaissance Club, where an intruder attempted to steal his club.

McIlroy failed to make the weekend but that gave the 32-year-old extra preparation time ahead of the 149th Open at Royal St George's.

He will try to atone for a poor showing at the 2019 edition of golf's oldest major, where he missed the cut as the home hope at Royal Portrush.

The omens bode well for McIlroy, who has bounced back to win the next tournament in three of the previous nine instances where he has seen his campaign ended after two rounds.

 

Asked if that fact was mere coincidence, McIlroy said: "No, I certainly don't think it's a chance statistic.

"Look, I think in golf you always learn more about your game when you've missed a cut or struggled or not played as well. I think anyone can play well, anyone can hit the ball great and give themselves chances to win, but you just learn more.

"I've always learnt more from disappointments and from not doing as well, but I've always tried to learn. I've always tried to figure out, okay, why did this week not go so well, and then you give yourself a couple of thoughts and they're fresh in your mind going into the next week.

"That's why I say in golf there's always next week, and that's a great thing, because you can right some wrongs pretty quickly. I've been able to do that in the past.

"I missed the cut at Memorial a couple years ago, went down and won the Canadian Open the next week. Yeah, missed the cut at the Masters and then went and my next start was Quail Hollow and I won.

"Golf always just gives you another opportunity to go out and play well and to see if you've learned from your mistakes, and I've always made it a priority in my career to really try to learn from my mistakes, all the way back to what happened at Augusta in 2011 and going and winning the U.S. Open the next major."

Indeed, after his disappointment in Northern Ireland in 2019, McIlroy closed that year by winning the FedExCup, which he said "gave me a few million reasons to feel better".

He will tee off at the Kent links in pursuit of a second Open title on Thursday at 15:21 local time alongside Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith.

The British and Irish Lions expect to see their seven-match unbeaten run put to the test as they take on a star-studded South Africa A side on Wednesday.

Warren Gatland's Lions have been in superb form so far in South Africa, despite coronavirus complications leading to an ever-changing fixture list.

The touring side defeated the Johannesburg-based Lions and then followed up with a pair of wins over the Sharks, scoring at least 50 points in each outing.

Never previously have the Lions tallied a half-century of points in three consecutive outings, while only on three previous tours (1959, 1974 and 1997) have they done so in more than three matches at any stage.

Indeed, the Lions are unbeaten in seven – their longest such run since 10 straight victories across the 1989 and 1993 tours – and have averaged 7.8 tries per game in 2021.

But South Africa A represent a far more significant hurdle, having included 18 Rugby World Cup winners in a squad led by Lukhanyo Am as the Springboks ramp up their own Test series preparations following a number of positive COVID-19 tests.

"I probably wasn't expecting them to be as strong as they are – they are obviously short of games – but I'm absolutely delighted with the team they have put out," Lions coach Gatland said.

"That helps our preparation immensely so we'll kind of get a feel of where we are and what things we need to work on in the 10 days leading into the first Test match."

With a talented Stormers team up next, Gatland feels the hard work starts now ahead of the first Test on July 24 – at the same Cape Town Stadium as Wednesday's game.

"We've probably not been tested," he said. "Even though the Sharks put it up to us, we've not been tested over 80 minutes like we need to be.

"Hopefully we'll get that over the next week, possibly with the Stormers and hopefully with South Africa A."

This is also a big game for South Africa, though, as Am added: "We couldn't do much in the six days in which we were in quarantine; we stretched and did basic workouts in our rooms.

"We also had several team meetings and did analysis via online meetings. On the other hand, however, we are going into the game fresh, and the players who had niggles had sufficient time to recover from them, so we will see where we are physically.

"We will certainly give our best on the field and push as hard as we can."

CONOR CAPTAIN IN CAPE TOWN

Back in training with Wales following injury, Alun Wyn Jones could yet return to the fold for the Lions as he seeks to add to his record of 157 Test caps. But Conor Murray, the man who replaced Jones as tour captain, is in line to lead the team for the first time in this match. "It is going to be pretty much a Test match," Murray said. "It is almost a fourth Test."

