Auger-Aliassime defeats Bautista Agut to advance to Cologne final

COLOGNE, Germany — Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is through the final of the Cologne Open after posting a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in a semifinal match Saturday.

The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who is looking for his first win on the ATP Tour, will appear in his third final this season and sixth of his career when he faces top seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in Sunday’s final of the ATP 250 hardcourt tournament.

After faltering in the second set, Auger-Aliassime quickly regained momentum with an early break in the third before putting the second-seeded Spaniard away.

The third-seeded Canadian hit into five double faults and won just 64 per cent of his service points, but also fired seven aces and converted three of his six break point chances.

Bautista Agut won 70 per cent of his service points and 51 per cent of overall points thanks to his dominant second-set performance. He didn’t serve an ace, and also converted three of his sox break point opportunities.

It was the second meeting between Bautista Agut and Auger-Aliassime. The Spaniard won their first meeting at last year’s Davis Cup final.

Zverev has defeated Auger-Aliassime in their two previous meetings.

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Everton hold Liverpool in 2-2 draw to pass Red litmus test in Merseyside derby

The last three Merseyside derbies prior to the clash on Saturday ended 0-0. There was absolutely no chance of a record-setting fourth addition to the streak with the latest encounter producing a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Premier League table-toppers Everton were joint-leading scorers entering the fixture while Liverpool had conceded 11 times in their opening three games. Neither side were wholly confident in the goalkeeping department either with Jordan Pickford struggling for form and the error-prone Adrian filling in for the injured Alisson Becker.

Both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mohamed Salah maintained their goal-scoring form after Sadio Mane and then Michael Keane had found the back of the net initially.

Richarlison’s late sending off and Jordan Henderson’s stoppage-time goal which was ruled out for a Mane offside made for a dramatic end to the contest.

It was a fulfilling result for Carlo Ancelotti’s side at Goodison Park while Jurgen Klopp’s champions have already dropped five points from four games.

EVERTON PASS RED LITMUS TEST

After four wins and a 100 per cent record to start the season, many wondered if we were witnessing another false dawn for Everton.

Despite surrendering that record with this draw, the Toffees will be pleased to remain unbeaten and stay at the top of the table.

Being formidable at home is a veritable quality of a team coming into its own and Everton have now suffered just one defeat in 15 games at Goodison Park under Ancelotti.

This battle against their bitter local rivals proved that they are indeed capable of challenging in the top six this season. The champions were naturally the better side overall but the Evertonians held their own and went toe-to-toe with Klopp’s troops.

Their unprecedented start to the season is unsustainable but their systematic approach under Ancelotti and the collaboration between some

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While training in US, Marcial learns of brother’s death

Eumir Marcial with his brother Eliver, who passed away on Friday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Eumir Marcial was all upbeat about the start of his preparations for his bold two-pronged plan.

And then tragedy struck.

Just days into his Olympic preparations in Los Angeles, Marcial learned that his eldest brother, Eliver, died early Saturday morning, just before he was to fly back home to Zamboanga to be with his wife and kids. He was 39.

“He was so happy when I spoke to him just this Friday,” a sobbing Marcial said. “Our parents and his wife and kids were so excited that he was going home.”

The death further spurred Marcial, who said he will dedicate all his efforts to win an Olympic gold and be a world champion to his brother. “We were very close, us siblings,” he said.

Eliver was stranded in Eumir’s residence in Cavite when the country implemented the Luzon-wide lockdown in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been his first time to fly back home since then.

MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons offered to arrange a flight for Marcial to fly back to the Philippines, but the country’s golden hope in the Tokyo Olympics next year declined, deciding instead to remain in the US and push harder with his training under Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach at the famous Wild Card Gym.

“My brother, my parents, my other siblings; ever since I was young, we always talked about winning the Olympic gold. My brother even spoke with Princess (Galarpe, Eumir’s fiancée) last night and he was telling her that he was hopeful I would win the Olympic gold,” said Marcial, the youngest of five siblings.

“I decided to stay here because there’s nothing else I can do even if I went back

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