Hubert Hurkacz won a lengthy, three-hour 30 minute match against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Masters, while Daniil Medvedev cruised into the next round at the joint ATP and WTA event.
In football, Spain made an impressive start to their Euro 2024 qualification campaign with a win over Norway. Morocco, meanwhile, came up with their first win over five-time World Cup-winners Brazil in a friendly.
The West Indies came up with a win in a rain-marred T20 over hosts South Africa.
In boxing, Algerian pugilist Imane Khelif was not allowed to compete in the World Championship final due to failing IBA ‘eligibility criteria.’
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 26 March, 2023:
Hurkacz beats Kokkinakis in epic battle
Hubert Hurkacz saved five match points as he fought back to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in a three and a half hour epic while fourth-seed Daniil Medvedev got his Miami Open bid under way with an easy win on Saturday.
Hurkacz was pushed all the way by the Australian lucky loser Kokkinakis before emerging with a 6-7 (10), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6) victory.
The Aussie had shown his mettle by saving six set points as he won the first-set tie-break and Hurkacz, the 2021 Miami champion, saved three match points in the second-set tie-break and another two in the final-set breaker.
In contrast, Indian Wells runner-up Medvedev barely broke sweat beating Spanish clay-court specialist Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2 in just 62 minutes.
The Russian’s loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final had ended his 19-match winning streak, but he was totally dominant as he struck 18 winners to the Carballes Baena’s five.
Two-time Grand Slam runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced into the third round after France’s Richard Gasquet withdrew with an ankle injury. He will face Chile’s Cristian Garin, who beat Argentine Sebastian Baez 7-6 (2), 6-3.
In the women’s singles draw, American Coco Gauff was knocked out after an intense three-set battle with Anastasia Potapova while Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina earned a hard-fought comeback win against Spain’s Paula Badosa. The Wimbledon champion won 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Three-times Miami winner Victoria Azarenka fell to Poland’s Magda Linette but third-seed Jessica Pegula advanced with a 6-1, 7-6 (0) win over fellow American Danielle Collins.
Results from ATP/WTA Miami Open on Saturday (x denots seed):
Men’s singles second round
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x8) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (8/6)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) bt Ben Shelton (USA x32) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Christopher Eubanks (USA) bt Borna Coric (CRO x17) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Grégoire Barrère (FRA) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR x11) 6-3, 6-2
Quentin Halys (FRA) bt Alex De Minaur (AUS x15) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8)
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x19) 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/5)
Alex Molcan (SVK) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN x28) 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-2
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x4) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-1, 6-2
Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x5) bt Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8)
Francisco Cerundolo (ARG x25) bt Aleksandar Kovacevic (USA) 6-4, 6-4
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Daniel Evans (GBR x23) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Frances Tiafoe (USA x12) bt Yosuke Watanuki (JPN) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Karen Khachanov (RUS x14) bt Tomás Etcheverry (ARG) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
Jirí Lehecka (CZE) bt Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x18) 6-4, 6-4
Christian Garín (CHI) bt Sebastián Báez (ARG x27) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) walkover
Women’s singles third round
Martina Trevisan (ITA x25) bt Claire Liu (USA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x24) bt Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA x13) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Elena Rybakina (KAZ x10) bt Paula Badosa (ESP x21) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Elise Mertens (BEL) bt Petra Martic (CRO x29) 6-4, 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Danielle Collins (USA x30) 6-1, 7-6 (7/0)
Magda Linette (POL x20) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR x14) 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4
Zheng Qinwen (CHN x23) bt Liudmila Samsonova (RUS x12) 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Anastasia Potapova (RUS x27) bt Coco Gauff (USA x6) 6-7 (8/10), 7-5, 6-2
Spain off to impressive start
Spain won 3-0 against a Norway side missing the injured Erling Haaland in the opening round of Euro 2024 qualifiers Saturday, while Wales snatched a stoppage-time equaliser to frustrate Croatia.