CAN LIONS COPE WITH KOLBE?

Speaking to Stats Perform, Springboks great Bryan Habana picked out Cheslin Kolbe as his key man in the upcoming series. "He's someone that excites me every time he gets his hands on the ball," Habana said, and the Lions will get a first look at the wing on Wednesday, although getting close enough to touch him might be rather more tricky. Kolbe evaded 21 of 36 tackle attempts at the 2019 World Cup, the best evasion rate (58 per cent) of any player to face 30 or more.

British and Irish Lions: Anthony Watson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Bundee Aki, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray (captain); Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Iain Henderson, Josh Navidi, Tom Curry, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Adam Beard, Tadhg Beirne, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Elliot Daly.

South Africa A: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am (captain), Damian de Allende, Sbu Nkosi, Morne Steyn, Faf de Klerk; Steven Kitshoff, Joseph Dweba, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese.

Replacements (from): Malcolm Marx, Coenie Oosthuizen, Vincent Koch, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Rynhardt Elstadt, Herschel Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Damian Willemse, Kwagga Smith, Elton Jantjies.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The British and Irish Lions played an Emerging Springboks side on their previous tour of South Africa in 2009, with the game ending in a 13-13 draw. They also beat an Emerging Springboks side 51-22 on their 1997 tour.
– The Lions are set to play at Cape Town Stadium for the first time; overall the Lions have lost just one of their past 10 games in Cape Town (W8 D1), with that solitary defeat coming in the first Test against South Africa in 1980.
– The Lions have scored 31 tries in total across their four games in 2021, 13 more than they managed in the entire 2017 tour; they scored 44 overall on their tour of Australia in 2013.
– Anthony Watson has gained 160 metres from nine carries for the Lions so far in 2021. His average of 17.8m gained per carry is the best rate of any player during an edition of the Lions tour since the beginning of 2009; Stephen Ferris previously had the best rate, averaging 14.8m per carry in 2009 (133m from nine carries).
– Morne Steyn's Springboks debut came against the Lions back in 2009. Steyn played in all three Tests, scoring 19 points and not missing a single place kick (seven of seven) during the series.

The rise of Ash Barty to become a double grand slam champion has been "phenomenal", with her mental strength key to that major glory.

That is the opinion of former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, who watched with delight as Barty triumphed in the 2021 tournament at the All England Club with a three-set win over Karolina Pliskova in the final.

Barty sealed victory at Wimbledon just a month after withdrawing from the French Open with injury, becoming the first Australian woman to win the title since her idol Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

Cash and Lleyton Hewitt are the only Australians to have won the crown in the intervening period.

The 1987 winner Cash feels Barty – who won her first major at Roland Garros in 2019 – has the perfect blend of talent and fight which led to the country's latest success.

"I've got to know Ash and her team pretty well over the years," Cash told Stats Perform.

"I was coaching [CoCo Vandeweghe] who partnered with Ash to win her first grand slam title [in the doubles] at the US Open in 2016, so we did spend a lot of time together. 

"I saw her improving all the time, but for her to take this extra step in the last couple of years, it's been quite phenomenal. 

"The improvement in her game, her confidence and obviously [her play] under pressure, which is where it all matters, it's been exceptional. 

"Nothing's always perfect, of course, but she worked her way through the tournament after starting off in pretty average form – I think she would admit that herself.

"And she ended up playing fantastically well in the last two matches when it really counts."

Barty is calm, serious and focused – traits Cash thinks show up when she reaches pressure points in her matches.

"There's always moments if you're going to be a tennis player you’ve got to be prepared for really sticky, tricky moments if you're going to be one of the best players in the world," added Cash.

"They come up every set, every match you play out there. They're sticky moments and even on the practice courts when you're doing practice matches.

"But she is a great competitor. She's been a good Junior, been a Junior Wimbledon champion.

"She gives a lot of credit to her team, and I would too, but she's got she got to do the hard work out there and deal with the pressure and, and she did exceptionally well considering it all.

