Canada is moving on to the semifinals at the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship after battling Honduras to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Defender Derek Cornelius put the Canadians (1-0-2) on the board with a diving header in the 28th minute.
Honduras (1-0-2) was quick to respond, with Denil Maldonado getting a shot past Canada’s goaltender James Pantemis in the 30th minute.
Pantemis put in another solid performance, stopping eight on-target shots on the night. Canada’s lone on-target shot was Cornelius’ goal.
The result means Canada finishes second in Group B and will face Mexico (3-0-0) in the semifinals on Sunday.
Honduras ends the round-robin stage atop Group B on goal differential and will face the United States (2-0-1) in the other semifinal.
WATCH | Canada, Honduras play to a draw:
Derek Cornelius scores for Canada in their 1-1 tie with Honduras at CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying championship. The Canadians will face Mexico in the semifinals. 1:21
The semis will determine which two countries represent North and Central America and the Caribbean in Tokyo this summer.
Patrick Metcalfe sent the Canadian captain a crisp pass just outside the six-yard box and Cornelius drilled a header over Barrios’ gloves for a 1-0 lead.
The cushion didn’t last long, however.
Two minutes later, Honduran captain Maldonado registered the equalizer. Pantemis came off his line to challenge and Maldonado popped a header of his own into the Canadian goal.
It was the first goal Pantemis has conceded in the tournament. The CF Montreal netminder earned clean sheets in Canada’s scoreless draw with Haiti on Monday and in its 2-0 win over El Salvador on March 19.
Honduras out chanced the Canadians across the first half Thursday with four on-target shots and a great chance off the post.
Pantemis was forced to stretch out for a diving stop in the 45th minute when Jose Reyes unleashed a blast from the top of the penalty box.
Honduras nearly got a go-ahead goal in the 54th minute.
This time, Reyes sent a cross to Juan Carlos Obregon in the box and Obregon put a header up and over the bar.
The first caution of the night came in the 67th minute when Honduran midfielder Kevin Arriaga was shown the yellow card for a hard tackle. The warning was his second of the tournament so he will miss the semifinals on Sunday.
Metcalfe got a yellow a minute later for grabbing the jersey of Edwin Rodriguez. It was the midfielder’s first caution of the qualifiers.
Cornelius appeared to suffer an injury in the 72nd minute and sat on the field for several moments before going off with the trainers. He gave the captain’s armband to Pantemis before being replaced by Lucas Dias.
Canada got a late chance with a long free kick in injury time. Ryan Rapposo delivered the ball to the top of the penalty box but the Canadians couldn’t do anything with it before the final whistle sounded.
Argentine Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier to reach the French Open semifinals in the women’s singles draw when she downed Ukrainian third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4 on Tuesday.
The world No.131, on her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam, emulates Belgium’s Filip Dewulf, the only qualifier in either of the singles draws since tennis turned professional in 1968 to make it to the last four at Roland Garros, in 1997.
“It’s a little bit difficult for me to speak after the match, thank you everybody for your support, I’m very very happy,” Podoroska said on court Philippe Chatrier.
“We did a very good job with my coaches during quarantine. That’s why I’m here today.”
Svitolina, one of the pre-tournament favorites after winning the Strasbourg International last month, was on the back foot throughout, failing at the last-eight stage for the third time at the claycourt Grand Slam.
Podoroska next faces either Polish teenager Iga Swiatek or another qualifier, Italian Martina Trevisan.
Should Trevisan prevail in her quarter-final, it would ensure a qualifier plays in the final of a Grand Slam for the first time in the Open era.
Since 1968, only Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999 and Christine Dorey at the 1978 Australian Open had made it to the semi-finals at a major prior to Podoroska. Both of them failed to go one step further.
Coming into Tuesday’s match, the 23-year-old Podoroska had won seven matches in a row at Roland Garros, and she kept that momentum going against Svitolina.
The Ukrainian broke her serve in the first game, but then Podoroska turned on the engine and bagged five games in a row to move to 5-1.
Having converted all of her four break points while Svitolina converted only two of six, Podoroska found herself one set up after 37 minutes.
Perfectly mixing power and a gentle touch with drop shots, Podoroska proved too skilful for Svitolina, who looked nothing like the player who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.
Six consecutive games went against serve in the second set until Podoroska held for 5-4 before wrapping it up on Svitolina’s serve on her second match point with a forehand winner.
In its first playoff game since winning the 2017 MLS Cup, Toronto FC showed resilience and character in spades.
Jonathan Osorio scored twice and Richie Laryea and Nick DeLeon added two more in a four-goal extra-time outburst as Toronto, dodging a bullet after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer, posted a wild 5-1 victory Saturday that ended D.C. United’s season and Wayne Rooney’s MLS career.
