Tennis: Nine of the world’s top 10 players, including French Open champion Maria Sharapova, will compete in next month’s Pan Pacific Open. World number one Victoria Azarenka leads the field for the $2.16 million tournament, organisers of the Tokyo women’s event said. Azarenka won her first grand slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year. Serena Williams is the one notable absentee from the entry list for the September 23-29 hardcourt event. Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm, who turns 42 during the tournament and won it back in 1995, will receive a wildcard.
Rugby Union: The Wallabies were dealt a major blow yesterday with confirmation that skipper David Pocock needs keyhole surgery on his knee and will miss Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks in Auckland. The flanker suffered damage to the articular cartilage in his right knee in the first half of Saturday’s 27-19 loss to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney. While Pocock played through the pain to complete the match, scans confirmed he will need an operation. Vice captain Will Genia is set to take the armband for the Eden Park showdown which doubles as the second of three Tests to decide the Bledisloe Cup.
Endurance Swimming: Veteran Diana Nyad yesterday encountered some rough weather that hindered her advance on her fourth attempt to cross the Florida Straits from Cuba without a shark cage. “There is lots of lightning out there and the storm is blowing right on top of Diana,” support team member Alex de Cordoba reported. “All the calm weather is now churning with the upper atmosphere, creating lightning, rain and winds.” De Cordoba insisted that Nyad was “safe, feeling strong and is now swimming again.” After some 35 hours in the water, the 62-year-old has covered a third of 166km distance.
Golf: Japan’s Mika Miyazato (picture) claimed her first LPGA Tour title by winning the Safeway Classic on Sunday with a closing two-under 70 to beat Inbee Park and Brittany Lincicome by two shots. The 22-year-old Miyazato finished at 13-under 203 for a wire-to-victory on Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course. She shared the first-round lead and had a two-shot advantage after the second. Miyazato, who earned $225,000 in first-place money, is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour. She is the sixth first-time winner this year and finally broke through for the victory after two second-place finishes earlier this year.
Cricket: South Africa replaced England as the world’s number one Test side after a 51-run win in the third Test at Lord’s gave them the three-match series 2-0. England set a daunting target of 346 for victory, were dismissed for 294 in yesterday’s final day with seamer Vernon Philander, who finished the innings with two wickets in two balls, taking five for 30. South Africa, who won the first Test at The Oval by an innings and 12 runs before the second match of the series at Headingley was drawn, only needed to avoid defeat at Lord’s to replace England at the top of the International Cricket Council’s world Test rankings.