Masters 2017: Sergio Garcia pips Justin Rose to win at Augusta

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Spain’s Sergio Garcia ended his long wait for a first major title with a thrilling play-off win over England’s Justin Rose at the Masters.

Both players finished on nine under par after 72 holes, setting up a sudden-death play-off on the 18th.

Garcia, 37, holed a birdie putt for victory after his European Ryder Cup team-mate could only manage a bogey.

Charl Schwartzel was three shots back, with England’s Paul Casey and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in the top 10.

Jordan Spieth, one of the pre-tournament favourites, and fellow American Rickie Fowler both capitulated on the final day to finish tied 11th on one-under.

Garcia finally won one of golf’s four majors – the Masters, the Open Championship, the US Open and the US PGA – after 22 previous top-10 finishes.

He became the third Spaniard to win the Masters – after Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal – on what would have been the 60th birthday of Ballesteros, who died in 2011.

“To join Seve and Jose – my two idols – is something amazing,” said Garcia.

How the play-off unfolded

Shot one: Rose teed off first, pushing his drive right into the trees, only for his ball to bounce back towards play and reappear in the pine needles.

Garcia thumped his drive almost 300 yards down the fairway.

Shot two: Rose could only punch his way out of trouble onto the fairway, while Garcia to land his approach on the green.

Shot three: The Englishman responded by landing his ball about 10 foot to the right of the hole – on a similar line to his putt in regulation play about 15 minutes earlier.

After Rose pushed it left, Garcia had two shots for victory – making no mistake with his first attempt and his ball rounded the lip before dropping in.

More to follow.

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World Masters Spotlight: Diann Uustal, Maurine Kornfeld

2016 Top 12 World Masters Swimmers of the Year

Sponsored by SwimSpray

Swimming World Magazine has been recognizing the Top 12 World Masters Swimmers of the Year for the last 13 years. Running from April 4th through April 9th the staff at Swimming World will be shining a spotlight on the accomplishments of our Top 12 World Masters Swimmers of the Year, along with a special spotlight on the runners-up on the 10th.

Diann Uustal, USA (70-74)

In the past seven years, Diann Uustal, 70, has become a dynamic sprinter, setting 22 Masters world records (through Oct. 31, 2016) plus 72 USMS individual and three USMS relay records.

Last season, she posted five global standards: LC—50-200 free (33.52, 2:46.63); SC—50-100 free (32.79, 1:12.58), 50 fly (35.12).

Uustal was first selected as a Top 12 honoree in 2011—one year after setting her first Masters backstroke world records. Since then, she has extended her swimming mastery into sprint free, fly and IM. Additionally, she has etched her name into FINA’s All-Time Top 10 list on 15 different occasions between two age groups, and has 18

USMS All-American honors (13 individual, five relay).
None of her accomplishments should come as a surprise, though, when one considers her family’s background in the sport of swim- ming. Uustal’s grandmother, Ruth Elizabeth Coburn, was a formi- dable open ocean and competitive pool swimmer, while her mother was a notable diver and swimmer in New England. —T.B.

Maurine Kornfeld, USA (95-99)

Maurine Kornfeld, 95, made her Masters debut in her 80s and set her first Masters world record when she was 90 (SC 800 free, 18:38.69).

Five years later, competing for the first time in the 95-99 group, she set 10 Masters world records during the competition season of Nov. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2016: LC—50-100-200-400 free (1:04.02, 2:22.74, 5:03.47, 10:12.49), 200 back (5:42.64); SC—50-200- 400 free (1:09.70, 5:18.94, 10:51.92), 100 back (2:53.16), 100 IM (3:32.13).

Back in 2010, she was awarded the Southern Pacific Masters Swimming (SPMS) award for exemplary commitment to Masters swimming, personal achievement and inspiration for others. She has been named an All-America swimmer by U.S. Masters Swimming 28 times (17 individual, 11 relay) and has maintained an All-Star status with USMS since 2011. —T.B.

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Mark Darragh Claims Two Top Seeds at Day 4 Prelims of Canada Trials

Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

The 2017 Canadian Swimming Trials continued with Mark Darragh picking up the top seed in two events at the fourth and final day’s prelim session.

Katerine Savard qualified first in the women’s 200 fly with a 2:14.06 showing. Mabel Zavaros and Jacomi Strydom turned in close finishes of 2:15.00 and 2:15.50 for the second and third place seeds.

