London, Nov 13 (AP/UNB) — The opening matches at the ATP Finals led to a debate over whether conditions at the O2 Arena were trickier than in past years.
Novak Djokovic ended it.
The Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion made an impressive start to his campaign for a sixth title by dismissing John Isner 6-4, 6-3 on Monday.
Roger Federer, who lost on Sunday, and Alexander Zverev described conditions as challenging following their error-strewn opening matches at the season-ending tournament, but Djokovic dropped just six points on his serve and made six unforced errors.
"My results here have been pretty good in the last 10 years, so I can't complain too much," said Djokovic, who has won four titles at the London venue. "It takes a little bit of time really to get yourself adjusted to the surface because the surface is a good surface."
A day after a ceremony to mark ending the season as No. 1, Djokovic underlined his status by nullifying Isner's usually destructive serve.
Isner, who at 33 became the season-ending tournament's oldest debutant since 1972, applied himself admirably but barely avoided being broken more than once in the first set, and was broken twice more in the second set.
"It was amazing," Isner said of the atmosphere. "I wish I could have given them a bit more to cheer for."
The one break Djokovic converted in the first set, at 2-2, was a cross-court forehand return winner which stranded Isner.
Cristiano Ronaldo was in attendance, with Djokovic perhaps spurred on even more by the Juventus forward's presence.
"It's great to have big football star, sports star like him, courtside watching tennis," Djokovic said.
At 3-3, 15-30 in the second set, Isner sent down a second serve at 126 mph (203 kph). Djokovic sent it straight back at his feet and a shocked Isner hit his backhand long to concede two more break points.
A forehand error from Isner confirmed the break, and the end of the contest. The merciless Djokovic held serve before breaking Isner once more with an inch-perfect backhand passing shot on match point.
"That was pretty comprehensive out there," Isner conceded.
Earlier, Zverev came from a break down in both sets to defeat Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1).
Facing each other in their opening match for a second straight year, Zverev produced the slightly steadier tennis in an attritional contest to extend his record against Cilic to 2-0 at the O2 Arena and 6-1 overall.
Cilic, who made 46 unforced errors, dropped to 1-9 across his four appearances at the tournament.
"The win, that's the most important thing," said Zverev, who failed to advance from the round-robin stage on his debut last year.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) - Spin bowlers Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz dominated in the Zimbabweans first innings as the duo shared eight wickets and gave Bangladesh a 218-run lead after the third day’s play in the second and final Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe were 304 for all in 105.3 overs and fell 19 runs short of the follow-on mark. The moot question is now if the hosts would force them to bat again.
Brendan Taylor  reached his fifth Test hundred alongside sharing a 139-run partnership in the sixth wicket with Peter Moor, who hit his career-best 83. Opening batsman Brian Chari scored 53.
Bangladesh's spinner Taijul’s dazzled for his third consecutive five-wicket haul in the series [5/107].
Left-armer Taijul figured his career best 11-for 170 [6/108 and 5/62] in the first Test of the two-Test series in Sylhet last week. He currently shares honours with Enamul Haque Junior and Shakib Al-Hasan.
Earlier, replying to Bangladesh’s 522/7 declared, Zimbabwe resumed the first innings with overnight 25/1 in 18 overs and managed to stay afloat for much of the day before Ariful Haque's medium pace snapped Moor from the sixth wicket partnership late in the afternoon at 270 for 6 in the 97th over.
Miraz then took two wickets in three balls. Taijul wrapped up the innings with his fifth wicket.
Zimbabwe’s last batsman pacer Tendai Chatara was absent hurt.
In the day’s first session, Taijul made the first breakthrough dismissing Donald
Tiripano at 40/2 in 28.4 over, before young spin all-rounder Miraz bagged Brian Chari at 96/3 in 41.4 overs.
Taijul [5/107], Miraz [3/61] and Ariful [1/10] bewildered the visitors sharing nine wickets for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh 1st innings: 522/7-d in 160 overs; Mushfiqur Rahim 219 *, Mominul Haque 161, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 68*, Mahmudullah Riyad 36; Kyle Jarvis 5/71, Tendai Chatara 1/34, Donald Tiripano 1/65.
Zimbabwe 1st innings: 304/10 in 105.3 overs, Followed-on (overnight 25/1 in 18 overs); Brendan Taylor 110, Peter Moor 83, Brian Chari 53, Kyle Jarvis 9*, Taijul Islam 5/107, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 3/61, Ariful Haque 1/10.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (AP/UNB) - It has plunged Germany into renewed crisis, provoked scenes of jubilation in Kosovo and Gibraltar, and set up what could be an exciting week of international soccer in a summer usually bereft of competition for European countries.
The UEFA Nations League might not have been welcomed by some clubs across the continent — Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp called it "the most senseless competition in the world of football" — but it has generated plenty of intriguing story lines to pique interest in its inaugural year.
The competition has reached its final set of qualifying matches, and results over the next week will determine which teams will feature in a Final Four mini-tournament in June — when the first Nations League champion will be crowned. Currently, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain are favorites to be the finalists.
