Tag Archives: opponent

Leylah Fernandez makes quick work of Chinese opponent in Charleston opener

Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez beat No. 16 seed Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Volvo Car Open on Tuesday in Charleston, S.C.

The 18-year-old Fernandez, from Laval, Que, saved four of five break points, while Shuai was one-for-six in the same category.

It was the first match of the clay-court season for Fernandez, who was ousted in qualifying for the recently completed Miami Open one day after winning her first career WTA Tour event in Mexico last month.

Fernandez, ranked 72nd in the world, will next face world No. 91 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro at the WTA 500 event.

WATCH | Laval’s Leylah Fernandez cruises past Zhang Shuai in straight sets at Volvo Open:

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., beat No. 16 seed Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Volvo Car Open clay court tournament in Charleston, S.C. 0:35

Shuai, ranked 41st, has lost all three matches she has played in 2021.

World No. 1 Ash Barty of Australia headlines the field this week after capturing the Miami title.

Canada’s top-ranked player for Billie Jean Cup

Fernandez is the top-ranked player on the Canadian roster for the April 16-17 Billie Jean Cup playoff against host Brazil as world No. 6 Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and No. 120 Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., are not in the lineup.

Andreescu hurt her foot in the Miami Open final last Saturday, while Bouchard hasn’t played since March 16.

Fernandez is joined by Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino and Toronto’s Sharon Fichman and Carol Zhao.

WATCH | Andreescu retires from Miami Open final with injury:

Australian Ashleigh Barty claimed the WTA Miami Open title Saturday 6-3, 4-0 after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire in the 2nd set having fallen awkwardly earlier in the match with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. 6:03

Serbia has one player in the top 100 of the singles rankings — No. 85 Nina Stojanovic.

The Billie Jean King Cup is the new name for the Fed Cup.

The winner of the Canada-Serbia tie will play in the qualifiers next year for a chance to reach the 2022 finals. The loser drops into a regional group.

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CBC | Sports News

Messi faces lengthy suspension for ‘excessive force’ against Athletic Bilbao opponent

After losing the Spanish Super Cup final, Barcelona is also in danger of losing Lionel Messi for an extended period after he hit an opponent toward the end of the match.

Messi could be suspended for up to 12 games for the red card he received in the final minutes of his team’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in Seville on Sunday.

After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm toward the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran forward toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with “excessive force” while the ball was not near him.

The Spanish soccer federation’s competitions committee will decide on the charges against Messi, and the player’s eventual suspension could range from one to three matches or from four to 12 matches, depending on how severe the federation considers the incident.

Barcelona was already preparing its defence regardless of the charges that would be presented by the federation against its player.

If found guilty, Messi will be suspended for matches in the Spanish league or the Copa del Rey. Barcelona is in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey and trails Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the league.

Title drought

Messi was visibly frustrated as the match went on and Barcelona struggled to recover from its deficit against Athletic. The Catalan club twice relinquished leads, including conceding a 90th-minute equalizer scored by Villalibre. Antoine Griezmann scored both Barcelona goals, with Messi assisting in the first one.

The defeat cost Barcelona a chance to end a title drought that has lingered from last season, the club’s first without a title since 2007-08.

While it was Messi’s first red card for his club, he has been sent off twice while playing for Argentina’s national team, including a few seconds into his debut in a friendly against Hungary in 2005. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile. He was also sent off once while playing for Barcelona’s “B” team.

Messi, who asked to leave the club in the off-season but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches with Barcelona. He was far from his best on Sunday despite helping set up the team’s first goal.

Messi had been doubtful to play in the final because of an unspecified fitness issue that had caused coach Ronald Koeman to leave him out of the semifinal against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when Barcelona prevailed in a penalty shootout.

Barcelona’s next match is on Thursday at Cornella in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey.

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CBC | Soccer News

As U.K. campaigning begins, Boris Johnson faces a confident opponent in his own riding

As Britain’s Parliament was dissolved and the nation’s first December election in a century got under way Wednesday, Ali Milani was wrapping up his first cold, wet, night canvassing.

He insists he barely noticed the miserable weather.

“You can tell your kids when they grow up that I unseated Boris Johnson — that would be something!” Milani gushed to a supporter who stopped by to say hello near where his canvassers were gathering at the South Ruislip tube station in northwest London.

That’s obviously premature, but the 25-year-old from the suburb of Uxbridge will nonetheless be at the centre of one of the most closely watched races of Britain’s Brexit election on Dec. 12.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has run in the constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip twice, first in 2015 when he won handily and again in 2017 when voters swung hard away from the Conservatives,  cutting Johnson’s margin of victory to 5,000 votes.

By Canadian standards,  that still seems pretty healthy but within Conservative circles in Britain it set off alarm bells.

Ash Sarkar, a political activist and editor at Novara Media, a radical left-wing website, speaks in support of Milani. (Lily Martin/CBC)

Now,  the Labour Party and Milani have what they believe is an opportunity to accomplish an unheard-of double upset, not only by knocking off a sitting prime minister but stopping Johnson’s Brexit plans at the same time.

