Qualifier Magda Linette won an epic final against Camila Giorgi to triumph in the first edition of the Bronx Open, sealing her first WTA Tour title.

In the last WTA event before the US Open, the world number 80 triumphed 5-7 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes, topping her sole previous success on the 125k circuit.

Three competitive sets eventually led to Linette taking the victory, while Italian Giorgi lost her second final in the space of 20 days, having suffered the same fate in Washington.

Four of the first five games in the opening set produced breaks and Giorgi ultimately prevailed by striking to love on Linette's serve at 5-5 before converting the first of three set points.

But the Pole has scrapped hard all week, winning seven matches to reach the final, and claimed the second set with some clutch play. 

She saved four break points at a critical moment to move 5-4 ahead and, despite failing to take two set points in the next game, ultimately got the break she needed.

Giorgi, ranked 58, appeared to have regained the ascendancy by breaking in the first game of the decider. However, Linette saved another four break points to stop herself from falling a double break behind.

That changed the momentum and she subsequently rallied from 4-2 down, winning four straight games and claiming the first of two championship points when Giorgi put a forehand into the net, Linette celebrating by embracing her team.

Linette heads to Flushing Meadows on a high and could face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the second round of the US Open.

Lionel Messi is once again absent from the Barcelona squad for Sunday's LaLiga clash with Real Betis.

Messi returned to training this week following a calf problem, with the 32-year-old missing Barca's entire programme of pre-season friendlies due to Copa America commitments and his injury.

Although he got several days of training under his belt and appeared to be in fine form in video footage that came out of the sessions, it was reported Messi felt "discomfort" on Friday.

Coach Ernesto Valverde also urged fans to be patient in his pre-match news conference a day later, adamant Messi will not be risked if he is anything other than 100 per cent ready to feature.

As such, Messi has been left out of the squad for the visit of Betis, who left Camp Nou with a stunning 4-3 win last season.

There is a place in the selection for Ansu Fati, a 16-year-old winger who impressed in the UEFA Youth League in 2018-19.

Barca will be aiming to bounce back from their 1-0 opening-day defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

 

Jamaican triple jumper, Shanieka Ricketts, is still in search of the elusive 15-metre mark after a fourth-place finish at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday.

The triple jump was won by Brazil’s Yulimar Rojas, who got out to 15.05 metres and was the only athlete over the mark.

The next three jumpers were all bunched up, with Cuba’s Liadagmis Povea ending second with a hop, skip and a jump of 14.75 metres.

Third was the United States’ Keturah Orji with 14.72, a personal best.

That personal best came with Orji’s final jump, giving her third place ahead of Ricketts by just a centimeter.

Ricketts’ coach and husband Kerrylee Ricketts said his charge was now working on her landing because 15 metres was not far away were she to get that right.

Another Jamaican, Kimberly Williams, finished further down the field in sixth with a leap of 14.45 metres.   

Sergey Kovalev came through a difficult eighth round to stop Anthony Yarde and retain his WBO light-heavyweight belt in Chelyabinsk.

Kovalev reclaimed his title from Eleider Alvarez in January, having been knocked out by the same man in an initial meeting last year, to set up a return to Russia for the first time since 2016.

For a short time on Saturday, though, the home favourite staggered towards the brink of losing his belt again, despite dominating Yarde for much of the contest.

Kovalev found his rhythm after a cagey start and repeatedly tested Yarde's chin with his left, seeing little come back his way from the Briton.

But after showing signs of a response in both the fifth and seventh, Yarde traded punches in the eighth before suddenly having Kovalev in clear trouble.

By the bell, the 36-year-old champion looked spent. He had done well to come through the onslaught but was warned by trainer Buddy McGirt to improve in a hurry or else he would be pulled out by his corner.

Kovalev responded to the ultimatum by going on the attack. A tiring Yarde did well to get through the 10th under heavy punishment but was knocked down in the next by a stiff jab, leading to the bout being stopped.

It is the first defeat of his 19-fight career, while Kovalev moves to 34-3-1.

"[Yarde] was seconds away from winning it with those body shots in the eighth," promoter Frank Warren told BT Sport. "Every time, he was hurting [Kovalev] and he was all over the place at one stage."

