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Federer pulls out of French Open

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Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open after winning and qualifying to the fourth round, citing a desire not to rush his return from injury.

The 39-year-old Swiss prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 over Dominik Koepfer on Saturday night.

It was the longest match he has played in 18 months, following double knee surgery. The contest lasted three hours and 35 minutes.

The 20-time grand slam winner has played few tournaments over the past 18 months and said a need to rest his body was behind his decision to withdraw.

Federer was due to play the ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in the last 16 on Monday.

In a statement released by the French Open, Federer said, “After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland Garros today (Sunday).

“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery.

“I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”

Tournament director Guy Forget said, “The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night.

“We were all delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

Federer entered the clay-court major with a 1-2 win-loss record for the year, most recently losing to Pablo Andujar in Geneva last month, and little was expected from him.

However, three wins on the spin showed he is not finished yet at the highest level.

His withdrawal suggested he wants to preserve himself for Wimbledon, which starts at the end of the month.

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Buhari hosts FIFA president at Aso Villa

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President Muhammadu Buhari received Gianni Infantino, president of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), at Aso Villa in Abuja on Thursday.

 

Infantino who was on courtesy visit was accompanied by Patricee Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports.

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Ronaldo’s lone not enough as Young Boys beat Man U 2-1 in Champion League opener

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Manchester United, but they were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in their Champions League opener after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card.

Despite playing with 10 men 55 minutes, it looked like a solid defensive display would see United come away with a point.

But a late error from Jesse Lingard allowed Jordan Pefok (90+5) to slot home the winner with the final kick of the game.

Man Utd had been heavy favourites heading into the game, and made the perfect start as Ronaldo – who went level with Iker Casillas on all-time Champions League appearances (177) – slotted through David Von Ballmoos’ legs inside 13 minutes.

But the complexion of the match-up was changed in the 35th minute as Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red for a heavy and clumsy challenge on Christopher Martins.

 

 

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Lukaku scores in Chelsea slim Champion League victory

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Romelu Lukaku’s second-half header saved an under-par Chelsea as they began their Champions League defence with a 1-0 win over Zenit at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku brilliantly headed home Cesar Azpilicueta’s deep cross (69) for his fourth goal in four appearances back at Chelsea, in a game where the European champions struggled to create clear-cut chances and one manager Thomas Tuchel admitted was “not easy” for Lukaku.

Zenit nearly grabbed an equaliser late on as sub Artem Dzyuba failed to convert at the far post with the goal gaping, summing up a nervy and at times frustrating opening night in Group H for Tuchel’s side.

With Juventus winning 3-0 at Malmo, Chelsea sit second in their group, before going to the Italian side on September 29 for matchday two. Tuchel’s side remains unbeaten this season after five games in all competitions.

 

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