Impressive Alcaraz wins Madrid Open for 4th title of the year

Impressive Alcaraz wins Madrid Open for 4th title of the year
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz (L) with Germany's Alexander Zverev after winning the 2022 ATP Tour Madrid Open tennis tournament men's singles final match in Madrid on May 8, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 09 May 2022

Impressive Alcaraz wins Madrid Open for 4th title of the year

Impressive Alcaraz wins Madrid Open for 4th title of the year
  • The Spanish teenage sensation became the youngest winner in Madrid, and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005

MADRID: When Carlos Alcaraz played in his first Madrid Open as an 18-year-old, his goal was to gain experience and learn from the top players.

Only a year later, Alcaraz already feels he belongs among the best.

The Spanish teenage sensation capped another impressive week with a straight-set victory over Alexander Zverev on Sunday to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to win two Masters 1000 titles.

His comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Zverev followed victories over his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

“Last year I was going through these experiences for the first time, playing against the best players, playing in the Masters 1000, and I learned a lot,” Alcaraz said. “Now it’s different. I go onto the court knowing that I can win, with the confidence that I can win at any moment.”

Alcaraz became the youngest winner in Madrid, and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005. Alcaraz had already become the youngest to enter the top 10 since Nadal did it in 2005.

“It feels great to be able to beat these players,” the 19-year-old Alcaraz said. “To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life.”

It was the seventh straight win over a top-10 player for Alcaraz, and his tour-leading fourth title of the year. He also has the most wins this season with 28, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Zverev was trying to win his second consecutive Madrid title, and third overall. He had only praise for Alcaraz after the match.

“Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said before the trophy ceremony and joked about his opponent’s age. “Even though you are still 5 years old, you are still beating us all, so great to see for tennis that we have such a new superstar who is going to win many Grand Slams, who is going to be No. 1 and is going to win this tournament many times.”

Alcaraz had won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami earlier this year. He had also won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. His first career title came in Umag last year.

Alcaraz’s three losses this season came against Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo, Nadal in Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open.

After long three-set wins over Nadal and Djokovic, the seventh-seeded Alcaraz kept his high energy from the start against Zverev and was in control throughout the match at the “Caja Mágica” center court.

He didn’t face any break points and converted four of the eight he had against the second-seeded Zverev. Alcaraz had 11 unforced errors compared to 25 by Zverev.

“I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically,” Alcaraz said.

He said it was special to win in Madrid, where he first started watching tennis at an early age.

“Watching Rafa lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment,” Alcaraz said. “It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”


NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing
Updated 12 sec ago

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing
  • Arsenal are the current English club being shown in the third Premier League instalment of the series
  • Amazon would request access to the Magpies’ hierarchy, manager Eddie Howe and his first-team squad

LONDON: Newcastle United are reportedly being lined up to be the fourth Premier League club to be featured on Amazon Prime’s All Or Nothing documentary series.
Following Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, the Magpies, who were bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2021, are being targeted by Amazon to be the Premier League’s upcoming side to be depicted in All Or Nothing, according to British media.
All or Nothing is a brand of sports documentary series distributed on Amazon Prime Video platform.
The current English club being shown are The Gunners in the third season. The documentary goes behind the scenes of European and Premier League clubs.
Amazon Prime’s executives are expected to approach Newcastle United and hope to convince their top management to become the fourth EPL club inside where they want to have their cameras fixed, according to Daily Mail.
Following the season in which Tottenham Hotspur were featured, the documentary targeted Italy’s Serie A top tier Juventus under Andrea Pirlo.
Amazon Prime appear to be hopeful that the series will not take a break especially that the next instalment of the series is scheduled to be released within two years.
It is believed that Amazon would request access to the Magpies’ hierarchy, and manager Eddie Howe and his first-team squad.
The same happened in previous editions with Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, Daniel Levy, Edu Gaspar and Josh Kroneke who were all featured alongside the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourihno and Mikel Arteta.


Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
Updated 21 min 50 sec ago

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
  • Pope racked up a second straight clean sheet since joining Newcastle
  • Newcastle struggled for clear openings despite high endeavor in searing heat

BRIGHTON: Two games, four points and zero goals conceded. When assessing Newcastle United’s opening fortnight of the Premier League campaign, it is hard to find fault.
However, the Magpies were in many ways very lucky to leave East Sussex with a share of the spoils and had Nick Pope and Dan Burn to thank for their help in keeping United’s unbeaten start to the season going.
It is not often that you will see Eddie Howe change a winning team, but this time injury forced the head coach’s hand, with a Matt Targett dead leg forcing a backline reshuffle.
Having stated that he would allow Sven Botman time to settle into English football, Howe was forced to throw the Dutchman in from the off at the Amex Stadium as Dan Burn shifted to the left of the back four.
In an evenly-matched first 45, both sides could easily make a case for walking in ahead at the break.
Fresh from his first strike of the season, Callum Wilson had the ball in the net after a smart turn and finish, but the whistle of Graham Scott prevented the goal from standing, as the United frontman was deemed to have raised a high boot in the run-up to his cool finish.
With Brighton winning the midfield battle, Adam Lallana and Moises Caicedo’s prominence began to switch the balance of play in favor of Graham Potter’s men.
Solly March’s influence on the right against Newcastle’s makeshift left flank also began to pay dividends, and it was the winger who came within an inch or two of breaking the deadlock.
Joelinton gifted the ball to the Seagulls in the middle and on the break a half-cleared ball dropped favorably to March, whose drilled drive looked set to squirm into the far corner only for Pope to first get a fingertip to it, then for Kieran Trippier to scoop up and clear off the line. On second look, only one-third of the ball was still on the line — Brighton could barely have gotten any closer to a goal.
At the other end, Robert Sanchez saved low from Wilson but the flag went up anyway, even if, again, on replay, the United number nine was, in fact, onside.
Brighton, who swept aside Manchester United for their historic first-ever win at Old Trafford last weekend, came out a team transformed in the second period and put United under the cosh.
Dominating possession and field position, the Seagulls still had to try and beat the towering frame of Pope, between the sticks for United. And it is fair to say that they found it tough.
England keeper Pope stretched his long, long left lever to deny a goal-bound Lallana header, in what was easily one of the best saves of the Premier League season to date. Pope then made sure March was not getting on the score sheet as he pulled off yet another potentially point-saving stop low down.
United were hanging on and fighting for their lives. Dan Burn was next to show some penalty box heroics as he flung his body in the way of a Joel Veltman strike. Fabian Schar tidied up the mess with Danny Welbeck lurking.
And in what proved to be the final act in a frenetic, very one-sided second period, substitute Kaoru Mitoma skinned a tired-looking Trippier and squared for the Seagulls’ two-goal hero from last week, Pascal Gross, but somehow the German diverted wide when just four yards out.
In truth, Newcastle deserved little from the encounter. And while they more than competed in the opening 45, the team was thoroughly outclassed and outpassed for much of the second.
However, not one to dwell on the negative, a point on the road in the Premier League, particularly so far from home on the south coast of England, is no mean feat and the result ensures that Howe and United’s unbeaten start to the top flight season goes on.
The point could prove crucial, especially given that Manchester City and Liverpool lie in wait in the Magpies’ next three Premier League games.


Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League
Updated 13 August 2022

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League
  • Haaland was mostly crowded out by Bournemouth who sat deep with plenty of men behind the ball in a match that resembled an attack vs. defense training exercise

MANCHESTER: Erling Haaland might not hog all of Manchester City’s goals this season, after all.
Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were City’s scorers — along with an own-goal — in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, with Haaland barely getting a sight on goal at Etihad Stadium.
The Norway striker scored both of City’s goals in their opening-weekend 2-0 win at West Ham but was mostly crowded out a week later as Bournemouth sat deep with plenty of men behind the ball in a match that resembled an attack vs. defense training exercise.
City’s midfielders reaped the benefits of the extra focus on Haaland.
Gundogan’s goal did involve City’s new star striker, with Haaland holding off his marker with his back to goal and clipping a ball through to the Germany midfielder. Gundogan’s left-footed finish found the bottom corner in the 19th for his 50th goal for City.
De Bruyne scored the pick of the goals, the playmaker cutting inside on a counterattack led by Foden in the 31st, beating a defender and bending his shot with the outside of his right foot into the far corner.
De Bruyne returned the favor for Foden six minutes later, slipping a brilliant pass through the legs of a defender and into the path of his teammate, who took a touch and fired in a deflected shot that beat goalkeeper Mark Travers.
Haaland’s best chance fell in the 73rd when he mishit a first-time shot wide from Jack Grealish’s cut-back. The striker was substituted moments later.
The scoring was completed by Jefferson Lerma, who unwittingly turned a cross from Joao Cancelo into his own net from inside Bournemouth’s six-yard box.
It was a wake-up call for Bournemouth after the promoted team started the season with a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend.
City manager Pep Guardiola again chose to start with Bernardo Silva on the bench. The Portugal midfielder has been linked with a move to Barcelona and didn’t start against West Ham, either.


Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
Updated 13 August 2022

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
  • The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday
  • They sold 24.5% of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth $103 million

BARCELONA, Spain: Working against the clock, Barcelona sold off even more of their club assets on Friday so they could meet the Spanish league’s financial rules and clear Robert Lewandowski and other summer signings to play in their season opener.
The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after they sold 24.5 percent of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth 100 million euros ($103 million).
That improved their financial balance enough to satisfy the Spanish league, which added Lewandowski and fellow newcomers Raphinha, Franck Kessié and Andreas Christensen as well as the recently renewed Ousmane Dembélé and Sergi Roberto to their list of eligible players.
But, by late Friday, the league had yet to declare eligible France defender Jules Koundé, who arrived to Barcelona from Sevilla last month. The club will still need to reduce their current salary load by selling one or more current players to register Koundé.
Last month Barcelona sold an initial 25 percent stake in their production hub to Socios.com, a blockchain provider, for another 100 million euros as well as 25 percent of their Spanish league television rights for the next 25 years for nearly 670 million euros ($689 million).
All told, the heavily indebted Catalan club has mortgaged their future for 870 million euros ($895 million) to sign Lewandowski, Raphinha and Koundé for a combined 160 million euros ($165 million). Kessié and Christensen arrived as free agents.
But the Spanish league has strict financial requirements that limit the amount clubs can spend on players’ salaries and transfers based on the clubs’ financial health. Despite efforts to reduce costs and pay down their debt, Barcelona still hold 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in debt and has seen their salary cap slashed by the league in recent seasons.
Earlier on Friday, coach Xavi Hernández said he was “optimistic” that he can have his new players available for the first game of the season.
“Everyone at the club is very optimistic,” Xavi said. “We have until two hours before the match.”
The club are also pushing to sell players with big salaries like Frenkie de Jong or players unwanted by Xavi such as Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite.
Orpheus Media is run by Catalan businessman Jaume Roures, the owner of Mediapro, a major television company involved in Spanish soccer but whose 2020 broadcast rights deal for the French league collapsed. Roures was a major financial backer of Barcelona club president Joan Laporta when he returned to run the financially troubled club in 2021.
Roures said on Friday that he was not sure if the money he paid Barcelona would be sufficient.
“The league won’t have any problems with this operation,” Roures told Cadena SER radio. “If the 100 million euros are enough, I don’t know. If it isn’t, the (necessary) amount must be close to that.”
Xavi also said that Barcelona may not be done signing new players, but that any arrivals would have to come after current players were sold. Barcelona are linked to interest in Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, who would provide competition for Jordi Alba at left back.
Laporta at least was able to avoid the embarrassment of having Lewandowski watching from the Camp Nou stands on Saturday.


Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
Updated 13 August 2022

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
  • New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos
  • "It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season," quipped Ancelotti in a press conference

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday said he was surprised that German midfielder Toni Kroos did not feature on the list of 30 finalists for the Ballon d’Or.
Five members of the Champions League winning side were nominated on Friday in the shape of Thibault Cortois, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and favorite Karim Benzema.
New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos.
“It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season... But it’s true that it could be a problem if we named all the Real Madrid players, I can understand that,” quipped Ancelotti in a press conference ahead of Madrid’s Liga opener at Almeria on Sunday.
“But (Federico) Valverde, (Eder) Militao, (David) Alaba... all deserve to be there.
“All of them had a fantastic season. I’m not talking about winning the Ballon d’Or, but they deserve to be on the list.”
Ancelotti was particularly pleased with the inclusion of Brazilian forward Vinicius on the 30-strong list of nominees.
“He scored the winning goal in our 14th Champions League, he had an incredible season,” said the Italian.
“He doesn’t care if he finishes fourth or second. For the players, only victory matters. He will do better in the future. But unfortunately for Vini, this season, we already have the winner with us.”
Ancelotti was in little doubt, it seems, that French striker Benzema, who is hotly tipped to succeed would walk away with the award.
The Ballon d’Or will be awarded on October 17.
Real Madrid will kick off the defense of their La Liga title at newly-promoted Almería.
“We are feeling good, we have all the hope in the world as we start this season,” said Ancelotti, adding that “each game will be very difficult, starting tomorrow.”