Manchester United squandered a two-goal advantage to be held by Sevilla at Old Trafford in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final. Juventus and Feyenoord secured 1-0 wins in their respective quarter-finals.
Novak Djokovic was ousted in the round of 16 at the Monte Carlo Masters by Italian Lorenzo Musetti on a wet and chilly day.
The WTA announced on Thursday that it will resume its tournaments in China after a 16-month boycott over concerns for the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai.
22-time singles Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal withdrew from the ATP Barcelona event after failing to regain full fitness.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 14 April, 2023:
Nadal withdraws from ATP Barcelona
Rafael Nadal’s preparation for a tilt at a record-extending 15th French Open title suffered a further blow when he announced Friday his withdrawal from the ATP Barcelona tournament.
The 36-year-old Spaniard said he had still not recovered full fitness from the hip flexor injury he sustained in the Australian Open in January and which saw him miss this week’s Monte Carlo Open.
“I am still not ready and so I continue my preparation process for the return to competition,” he tweeted.
The Barcelona tournament starts on Saturday and the French Open on May 28.
Nadal said it hurt him to miss Barcelona.
“Barcelona is a special tournament for me because it is my club by adoption and because playing at home is always a unique feeling,” he said.
The 22-time Grand Slam singles champion – he shares the record with Novak Djokovic – had originally thought he would be out for up to two months.
He pulled out of hard-court tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, with his sights set on a return at the start of the clay court season.
His fitness problems have become an increasing issue since he won his 14th French Open crown last year.
He eased to victory against Casper Ruud despite having his troublesome left foot anaesthesised to counter the pain – he was diagnosed with Müller-Weiss syndrome aged 18.
He subsequently withdrew from his Wimbledon semi-final due to an abdominal injury.
His long absence from the circuit this time round has seen him drop out of the top 10 for the first time since April 2005 – he is presently ranked 15th.
Man Utd held by Sevilla; Juventus, Feyenoord win
Manchester United’s Europa League quarter-final tie against Sevilla is finely poised after two late own goals allowed the Spanish side to leave Old Trafford with a 2-2 draw in Thursday’s first leg.
Elsewhere there were narrow home wins for Juventus and Feyenoord while Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen were held to a 1-1 draw by Belgian visitors Union Saint-Gilloise.
Erik ten Hag’s United are the favourites to win this season’s competition and they looked to be cruising towards the semi-finals as they seized a two-goal first-half lead at Old Trafford thanks to a brace by Marcel Sabitzer.
They could have been out of sight after the break but Antony hit the post at the end of a counterattack and United also saw central defensive duo Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez both come off injured.
Sevilla produced a remarkable late comeback, reducing the deficit in the 84th minute when Tyrell Malacia let a ball go past him in the box and then deflected a Jesus Navas cross into his own net.
They then equalised in the second minute of added time when a Youssef En-Nesyri header went in via a big touch off Harry Maguire, who had come on for Varane.
The winners of that tie will face either Juventus or Sporting of Portugal in the last four and the Turin giants claimed a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their quarter-final.
Federico Gatti scored the only goal of the game in the 73rd minute after Juve suffered a scare when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny came off just before half-time when he complained of chest pains.
Mats Wieffer scored the only goal of the game early in the second half as Dutch league leaders Feyenoord beat Jose Mourinho’s Roma 1-0 in the first leg of a tie that is a repeat of last season’s Europa Conference League final, won by the Italian side.
Union Saint-Gilloise took the lead away to Leverkusen through a strike by Nigerian striker Victor Boniface early in the second half, only for Florian Wirtz to score a late equaliser.
In the Conference League quarter-finals, Premier League strugglers West Ham United had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Gent in Belgium despite taking the lead in first-half stoppage time when Danny Ings tapped in a Jarrod Bowen centre.
Fiorentina won 4-1 away to Lech Poznan in Poland to make it 10 victories in their last 11 games in all competitions.
Nigeria’s Terem Moffi scored twice, including from a stunning overhead kick, for Nice in their 2-2 draw away to Basel in Switzerland.
Michael Murillo and Majeed Ashimeru were on target as Anderlecht defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-0.
Djokovic stunned by Musetti in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic was knocked out in the last 16 of the Monte Carlo Masters by Lorenzo Musetti in three sets on Thursday after the world number one struggled badly on serve.