"In many ways, she just she is a quiet person and very happy to rest up and do her own thing, but she is incredibly well spoken now - very endearing where everybody loves her and loves her personality."

Cash felt world number one Barty achieved Wimbledon success at a time when it is more difficult than ever to come through a tough spell, battling injuries and struggling for match practice amid coronavirus restrictions.

"Injuries are always a concern for any player on tour," he said. "The tour is pretty relentless, especially these days where there's no real opportunity to have time off.

"You're sort of in bubbles, you can't go out and have a rest and get to a restaurant or have a few days away from the tour. 

"You're constantly going from one bubble to the next bubble and seeing the same people and they're your opponents! So it's not easy – there [are challenges for players with] mental wellbeing and physical issues and of course it is a highly competitive sport.

"So she's negotiated that quite well since these niggling injuries that happened.

"I think the French Open obviously was a bigger concern with the leg. She didn't play any pre-Wimbledon events and therefore, the first couple of rounds are always dangerous. 

"But she negotiated those quite well and bit by bit by bit built on her form. And by the end, she was moving incredibly well, getting around the court. 

"That was the real difference between the two players in the finals, that Ash was just a better mover on the grass courts."

Jon Rahm is eyeing a historic double at The Open Championship this week as he seeks to add to his U.S. Open triumph.

The Spaniard is among the leading contenders at Royal St George's after claiming his maiden major at Torrey Pines last month.

Just six players have doubled up by winning both The Open and the U.S. Open in the same year, with Bobby Jones having done so twice before Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods repeated the feat.

Woods managed it in 2000 and Rahm has the chance to join that elite club 21 years on.

"It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year. It would be amazing," said Rahm.

"I did have a sense of relief after winning the first major. I felt like for the better part of five years, all I heard is major, major, major just because I was playing good golf, as if it was easy to win a major championship.

"But the fact that you are expected to win one means nothing, but you're playing good golf, so a bit of relief in that sense, but it doesn't really change.

"There's still the next one to win, so I still come with the same level of excitement obviously and willingness to win.

"I'm focused on the fact it would be pretty incredible to be able to win The Open. Nobody after Seve has been able to do that [from Spain]."

 

Rahm, who will tee off alongside reigning champion Shane Lowry and 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen on Thursday, also underlined why he was sticking to his plans to play at the Olympics despite many players having opted out of competing in Japan.

"I can't speak for other people, so I don't know why they're opting out of it, you'd have to ask them," he said.

"I'm not going to speak for them. In my case, I've been really fortunate enough to represent Spain at every level as an amateur since I was 13 years old.

"I've been able to win many team events representing Spain worldwide. Once you turn professional you don't really get that chance. You get a little bit of the Ryder Cup, but it's not the same thing as the Olympics or a World Cup maybe.

"To be able to have that chance as a pro, something that up until four or five years ago was not even a possibility, to me it was something I would never doubt.

"You get the chance to call yourself an Olympian, which is only a very select group of people in history that can call themselves that, and if you were to get a medal, especially a gold medal, you're even more of a select group, right?"

France claimed their first away win over Australia for 31 years as they secured a nail-biting 28-26 victory in the second Test at AAMI Park.

Les Bleus let victory slip through their grasp in a dramatic finish in the first game between the nations in Brisbane last week.

Despite controlling much of Wednesday's contest in Melbourne, France risked suffering a similar fate and losing the series when Michael Hooper crossed in the 71st minute and Noah Lolesio then gave Australia their first lead of the match with a 40-metre penalty in the 75th minute.

But there was a final twist in the tale as France gained a penalty in the scrum and Melvyn Jaminet split the uprights to take his tally to 23 points and give his side a first triumph against the Wallabies in Australia since June 30, 1990.

The boot of Jaminet and Damian Penaud's first-half try had France ahead 16-13 at the interval, with Jake Gordon keeping the Wallabies in touching distance by going over from close range in the 38th minute.

