Sports Digest: Coco Gauff reaches semifinals of Emilia-Romagna Open


TENNIS

Coco Gauff advanced to the semifinals of the Emilia-Romagna Open by beating Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday in Parma, Italy.

The 17-year-old Gauff, who last week reached the Italian Open semifinals for her career-best result on clay, will next face Czech player Katerina Siniakova, who beat eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-1.

Siniakova eliminated Serena Williams on Tuesday. Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens also reached the semifinals by beating Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-0. Stephens will face either second-seeded Petra Martić or sixth-seeded Qiang Wang.

TRACK AND FIELD

800 CHAMP OUT OF OLYMPICS: Two-time Olympic 800-meter champion David Rudisha will not defend his title at the Tokyo Games. Rudisha’s agent, Michel Boeting, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Tokyo was “out of the question” for Rudisha because of a persistent hamstring problem.

The Olympics are set to open on July 23 and the 800 heats start July 31.

“He is just contemplating his next step, whether it’s retirement or to continue training,” Boeting said in a telephone interview.

Now 32, Rudisha has not run at the international level since the 2017 season, and the current injury is linked to chronic inflammation of his sitting bone, Boeting said. Rudisha set the world record of 1 minute, 40.91 seconds when he won gold at the 2012 London Olympics. No one has since come within a second of that time.

CYCLING

TOUR d’ITALIA: Italian cyclist Andrea Vendrame held off the rest of the breakaway pack to win the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday in Bagno di Romagna, Italy, for his first victory in a Grand Tour, while Egan Bernal kept the leader’s pink jersey.

Vendrame, who rides for AG2R Citroën, edged out Chris Hamilton in a sprint at the end of the 212-kilometer (132-mile) route from Siena to Bagno di Romagna that featured four categorized climbs. There was also a sprint for third, with Gianluca Brambilla narrowly beating George Bennett. The duo finished 15 seconds behind Vendrame.

All four had been part of a large breakaway. Bernal crossed the line in the peloton to maintain his 45-second lead over Aleksandr Vlasov. Nobody else is within a minute of the 2019 Tour de France winner, with third-place Damiano Caruso 1:12 behind.

Friday’s 13th stage is an entirely flat 198-kilometer (123-mile) route from Ravenna to Verona that pays tribute to writer and philosopher Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death. It will also give the riders a break before hitting the high mountains the following day.

AUTO RACING

INDYCAR: IndyCar announced a contract extension with NTT at its title sponsor Thursday, a move that solves one of the looming financial questions facing Roger Penske in his second year as owner of the series. NTT is a global technology giant that became title sponsor of the IndyCar Series in 2019. The company has since extended the agreement and become the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard weekend.

“Over the first two years as entitlement sponsor of the series, the dedicated team at NTT has helped IndyCar become more efficient and effective through smart technologies,” said Penske, who became owner of IMS and IndyCar in January, 2020. “As our sport continues to grow by connecting with a new generation of fans, NTT helps take us down new roads by creating more engaging experiences through our shared digital platforms.”

Next on Penske’s to-do list is ironing out a new television contract. The current deal with NBC Sports is in its final season.

FORMULA ONE: Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc clocked the fastest time on his home circuit Thursday during the second practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix. Leclerc is from Monaco and grew up in a flat overlooking the sinewy 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) circuit that snakes around the picturesque principality.

He had a best lap of 1 minute, 11.68 seconds and led his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. by 0.11 seconds. World champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was third, 0.39 behind Leclerc. The last Ferrari driver to win in Monaco was Sebastian Vettel four years ago, but Hamilton was impressed by what he saw in the two sessions.

“The Ferraris look really strong, surprising to see them improving so much but that’s great,” Hamilton said. “It means more competition. We’ve got some work to do.”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was fourth fastest and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was fifth.


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