Portugal reclaimed top spot in Group A as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over Azerbaijan in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier.

In the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the all-time international top men's goalscorer against the Republic of Ireland, the goals were shared around by Fernando Santos' men.

Bruno Fernandes played a part in the first two, teeing up Bernardo Silva for the opener before crossing for Diogo Jota to set up Andre Silva for the second.

Without Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev, matters could have been far worse for Azerbaijan, but the goalkeeper was powerless to stopping Jota add a third in the second half.

The visitors dominated the opening stages, registering 66.7 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes but Fernandes lashed the only half-chance over.

Portugal's possessional patience eventually paid off, Bernardo Silva ghosting in to latch onto Fernandes' deep cross and volley home via the left-hand post with his left foot.

Fernandes was involved in the second goal, too, crossing from the right flank to find Jota, who redirected back across goal for Andre Silva to tap in inside the six-yard area.

Andre Silva should have doubled his account four minutes later after being rolled through by Fernandes, only to drag a glorious chance wide with the goal at his mercy.

A minute after the break, Jota failed to make it three as he sliced wide of an almost open net after profiting from Fernandes' drilled teaser from the right flank.

Fernandes looked for a goal of his own from range, but Mahammadaliyev parried the dipping effort away before keeping out Bernando Silva's fizzing left-footed strike.

After being denied from close range by Mahammadaliyev and blasting over, Jota finally found the back of the net, nodding home after Joao Cancelo's delivery from the right.

What does it mean? Portugal wrestle back top spot

It was always going to be an uphill task for Azerbaijan after Bernardo Silva's opener, given Fernando Santos' men are unbeaten since 2009 when scoring the opening goal in World Cup qualifiers.

Indeed, Portugal boast the best defensive record in Group A, but they are by no means cruising in qualification, topping the table on 13 points with second-place Serbia three points behind by the virtue of playing later on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan, who ended a two-game losing streak with a draw against the Republic of Ireland last time out, sit bottom on goal difference after collecting just the sole point.

Cruise control for Cancelo

Fernandes may take credit for his playmaking clinic, which saw him produce three key passes including his assist.

However, Cancelo sneaked under the radar as he produced a dominant display. The right-back assisted Jota's header with a deep cross from the right flank and was seemingly everywhere in Baku.

The Manchester City defender recorded 121 touches and 77 successful passes – both game-leading figures – while also completing a team-high four tackles in a complete showing.

Awful Alasgarov

Namiq Alasgarov cut an isolated figure up top, with matters made worse by his first-half caution for a reckless challenge on Joao Moutinho.

The forward's 38 touches were the lowest of any outfield player to play 90 minutes and he only won a third of the nine duels he competed for as he struggled against Ruben Dias and Pepe.

What's next?

Portugal host Luxembourg in their next qualifier on October 12 after a friendly against Qatar, while Azerbaijan invite the Republic of Ireland to Baku on October 9.

Gareth Southgate insists England will be prepared for another hostile atmosphere when they travel to Warsaw to face Poland.

England have enjoyed a productive international break thus far, coasting past Hungary and Andorra by an aggregate score of 8-0 to make it five wins in five games.

Last Thursday in Budapest, England players were subjected to racist abuse by the crowd, Raheem Sterling being the main target as he celebrated his opener.

Southgate expects a tough test on Wednesday, with five of the last seven games on Polish soil finishing as a draw between these two sides.

"We have to approach the game as we did the other night," said the England boss.

"We know keeping possession of the ball can be a big factor in managing those situations.

"But the flow of the game will be different and we are playing a level of opponent who I think is in a better moment.

"They have won their last two games and have good footballers in the team who will keep the ball a little bit better than Hungary were able to against us.

"Then there is a balance of not inflaming situations and giving a home crowd something to live off and get behind the team more.

"That's the balance and experience. I'm sure our players will manage that no problem."

 

Poland have failed to beat the Three Lions in their last 17 attempts and Southgate appreciates the visitors can take control of their World Cup qualification destiny.

