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Olympic Berth Secured by Noah Lyles After Winning the 100 Meters At the U.S. Trials

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Go back this past winter, says Noah Lyles, to understand how he ended up wearing a gold medal at the U.S. Olympic trials late on Sunday night.

He competed in three 60-meter indoor events within a one-month period in February and March. He thinks they had a major role in helping him get a spot in the Olympics for the first time in the 100 meters, which has traditionally been considered his second-best race.

“That was the goal [at trials]: Win from the 60 meters each time,” Lyles stated. “That’s why I did so many 60s indoor. I was preparing, getting faster and faster each time.”

Late in Sunday’s 100-meter final, Lyles picked up such pace that, just meters from the finish line, he lifted his right arm high into the pre-dusk sky and gestured to the heavens in an early sign of celebration.

He had a startling awareness that he would finally be competing for Olympic gold in the event, having had a lackluster performance in it at the previous U.S. trials. His performance of seventh place in the Tokyo Games trials three years prior disqualified him from competing in the 100 meters; instead, he was only allowed to compete in the 200 meters and the 4×100-meter relay.

Lyles finished in first place on Sunday with a time of 9.83 seconds, slightly ahead of the two American guys, Kenny Bednarek (9.87 seconds) and Fred Kerley (9.88 seconds), who will compete in the 100 meters with him in Paris. It’s each of the three’s second time competing at the Olympics.

“It’s go time,” declared Kerley, the Tokyo Games silver medallist in the 100 meters. “Hey, the season started today. So it’s only up and forward.”

Similar to Lyles, Bednarek has dedicated this year to dispelling the misconception that he is merely a 200-meter runner. His silver medal on Sunday demonstrated that he is capable of handling the shorter dash.

“Yeah, I’ll finally call myself a ‘hundred-meter man’ now, but I always knew I had this in me,” remarked Bednarek. “It was just a matter of time of when I was going to make the team. Last few years I was dealing with stuff, but this year I was healthy and I’ve always said a healthy me is a dangerous me.”

Bednarek and Lyles both placed second and third in the 200 meters at the past Olympics, supporting the theory that they were both superior in that event than in the 100.

To demonstrate his 100-meter skill, Lyles had to train for the trials races differently. All of his 60-meter indoor entries were focused on that.

“When I came out here, it was like, ‘I’m one of the fastest in the field. I mean, there’s only one other guy faster than me in the 60, so I’m going to take care of business each time,'”  Lyles declared as he got ready for his three 100-meter heats this weekend.

“So when I finally got to the finals, it’s like, ‘Alright, we’re not only going to win from the 60, we’re going to keep going.’ Let’s see what we do from that point, and every step I took it felt correct, and I felt well in my positions. We got into the acceleration phase, my hips came through and I didn’t feel like I had to press very hard.”

Lyles led his group through Saturday’s preliminary round in 9.92 seconds, and in the semifinals, he blasted to a wind-assisted 9.80 seconds. He then equaled his personal best from the global championships held last summer in the final.

“I’d say from this week, I’m pretty confident [in the 100],” Lyles stated. “Every time I did a block start, there wasn’t a lot of thinking. It was kind of just doing. It was a lot closer to how I feel in the 200, which is what I’ve been waiting to feel for a very long time now. And every time I get that feeling, it makes the race that much more confident.”

This increasing self-assurance contributes to the explanation of why Lyles celebrated his major victory a little too soon. He’s reconsidering his pre-finish moves, though, as he gets ready for Thursday’s 200-meter preliminary races.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to ease up at the end, but I definitely eased up just to do a celebration,” Lyles stated. “So next time I run, no celebrations.”

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Gonzales’ Walk-Off Victory Completes the Statement Victory for the Advancing Bucs

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Nick Gonzales aimed for a powerful hit as he took the bat to the ball. The second baseman for the Pirates was aware that José Alvarado could hit for three runs, but he also had that cutter, which could tail away from right-handers and hit where he wanted to.

Gonzales remarked, “I was just trying to get something a little away from me, and I just hit it hard.”

In the ninth inning on Friday, Gonzales got a hold of Alvarado’s first-pitch cutter and sent most of the PNC Park crowd home with a base hit through the left side of the infield. Gonzales’ single gave the Pirates their first and only lead of the game after they had been behind for the majority of the game. The Pirates went on to win 8–7 against the Phillies.

