Sharapova on rise, Svitolina stays put

PARIS - Maria Sharapova's run to the Italian Open semi-finals has earned her an 11-place jump to 29th in the latest WTA rankings on Monday. While Sharapova was moving up the charts Elina Svitolina remained at number four despite her successful title defence in Rome. Beaten finalist Simona Halep retains her number one spot with Caroline Wozniacki in second and Garbine Muguruza in third. For Sharapova, this latest jump came after her 12-rung climb following her progress to the quarter-finals in Madrid the week before. The Russian former world number one and five time Grand Slam champion is hitting her stride just at the right time with the French Open starting next Monday. Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko was at number five followed by Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and French Caroline Garcia.–AFP

 

Nadal becomes No 1 before French Open

PARIS - Rafael Nadal regained the number one spot ahead of the French Open in the world rankings on Monday after winning his eighth Rome Masters title. The victory saw Nadal overtake Roger Federer, who is not playing the claycourt season this year. Former number one Novak Djokovic continued his fall, slipping four places from 26th to 22nd. Germany’s Alexander Zverev was at number three while at number four was Marin Cilic of Croatia, at number five Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro was at number six followed by Russia’s Kevin Anderson, Austria’s Dominic Thiem, Belgium’s David Goffin and USA’s John Isner. At number 11 was Spain’s Pablo Carreno, at 12 Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, at 13 USA’s Sam Querrey, at 14 Spain’s Roberto Bautista and at 15 USA’s Jack Sock.–AFP

 

 

Farah wins Manchester 10km race

LONDON - Britain's Olympic and world 10,000m champion Mo Farah won the 10 kilometre Great Manchester Run on Sunday. Farah, who finished third in the London Marathon last month, deployed his famous finishing kick to surge past Uganda's Moses Kipsiro with 100 metres left to win in a time of 28 minutes 27 seconds. Abel Kirui of Kenya was third, 25 seconds behind Farah. Before the race Farah was among the competitors and spectators and officials who all observed a minute's silence in memory of the 22 people killed as a result of last year's Manchester Arena bombing. This was the first time Farah, 35, had taken part in the race since 2007 and he appeared comfortable despite the warm conditions. But Farah said afterwards he was still feeling the effects of breaking the British marathon record in London.–AFP

 

 

Pogba evasive over Man United future

PARIS - Paul Pogba has refused to rule out a move away from Manchester United, hinting at strains in his relationship with Jose Mourinho after a difficult season at Old Trafford. The £89 million ($119 million) France international has had a tricky second season back at United, being left out of the side or substituted early many times. On other occasions manager Mourinho has publicly questioned his contributions, while transfer talk refuses to die down. Asked by French television station Canal Plus if he would remain a United player, the 25-year-old declined to give a cast-iron commitment. "You can never be sure of anything," he said. "But contractually, it's sure, yes. "I can never look far into the future. It also depends how it goes with the club, how things work out."–AFP

 

Clarity urged over Conte's Chelsea future

LONDON - Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has called for "the uncertainty to be put to bed" over the future of Antonio Conte, with the Italian widely expected to be on his way out of the club. The Blues beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday as Conte won his second trophy in English football after capturing the Premier League title in his first campaign. The former Italy and Juventus manager has been embroiled in a turbulent campaign marred by his feud with the club's hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans. Conte is also said to have infuriated several Chelsea stars with his intense personality and regimented training sessions. Cahill believes a decision must be made one way or the other so Chelsea can prepare for the new campaign.–AFP