Finland stuns defending champion Canada to reach semifinals of Davis Cup in Spain webfi

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TENNIS

Finland upset defending champion Canada to reach the semifinals of the Davis Cup for the first time on Tuesday at Malaga, Spain.

Otto Virtanen and Harri Heliovaara defeated Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-3 in the decisive doubles match to give the 14th-ranked Finns the victory over No. 1 Canada in the first of the quarterfinals.

Virtanen had kept Finland alive by defeating Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 7-5 in the second singles match after Milos Raonic had given Canada the first point with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Patrick Kaukovalta.

Finland’s best performances before this year were three appearances in the World Cup playoffs — the last in 2002. Canada won its first Davis Cup title last year, defeating Australia in the final in Malaga.

The No. 1 player for both countries — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori — were out injured.

Australia will play the Czech Republic in another quarterfinal on Wednesday, and on Thursday it will be Italy against the Netherlands and Great Britain against Novak Djokovic’s Serbia.

The semifinals will be played on Friday and Saturday, with the winner being crowned on Sunday.

OLYMPICS

RUSSIA: Russia clashed with the International Olympic Committee on the floor of the United Nations before 118 member states voted to adopt a traditional truce around the 2024 Paris Summer Games.

Two years ago, Russia voted for the previous Olympic Truce resolution then flagrantly breached it by invading Ukraine four days after the 2022 Winter Games closed in Beijing.

Relations between Russia and IOC President Thomas Bach have not recovered since though the Olympic body eased its initially tough stance of exclusion by urging sports bodies to let some athletes compete as neutral individuals with no symbols of national identity.

Such conditions are “completely unacceptable,” Russian diplomat Maria Zabolotskaya said speaking immediately before Bach in the Olympic Truce debate at the UN in New York.

“The height of hypocrisy and cynicism the likes of which we have not seen in recent history has been the illegal barring of Russian athletes from international sporting competitions,” said Zabolotskaya, the Russian deputy permanent representative at the UN.

Only Russia and its ally Syria abstained from a vote to adopt the resolution and 118 of the 193 UN member states — including Israel, Ukraine and the United States — backed the text proposed by Olympic host France. There were 173 co-sponsor states two years ago.

The Olympic Truce is a modern revival of the ancient Greek tradition to ensure warring city states allowed safe passage for athletes to the games. It will run from July 19 through Sept. 15, by starting seven days before the Paris Olympics open until seven days after the Paralympics close.

The debate came 21 months into the war waged by Russia in Ukraine and after six weeks of conflict in Gaza between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

HOCKEY: Yannic Seidenberg, who played on the German national hockey team that won silver at the 2018 Winter Olympics, has been banned for four years in a doping case.

The German National Anti-Doping Agency said the German Court of Arbitration for Sport had imposed the ban on Seidenberg, who can appeal.

The 39-year-old Seidenberg was a forward on the German team that surprisingly reached the gold-medal game in 2018 before losing to the Russian team. The ban does not affect that Olympic medal.

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The NADA said Seidenberg was positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition test and alleged he also used another banned substance, DHEA. A criminal investigation by Munich prosecutors is “still pending,” NADA added.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP: Son Heung-min scored two goals and set up another to help South Korea win its second straight game in World Cup qualifying, a 3-0 victory over visiting China.

The Tottenham striker got his first from the penalty spot in the 11th minute at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre after Hwang Hee-chan was fouled in the area. Son scored his second just before halftime with a header near the post.

Jung Seung-hyun added the third with a header off a free kick from Son.

South Korea is looking to qualify for the World Cup for the 11th straight time, and China is aiming to reach the tournament for only the second time.

GAMBLING

ADVERTISEMENT: The NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball have joined forces to produce a 30-second ad promoting responsible sports betting.

The “Never Know What’s Next” commercial is a coordination of the three leagues, sportsbook operators DraftKings, Fanatics, PENN Entertainment and the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s senior VP and head of gaming and new business ventures, said it was important to educate especially young bettors on the inherent risk of sports gambling and correct the misperception that it’s a good way to make money.

The ad’s message is to remind betters to set betting limits and gamble responsibly. It’s set to air during the Cleveland Cavaliers-Philadelphia 76ers in-season tournament game on TNT and on the leagues’ social media channels.
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