The goals came in the first half of the 30-minute extra time — the 93rd, 95th, 103rd and 105th minute — turning the game on its head.
“Incredible response,” said captain Michael Bradley.
“The response, the mentality to not let that [tying goal] faze us, to regroup and be ready to go again. That part was a sign of a big team,” he added.
Toronto, which extended its unbeaten run to 11 games (5-0-6), had seemed destined for victory thanks to Marky Delgado’s 32nd-minute goal. But that all changed three minutes into second-half stoppage time when Argentine midfielder Lucas Rodriguez swept in a Rooney corner after Frederic Brillant nudged the ball over to the far post.
The goal silenced the announced crowd of 25,331 at BMO Field. Then Toronto took over in extra time.
WATCH | Local heroes lead TFC to playoff win in extra time:
Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio tallied twice in Toronto FC’s 5-1 victory over DC United to advance to the second round of the MLS playoffs. 1:21
“There were, for lack of a better word, some pissed-off guys going into overtime,” said DeLeon, who had been tasked with marking the man who scored the equalizer off the corner. “So some very motivated guys. And I think it showed.”
Laryea beat D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid from close range three minutes into extra time after Michael Bradley stole the ball and fed DeLeon, who slipped the ball to Laryea. Two minutes later Drew Moor — who like Laryea had come in off the bench — headed an Alejandro Pozuelo corner into the goalfront where Osorio banged it in amidst a scrum of bodies.
Pozuelo then spotted Osorio steaming towards goal and the Canadian midfielder hammered a volley from just inside the penalty box. DeLeon, a former D.C. United player, made it 5-1 with a swerving shot from distance after a Pozuelo corner.
Toronto readies for rested NYCFC
Toronto moves on to New York to face a rested NYCFC on Wednesday. The top team in the East, which finished 14 points ahead of TFC in the regular season play, has been off since Oct. 6.
Toronto blanked NYCFC 4-0 at BMO Field on March 29, when Pozuelo dazzled in his MLS debut with two goals and an assist. The teams tied 1-1 at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 11.
“We’re confident that the matchup makes sense for us,” Vanney said of NYCFC. “Now we’ve got to recover. We’ve got to get everyone to the best possible physical state. I think mentally we’re in a great spot.”
TFC was without star striker Jozy Altidore [quad] and influential centre back Omar Gonzalez [hamstring] on Saturday. Fellow centre back Chris Mavinga limped off in the 107th minute.
“I suspect he’ll be fine,” said Vanney.
Toronto had made three substitutions before the tying goal so Vanney was forced to rejig his formation into a 3-5-2 — with Pozuelo and DeLeon up front — as TFC went for the win in extra time.
D.C. United, meanwhile, lost Paul Arriola to a second yellow card in the 118th minute.
The visitors didn’t manage a shot on target in the first hour but finished with six on 14 attempts as they came alive in the second half. Toronto launched 28 shots, with 17 on target.
Credit goalkeeper Quentin Westberg for the stiff defence. He made several key saves, including a wonderful stop on Ola Kamara in the 77th minute when the Norwegian sub was gifted a scoring chance on an awful Nicolas Benezet backpass.
Toronto went ahead in the 32nd minute when Hamid spilled a dipping Pozuelo shot from outside the penalty box. The rebound went to Delgado, who beat Steven Birnbaum to the ball to tuck it in.
The goal ended D.C. United’s 536-minute shutout streak dating back to a 3-1 loss Aug. 24 in Philadelphia. Hamid had posted five straight clean sheets since.
Rooney, meanwhile, said goodbye to MLS with the loss, exiting after the first half of extra time. The 33-year-old, who managed 23 goals and 15 assists in 48 regular-season games for D.C. United, is returning to England to join Derby County.
Rooney, who did not speak to the media after the game, had two excellent scoring chances midway through the second half but was stopped both times by Westberg.
The D.C. attack was toothless in the first half, however. Without a shot on target, the visitors brought on Kamara in the 44th minute, with Rooney dropping back.
D.C. finally put a shot on target in the 62nd minute when Westberg easily handled Rooney’s shot from distance. Westberg had to make a more difficult one-handed save two minutes later off Rooney and soon after made a reflex save to stop Rooney from close-in.
Toronto and D.C. arrived with identical 13-10-11 records with Toronto grabbing fourth place in the East and a home playoff game on goal difference the final day of the season.
Toronto’s last loss came Aug. 3 when it was beaten 2-0 at the New York Red Bulls. It has lost just two of its last 16 outings (8-2-6) since the end of the Gold Cup in early July.
D.C. United went undefeated in its final five regular season matches (3-0-2).
Wednesday’s Eastern semifinal will be played at Citi Field, home of the Mets, due to the Yankees’ playoff run.
