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Zverev reaches another French Open semi-final

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Germany's Alexander Zverev reached the French Open semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year by seeing off the spirited challenge

Germany’s Alexander Zverev reached the French Open semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year by seeing off the spirited challenge of Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

Fourth seed Zverev, 27, came through to win 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 against 11th seed De Minaur.

Now Zverev has another chance to reach the Roland Garros final after missing out in each of the past three years.

Standing in his way will be Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud, who outclassed Zverev in last year’s semi-finals.

“I’m happy to be back in another semi-final, hopefully I can win one,” said Zverev.

Ruud, 25, moved into the last four without playing as a result of Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal on Tuesday.

Defending champion Djokovic, 37, pulled out with a knee injury which hampered him during a gutsy fourth-round win on Monday.

In the other semi-final Italian second seed Jannik Sinner will take on Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Both semi-finals will be played on Friday – when Zverev’s ongoing court case into domestic abuse allegations resumes in Berlin.

The Olympic champion, who denies allegations of physically abusing his former girlfriend, does not have to be present in court and remained in Paris when the trial opened last week.

Before the tournament he insisted the case was “not on my mind” and has not spoken about it further.

Despite the shadow of the trial, Zverev is now two wins from clinching the Grand Slam title which his talent on the tennis court has long promised.

Zverev tuned up for the French Open by winning the prestigious Rome title, a victory which consolidated his place among the pre-tournament favourites at Roland Garros.

He has justified that position with five victories which have demonstrated his quality and resilience.

De Minaur had never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros until this year, but the 25-year-old caused plenty of problems with his speed around the court and ability to get the ball back.

The opening two sets were tight and tense, each lasting around the hour mark and signifying the pair’s duelling from the baseline.

De Minaur hitting a double fault on break point at 3-3 was enough to tip the first in Zverev’s favour, while the German recovered a 4-0 deficit in the tie-break – including winning a 39-shot rally at 5-5 – to strengthen his position.

Hearing De Minaur shade the support on Court Philippe Chatrier appeared to rattle Zverev, who stood motionless cupping his ear after moving two sets clear.

The third was more straightforward for Zverev – until he was broken when serving for the match at 5-3.

But, like he has done all the way through the tournament, he recovered and elevated his game in the key moments to clinch victory.

“I have the mindset you have to work harder than everyone else to be the best player,” said Zverev.

“I like to work to my absolute limit. If I do that then playing five sets all of a sudden is not that difficult.”

 

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Olympics: BFN celebrates Opeyori, plans intensive training in Italy

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The Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) on Friday in Lagos organised a special dinner to send forth the country's number one badminton star

The Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) on Friday in Lagos organised a special dinner to send forth the country’s number one badminton star Anuoluwapo Opeyori, who is set to intensify training in Italy ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Opeyori, who has dominated Africa in the men’s singles from 2019 till date, winning four African Championship titles and two African Games titles, secured a spot at the Paris Games last month, becoming the first Nigerian badminton player to qualify for two consecutive Olympics after featuring at Tokyo 2020.

An elated Francis Orbih, President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, said on the occasion that Opeyori had broken the badminton jinx after qualification for the Games in Paris.

“History was made in badminton after Anuoluwapo Opeyori secured a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. I am full of joy because Anu is the first Nigerian badminton player to feature in the men’s singles at the Olympic Games and also the first Nigerian badminton player to attend two Olympics back-to-back,” Orbih stated at the Civic Centre, Lagos, venue of the event.

Speaking with the media after the event, Orbih outlined the federation’s programme for Opeyori, which he said would begin with a three-week training tour of Italy this week.

He added, “We titled this programme ‘Send forth’ because we intend him to travel to Italy next week (this week) for a training camp camp for about three weeks. After that, the ministry will open its training camp in Germany July 1, he’ll join the team Nigeria there.

“We also intend him to play the Mauritius International and one other championship. After the training camp he needs to go to the court and put to use the skills he acquired in camp. After that he goes straight to the Olympics.”

President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Habu Gumel, also charged Opeyori to put up a fine outing in France.

“I’ll watch all your matches in Paris no matter how tight my schedule will be, so go make Nigerians proud.”

Also present at the event were top dignitaries, including ace comedian and BFN brand ambassador Ali Baba, a former Commissioner for Sports, Lagos State, Enitan Oshodi, DG of the Lagos state Sports Commission Lekan Fatodu as well as representatives of Mutual Benefits Assurance, Mikano Group, Dufil Prima Foods, Avis, Bond Global Energy, Studio 24, Ikoyi Club 1938 officials and members, amongst others.

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Abidjan African Judo Open 2024: Team Nigeria Pick Third Position Behind Cameroon, Argentina

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The Abidjan African Judo Open 2024 came to an end on Sunday with good performance from Nigerian judokas who came third in .

The Abidjan African Judo Open 2024 came to an end on Sunday with good performance from Nigerian judokas who came third in the 32-nation tournament held in Cote D’Ivoire.

Cameroon came first on the medal table with 4 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medals Argentina was second on the table with 2 gold and 1 bronze, while the Nigerian team were third with 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.

Competitors of 103 men and 44 women came in from the five continents of the world to attend the Judo Open which was held between 8 and 9 in Abidjan.

President of Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF), Dr. Musa Oshodi who led the Nigerian contingent to the world tournament praised the performance of the judokas, adding that “we are not at the Abidjan African Open 2024 to make number rather our team came to make the nation proud.”

The president assures that the NJC will leave nothing to chance to ensure that Nigerian judokas are given the enabling environment to showcase their talent with necessary exposure to both local and international tournaments.

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NBA Finals: Celtics beat Mavericks 105-98, take 2-0 lead

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In a game full of up and down emotions but one that a very smart and accurate team knew how to put away, the Boston Celtics managed to

In a game full of up and down emotions but one that a very smart and accurate team knew how to put away, the Boston Celtics managed to beat the Dallas Mavericks with a final score of 105-98 in the second game of the NBA Finals to take a 2-0 lead.

Despite the impressive performance of Luka Doncic, who recorded a triple double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists while not being 100%, the Celtics showed greater strength as a team and delivered clutch baskets.

From the beginning of the game, the intensity could be felt on the court, with both teams fighting for every possession and seeking to establish their dominance. The Mavericks counted on an outstanding performance from Doncic, who led his team’s offense with a display of skills in both shooting and ball distribution in what it seemed to be a game that Dallas could take.

However, despite his outstanding individual performance, the Celtics managed to neutralize his impact through solid defense and a well-executed collective strategy. Boston showed remarkable cohesion as a team, with notable contributions from several key players. Jrue Holiday stood out with 26 points and 11 rebounds, leading Boston’s offensive charge and proving his worth in crucial moments of the game.

Additionally, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown contributed significantly to the team, providing a combination of points, rebounds and assists to keep the Celtics in control of the game.

As the game moved toward the end, the Mavericks fought for a comeback, led by Doncic, who continued to apply pressure on both ends of the court. But the Celtics held firm on defense and found ways to maintain their lead, thus securing the victory and consolidating their lead in the series.

 

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