Lolesio levelled matters at 16-16 six minutes after the restart but Jaminet's accuracy from the tee gave France a seemingly commanding nine-point lead, the tourists dictating matters despite a bruising performance from Marika Koroibete.

Koroibete gained 181 metres for the Wallabies, but it was their captain who looked to have turned the tide, Hooper scoring for the third successive game for the first time in his Australia career. Lolesio converted from out wide and then knocked over a long-range penalty.

Yet France were not to be denied this time around, an immense effort in the scrum allowing Jaminet to set up a decider back at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

U.S. Open winner Jon Rahm will tee off alongside 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry at the 2021 Open Championship on Thursday.

Spaniard Rahm won his maiden major at Torrey Pines, edging out Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke, and is among the favourites to prevail at Royal St George's this week. 

Lowry was a popular winner when golf's oldest major was held at Royal Portrush two years ago, with the 2020 event having been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irishman, whose trio goes out at 09:58 local time and also includes 2010 victor Oosthuizen, will seek to become the first man to defend the Claret Jug at the Kent links since Harry Vardon in 1899.

Any superstitious players might have hoped to be drawn in Branden Grace's group, as he has played with the eventual winner in his first two rounds at each of the previous two Opens.

The South African featured with Francesco Molinari at Carnoustie in 2018 and Lowry in Northern Ireland the following year. 

 

Jordan Spieth, a winner in 2017, and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau are the lucky pair, with that group teeing off at 09:25.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will head out in the afternoon with Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith, while world number one Dustin Johnson starts his bid for a first Open title at 10:20 with Will Zalatoris and Justin Rose for company.

Brooks Koepka is an 08:45 starter and the star attraction of a threesome that includes Jason Kokrak and Garrick Higgo.

Darren Clarke, who prevailed when last Royal St George's last hosted in 2011, is an 08:25 starter alongside Bernd Wiesberger and amateur Joe Long.

The action will begin at 06:35, with English trio Richard Bland, Andy Sullivan and Marcus Armitage having the honour.

Pete Alonso proved his own claim that he is the "best power hitter in the game" after being crowned back-to-back Home Run Derby champion at Denver's Coors Field on Monday.

Alonso, who was the winner in 2019 before last year's event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, defeated Baltimore Orioles' Trey Mancini 23-22 in the final.

The head-bopping New York Mets slugger, who batted second, finished the job with six home runs in a row in bonus time, winning with 35 seconds left.

Alonso was the dominant hitter throughout the derby as Los Angeles Angels' two-way top seed Shohei Ohtani, failed to fire, losing to Juan Soto 31-28 in the first round after being tied twice.

The 26-year-old Mets right-hander defeated Kansas City's Salvador Perez 35-28 in the first round, before knocking off Soto 16-15 with 50 seconds to go in the semi-finals.

"I've done this before and I'm extremely confident in my ability to hit the ball out of the yard," Alonso said. "I feel like I'm the best power hitter in the game. It was on display tonight."

Alonso continued his domination in the final against Mancini, who had a great run to the final having overcome stage three colon cancer only 12 months ago.

"Trey's story is unbelievable," Alonso said. "Everybody in the derby put on a show. I'm just happy he was able to participate and put on a show."

Florida-born Alonso would not commit to chasing a third Home Run Derby title despite admitting winning it "never gets old".

"I don’t know, we'll see," he said. "I'm going to enjoy this one for now. I'll have to think about it, but this event is so fun."

Alun Wyn Jones could yet feature for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa, having made a "remarkable" recovery from a dislocated shoulder.

The 35-year-old, who was set to captain Warren Gatland's touring party in South Africa, suffered the injury against Japan at the end of June but could still fly out on Tuesday, subject to medical confirmation.

The Lions face South Africa A, a side packed with 11 World Cup winners, on Wednesday and Gatland revealed in Monday's news conference that Jones could well return.

"A few weeks ago we didn't think there was an option," the Lions head coach said. "We're waiting for medical reports from him to see what happens with that.

"He's been back fully training with Wales – he's training this week with them. I think he's doing a double session with them tomorrow and we'll see what the outcome of that is."