Sounders outlast Dallas
Jordan Morris scored in the 113th minute to complete a hat trick in the Settle Sounders’ 4-3 extra-time victory over FC Dallas.
Twice, the Sounders had the lead, only to see Dallas come back and tie. Ruidiaz scored in the 18th minute and Morrisin the 22nd to put Seattle in front, 2-0.
The Sounders advanced to the West semifinals, where they will meet Real Salt Lake, who defeated the Portland Timbers 2-1 later in the night.
Escobar sends Atlanta past New England
Franco Escobar’s goal at the 69th minute broke a scoreless match and Atlanta United made it hold up with a 1-0 win.
Escobar took a short pass from Ezequiel Barco at the right side of the box and carried a shot over diving keeper Matt Turner. It was Escobar’s second goal of the season.
The defending champs entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference and advanced to play the winner of Sunday’s contest between No. 3-seed Philadelphia and sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls.
RSL eliminates Timbers
Jefferson Savarino scored in the 87th minute and Real Salt Lake beat the Portland Timbers 2-1.
RSL will now face the Seattle Sounders in the conference semifinals on Wednesday night.
When the heat was on, Bianca Andreescu found a way to raise her tennis game at the U.S. Open on a sweltering Wednesday night in New York City.
It was a hot and humid — stifling really — evening inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Andreescu couldn’t stop sweating. She wiped her face. She wiped down her arms and legs. She tried to stay focused.
But the early going of her quarter-final match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens was proving to be nearly impossible for Andreescu to make a shot.
Down one set and frustrated throughout much of the night, the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., seeded 15th, was nonetheless able to compose herself under the bright lights, battling back against the No. 25 seed Mertens to win a gruelling three-set match, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The match lasted two hours and one minute.
Andreescu is now the second Canadian to ever advance to the U.S. Open semifinals — after Carling Bassett in 1984 — and the fourth woman in history to reach the semifinals in her Open debut. Andreescu will play the No. 13-ranked Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic in Thursday night’s semifinal.
Andreescu has won 12 consecutive three-set matches and is 17-3 this year when the matches go the distance.
“This is honestly so crazy. A year ago I was in the qualifying round suffering from a back injury. I’m speechless,” she said in her post-match on-court interview.
“I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life? Is this real life?”
Needed to refocus
The New York crowd roared as Andreescu stood at centre court after her victory, amazed by what she had accomplished. It wasn’t easy though.
Andreescu was feeling the pressure early in the match. Mertens was taking the game to the young Canadian, painting the lines with perfect form and forcing Andreescu into difficult situations on the court.
Andreescu had 14 unforced errors in the first set as Mertens cruised to an easy 6-2 win. Mertens had dropped just 16 games coming into the match, the fewest among the remaining players at the U.S. Open.
The game start had been delayed by 20 minutes due to the men’s quarter-final. That meant the crowd had to exit the stadium and re-enter before the Andreescu-Mertens match. They took their time.
The fans also seemed disinterested at first, talking loudly and creating a distracting murmur. The players pushed on as people continued to talk loudly in the stands.
Andreescu needed to refocus for the second set if she wanted to stay alive at the U.S. Open.
Asked what she was thinking after dropping the first set, Andreescu didn’t mince her words in the post-match interview.
“Get your [expletive] together,” Andreescu said frankly. Cue the comeback.
Power and prowess
The turning point came in the second set at 2-2. Andreescu found herself down 0-30 in her service game and needed a spark. That’s when she lunged at a brilliant cross-court shot by Mertens and played a perfect volley.
That point changed the game. From there, Andreescu won the next 12 of 13 points.
From that point, she showed the power and prowess many had been accustomed to seeing from the young tennis phenom.
Re-energized, Andreescu started ripping forehand winners, bouncing around the court and pumping her fist after winners.
“Come on!” she yelled. “Let’s go.”
Andreescu forced a third and deciding set with a decisive 6-2 second-set win.
The two would trade games early in the third before Andreescu broke Mertens at 4-4. Andreescu served out the match in front of a capacity Arthur Ashe crowd.
“I’ve been working a lot on my fitness and mental strength,” Andreescu said. “It’s all the hard work I’ve put in.”
Andreescu finished last season ranked 178th in the world. But with a record of 43-4 and two WTA wins already this year, she’ll be in the top 10 rankings as the last major of the year comes to a close.
Prior to Wednesday night’s match, Andreescu said it was a “dream come true” to be walking onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in prime time to be playing a quarter-final match-up.
But it’s clear the teenage tennis star isn’t content with a semifinal appearance. She wants this dream-like season to include two more wins at the U.S. Open.