There were signs on Friday night that this squad might be taken by surprise after the All-Star break. Martín Pérez, the starter, was removed from the game in the fourth inning after giving up six runs in the game. His poor play continued. The baseball team with the best record was taking on the Pirates. They spent most of the evening performing from behind.

Nevertheless, Gonzales and his colleagues were the ones having fun after the game on the right side of the diamond.

“I think it would’ve been really easy to fold after the first inning, especially going against the Phillies,” Gonzales stated. “But nobody here in the dugout, nobody in this clubhouse, did that. So kudos to them. And kudos to the coaching staff, too.”

Pérez faced the whole Phillies lineup in the first inning, which was maybe his worst, giving up three runs before loading the bases. Oneil Cruz immediately responded for the offense against Aaron Nola, hitting an RBI double with an exit velocity of 120.5 mph, the second-hardest hit ball for him this season in all of Major League Baseball. Later on, he would return home on a sacrifice fly hit by Rowdy Tellez, the first of three that Tellez would hit and set a record for the Pirates in a single game.

With the score tied at six, in the ninth inning, Connor Joe reached base on a single through the left side of the infield, moving Michael A. Taylor to pinch run, setting up the game’s biggest wager. Coach Tarrik Brock of first base saw a chance to run, and with two on and no one out, Andrew McCutchen and Taylor executed a double steal to advance the tying run ninety feet.

“We took a good chance in a situation where we thought we were going to take a chance,” manager Derek Shelton said.

Cruz then hit a ball off home plate for a fielder’s choice that tied the game, and Gonzales won it with a line drive to left on the next pitch.

Shelton remarked, “To come out and play as complete a game as we did and do all the little things we needed to do, yeah, I was really excited about how they responded.”

It’s only one victory, but considering the season’s circumstances, it might be greater. The Pirates have a 49-48 record and are once again above 500. They started winning before the All-Star break and have already won five straight. With just nine games remaining before the July 30 trade deadline, the team is looking to add players, but each victory helps to strengthen their argument for being aggressive. This is also the season’s hardest stretch, the first of nine series against winning clubs vying for a postseason berth.

The clubhouse’s objective has been to make the playoffs the entire year. The Pirates believe they are making progress in that direction right now.

“We talk about it a lot,” Tellez stated. “We’ve had a couple guys in here win some World Series. With Milwaukee, we made it to the playoffs every year. Younger players, when they ask questions and want to talk through it, I always say, ‘There’s nothing more driving than getting to the playoffs.’ Once you’re there, that’s all you want the next year, over and over again. For a lot of us, when we talk about that kind of stuff, it resonates with guys. We’re in a good spot. But just talking it game-by-game.”

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Carlos Alcaraz defeats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon

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This time, Carlos Alcaraz was prepared right away. Alcaraz started off slowly, losing the first set against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final a year ago. It took him five sets to win his maiden title at the All England Club.

The game that started Sunday’s rematch felt monumental: 20 points in over 15 minutes hinted at an engaging, back-and-forth contest that would go a long time. Both guys had their moments of genius. However, Alcaraz was superior. And for almost the entire next two hours, too.

Alcaraz won 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4) against Djokovic to win a second straight Wimbledon title and his fourth Grand Slam overall. Alcaraz applied the skills he acquired from 2023 to 2024. And to consider: He is only 21 years old.

Alcaraz, who won the French Open last month and is now only the sixth man to win on both the red clay at Roland Garros and the grass at the All England Club in the same season, said, “At the end of my career, I want to sit at the same table as the big guys.” Alcaraz received the gold trophy from Wimbledon from Kate, the Prince of Wales. “That’s my main goal. That’s my dream right now.”

Alcaraz raised his record to 4-0 in major finals, including the 2022 U.S. Open; among men, only Roger Federer started his career with a 7-0 record.

The 37-year-old Djokovic, who had knee surgery less than a month ago, said of Federer, “He just was better than me in every aspect of the game.” Djokovic was aiming to become the first player in tennis history to win 25 Grand Slam events and tie Federer’s men’s record of eight Wimbledon victories. “In movement, in the way he was just striking the ball beautifully, serving great. Everything.”

Alcaraz experienced a single, fleeting glitch during a five-point period that nearly brought him to tears. It occurred when he was serving at 5-4, 40-love, and one point away from the championship. But he made a double error. Then a backhand was missed. Next, a volley. Next, a forehand. And one more forehand. All at once, it was five. Alcaraz suddenly seemed unsettled. Djokovic may feel hope suddenly.

