Roger Federer wins 101st title, beating John Isner in Miami Open final

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his win against John Isner during the men's final of the Miami Open. (AFP)
Updated 31 March 2019
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Roger Federer wins 101st title, beating John Isner in Miami Open final

  • For the ageless Federer, winning never gets old
  • Federer first played in the tournament as a wild card 20 years ago

MIAMI: Orange streamers rained down while Roger Federer held another championship trophy aloft, his familiar grin as wide as ever.
For the ageless Federer, winning never gets old.
Now 37, Federer became tennis’ first repeat champion of 2019 when he won his 101st career title Sunday by beating a hobbled John Isner in the Miami Open final, 6-1, 6-4.
Federer neutralized Isner’s big serve and won 32 of 35 points on his own serve. The 6-foot-10 Isner scrambled so desperately to stay in rallies that he hurt his left foot and limped badly through the final few points.
Isner said afterward he did not yet know the nature or severity of the injury.
Federer was the Dubai champion on March 2, and was runner-up to Dominic Thiem at Indian Wells two weeks ago. Federer is 18-2 this year, best on the men’s tour, which stamps him as a threat to add to his record total of 20 Grand Slam titles in 2019.
“Unbelievable for you to keep winning and playing this level of tennis,” Miami tournament director James Blake, a former top-five player, told Federer during the trophy presentation. “It makes me feel like such an underachiever. We’re all just in awe.”
Isner also paid tribute to Federer during the ceremony.
“You were entirely too good today, entirely too good this whole tournament,” Isner said. “You are entirely too good your whole career. It’s absolutely incredible what you’re doing. We’re so lucky to have you in this game, and we all want you to keep playing and literally never retire. So keep it up, man.”
The first 33 men’s and women’s titles in 2019 were won by 33 different players, including Ashleigh Barty in the Miami women’s final Saturday. Federer is the first repeat winner in 20 men’s tournaments this year.
“Kind of fitting,” Isner said.
Federer first played in the tournament as a wild card 20 years ago. He won the title in 2005, 2006 and 2017 before it moved from Key Biscayne to its new home this year in the Miami Dolphins’ complex.
“It has been a super long journey for me here,” Federer told the crowd. “To stand here right now really means a lot after so many years.”
The temporary stands inside the NFL stadium were almost full for the final, but Federer quickly defused any drama. He broke in the opening game and then twice more in a first set that lasted only 24 minutes.
“Champion, Roger!” a fan yelled during a lull, prompting cheers. Federer went on to earn the adjective yet again.
To compound matters for Isner, he said the top of his foot started to hurt during the first set, and the problem grew worse as the match progressed.
“It’s a terrible feeling,” Isner said, “going up against the greatest player ever, playing in this incredible atmosphere, and my foot’s killing me.
“Not that I would have won the match anyway. Let’s make that clear. But, you know, I think I could have made for a more interesting match, and one that was a little more fun.”


Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

Updated 16 July 2019
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Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

LOS ANGELES: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the US with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka —  doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defense and racing in to fire into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour has not started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organizations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership.”

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.