first_imgManchester United swept to their second straight 4-0 win to start the Premier League season by thrashing Swansea on Saturday, with Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all scoring again for Jose Mourinho’s side.Center back Eric Bailly gave United the lead on the stroke of halftime with a close-range strike at a corner, and the visitors were comfortable in the second half before running amok in the final 10 minutes.Lukaku slotted home in the 80th from a pass by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who then set up Pogba to deftly chip goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the 82nd.Martial, on as a substitute, scored United’s third goal in a devastating four-minute span when he finished a counter-attack with a low shot into the corner.Lukaku, Pogba and Martial all scored in a 4-0 home win over West Ham last weekend.Eight goals scored and two clean sheets makes for an encouraging start to the season for Mourinho, who has built an imposing and clinical team that looks equipped to challenge for the title.”We are more confident, we know each other more,” said Pogba, who is showing a greater attacking threat this season with Nemanja Matic patrolling United’s midfield behind him.Mkhitaryan has set up four goals in the opening two league games of the season – Pogba called him “the assist man” – and Lukaku already has four goals in his first three games, including one against Real Madrid in the UEFA Cuper Cup.This wasn’t the fast-paced United that demolished West Ham until the final 10 minutes, when Swansea’s defense opened up. The Welsh team, which sold its star player Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton this week, has beaten United twice in August in the last three years but rarely looked like scoring at Liberty Stadium.advertisementThe only time the hosts seriously threatened United was in the third minute when Jordan Ayew broke clear thanks to a fortunate ricochet and curled an attempted cross – with the outside of his right foot – against the crossbar.United defender Phil Jones also struck the bar in the ninth minute with an effort that came off his shoulder from Juan Mata’s inswinging free kick.last_img read more

first_imgPARIS — Roger Federer knew when he returned to the French Open that, if things went exceedingly well, he eventually would find himself face-to-face with Rafael Nadal.Here we go.Just like old times.Federer put away Stan Wawrinka after a 75-minute rain delay Tuesday, converting a break point for just the second time in 18 chances and quickly wrapping up a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over his friend and Swiss countryman to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.And what a showdown comes next: Federer vs. Nadal for a spot in the final.“Always,” Nadal said, “a big match.”They are two titans of tennis, with Federer holding a men’s-record 20 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal next with 17.Nadal, who won 11 of his trophies in Paris, has gotten the better of their rivalry over the years, leading 23-15 overall, 9-3 at majors, 13-2 on clay and 5-0 at the French Open, including four finals.“My next opponent is not too bad. He can play on clay, unfortunately,” Federer joked to the crowd at Court Suzanne Lenglen.They haven’t met at Roland Garros since 2011. Federer, who has won their most recent five matches, last entered the field in 2015, when he lost to Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. He pulled out with a bad back in 2016, then skipped the entire clay circuit in 2017-18.“If you to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he’s that strong and he will be there,” said Federer, at 37 the tournament’s oldest semifinalist since 1968. “If I would have had a different mindset — to avoid him — then I should not have played the clay.”The only time Federer won the French Open, in 2009, he didn’t need to face Nadal, who was knocked out in the fourth round by Robin Soderling. That’s one of only two losses for Nadal in 93 career matches at the place.There was very little drama in Nadal’s quarterfinal victory this time, a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 stroll against No. 7 Kei Nishikori, who went through a pair of five-setters the past two rounds.“He didn’t let me play how I wanted to play,” Nishikori said, “and especially if I’m not fresh, it’s not easy to stay with him.”Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Japan’s Kei Nishikori in three sets, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)Federer vs. Wawrinka, meanwhile, lived up to the billing, a 3½-hour tussle between a couple of guys who won a Davis Cup title and Olympic gold medal in doubles together.Coming in, Federer held a 22-3 edge head-to-head, but Wawrinka knew this: All three of his victories had come on clay, including four years ago in the same round, on the same court.They were locked in a taut fourth set at 3-all when clouds grew thick and charcoal-colored. Thunder rumbled nearby. It was difficult to see, because there are no artificial lights. Play was suspended as a storm arrived. But it didn’t last long.Switzerland’s Roger Federer, right, and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, left, joke, during an interruption of their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament because of the rain at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)When action resumed, Federer needed only 10 minutes to take control, getting his second break of the match by smacking a big cross-court forehand to a corner that Wawrinka couldn’t handle. It was 5-4, and Federer only needed to hold serve to end it.That turned out to be a tad complicated.He double-faulted for the only two times of the entire afternoon, once on his second match point. He was forced to deflect a break point for Wawrinka, doing so with a serve-and-volley winner. And then, finally, on his third match point, Federer closed it out with a volley, then hugged Wawrinka at the net.“A tough, tough one, for sure,” said Wawrinka, who was coming off the longest singles match of his career, a 5-hour, 9-minute victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas.Wawrinka credited Federer, saying, “It was important to be aggressive, to be inside the court, and he did that better than me.”Attacking the net at any opportunity, Federer won the point on 41 of his 60 trips forward. It’ll be fascinating to see whether he does that against Nadal, too.“I’m looking forward to the test,” said Federer, whose last major semifinal was at last year’s Australian Open.The quarterfinals on the other half of the men’s draw are Wednesday: No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 5 Alexander Zverev, and No. 4 Dominic Thiem vs. No. 10 Karen Khachanov.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more