The semi-finals of the French Open begin on Thursday with Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka aiming to get ahead in the race to world No 1.

Alexander Zverev, the German tennis player, moves into the men’s singles semi-finals at the French Open after coming back from an ankle injury around a year ago. His opponent will be Casper Ruud from Norway, the 2022 Roland Garros runner-up.

In football, West Ham United qualified for the Europa League after a 2-1 win over Italian club Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final.

Fifa announces at least $30,000 in individual prize money for players at the Women’s Football World Cup in July.

Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 8, 2023:

Players to earn at least $30,000 at Women’s World Cup

Every player at the Women’s World Cup in July this year is guaranteed to earn at least $30,000, Fifa says, with the winners taking home $270,000.

Women’s football is at an all-time high but there have been concerns from players that its growing popularity is not reflected in what they earn, especially compared to men.

The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand kicks off on July 20 and when it does players from the 32 teams are guaranteed at least $30,000.

That amount increases depending on how far teams go in the tournament, which concludes on August 20.

The average club salary of women players is $14,000, according to Fifa, a fraction of what their counterparts in men’s football earn.

Fifa says the ring-fencing of money for players is a first and its investment is three times what it was at the Women’s World Cup in France four years ago.

The global players’ union FIFPro welcomed the move, saying that FIFA had “listened to the voice of the players”.

“We have taken steps towards greater gender equity in our game at its highest levels,” FIFPro said.

“The legacy of this action is by the players, for the players, of both today and tomorrow.”

Swiatek, Sabalenka close in on final

Two-time champion Iga Swiatek looks to reach a third French Open final in four years on Thursday while Aryna Sabalenka puts her 12-match Grand Slam winning run on the line in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Swiatek is bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend the title in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007 after dispatching Coco Gauff in a rematch of last year’s final.

Standing in her way is 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1968 following her upset of Ons Jabeur, last year’s Wimbledon and US Open runner-up.

World No 1 Swiatek is 26-2 in five visits to Roland Garros but lost her only previous match with Haddad Maia on the hard courts of Toronto last August.

Haddad Maia follows in the footsteps of seven-time major winner Maria Bueno who was the last Brazilian woman in the semi-finals of a major at the US Open 55 years ago.

The 27-year-old left-hander had never got past the second round of a Grand Slam before this French Open.

Sabalenka, the second seed from Belarus, has swept aside all-comers this fortnight despite being at the centre of a tense stand-off with Ukrainian players over her country’s role in the ongoing war.

After skipping two press conferences, Sabalenka on Tuesday insisted she is not a supporter of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a key military ally of Russia.

Sabalenka, who has won 17 of her past 18 Grand Slam matches, will become the new world No 1 if she goes on to win the French Open.

Unseeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic awaits her in the last four.

Muchova matched her best run at a major by knocking out 2021 finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the Roland Garros semi-finals for the first time.

Zverev, Rudd set up semis clash

Alexander Zverev made an emotional return to the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday, one year after a horror ankle injury sent his career into a tailspin.

Zverev will now face 2022 French Open runner-up Casper Rudd while Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz meet in the other men’s singles semi-final on Friday.

It will be Zverev’s sixth Grand Slam semi-final and will be played on the same Philippe Chatrier Court where he suffered torn ankle ligaments against Rafael Nadal 12 months ago.

“That was the most difficult year of my life,” said 26-year-old Zverev. “I love playing tennis and the sport and competition were taken away from me.

“I am so happy to be back on this stage and happy to be able to have another chance to play for a place in the final.”

Casper Ruud, runner-up to Nadal 12 months ago, defeated Holger Rune 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for a fifth win in six meetings against the Dane.

“I kind of looked at it as though he was the favourite - he won the last time we played and he’s had a better year than me so far,” said Ruud who lost to Rune on clay in Rome last month.

Ruud is the in-form clay court player with 86 wins on the surface since 2020.

Zverev holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over the Norwegian but the two have never met on clay.

West Ham win Europa Conference League

Jarrod Bowen’s dramatic 90th-minute goal secured West Ham their first major European trophy since 1965 with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.

It is the second European trophy for West Ham after they won the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup, 58 years ago with a team including England World Cup heroes Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst.

Bowen picked up a superb through ball from Lucas Paqueta, before sending a low shot past a helpless Pietro Terracciano in the Fiorentina goal.

Said Benrahma had opened the scoring for West Ham in Prague as he blasted a penalty past Terracciano on 62 minutes after VAR had caught Cristiano Biraghi handling the ball while trying to stop Bowen in the box.

Giacomo Bonaventura levelled five minutes later, beating West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola with a fine, low right-footed effort.

Bonaventura capitalised on a superb header back from Nicolas Gonzalez who had leapt over West Ham full-back Emerson.

The champions’ name will be the second ever on the Conference League trophy following Roma, who won the first edition of the competition last year.

West Ham have also clinched a spot in next season’s Europa League with the win, while Fiorentina will miss out on European competition after finishing eighth in the Serie A.

With text inputs from AFP

Updated through the day