Halep advances in quest to win title, take No. 1 spot

Second-ranked Simona Halep charged closer to taking the world number one ranking Thursday, beating Latvian 15th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-3 to reach the WTA and ATP Cincinnati Masters quarter-finals.Romania's Halep, a French Open runner-up for t...

Head injury assessment set at 10 minutes, say rugby chiefs

Players who leave the field of play during a rugby match for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) must stay off the pitch for 10 minutes, the sport's governing body announced on Thursday.World Rugby said that the new ruling, which will be enforced globally f...

All Blacks aim for post-Lions rebound against Wallabies

The All Blacks will be out to reassert their dominance as the wounded Wallabies look to the return of Kurtley Beale to trigger an upset in Saturday's Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.The world champions have been reviewing what went wrong in their u...

Rodgers hails complete Celtic performance in Astana thrashing

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side's outstanding display as they moved to the verge of the Champions League group stages with a 5-0 thrashing of FC Astana in Glasgow.An own goal from Evgeni Postnikov and two goals from Scott Sinclair either...

McGregor vows fast finish against Mayweather

Conor McGregor believes he will knock out Floyd Mayweather inside two rounds but is ready for all scenarios when the two fighters clash in their eagerly anticipated superfight next week.Irish mixed martial arts star McGregor told reporters on a confere...

Ronaldo-less Real complete Super Cup rout of Barcelona

Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo to cruise past rivals Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to cap a 5-1 aggregate win.Ronaldo was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he ...

Kisner ready to get ‘back in the fire’

Kevin Kisner will aim to put his PGA major disappointment behind him on Thursday as the final event of the regular season tees off at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina.Kisner led or shared the lead for the opening three rounds of last week's f...

Zverev confident entering US Open even after shock loss

Alexander Zverev enters the US Open confident and feels his best ahead of any Grand Slam event, even after a fatigue-filled loss Wednesday in his ATP Cincinnati Masters opener.US 19-year-old wildcard Frances Tiafoe beat the seventh-ranked German 4-6, 6...

US teen Tiafoe stuns Zverev to end treble title bid

US teen wildcard Frances Tiafoe shocked seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday, advancing to the third round at the WTA and ATP Cincinnati Masters.Riding a 10-match win streak after titles in Montreal and Washington, Zverev was a fa...

Napoli punish nine-man Nice

Napoli took a big step towards the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win over outclassed nine-man Nice in their play-off, first-leg in Italy on Wednesday.

The Riviera side were down to nine men after 79 minutes when Alassane Pléa was sent off for a second yellow card just after Vincent Koziello's straight dismissal.

Belgian midfielder Dries Mertens had slotted in the opener after 13 minutes with Jorginho doubling the hosts' account with a penalty after 70 minutes.

It was a third straight defeat for Lucien Favre's side who have lost their first two French Ligue 1 matches, and travelled without Mario Balotelli and new signing Wesley Sneijder.

Napoli, third in Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 last year, were a class above the French punishing defensive errors in front of a delighted 50,000 home fans at the San Paolo Stadium.

Napoli took control of the game early with Mertens outwitting the Nice defence and taking advantage of an error by Yoan Cardinale to slot past the advancing Nice goalkeeper.

And in the 70th minute it was again Mertens, brought down by Christophe Jallet, who earned the penalty which Jorginho slotted in.

Despite his initial error Cardinale made some key saves against Joe Callejon (15), Mertens (21) and two Lorenzo Insigne efforts after 42 and 67 minutes.

The Italians also other missed chances to increase their advantage with Insigne hitting the woodwork after 51 minutes.

Nice played the final ten minutes with nine men after first Koziello was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Piotr Zielinski.

Plea was then dismissed for a second yellow card, allowing the Italians to wrap up a deserved victory ahead of their Serie A opener on Saturday.

Maurizio Sarri's side are now ideally placed to join Juventus and AS Roma in the group stage as Nice have it all to do in the return home leg in the Allianz Riviera stadium on August 22.

Spanish side Sevilla also set themselves up for a place in the group stage alongside Liga rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 in Turkey.

Franco-Tunisian forward Wisam Ben Yedder, picked up a backheeled pass from Jesus Navas, to seal the winner six minutes from time.

Sergio Escudero opened for Sevilla after 16 minutes with Eljero Elia getting the equaliser after 64 minutes.

A Scott Sinclair double helped Celtic to a 5-0 thrashing of Astana in their play-off round first leg in Glasgow.

An own-goal from Evgeni Postnikov opened the scoring in the 32nd minute before Sinclair doubled Celtic's advantage 10 minutes later.

The English winger then grabbed his sixth goal of the season on the hour before James Forrest added another in the 79th minute.

Leigh Griffiths rounded off the rout in the 79th minute with a deflection off Igor Shitov to help the Scottish champions secure a commanding advantage to take to Kazakhstan for the return leg next Tuesday.

Elsewhere Hapoel Beer-Sheva beat Maribor of Slovenia 2-1 at home in Israel while Olympiacos beat Croatian side Rijeka by the same score in Greece.

NFL slams ‘shameful’ Elliott accuser reports

The National Football League slammed the sport's players union on Wednesday, accusing the body of seeking to smear the reputation of the accuser in Ezekiel Elliott's domestic violence case.In an unusual, strongly worded statement, the NFL said it had r...

Williams in, Kaino out of All Blacks for Wallabies clash

Sonny Bill Williams has been rushed back into the All Blacks after serving his four-match suspension while Jerome Kaino has been dropped for the opening match of the Rugby Championship against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.In a revamped line-up with ...

Double disappointment for triple-jump athletic champ Taylor

World and Olympic champion Christian Taylor suffered a double failure on Wednesday as he attempted to break the triple-jump world record at altitude in Tignes, France.The double Olympic and triple world champion not only failed to trouble Jonathan Edwa...

Ronaldo appeal against five-game ban rejected

Cristiano Ronaldo will be suspended for Real Madrid's Spanish Super Cup, second leg against Barcelona on Wednesday evening after his appeal against a five-game ban was dismissed.The Spanish football federation's (RFEF) appeals committee "dismissed the ...

Matthew replaces Pettersen on Europe Solheim Cup golf team

Norway's Suzann Pettersen withdrew from the European Solheim Cup team Wednesday with a disc injury, pushing British alternate Catriona Matthew into the line-up for the matches against the Americans that begin Friday.European captain Annika Sorenstam an...

West Indies captain backs pacemen to shine against England

West Indies captain Jason Holder believes his pacemen can help the "huge underdogs" make life uncomfortable for England during their upcoming Test series.The first of a three-match campaign starts at Edgbaston on Thursday with the inaugural day/night T...

Dutch defender Van Dijk not for sale, say Southampton

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk won't be allowed to leave St Mary's in the current transfer window, the Premier League club's chairman Ralph Krueger said on Wednesday.Van Dijk is a target for Chelsea and Liverpool and the Dutch centre-back handed ...