Tagged in: defeats

Casper Ruud defeats Alex Molcan to reach BMW Open quarterfinals

Casper Ruud took his time finding his rhythm as he beat Alex Molcan 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals at the BMW Open on Thursday.

Molcan built a 4-0 lead in the first set as Ruud struggled with his serve, but the clay-court specialist fought his way back and broke Molcan at 4-4 in the decider before serving out the match.

“It was not the best start for me, but I was able to find my rhythm a little more as the match went on,” Ruud said. “[Molcan is] a tough player, and good confidence for me to get these types of wins.”

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The 23-year-old Ruud stated he was especially pleased to be playing well at the comparatively high altitude of Munich as preparation for similar conditions at the Madrid Open next week.

It was Ruud’s opening match in Munich after getting a first-round bye.

At a career-high No. 7, the Norwegian is the highest-ranked player left in the draw after Alexander Zverev’s surprise loss to 18-year-old Holger Rune on Wednesday.

Ruud will face eighth-seeded Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarterfinals after the Dutch player defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-2, 6-3.

Germany’s Oscar Otte managed the surprise of the day by beating Reilly Opelka of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-2. Opelka had two set points in the first set, but Otte saved them both before taking the set to a tiebreaker.

Otte’s quarterfinal opponent is Alejandro Tabilo, who was leading 6-2, 2-6, 4-1 when Hugo Gaston retired from their second-round match. Otte cruised past Tabilo 6-0, 6-3 when they played last week at the Serbia Open.

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Kell Brook defeats Amir Khan in six rounds in nontitle catchweight bout at AO Arena

For years Kell Brook has insisted he has the beating of Amir Khan, and on Saturday he executed his game plan to perfection when he stopped his British rival in six rounds.

Brook troubled Khan with his power from the start before overwhelming him amid a furious, one-sided attack at the start of the sixth round to prompt a stoppage in a nontitle catchweight fight (149 pounds) just above the welterweight limit at the AO Arena.

Brook (40-4, 27 KOs), from Sheffield, who made three defenses of the IBF world welterweight title during a reign from 2014 to 2017, had Khan rocking in the first and fifth rounds, before relentless pressure in the sixth forced the stoppage.

Khan (34-6, 21 KOs), who was knocked out by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2016 when he jumped two weight classes to fight for the world middleweight title, was stopped on his feet, but defeat had looked inevitable for a while. Khan got out-landed 79-34 in total punches (64-19 in power punches), and just could not handle Brook’s power.

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After at least six years of serious attempts to make this clash between two bitter rivals who live about 50 miles apart, but whose paths have repeatedly missed each other, Brook celebrated wildly with his team in the ring after the stoppage.

“It was just a matter of time before I was getting him out of there,” Brook said.

“Those are the fights I wanted to be involved in when I walked into a gym as a kid. I knew from 18 years old I was a better fighter than him. He had the push and promoters behind him because he won an Olympic medal.”

Brook had to change gloves in the ring before the fight after a dispute about gloves and wraps, but Brook remained completely focused.

“They tried to get into my head,” Brook said.

When Brook looks back at his career, this might be his most satisfying and proud moment, and revives some hope he can remain in big fights.

For Khan, however, a sixth professional defeat might be enough to convince him to retire.

“I’ve had 40 fights, winning two world titles, fighting in America and around the world,” Khan said. “I need to sit down with my family. But it is more towards the end of my career. In the ring, I didn’t have excitement and that push. That’s maybe a sign that I should call it a day, but let’s see.”

Both 35-year-olds were in decline before their overdue meeting. Brook last held a world title in 2017, while Khan’s reign at junior welterweight ended in 2011.

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Glover Teixeira, vowing to ‘never give up on your dreams,’ defeats Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267

Glover Teixeira got a UFC light heavyweight title shot seven years ago and lost, like most everyone else does, to Jon Jones. At that point, Teixeira was already 34 years old and most wrote him off. He had his nice UFC run, many thought, and that would be it.

Instead, Teixeira got back to work and somehow made his way all the way back. On Saturday, he did what most thought impossible. Teixeira defeated Jan Blachowicz via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02 of the second round to win the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. Teixeira was a +210 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook.