"It's a big opportunity for us, we can take a really positive step to the World Cup if we win in Warsaw," he continued.

"There's a high level of motivation, but we're also guarding against any feeling that we're better than we are.

"The team is playing well and we have a squad, any of whom are more than comfortable coming into the side and playing well when they come into the team.

"But those moments can be dangerous if we get any sense of complacency, then we're going into a game where we can be really challenged."

Rhyan Grant scored his first international goal as Australia sealed a 10th consecutive World Cup qualifying win with a 1-0 victory over Vietnam.

The defender nodded home in the 43rd minute after Ajdin Hrustic's searching cross picked him out at the back post.

It maintained the Socceroos' perfect qualifying record on the road to Qatar 2022.

Grant was an unlikely match-winner, opening his account on the occasion of his 14th cap with what proved to be the visitors' only shot on target at an empty My Dinh Stadium.

Despite appearing a little shot-shy on this outing, Graham Arnold's men have scored 32 goals in their winning streak, while Tuesday's clean sheet means they have conceded only twice.

Arnold's men resume their qualifying campaign with games against Oman and Japan next month.

With every NFL season, new stars emerge, thrusting themselves to the forefront of the consciousness with breakout campaigns that put them firmly in the conversation as one of the best players at their position.

Often such years come as a significant surprise, as was the case in 2020 when Justin Jefferson broke the record for receiving yards by a rookie, topping 1,400 having only posted 70 through his opening two games.

But frequently it is possible to project breakout seasons before they happen by looking at the numbers from previous years and the situation a player finds himself in heading into the campaign.

Using its advanced metrics, Stats Perform looks at five players poised to emerge with stellar performances in the 2021 season.

Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

The fate of the Bengals' season, and perhaps that of head coach Zac Taylor, rests predominantly on how Burrow fares on his return to regular-season action after a serious knee ligament injury curtailed his rookie year.

Burrow, the first overall pick in 2020, being back at his best is far from a guarantee. However, the former LSU star has seemingly grown in confidence in the preseason after some initial struggles in training camp and demonstrated enough in his 10 games last campaign to suggest he can justify his draft status and lift the Bengals from the AFC North cellar.

The primary issue facing Burrow is the lack of talent on the offensive line protecting him, which is a lowly 28th in the NFL per Stats Perform's rankings, with Cincinnati bemusing many by selecting wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase instead of tackle Penei Sewell with the fifth pick in this year's draft.

Yet Burrow does an excellent job of moving in the pocket and finding lanes out of it to escape pressure. He reads the field well and delivers his throws with consistently accurate placement. Burrow ranked sixth in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts with a well-thrown percentage of 80.6.

That number dipped to 69.8 when under pressure, but still gave him the best mark of any quarterback in the AFC North, reflecting his poise when the pocket breaks down.

With Chase joining Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in an impressive wide receiver room, Burrow has the weapons to make a huge leap in year two providing he stays healthy and the offensive line can produce even a slight improvement.

Damien Harris – New England Patriots

While the New England offense disappointed for the most part last year, their running game was efficient, and Harris played a significant role.

He averaged five yards a carry in recording 691 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. Those latter two numbers may be slightly underwhelming, yet Harris was one of the premier backs in the league when it came to getting to the second level of the defense in a hurry.

A patient back who reads his blocks intelligently, Harris' decisiveness and burst when he identified the running lane to hit allowed him to average 3.11 yards before contact by a defender per attempt, putting him 10th in the NFL.

His rate of 2.05 yards after contact was less impressive but still above the average of 1.91, while Harris was 11th in the NFL with 3.15 yards per carry on rush attempts where there was a run disruption by a defender.

The Patriots possess the third-best run-blocking line in the NFL, according to Stats Perform's rankings, and – though Cam Newton's exit may make their ground game less diverse – Harris could reap the benefits of facing lighter boxes if Mac Jones' impressive preseason translates into the regular season and gives New England's passing attack a much-needed jump.

Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers' second first-round pick of 2020 was in a difficult situation as he dealt with sub-par quarterback play between the struggles of the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo and backup Nick Mullens before they finished the season with C.J. Beathard.