Conor Murray, who is yet to start a game on tour for the Lions, came in to act as Jones' replacement in the captaincy role.

However, Gatland appreciates the invaluable role the Welshman could play if fit.

"He has made a remarkable recovery in terms of that injury, which wasn't as bad as they first thought," he added.

"It would be a boost to the squad having someone of his experience and calibre to come back into the squad."

Experience is exactly what Jones brings, as he represents the only member of the current touring squad to have faced the Springboks with the Lions previously, while also being the most-capped international of all time.

Having triumphed comfortably in the three pre-test matches against South African club sides the Lions and the Sharks, Gatland's team face South Africa A in what is being billed as an unofficial fourth test.

A subsequent fixture against DHL Stormers will follow before the three showpiece clashes with the Springboks get underway on the 24th July, by which time Gatland will be hoping Jones is fit.

Shohei Ohtani's remarkable 2021 season is set to continue after he was named as the starting pitcher for the American League in the MLB All-Star Game, having already been confirmed as the starting designated hitter.

Japanese sensation Ohtani has gone from strength to strength in his first year, pitching and batting in the same game for the Los Angeles Angels.

The two-way superstar has 33 home runs, 12 stolen bases and 87 pitching strikeouts already this term. Only Babe Ruth had previously passed 25 homers, 10 stolen bases and 75 strikeouts in an entire AL career.

Ohtani is five clear atop the homer standings in the major leagues, making him an obvious choice as the AL's starting DH.

But the 27-year-old made history as the only player to make the All-Star Game as both a hitter and a pitcher, and it was confirmed on Monday he will start from the mound in Tuesday's showpiece.

"This is what the fans want to see," said Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, in charge of the AL team. "It's personally what I want to see."

Ohtani could first bolster his reputation further, however, as he prepares to take part in Monday's Home Run Derby, where the Angels ace is the favourite.

Rebecca Sramkova handed number-one seed Petra Kvitova a shock defeat on home soil at the Prague Open to record her first WTA Tour-level win in a main draw since 2017.

The unseeded Slovakian took the first set 7-6 (7-5) before Kvitova bounced back to take the next 6-3. Sramkova, however, battled through injury to win the final set 6-4 and upset the two-time Wimbledon winner.

Seventh seed Nina Stojanovic avoided an early exit as she recovered from a first-set loss to beat Vitalia Diatchenko 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-3, while ninth seed Greet Minnen defeated Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-0 4-6 6-1.

Unlike Kvitova, the top seed at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Yulia Putintseva, cruised past Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-2 6-4 to record a straight-sets first-round win in Budapest.

But Irina-Camelia Begu, the fourth favourite, was not as fortunate as she failed to secure second-round progression, falling 3-6 4-6 to the unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

The Hungarian Grand Prix provided more shocks, with Irina Bara knocking out eighth seed Sara Errani courtesy of a 4-6 7-5 6-2 triumph, while seventh seed Viktoriya Tomova crashed out to Paula Ormaechea in straight sets.

On day one of the Ladies Open Lausanne, favourite and 2021 Roland Garros semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek shook off a first-set loss to dispatch of Marina Melnikova 2-6 6-3 6-2 and book her place in the next round.

Meanwhile, second seed Fiona Ferro was leading her French compatriot Harmony Tan 7-5 2-1 before play was suspended for the day in Switzerland.

Benoit Paire was gifted a place in the second round at the Hamburg European Open by Ricardas Berankis' foot injury, but fellow countryman Richard Gasquet could not get past Marco Cecchinato in his first-round clash in Sweden.

Lithuania's Berankis forced Paire to a first-set tiebreak but, due to rolling his ankle earlier in the game, then had no option but to retire hurt.

His retirement granted Paire just his third ATP win of 2021.

At the same event, there was also a first ever ATP win for Sebastian Baez, who coasted past Corentin Moutet 6-1 6-2 to claim a straight-sets victory.

