Kvitova upsets Halep to close on second Wuhan Open title

Czech Petra Kvitova romped to a 6-1 6-2 victory over world number five Simona Halep in the Wuhan Open semi-finals on Friday to move a step closer to winning the tournament for the second time.

In-form Kvitova, who won the title in 2014, will meet Dominika Cibulkova in the final on Saturday after the Slovak beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Despite making 16 unforced errors, 14th seed Kvitova, who knocked out German world number one Angelique Kerber in the last 16, hit 34 winners to crush Romanian fourth seed Halep in just over an hour.

Alonso encouraged by Honda progress

By Abhishek and Takle
| SEPANG, Malaysia

SEPANG, Malaysia Fernando Alonso was encouraged after trying out an updated Honda engine in his McLaren, even if running it in Friday’s practice sessions means he will be forced to start Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix from the back.

The Spaniard carries a 30-place grid penalty into Saturday’s qualifying session as the new power unit fitted to his car pushes his use of engine-related components further beyond his permitted allocation.

Hot Ryder Cup start for U.S. on chilly morning

By Mark Lamport-Stokes
| CHASKA, Minnesota

CHASKA, Minnesota England's Justin Rose struck the first shot of the 41st Ryder Cup on a chilly Friday, finding the fairway off the tee at the par-four opening hole to launch the morning's foursomes matches before the U.S. took early control.

Olympic champion Rose partnered British Open winner Henrik Stenson for holders Europe in the alternate-shot format while Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed led off for the United States in a mouth-watering matchup for the first of four encounters.

Renault’s Magnussen feels the heat

By Abhishek and Takle
| SEPANG, Malaysia

SEPANG, Malaysia Not even the blaze that engulfed his Renault could melt Kevin Magnussen’s Scandinavian reserve in Friday’s opening practice for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix, though he certainly felt the heat.

Germany recall Guendogan after injury woes

BERLIN Midfielder Ilkay Guendogan was named in the Germany squad on Friday for next month's World Cup qualifiers after almost a year out of the side due to injury problems.

The 25-year-old Manchester City player, who also missed the 2014 World Cup through injury, last played for Germany in a friendly in Paris in November.

Forward Mario Gomez and central defender Jerome Boateng were also recalled to the squad having recovered from injuries picked up at Euro 2016.

European athletics expects big viewer boost for 2018 event

By Karolos Grohmann
| BERLIN

BERLIN The sport of athletics will witness a 20 percent rise in television viewing figures at the first multi-sports European Championships in 2018, the continent's athletics chief Svein Arne Hansen said on Friday.

The new European Championships will combine the separate continental championships of seven sports into one event, hoping to become the top multi-sports competition in Europe ahead of the struggling European Games.

Rugby - Uncapped Jones, Hughes named in England training squad

LONDON England coach Eddie Jones named Wasps back-row forwards Sam Jones and Nathan Hughes on Friday among seven uncapped players in a 37-man training squad for the Autumn internationals.

Fijian-born Hughes, 25, qualified to play for England this year after three seasons with Premiership club Wasps.

Number eight Josh Beaumont, son of former England captain Bill, was included after being named in this year's Six Nations squad but missing the tournament due to injury.

Wenger open to England job only after Arsenal 'love affair' ends

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is open to managing England in the future but is currently committed to the Premier League side, the Frenchman said on Friday.

"My priority is to do well here. This has always been my club," Wenger, who will celebrate 20 years at Arsenal on Saturday, told reporters.

"If I am free one day, why not? But I am concentrated on my job," he said, referring to the England job.

The Football Association is looking for a new England manager after the shock end to Sam Allardyce's 67-day stint following a newspaper investigation.

Birmingham to bid for 2026 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham is entering the race to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games with the British city's council leader saying the event would provide an enormous boost to the region's economy.

The West Midlands city, which hosted two games for last year's Rugby World Cup, staged a Diamond League meeting earlier this year and will also provide the venue for the world indoor athletics championships in 2018.

"We have proven ourselves to be warm, welcoming and friendly hosts to a number of international events in recent years," Birmingham council leader John Clancy told British media.

England players get postcards from sacked Allardyce

England squad members received postcards from Sam Allardyce saying their "journey has just begun" on Thursday, two days after his short reign as manager was brought to an abrupt end, according to British media reports.

Allardyce guided England to a 1-0 win over Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier in his only game in charge this month but lost the job having behaved "inappropriately" when seeking a lucrative sideline role while talking to undercover reporters.

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