9 Jun 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

3:16 pm on 9 June 2019

Latest - Ashleigh Barty has crowned her incredible comeback to tennis with a stunning French Open final triumph.

Ashleigh Barty looks on in disbelief after winning the 2019 French open title.

Ashleigh Barty looks on in disbelief after winning the 2019 French open title. Photo: Photosport/Panoramic

Five years after quitting the sport in despair, Barty joined Australian legends Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Lesley Bowrey on the Roland Garros honour roll with a ruthless 6-1 6-3 victory over unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

The win caps off a phenomenal turnaround since returning to tennis in 2016, with a ranking of 623, following an 18-month sabbatical where she played cricket in the WBBL with Brisbane Heat.

"I played the perfect match today. I am so proud of myself and my team. It has been a crazy two week," Barty said after going one better than Fed Cup teammate Samantha Stosur, who lost to the 2010 final in Paris to Francesca Schiavone.

The new queen of clay will also pocket a cool $NZ3.93 million after taking out her maiden grand slam at a tournament where she'd never passed the second round in her five previous visits.

Barty's maiden grand slam victory rockets the 23-year-old to No 2 in the world and franks her name as one of the early favourites to land tennis's greatest prize at Wimbledon next month.


Thiem sets up Nadal rematch

Austrian Dominic Thiem crushed Novak Djokovic's French Open hopes as he survived a weather-ravaged semi-final spanning 24 hours to complete a 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory and set up a repeat of last year's showdown with Rafael Nadal.

More than an hour after the women's final should have started on another stormy day on Court Philippe Chatrier, fourth seed Thiem thumped a forehand winner past Djokovic to seal victory after squandering two earlier match points.

Dominic Thiem.

Dominic Thiem. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It snapped Djokovic's 26-match winning streak in Grand Slam matches and ended the Serbian's hopes of holding all four of the sport's major prizes simultaneously for the second time, having achieved it by winning his only French Open in 2016.

Djokovic, who had trailed 6-2 3-6 3-1 overnight after the semi-final had been curtailed on Friday because of rain and wind, had won his previous 10 Grand Slam semi-finals.

The 25-year-old Thiem, who lost to Nadal in last year's final, handled the elements better as he kept alive his dream of winning a first major title when he takes on the 11-times champion again.

- Reuters

Warner shaken after net incident

David Warner was visibly shaken after a local bowler was struck on the head by one of his powerful straight drives, leaving him to be stretchered from a net session at The Oval.

Australia's final training session for Sunday's game against India was stopped fore more than 10 minutes after Warner drove a half-volley back towards the medium pacer.

David Warner bats during the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Afghanistan at Bristol.

David Warner. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After impact the bowler crumpled to the ground, where he received urgent assistance from Australia's medical staff before being taken away on a medicab.

Warner had to be comforted by assistant coach Ricky Ponting as he checked on the bowler's welfare, and did not immediately resume batting when practice restarted.

ICC officials later confirmed the bowler had been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, but was conscious and smiling as he left the venue.

Bulldogs sign Watene-Zelezniak

Canterbury have beaten a number of rival clubs to sign New Zealand international Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to an 18-month NRL deal.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. Photo: NRL Photos

Just days after the fullback/winger was granted a release from Penrith, the Bulldogs announced the recruitment of the 23-year-old who was believed to have also been courted by the West Tigers, Parramatta and North Queensland.

Watene-Zelezniak's arrival will be a huge boost for Canterbury, who are bottom of the ladder with just three wins from 12 games this season, and he could be available to face the Roosters in round 14 on June 16.

The Kiwis captain has scored 41 tries in 106 NRL game for the Panthers.

Kiwi sailors secure podium finish in Marseille

New Zealand Finn class sailors Andy Maloney and Josh Junior have guaranteed themselves a top three finish heading into the final day at the World Cup Series Final in Marseille.

Maloney holds an eight-point lead over Junior, who holds the same advantage over Sweden's Max Salminen heading into tonight's top-10 medal race.

The two New Zealanders have won eight of the 10 races between them.

Day enlists Kiwi caddie for US Open

Jason Day will contest next week's US Open at Pebble Beach flanked by caddie Steve Williams, 19 years after the New Zealander helped Tiger Woods deliver the greatest victory in major championship history on the same course.

On Saturday, former world No.1 Day was spotted with Williams carrying his bag at the iconic seaside California course and confirmed to a golf TV network that the 55-year-old would caddie for him at the US Open starting Thursday.

