Messi, Suarez lead Barca romp, Real crush Deportivo

first_imgMADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona rode further away from their crumbling title rivals on Sunday as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored twice each in a 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis which opened up an 11-point gap at the top of the La Liga standings.A strike from Ivan Rakitic broke the home side’s resistance in the 58th minute and top scorer Messi and the in-form Suarez took turns in adding to the scoring to cap a sixth successive league win for Ernesto Valverde’s imperious team.Barca, the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues, lead the way in La Liga with 54 points after capitalising on second-placed Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Girona on Saturday and third-placed Valencia’s 2-1 defeat at Las Palmas.Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice before leaving the pitch with his face covered in blood as Real Madrid eased their domestic crisis by hammering struggling Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 on Sunday to reclaim fourth spot.Betis went into the game having scored eight goals in their last two league matches but had few opportunities against Barca, who turned on the style in the second half as they have done so often in this dominant campaign.It took a clever rolled pass from Suarez to release Rakitic for the opening goal, which the Croatian dispatched confidently while Messi took full advantage of a slack Betis offside trap to slot the second.The Argentine’s second strike moved him on to 19 league goals while Suarez’s brace took him to 15, 10 coming in his last seven La Liga games.The convincing display was also the perfect response after Barca had surrendered their 29-game unbeaten run in all competitions in losing to Espanyol in the King’s Cup on Wednesday.“My team are completely committed to everything we do and we stick together in the good times and the bad,” Barca coach Valverde told reporters.“We take our steps forward and our steps back together and that’s a great virtue.”Real had lost two of their last three league matches and got off on the wrong foot against relegation-threatened Deportivo when former Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez put the visiting side ahead against the run of play in the 23rd minute.The stumbling La Liga champions responded in emphatic fashion, however, and went on to record their biggest win of the season in all competitions with two goals apiece from Gareth Bale, Nacho Fernandez and Ronaldo as well as a long-range strike from Luka Modric.Ronaldo was unable to continue playing after he was left with a bloodied face by the boot of Deportivo defender Fabian Schar as he struck his second goal, which took him level with Bale as Real’s top scorer in the league with six strikes.Real climbed above Villarreal into fourth place on 35 points but are still 19 behind Barcelona.“The players needed a game like this,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.“I don’t know if much changed apart from the scoreline and that’s the biggest difference. We played well against Villarreal (in our last match despite losing 1-0) and we were doing well when we were losing 1-0 today but we got the equaliser and I‘m delighted with what we did in the rest of the game.”last_img read more

Cori Gauff vs. Venus Williams: Everything you need to know about Wimbledon’s youngest qualifier

first_imgIntrigue abounds in the women’s singles at Wimbledon, where Angelique Kerber will be looking to defend her title, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty seeks a second successive Grand Slam title and Serena Williams chases a record-tying 24th major.But the story of the first round will surround Serena’s elder sister Venus, who will face 15-year-old qualifier Cori “Coco” Gauff at the All England Club. Wimbledon 2019: American teen Coco Gauff gets marquee opener vs. Venus Willliams – By successfully qualifying, Gauff will become the youngest player to feature in the women’s singles since Laura Robson did so 10 years ago at the age of 15.- Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has trained Gauff and told Omnisport of the American: “She is fantastic, she can become a top, top player. I believe in her a lot.”- And Gauff is not lacking in self-confidence, having set her sights on surpassing Serena’s achievements back in 2017, with a 12-year-old Gauff saying: “I want to be the greatest of all time.” She has already met both of them but will now have the opportunity to test her mettle against one of her heroes.Ahead of the biggest match of her fledgling career, we look at key details you need to know about the All England Club history maker.”They’re the reason I wanted to pick up a tennis racket”After coming through Qualifying, @CocoGauff now has the chance to face one of her idols… #Wimbledon— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 28, 2019- Gauff was 7 years old when she began playing tennis. After initially growing up in Atlanta she moved to Florida to further her career in the sport.- She comes from an athletic background. Her father Corey played basketball at Georgia State and her mother Candi was a track star at Florida State. A five-time high school champion in the heptathlon, Candi also excelled at gymnastics.- Gauff made the US Open girls’ final in 2017, becoming the youngest ever player to do so at the age of 13. She lost to Amanda Anisimova, who reached the semifinals of the women’s singles at this year’s French Open.- Gauff turned professional in May 2018 and made her ITF debut as a qualifier at Osprey, Florida, winning her debut tour match.- Gauff won the French Open girls’ title last year by beating Caty McNally, alongside whom she lifted the U.S. Open girls’ doubles title. The pair did battle again in Miami this year, with Gauff claiming her first match win at the elite premier mandatory tournament level.I want to thank everyone who supported me this week! 🙏👏Thanks for all the kind words and messages of encouragement. Merci Paris🇫🇷🏆🤗 #keepbuilding #neverforget #RG18 #TEAMUSA #BatonRougenext— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) June 10, 2018- At a low-level event in Indian Wells this year, Gauff took a set off two-time French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky in a first-round defeat.- Gauff received a wild card into Wimbledon qualifying, and was shopping online for a dress for a gala when she was informed of the decision.- The night before her win over Minnen she remotely took a science test for her high school in Florida at 11 p.m.center_img American Coco Gauff, 15, makes Wimbledon history by earning main-draw spot Gauff, who idolized the Wlliams sisters, became the youngest Wimbledon qualifier in the open era at 15 years and 122 days by defeating Greet Minnen on Thursday.The teenager said of Serena and Venus: “Serena Williams has always been an idol and Venus, I mean, they’re the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racket.” Related Newslast_img read more