However, the former Arizona State receiver still excelled in defeating coverage with his route-running ability and showed his potential with the ball in his hands after the catch.

Aiyuk caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie. He added a further two scores on the ground.

His big-play percentage of 33.1 was third among rookies with at least 50 targets behind Gabriel Davis and Tee Higgins. Davis has Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders as competition for targets with the Buffalo Bills while Higgins will have to share the receiving workload with Chase and Boyd.

George Kittle and Deebo Samuel will command a significant number of targets for San Francisco but Aiyuk holds an undisputed position at the top of the wide receiver depth chart, meaning he will likely see enough passes thrown his way in 2021 for him to outperform both Davis and Higgins.

With Garoppolo healthy and Trey Lance lurking as a high-upside successor, Aiyuk is in a much better spot in 2021 to surpass 1,000 yards and establish himself as one of the league's brightest young stars at the receiver position.

Marcus Davenport – New Orleans Saints

Davenport has yet to justify the trade up the Saints struck to draft him in 2018 despite flashes of the brilliance that convinced New Orleans to make such a dramatic move up the board.

His influence was limited by a series of injury issues in 2020 but Davenport still registered a pressure rate of 21.3 per cent that was 11th among edge rushers. His run disruption rate of 15.7 per cent was 12th.

The Saints did spend a first-round pick on an edge rusher in Payton Turner, whose stock rose dramatically late in the process. However, with Trey Hendrickson, who had 13.5 sacks last year, having departed for a lucrative payday with the Bengals, Davenport is in line for a clear uptick on the 374 defensive snaps he played in 2020.

At his best, Davenport is an explosive pass rusher blessed with tremendous power who can drive blockers back with the bull rush but also bend around the edge and flatten to the quarterback with excellent closing speed.

The Saints have not seen his best often enough, yet if he can stay healthy, Davenport can play a crucial role for the New Orleans defense as part of a front that has enough talent to ensure he will regularly have the benefit of one-on-one matchups to help him significantly pad his career total of 12 sacks.

Darious Williams – Los Angeles Rams

There is a strong argument that Williams has already enjoyed his breakout campaign, having racked up 14 passes deflected and four interceptions for the Rams last year.

Despite his superb 2020, Williams is not a player talked about as one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL. Should he back up last season's efforts with a similarly productive 2021 for a Rams team many expect to contend for the Super Bowl following Matthew Stafford's arrival, that may change.

Williams excels at reading the eyes of the quarterback to break on the football and make plays at the catch point, with his ball skills reflected by his gaudy press breakup and interception numbers.

Only K'Waun Williams of the San Francisco 49ers allowed a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on plays where he is targeted regardless of whether the ball is catchable, at a lower rate than Williams, who did so on 30.3 per cent of balls thrown in his direction.

Williams' big-play percentage allowed of 16 was the 12th-best among all cornerbacks and, though his on-ball production may be a product of playing across from Jalen Ramsey, the fact he so frequently stood up to the test when challenged by opposing passing games indicates he is a player who can continue his ascent in his fourth year.

Novak Djokovic said "I'll take your legs out, that's for sure" after digging deep to outlast American qualifier Jenson Brooksby in a physically demanding encounter at the US Open.

Djokovic – bidding to become only the third man to claim a calendar Grand Slam and first since Rod Laver in 1969 – rallied from a set down to prevail 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 en route to the quarter-finals in New York on Monday.

It was a brutal clash on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 20-time major champion and top seed Djokovic needed almost three hours to see off world number 99 Brooksby, who was making his debut at the iconic venue.

After being blitzed in a 29-minute opening set, Djokovic and Brooksby contested a gruelling 20-minute fifth game in the second set – the latter converting a sixth break-point chance.

Djokovic's physical superiority, however, was on display as the Serb star eventually powered past the spirited 20-year-old at Flushing Meadows.

During the last-16 matchup, former world number one Andy Roddick tweeted, in reference to Djokovic, "first he takes your legs… then he takes your soul".