Dani Olmo turned in Alejandro Balde’s driven low cross on 13 minutes in Malaga and Joselu scored twice on his Spain debut to give new coach Luis de la Fuente a victory in his first match in charge.
Joselu, 32, became the first Spain player to net twice on his international debut since Fernando Morientes in 1998.
Three-time European champions Spain next go to Scotland, who saw off Cyprus 3-0 in their Group A opener after Scott McTominay scored twice late on as a substitute at Hampden Park.
Croatia, finalists and semi-finalists at the past two World Cups, conceded a last-gasp equaliser to kick off Group D as Wales debutant Nathan Broadhead tapped home a flick-on from a long throw.
Andrej Kramaric’s low shot from just outside the area had given Croatia the lead in Split against a Wales team beginning life after the retirement of their record goalscorer and captain Gareth Bale.
Luka Modric won his 163rd cap for Croatia, who have never lost a home European Championship qualifier – a run now spanning 36 matches dating back to 1994.
Turkey came from behind to defeat Armenia 2-1 in Yerevan as efforts from Orkun Kokcu and Kerem Akturkoglu cancelled out an early own goal by former Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak.
Renato Steffen scored a first-half hat-trick as Switzerland thrashed Belarus 5-0 in a game played behind closed doors in Serbia. UEFA has banned Belarus from playing at home due to the country’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Granit Xhaka and Zeki Amdouni, on his second international appearance, added goals in the second half as Switzerland powered top of Group I.
Dennis Man and Denis Alibec were on target as Romania eased to a 2-0 win away to 10-man Andorra, while Israel drew 1-1 at home to Kosovo.
Algerian boxer not allowed to play final
Algerian boxer Imane Khelif has been excluded from the women’s world championships after being told she had “characteristics that mean I can’t box with women”, she said on Saturday.
The International Boxing Association confirmed that she had been excluded from the tournament in New Delhi “due to the failure to meet the IBA eligibility criteria”.
In an email to AFP, it declined to say what rule she had breached, citing athletes’ “personal and medical privacy”.
Algerian media reported the 23-year-old had failed a hormone test, returning an elevated testosterone level.
In a video posted online, Khelif said she had been told she would have an unfair advantage over other women, but claimed she was the victim of a “big conspiracy”.
Due to the exclusion, Thailand’s Janjaem Suwannapheng will compete in the 66kg division final, the IBA said.
Morocco stun Brazil in friendly
Morocco stunned Brazil 2-1 in a friendly international on Saturday as the north African side recorded a first ever win over the five-time world champions.
Midfielder Sofiane Boufal, a former Southampton star, but now playing with Al Rayyan in Qatar, gave Morocco the lead after 29 minutes, scoring with a powerful turn and drive from a pass by Bilal El Khannous.
Brazil skipper Casemiro levelled in the 67th minute when his weak shot was fumbled by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
But on-loan Sampdoria midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri struck the winner with a volley in the 79th minute as Morocco showed that becoming the first Arab or African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals last year was no fluke.
West Indies beat South Africa in T20
New West Indies captain Rovman Powell thrashed five sixes as he led his team to a three-wicket victory over South Africa in a rain-shortened first Twenty20 international at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.
The match was reduced to 11 overs a side but produced 263 runs and 15 wickets in a frantic contest.
Powell, who took over from Nicholas Pooran last month, hit 43 not out off 18 balls as the West Indies chased down a South African total of 131 for eight with three balls to spare.
Opener Brandon King hit 23 off eight balls and Johnson Charles slammed 28 off 14 deliveries as the West Indies made an explosive start, scoring 84 for four in the first six overs.
David Miller clubbed 48 off 22 balls in South Africa’s innings.
Wickets fell almost rapidly as boundaries were hit but Miller ensured a competitive total, hitting four fours and three sixes. He and burly fast bowler Sisanda Magala smacked 47 off 13 balls for the seventh wicket.
The teams meet at the same venue on Sunday.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day