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Djokovic cruises into semis at US Open tuneup

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images 2020 08 27T193022.548 Djokovic cruises into semis at US Open tuneup

World number one Novak Djokovic cruised into the semi -finals of the ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open on Wednesday while Japan ’s Naomi Osaka withdrew to protest the shooting of a black man by police in Wisconsin.
Djokovic , who launches his bid for a fourth US Open title and 18 th Grand Slam crown on Monday , needed only 62 minutes to rout Germany ’ s Jan-Lennard Struff 6 – 3 , 6 -1 .
The 33 -year – old Serbian , who seeks a fourth US Open title and 18 th Grand Slam crown, advanced to a Thursday semi -final against Spain’ s Roberto Bautista Agut , who upset defending champion Daniil Medvedev , last year ’s US Open runner- up from Russia, by 1 -6 , 6 – 4, 6 – 3 .
Djokovic had no issues with a prior neck injury , testing himself well on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts in the same spectator -less Covid -19 bubble quarantine atmosphere where the US Open will be played.
“ It was great . I feel very good , ” said Djokovic who is 21 – 0 this year .
“ Started a little bit tight an opening couple of games of my service games . Managed to defend well .
“ Ever since that first break early in the first set, I never looked back . I really played very aggressively when I have a chance . I was playing my shots . I was very pleased with my serve .”
Fourth seed Osaka , a two- time Grand Slam champion, rallied to defeat Estonia ’ s Anett Kontaveit 4 – 6, 6 -2 , 7 -5 in a quarter – final .
But she withdrew from her Thursday semi against Belgian 14 th seed Elise Mertens , who eliminated American Jessica Pegula 6 – 1, 6 – 3 .
The move came in the wake of African -American Jacob Blake being shot in the back on Sunday in Kenosha , Wisconsin .
– ‘Sick to my stomach’ –
“ Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach ,” Osaka posted in a Twitter statement .
“ Before I am an athlete , I am a black woman . And as a black woman , I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis.
“ I don ’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.”
Mertens reached a Friday final against the winner between two -time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Tunisia ’ s Ons Jabeur 7 – 6 ( 11 / 9 ) , 6 – 2 , and Britain ’s Johanna Konta , who beat Greece ’s 13 th-seeded Maria Sakkari 6 -4 , 6 – 3.
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The other men ’ s semi -final will send Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas , who advanced down 5 – 6 when American Reilly Opelka retired, against Canada’ s Milos Raonic, who defeated Serbian Filip Krajinovic 4 -6 , 7- 6 ( 7 / 2 ) , 7 -5 .
Djokovic won this event, typically played in Cincinnati , in 2018 after five prior finals losses and looks like he could claim a second title in three tries while warming up for the US Open and testing the improvements made to his games since the COVID -19 shutdown .
“ Everything was worked on in the last six months , ” he said.
“ Looked into what can be upgraded. I worked on every single shot. It ’s good that it ’ s paying off so soon after the break . Hope to keep it going . ”
Bautista Agut , ranked 12 th, fought back after being blasted in the first set.
“ It was a fantastic comeback for me ,” he said. “ I had to fight a lot to stay there in the second set. It was a really tough match. I’ m glad to get through.”
His reward is an on -form Djokovic , who has won five of the past seven Grand Slam titles as he chases Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — both absent from the New York bubble — for the all – time Slam title record .
“ He ’s very solid . I’ ll try to play my best game against him ,” the Spaniard said . “ If I can play a good level , it ’ s going to be a good match. ”

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Reguilon & Bale Join Tottenham, Confirmed By Fabrizio Romano

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images 2020 09 17T192644.704 Reguilon & Bale Join Tottenham, Confirmed By Fabrizio Romano

Reguilon & Bale join Tottenham, confirmed by Fabrizio Romano
Fabrizio Romano said: ‘Reguilon is 100% a new Tottenham player as said yesterday morning. Also paperworks have been signed and Sergio tomorrow will be in London, it was an ‘here we go’ and it’s confirmed, also about the clauses OK.’
‘Real and Tottenham working to complete final details then Bale will be back to Tottenham.’
‘Gareth Bale to Tottenham, last details to be sorted about salary shared with Real Madrid] and Gareth will fly tomorrow to London. He’ll complete medicals and join Tottenham for one year loan. Mourinho approved the deal. Reguilon expected for tomorrow too’

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Messi Celebrates 20 Years In Barcelona

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images 2020 09 17T192146.347 Messi Celebrates 20 Years In Barcelona

On the September 17, 2000, Lionel Messi arrived in Barcelona.
Accompanied by his father, the young Argentine’s dream was to sign for Barcelona.
It wasn’t an easy process, but eventually the two sides came to an agreement and Messi joined the club’s junior ranks.
From there he became the best player in the world and arguably one of the greatest to have ever played the game.
In those 20 years, he has won everything with Barcelona, on a collective as well as an individual level.
Messi has been a great champion and far exceeded the dreams he had when flying over from Rosario that day.
And there have been some incredible moments that no one will forget.
Messi’s debut for the club came under Frank Rijkaard in 2004 at just 17, with his first goal coming against Albacete the following year – a beautiful lob after a pass from his idol, Ronaldinho.
And it didn’t take long for Messi to take off, with his 2007 Maradona-esque goal against Getafe perhaps doing the most to announce himself to the world.
After the introduction came the trophies, particularly after Pep Guardiola took charge at the Camp Nou in 2008.
In 2009, Barcelona won six trophies, with Messi adding his first Ballon d’Or to that haul.
And his display as a ‘false 9’ in Barcelona’s 6-2 hammering of Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu elevated his status to a new level altogether.
And that level barely dipped over the following years, with Messi reaching his zenith in 2012 with an incredible 91 goals in the calendar year.
Two more Champions League titles came in 2011 and 2015, before the Blaugrana became domestic kings, winning LaLiga Santander five times in six seasons between 2015 and 2019.
But now, disillusioned with the club’s progress, Messi appears to be on the way out.
Nonetheless, we take this moment to remember his amazing feats and celebrate the presence in Spain – for so many years – of the world’s most special player.

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Liverpool Agree £25m Thiago Alcantara Deal

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images 2020 09 17T191623.230 Liverpool Agree £25m Thiago Alcantara Deal

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich for at least £20m, plus £5m in add-ons, on a four-year contract.
Thiago, 29, joined the German giants from Barcelona in 2013 and played in last season’s Champions League final victory over Paris St-Germain.
He is set to wear the number six shirt at Anfield.
Thiago would be the Premier League champions’ second summer signing, after
Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
The £20m will be paid over the length of Thiago’s contract and the extra £5m will depend on the Reds winning the Premier League and Champions League success.
When asked about a potential move for the Spaniard last week, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I cannot end speculation as long as the transfer window is open.
“It is nice that we are linked with him but that is pretty much it really. It is because he is a good player and Liverpool is a big club, so that is nice.”
Thiago started his career at Barcelona and was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United when David Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, but the move did not transpire and he went to Germany instead.
As well as the Champions League, he has won seven consecutive Bundesliga titles, four German Cups and the Club World Cup with Bayern.

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