                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Savard, Katerin  93 CAMO              2:10.82    2:14.06  q750  
             29.78      1:03.57 (33.79)
        1:38.46 (34.89)     2:14.06 (35.60)
  2 Zavaros, Mabel   00 OAK               2:13.39    2:15.00  q734  
             29.02      1:03.28 (34.26)
        1:38.95 (35.67)     2:15.00 (36.05)
  3 Strydom, Jacomi  96 OSC               2:13.44    2:15.50  q726  
             29.86      1:04.02 (34.16)
        1:39.55 (35.53)     2:15.50 (35.95)
  4 MacNeil, Maggie  00 LAC               2:14.56    2:15.60  q724  
             30.07      1:04.09 (34.02)
        1:39.11 (35.02)     2:15.60 (36.49)
  5 Kwan, Victoria   00 MAC               2:14.19    2:16.17  q715  
             30.89      1:04.85 (33.96)
        1:41.03 (36.18)     2:16.17 (35.14)
  6 Gibson, Jessie   98 SPART             2:17.81    2:17.34  q697  
             30.45      1:05.17 (34.72)
        1:40.72 (35.55)     2:17.34 (36.62)
  7 D'Aoust, Daniel  97 UCSC              2:16.42    2:17.89  q689  
             30.61      1:05.66 (35.05)
        1:41.61 (35.95)     2:17.89 (36.28)
  8 Marois, Sophie   95  NEPTUNE NATATIO  2:14.47    2:18.24  q684  
             30.29      1:04.65 (34.36)
        1:41.14 (36.49)     2:18.24 (37.10)

Mark Darragh topped the prelims field in the men’s 200 fly, stopping the clock at a 2:00.03. Close on his heels was Osvald Nitski and his time of 2:00.32. Nicola Dekker picked up the third place seed with a 2:00.54.

                     === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Darragh, Mack    93 OAK               1:58.22    2:00.03  q801  
             27.00        57.35 (30.35)
        1:28.73 (31.38)     2:00.03 (31.30)
  2 Nitski, Osvald   97 OAK/UT            2:01.91    2:00.32  q796  
             27.15        58.09 (30.94)
        1:29.29 (31.20)     2:00.32 (31.03)
  3 Dekker, Nicolaa  95 RAPID             1:58.87    2:00.54  q791  
             26.29        56.37 (30.08)
        1:27.99 (31.62)     2:00.54 (32.55)
  4 Champagne, Mont  96 GO                2:02.08    2:01.63  q770  
             27.48        58.32 (30.84)
        1:29.92 (31.60)     2:01.63 (31.71)
  5 Wilkins, Connor  96 OAK               2:02.47    2:02.29  q758  
             27.90        58.21 (30.31)
        1:29.74 (31.53)     2:02.29 (32.55)
  6 Tyler, Lucas     99 UVIC-PCS          2:03.79    2:02.68  q750  
             27.06        58.09 (31.03)
        1:29.77 (31.68)     2:02.68 (32.91)
  7 Paquin-Foisy, E  97 ELITE             2:03.95    2:03.37  q738  
             27.43        58.67 (31.24)
        1:30.51 (31.84)     2:03.37 (32.86)
  7 Mac, Matthew     98 OAK/UT            2:06.18    2:03.37  q738  
             27.76        59.34 (31.58)
        1:30.83 (31.49)     2:03.37 (32.54)

Darragh claimed a second top seed with a 2:02.12 in the men’s 200 IM. Rob Hill turned in the second fastest time of the morning with a 2:04.52, while Javier Acevedo was third with a 2:05.27.

                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Darragh, Mack    93 OAK               2:01.69    2:02.12  q813  
             26.69        57.48 (30.79)
        1:32.05 (34.57)     2:02.12 (30.07)
  2 Hill, Rob        96 CHENA/UofC        2:03.29    2:04.52  q767  
             27.08        57.97 (30.89)
        1:33.76 (35.79)     2:04.52 (30.76)
  3 Acevedo, Javier  98 AAC               2:04.26    2:05.27  q753  
             27.11        58.02 (30.91)
        1:34.32 (36.30)     2:05.27 (30.95)
  4 Therrien, Araya  96 UBCDS             2:06.51    2:05.49  q749  
             26.84        58.23 (31.39)
        1:35.75 (37.52)     2:05.49 (29.74)
  5 Zakala, Josh     98 ISC               2:04.69    2:05.66  q746  
             27.45        59.88 (32.43)
        1:36.59 (36.71)     2:05.66 (29.07)
  6 Tremblay, Jerem  96 SAMAK             2:05.16    2:05.73  q745  
             27.22        59.35 (32.13)
        1:35.59 (36.24)     2:05.73 (30.14)
  6 Reilly, Luke     95 UBCDS/HPCVAN      2:00.71    2:05.73  q745  
             27.02        59.04 (32.02)
        1:36.91 (37.87)     2:05.73 (28.82)
  8 Telford, Ryan    98 AAC               2:07.38    2:06.14  q738  
             27.57      1:00.36 (32.79)
        1:35.30 (34.94)     2:06.14 (30.84)