Belinda Bencic wore down Donna Vekic and advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory Wednesday at the U.S. Open in New York.
Coming off her upset of top-ranked Naomi Osaka in the fourth round, the 12th-seeded Bencic kept up her big hitting and broke open a close match midway through the second set by winning eight straight points.
Trailing 3-2 in the set, that sent her into the lead and Vekic never recovered, with Bencic winning the final four games to surpass her 2014 run to the U.S. Open quarter-finals for her best performance in a major tournament.
“I just really like the challenge,” she said of playing in big matches. “I think some players are a little bit afraid of the big courts, but for me it’s more motivation.”
Bencic advanced to play either No. 15 Bianca Andreescu or No. 25 Elise Mertens on Thursday night. Six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams faces fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the other semifinal.
On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal tried to make sure the U.S. Open had one member of the Big Three in the semifinals when he faced No. 20 Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday night. No. 13 Gael Monfils of France and No. 24 Matteo Berrettini were playing in the other quarter-final.
WATCH | Belinda Bencic closes out Donna Vekic:
Belinda Bencic defeats Donna Vekic 7-6(5), 6-3 in the quarter-finals of U.S. Open. 1:07
Vekic, seeded 23rd, was also seeking her first semifinal in a major tournament. But with her face bright red as the sun beat down on Arthur Ashe Stadium, she couldn’t keep up with her friend’s power during the biggest moments of the match.
“I think she was just playing better tennis overall today,” Vekic said. “I felt like I couldn’t get three good points together. I was, like, playing one point good, then bad.”
It was Bencic who cracked first, missing an easy putaway on game point while serving at 4-all in the first set. She momentarily seemed to lose focus, as Vekic then won the next three points to break for a 5-4 lead.
But Bencic broke right back to even it again and eventually they headed to a tiebreaker, where the 22-year-old Bencic has thrived this season. Trailing 2-1, she ran off five of the next six points before eventually wrapping it up to improve to 10-2 in tiebreakers this season.
Vekic recovered to take a 3-2 lead in the second set, but that 10-point fifth game seemed to take a little out of her, with Bencic running off the next eight points to seize the lead.
Canadian, partner fall to unseeded duo
Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski has been eliminated in the women’s doubles quarter-finals at the U.S. Open.
The Ottawa native and partner Yifan Xu of China, seeded third, lost 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to the unseeded team of Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus and Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia on Wednesday.
Dabrowski and Xu lost in the final at Wimbledon, bowed out in the quarter-finals at the French Open and dropped a first-round match at the Australian Open in their other Grand Slam performances this year.
In mixed doubles at the U.S. Open, Dabrowski and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia also were eliminated in the quarter-finals earlier this week.
Bianca Andreescu, who lives in Thornhill, Ont., was scheduled to face Elise Mertens of Belgium in a women’s singles quarter-final at 7 p.m. ET.
Nadal eyes 8th straight win over Schwartzman
Rafael Nadal will try to make sure the U.S. Open has one member of the Big Three in the semifinals.
With Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic out of the tournament, Nadal is the only major champion left on the men’s side as he faces No. 20 Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.
Nadal, who has won three of his 18 major titles at Flushing Meadows, is playing in his 40th career Grand Slam quarter-final. He is 7-0 against Schwartzman.
One men’s semifinal is already set, with No. 5 Daniil Medvedev facing Grigor Dimitrov, who eliminated five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer on Tuesday. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, fell in the fourth round.
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is off to the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open.
The second-seeded Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., downed Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a quarter-final played Friday after a rainout on Thursday at the ATP Tour 250 event.
Shapovalov, ranked 38th in the world, had 10 aces, compared to just one for world No. 47 Rublev.
It was the third win in a row for Shapovalov, his longest streak since reaching the semifinals at the Miami Open in March.
The dry spell since then saw Shapovalov’s ranking tumble from a career-high of No. 20. His record entering the week was an inconsistent 17-18 in 2019.
Shapovalov, 20, was scheduled to play No. 3 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in a semifinal later Friday. Hurkacz beat No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe of the United States 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1 in another quarterfinal.
The tournament serves as a tune-up for the U.S. Open, which starts Monday in New York.
Toronto’s Diez defeated in U.S. Open qualifying
Toronto’s Steven Diez has come up short in his bid to reach his first ever Grand Slam main draw.
South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon defeated Diez 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 Friday in the final round of qualifying for the U.S. Open.
With no Canadians entering the main draw through qualifying, the nation’s contingent in the tournament’s main draw remains five, which ties a Grand Slam record.
Five Canadian men played this year at Wimbledon, at the 2018 U.S. Open and the 1990 Australian Open.
Montreal teen Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., in the U.S. Open first round for the second year in a row. Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil and Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., are also entered into the main draw based on their world ranking.