Earlier, Ilunga Makabu pipped Aleksei Papin in an entertaining bout that went the distance.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Jesse Lingard's poor start to the season, insisting his "energy" is important to the way Manchester United play.

Lingard, 26, struggled in the opening two games against Chelsea and Wolves and was hauled off after 56 minutes in Saturday's dismal 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The England international has not scored in the Premier League since Solskjaer's first game in temporary charge against Cardiff City in December, but the United boss is adamant that he will remain an integral part of his side.

When asked if he was concerned by Lingard's form, Solskjaer said: "No. We stick together.

"Jesse's not scored any goals in the last three games, no, but he's been a big part of our team and will continue being an important part.

"The energy he gives us is lively, but we felt Mason [Greenwood] had to come on and create something and we'll see more of Mason."

Alexis Sanchez was once again overlooked amid the possibility of a switch to Serie A side Inter.

Solskjaer concedes the Chile international might well leave Old Trafford but is prepared to use him if he stays.

"Alexis is a quality player and we don't have loads of options," he added. 

"So, if there's an offer good enough for the club and him, maybe he'll go. If not, he's still our player and he's a quality player, no doubt. He's been training well."

Luke Shaw was replaced in the first half by Ashley Young after feeling tightness in his hamstring, although Solskjaer is hopeful he will be fit enough for the trip to Southampton next weekend.

"We will do the scans [Sunday] but he felt something in his hamstring," the manager said. "Hopefully he won't be too bad and will be back for Southampton."

Marnus Labuschagne hopes Australia can make England melt in the Headingley pressure cooker on Sunday as the tourists seek to retain the Ashes urn.

A third successive half-century from Labuschagne (80) had helped Australia post 246 on Saturday, setting England a mammoth target of 359 - one that seemed all-the-more daunting given they were rolled for 67 first time around.

But the hosts - seeking their highest successful run chase in Test history - reached stumps on day three 156-3 with captain Joe Root unbeaten on 75 having shared a crucial third-wicket stand of 126 with Joe Denly (50).

It sets up a mouth-watering fourth day as England dream of an unlikely success, yet Labuschagne hopes Australia's bowlers can make them crumble under pressure, particularly with a new ball due after a further eight overs.

"You always find that there's big partnerships but then there's one, two, three wickets," Labuschagne said.

"It can happen very quickly, so that's why you've just got to make sure you shut that scoreboard down, make sure you keep the pressure on, because when you lose one or two wickets all of a sudden the scoreboard can look a lot different if you add two wickets to it.

"That'll be what we're trying to do tomorrow, trying to make sure we're shutting down the scoreboard and making sure we're bowling balls in good areas with that new ball."

One week ago Labuschagne was on the periphery of this series but, thrust into the line-up in the second innings at Lord's last Sunday as Steve Smith's concussion replacement, the 25-year-old has quickly become a key cog for a team still shorn of their leading batsman.

While the techniques of England's batsmen has been criticised following a heavy white-ball schedule, Labuschagne has thrived in the longest format thanks to a productive spell in the County Championship with Glamorgan, for whom he amassed 1,114 runs in 10 first-class games.

"Playing for Glamorgan helped a lot," he admitted.

"Obviously playing 10 first-class games in probably less than two months was very helpful. Playing against the swinging ball in different conditions - and just learning my game and learning to put big runs on the board - definitely helped me and built my confidence as well.

"Then transitioning to this - I think I didn't play many other formats leading up to this. My focus was really on red-ball cricket, so the lead up and preparation was really good."

Almost everything about Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday was predictable.

It was vintage Arsenal, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Gunners made a fist of it for 41 minutes – by which point they were 3-0 down on their last visit to Anfield - yet once Liverpool were ahead through Joel Matip, it just looked a matter of how many they would score.

Ultimately the Reds made do with a comfortable two-goal cushion, with Lucas Torreira getting a late consolation after coming on as a substitute.

But Arsenal found themselves clinging on at times in the second half, with the match affirming many pre-match expectations.

 

Pepe's party tricks undermined when it mattered

No doubt supporters will have been excited by the prospect of seeing club-record signing Nicolas Pepe line up for the first time since his £72million move from Lille.