Michelle Toro sprinted her way to a FINA ‘A’ cut with a top qualifying time of 24.95 in the women’s 50 free. Chantal van Landeghem, meanwhile, landed close to the FINA ‘A’ cut of 25.18 in prelims with a 25.32, good for the second place seed in tonight’s finals. Sandrine Mainville rounded out the top three qualifiers with a 25.49.

                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Toro, Michelle   91 NYAC/HPCO           24.82      24.95f q860  
  2 Vanlandeghem, C  94 TSC/HPCO            24.57      25.32  q823  
  3 Mainville, Sand  92 CAMO/HPCO           25.04      25.49  q806  
  4 Sanchez, Kayla   01 AAC/HPCO            25.81      25.66  q790  
  5 Fournier, Sarah  96 CNQ                 25.44      25.69  q788  
  6 Keire, Jacqueli  94 OAK                 26.04      25.87  q771  
  7 Smith, Rebecca   00 SCAR/HPCO           25.46      25.89  q770  
  8 Ruck, Taylor M   00 UNCAN               25.66      25.94  q765

On the men’s side, Alex Loginov flirted with the 50 free FINA ‘A’ cut finishing a shy .08 seconds shy with a 22.55. Kyle Robrock turned in a 22.87 to qualify second overall, followed by Yuri Kisil’s 22.99.

                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Loginov, Alex    92 TSC                 22.56      22.55  q797  
  2 *Robrock, Kyle   93 DU-CO               22.82      22.87  q764  
  3 Kisil, Yuri      95 UBCDS/HPCVAN        22.23      22.99  q752  
  4 *Farber, Sid A   98 DU-CO               23.05      23.13  q738  
  4 Daly, Owen       95 CAMO                23.12      23.13  q738  
  6 Thormeyer, Mark  97 UBCDS/HPCVAN        23.13      23.24  q728  
  7 Kidd, Cameron    96 WRMS/UT             23.86      23.27  q725  
  8 Bernard-Lalonde  96 CAMO                23.21      23.31  q721

Sydney Pickrem and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson delivered FINA ‘A’ cut swims in the women’s 200 IM to return as the top two qualifiers. Pickrem delivered a 2:12.17, while Seltenreich-Hodgson posted a 2:12.80 to both sneak under the cut time of 2:13.41. Sarah Darcel picked up the third place seed, just missing out on the cut time with a 2:13.51.

                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Pickrem, Sydney  97 ISC/TA&M          2:13.42    2:12.17f q868  
             29.11      1:02.52 (33.41)
        1:40.50 (37.98)     2:12.17 (31.67)
  2 Seltenreich-Hod  95 GO/HPCVAN         2:12.25    2:12.80f q856  
             29.27      1:02.96 (33.69)
        1:41.17 (38.21)     2:12.80 (31.63)
  3 Darcel, Sarah    99 ISC               2:13.40    2:13.51  q842  
             27.95      1:00.85 (32.90)
        1:40.72 (39.87)     2:13.51 (32.79)
  4 Masse, Kylie     96 WEST/UT           2:13.22    2:14.01  q833  
             28.17      1:01.70 (33.53)
        1:42.64 (40.94)     2:14.01 (31.37)
  5 Sanchez, Kayla   01 AAC/HPCO          2:14.78    2:14.75  q819  
             30.14      1:04.61 (34.47)
        1:44.36 (39.75)     2:14.75 (30.39)
  6 Andison, Bailey  97 PERTH             2:15.92    2:14.84  q818  
             29.89      1:03.29 (33.40)
        1:43.20 (39.91)     2:14.84 (31.64)
  7 Zevnik, Alexia   94 POINTE-CLAIRE SW  2:16.14    2:17.06  q779  
             30.00      1:03.79 (33.79)
        1:46.30 (42.51)     2:17.06 (30.76)
  8 Cantin, Geneviè  91 UL                2:19.28    2:17.28  q775  
             29.02      1:03.08 (34.06)
        1:44.79 (41.71)     2:17.28 (32.49)

