Friday's Sports in Brief

September 5

TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka spiked her racket after one errant forehand late in the second set at the U.S. Open, then flung it the length of the baseline after a missed backhand return ceded that tiebreaker.

Sometimes, that’s the sort of reaction it takes to right things for Osaka. And, perhaps surprisingly, she needed whatever push she could get in the third-round match.

Facing an opponent competing in just her second major tournament, two-time Grand Slam champion Osaka eventually figured out a way to turn a tight one into a runaway and beat 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 by claiming the final five games at Flushing Meadows.

Still, Osaka improved to 7-0 since tennis resumed after a hiatus of more than five months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s impressive, to be sure, but still a long way from what top-ranked Novak Djokovic has done in 2020. He is 26-0 this season — and his winning streak dating to late last year is now at 29 matches — after a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 28 seed Jan-Lennard Struff on Friday night.

Djokovic’s bid for a fourth championship in New York and 18th Grand Slam title overall — Roger Federer, with 20, and Rafael Nadal, with 19, are the only men with more, and neither entered this tournament — will continue in the fourth round against 20th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday.

GOLF

ATLANTA (AP) — Five days later, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are still going at it. They dressed about the same Friday in the Tour Championship, matched birdies on five holes and wound up tied for the lead at East Lake.

That required Rahm getting the better of Johnson again.

Rahm, whose 65-foot birdie putt beat Johnson in a playoff at Olympia Fields last week, had a 5-under 65 that allowed him to make up the two-shot deficit at the start of the round that was awarded Johnson as the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup.

Johnson did his part with a 67, losing a three-shot edge early with back-to-back bogeys to end the front nine, and then missing a birdie putt from just over 4 feet on the final hole that would have given him the lead.

They were at 13-under par based on their starting positions in the FedEx Cup finale.

It was the second straight year under this format the FedEx Cup leader, who starts at 10 under with a two-shot lead, ended the opening round in a tie for the lead.

Justin Thomas was in the top spot a year ago and opened with a 70. He said later it felt awkward to start the tournament with a two-shot lead before hitting a shot. This year, he began at 7 under and shot a 66 to end the day two shots behind.

The biggest move belonged to the player who might have had the least expectations. Rory McIlroy left Chicago on Sunday and spent three days with his newborn daughter, Poppy, only arriving in Atlanta on Thursday.

He finished with three straight birdies, getting up-and-down from a bunker short of the green on the par-5 18th, for a 64. He started seven shots behind and finished the opening round only four back.

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) -- American John Catlin shot a 1-under 70 to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend in the Andalucía Masters.

Catlin had a 3-under total at Valderrama. Connor Syme (72), Jamie Donaldson (69) and Pablo Larrazabal were tied for second.

FOOTBALL

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Washington released running back Adrian Peterson on Friday, a stunning move by first-year coach Ron Rivera in the name of getting younger.

Rivera called Peterson early in the morning asking him to come to the practice facility, then delivered the news the team was moving on from the 35-year-old star. The move came less than 36 hours before NFL rosters must be trimmed to the 53-man limit and nine days before the start of the regular season.

Peterson played the past two seasons with Washington, rushing for 1,940 yards and 12 touchdowns in the fourth stop of a career that will likely earn him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He originally signed in the summer of 2018 after rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the season with a knee injury, and kept his starting job in 2019.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts will allow a maximum of 2,500 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Sept. 20 home opener against Minnesota. That number was determined following discussions with the Marion County Public Health Department and set to meet local, NFL and CDC guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

BASKETBALL

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Montrezl Harrell won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award, keeping the honor for the league’s top reserve with the Los Angeles Clippers for the third straight season.

Harrell ended the two-year run of teammate Lou Williams — who finished third — and gave the Clippers four winners in the last five years. Harrell and Williams helped the Clippers have the league’s highest-scoring bench for the second straight season.

Harrell received 58 first-place votes from a panel of 100 writers and broadcasters, earning 397 points. Dennis Schroder of Oklahoma City was second with 35 first-place votes and 328 points, while Williams got the other seven first-place votes and 127 points.

COLLEGE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he intends to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to longtime football coach Lou Holtz.

Trump made the announcement at the White House as Holtz looked on. The president did not announce a date for the ceremony but said it would be soon. Holtz spoke last week at the Republican National Convention.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 relief during the playoffs, meaning a positive coronavirus test could end a driver’s championship bid. The playoffs begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina without a safety net for the 16 participants during the pandemic. It’s up to each driver to protect themselves from COVID-19.

CYCLING

LAVAUR, France (AP) -- The most thrilling day of racing so far at the Tour de France produced multiple winners, setting the stage for more hard riding this weekend in the high mountains of the Pyrenees.

Belgium’s Wout Van Aert won the seventh stage from Millau to Lavaur for his second stage victory. Three-time world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia got back the green jersey awarded to riders who collect the most points in sprints, after his team caused havoc on the road by riding furiously from the start. And British rider Adam Yates negotiated the stage’s multiple traps to keep the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

HORSE RACING

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Long shot Shedaresthedevil won the Kentucky Oaks in record time, overtaking favorite Gamine at the top of the stretch and holding off Swiss Skydiver for a 1 1/2-length victory in the 146th Kentucky Oaks for fillies at Churchill Downs.

Shedaresthedevil covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.28 to break Bird Town’s record of 1:48.64 set in 2003. The bay filly , with Florent Geroux aboard, paid $32.20, $8.40 and $3.80.

Postponed from May along with the Kentucky Derby because of coronavirus concerns, the race went off on a hot, sunny day without spectators.

DOPING

The World Anti-Doping Agency will consider rules changes that would allow it to sanction the United States if it stops paying its annual dues to the drug-fighting organization.

WADA said in a news release that “several representatives” of governments around the world had approached the agency with the idea. This episode stems from a U.S. government study in June that concluded the U.S. is underrepresented on WADA’s key policy-making committees, and that Congress should consider giving the American government’s drug-fighting office discretion to withhold future funding.

ATHLETICS

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan broke the one-hour world records at the Memorial Van Damme meeting.

In an empty stadium because of the coronavirus, Farah broke Haile Gebrselassie’s 13-year-old record of 21,285 kilometers, covering 21.330. Hassan ran 18.930 to top the mark of 18.517 set by Dire Tune in 2008.

SOCCER

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) -- New York Red Bulls fired coach Chris Armas after a little more than two years on the job. The MLS team also said assistant coach CJ Brown will not be back.

The Red Bulls are 3-4-2 in a season paused and restarted because of the coronavirus pandemic. New York dropped a 1-0 decision to DC United on Wednesday. An interim head coach will be hired soon.



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