The Ivory coast international joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack and he cannot be accused of going missing.

After all, he became the first player in 50 matches to dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the first half, before going on a brilliant run that saw him make a mockery of Andrew Robertson's attempt at defending.

However, the latter situation also presented him with a glorious chance to score in a one-on-one situation. His lack of composure was alarming for a player who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last term, as he took his shot too early and fired straight at Adrian.

There's no doubt he has ability and some of his touches proved as much, though the performance was closer to impersonating former Gunner Gervinho, rather than the legendary Thierry Henry.

 

Arsenal's recruitment issues laid bare

It was Pepe's first Premier League start – he should improve with time.

But that does not change the perception Arsenal would have been wiser splashing £72m on other areas of the squad, rather than on an attack that already includes Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz's hapless showing is the case in point.

The Brazilian, brought in as Laurent Koscielny's replacement, was presumably supposed to add the knowledge provided by 'experience', but signing a centre-back with his track record when trying to shore up a leaky defence is akin to using paper to cover a burst pipe.

He was all over the place at Anfield, conceding a penalty by pulling Mohamed Salah's shirt before being left for dead by the Egyptian for his second goal.

 

Aubameyang a flat-track bully?

Arsenal fans generally consider themselves lucky to have Aubameyang. After all, he has been an excellent signing in terms of his output.

However, there have certainly been doubts raised about his effectiveness against the top sides. The Gabon striker has managed just three goals in 14 games against the Premier League's so-called 'big six'.

Against the rest of the teams he has played against in the top flight, Aubameyang has netted 31 in 38 matches, averaging a goal every 94 minutes.

He threatened a few times at Anfield but was nowhere near ruthless enough, letting Adrian get away with a poor clearance when he sent a lobbed effort wide of an open goal in the first period.

He then took an age to make a decision after the break when played through on goal, allowing Joel Matip to make a last-ditch tackle. Aubameyang's blushes were spared somewhat by the flag eventually going up for offside.

 

Reds silence Gunners… Again

Perhaps most predictable of all was that Arsenal simply lost against Liverpool.

The Gunners have not won at Anfield since 2012, their barren streak including losing 4-0, 4-1 and 5-1 (twice).

Before this weekend, Arsenal had won just three games against the 'big six' under Unai Emery. While Saturday was technically an improvement on the 5-1 battering last season from Arsenal's perspective, that's hardly a ringing endorsement of the Spaniard's side.

Next up: Tottenham in the north London derby.

Miguel Angel Lopez led Astana across the line for the best time in the opening stage of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana, where Primoz Roglic endured a frustrating start.

The Spanish Grand Tour kicked off with a team time trial in Torrevieja on Saturday and it was Astana, with a time of 14 minutes and 51 seconds, who set the benchmark on day one.

Lopez, among the favourites this year, was the fastest of all riders in action, claiming the red jersey, with the Colombian aiming to build on his strong previous performances at the Vuelta.

He won two stages and the young rider classification in 2017, before recording a third-placed finish in the general classification last year.

Where one pre-race contender enjoyed a strong first ride, the same was not true of Roglic.

Roglic has finished third and fourth at his past two Grand Tours - this year's Giro d'Italia and the 2018 Tour de France, respectively - but a crash put him on the back foot early on his Vuelta debut.

A collision in the middle of the Team Jumbo-Visma train sent Roglic tumbling, with the Slovenian wearing a torn skin suit as his outfit dashed for the line 40 seconds back on the leaders.

Tony Martin attempted to hold Jumbo together but a time of 15 minutes and 32 seconds was 18th best of 22 teams.

They were not the only squad to have a mishap, but Deceuninck-Quick Step still came in second despite a mix-up close to the line.

Quick Step were two seconds back, while Team Sunweb were a further three seconds behind. Mitchelton-Scott, somewhat surprisingly, came in ninth.
 

STAGE RESULT

1. Astana 14:51
2. Deceuninck-Quick Step + 00:02
3. Team Sunweb + 00:05
4. EF Education First + 00:07
5. Bora-Hansgrohe + 00:14

WHAT'S NEXT?

