Serena entered for Australian Open

Serena entered for Australian Open

SYDNEY – New mum Serena Williams has accepted a place at the Australian Open and is “anticipated to return” to the event in January, less than five months after giving birth, organisers said Friday. The defending women’s champion was among 98 of the 100 top women, and all of the men’s top 100, to be “confirmed” for the season’s opening Grand Slam, they said. World number ones Simona Halep and 16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will both be in Melbourne, but all eyes will be on Williams, who won this year’s tournament while pregnant. Tournament director Craig Tiley said this week it was “highly likely” she will make her comeback. “Last year’s tournament broke all of the records and we look forward to welcoming back new mum Serena as she attempts to equal Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slams.”– AFP

Solo joins race for US Soccer president

LOS ANGELES – Former US women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has joined the crowded race for the US Soccer Federation presidency. Solo, 36, announced her candidacy with a post on Facebook titled “Why I’m running for President of U.S. Soccer”. Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, last played for the USA at the 2016 Olympics. After that tournament she was suspended for six months by US Soccer for calling Sweden, the United States’ quarter-final opponents, “cowards”. She becomes the ninth candidate, and the second woman to voice interest in running, after Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter declared her candidacy. Solo, like all the other candidates, has until next Tuesday to get the three nominations from delegates required to officially join the field. –AFP

Peru captain gets one-year drug ban

PARIS – Peru captain Paolo Guerrero will miss the World Cup after been banned from football for a year for failing a drugs test, FIFA announced on Friday. The 33-year-old attacker, who plays for Brazilian giants Flamengo, was handed the ban after “testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine”. The drug control came following a match in Buenos Aires on October 5, the world football governing body’s watchdog said in a statement. The former Bayern Munich striker missed Peru’s play-off victory over New Zealand, which made the South American nation the 32nd and last country to qualify for the World Cup, after being provisionally suspended for 30 days for the offence on November 3. That suspension was then extended by 20 days on Tuesday before the final verdict was given on Friday. –AFP

Todt re-elected as FIA president

PARIS – Jean Todt was has been re-elected for a third term as president of motor racing’s governing body the FIA. The 71-year-old former Ferrari boss was elected unopposed. The Frenchman, whose partner is Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, began his motor racing career in rally, finishing runner-up in the 1981 world championship as co-driver to Guy Frequelin. He then turned his attention to team management, endurance racing and F1 where he became sporting director at Peugeot Talbot before taking over the same role at Ferrari. During his 15 years with Ferrari the team won multiple world titles. He was instrumental in luring Michael Schumacher to Ferrari from Benetton, a move that was to prove inspired, with the German legend claiming six of his seven world titles for the team. –AFP

Four matches decided in Diplomatic League

ISLAMABAD – Four matches were decided in the first ever Diplomatic League, in which diplomats and expats living in Islamabad participated. The first match of the day was between Saudi Arabia A and Japan, which resulted in an entertaining 4-4 draw while the second match between Brazilian Embassy and Northern Lights (combined team of Norway, Denmark and Sweden) was also ended in a 3-3 draw. The Saudi Arabia B team was in great form and routed German Embassy 8-4. Stefaan made some really amazing saves to keep the crowd entertained. The last match of the day was played between team Europe and Russia which was won by Russian Embassy. Alexey of the Russian Embassy rallied his team to a 3-0 win. The regular league matches of the Diplomatic League will kick off today (Saturday).–Staff Reporter


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