British tennis stars Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray lost in the opening round of the Miami Masters combined ATP and WTA event, losing to Bianca Andreescu and Dusan Lajovic respectively.
In football news, fresh bids have been put forward as the race for Manchester United ownership heats up.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 23 March, 2023:
Raducanu, Murray crash on opening day
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu won a first-round battle of former US Open champions, defeating Britain’s Emma Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Wednesday to advance to the second round of the Miami Open.
There was further bad news for Britain with two-time Miami winner Andy Murray crashing out in the first round after a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.
Andreescu and Raducanu, both born near Toronto and both of whom won the US Open as teenagers, battled for 2.5 hours in an entertaining opening to the WTA and ATP combined tournament’s main draw.
The Canadian has a tough test in the next round, where she will face seventh seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.
For the 20-year-old Raducanu, though, there was yet another injury concern with her reporting pain with her wrist.
“It’s something I’ve been managing for some time. I just need to review after this tournament really and figure out what my next steps are,” she said, adding that she may get a fresh pair of eyes to look at the problem.
World No 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday citing a rib injury.
Murray has made a reasonably promising start to the year, reaching the final in Doha but he was well below-par as he crashed out to 76th ranked, 32-year-old Lajovic.
The Serb took his chances – winning 72 per cent of second-serve points and saved two of the three break points he faced, while converting all three opportunities on Murray’s serve.
Manchester United ownership bid heats up
The battle to buy Manchester United heated up on Wednesday as Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe prepared to raise their bids for the 20-time English champions.
Both parties were expected to increase their initial offers after the submission deadline of 2100 GMT was extended by merchant bank Raine, which is assisting with the sale of the club, following confusion over the timing, the BBC reported.
Sky Sports also reported that Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe had been granted extensions to submit fresh bids.
The new deadline for offers has not been made clear, according to the BBC.
United’s owners, the Glazer family, have reportedly set a world record £6 billion ($7.3 billion) valuation for a sports club.
Sheikh Jassim’s bid for 100 percent control of the club promises to wipe United’s $620 million debt and invest in a new stadium and training ground, in addition to backing for the men’s and women’s teams.
A source close to Sheikh Jassim’s bid told AFP he remains confident his bid is “the best for the club, fans and local community.”
INEOS chemical company founder Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan, has been more circumspect in his assessment, insisting he will not pay a “stupid” price in a bidding war for one of football’s most iconic clubs.
“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint,” Ratcliffe told the Wall Street Journal this week.
“What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”
Ratcliffe, who wants the 69 percent stake owned by the Glazer family, said his interest in United would be “purely in winning things”, calling the club a “community asset”.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day