The familiar Benidorm to Calpe route sees riders venture out on their own in stage two, with a hilly 199.6 kilometre ride best suited to those all-rounders with both pace in their legs and the ability to climb.

Jurgen Klopp was delighted by his side's display in their 3-1 win over Arsenal but says they are not "Disneyland" and do not need to always produce scintillating football.

Joel Matip's header and Mohamed Salah's second-half brace made it three wins from three for the Reds in the Premier League, moving them three points clear of their visitors at the top of the table.

Liverpool finished the game on the back foot, with Lucas Torreira scoring a consolation for the Gunners, but Klopp believes his side deserves credit for the way they dominated the game for the first 80 minutes.

"We are not Disneyland; we do not need to excite everyone in every second," he told Sky Sports.

"The last 10 minutes I saw the possession – 53 to 47 or something like that – but over 80 minutes it must have been completely different. For 80 minutes we were completely in charge of the game.

"It was a brilliant game from my side so early in the season. It was outstanding. It was a performance full of power, energy, greed and passion, which I think you need to have against a team like Arsenal.

"We were a bit surprised by their system. We couldn't know that they would play a diamond, but we switched things around and coped very well.

"We had enough bodies and legs to put them under pressure. We had the full-backs really high. The boys did what we wanted them to do and scored wonderful goals.

"Our identity is intensity and we showed that today."

Klopp was disappointed to have conceded a late consolation goal but says it will not detract from a superb win.

"I would have loved to have it [a clean sheet], but things can happen," he added. "They're a quality side, Arsenal.

"I didn't see that many chances, but we were really in charge and completely deserved the win."

Jordan Henderson says Liverpool are not interested in laying down a marker to the rest of the Premier League, insisting their focus is simply on winning games.

The Reds continued their excellent start to the season on Saturday, easing past Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield to register a third consecutive top-flight win in 2019-20.

Henderson is refusing to get carried away, though, and says he is not concerned about sending a message to their title rivals.

Asked by BBC's Match of the Day if last season's runners-up had made a statement with their start, Henderson said: "I don't really care. It is about performing and winning. Each week we want to step on the grass and focus on winning. That is all the focus is on.

"It was a really good performance overall. If we are being critical, we are disappointed with the goal but overall delighted with the three points."

Joel Matip got Liverpool on their way with a powerful header before Mohamed Salah added two more, and the Cameroon international was pleased with the Reds' patience.

"It was a tough game against a deep-lying and high-quality team," he told Sky Sports.

"If a team is standing on the edge of the box with eight players, it's hard for any team to get through. You need time to find space.

"After three games it doesn't say too much. We've won the first three games and now we're looking forward to Burnley [next Saturday]."

Liverpool's 3-1 defeat of Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday saw the Reds set a new club record of 12 consecutive wins in the Premier League.

An 11-match winning streak between February and April in 2014 under Brendan Rodgers was their previous record, with the current Liverpool squad matching that last week when beating Southampton 2-1 away from home.

Their run broke new ground on Saturday as Joel Matip's header and Mohamed Salah's second-half brace ensured the Reds moved three points clear of Unai Emery's side at the top of the Premier League table.

Despite both sides going into the game with maximum points from their opening two games, Liverpool were considered heavy favourites given the Gunners' wretched record at Anfield.

Arsenal have not won away to Liverpool since 2012, losing 4-0, 4-1 and 5-1 twice in that period, while they have now conceded 25 times in their last seven league visits.

The European champions can extend their winning sequence further at Burnley next Saturday, while Arsenal will hope to bounce back at home to rivals Tottenham in the north London derby the following day.

Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid in their first home game of the season on Saturday.

Karim Benzema's precise strike with eight minutes to play looked enough to earn Zinedine Zidane's side a second win from two LaLiga matches in 2019-20, only for Sergi Guardiola to level late on.

Madrid started their first home game of the season with none of their new signings in the first XI, as Zidane put faith in Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Isco despite weeks of speculation over their futures.

It was Bale who looked likeliest to break the deadlock in the first half, prodding a first-time effort just wide of the left-hand post and sending a header over the crossbar.

James also twice came close with a good strike and a header, but Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip was left relatively untroubled despite Madrid's dominance.

