Kyrgios walks out on match after losing 1st-set tiebreaker

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SHANGHAI (AP) A year after being fined for “tanking” a match at the Shanghai Masters, Nick Kyrgios quit another one altogether.

The temperamental Australian argued several times with the chair umpire during his first-round match against Steve Johnson on Tuesday. After losing the tiebreaker 7-6 (5), Kyrgios shook hands with Johnson at the net and then with the chair umpire before packing his bags and walking off court.

Serving at 30-30 in the 12th game of the first set, a forehand by Kyrgios was called out. The Australian challenged the call and it was overruled. Kyrgios then hit two balls in anger and was assessed a code violation warning.

At the change of ends in the tiebreaker, Kyrgios was leading 4-2 but was annoyed that fans were being allowed to come into the court. Kyrgios lost the next point and then started to complain and curse, which earned him an audible obscenity code violation. He was docked a point, which made the score 4-4.

When the set was done, so was Kyrgios. He left the court without explanation, though took to Twitter later to firstly apologize for his actions then give his reasons.

“I’ve been battling a stomach bug for the past 24 hours and I tried to be ready but I was really struggling on the court today which I think was pretty evident from the first point,” he wrote.

“My shoulder started to hurt in the practice today which didn’t help either and once I lost the first set I was just not strong enough to continue because I’ve not eaten much the past 24 hours.”

Last year, Kyrgios was suspended by the men’s tour for tanking a match and insulting fans following a second-round loss to German qualifier Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters. Kyrgios gave little effort during the 6-3, 6-1 loss, even patting easy serves over the net and turning away before his opponent’s serve crossed the net.

Kyrgios arrived in Shanghai this time after losing the China Open final to Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday.

Also, 12th-seeded John Isner beat Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) on a day with temperatures soaring past 32 degrees C (90 degrees F).

“The conditions were brutal,” Isner said. “It felt like Atlanta in August. I think that could’ve been the hottest match I played all year.”

Ryan Harrison also advanced, beating Chinese wild card Zhang Ze 6-2, 6-3, while U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-1.

French players get life bans for fixing

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LONDON — Two low-ranked French players were banned from the sport for life after being found guilty of match-fixing by a hearing officer.

Jules Okala, a 25-year-old with a career-best ATP ranking of No. 338, and Mick Lescure, a 29-year-old with a top ranking of No. 487, “admitted multiple charges,” the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Neither player is allowed to compete at – or even attend – any sanctioned event again.

Okala was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges and fined $15,000 in addition to the permanent suspension. Lescure was found guilty of eight charges and fined $40,000 on top of the ban.

The punishments come after both players were involved in law enforcement investigations in France and Belgium, according to the sport’s integrity agency.

Ash Barty wins Australia’s top sports award for second time

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Ash Barty’s Australian Open singles title in January was enough to ensure the former top-ranked player won Australia’s most prestigious annual sports award — despite retiring from the game less than two months later.

Barty has been given The Don Award, named after its most accomplished and famous cricketer Don Bradman.

Barty shocked the tennis world in March when she announced her retirement at the age of 25. The three-time major winner was the No. 1-ranked female player at the time of her retirement decision.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Don Award is given to an athlete or a team “which has provided the most inspiration to the country through performance and example in the past year.”

Barty (2019, 2022) joins Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sally Pearson (2012, 2014) and Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker (2008, 2009) as a multiple winner of the award.

Barty said she had decided before the Australian Open started that it would be her last major tournament.

“This year was certainly my most enjoyable Australian Open . . . because it felt free,” Barty said in a television interview. “I played without consequence, I played like a little kid. In my eyes, there was no pressure. It was just about me trying to redeem myself, in a way, and playing how I’d always wanted to play – go out there and play like the kid that fell in love with sport.”

Barty said she has no plans to return to tennis.

“In my mind there was never going to be a perfect ending, but it was my perfect ending,” Barty said of her retirement. “It was never about finishing on a win or on a really high emotional feeling. It was just about collectively, I felt it was right.

“Now (that decision) has led to nine months of just an incredible life off the court. It’s been amazing.”

Barty married her long-time partner Garry Kissick in late July. She also golfs frequently and is reported to be playing off a handicap of low single figures.