Djokovic, a two-time winner in the Principality in 2013 and 2015, was broken eight times before going down 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to the 21st-ranked Musetti on a wet and chilly day on the Cote d’Azur.
The Serb led by a set and a break against Musetti, but the Italian youngster fought back in a scrappy second set and then prevailed in the decider after rain interrupted the match for an hour.
Musetti advances to a quarter-final meeting with compatriot Jannik Sinner, who saved a match point before beating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1.
French Open finalist Casper Ruud also bowed out after suffering a 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) defeat to German Jan-Lennard Struff, who has beaten the Norwegian on all three occasions they have met.
The 100th-ranked Struff – who came through the qualifiers – will play Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals after the Russian beat his compatriot Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
Ruud was on a run of nine successive victories on clay – having won in Gstaad last July and then Estoril on Sunday – but he looked out of sorts in Monaco.
The in-form Daniil Medvedev saved two match points in a final-set tie-break to outlast Alexander Zverev 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) under the lights.
Zverev served for the match in the second set and again in the third before Medvedev once more wriggled out of trouble in the tie-break to record his 26th win in 27 matches.
His next opponent is Denmark’s ninth-ranked Holger Rune, who moved into the last eight after Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to a muscular problem the Italian suffered during his previous match.
Two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas breezed through his third-round match, the Greek swatting aside Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 6-4.
Tsitsipas goes on to face Taylor Fritz after the American eighth seed defeated Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic in three sets.
Results from the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday (x denotes seeding; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x16) bt Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Jannik Sinner (ITA x7) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL x10) 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1
Daniil Medvedev (x3) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x13) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7)
Holger Rune (DEN x6) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) walkover
Andrey Rublev (x5) bt Karen Khachanov (x9) 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x4) 6-1, 7-6 (8/6)
Taylor Fritz (USA x8) bt Jiri Lehecka (CZE) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2) bt Nicolas Jarry (CHI) 6-3, 6-4
WTA to make China return after Peng boycott
Professional women’s tennis tournaments will resume in China in September after a 16-month boycott over concerns for the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai, the WTA announced on Thursday.
The former doubles world number one has not been seen outside China since first making, and then withdrawing, accusations of sexual assault against a high-ranking official.
“In 2021, when Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai bravely came forward, the WTA took a stance and suspended its operation of events in China out of concern for her safety and the safety of our players and staff,” it said.
But the WTA, the body that runs women’s professional tennis, admitted its “principled stand... a powerful message to the world” had not been able “to bring about change”.
“After 16 months of suspended tennis competition in China and sustained efforts at achieving our original requests, the situation has shown no sign of changing,” the WTA said.
“We have concluded we will never fully secure those goals, and it will be our players and tournaments who ultimately will be paying an extraordinary price for their sacrifices.
“For these reasons, the WTA is lifting its suspension of the operation of tournaments in the People’s Republic of China and will resume tournaments in China this September.”
Bayern suspend Mane
Bayern Munich have suspended forward Sadio Mane for one game following an altercation with Leroy Sane after this week’s Champions League loss to Man City, the club announced Thursday.
Newspaper Bild reported former City winger Sane was hit in the face by the Senegal attacker, suffering a cut lip after Tuesday’s loss.
Bild reported the clash started in the dying stages of Bayern’s loss in Manchester, with footage showing the two arguing on the pitch.
Mane has endured a frustrating time since joining the German champions from Liverpool in the summer of 2022.
Signed as a replacement for the departing Robert Lewandowski, the Champions League winner has scored 11 times in 32 matches for Bayern.
The two-time African Player of the Year scored six goals in his first seven matches in all competitions for Bayern, but has not scored since October.
Bayern declined media requests to comment on the altercation.
Mane and Sane were seen on the training pitch early on Thursday, hours before the suspension was announced.
No action against assistant referee for Robertson elbow
Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis will face no further action from the English Football Association (FA) despite an elbow on Liverpool defender Andy Robertson.
The incident occurred just after the half-time whistle had been blown during the Reds’ 2-2 Premier League draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
Hatzidakis was stood down during the FA investigation but has now been cleared of any wrongdoing and is free to continue officiating
“We have thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence in relation to the recent incident at Anfield involving the Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson and match official Constantine Hatzidakis, and we will be taking no further action,” the FA said in a statement.
“Our comprehensive process involved reviewing detailed statements from Liverpool and PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Ltd), as well as multiple angles of video footage, in relation to both the incident and its surrounding circumstances.”.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day