In the Nordea Open, held in Bastad, Italian Cecchinato triumphed over former world number seven Gasquet 6-2 5-7 6-3 to reach the second round.

The 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, who fought off Gasquet's second-set comeback, will now face either Federico Coria or Francisco Cerundolo in the next round.

In the other first-round ties, Yannick Hanfmann recorded a straight-sets win over Thiago Monteiro, while Elias Ymer, playing in his home country, beat Taro Daniel 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-4.

Shane Lowry is eager to embrace every aspect of the challenge he faces in trying to defend his Open Championship title at Royal St George's.

The Irishman claimed his first major title at Royal Portrush in 2019 and has had to wait two years to put the Claret Jug back on the line after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 event.

No player has retained their title at the Kent links since Harry Vardon in 1899 and this week is the 15th time the course has hosted, but for Lowry it is the whole experience of returning to the tournament as defending champion that is motivating him.

"There's a lot of things that I've got to play for this week other than defending the trophy," he said.

"It's a bit of everything. It's being announced on the first tee as defending champion. I'll be happy obviously to get that tee shot away, and if you've seen the rough down the first hole, I'll be happy if it's on the fairway.

"I'm kind of going into this week with an open mind. I'm really looking forward to the week ahead, and I'm looking forward to playing in The Open Championship, because we did miss it last year.

"Coming to play in The Open Championship, whether you're defending or not, is exciting because it's such a big event.

"It's always great to play in The Open. I said one of the coolest things about being The Open champion is I get to play in it for years. I have a lot more left, which is obviously really cool. This is one of them."

Lowry was a hugely popular winner on the island of Ireland last time out and he holds special memories of that triumph, which he sealed by a six-shot margin over Tommy Fleetwood.

"I look back on Portrush with incredible memories and fond memories and something that I'll have no matter what I do for the rest of my career. I'll always have that," he said.

Prior to his Portrush triumph, Lowry had missed the cut in four successive outings at golf's oldest major for a combined score of 23 over par across those eight rounds. 

His success two years ago was founded on stunningly accurate approach play, which saw Lowry hit 79.2 per cent of greens in regulation, putting him out ahead of the field.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland is pleased to see so many players pushing for Test places after naming a much-changed team to face South Africa A.

The Lions have won all four warm-up matches so far ahead of the start of their three-match series with South Africa later this month, including back-to-back wins over the Sharks.

Gatland has made 12 alterations following the 71-31 victory over the Sharks on Saturday, with Anthony Watson, Chris Harris and Dan Biggar the only ones to be retained.

Watson moves from right wing to full-back and Harris will shift to outside centre to play alongside Bundee Aki, while Maro Itoje partners Iain Henderson in the second row after recovering from illness.

Wednesday's clash in Cape Town will be a proud occasion for tour captain Conor Murray, who will lead out the Lions for the first time.

Gatland has a number of big calls to make in terms of team selection for the opening game with world champions South Africa on July 24, with just two warm-up matches to go.

"We're pleased to have arrived in Cape Town as we near the halfway stage of the series," he said.

"Wednesday's game against South Africa A will be our toughest encounter since we arrived here and we're looking forward to it. 

"We expect them to be physical in the contact area and look to test us at scrum time.

"I think we've benefitted from playing at altitude in the first three games. While the boys have felt it in their lungs, they'll be all the better for it now we're at sea level.

"As we move towards the business end of the tour, it's pleasing to see so many players putting in some stand-out performances. 

"As coaches we want the players to make Test selection as hard as possible and that's what we're seeing."


Lions team to face South Africa A:

Anthony Watson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Bundee Aki, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Iain Henderson, Josh Navidi, Tom Curry, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Adam Beard, Tadhg Beirne, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Elliot Daly.

Conor McGregor says he is "feeling tremendous" after undergoing successful surgery on the broken leg sustained in his defeat to Dustin Poirier.

The 32-year-old left the octagon on a stretcher at the UFC 264 event after stumbling backwards and trapping his foot underneath himself towards the end of the first round.