Djokovic – who will face sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a repeat of the Wimbledon final – said on court: "Thanks Andy, I take that as a compliment – only the first part.

"The second part, I don't take anybody's soul. Everyone has their soul, we're all beautiful souls so I appreciate everyone. But I'll take your legs out, that's for sure."

Djokovic hit 44 winners in the four-set triumph, to go with 41 unforced errors in a tricky clash under the Arthur Ashe lights.

With his hard-fought victory, Djokovic improved to 11-0 against Americans at the US Open. He is 29-3 at major events and 70-10 in ATP Tour-level matches.

The 34-year-old is on a 21-match winning streak against players from the United States since Sam Querrey snapped his 30-match slam streak at Wimbledon in 2016.

"Great quality match," Djokovic, who can break the record for most men's slam titles – currently level with injured pair Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, told reporters. "He started off better. I've never played him. I didn't see him play too many times. Maybe few matches in the last few months. Haven't followed his career prior to that, so I didn't know much about him. Had to do some homework and some analysis.

"It's different stepping out on the court first time against someone that really has nothing to lose. He's a young, talented player that is very crafty. He's got the really all-around game. He was pumped. He had the crowd behind him, of course. He played a perfect first set. Everything he intended to do he executed it perfectly.

"On my end, I was just trying to find a rhythm, trying to read his game, trying to understand where I can find holes in his game and start to attack and shift the momentum to my side.

"That happened already at the beginning of the second set. I broke him early. He broke back. But I re-broke his serve right away. We had some very, very long rallies, long games. It took a toll physically I think on both of us at that point. But I managed to find the right serves. I served efficiently when I needed to, opening up the court.

"The third and fourth set were really, really good from my side. I felt I was more dominant. I decreased the unforced errors that were really high in the first part of the match. I just was kind of swinging through the ball better. Was a good finish. It wasn't a good start. But all in all, expected the battle, and I got that one. I'm pleased to overcome it."

The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from six runs down to beat American League (AL) East rivals the Boston Red Sox 11-10.

In a wild showdown on Monday, Austin Meadows hit a game-tying inside-the-park homer in the ninth inning before Nelson Cruz's go-ahead single in the 10th completed the comeback.

Despite Chris Sale starting for the Red Sox, AL East leaders the Rays recorded their MLB-leading 43rd come-from-behind victory of the season, having trailed 7-1.

The highest scoring team in the majors in 2021, Tampa Bay had been 0-70 all-time when trailing by six runs or more against the Red Sox.

"That's the biggest win of the year, for sure," Meadows said afterwards. "All year we just find a way."

Tampa Bay's Wander Franco finished with four hits as the 20-year-old rookie extended his historic on-base streak to 36 games, tying Mickey Mantle's AL record set in 1951-52 for the most consecutive times by a player under 21. Frank Robinson set the MLB-league mark of 43 in 1956.

The Rays (87-51) are eight and a half games clear of the New York Yankees (78-59) atop the AL East, while the Red Sox (79-61) are nine games behind following consecutive defeats.

 

Scherzer stars, Guerrero and Semien make history as Jays stay hot

Max Scherzer struck out 13 batters to lead World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers past the St Louis Cardinals 5-1. In a dominant eight-inning start, Dodgers ace Scherzer allowed one unearned run with no walks. The Cy Young candidate is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 63 strikeouts in seven starts since his trade to the Dodgers.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season as the in-form Toronto Blue Jays routed the Yankees 8-0. The 22-year-old All-Star became the youngest Blue Jays hitter to reach 40 homers in a season and one of just 10 in franchise history, while he and his Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero are one of only two father-son duos to hit 40 home runs, along with Price Fielder and Cecil Fielder. Meanwhile, Marcus Semien delivered a grand slam in the ninth inning as he set the franchise record for most home runs (37) by a middle infielder in a single season.

The Texas Rangers blanked the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 behind A.J. Alexy. He pitched six innings and allowed one hit after going five innings, while allowing one hit in his first career start. According to Stats Perform, Alexy is the first rookie in the modern era to go five-plus innings and allow one or fewer hits in each of his first two career starts.

