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Kyrgios defaulted for throwing chair onto court in Rome

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ROME — Nick Kyrgios walked off the court in a fit of rage after throwing a chair onto the red clay at the Italian Open and was defaulted Thursday from his second-round match.

First, Kyrgios kicked a water bottle in his match against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court with his right hand.

Before he was defaulted, Kyrgios received a warning for ball abuse, then was docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct and lost a game for more unsportsmanlike conduct.

Kyrgios, who has a history of bad behavior, was suspended by the ATP Tour in 2016 for `’tanking” a match and insulting fans during a loss at the Shanghai Masters.

The latest incident occurred on an outer court at the Foro Italico with Ruud leading 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-1.

The men’s tour said Kyrgios will lose his $33,635 in prize money from the tournament and 45 ATP points, adding there will likely be further punishment pending an investigation.

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Earlier, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka all advanced in the first of their two matches Thursday.

A rainout on Wednesday backed up play, causing the title contenders to try to win their double-headers as efficiently as possible to save energy.

Federer saved all seven break points he faced to beat Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, then was to play Borna Coric for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Good thing was this one was not that physical,” Federer said. “Borna is tough. I lost to him a couple of times last year.”

Compared to his attacking display in Madrid last week, Federer’s defensive game was particularly sharp.

En route to breaking Sousa midway through the first set, Federer ran down a drop shot with a perfectly timed slide and replied with a delicate, angled put away.

Federer fell behind 40-0 in the next game but then won five straight points to secure a 5-3 lead, closing out the service game with a forehand cross-court passing shot on the run from the corner – drawing a loud roar from the Foro Italico crowd.

Federer hit 25 winners to Sousa’s eight.

“I came out of the blocks well,” Federer said. “I had a good feeling. Didn’t get broken. That, on clay in a first round, is always a good sign.”

Eight-time Rome champion Nadal cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 and will next meet Nikoloz Basilashvili, while Djokovic eliminated Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3 and will play either Philipp Kohlschreiber or Marco Ceccinato.

Shapovalov appeared distracted by a flyover from fighter jets performing an air show and double-faulted to hand Djokovic a 3-1 lead in the first, prompting the 20-year-old Canadian to have a word with the chair umpire.

Also, Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco rallied past fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

The top-ranked Osaka comfortably beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 and will next face Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Osaka, who can hold onto the No. 1 ranking by reaching the quarterfinals, hit 44 winners and 12 aces.

“My serve was really good,” Osaka said. “I just tried to be really calm.”

Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova rallied past Simona Halep 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 for her second win over the Romanian this year.

Halep, who was a finalist in Rome the last two years and is preparing to defend her French Open title, took a medical timeout early in the third set and received treatment on her left leg.

Others advancing included Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kei Nishikori, Diego Schwartzman and Jan-Lennard Struff, and Kiki Bertens, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta and Kristina Mladenovic.

AP source: Liz Cambage traded from Dallas to Las Vegas

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The Liz Cambage trade saga is finally over.

The 6-foot-8 Australian has been traded from Dallas to Las Vegas for Moriah Jefferson, Isabelle Harrison and the Aces’ first two picks in 2020, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the deal hasn’t been announced.

Cambage, who finished second behind Breanna Stewart in WNBA MVP balloting last year, said in January she no longer wanted to play in Dallas. Potential deals the past few weeks that never materialized had weighed on Cambage, who took to social media with emotional posts this week. Cambage is in Australia and is expected to get to Las Vegas this weekend.

The 27-year-old center set a league record last season by scoring 53 points against New York. She averaged 23 points and 9.7 rebounds last year.

The move gives the Aces a formidable frontcourt by pairing Cambage with rookie of the year A’ja Wilson.

Dallas receives a point guard in Jefferson and a talented post player in Harrison. Jefferson was the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft by the franchise when it was in San Antonio. She averaged 13.9 points as a rookie but injured her knee in 2017.

She was limited to just 16 games last season. Harrison was the No. 12 pick in 2015 by Phoenix, but missed her rookie season with a knee injury. She had a breakout year in 2017, averaging 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. She sat out last season because of a medical issue.

