Arab times tuesday may 24 2016 44 sports

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ARAB TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016

44

Sports

Latest sports scores at -- Easy for Nishikori, Radwanska and Halep

Wawrinka escapes historic blow as Muguruza struggles

PARIS, May 23, (AFP): Stan Wawrinka

avoided becoming the first defending

champion to lose first round at the

French Open on Monday when he bat-

tled past combative Lukas Rosol in five

tough sets.

Third seed Wawrinka fired 56 win-

ners but committed 46 unforced errors

and needed to save eight break points to

book a second round clash against

Japan's Taro Daniel.

Wawrinka, 31, had defeated 59th-

ranked Rosol in the semi-finals of the

Geneva clay-court tournament just last

Friday.

But Rosol went into the match on a

chilly Court Philippe Chatrier with the

pedigree of having

famously stunned

Rafael Nadal at

Wimbledon in

2012.

That free-swing-

ing masterclass

almost paid divi-

dends

again

Monday but once

he had let slip two

break points at 2-2

Halep

in the fourth set,

his hopes slowly slipped away.

"He's typically very aggressive and

puts a lot of pressure. That's what he

did today," said Wawrinka of a match

played out in temperatures of just 12

degrees. "He left me very little space to

move, and he fought very hard. I was

very happy to pick up the fifth set in

spite of the cold."

Japan's fifth seed Kei Nishikori

reached the second round with a 6-1,

7-5, 6-3 win over Simone Bolelli of

Italy.

Nishikori goes on to face Russia's

Andrey Kuznetsov after finishing off a

first-round tie which had been sus-

pended overnight with him leading 2-1

in the third set. It was a 50th career

Grand Slam match win for Nishikori

who made the quarter-finals in Paris in

2015.

"It wasn't easy. I started really well.

I was up 6-1, 3-0, I think. Pretty aggres-

sive and moving the ball pretty good.

He started playing little better in the

second, but I thought it was a great

match for me," said Nishikori.

Spanish fourth seed Garbine

Muguruza struggled on Court Suzanne

Lenglen, coming back from a set down

to defeat Slovakia's Anna Karolina

Schmiedlova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Muguruza, who has made the quar-

ter-finals for the last two years, will

take on French wildcard Myrtille

Georges, the world number 203, for a

place in the last 32.

But the 22-year-old Wimbledon run-

ner-up was far from impressive. After dropping the first set, Muguruza

had to save nine break points just in the opening game of the second.

She then allowed her 37th-ranked opponent, who has won just one match all year, to claw her way back from 0-4 down to 3-4 in the decider before the Spaniard settled herself to see out the win.

Muguruza fired 44 winners but hit 53 unforced errors and had to save 17 of 21 break points.

"I think I had the music on or something. I didn't really listen and the supervisor came, and they're like, `We're waiting for you'. I'm like, `No way'. I start to do running and jumping

TENNIS

fast. So I didn't have the time to really warm up," she said.

Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland brushed aside Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski 6-0, 6-2.

Radwanska, who was a quarter-finalist in 2013 but lost in the first round to Germany's Annika Beck last year, goes on to face Caroline Garcia of France.

Garcia won the Strasbourg claycourt title on Saturday.

Monday's result left Jovanovski, the world number 120, without a win in 2016.

Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep, the 2014 runner-up, also progressed, taking just 43 minutes to defeat Japan's Nao Hibino 6-2, 6-0.

Seeds falling by the wayside included 2012 runner-up Sara Errani, the Italian 16th seed, who lost to 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-2.

Also heading out was Czech 17th seed Karolina Pliskova who lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to 108th-ranked Shelby Rogers of the United States.

Play started two and a half hours late Monday because of more rain with 12 of the 66 scheduled matches pushed back to Tuesday.

However, there was time for a notable first.

Qualifier Cagla Buyukakcay beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 to become the first Turkish woman in the Open era to reach the second round of a Grand Slam. Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic, a 2014 quarter-finalist, defeated Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).

Tipsarevic was playing his first Roland Garros since 2013 after being treated for a benign tumour on his left foot.

Japan's Kei Nishikori returns in his first round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Italy's Simone Bolelli at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris,

France on May 23. (AFP)

Thunder demolish Warriors,

grab `edge' in West finals

Durant scores 33

WASHINGTON, May 23, (AFP): Behind 33 points from Kevin Durant and 30 by Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder humbled defending NBA champion Golden State 133105 Sunday to seize the lead in their playoff series.

The Thunder grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals and captured momentum with the lopsided blowout, making Tuesday's fourth game at Oklahoma City crucial for both clubs.

"We have got to keep the same intensity, same attack mode," Westbrook said. "They didn't have the best record

BASKETBALL

in the NBA for nothing. We've got to come back with the same mindset and play with the same intensity."

