Nature Valley Open: Angry Johanna Konta loses in Nottingham final

Konta beat Barty on her way to reaching last year’s Nottingham final A furious Johanna Konta lost out to Ashleigh Barty in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. Konta had recovered from 4-1 down in the decider to level at 4-4 but a controversial call allowed Barty go 5-4 ahead. The Briton got into a heated discussion with umpire Paula Vieira Souza, which seemed to affected her concentration. She was broken in the next game to give Barty a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win and did not shake the umpire’s hand at the end. “At 4-4 in the

Norrie set to face Wawrinka on opening day at Queen’s

Cameron Norrie is currently ranked 79 in the world 2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app. British number two Cameron Norrie will play three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka at Queen’s Club on Monday. Andy Murray, making his comeback after a year out with a hip injury, plays Australian Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday at the Fever-Tree Championships. Kyle Edmund, who has replaced Murray as British number one, meets American Ryan Harrison the same day. Twelve-time

Defending champs Germany drop World Cup opener to Mexico

Germany became the third defending champion in the last 16 years to lose its opening match at the World Cup, falling to Mexico 1-0 Sunday in Moscow. Hirving Lozano scored the lone goal in the 35th minute, picking up Javier Hernandez’s pass inside the penalty area and beating Mesut Ozil before shooting past Manuel Neuer from 10 yards. “I don’t know if it’s the biggest victory in  history, but one of the biggest for sure,” Lozano said. “It’s great to start on the right foot when you are playing the world champions.” France in 2002 and Spain in 2014 were

‘I love playing tennis. I miss it a lot’ – how Murray recovered from ‘lowest point’

2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app. Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray is set to make his competitive return to action at Queen’s Club this week after almost a year out with a hip injury. The 31-year-old Briton talks about the decision to have surgery in January, and his recovery, in his regular BBC Sport column. Moving towards the start line now feels great and I’m really looking forward to playing again. There have

Federer beats Raonic to win Stuttgart title on return

Roger Federer will return to world number one in the latest rankings on Monday Roger Federer beat Milos Raonic to win the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, his first event for two and a half months. The Swiss had not played since the Miami Open in March, after choosing to miss the clay-court season, but the win in Germany gives him a 98th Tour title. Federer, 36, beat Canadian Raonic 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the final. The 20-time Grand Slam champion had already secured his return to number one in the world rankings with victory over Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final.

Are teams passing on Trae Young missing a future superstar?

8:46 AM ET Trae Young might be the most fascinating prospect in this year’s NBA draft. Young’s freshman season at Oklahoma, which saw him lead the NCAA in both scoring and assists per game, was unlike anything we’ve seen in modern college basketball. (No player had done so since 1983-84, when the NCAA resumed officially tracking assists after doing so two seasons in the early 1950s.) Nonetheless, Young’s small frame has produced skepticism about whether he can translate his offensive success to the NBA and hold up defensively. So the Wayman Tisdale Award winner as USBWA National Freshman of the

The eight most exciting ways today’s US Open could end, ranked!

After a sun-cooked, wind-whipped day that strained the greens and stressed the players in the third-round of the 118th U.S. Open, everyone was talking about the course conditions. Not everyone was saying nice things. “Unfortunately, they lost the golf course,” Zach Johnson said. But Shinnecock isn’t lost. It will be right there on Sunday. And someone’s gotta win. Having surveyed the bunched-up leaderboard, we’ve drawn up a list of the eight most exciting ways this U.S. Open could end. 8. THAI GOES TO THE WINNER Only three players carved out scores in the 60s on Saturday, and one of them

Serbia’s Kolarov the difference-maker in win over Costa Rica

With a curling free kick that decided the outcome of the match, Aleksandar Kolarov immediately drew some comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Serbia captain’s left-footed strike proved to be the difference in a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on Sunday at the World Cup. It came two days after Ronaldo scored a similar goal to give Portugal a 3-3 draw with Spain. “It was an amazing goal,” Costa Rica defender Bryan Oviedo said of Kolarov’s effort. “Maybe two out 10 balls will go in like that.” After Costa Rica midfielder David Guzman was handed a yellow card, Kolarov stepped up

Dan Evans beaten by Alex de Minaur in Nature Valley Open in Nottingham

Evans was bidding for his first title since 2016 Britain’s Dan Evans was beaten in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham by Australian teenager Alex de Minaur. Evans was competing in his first final since he returned in April from a year’s ban for taking cocaine but lost 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 in an entertaining match. It is just his fourth defeat in 20 matches since his return. The win for 19-year-old De Minaur, ranked 96 in the world, gives him his first ATP Challenger title. De Minaur took the first set on a tie-break before the pair