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Ranomi Kromowidjojo Concludes Eindhoven Cup with 50 Free Victory

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

The final day of the 2017 Eindhoven Swim Cup concluded with Olympians Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Ferry Weertman adding gold medals to their collections in the sprint and distance freestyles.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo added another sprint title to her name with a victory in the women’s 50 free. Kromowidjojo posted a 24.39 for first, just shy of her season best of 24.34. Tamara van Vliet finished second overall with a time of 24.77, while Femke Heemskerk added a third place finish of 24.84. Both van Vliet and Heemskerk move up in the world rankings to seventh and eighth respectively.

Ferry Weertman concluded the meet with a final distance victory in the men’s 1500 free. Weertman out-lasted the competition to finish with a 15:09.03, moving him to tenth in the world rankings. Jan Micka took second in the 1500 with a final time of 15:22.24, followed by Poul Zellmann’s 15:29.53.

Martina Moravcikova topped the competition in the women’s 50 breast, stopping the clock at a final 31.76. She was followed to the wall by young star Tes Schouten, who delivered a Dutch junior record of 31.84 for second. Jessica Steiger rounded out the top three with a 32.15.

The men’s 50 fly was highlighted by a trio of 23 second swims. Mathys Goosen led the way with a top 23.67, moving him to sixth in the world rankings for 2017. Damian Wierling and Jan Sefl moved up in the world rankings to tenth and eleventh with times of 23.88 and 23.91.

Valentine Dumont added a victory in the 400 free with a narrow victory over Isabel Gose. Dumont touched with a final 4:12.07, followed closely by Gose’s 4:12.71. Laura van Engelen completed the top three with a 4:14.39.

Jacob Heidtmann claimed victory in the men’s 200 IM, delivering a final time of 2:02.84 for a smooth victory. Sebastian Steffan turned in a second place finish of 2:03.13, while Frank Roovers was third overall with a 2:03.15.

On the women’s side, it was Simona Baumrtova who picked up victory in the women’s 200 IM, posting a 2:13.72. Lisa Zaiser and Maxine Wolters finished second and third respectively with times of 2:14.52 and 2:15.31.

The men’s 100 free proved to be a tight race with Ben Schwietert sprinting to victory. Schwietert posted a 49.42 for gold, followed by close finishes from Stan Pijnenburg (49.66) and Damian Wierling (49.80).

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Peter Sagan looks back on ‘unlucky day’ in Paris-Roubaix

World champion Peter Sagan suffered a double puncture in Paris-Roubaix, with his Classics season ending in disappointed despite great form

Peter Sagan says that his Classics campaign ended on an “unlucky” note after Paris-Roubaix on Sunday due to punctures.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) stood on the podium and accepted the cobble trophy as the race winner. Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) placed second and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) third. Sagan finished 38th at 5-12 minutes.

Sagan showered, exited the Bora-Hansgrohe team bus, kissed his wife and hugged his dad. He walked to the fans to sign their hats and shirts, and turned back to the waiting journalists with a shrug of his shoulder.

“I had two flats…” he said.

“I’d spent a lot of energy to go on the attack, because it’s not easy for me to get away when they see me move. I managed to do it twice but I was slowed by punctures.

“It was a bit of an unlucky day for me but then I ran out of energy to be up front in the action.”

Sagan lit up the Spring Classics in his rainbow jersey, however. He won only Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but he attacked on the Poggio to blow Milan-San Remo apart and drove through the Oude Kwaremont to create the hottest YouTube clip when he snagged a fan’s jacket with his handlebars and crashed.

“An unlucky campaign? I lost Milan-San Remo. At the Tour of Flanders, I made a mistake and then today I was unlucky.”

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) caught Sagan out with an early attack in the Tour of Flanders. This time, Sagan attacked with 77.7 kilometres remaining and formed a group team-mate Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).

A puncture took its toll that time and again another time, at 32 kilometres to race when he sat with eventual winner Van Avermaet and runner-up Stybar.