 

Astros get on top of Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi had a rough outing in the Seattle Mariners' 11-2 demolition at the hands of the Houston Astros. He allowed 3 three hits, six runs – four earned, four walks and a homer in just 1.2 innings of work.

The Blue Jays roughed up Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, who finished with three hits, three runs, two walks and a pair of homers in 7.0 innings pitched.

 

Segura hits memorable slam

Jean Segura launched the first grand slam of his career as the Philadelphia Phillies trounced the Milwaukee Brewers 12-0. Bryce Harper also homered as part of a six-homer display by the Phillies.

 

 

Monday's results 

Tampa Bay Rays 11-10 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals 4-3 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 New York Yankees
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies 12-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs 4-3 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 10-5 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 St Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins 5-2 Cleveland Indians
Houston Astros 11-2 Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers 4-0 Los Angeles Angels

 

Rays at Red Sox

The Rays (87-51) will look to claim back-to-back wins when they visit the Red Sox (79-61) on Tuesday. Rays ace Drew Rasmussen will take to the mound, while Eduardo Rodriguez starts for the Red Sox.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made history with the Toronto Blue Jays after homering in an 8-0 demolition of MLB rivals the New York Yankees.

Guerrero Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season as the in-form Blue Jays routed the Yankees on Monday to further boost their Wild Card chances.

The 22-year-old All-Star became the youngest Blue Jays hitter to reach 40 homers in a season and one of just 10 in franchise history, while he and his Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero are one of only two father-son duos to hit 40 home runs, along with Price Fielder and Cecil Fielder.

"I have front-row seats to watch this whole season," said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who was a team-mate of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. with double-A Harrisburg in 1996.

"What he's done, that's not easy to do. This guy he's going to be one of the best players in baseball. Actually, he already is and it's been fun to watch somebody that young be that good at the plate."

Guerrero Jr. is also on a career-high 14-game hit streak with the Blue Jays, who have won five straight games to be three games adrift in the American League (AL) Wild Card race.

The 2021 All-Star boasts a .414 batting average, 1.090 OPS, four homers and nine RBIs during that run.

Guerrero Jr. became the 10th player in MLB history with 40 homers in his age-22 season, and first since Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. in 2019.

"That's amazing," Blue Jays team-mate Marcus Semien said. "I knew when we took BP, it was a good day to hit to right field. He didn't hit on the field but I mentioned that to him. He's so good he did it in his first at-bat. It's something special."

It was also a special outing for Semien against the slumping Yankees in New York, where he launched his 36th and 37th home runs of the season.

Semien delivered a grand slam in the ninth inning as he set the franchise record for most home runs by a middle infielder in a single season.

"For me, when my mechanics and timing are sound, I think I see the ball better and I'm more confident," Semien said. "I'm seeing that with everybody in the cage when they work. This time of year, you really get a good feel for what you're doing. You see the results."

World number one Novak Djokovic's quest for a calendar Grand Slam and record-breaking 21st major title remains on track after outlasting Jenson Brooksby 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 in a gruelling US Open showdown.

Unheralded American qualifier and world number 99 Brooksby had the crowd roaring following an incredible opening set against Djokovic in Monday's last-16 clash at Flushing Meadows.

However, Djokovic – bidding to become only the third man to sweep all four slams in the same year and first since Rod Laver in 1969 – responded to the almighty challenge, showcasing his superior physicality as the three-time US Open champion rallied into the quarter-finals in New York.

Brooksby was making his first appearance on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the 20-year-old was looking to become the lowest-ranked player to beat a number one at the US Open since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973 and youngest American man since Andy Roddick (2003 Wimbledon) to reach a major quarter-final.

He was not overawed on the big stage, blitzing Djokovic in a remarkable first set. Playing with a bounce in his step and bringing the crowd to its feet, Brooksby only hit one unforced error in a dominant 29-minute display, which included two breaks of serve.