“The energy is there for us to not only defeat the Conservatives but make history by unseating a prime minister in his own seat for the first time in British democratic history,” Milani told CBC News.

Milani immigrated to the U.K. from Iran when he was five years old and grew up in a working class neighbourhood. He cut his political teeth in student politics at nearby Brunel University, where he headed the student union, and he comes across as a political veteran despite his relative youth.

“It’s something that has not occurred, certainly in modern party politics,” says Catherine Haddon,  who studies the British parliamentary system at the Institute for Government.

And while she won’t offer an opinion on how likely it is that Johnson would go down, she says it would have enormous implications for the Conservative Party and the Brexit legislation that Johnson is trying to push through.

“It would complicate things massively.”

Johnson speaks during an event launching the Conservative Party’s election campaign in Birmingham on Wednesday. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

The British political tradition is somewhat different from Canada’s when a leader is defeated but his or her party manages to win.

Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenize King lost his seat twice — in 1925 and 1945 — but both times ran again and won in a byelection and stayed on as PM.

More recently,  former B.C. Premier Christy Clark lost in her Vancouver riding in 2013 but ran again and won a few months later in Kelowna and carried on governing.

No such precedents exist in the U.K. parliamentary system, however, says Haddon.

“It’s perfectly possible that a prime minister could stay on temporarily. It’s not a must that you have to be an MP and a party leader, but there is (an) expectation that you should be and that it would be unsustainable for a long period of time.”

If the Conservatives were to win a minority of seats with Johnson being defeated, she says, that sort of “hung Parliament” would create even more uncertainty.

Milani, 25, immigrated from Iran as a child. ‘The energy is there for us to not only defeat the Conservatives but make history by unseating a prime minister in his own seat for the first time in British democratic history,’ he says. (Lily Martin/CBC)

Some observers have mused about whether a defeated prime minister could appoint himself or herself to the House of Lords and keep going, but Haddon says it’s doubtful.

“Politically, I think it would be all but impossible to do that, and I think there would be pressure from his own party to resign.”

Daily Telegraph associate editor Camilla Tominey says that while Johnson may be “vulnerable,” in previous elections he wasn’t prime minister. That position comes with extra prominence and recognition which she believes will help him withstand Labour’s challenge.

“It’s still one worth watching,” she told CBC News.

The latest polls give the Conservatives nationally a lead of 11 percentage points over Labour but with torn allegiances over Brexit, Tominey says, there’s a lot of potential for surprises on election night.

Johnson did not start the campaign in the Uxbridge area, instead delivering a speech outside the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street before heading to a rally in northern England.

“The whole Brexit delay is holding us back,” he told a crowd in Birmingham, before drawing on an analogy from his time as mayor of London.

“It’s like a bendy bus. I banned them in London. A bendy bus jackknifed and no one could get around it. It’s blocking the traffic in every direction. And the uncertainty and delay are bad for the country.”

Johnson was elected twice in the constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, in a northwest London suburb, but his margin of victory declined in 2017. (Fred Gagnon/CBC)

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn,  who remains deeply unpopular inside and outside his party, has promised to put Brexit to another referendum, but not before negotiating a new deal with the European Union and giving voters the choice to accept it or remain in the EU.

However, Corbyn has created confusion by not saying on which side he’d campaign.

The third-place Liberal Democrats have vowed to revoke the result of the 2016 referendum and keep Britain in the EU, but Tominey says the move may alienate some of their more moderate supporters.

“So we have a situation where at the heart of every party in politics in Britain at the moment, there are divisions that are muddying the waters when it comes to predicting what will happen on Dec. 12.”

Johnson appears to be counting hard on voter exhaustion with Brexit and hoping that after almost three years of non-decisions and failed efforts, people just want it over with.

On the streets of Johnson’s constituency Wednesday, Theresa Hodgson told a CBC News crew that’s exactly how she feels about him.

“I did vote for him, and I would vote for him again because I think he shows a lot of courage where no one else seems to.”

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CBC | World News

Canadian NBA star Andrew Wiggins denies calling opponent 'gay'

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins is denying he used the word "gay" in describing Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder's behaviour during their game on Tuesday night.

Thunder centre Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter after Wiggins collided with Noel on a dunk attempt Tuesday night. Schroder, unhappy about the play and other incidents in what was a testy game, eventually was given a technical foul for an altercation with Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague.

After the game, Wiggins, who grew up north of Toronto in Vaughan, thought Schroder's actions were unwarranted and some thought he appeared to say "He was just gay. He was acting crazy for no reason."

However, the Canadian used Twitter on Wednesday to deny that he made such a comment.

The incident overshadowed Wiggins' season-high 40 points and 10 rebounds in the Wolves' 119-117 victory.  

The NBA has fined players for using anti-gay slurs in the past. Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic was fined $ 25,000 US in November for using offensive language during a post-game interview.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after the game that Noel was taken to the University of Oklahoma's OU Medical Center. He did not offer details on the injury.

Wiggins said he didn't mean to hurt Noel.

"I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk," Wiggins said. "He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn't really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully, he's good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger."

The skirmish between Schroder and Teague came a few minutes after the collision. Two technicals were called on Teague and he was ejected.

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CBC | Sports News