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Serena retires injured in Rogers Cup final in Toronto

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Serena Williams

Serena Williams’ first U.S. Open tune-up ended in dramatic fashion as the tearful American was forced to retire with a back injury on Sunday.

She quit while trailing Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu 3-1 in the Rogers Cup final.

Williams, who hopes to chase a record-equalling 24th career Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, seemed fine on court.

But she suddenly sat crying in her chair before deciding to retire 19 minutes into the match with back spasms.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today. I tried but I just couldn’t do it,” an emotional Williams, who struggled to get the words out, told the crowd.

“It’s been a tough year but we’ll keep going.”

Andreescu consolidated an early break to move 3-1 up at which point Williams went to her chair where she called for the trainer and broke down in tears.

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Williams said the spasms began during her three-set semi-final win over Czech Marie Bouzkova on Saturday.

They got so bad that she was unable to sleep and could not really move but she added that she at least wanted to try and play the final.

“I was just trying to figure out how do you play a match where you have no rotation?” said Williams.

“And I don’t want to get this far and not at least try. I think I would have really regretted not at least going out there and seeing maybe if a miracle happened.”

The 37-year-old Williams, whose competitive action this year has been severely limited because of knee issues, declared herself pain-free ahead of the tournament.

She had been hoping to use the event as a springboard for the rest of her hardcourt swing.

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But the six-time U.S. Open champion, still without a title since returning from maternity leave in 2018, now faces her latest injury setback.

This is happening with the year’s final Grand Slam just two weeks away.

Williams, who is due to compete in Cincinnati next week, said she has experienced back spasms a lot in her career.

She said if this latest episode plays out like those before, she does not expect it to keep her out of any events.

“They’re incredibly painful, but it goes away after, like, 24, 36, maybe 48 hours, and like clockwork,” said Williams.

“In that first phase, it is incredibly painful, to a point where I usually don’t get out of bed. So, if it’s what typically happens, I will be fine, but I have to wait and see.”

As Williams sat dejected in her chair, Andreescu, who is no stranger to injury setbacks, went over to console her.

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The pair embraced and had a heartfelt conversation.

Andreescu had shot to prominence with her Indian Wells triumph in March.

Competing this week for the first time since withdrawing from the French Open with a shoulder injury, she is the first Canadian to win the event in 50 years.

“I feel for Serena so much. I’ve been through so much the last year with injury, so I am so sorry she had to go out this way,” the 19-year-old said during the trophy ceremony.

“Sometimes, you can’t push your body and she couldn’t today and I wish her a fast recovery.”

(Reuters/NAN)

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Leipzig stun Atletico Madrid to reach Champions League last four

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RB Leipzig pulled themselves into the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their short history with an unlikely 2-1 win over the highly experienced Atletico Madrid in Lisbon on Thursday.

United States midfielder Tyler Adams snatched victory in the 88th minute with a strike from outside the box which took a heavy deflection off Atletico defender Stefan Savic to flummox goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

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The German side went ahead early in the second half with a header from Spanish forward Dani Olmo.

But a disjointed Atletico was shaken into life when record signing Joao Felix came off the bench, earning and scoring a penalty to level in the 71st minute.

Atletico, beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016, looked more likely to score the next goal as they continued to pour forward.

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However, they were caught out on the break and were left shell-shocked by Adams’ strike, which booked Leipzig a semi-final tie with Paris St Germain.

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Ahmed Musa reveals son’s name, shares photo

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Nigerian international footballer, Ahmed Musa has shared a photo of his newborn baby on his Twitter page.

The new father also used the medium to announce the name of his son to be Isa Ahmed Musa.

His tweet reads:

“Today is a special day for me as my son will be named. Isa Ahmed Musa .I pray that your name will only be called in places of honour. You will be a solution to your generation and the first amongst your peers. I love you so much”

Recall that about a week ago, the Super Eagles player took to his Instagram page to announce the birth of his son.

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He had written:

“Life is indeed a gift and Allah has decided to give us a gift that can’t be bought with money. He decided to bless my family this morning with a bouncing baby Boy… Mother, baby are doing well Thank you for all your prayers and support always.”

See photo below:

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Man City must be at best to win – Silva

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David Silva

Manchester City will need to be at their best level to win the games and try to reach the final, midfielder Bernardo Silva has said.

Silva said Manchester City’s task in the Champions League has not been made any easier by the exits of Real Madrid and Liverpool as every team is capable of winning.

Pep Guardiola’s City eliminated Real in the last 16 while defending champions Liverpool were knocked out by Atletico Madrid.

“The fact that Liverpool are out, Real Madrid are out: it’s not going to make our path easier.

“All the teams in Lisbon are here because they deserve it. We need to be at our best level to win the games and try to reach the final.”

City are firm favourites heading into Saturday’s quarter-final against Olympique Lyonnais but Silva said they would not get complacent.

“Anything can happen, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, we lost against Tottenham Hotspur last year in the quarter-finals,” Silva told the City website.

“We have seen lots of surprises. It’s very difficult to predict the results in this competition,” he said.

Silva, who was born in Lisbon and began his career at Benfica, said the prospect of lifting the trophy on home soil gave him extra motivation.

“Winning this competition has always been a target for the players and the club. It will be very special to win it. For me, even more so because it’s my city,” he added.

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