“It’s a hard day when you work hard to get a result, and you don’t have the best of luck,” sports director and coach Patxi Vila said.

“You have to always think anything can happy, you just have to keep fighting. Greg Van Avermaet was in the crash and he came back and finally he won.

“The team worked well, Peter was in the right moment and doing the right things.”

>>> Team Sky’s bittersweet Paris-Roubaix ends with Gianni Moscon in fifth

He said that his hip did not bother him after his Oude Kwaremont fall last Sunday.

“I’m happy with my form, but not with the results. I can’t be happy with the results I got,” said Sagan.

He placed second in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, second in Milan-San Remo, 108th in the E3 Harelbeke, third in Ghent-Wevelgem and 27th in the Tour of Flanders.

Some critics think that Paris-Roubaix could have been a race too much for Sagan. Before, team Liquigas/Cannondale would have him skip Paris-Roubaix and maybe race the Amstel Gold Race a week later.

“You’re always tired after Paris-Roubaix and today I’m very tired,” Sagan added.

“But the season continues. I’ll take a bit of a break now and then I’ll get going again at the Tour of California. Then I’ll have important races like the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France.”


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Team Sky’s bittersweet Paris-Roubaix ends with Gianni Moscon in fifth

Mixed fortunes for British WorldTour team Sky as Luke Rowe crashes out, Ian Stannard suffers a puncture… but Gianni Moscon puts in blistering ride to come fifth

Team Sky‘s bittersweet Cobbled Classics campaign ended with Gianni Moscon, only 22-years-old, sprinting to fifth in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. Ian Stannard, the Briton who should have driven the British superpower home after third last year, says that everything went wrong in a 20-minute period.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) rode clear to win with a trio that included Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors), second place, and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac), in third.

Luke Rowe had a puncture, Gianni Moscon had to change bikes… it was in a 20-minute period were everything went wrong for the team it seemed,” Stannard told Cycling Weekly. “That’s kind of the nature of bike racing.”

Dutch sports director and 2001 Paris-Roubaix winner, Servais Knaven stood near by. Dust from following in Sky’s Ford team car still covered him.

“We were really unlucky. Lukasz Wisniowski crashed, Owain Doull and Jon Dibben were involved in a crash, or held up, but Christian Knees was OK, and Elia Viviani, too,” Knaven added.

>>> Greg Van Avermaet wins thrilling edition of Paris-Roubaix

“Ian was on the back foot from that flat, that cost him a lot of energy to come back. He came back before Denain, five kilometres before Haveluy, he tried to move up, but he didn’t have it anymore to make the first group. That was a shame, he was one of our leaders.

“Gianni also was in the crash with Wisniowski, then changed his back 10K after, crashed on sector 15, came backed and attacked.”

In the chaos, Moscon shined. The 22-year-old Italian, who is only in his second year as a professional, already completed two monumental races to Roubaix.

“I had some problems, I had to change bikes,” Moscon said pulling to a stop in the velodrome after placing fifth.

“I suffered so much, but I believe I had a great race.”

Moscon attacked early to “anticipate” the others but he was “tired”. With the three leaders – Van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld – slowing and playing tactics in the velodrome, he raced back and started the sprint.

“I thought to do something to surprise the others. I don’t think they were expecting it. I was less fresh, but I wanted to surprise them on the velodrome.”

Knaven and Stannard shook their head in disappointment. They say the Classics failed to go how they wanted.

Rowe placed third in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and today, Moscon fifth in cycling’s big race in Northern France. Their “campaign”, however, excludes Milan-San Remo – the one non-cobbled classic so far – tucked between the opening weekend in Belgium and the run from Dwars door Vlaanderen to Paris-Roubaix.

“You can’t take away Michal Kwiatkowski’s Milan-San Remo win,” Sky boss David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly.

“We’ve been plugging away in the one-day races for a long time, and if you’d have told me that Gianni would’ve been fifth here and we’d win Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche, I’d have taken that. That’s been good.

“But I would say is that the Cobbled Classics, the performances haven’t been bad but the results haven’t been there. Luke’s been unlucky, like last week in Flanders. That happens in cycling at times.”

Kwiatkowski won Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, but pulled back to prepare for the Ardennes Classics. Geraint Thomas gave up on these races to focus on stage races.