For one of our own, Father’s Day comes full circle at Shinnecock Hills

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Time advances in a straight line, but our lives do not. We exist in swirls of circles and cycles, our paths sprinkled with irony, coincidence and fate. Today’s final round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills marks a full circle of the Father’s Day celebration for me. June 18, 1995, 23 years ago, dawned as just another Father’s Day for so many men, but I marked it with a sense of pride I’d never known before, having welcomed a baby boy the previous month. When my son Alex was born, I was working as sports editor

Lowe: Steph or KD? A fun question is about to get answers

Stephen Curry‘s ankle injury brings a challenge the Warriors haven’t faced for any extended period, save five games in the 2016 playoffs, since they became the Warriors: figuring out what exactly their team looks like without the two-time MVP.

“Of course I’m curious,” Bob Myers, the team’s GM, told ESPN.com. “I’m always curious. I was curious when Kevin [Durant] went down [last season]. But I’ve seen what our team looks like without Kevin. This will be new.”

With nothing new to say about the Warriors in Year 2 of Durant-Curry, league insiders and NBA Twitter die-hards have engaged in a barroom debate: Who’s better, or more important, to the Warriors — Durant or Curry?

On one level, it’s a stupid question. They are both transcendent. Why does one have to be more important?

But it’s a fun thought exercise with useful implications for team building. None other than Steve Kerr fueled it to some degree when he called Durant “the second-best player in the world” behind LeBron James during the Finals and then seemed to double down on that stance in a post-Finals edition of the Lowe Post podcast.

Durant is a better defender than Curry, and it is obviously not close. If both are all-world offensive players, logic suggests Durant’s defense makes him better.

But better and more important aren’t the same thing. And sometimes being more important can in effect make you better — at least in a particular team context.

Curry is a revolutionary NBA player. He makes shots that didn’t exist before, from angles and locations once considered impossible — in violation of basketball’s moral codes. Those shots are worth an extra point. He makes them almost half the time. Give most expert NBA 3-point shooters Curry’s exact shot distribution — off the dribble, 30 feet away, or body twisting to make a catch in the corner — and how many would they hit? Thirty percent? Worse? No one knows, because no one has dared try.

The Warriors saw that unprecedented skill set, and loosed it upon the league in increments — first under Mark Jackson (their 2013 playoff run, when they pushed the Spurs, is considered a watershed moment within the team), and then in a torrent when Curry and Kerr stretched it beyond imagination in 2015-16.

Curry’s singular shooting is the organizing principle for everything the Warriors have built. It is the electrical current powering the body — doing indispensable, foundational work even when you don’t see it.

“People took it the wrong way when we had our conversation after the Finals,” Kerr said of his podcast appearance. “I was talking specifically about two-way players, and Kevin is right there with LeBron and Kawhi [Leonard]. But does that mean he’s better than Steph? All that stuff is subjective. Who’s better: James Harden or Kawhi? I don’t know. But if you’re talking about who has the biggest impact on the way people guard us — on the identity of our team — then it’s Steph. He’s the engine. Everything starts with Steph.”

“What we built was initiated by Steph,” Myers added. “The offense starts with him.”

In the most literal sense, the Warriors look the way they do because of Curry. Teams trap Golden State’s pick-and-rolls 30 feet from the rim, unlocking shots for everyone else, because those pick-and-rolls involve the only human in history capable of hitting 40 percent of his off-the-dribble 3s from that distance. Draymond Green emerged as the team’s assist leader in part because he was Curry’s go-to pick-and-roll partner — and those traps sprang him for 4-on-3s that flummoxed the league for a full season.

Kerr instituted a more egalitarian offense, with everyone screening and cutting off the ball, because Curry understands the power he exercises screening and cutting off the ball. You can give most shooters, even the best ones, a brief, tiny window to put out another fire. You cannot give Curry any space, even if he is 25 feet away, has his back to the basket, or is in mid-collision while setting a pick. He’s too accurate, his wrist-snap release too fast.

If you’re guarding Curry and he nails your teammate with a pick that frees Klay Thompson, you can’t lunge away from Curry to blanket Thompson for a split second. Switch a bigger guy onto Curry, and he’ll keep moving until the behemoth can no longer keep up:

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