McGregor's defeat and potential long-term injury lay-off raised further questions over his future in UFC, but the Irishman has vowed to come back even stronger.

"Just out of the surgery room, everything went to plan, everything went perfect and I'm feeling tremendous," he said in a video update posted on social media. 

"We've got six weeks on a crutch now and then we begin to build back.

"A clean break of the tibia and it was not to be. Dustin, you can celebrate that illegitimate win all you want but you've done nothing in there. 

"That second round would have shown all. Onwards and upwards we go. We dust ourselves off, we build ourselves back, and we come back better than ever."

McGregor beat Poirier – the eighth fighter in UFC history to earn 20 wins – with a first-round TKO in 2014, but the American responded with a second-round TKO in January.

Speaking after Saturday's trilogy fight in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White confirmed Poirier will fight for the lightweight title, currently held by Charles Oliveira.

However, Poirier has insisted his rivalry with McGregor is not over just yet.

"We are gonna fight again whether it's in the octagon or on the sidewalk," he told reporters.

"You don't say the stuff he said. He was saying that he was going to murder me, you don't say stuff like that.

"There is a chance somebody could die and you don't say that, you don't wish it on anybody."

The Phoenix Suns received a "tough lesson" in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, but head coach Monty Williams expects his players to bounce back from the defeat.

Having won the opening two games of the best-of-seven series in Phoenix, the Suns went down 120-100 to a determined Milwaukee team on Sunday. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 41 points - making him the first player to reach 40 in back-to-back outings in the NBA Finals since LeBron James in 2016 - but it was far from a one-man show for the Bucks, as four other players also reached double digits.

Williams had warned his team to expect a backlash from their opponents, whose aggressive approach - Milwaukee had 13 offensive rebounds and attempted 26 free throws - helped spark life into the battle to decide the identity of this season's NBA champions.

"There's a lot of ways you can spin it, but they played with a great deal of aggression for longer stretches than we did," Williams told the media.

"We knew it was coming. We did not respond to it well tonight, especially in the second and third quarters.

"The turnovers certainly hurt us, points in the paint, everything we have been talking about the whole series. So it was a tough lesson for us to learn.

"You know what was coming, but just didn't do enough consistently to withstand their attacking the paint, whether it was penetration, offensive rebounding.

"We gave them so many possessions, so we lost a shot and then they scored off of it. It was a double whammy."

He added: "I think we know that we have to play with an unreal amount of aggression and energy for 48 minutes. That's the deal. All of our guys know that we didn't.

"We have had this happen to us before in the playoffs, and so I expect our guys to bounce back."

Chris Paul had 19 points for Phoenix and Deandre Ayton contributed 18 before running into foul trouble, restricting the center to just 24 minutes of action. Without him, Phoenix struggled to get defensive stops.

"He's a big part of our team, especially he's the anchor of our defense," Paul, who also had nine assists but landed just one of his four three-point attempts, said about Ayton.

"I feel like any team would love for him not to be on court offensively and defensively. So, yeah, we got to protect him better and make sure that we're showing that wall."

It was not just Paul who struggled from long range for the Suns, with the visiting team making just nine of their 31 attempts from beyond the arc for a success rate of 29 per cent.

The Suns had not trailed by more than seven at the half in the playoffs prior to Game 3, when the deficit stood at 15 following a dominant second quarter by the Bucks.

Game 4 takes place in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

"I said after last game, this team is not going to give in," Suns guard Devin Booker told the media.

"They're going to keep playing all the way through, so we have to bring that same effort that we had in the first two games and I think we'll be in good shape."

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer praised Giannis Antetokounmpo for his aggressive mindset after he starred in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Antetokounmpo posted 41 points to see the Bucks past the Phoenix Suns 120-100 on Sunday, becoming the first player to score 40-plus points in back-to-back NBA Finals games since LeBron James in 2016.

The win was crucial for the Bucks, who now trail the Suns 2-1, and Budenholzer lauded Antetokounmpo's performance.

"He's just doing whatever it takes to help his team, to help us. He's in an aggressive mindset. He always plays that way," he told a news conference.