>>> Huge crash takes down riders in Paris-Roubaix’s second cobbled sector (video)

“No,” Brailsford said about if he had any regrets about not bringing them here to the Cobbled Classics after they rode so well in past years. “You can’t think later we should’ve done it differently, we made a plan and stuck with it.”

Stannard waited for his ride. He is joining Rowe and the rest of the Classics team for much deserved beers this evening. They are taking a break. Stannard should next appear in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France.

“We were looking today to pull out the performance we haven’t had,” said Stannard. “The whole Classics campaign has been disappointing for us if you just discount the San Remo ride.”

“It’s a pity because next year you’re one year older,” Knaven added. “You can only do [the Classics] 12 to 15 times, so it’s a big blow. Of course, they are not happy. They are in good shape, but they missed that little extra.”


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Lomachenko outclasses Sosa in nine

09/04/2017 07:48

WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) outclassed and then stopped Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) at the end of the ninth round on Saturday night at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Lomachenko, one of the best pound for pound fighters in boxing, dominated the entire fight before Sosa’s trainer Raul  Rivas asked referee Kenny Chevalier to halt the one-sided bout.

Sosa, who vacated his WBA ‘regular’ title in order to fight Lomachenko, showed his toughness throughout but he could not match the Ukrainian’s skills, and by the fourth round his face began to swell.

Lomachenko continued to pound Sosa with hard shots in the following rounds while making Sosa miss with his punches.

In the eighth the American was getting badly hurt and the punishment continued until the fight was stopped by Sosa’s trainer at the end of the ninth.

“I came to show my “High Tech” style and to prove that I am the best fighter in the world,” said Lomachenko. “I think I did my job.”

Sosa said: “I couldn’t really execute anything. He’s a great fighter.”

Also on the card, Lomachenko’s countryman and friend Oleksandr Usyk (12-0, 10 KOs) retained his WBO cruiserweight title with an exciting 12-round unanimous decision over American challenger Mike Hunter (12-1, 8 KOs).

Both fighters exchanged punches in the early rounds but Usyk landed the harder shots through the second half of the fight.

Hunter took a lot of punishment in the final round and Usyk scored a knockdown after sending Hunter  into the ropes from a barrage of punches.

All three judges scored the fight 117-110 for Usyk.

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Davis Cup is not fan friendly says GB captain Leon Smith

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Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith says the competition’s format is not “fan or player friendly”.

Reforms were endorsed in March to reduce the current five-set format to three sets played over two days.

GB’s Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund both played best-of-three sets in their singles rubbers against France as the hosts secured a 4-1 victory on Sunday.

“It’s a tough ask for children to come in and watch two five-setters in one sitting,” Smith told BBC’s Sportsweek.

“It’s simply too long. It’s not fan friendly and it’s not player friendly.”

Smith – who admitted on Saturday that GB’s squad “lacked depth” – said the existing format could stop the world’s top players from competing.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was the only player ranked in the top 10 to appear for any of the nations in the quarter-finals.

“If you’re playing a hectic schedule, you know you have to come in and play a five-set match on the Friday, potentially the doubles then another best of five, that is too much,” Smith added.

“That already puts the decision into a player’s head that that is too much and they can’t play.

“You change that to three and for fans, they sit through two best-of-three matches; that’s much more realistic in the time frame.”

Dan Evans

France took an unassailable 3-0 lead over GB after victory in Saturday’s doubles, but Evans and Edmund played Julien Benneteau and Jeremy Chardy respectively on Sunday.

Evans beat Benneteau 6-1 6-2 in just 43 minutes before Edmund lost 6-4 6-4 to world number 68 Chardy.

Evans entertains in dead rubber

Evans and Benneateu approached their singles rubber as though it was an exhibition match, with both players playing up to the Rouen crowd.

The Brit took his aggressive hard court game onto the clay, winning 30 points as he wrapped up the first set in 21 minutes.

Benneateu was then joined on court by his doubles partner Nicolas Mahut, and briefly by France captain Yannick Noah, as Evans played the three players at once, much to the crowd’s amusement.

However Evans – who, prior to this weekend, had not played a match on clay in two years – won the match in 43 minutes.

“Our fans come and watch us everywhere. They pay their hard-earned money, and it’s not cheap, so we wanted to put a show on for them,” Evans told BBC Sport after the match.

Edmund, 22, continued his impressive showing on clay as he pushed Chardy’s backhand, but the Frenchman’s ease on clay ensured he registered victory in just over an hour.

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