Sports Digest: Osaka makes return to clay courts with win in Madrid | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
Second-seeded Naomi Osaka made her return to clay to beat Misaki Doi 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Friday.
Osaka overcame Doi’s strong start by hitting six aces and breaking her serve five times. A leg injury meant Osaka missed last season’s clay-court swing, and her last individual tournament on the surface was at Roland Garros in 2019. She played and lost for Japan against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the Fed Cup in February 2020.
Osaka, the U.S. Open and Australian Open champion, next plays Karolina Muchova after the Czech beat Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-3.
Third-seeded Simona Halep, who won the tournament in 2016 and ’17, beat Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 7-5. Maria Sakkari roared back after losing the first seven games of her match against Amanda Anisimova to win 0-6, 6-1, 6-4. Daria Kasatkina needed three match points to see off Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). Fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2.
FOOTBALL: Kansas hired Buffalo’s Lance Leipold on Friday, turning over one of college football’s worst programs to a longtime Division III coach with strong Midwestern roots.
Leipold signed a six-year contract and takes over for Les Miles, who won a national championship at LSU. Miles parted with Kansas after two losing seasons and amid sexual harassment allegations dating to his time with the Tigers. Leipold has been with the Bulls the past six years, building a downtrodden program into a perennial bowl contender. He is 37-33 with Buffalo, leading the school to its best seasons since joining the Mid-American Conference in 1999.
Before jumping to the Division I level, the 56-year-old Leipold won six national championships in eight seasons while going 109-6 as the head coach of his alma mater, Wisconson-Whitewater. At one point, the Warhawks won three straight titles to cap perfect seasons, then after a seven-win “down year,” put together two more undefeated seasons.
LPGA: Hee Young Park birdied her final hole Friday to move into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park at the HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
Hee Young Park (68) and No. 2-ranked Inbee Park (69) had two-round totals of 11-under 133 at the LPGA event. Inbee Park said she felt relieved after a birdie on the seventh hole.
“It was a little betrayal of my putter today,” Inbee Park said. “Misread a few putts, but I still feel like I fought pretty well, especially the front nine.”
Hee Young Park said she and Inbee have been friends since their early school days.
“We actually graduated in the same middle school back in Korea, so I’ve known her really long time, probably almost 20 years now,” Hee Young Park said. “A lot of personal talk a little bit out there. It makes little fun to play golf.”
Another South Korean player, Hyo Joo Kim, was two strokes behind in a tie for third with Lin Xiyu of China. Lin birdied her last hole to also finish with a 68. Former Women’s PGA champion Hannah Green shot 66 – tied for the low round of the day – and now has 14 consecutive rounds under par. The Australian, who shot 71 on Thursday, was one of only three players who shot in the 60s all four rounds in Los Angeles last week.
WRESTLER DIES: A Japanese sumo wrestler has died a month after falling on his head during a bout in a case that has raised questions about the sport’s response to medical emergencies.
Hibikiryu, 28, died of acute respiratory failure on Wednesday, the Japan Sumo Association said. The wrestler, whose real name was Mitsuki Amano, was thrown by his opponent during a bout at a tournament on March 26. Video of the bout showed he fell hard on his head and lay face down for several minutes while sumo officials watched and waited for paramedics to arrive.
On a stretcher, the wrestler was conscious and told sumo officials that he felt his lower body was paralyzed, but his condition had been improving at the hospital, Nikkan Sports newspaper reported.
The Japan Sumo Association said Friday that it was unknown whether Hibikiryu’s death was related to his injury. It said details of the injury, including whether he suffered paralysis, could not be released. There was no immediate comment from his family.
There were no medical experts standing by to give him first-aid treatment, according to Japanese media reports. Wrestlers are customarily expected to get up by themselves, while medical experts are at the tournament site but not standing by near the ringside.