The upcoming matches will also establish which of the lower-ranked teams qualify for the Nations League playoffs, from which one place at the 2020 European Championship will be awarded.
Here's a look at what's at stake:
France, the world champion, has won two of its first three group games and will advance to the Final Four with a win over the Netherlands in Rotterdam on Friday. A victory for the Dutch means they can then qualify by beating — or potentially even drawing with — Germany in the group closer in Gelsenkirchen on Monday.
France has seen four players, including Paul Pogba, withdraw from the squad through injury on Monday.
Germany is last in the group, having collected one point from three games, and is on the brink of relegation to League B featuring Europe's second-tier nations. Coming after a World Cup where the team failed to get out of the group stage, coach Germany coach Joachim Loew's decision to stay on in the role is under as much scrutiny as the team's mettle.
Iceland has already been relegated after losing its first three games, leaving Belgium and Switzerland — tied on points — to battle for first place. The Belgians have played a game less, so a home win over Iceland on Thursday will leave them three points clear heading into the group decider in Switzerland on Monday.
Belgium is the world's top-ranked team and will look for revenge for its semifinal loss to France at the World Cup if it does reach the Final Four.
There is an added emphasis on which of Portugal or Italy advances, considering the team that qualifies from this group will host the Final Four in June. Portugal is the favorite after winning its first two games, without needing Cristiano Ronaldo, and needs only a point away to Italy on Saturday to guarantee first place.
If Italy wins, Portugal can still finish top with a home win on Tuesday over Poland, which has already been relegated after picking up just one point from its first three games.
Spain looked on course to qualify comfortably from a group also containing England and World Cup runner-up Croatia after beating both teams in its first two games. Losing to England 3-2 in Sevilla last month, in arguably the standout match of the entire group stage so far, has kept things alive.
If Spain loses to Croatia in Zagreb on Thursday, England can finish first with a win over the Croats at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Spain coach Luis Enrique has called up Barcelona left back Jordi Alba for the first time since taking charge of the team after the World Cup.
Ukraine became the first country to secure promotion to Group A for the second Nations League, in 2020. Bosnia and Russia are well clear in their groups and need one point from their final matches, against Austria and Sweden respectively, to also ensure promotion.
In the other group in League B, Wales and Denmark are fighting for first place. They meet in Cardiff on Friday, when a Welsh win would guarantee them top spot.
The Nations League also offers a second chance to qualify for the European Championship in 2020. The 16 group winners in Leagues A, B, C and D — or the next best-placed teams who have not already qualified via the European qualifiers starting in March — will progress to the playoffs to compete for the last four qualifying places.
It means the so-called minnows of Europe have something tangible to play for.
No teams have won their group so far, though Finland is close after winning its first four games in Group C2 and needs one point from its last two.
In Group C1, Israel and Scotland are batting for first place; in Group C3, Norway and Bulgaria are tied on points with two games left; and in Group C4, there is a three-way fight between Serbia, Montenegro and Romania.
In the league containing Europe's weakest countries, Gibraltar and Kosovo — two of the newest members of UEFA — have claimed their first ever competitive international wins.
Kosovo is top of Group D3, two points clear of Azerbaijan with two games left. Gibraltar is second behind Macedonia in Group D4. Georgia has won Group D1, and Luxembourg and Belarus appear to be fighting for first place in Group D2.
London, Nov 13 (AP/UNB) — Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge could be facing a ban from football after being charged on Monday with breaching rules on betting.
England's Football Association said the alleged breaches took place in January 2018, when Sturridge was on loan from Liverpool at West Bromwich Albion.
Liverpool reacted by saying the 29-year-old Sturridge has "stated categorically that he has never gambled on football."
"Daniel has given his full and unequivocal cooperation throughout this process," Liverpool said in a statement, "and has assured the club he will continue to do so."
In April last year, Premier League player Joey Barton was banned for 18 months for placing more than a thousand bets on football over an 11-year period, including games he played in.
The FA said Sturridge is alleged to have breached two rules. The first relates to bets on matches or any other football matter, and the second involves providing information about football from his privileged position to another person for the purposes of betting.
Sturridge has until Nov. 20 to respond to the charge.
The former Manchester City and Chelsea striker has played 26 times for England, the most recent appearance coming in October 2017. He is back in favor at Liverpool, and has scored four goals as the back-up striker to Roberto Firmino this season.
Leipzig, Nov 13 (AP/UNB) - Schalke forward Mark Uth has been ruled out of Germany's games against Russia and the Netherlands, while Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler will miss the first game.
The German soccer federation said on Monday that Draxler was being given time off due to a family bereavement and it was unclear if he would return for the UEFA Nations League game against the Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen on Nov. 19.
Germany plays Russia on Thursday in a friendly in Leipzig.
Uth, who made his Germany debut in the 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam last month, suffered a hamstring and tendon injury in his left leg in Schalke's 3-0 Bundesliga defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. It's unclear if he will play again this season.
Loew ruled out any other call-ups.
"It's not planned at the moment. We have 20 outfield players and three goalkeepers. That's enough for the moment," Loew said after the team arrived in Leipzig on Monday.