Williams was on the bag for 13 of Woods's 15 major victories and famously carried the clubs for the American during his 2000 US Open victory at Pebble Beach.

Woods won that US Open by 15 shots, which remains the largest margin of victory in majors history.

Williams also worked a six-year stint with Day's fellow Australian Adam Scott, and in 2013 helped him become the country's first golfer to win the Masters at Augusta National.


Jaguares seal South African title

Fullback Emiliano Boffelli scored a try in each half as the Jaguares clinched the South African conference title and earned a home quarter-final with a 34-7 victory over the Sharks in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Emiliano Boffelli

Emiliano Boffelli Photo: Backpagepix

Winger Sebastian Cancelliere also scored two tries -- one set up by a brilliant jinking run by Boffelli -- while Santiago Carreras crossed in the final minute for the home side, whose victory ensured that all four hosts for the quarter-finals were decided with one week left in the regular season.

They were clinical against the South Africans, building phases and controlling possession, while they scrambled on defence and dominated the breakdown.

The Jaguares made last year's playoffs for the first time since joining the competition in 2016 by finishing seventh but lost 40-23 to the Lions in the quarter-final in Johannesburg.

Having taken control of the South African conference on their recent tour of Australasia when they won three of their four games, they showed they had no intention of having to leave their Jose Amalfitani base again.


Sharks take bite out of Eels

Cronulla's NRL premiership campaign is in full swing after recording a comprehensive 42-22 home win over Parramatta.

Teen sensation Bronson Xerri bagged a brace on Saturday to make it five tries in two games, while co-captain Wade Graham went unscathed in his return from an ACL injury.

Young halfback Kyle Flanagan also scored a try and kicked seven from eight attempts for an individual 18-point haul.

After some early-season adversity with cap breaches and injuries, the Sharks produced one of their best displays of the year to lead 38-6 after an hour.

Maika Sivo, Josh Hoffman and Michael Jennings added some respectability to the scoreline before Aaron Gray iced the Sharks' victory late.

Cronulla remain in sixth spot but are now equal on 16 points with fourth-placed Canberra and Newcastle ahead of next week's clash with the Raiders.

Star playmaker Shaun Johnson is expected back for the encounter.


Manly edge 12-man Cowboys

North Queensland have sensationally been forced to play the final 12 minutes of Saturday's 22-20 NRL defeat to Manly with just 12 men after running out of interchanges.

When prop Jordan McLean was forced off the field in the 68th minute with a hamstring injury, Cowboys coach Paul Green was hamstrung himself after using up his allocated eight substitutions at 1300SMILES Stadium.

Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans in action

Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans in action Photo: Photosport

It didn't help that Cowboys centre Mitch Dunn was taken from the field on a medicab after falling awkwardly fielding a 66th-minute bomb.

Both teams had two players backing up from Wednesday's State of Origin match in Brisbane, with North Queensland's Michael Morgan and Josh McGuire taking the field along with Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic.

The Sea Eagles' gritty victory snapped North Queensland's three-match winning streak and gave them a 7-6 record.


Vettell pips Hamilton for pole

Sebastian Vettel has put Ferrari on pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix for the second consecutive year, snatching top spot from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the death.

Vettel, who won from pole position last year in Canada to revive Ferrari's title hopes, will be hoping for the same on Monday (NZ time) with world championship leader Hamilton, chasing a record equalling seventh win in Montreal, starting alongside him.

Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It was the German's first pole in 17 grands prix and 56th of his career.

Vettel's team mate Charles LeClerc will start third and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo a surprise fourth.

Red Bull's Pierre Gasly grabbed fifth on the grid and will start alongside the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who could do no better than sixth after an early spin in the final session sent the Finn to the pits.

- Reuters

Ronaldo still showing threat

Portugal coach Fernando Santos believes that talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo can continue playing at the highest level for both club and country for at least three to four years.

The 34-year-old does not quite have the pace of old but showed with his hat-trick in the 3-1 Nations League win over Switzerland this week that he remains deadly around the penalty area and has a knack of scoring goals that matter.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He can also embarrass opponents with his mesmerizing footwork as Swiss fullback Kevin Mbabu found out when he was left on the floor by a Ronaldo dribble.

Ronaldo, whose side face the Netherlands in the Nations League final, is now only 12 short of his 100th international goal and could conceivably reach 200 international caps, having amassed 157 appearances in his 16-year international career.

- Reuters