Luka Jovic was sent on from the bench for his home debut and struck the crossbar with a header from Bale's cross - his first touch of the game.

Waldo Rubio was denied by Thibaut Courtois while Guardiola just failed to turn in a cross on the break, and Benzema's sharp turn and finish from 18 yards out looked to have punished those misses.

That was until the 88th minute, when Guardiola raced into space behind Raphael Varane and prodded the ball through the legs of Courtois.

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was "lost for words" after Marcus Rashford suffered racist abuse on social media on Saturday.

Rashford missed a second-half penalty as United suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford - their first loss of the new season.

The Red Devils were trailing to Jordan Ayew's first-half effort when Rashford smashed a spot-kick off the inside of the left-hand post, just five days after Paul Pogba had missed from 12 yards in the 1-1 draw with Wolves.

Pogba was subjected to vile social media abuse after that miss and there were similar posts targeting Rashford after the Palace game.

Solskjaer called on companies such as Twitter to do more to stop abusers "hiding behind fake identities" after Pogba was targeted, and he has again called for action to be taken.

Speaking after the match, Solskjaer said: "It's the same as we spoke about before the weekend: it's unheard of and it needs to stop.

"I'm lost for words. We keep having all these campaigns, and they keep hiding behind fake identities. It's just crazy that we talk about this in 2019."

The abuse was condemned by anti-discrimination body Kick It Out, who tweeted: "This problem will not go away and needs decisive action - that's what we'll be making clear to Twitter when we meet."

United levelled late on through Daniel James only for Patrick van Aanholt to snatch a winner in the third minute of injury time.

Solskjaer's side next face Southampton away from home next Saturday.

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent Premier League record by beating Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield.

Joel Matip's header and Salah's second-half brace ensured the Reds moved three points clear at the top of the table, with the Gunners staying second despite suffering a fourth straight away defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League.

Although Lucas Torreira recorded an 85th-minute reply, Liverpool's victory means they have won 12 consecutive Premier League matches, breaking the club's record in the competition, while they are now up to 42 home league games without defeat.

Adrian's gaffe in the 2-1 win against Southampton did not cost Liverpool last time out but he was at fault again in the early stages, racing out of his goal to slice a clearance straight to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who could only lob a bouncing ball just wide.

Mistakes continued to come at both ends. Dani Ceballos gifted Sadio Mane a chance but the forward fired his shot too close to Bernd Leno, then Jordan Henderson's lapse allowed Nicolas Pepe to race away, though he could not beat Adrian.

Liverpool took the lead in the 41st minute, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz distracted by Virgil van Dijk and leaving Matip to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold's right-wing delivery, with another corner from the full-back headed over by Sadio Mane before the break.

Arsenal were unable to cope with Liverpool after the restart, David Luiz pulling back Salah in the box with the forward hammering the resulting penalty into the top-left corner.

Salah then span away from the Brazilian centre-back on Liverpool’s right flank, cut inside and slotted a trademark left-footed finish across Leno to make it 3-0.

Only Liverpool easing up prevented further Anfield misery for Unai Emery's men, with substitute Torreira beating an unsighted Adrian from inside the box for a late consolation.

 

What does it mean? Arsenal's false dawn

Battling victories over Newcastle United and Burnley indicated Arsenal had finally found a way to grind out wins, but this was much more like their brittle old selves. Liverpool cut them open time and time again, with Aubameyang and record buy Pepe cut adrift in attack.

As for Liverpool, it was business as usual in this fixture. They have now scored 25 times in Arsenal's last seven Premier League visits and Jurgen Klopp's European champions look strong title contenders once again.


Salah in the groove

The Egypt superstar did not have a huge impact on the first half but burst into life following the resumption. Salah's penalty was emphatic and he eviscerated David Luiz for his third Premier League goal of the season.


Back to earth with a bump for Ceballos

Ceballos recorded two assists against Burnley last time out in a star performance that had some hailing him as the successor to Santi Cazorla. But, facing a side who press as ferociously as Liverpool, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder gave the ball away in poor positions far too often.


What's next?

Liverpool go to Burnley next Saturday in their final game before the first international break of the season, while Arsenal must bounce back when they host Tottenham in the north London derby.

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