Cambage was the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft. She played that season and in 2013 for the Tulsa Shock but sat out in 2012 and again from 2014-2017. The franchise moved to Dallas in 2016. Cambage returned to the WNBA last season with Dallas and hit it off with Wings coach Fred Williams. Cambage took it hard when Williams was fired a few weeks before the end of the season. Williams is an assistant with the Sparks.

After last season, Cambage left the door open to not returning to the WNBA, citing the league’s low salaries. She excelled for Australia at last fall’s FIBA World Cup, helping the team earn a silver medal. Cambage told the AP at the World Cup she would take some time to decide whether she wanted to come back the WNBA.

Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DougFeinberg

Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarterfinals

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MADRID — Roger Federer’s return to clay lasted only three matches.

A day after saving two match points at the Madrid Open, Federer squandered two match points himself in the quarterfinals against Dominic Thiem on Friday, losing 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4.

It may have ended his first appearance at a clay-court tournament in three years, but Federer wasn’t leaving the Spanish capital too disappointed with the outcome of his return.

“I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here,” Federer said. “I feel good on the clay right now. It’s been a good week. Frustrating, clearly. Losing with match points is the worst, so that’s how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it’s all good.”

Federer skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.

The fifth-seeded Thiem, runner-up in Madrid the last two seasons, will next face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who didn’t have to play his quarterfinal after Marin Cilic withdrew because of food poisoning.

Thiem has a chance to win his third title of the year after victories in Barcelona and Indian Wells, where he defeated Federer in a three-set final.

“Facing him, it always requires my absolute best game and also a little bit luck, which I both had in Indian Wells and also here, and that’s why I won these two matches,” Thiem said.

The other semifinal will be between Stefanos Tsitsipas and five-time Madrid champion Rafael Nadal. Tsitsipas defeated defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, while Nadal cruised past Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal lost only seven points on his service games, conceding no break opportunities against the 34th-ranked Wawrinka. The Swiss lost the 2013 Madrid final to Nadal.

“It was one of my best matches in a long time, my best match on clay this year,” the second-ranked Spaniard said. “It means a lot to have this feeling in this crucial moment of the clay season.”

On the women’s side, Simona Halep made it back to the Madrid final for the first time since 2017 with a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-0 win over unseeded Belinda Bencic.

The French Open champion can surpass Naomi Osaka for the No. 1 ranking if she wins Saturday’s final.

“I don’t want to think about that. For me, it is more important to win the trophy here than being No. 1,” the third-ranked Halep said. “I prefer titles than numbers and rankings. So this is my goal, to play finals and to win trophies.”

She will face last year’s runner-up Kiki Bertens, who defeated Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5.

The 37-year-old Federer was trying to win his third Madrid title, and first since 2012. He has already won hard-court titles this season in Dubai and Miami.

Federer got off to a great start against Thiem at the Magic Box center court, breaking the Austrian’s serve early and cruising to a first-set win. He squandered five break points in the second, and then had match points at 8-7 and 10-9 in the tiebreaker before Thiem forced the deciding set by converting his sixth set point.

Federer had saved two match points in his difficult three-set win over Gael Monfils on Thursday.

Thiem broke Federer for the first time in the third game of the third set, converting his ninth break opportunity of the match. Federer got back on serve at 4-4, but started his next game 0-40 and couldn’t recover. Thiem then served out for the victory, converting on his second match point.

Thiem has won the last two matches he played against Djokovic, who got the day off because of Cilic’s withdrawal.

“It was supposed to be definitely a good match,” said Djokovic, who has played only four sets this week. “I went back on the court, trained for another hour and got a good sweat in. Happy that I’m going to be fresh for my semifinal.”

The top-seeded Serb is seeking a third Madrid Open title, and his second of the season after winning the Australian Open.

Thiem lost the Madrid final to Nadal in 2017 and to Alexander Zverev in 2018.

“I was playing Novak last year and two years ago and he was not at his best I guess, and now he is again,” Thiem said. “He’s won the last three Slams and he is at the top of the ranking again. So the challenge couldn’t be bigger.”