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WTA roundup: Jule Niemeier stuns Maria Sakkari in Bad Homburg

WTA roundup: Jule Niemeier stuns Maria Sakkari in Bad Homburg

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WTA roundup: Jule Niemeier stuns Maria Sakkari in Bad Homburg

 Germany lucky loser Jule Niemeier recorded her fourth career win over a Top 10 player when she rallied for a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over top-seeded Maria Sakkari on Monday in the first round of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany.

Niemeier found out she was replacing Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto just 30 minutes prior to the match. After a slow start, she began clicking and scored on 61.1 percent (22 of 36) of her second-serve return opportunities in stunning Sakkari, the Greek woman ranked No. 9 in the world. Sakkari has dropped her last four matches.

Second-seeded Russian Liudmila Samsonova rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, and No. 4 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil dispatched Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch 6-1, 7-6 (6). Russia’s Anna Blinkova was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Bianca Andreescu of Canada and Russia’s Diana Shnaider beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3.

Other winners were Katerina Siniakova and Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic. The marquee match between Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki was suspended due to darkness with Svitolina leading 3-6, 7-6 (4), 2-1, and it will be resumed Tuesday.

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Rothesay International

No. 5 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia recorded a 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory over Belgium’s Greet Minnen in the opening round of the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, England.

One entertaining matchup featured homeland wild card Harriet Dart facing the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova. The two matched up in a three-hour, 29-minute slugfest with Dart prevailing 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-4.

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez was a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 winner over No. 7 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. Poland’s Magda Linette upset No. 8 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Also winning Monday were Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina and China’s Yuan Yue. Top-seeded Elena Rybakina withdrew prior to the round.

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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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