There was intrigue all of a sudden.

but just for a little while. Alcaraz pulled together, reached the decisive vote, and ended the dispute.

Djokovic remembered, “We went toe to toe” last year.

He went on, “This year,” “it was nothing like that. It was all about him. He was the dominant force on the court and deserved to win.”

On a gloomy afternoon at Centre Court, Djokovic was not playing at his best, sporting a gray sleeve on his knee. There’s no doubt that Alcaraz had a significant role in this.

It turns out that up until the third set, the first game was the most competitive part of the match.

Not that there weren’t any signs of anticipation along the road. More so, the conclusion never truly appeared in doubt.

“The first game was incredible. One of the longest first games I’ve ever played,” Djokovic remarked. “That set the tone. He was coming out from the blocks ready to battle and ready to play his best level right away, which wasn’t the case last year.”

In the opening set, Djokovic double-failed, giving up a 5-1 lead. He started the second game with a volley into the net, down by a break, and ended it with a double fault. When Djokovic finally got going in the third, he recorded his first break of serve of the day. Fans screamed his two-syllable moniker, “No-le! No-le!” and others answered in unison,  “Let’s go, Carlos! Let’s go!”

However, given that there were real doubts about whether Djokovic would be able to compete at all in Wimbledon, this was not the body-contouring, all-out Djokovic that everyone is used to seeing.

In his matches against Alcaraz, Djokovic would sometimes land awkwardly after serving or take cautious steps in between points, almost like he was barefoot on the warm sand of a beach. When Djokovic got to the net, he only won 27 of the 53 points, missing volleys that he usually makes. Once he closed an early 11-stroke exchange with a volley, Djokovic sighed and made his way to his sideline seat to get a purple-and-green towel to wipe away perspiration. It seemed to be saying, “Come on, Carlitos, pick on someone your own age,” on his face.

Alcaraz excelled in almost every aspect, ranging from simple shots to those that others would never attempt. Although Djokovic did put an overhead shot away to earn that point, he once jumped and wrapped his racket all the way around his back to get the ball over the net. Forehand winners, Alcaraz missed the doubles alley by a considerable margin. points obtained with drop shots. Serves with a maximum velocity of 136 mph (219 kph). 14 break points total—five of which were converted—while facing just three.

Alcaraz received a lot of praise from Djokovic two days prior to the championship match when he said, “I see a lot of similarities between me and him.”

Indeed. And keep in mind that Alcaraz is only getting started.

Alcaraz declared, “I want to keep going.”

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Ostapenko Loses to Krejikova in a Match between Former French Open Champions

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Under sunny skies on Wednesday, Barbora Krejcikova advanced to her maiden Wimbledon quarterfinal by defeating Latvian 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (4) in a match between former French Open champions.

Ostapenko’s attempt to win a second Grand Slam championship after winning her first in 2017 fell apart on Court One, but the 31st-seeded Czech player maintained her cool from the back of the court to force her opponent into 35 unforced errors throughout the match.

Though Krejcikova’s first Grand Slam victory came at Roland Garros in 2021, she had never before amassed a five-match winning streak on grass.

“There have been many doubts from the inside, but also from outside — from the outside world,” stated Krejcikova, who had a meager 6-9 record when she joined the All England Club in 2024. “But I’m super happy than I never gave up and that I’m standing here right now.”

The 27-year-old Ostapenko had a strong serve but had trouble placing it; in the first set, she landed fewer than half of her first serves. The 2021 French Open winner, Krejcikova, broke in the third game and won the first set.

In the second set, Ostapenko came back to break her opponent and take a 4-1 lead. But errors plagued her once more, and Krejcikova prevailed in four games to take a 5-4 lead.

The match proceeded to a tiebreaker, where Krejcikova’s outstanding crosscourt forehand struck the far line to give her a mini-break. She then used that opportunity to close out the match and earn her first victory against the Latvian in their last four meetings.

In the semifinals, Elena Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon winner, will play Krejcikova.

While Rybakina relished the unusual opportunity to see the sun, she had no desire to stay on Centre Court longer than required, as she defeated Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 to terminate her quarterfinal challenge.

Rybakina improved to 19-2 at Wimbledon in four visits by using her eighth ace to close out the victory.

“Definitely, I have an aggressive style of game,” Rybakina stated. “I have a huge serve, so it’s a big advantage.”

Her match lasted one hour and one minute, which was less time than Krejcikova’s second set against Ostapenko, during which Ostapenko once told her coach to go out of the stands.

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