Djokovic was 38-34 at grand slams when losing the opening set and 12-10 at Flushing Meadows and after an error-filled opener, the Serb star let out an almighty roar after racing out to a 3-0 lead.

Just as Djokovic – level on 20 men's slams with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – looked comfortable, he endured a marathon 20-minute fifth game against Brooksby.

Brooksby broke at the sixth time of asking and the breath-taking tennis continued as Djokovic broke straight back to reclaim his advantage at 4-2 – the latter ending the game with an intense stare down in the direction of his opponent.

After a gruelling second set to level the match, the third followed a similar pattern, with Djokovic breaking in the opening game before moving 3-0 ahead.

Djokovic did not relinquish that lead, hitting 13 winners while claiming 11 of his 13 points at the net as he took the match to Brooksby.

Brooksby put up a huge fight but, he was unable to maintain his charge as the crowd went silent – Djokovic looking ahead to a last-eight showdown with sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a rematch of the Wimbledon final.

 

Data slam: Djokovic flawless against locals in New York

With his hard-fought victory, which lasted almost three hours, Djokovic improved to 11-0 against Americans at the US Open. He is 29-3 at major events and 70-10 in ATP Tour-level matches. The 34-year-old is on a 21-match winning streak against players from the United States since Sam Querrey snapped his 30-match slam streak at Wimbledon in 2016.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 44/41
Brooksby – 27/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 9/1
Brooksby – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 6/12
Brooksby – 3/11

Louis van Gaal compared the self-confidence of his Netherlands side to being like that of Formula One star Max Verstappen.

Van Gaal's Netherlands will face Turkey in a crucial top-of-the-table World Cup Group G qualifier on Tuesday.

The Netherlands are a point adrift following their 4-0 rout of Montenegro last time out and Van Gaal is happy with his team since taking over from Frank de Boer.

Van Gaal likened the Netherlands' confidence to that of Dutch driver Verstappen, who reclaimed the F1 world championship lead from Lewis Hamilton with his Dutch Grand Prix success last week.

"The most important thing, which Max [Verstappen] also has, is to have self-confidence," Van Gaal told reporters.

"Very strong confidence, and you just heard from Memphis [Depay] that he also has very strong confidence in the team.

"I am happy about that because I also have a lot of self-confidence. So, we are all on the same wavelength."

After being held 1-1 by Norway in Van Gaal's first game in his third spell in charge, Oranje turned on the style in Saturday's World Cup qualifier with Montenegro at Philips Stadion.

Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot and added a second just after the hour mark to put the Netherlands on course for a seventh straight home win.

That was the first time in 70 caps Depay had scored the first two goals for his country in a match, the Barcelona forward taking his goals tally to 30 across that period.

Captain Georginio Wijnaldum put the result beyond doubt with the hosts' third and Cody Gakpo rounded off the scoring 14 minutes from time with his first international goal.

On Turkey, Van Gaal added: "[Turkish coach Senol Gunes] has made his team play in a very disciplined way. It's really very good to have Turkey play with discipline, and Turkey has some smart players, with players who play at top clubs, actually.

"They only have two players who play in Turkey, at least in the team we're expecting to face."

Atlanta Braves star Charlie Morton signed a new contract with the MLB franchise, it was announced on Monday.

Braves ace and two-time All-Star Morton penned a one-year, $20million extension in Atlanta, where the starting pitcher has a $20m option for 2023.

Morton returned to the Braves this season following his exploits during the Tampa Bay Rays' run to the 2020 World Series, having been drafted by Atlanta in 2002.

The 37-year-old – a World Series winner with the Houston Astros in 2017 – debuted for the Braves in 2008 before leaving the following year.

Morton has starred in his second stint with the Braves, going 13-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 28 starts this season.

He has 185 strikeouts in 2021 – tied for eighth, while he is fifth for winning percentage (.722).

The Braves (72-64) top the National League (NL) East.

Shelby Rogers was anticipating "nine million death threats" after her fourth-round loss to Emma Raducanu at the US Open on Monday. 

