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Sinner survives Struff barrage to reach Halle semi-finals

Sinner survives Struff barrage to reach Halle semi-finals

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Sinner survives Struff barrage to reach Halle semi-finals

World number one Jannik Sinner survived a serving barrage from Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the semi-finals of the Halle grass-court tournament on Friday.

Germany’s Struff unleashed 18 aces and saved 16 of 18 break points but still went down to a 6-2, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3) loss to the Italian.

“It was a very tough match,” said Sinner. “I had chances in the second, had chances in the third, but couldn’t use them.

“I just try to accept these kind of challenges.”

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Sinner will face either China’s Zhang Zhizhen or Christopher Eubanks of the United States for a place in the final of the tournament, a key warm-up for Wimbledon which starts on July 1.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev edged closer to his first grass-court title with a come-from-behind victory over Arthur Fils in his quarter-final.

French Open runner-up Zverev, the world number four, came through 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 against his French opponent.

The 27-year-old, a two-time finalist at Halle, becomes the first man since Roger Federer in 2019 to reach back-to-back semi-finals at the tournament.

“After the French Open, I was hoping on grass I would play a bit quicker and not play for two-and-a-half, three hours every single match, but I’m continuing what I always do,” said Zverev.

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Zverev will take on 2022 champion Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the final.

Poland’s world number nine defeated Marcos Giron of the United States 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 on the back of 42 winners, including 11 aces.

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Former Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is joining Hajduk Split after Saudi Pro League club Al-Shabab terminated his contract by mutual consent following a six-month spell.

The 36-year-old scored once in eight games after joining Al-Shabab in January 2024 as they finished eighth on 52 points.

“The club management agreed with the Croatian player Ivan Rakitic to terminate the contractual relationship between the two parties by mutual consent,” the Saudi club posted on the X social media platform.

Hajduk Split on Sunday announced the signing of the former Barcelona and Sevilla midfielder for one season with the option of an extra year in what will be his first campaign in Croatia.

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Rakitic, who was born in Switzerland, played 106 games for Croatia, scoring 15 goals, and helped the country reach the World Cup final in 2018. 

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Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

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Croatia's Vida retires from international football

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida has retired from international soccer after 14 years in the national team, the Croatian Football Federation said on Sunday.

Vida, 35, made his international debut in May 2010 and has played 105 matches for Croatia. He was part of the Croatia side that reached the final of World Cup 2018 and finished third in World Cup 2022.

“It is an honour to wear the most beautiful jersey in the world once in your career,” Vida said in a statement.

“And when you do it 105 times, you play in seven major competitions … then you can just be infinitely grateful for such a privilege.”

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Former Bayer Leverkusen and Besiktas player Vida currently plays for Greek top-flight club AEK Athens. 

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Sydney Collins will miss the Paris 2024 women’s soccer tournament after fracturing her left leg during a training game in her first match back after suffering a similar injury to her right leg earlier this year, Team Canada said on Saturday.

Gabrielle Carle will replace Collins in Canada’s Olympic squad, while Desiree Scott will take Carle’s spot as an alternate for the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, it said.

Collins sustained the injury on Thursday during a closed-door training match against Nigeria, her first since fracturing her right leg in February.

“Our hearts go out to Sydney during this difficult time. She has worked incredibly hard to return in time for Paris 2024, and while this is a setback, we know she will come back stronger,” said women’s national team head coach Bev Priestman.

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“She will be with us in spirit every step of the way.

“With the depth and resilience of our roster, it’s a next-player-up mentality, and both Gabby and Desiree’s experience will be invaluable to our team’s success.”

Canada will begin the defence of their Olympic title on July 25 against Group A opponents New Zealand. 

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