Sports News Roundup: Sixers clinch top seed in East with win; Sam Burns charges to lead at AT&T Byron Nelson and more
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NBA roundup: Sixers clinch top seed in East with win
Seth Curry scored 20 points, Shake Milton added 15 and the host Philadelphia 76ers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 122-97 victory over the undermanned Orlando Magic on Friday. Joel Embiid contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds while Ben Simmons had 13 points and nine assists for the Sixers, who will complete the 72-game regular season with another game against the Magic on Sunday. The Sixers played without key reserve Dwight Howard, who was suspended after being assessed his league-high 16th technical foul on Thursday.
Sam Burns charges to lead at AT&T Byron Nelson
Sam Burns, seeking wins in consecutive PGA Tour starts, fired a career-low, 10-under-par 62 on Friday to lead the AT&T Byron Nelson at the event's midway point. Burns has a two-round total of 17-under 127 at TPC Craig Ranch in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas. He sits two shots ahead of Sweden's Alex Noren.
Federer calls for end to Tokyo Games uncertainty
Tennis great Roger Federer has called on Olympics organizers to end the uncertainty around the Tokyo Games, with the 20-times Grand Slam winner saying he was still in two minds whether to compete. The Olympics are set to run from July 23 to Aug. 8 after being postponed in March last year over the coronavirus pandemic.
Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit will compete in Saturday's Preakness Stakes after clearing pre-race drug tests, race organisers said on Friday. The Bob Baffert-trained horse tested positive for the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone after winning the first of the three famed Triple Crown races on May 1, raising questions over whether the three-year-old colt would be allowed to race at Pimlico Race Course.
Fast start fuels Rafael Nadal to victory in Rome
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal raced out to a quick start and posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Friday. The Spaniard won the first four games in the first set and saved all eight break points he faced in the second to continue his pursuit of a 10th title in Rome.
Triathlon: Blummenfelt takes gold as Knibb confirms Olympic spot
Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt won gold at the opening race of the 2021 World Triathlon Championship series in Yokohama on Saturday after American Taylor Knibb crossed the line first in the women's race to secure her place at the Olympic Games. A strong performance in the 10 kilometre run phase of the three-discipline event saw Blummenfelt open up a decisive gap over Belgium's Jelle Geens while Morgan Pearson of the United States finished third.
Royals snap 11-game skid with win over White Sox
Michael A. Taylor and Salvador Perez each hit home runs as the visiting Kansas City Royals snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader on Friday. Both teams lost a key player in the top of the second inning when Hunter Dozier collided with reigning American League Most Valuable player Jose Abreu. Dozier popped up a Lucas Giolito pitch and headed to first with his head down as Abreu charged.
NFL: Fully vaccinated players, staff no longer required to wear masks at team facilities
Players and staff in the National Football League (NFL) who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be required to wear masks at team facilities, the league said on Friday, in line with updated guidance from the U.S. health agency. On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
Motor racing-Grosjean seals first IndyCar pole position
Former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean secured his first IndyCar pole position on Friday in just his third race ahead of Saturday's Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Frenchman put up a blistering top lap of 1:09.4396 just a month after launching his series debut, edging out two-time NTT Indycar Series Champion Josef Newgarden by more than a tenth of a second in a dazzling effort for Dale Coyne Racing.
Olympics-Coe says COVID-19 vaccine a big factor in making Tokyo Games happen
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said on Friday he is confident the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead as planned this year with COVID-19 vaccines giving athletes greater access to training and competitions in the build-up. The Olympics were postponed in March last year following the start of the pandemic but Coe said he believes athletes are in a different frame of mind heading into the July 23-Aug. 8 Games.
(With inputs from agencies.)