"But I thought he played with the pass well. He made some great reads, found guys, played against the zone.

"He just did a little bit of everything. Offensive boards, putbacks. We need a lot from him and that's what he does."

While Antetokounmpo starred, the Bucks also had Jrue Holiday (21), Khris Middleton (18), Brook Lopez (11) and Bobby Portis (11) in double digits for points.

Antetokounmpo also finished with 13 rebounds and six assists and Budenholzer said the star's ability to bring his team-mates into games was crucial.

"I think that's when we are at our best, when Giannis is at his best, it's a little bit of both," he said.

"He's a great playmaker, screener, passer and he does so many great things.

"I think when he's conscious of doing a little bit of everything, he's very capable and that's when he's at his best."

Game 4 of the series is in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 41-point outing saw the Milwaukee Bucks to an important 120-100 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

With the Bucks trailing 2-0, they needed a response at home at Fiserv Forum and Antetokounmpo helped them deliver.

Antetokounmpo finished with 41 points on 14-of-23 shooting, along with 13 rebounds and six assists.

He was the first player to score 40-plus points in back-to-back NBA Finals games since LeBron James in 2016.

The dominant win halved the Suns' series lead ahead of Game 4 in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Jrue Holiday (21), Khris Middleton (18), Brook Lopez (11) and Bobby Portis (11) also had double digits in points for the Bucks.

Milwaukee put together powerful runs to finish the second and third quarters which set up their win.

They went 16-3 to finish the first half and 16-0 to end the third quarter.

The 15-point deficit marked the first time in these playoffs the Suns had trailed by more than seven at half-time.

Phoenix were unable to get much going as Chris Paul finished with 19 points, while Devin Booker was three-of-14 from the field for his 10 points.

Cam Johnson had 14 points off the bench for the Suns, including a huge dunk in the third quarter.

Jose Altuve helped the Houston Astros complete an incredible comeback against the New York Yankees in MLB, while the San Francisco Giants won again.

The Astros trailed 7-2 against the Yankees heading into the bottom of the ninth inning before staging a stunning comeback on Sunday.

Chas McCormick and Abraham Toro brought the Astros within two before Altuve belted a three-run walk-off homer to seal an 8-7 win.

The Astros are 55-36 heading into the All-Star break, while the Yankees slipped to a 46-43 record.

The Giants will take the best record into the break after beating the Washington Nationals 3-1.

Curt Casali's three-run homer in the second inning proved to be enough for the Giants to improve to 57-32. Kevin Gausman struck out nine over six innings to improve to 9-3 this season.

 

Dodgers seal comeback win, brilliant Bassitt

The Los Angeles Dodgers also produced a fine comeback on Sunday. Trailing 4-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers scored three times in the eighth before Max Muncy belted a three-run walk-off homer.

Chris Bassitt gave up just four hits in seven innings to help the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 4-1. Bassitt is now 10-2 this season.

Jorge Polanco went three-for-six with five RBIs to see the Minnesota Twins past the Detroit Tigers 12-9.

Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez set an MLB record by striking out the first nine batters in a 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Misery for Mets

The Yankees were not the only New York team to give up a big lead on Sunday.

The Mets led the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 through one but ended up slumping to a 6-5 loss. It marked the first ever time the Mets and Yankees both blew a five-plus run lead and lost on the same day.

It was a good day for the Pirates, who also selected catcher Henry Davis from Louisville with the number one pick in the MLB Draft.

 

Altuve steps up

Altuve delivered at a perfect moment for the Astros, sinking the Yankees with a walk-off shot.

Sunday's results

Chicago White Sox 7-5 Baltimore Orioles
Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Boston Red Sox
Miami Marlins 7-4 Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Houston Astros 8-7 New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 12-9 Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics 4-1 Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants 3-1 Washington Nationals
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies 3-1 San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Angels 7-1 Seattle Mariners

 

All-Star Game

The season will take a break with the All-Star Game to be held on Tuesday. The regular season resumes with a clash between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

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