Just two days after coming from two breaks down in the third set to defeat world number one and top seed Ash Barty, Rogers succumbed to a 6-2 6-1 defeat at the hands of Raducanu.

The 18-year-old consequently reached the first grand slam quarter-final of her career and became just the third qualifier to reach the last eight of the women's draw at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era.

Having been overwhelmed with adulation in the wake of her win against Barty, Rogers admitted she was now concerned the scales would tip the other way. 

Sloane Stephens revealed she received more than 2,000 abusive messages on social media after losing to Angelique Kerber in the third round and her fellow American was wary of suffering a similar fate. 

"I kind of wish social media didn't exist, but here we are. It's a big part of marketing now. We have contracts, we have to post certain things," said Rogers. 

"You could probably go through my profile right now, I'm probably a fat pig and words that I can't say right now. But, I mean, it is what it is. You try not to take it to heart, and it's the unfortunate side of any sport and what we do." 

She continued: "I think someone asked by the other day some advice I would give, and I said try not to get too high or too low with every match. 

"It's tough when you know you have a win like that [against Barty] and everybody is treating it like the final. Everybody coming up to me on-site. 

"I'm really actually happy I had doubles [on Sunday] because it kind of refocused me a little bit, but everyone's coming up to you, 'Oh, great win.' I'm like, 'Yeah, but it's just the third round. We're not even halfway right now.' 

"It's just really tough sometimes to keep that in perspective, but you do the best you can and try to ignore the media and everybody blowing it up and making you the story of the tournament. 

"Obviously, we appreciate the spotlight in those moments, but then you have today and I'm going to have nine million death threats and whatnot. It's very much polarising – one extreme to the other very quickly. 

"At this point in my career, I'd say I'm used to it. It's just now for me, finding a way to have those big wins but then be able to back it up a little bit. It's not easy to say the least." 

Rogers won just 38 per cent of points behind her first serve and committed a total of 29 unforced errors, leaving the 28-year-old hugely dissatisfied with her display. 

"That was pretty embarrassing," she said. "It was a tough day at the office. Unfortunately, I had to fail in front of thousands and thousands of people. I have to live with that one. 

"It's disappointing that I couldn't must up a little more today. But I told you guys the other night it took everything I had to beat Barty. I guess that was a little apparent today. The tank was empty."

Donny van de Beek is determined to win a place in the Manchester United side after positive talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – although he admits his time in England has been "so hard".

Signed from Ajax last September for an initial £34.7million (€39m), the Netherlands international scored on his Premier League debut in a home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The midfielder has since found first-team football hard to come by. He has only started four league matches for the Red Devils, playing just 1,460 minutes of football, fewer than back-up defenders Eric Bailly and Alex Telles.

Van de Beek's agent suggested there was a chance to join Everton in the transfer window, with United's signings of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo further limiting his client's chances of playing, but there was no progress on any possible move away.

Now, Van de Beek says manager Solskjaer has made it clear he will get his opportunities to impress, even though the 24-year-old has yet to get on the pitch for United this season.

Speaking to Vibe with Five, he said: "First year, you come from another competition and it's normal you need time to adapt. But of course, you're not happy. I want to play – that's clear.

"It's so hard. Of course, also mentally, it's so difficult. The only thing you can do [is] I train really hard every day, I try to improve and you just wait for your chance. If the moment is there, I have to be ready.

"If you're lost or anything, just talk with players, be a part of the team. If you're not playing, try to help them and be positive. You can sit there and just be angry, but that's not the key to come in the team.

"You need to be involved with the team. Sometimes you're angry, every player has that. You're not going to show them if you're not training hard any more. You give the manager a reason to play without you.

"I speak with the manager about it, the club, and they were clear they want me to stay. The manager was really positive about me and said, 'I need you, I want to keep you here because what I see now, in training, I see a different Donny now'. He was really positive about me.

"He saw a big difference, a little bit stronger now and he can see I have a one-year experience in England now.

"I need to trust him. If he doesn't need me, I think he will let me go. I think he has plans with me. I just need to work hard and I hope I can show the people what I can [do].