Golden State, which set an NBA record with 73 regular-season wins, has not lost two games in a row all season but will have to quickly bounce back from an embarassment.

"Using our brains, making them compete, moving the ball -- we didn't do any of those things and we got what we deserved," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

"I'm confident we're going to come out and play a great game in game four. We'll see what happens."

Either the Thunder, who have won 10 best-of-seven series in a row when going up 2-1, or the Warriors will face the Eastern Conference winners, the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers, in next month's NBA Finals.

In addition to sparking the highestscoring performance by any team in any NBA playoff game this year, Westbrook and Durant each added eight rebounds and blocked two shots while Westbrook also contributed 12 assists.

"We've got a physical team, an athletic team and we tried to use that to the best of our ability," Westbrook said. "Our guys do a great job of putting in the work every day. My job is to put the ball in their hands."

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 24 points and Klay Thompson added 18, but Curry hit only 7-of-17 shots from the floor, Thompson shot 8-of-19 and Draymond Green was 1-of-9. The Warriors were also outrebounded 52-38.

"Come game four, we have to grind them out," Thompson said. "We can't have Westbrook and Durant combine to shoot 60 percent."

Durant scored 23 in the first half while Westbrook added 16 as the Thunder leaped ahead in the second quarter and piled on more punishment in the second half, stretching the lead to

Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Festus Ezeli #31 of the Golden State Warriors in the first half in game three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May

22 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (AFP)

117-80 after three quarters and went on to match a club playoff scoring record.

"We were physical and we rebounded the ball well," Durant said. "My teammates did a great job taking the pressure off me. We have to keep playing with the same energy and passion."

The Thunder closed the second quarter on a 32-7 run to seize a 72-47 halftime edge, aided by the Warriors missing 21 of their last 23 first-half shots from the floor.

"Frustrating way to end the quarter," Curry said. "It was a bad flow out there. We couldn't stop it. That six minutes

decided the game. That's something we have to take care of in game four."

Golden State lost their three prior playoff defeats in the past month by a total of 19 points, nine fewer than they lost by in game three.

"We got our butts kicked," Kerr said. "It doesn't matter if it's one point or 30."

Green kicked Thunder big man Steven Adams of New Zealand in the groin late in the second quarter and could face a suspension for game four.

"I wasn't trying to kick somebody in the mid-section," Green said. "I'm sure

he wants to have kids one of these days." Thunder coach Billy Donovan

praised the Kiwi's toughness. "That's the one thing with Steven

that's really remarkable -- he takes a physical pounding and he's a tough kid," Donovan said. "He has got a great pain threshold."

Oklahoma City outscored Golden State 29-13 on fast break points, humbling the team that led the NBA in that category. Time and again Durant and Westbrook penetrated the Warriors defense to slam down a dunk or simply toss in a layup.

Man Utd inform Dutchman of his dismissal

Mourinho poised to replace Van Gaal

LONDON, May 23, (AFP): Louis Van Gaal's time as manager of Manchester United appeared to be nearing its end on Monday, amid reports that agreement on a severance package was all that stood in the way of his exit from Old Trafford.

Both Van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United's Carrington training ground on Monday following reports that former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was poised to replace the Dutchman.

Gilroy's clients have included David Moyes, whose sacking as United manager paved the way for Van Gaal's appointment.

There has been no official confirmation as yet from United, 20-times English champions, about the position of Van Gaal, who still has a season remaining on his three-year contract.

But James Ducker, the northern football correspondent of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, tweeted Monday: "Paul Gilroy QC finalising Van Gaal's severance package now ... ?5m pay off."

Meanwhile The Times' Paul Hirst said United

executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had already

informed Van Gaal of his dismissal.

"Sounds like Woodward actually told LVG in

person last (Sunday) night that he was sacked,"

Hirst tweeted.

British media have been awash with reports of

Van Gaal's demise, after a leak

from an unknown source spread

as Manchester United lifted the

FA Cup on Saturday.

The Dutchman cryptically

commented, "It's over" as he

left the squad's Cup final

hotel on Sunday, but it was

not clear whether he was

referring to his tenure or

United's season.

Mourinho

The BBC said Van Gaal had not been informed whether he

was staying for next season,

although it said Saturday's 2-1 win over Palace at

Wembley was believed to have been his last game

in charge of United. Van Gaal himself was defiant after Saturday's

Cup final. "I show you the cup and I don't discuss it with

my friends of the media, who already sacked me for six months," the 64-year-old said.

Despite winning the club's first trophy since the great Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, Van

SOCCER

Gaal's United didn't challenge for the Premier League title and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Fans were also unhappy with the brand of football their team played under Van Gaal.

United scored just 49 league goals this season, their lowest return for 26 years and many supporters felt Van Gaal's approach ran counter to the club's traditional attacking style.

Editor-in-Chief AHMED AL JARALLAH

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