Top seed Paire cruises into Winston-Salem 3rd round

Benoit Paire of France. (The Winston-Salem Journal via AP)
Updated 21 August 2019

Top seed Paire cruises into Winston-Salem 3rd round

  • Paire was glad to get to work in the heat and humidity of North Carolina as part of his build-up to the US Open

WASHINGTON: Top-seeded Benoit Paire reached the third round of the ATP Winston-Salem Open Tuesday, beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-5.
France’s Paire, ranked 30th in the world, avenged a loss to India’s Gunneswaran at Indian Wells in March.
Paire broke Gunneswaran in the penultimate game, then capped the contest with his 14th ace on match point to book a round of 16 meeting with fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who defeated American Bjorn Fratangelo 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
After enjoying a first-round bye, Paire was glad to get to work in the heat and humidity of North Carolina as part of his build-up to the US Open, which starts on Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.
“Honestly, I like to play before the Slam,” he said. “I did the same in Lyon the week before Roland Garros and I won the tournament and after I made the last 16 at Roland Garros so it was good preparation.
“I’ll try to do the same — I’ll try to win a lot of matches here. I think it’s important for me to play before the US Open.”
In other matches, second-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov took on American Tennys Sandgren in the second round.
Sandgren, ranked 73rd in the world, is coming off a first-round victory over three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, who was playing just his second singles match since the Australian Open as he bids to return to peak form in the wake of career-threatening hip surgery.


Gasol clinches rare NBA-World Cup double as Spain down Argentina

Updated 16 September 2019

Gasol clinches rare NBA-World Cup double as Spain down Argentina

  • Toronto Raptors center Mark Gasol becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year

 

BEIJING: Three-time All-Star Marc Gasol became only the second man to win an NBA crown and the World Cup in the same year after Spain brushed aside Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Spain, who survived double overtime against Australia to reach the final, led throughout in Beijing to win international basketball’s biggest prize a second time.

The only previous occasion was in 2006 with the two Gasol brothers, Marc and older sibling Pau, on the team.

Pau did not feature in China because of injury.

The latest triumph was particularly sweet for the 34-year-old center Gasol, who three months ago also played a key part in the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA title.

Gasol, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, joins Lamar Odom, a double winner in 2010 with the US and Los Angeles Lakers.

Surprise finalists Argentina had not triumphed since they hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1950.

As a contest, the final was over by the fourth quarter — although the Argentines did rally belatedly to reduce Spain’s previously mighty lead.

Fans of both teams had made it feel more like a football match, decked out in their national colors, chanting loudly and refusing to sit down.

Spain, for whom Ricky Rubio of the Phoenix Suns has been one of the leading players of the tournament in China, surged into a 14-2 lead.

In front of a capacity crowd, Argentina’s 39-year-old talisman Luis Scola could not escape the attentions of Pierre Oriola.

Led by their slick-haired Italian coach Sergio Scariolo, Spain were up 21-14 going into the second quarter and increased their advantage to 43-31 at halftime.

With Rubio prominent, drilling 20 points, Spain never looked like surrendering their lead, repeatedly thwarting Argentina’s suffocated offense.

France roared back after halftime to defeat Australia 67-59 and claim a second World Cup bronze in a row — and extend the Boomers’ long wait for a major medal.

Turkish-based guard Nando De Colo led all scorers with 19 points for France and Nicolas Batum had nine points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals.

The French, one of the tallest teams at the tournament, defeated reigning two-time holders the US in the quarterfinals, but then lost heavily to Argentina.

“For us it’s something very, very special and important we did it after a very difficult first half,” French coach Vincent Collet said.

“Many teams could have given up, even easy shots we were missing in the first half.

“We started to move the ball better in the second half and that’s why we won this game.”

It was hard on Australia, who similarly led for long periods in their semifinal against Spain.

It is still the best finish for the Boomers, who had never gone beyond the quarterfinals at 11 previous World Cups, but they are yet to claim a medal at the worlds or Olympics.

Deposed champions the US, who were missing their elite names, finished seventh, their lowest position in tournament history.

They did, at least, qualify to defend their Olympic title in Tokyo next summer. With 32 teams, this was the biggest Basketball World Cup ever.

The next one will be in 2023 in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.