At 42 years old, Teixeira is the oldest first-time champion in UFC history and the second-oldest fighter to collect a UFC title, behind only Randy Couture.

Teixeira joins Couture and Daniel Cormier as only the third UFC fighter to win a title at age 40 or older. The 14 UFC fights between Teixeira’s title loss to Jon Jones at UFC 172 on April 26, 2014, and Saturday, were the most between title shots in the same division in UFC history.

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“Never give up on your dreams,” Teixeira said in his postfight interview. “No matter what people say, don’t listen to them. They’re gonna put you down. Don’t listen to those negative people. Believe in yourself.”

Teixeira took down Blachowicz in the first round and basically kept him there for the duration.

In the second round, Blachowicz had success with his boxing. But Teixeira wobbled him with a left hook and then took him down again.

This time, Teixeira was able to get mount, then take Blachowicz’s back and lock in the choke. “I’m breaking the rules — 42 years old,” Teixeira said. “I’m gonna keep breaking those rules.”

ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 5 in the world on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At light heavyweight, ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 1 and Teixeira at No. 2.

Teixeira (33-7) has won six consecutive and seven of his past eight, most recently before this weekend a third-round submission victory over Thiago Santos in November 2020. The Brazil native has 28 finishes in 33 career victories.

Teixeira, a Connecticut resident, has been considered one of the top light heavyweights in the world for more than a decade, an incredible stretch of consistency and quality. He has the most finishes (13) and submission victories (7) in UFC light heavyweight history. Teixeira’s 16 UFC light heavyweight wins are second most next to Jones (20).

“Glover Teixeira is and has been one of the toughest guys in the division for a very long time, this was his dream forever to get this title shot,” UFC president Dana White stated. “He finally gets it and did it tonight.”

Blachowicz (28-9) was coming off his first title defense, a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 on March 6.

The native of Poland won the title vacated by Jones at UFC 253 in September 2020, a second-round TKO over Dominick Reyes. Blachowicz, 38, had won five straight and nine of his past 10 fights coming in. He is a former KSW light heavyweight champion.

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Daniil Medvedev defeats top 3 to win first ATP finals

Nearing defeat, Daniil Medvedev suddenly switched tactics at the ATP Finals and collected the biggest title of his career by defeating US Open champion Dominic Thiem 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Sunday.

The fourth-ranked Medvedev became the first player to beat each of the men who were Nos. 1-3 in the season-ending championship — and only the fourth to do it at any tour event in the past 30 years.

The comeback versus No. 3 Thiem, which lasted more than 2½ hours, added to victories Medvedev produced against No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the round-robin portion of the tournament and No. 2 Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s semifinals on an indoor hard court. Spectators were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Medvedev, 24, went 5-0 in all, quite a turnaround from a year ago, when he went 0-3 at the ATP Finals. The tournament now ends its 12-year run in London, moving to Turin, Italy, next year. Medvedev, of Russia, closed 2020 by going 10-0 in November, including seven wins against members of the Top 10. He had zero victories over Top 10 opponents over the preceding 12 months.

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Thiem’s defense and power from the baseline put him on top early, and strong serving at key moments allowed him to save the first eight break points he faced. But Medvedev, the runner-up to Nadal at the 2019 US Open, finally converted on his sixth break chance of the third set — and ninth of the match — by sneaking forward behind a return, making a forehand volley winner and going up 3-2.

That was enough, because Medvedev never faced a break point the rest of the way; he concluded with 12 aces.

A key shift came in the second-set tiebreaker, thanks to a change in style from Medvedev.

Thiem had grabbed a 2-0 lead before Medvedev stormed back, using an element of surprise by rushing to the net more often than usual — both behind serves and returns — and reeling off the next seven points.

Medvedev continued with that strategy to great effect in the final set, too. It seemed to throw off Thiem, who had won three of the pair’s previous four matches, including in consecutive sets in the semifinals in New York in September en route to his first Grand Slam trophy.

In the second set Sunday, Thiem had break opportunities to take a 4-3 edge, but he badly missed a short shot on one, reacting by putting his hands on his hips, and Medvedev produced an ace on the other.

Thiem stumbled and tumbled to the court in the next game, but appeared to be OK.

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