29 May 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:47 am on 29 May 2019

Latest - Former champion, New Zealander Michael Venus, was in a shock first round exit from the men's doubles at the French tennis Open.

Michael Venus during the ASB Classic ATP Men's Tournament Day 1

Michael Venus during the ASB Classic ATP Men's Tournament Day 1 Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

Sixth seeded Venus and South African partner Raven Klaasen were beaten in straight sets by India's Rohan Bopanna and his Romanian partner Marius Copil

Artem Sitak and his American partner Austin Krajicek were also beaten while Marcus Daniell was the only New Zealander to win.

Daniell and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof beat a Slovenian-Polish combination.

Both Sitak and Venus still have the mixed doubles in Paris before switching their attention to the grass court season.

Osaka sneaks through

Women's top seed Naomi Osaka flirted with an opening-round exit at the French Open but recovered from a first-set horror show to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in three sets.

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.

Naomi Osaka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 21-year-old Japanese player, aiming for a third successive Grand Slam title, was allowed only nine points in the first set against the world number 90 from Slovakia.

The world number one will be allowed no such lapses in the second round, however, when she faces former world number one Victoria Azarenka.

Meanwhile Croatia's Ivo Karlovic became the first man in his 40s to compete in a Grand Slam singles match for 27 years when he beat fellow veteran Feliciano Lopez.

Karlovic, who turned 40 in February, won in four sets against the 37-year-old Spaniard in the oldest French Open men's match-up in terms of combined ages in the professional era.

The last player to contest a Grand Slam singles match having turned 40 was American Jimmy Connors at the U.S. Open in 1992.


Canterbury coach set to leave

Canterbury head coach Joe Maddock.

Joe Maddock. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Canterbury rugby coach Joe Maddock will head to Japan after this year's Mitre 10 Cup competition after being appointed as an assistant coach at the Toshiba club.

Maddock will join former Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder, who has taken on the head coach role for the Japanese Top League side.

Maddock is in his second season as head coach of Canterbury, having guided the team to the 2018 Premiership Final, and is the current assistant coach of the Māori All Blacks.

Breakers sign teenage phenom

The New Zealand Breakers have signed American point guard RJ Hampton, a player widely considered a first-round pick in the NBA draft next year.

The 18-year-old received offers from some leading American basketball colleges including Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

The decision to turn his back on them and instead play in Auckland will be greeted with shock in the US.

"RJ is our first international recruit for the upcoming season and we have plenty more exciting announcements ahead," said Breakers owner Matt Walsh.

Hampton had 30.3 points, 8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game as a sophomore at his High School in Texas.

Read here for more on this story.

Firmino set to play Champions League final

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino should be fit to face Tottenham Hotspur in this weekend's Champions League final in Madrid.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino Photo: Actionplus

Firmino missed Liverpool's memorable semi-final win over Barcelona and the final game of the Premier League season against Wolverhampton Wanderers with a muscle strain but he has responded well to his return to training said Klopp.

Guinea midfielder Naby Keita is recovering well from his thigh injury but Klopp said he had no chance to be involved.

Liverpool return to the final following their defeat to Real Madrid in last year's showpiece in Kiev. Klopp said they were fired up for the occasion but played down talk of them having more big-game experience than Spurs.


Steyn to miss Proteas opener

South Africa will be without experienced pace bowler Dale Steyn for tomorrow's Cricket World Cup opener against England at The Oval after failing to shake off a recurring shoulder problem.

But they are hoping he will be fit to face India next week as he continues to make progress in his recovery after more than a month on the sidelines.

Steyn, 35, was injured during the Indian Premier League and has not played since April 21.

He is considered South Africa's greatest fast bowler and returned to the one-day international team last November after two years on the sidelines with shoulder and foot injuries.

The Proteas have also had injury concerns over their two other main strike bowlers, Lungi Ngidi (side) and Kagiso Rabada (back), though both played in the warm-up win over Sri Lanka last week.

All-rounders Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius are in the frame to replace Steyn.


Rugby players allowed to wear goggles

World Rugby has approved an amendment to the laws of the sport that will allow players to wear protective goggles at all levels of the game.

Guinness PRO14, Stadio Monigo, Treviso 16/2/2019
Benetton vs Scarlets
Benetton's Ian McKinley
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Elena Barbini

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

The approval by the World Rugby Council follows a trial launched in 2014 after the sport's governing body identified the need for a product that enables players with limited or no sight in one eye to participate in the sport.

The trial attracted more than 2,000 participants, including Italy flyhalf Ian McKinley, who became the first player to wear goggles at international level.

Born in Dublin, McKinley began his career with Leinster before he was forced to retire from rugby union in 2011, having lost sight in his left eye after being caught by a stray boot.

McKinley returned to the sport with the help of protective goggles and made his Six Nations debut for Italy this year, having qualified via the residency rule.


Carapaz in control on Giro

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz took a big step towards a Giro d'Italia title by holding off two-time champion Vincenzo Nibali and increasing his lead over Primoz Roglic in today's 16th stage.

The Movistar rider regained contact with Team Bahrain Merida's Nibali in the gruelling ascent up the Mortirolo pass, an 11.9-km climb at an average gradient of 10.9%, as favourite Roglic was dropped and eventually lost more than a minute.

Overall, Carapaz retained the pink jersey with a 1 minute 47 second lead on Nibali, who leapfrogged Roglic into second place in the general classification. Roglic is now 2:09 behind the leader.

Italian Giulio Ciccone won the 194-km stage from Lovere at the end of a long breakaway after the race organisers decided that the route would avoid the much-feared, snow-covered Gavia pass due to the risk of avalanches.

The win helped Ciccone increase his lead in the mountains classification as the main favourites had shown no interest in the stage victory.


Poi to stay in Australia

Mainland Tactix midcourter Kimora Poi will play out the remainder of the Australian domestic netball season with the Collingwood Magpies in NSW.

The 21 year old missed out on Silver Ferns selections this time around, but with the backing of Netball NZ, will serve as injury cover for former Australian Diamond Madi Browne who is recovering from knee surgery.

Waikato Bay of Plenty shooter Abigail Latu-Meafou has also stepped in as cover for the Queensland Firebirds.

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