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Sports Briefs

Published:Wednesday | June 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Nadal beaten

in first round


Two days after winning a grass-court title in Stuttgart, Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the first round of the Queen's Club tournament yesterday when he fell 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to Alexandr Dolgopolov.

By contrast, top-seeded Andy Murray opened his bid to recapture the title he lost last year to Grigor Dimitrov with a comfortable 6-4, 7-5 win over Taiwanese qualifier Lu Yen-Hsun, and French Open winner Stan Wawrinka began his bid for a first grass-court title by defeating Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4.

Watched by Chelsea manager JosÈ Mourinho and the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, Nadal was kept under pressure throughout the match by the free-hitting Ukrainian, who ended a three-match losing streak with his second successive victory over his Spanish opponent.

Azarenka advances


Victoria Azarenka rallied from 4-0 down in the first set to beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the first round yesterday of the Aegon Classic, a grass-court Wimbledon warm-up event.

The former top-ranked Azarenka came within one point of losing the fifth game of the opening set five times, but managed to steer clear of trouble with a powerful service game.

Azarenka was joined in the second round by another former No. 1, Jelena Jankovic, and top-seeded Simona Halep.

Jankovic beat Tereza Smitkova 6-4, 6-4, and Halep defeated Naomi Broady 6-4, 6-2.

Portugal beat Italy 1-0 in friendly


Portugal beat Italy 1-0 in an international friendly in Geneva yesterday to inflict Antonio Conte's first defeat as national team coach.

Eder netted his first goal for Portugal in the 52nd minute to help end a 39-year wait for a victory over Italy.

The result will be a blow to Italy's hopes of being seeded in the draw for 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Italy had won five of their previous nine matches since Conte replaced Cesare Prandelli as coach after last year's World Cup, drawing the other four.

Cristiano Ronaldo was missing for Portugal.

Japan held 0-0

by Singapore


Japan were held to a goalless draw by visiting minnows Singapore, while Guam pulled off only their second World Cup qualifying win when they beat India 2-1 yesterday.

Also, Son Heung-min confirmed his status as one of the biggest stars in Asian football by inspiring South Korea to a 2-0 win over Myanmar in Bangkok.

Japan dominated at Saitama Stadium but couldn't find a way to beat Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Bin Mahbud, who produced spectacular saves.

One of Bin Mahbud's best saves was when he swatted away Shinji Okazaki's header just before it crossed the line, 10 minutes after half-time.

Moments later, the Singapore 'keeper dived to his left to get a hand on a Keisuke Honda header.

Honda had another golden opportunity when his free kick from 25 metres hit the post in the 72nd.