"You can never promise a player if he will play or not, but I think I agree that I have to play more. You can train hard every day but, in the end, you need game time to show your best shape. If you play once in a month, you cannot show your best. That's really important."

Despite the intense competition for places, Van de Beek was delighted with United's transfer business, which also saw them bring in Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

"To be with these players is fantastic," he said. "That's what we need: winners. I'm really positive about us this season. I think we can make big steps now.

"The level will go up, for sure. If good players join the team, the level goes up. You train with maybe 24 players, but good players can make a difference."

Emma Raducanu broke new ground on Monday as the qualifier reached the quarter-finals of the US Open in supreme style.

The 18-year-old produced one of the performances of the tournament when she defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1 on Saturday.

The Briton lost the first two games of her clash with Shelby Rogers, who impressively beat world number one Ash Barty in the previous round, but she then stormed to a 6-2 6-1 victory in her first outing on the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Raducanu, who made headlines in the United Kingdom when she reached round four on her Wimbledon debut in July, will now face Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the first major quarter-final of her career.

Raducanu responded after a nervy start by reeling off six games in a row to take the first set in dominant fashion.

Rogers, who won just 12 points behind her first serve throughout, seemed to wilt against the onslaught as her groundstrokes became wild, her unforced error count totalling 29 by the end.

Raducanu appeared to feel the nerves towards the end of the second set but eventually closed out a famous win on her fourth match point, becoming just the third qualifier in the Open Era to reach this stage of the US Open.

"It feels absolutely amazing to play in front of all of you," she said in her on-court interview. "I'm so happy to have come through and overcome some of the nerves from the beginning.

"Belinda's a great player who's in great form, so I know I'm going to have to bring it.

"I'm just not really thinking about tennis right now. I'll leave that for tomorrow!"

Raducanu will face Bencic on Wednesday, the Swiss having beaten seventh seed Iga Swiatek in straight sets.

Franck Ribery's arrival at Salernitana was compared to Diego Maradona joining Napoli, but the veteran winger just wants to help the club retain their Serie A status. 

It was confirmed on Monday that Ribery, 38, had signed a one-year contract at the Stadio Arechi. The deal will be extended for another year if the club achieve certain sporting objectives. 

The former France international was a free agent after leaving Fiorentina, where he spent two seasons following the conclusion of a trophy-laden 12-year stint with Bayern Munich. 

He will spend 2021-22 with Salernitana, who have started their first top-flight campaign in 23 years with back-to-back defeats against Bologna and Roma. 

Salernitana sporting director Angelo Fabiani last week said Ribery could have the same impact on the club's profile as Maradona did at Napoli. 

Ribery was keen to steer clear of such hyperbole when presented to the media, though. 

"I know the director compared my arrival to that of Maradona at Napoli, but I didn't come here to talk about the titles that I won. When I'm on the field, the trophies I have lifted do not count," said Ribery. 

"I feel great and I am available to help Salernitana achieve safety. It's important to find a rhythm immediately, but I am aware that training with the team is very different to personal preparation. 

"I am a technical player, but I know the team matters and I have to help the younger players. My role in the locker room will have to be important. Communication makes the difference. 

"My mentality is completely different. I need a little time, but starting from tomorrow [Tuesday] I will join the group and I spoke with the medical staff and the coach about getting me ready. 

"The passion of the people here is incredible. I will never forget the crowd that was in the stadium for me. I still managed to get excited despite having played in the most prestigious stadiums in the world. It's up to me to repay their trust." 

Ribery has made 50 appearances in Serie A, scoring five goals and registering nine assists. Ahead of 2021-22, he was one of only five players to have scored in each of the past 17 seasons in the top five European leagues. 

The Frenchman completed 117 dribbles during his two seasons at Fiorentina. No player aged 30 or above at the end of the 2020-21 campaign had accumulated as many in the same time frame.

Fabiani added: "Ribery is an absolute phenomenon who has won everything in his career. 

"I hope that Ribery's arrival can help the team do something extraordinary." 

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