MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)Jenson Brooksby eliminated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2 in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday in Rod Laver Arena, meaning a pair of 20-something Californians have knocked out the top two players in the men’s bracket.
The 22-year-old Brooksby’s surprise came in the same round and on the same court that 27-year-old Mackenzie McDonald defeated No. 1 seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal on Wednesday at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
Brooksby is ranked 39th and making his Australian Open debut. He was supposed to enter a year ago but came down with COVID-19 the day before he was supposed to fly to Australia.
Ruud was the runner-up at the French Open to Nadal last June and at the U.S. Open to Carlos Alcaraz last September.
Brooksby’s unusual playing style, including his two-handed backhand volleys, and ability to track down opponent’s shots, were trouble for Ruud, who took a medical timeout after the second set.
The biggest problem for Brooksby was closing this one out. He held a trio of match points while trying to serve for the victory at 5-3 in the third set but could not cash any of them in.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Rafael Nadal injured his left hip flexor during his loss at the Australian Open and could need about six to eight weeks to fully recover, his manager said Thursday.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion had an MRI exam at a hospital in Melbourne under his doctor’s supervision on Thursday, a day after being injured during a straight-set exit against Mackenzie McDonald in the second round at Melbourne Park.
Nadal was the defending champion and seeded No. 1 in Australia.
The 36-year-old now will head home to Spain to rest.
Nadal has lost seven of his past nine matches, dating to a fourth-round defeat at the U.S. Open in September.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Steven Stamkos scored his 500th NHL goal and then added two more for a hat trick, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and an assist in Tampa Bay’s fifth consecutive win. Alex Killorn had two assists and Brian Elliott stopped 37 shots.
Andrei Kuzmenko and Quinn Hughes each scored a power-play goal in the third period for Vancouver (18-23-3).
Canucks goaltender Spencer Martin allowed four goals on 10 shots before being pulled just past the midway mark of the first period. He was replaced by Collin Delia, who made 14 saves.
The Lightning (29-13-1) also beat the Canucks 5-4 in Tampa last week.
NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. government’s star witness in a corruption trial over the broadcasting rights to some of soccer’s biggest events testified Wednesday how he and two former Fox executives paid millions of dollars in bribes to undermine competing bids.
The trial in New York City is the latest development in a tangled corruption scandal that dates back nearly a decade and has ensnared more than three dozen executives and associates in the world’s most popular sport.
The witness, Alejandro Burzaco, alleges that he and former Fox executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez conspired to bribe South American soccer officials for the TV rights to the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest annual tournament, the Copa Libertadores, and help land broadcasting rights to the sport’s most lucrative competition, the World Cup.
Lawyers for Lopez and Martinez have asserted that the former executives are being framed, with one defense lawyer accusing Burzaco of masterminding the bribes.
During his first day on the witness stand Wednesday, Burazco told the court about the sham contracts that were set up with soccer officials to funnel the bribes.
TRACK AND FIELD
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California will name the field at the university’s track stadium after Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix.
Such honors are usually reserved for major donors. Felix graduated from USC in 2008 with a degree in elementary education. She grew up in Los Angeles and used to walk the campus as a child with her grandmother and brother.
Felix retired last year, having won the most Olympic medals of any American track athlete. The 37-year-old sprinter earned 11 medals over five consecutive games.
The field to be named for Felix is at Katherine B. Loker Track Stadium, which serves as a hub for the men’s and women’s track teams. It will be dedicated this spring.
The WNBA will head north for a preseason game in Canada.
The Chicago Sky will face the Minnesota Lynx on May 13 in Toronto in the first WNBA game to be played in the country.
This will be the third WNBA preseason game to be played outside of the United States. In 2004, the Detroit Shock and San Antonio Silver Stars met in Monterrey, Mexico, and in 2011 the Atlanta Dream played the Standard Life Great Britain Women’s basketball team in Manchester, England.
Canada has been on the rise in women’s basketball, coming in fourth at the World Cup last year. Minnesota has Canadians Bridget Carleton and Natalie Achonwa on their team. Achonwa announced she was pregnant in November and won’t play in the game.