Spain’s Rafael Nadal lost in straight sets to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open on Friday. Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

TENNIS

Alexander Zverev ended his winless streak on clay against Rafael Nadal on Friday, keeping the Spaniard from winning a sixth Madrid Open.

Zverev defeated Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals, picking up his third consecutive win over the 20-time grand slam champion – but first on clay. His previous two wins over Nadal were on indoor hard courts.

“Beating Rafa on a clay court is the hardest thing in our sport,” Zverev said. “Not many people have done it. This week so far it’s been incredible for me. It’s an incredible feeling right now.”

The sixth-ranked German broke second-ranked Nadal’s serve twice in the first set, rallying from 4-2 down, and once in the second. He conceded only two break opportunities. Nadal, who is preparing to play for a 14th title at the French Open, had been improving after a slow start to his clay season. He lost to Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals, then beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final.

Zverev will next face Dominic Thiem in a rematch of the 2018 final. Thiem, who lost to Zverev in straight sets in the Spanish capital three years ago, defeated John Isner, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Later Friday, eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini rallied to defeat Cristian Garin, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, setting up a semifinal against Casper Ruud, who got past Alexander Bublik, 7-5, 6-1.

SOFIA KENIN no longer will be coached by her father, announcing just weeks before the French Open she is “putting together a new technical team.” Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up in 2020, wrote about the switch on Instagram.

The post included a photo of Kenin and her dad, Alex, posing with the Australian Open trophy last year.

“I wanted to let everyone know that after many years together I have decided to part ways with my father as my coach. This was not an easy decision for me as we shared many great moments together and had a lot of success,” Kenin said. “I will be forever grateful for my dad’s sacrifice and contributions towards getting me to where I am today.”

The 22-year-old American is No. 4 in the WTA rankings. Her father has been a constant presence at Kenin’s side on tour and in the stands, sometimes warned by chair umpires for coaching during matches, which isn’t allowed at major tournaments. That happened during the fourth round of last year’s French Open, when Alex Kenin also switched seats and plopped himself down right next to the coach of Sofia’s opponent.

GOLF

PGA: Phil Mickelson was 11 shots worse than his previous round at Quail Hollow. Bryson DeChambeau made an 8 on his 16th hole and headed straight for the exit.

Turns out nothing was as bad as it seemed in the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Charlotte, North Carolina.

Morning gusts gave way to a relentless wind in the afternoon and had just about everyone trying to finish without too much damage. Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland shot a 2-under 69 in the morning and shared the 36-hole lead with Matt Wallace (67) and Patrick Rodgers (68).

No one in the afternoon could catch them at 6-under 136.

Mickelson followed a 64 with a 75, but he was still just three shots out of the lead.

DeChambeau hit two balls in the water on the par-5 seventh and wound up with a 74, but he made the cut on the number at 2-over 144.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Defending champion Steve Stricker birdied the final hole for a 3-under 69 to move into a four-way tie for the lead halfway through the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Alabama.

Stricker joined Jerry Kelly, Monday qualifier Alex Cejka and first-round leader Darren Clarke atop the leaderboard in the first of the PGA Tour Champions’ five majors.

Cejka, who made the field as the first alternate when Jay Haas withdrew, followed his opening 68 with a 69 at Greystone Golf & Country Club. Kelly had a 70 and Clarke shot 71 to get to 7 under.

LPGA: Patty Tavatanakit finished with an eagle to take a three-stroke lead over Atthaya Thitikul at the halfway stage of the LPGA Thailand.

Tavatanakit moved to 16 under at Siam Country Club after a 12-foot putt on the par-5 18th for back-to-back 64s. Despite no spectators because of the pandemic, Tavatanakit and 18-year-old Thitikul are playing under high home expectations. A Thai has never won this U.S. LPGA Tour event. Ariya Jutanugarn was second in 2013, and her sister Moriya Jutanugarn runner-up in 2018.

Thitikul had a bogey on the 17th and signed off with a second-round 67. Caroline Masson (66) is a stroke behind Thitikul in third. Lydia Ko (67), Gaby Lopez (64) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (68) are tied for fourth, five strokes behind Tavatanakit.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Adri Arnaus shot 7-under 64 for the second consecutive day to take a one-shot lead into the third round of the Canary Islands Championship in Tenerife, Spain.

The Spaniard had eight birdies and a bogey to reach 14 under for the tournament, ahead of second-placed Garrick Higgo of South Africa, who carded 8-under 63 to stay one behind.

A group of four players was another shot back, including first-round leader Francesco Laporta of Italy, who followed his 9-under 62 with a 68. The European Tour is back in Tenerife for a second consecutive week in what is the third and final event of the Canary Islands Swing.

 

SOCCER

SUPER LEAGUE SANCTIONS: Nine of the 12 Super League clubs have formally renounced the breakaway and committed to the existing European competitions but they will have to give up 5% of UEFA revenue for one season.

But Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have refused to approve what UEFA called “reintegration measures” and they will be referred to UEFA disciplinary bodies for sanctions after backing the new largely closed competition, meaning they could be banned from the Champions League.

The Super League project imploded three weeks ago after the English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham – backed out inside 48 hours after a backlash from the fans and British government.

Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan have also officially signed up to a settlement with UEFA to only participate in the existing open European competitions.

The nine clubs will make a combined payment of 15 million euros for what UEFA called a “gesture of goodwill” to benefit children, youth and grassroots football. They have also accepted UEFA withholding 5% of revenue for the next season they play in their club competitions.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The all-English final could be played in England after Turkey was added to England’s “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned because of severe coronavirus outbreaks.

Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow around 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European football season.

But the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions, and said the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in Britain, instead.

The most logical English venue to move the game to is Wembley, with the London stadium staging eight games of the European Championship across June and July, so it has UEFA’s required logistics and broadcasting infrastructure already in place. Wembley was also already due to stage the 2024 Champions League final, so it could be moved up three years.

FRANCE: Burak Yilmaz scored an early penalty and added a superb long strike as league leader Lille won 3-0 at Lens and moved four points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.

Lille can seal its first title in 10 years by winning its last two games.

ENGLAND: Callum Wilson struck twice as Newcastle stunned Leicester 4-2 to inch closer to survival and deal a potentially damaging blow to the Foxes’ Champions League hopes.

Newcastle is now one point from safety and will be certain to avoid regulation if Fulham fails to beat Burnley on Monday.

Leicester remains in third place but opened the door for Chelsea and West Ham in the race to finish in the top four.


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