Sports Briefs

Foot injury keeps Rafael Nadal out of Cincinnati tournament

CINCINNATI (AP) — After pulling out of the hard-court tournament in Toronto this week, Rafael Nadal said Wednesday he was also withdrawing from the upcoming event in Cincinnati because of an injured left foot that has troubled him for months.

The decision by the 20-time Grand Slam champion means he is unlikely to play before the U.S. Open. Nadal won the U.S. Open in 2019, the last time he entered.

Milos Raonic, who has a heel injury, also pulled out of Cincinnati on Wednesday. Other stars not playing include Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin.

The 35-year-old Nadal played last week in Washington, winning his match against Jack Sock and losing to Lloyd Harris — both in three sets. Nadal was bothered by the foot there.

That marked his first competition in about two months. After losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open on June 11, Nadal sat out Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics because of the injury and went about three weeks without practicing.

The Western & Southern Open starts Saturday. The U.S. Open begins Aug. 30 in New York.


Colts extend deals of GM Chris Ballard, coach Frank Reich

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich have been given contract extensions through 2026.

Both Ballard and Reich have signed the deals, the Colts announced Friday.

“In Chris Ballard and Frank Reich, we have as great a general manager/head coach combination as there is in the NFL, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to have them leading our franchise,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “I truly believe this football team is on the doorstep of great things, and that’s because of the culture both have cultivated in their time with the ‘Horseshoe.’ Whether we are marching toward the playoffs or facing adversity, whether we are building our roster or making a difference in the community, we have the ideal leaders in Chris and Frank.”

Ballard was hired Jan. 29, 2017 and is entering his 21st NFL season. In his four seasons overseeing football operations, Indianapolis has two double-digit win records (11-5 in 2020 and 10-6 in 2018) and playoff appearances in those years. Ballard was selected the 2018 NFL top executive by the Professional Football Writers of America.

Reich enters his fourth season as head coach. Reich has led the Colts to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons at the helm. He has 29 years of NFL experience both as a player (1985-1998) and coach (2006-present). He rejoined the Colts after spending six seasons on the team’s coaching staff from 2006-2011.


Medvedev advances in Toronto; Andreescu wins in Montreal

TORONTO (AP) — Daniil Medvedev advanced to the third round of the National Bank Open on Tuesday, defeating Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that was briefly suspended by rain.

Medvedev, ranked No. 2, lost to Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Toronto event in 2019, the last year it was played. Nadal withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday with a foot injury.

On the women’s side in Montreal, defending champion Bianca Andreescu, the No. 2 seed, beat qualifier Harriet Dart 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted just over two hours.

The 21-year-old Andreescu, who won the U.S. Open in 2019, was playing her first match since a first-round exit at Wimbledon in late June.

“My goal isn’t to be on the court that long,” Andreescu said. “I want to be able to stick to my game plan the whole entire match and I feel I haven’t been doing that in my matches a lot.

“That comes with experience and playing matches and I haven’t been playing many matches.”

Also in Montreal, Coco Gauff defeated Anastasija Sevastova, while Johanna Konta — returning from a tough bout with COVID-19 — defeated Zhang Shuai, who retired in the second set. Sara Sorribes Tormo beat Carol Zhao.

On the men’s side, third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat France’s Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-7 (13), 6-1, while Casper Ruud of Norway topped veteran Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. American John Isner won his opening-round match 6-4, 6-1 over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Other men’s winners Tuesday were Kei Nishikori, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Dusan Lajovic and Karen Khachanov.


Blackhawks Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito dies at 78

CHICAGO (AP) — Tony Esposito made an immediate mark on the Chicago Blackhawks and a lasting impression on the NHL.

Esposito, the pioneering Hall of Famer who spent almost his entire 16-year career with the Blackhawks, died following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, the team announced Tuesday. He was 78.

Esposito debuted with Montreal during the 1968-69 season and appeared in 13 games. He was then left unprotected with the Canadiens deep in goalies and taken by the Blackhawks in an intraleague draft for $25,000, an investment that paid immediate dividends for a team that was coming off a last-place finish in its division.

Esposito helped lead the Blackhawks to first place, showcasing his butterfly style to post a 2.17 goals-against average and 15 shutouts, still a modern record for an NHL goalie. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year as well as the Vezina Trophy given to the top goaltender. He also won the Vezina in 1972 and 1974.

“Tony was one of the most important and popular figures in the history of the franchise as we near its 100th anniversary,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “Four generations of our family — my grandfather Arthur, my father Bill, my son Danny and I — were blessed by his work ethic as a Hall of Fame goalie, but more importantly, by his mere presence and spirit.”

The Esposito family called him a “Hall of Fame husband, father, and grandfather.”