World No 1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek booked her spot in the French Open final after a straight-sets win over Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia. She will take on first-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Muchova for the title.
New Zealand pacer Trent Boult is set to return to the national team after previously opting out of a central contract. There’s a possibility he could compete at the ODI World Cup in October.
In football, West Ham United captain Declan Rice could be set to make a move from the club after leading them to the Europa Conference League title, the club’s first major trophy in 43 years.
Meanwhile, Manchester City has been rated Europe’s most valuable club by a study.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 9, 2023:
Swiatek, Muchova reach French Open final
Reigning champion and world No 1 Iga Swiatek swept into the French Open final on Thursday after unheralded Karolina Muchova saved a match point before stunning second seed Aryna Sabalenka.
Swiatek defeated Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6 (7) and will face the 43rd-ranked Muchova from the Czech Republic on Saturday as she targets a third Roland Garros title in four years.
The 22-year-old Pole, who improved her record in Paris to 27-2, is bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007.
She is also the youngest woman to reach three French Open finals since Monica Seles at the start of the 1990s.
“It’s really amazing. Honestly It’s tough to play such a long tournament and I’m pretty happy I am able to play consistently and every year have a good result here, and I am pretty excited for Saturday,” said Swiatek.
Haddad Maia, the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since seven-time major winner Maria Bueno in 1968, broke Swiatek to love in the opening game but the top seed soon took charge.
Swiatek won five of the next six games before breaking Haddad Maia for a third time to close out the set.
Haddad Maia clawed out a 3-1 lead in the second set but Swiatek pocketed the next three games.
She fended off three break points at 4-all and saved a set point in the tie-break before halting the run of the 27-year-old left-hander who had never got past the second round of a Grand Slam before this French Open.
Muchova rallies from the brink
Muchova will play her first Grand Slam final after overturning a 5-2 deficit in the final set to knock out Australian Open champion Sabalenka and snap the Belarusian’s 12-match winning run at majors.
“I don’t really know what happened. It’s unbelievable, I tried to keep fighting and it worked. I’m so happy,” said Muchova after her 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5 victory.
She added Sabalenka to an impressive list of victims in Paris which included eighth seed Maria Sakkari in the first round and 2021 runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-final.
“I had a lot of opportunities, and I didn’t use it. I’m very disappointed with this tough loss,” said Sabalenka.
“I definitely have to learn something from this match and come back stronger.”
Only three women ranked lower than Muchova – plagued by injuries for much of career – have made the final before in Paris, including the then-teenaged Swiatek who was 54th when she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title in 2020.
Boult set for New Zealand return
Seamer Trent Boult could return for New Zealand at the ODI World Cup later this year despite not having a national contract, Black Caps coach Gary Stead said Thursday.
Boult opted out of a New Zealand Cricket contract last year, which enabled him to play in the lucrative Big Bash League in Australia.
He was not included in the list of players offered a central deal on Thursday, instead signing a “casual playing agreement,” New Zealand Cricket said.
Stead hopes Boult can resume his strike partnership alongside New Zealand Test captain Tim Southee at the 50-overs World Cup in India, which starts in October.
“We are having positive conversations with Trent, he’s indicated he’s available for the World Cup,” Stead told reporters.
“From our perspective, he’s one of the best ODI bowlers in the world so barring injury, I think it’s highly likely that he would be part of our squad.”
Boult, 33, is one of the world’s best ODI bowlers having taken 187 wickets at that level and a further 74 for his country in Twenty20 cricket.
After being released from his central contract last year, Boult was omitted from the New Zealand squad for this year’s drawn home Test series with England and the 2-0 win over Sri Lanka despite playing for the Black Caps at the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup.
Stead said Boult, who has taken 317 Test wickets, could still return to the Black Caps’ five-day squad for next year’s home series against South Africa, then Australia.
“That’s still being discussed at the moment. Trent has other leagues he is committed to, so we are just working through that and exactly what it will mean,” Stead added.
“He’s indicated a willingness to play.”
Declan Rice to leave West Ham
West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed captain Declan Rice will be sold during the summer transfer window, just hours after the club ended their decades-long trophy drought.
The England midfielder became only the third Hammers skipper to lift silverware after a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.
However, Sullivan admitted a gentleman’s agreement means they will allow the 24-year-old, who has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, to leave.
Asked whether lifting the trophy in Prague was Rice’s last action as a West Ham player, Sullivan told Talksport: “I think it has to be. We promised him he could go.
“He set his heart on going and in due course he has to get on and we have to get a replacement.
“It is not something we wanted to happen. We offered him £200,000 ($249,000) a week 18 months ago and he turned it down. You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.
“I think the offers will start to come today. Three or four clubs have shown interest but out of respect to West Ham, while we’re still playing, you don’t make offers for players.”
West Ham’s win in Prague ended a 43-year wait to win a major trophy.
“I’m still in shock,” Rice said in the afterglow of the win. “It’s incredible. I love this club, they’ve made me one of their own.
“There is interest from other clubs. Let’s wait and see. Who knows?”
Manchester City Europe’s most valuable club
Manchester City have been named as Europe’s most valuable football club, ousting Real Madrid, in a report published on Thursday, before this weekend’s Champions League final.
The Football Benchmark report ranks Europe’s 32 most prominent clubs based on a series of criteria including assessments of their financial statements, squad value and the size of their broadcast market.
City, who play Inter Milan in Saturday’s Champions League final in Istanbul, came out on top with a valuation of 4.073 billion euros ($4.39 billion).
That figure saw them overtake Madrid, last year’s European champions whose own value was just behind, at 4.006 billion euros.
The Spanish giants had come out on top in the previous four years.
City “have climbed up the ranking, gaining five positions compared to the 2022 edition, primarily thanks to the remarkable financial performance recorded in the 2021/22 financial year,” said the report.
City, who were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, recorded revenue for last season of £613 million ($769.5m), the second-highest revenue figure in English club history after Manchester United’s annual revenues hit £627 million in 2019.
However, in February the club were charged by the Premier League with 115 alleged breaches of its financial rules between 2009 and 2018.
The case is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
Manchester United, valued at 3.93 billion euros, rounded out the podium, with Liverpool and Bayern Munich just behind them.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day