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Naomi Osaka tested by Coco Gauff, wins three-setter in tour return

Naomi Osaka took down Coco Gauff in her first match after a stunning early exit at the Olympics and her withdrawal from the French Open and Wimbledon.Dylan Buell/Getty

Two days after a thoughtful exchange with a local sports columnist, Naomi Osaka delivered a more relevant statement on the court. She’s back. Down a set and a break to 17-year-old Coco Gauff, the second-ranked Osaka fought back to pull out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, her first WTA Tour event since the French Open in late May. Osaka appreciated being tested so quickly. “It’s definitely been a while since I played a tough opponent in a three-set match,” she said. “It was definitely really tough, but I feel really good right now. I’m super excited to play another match.” Citing discomfort with post-match news conferences, the four-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from Roland Garros and skipped Wimbledon. She was eliminated in the round of 16 at the Tokyo Olympics after lighting the Olympic cauldron in her native Japan. In other matches, top-ranked Ash Barty needed a second-set tiebreaker to beat Heather Watson, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a match postponed from Tuesday by rain. Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina. Simona Halep, the 12th seed, withdrew with a right thigh injury. Men’s top seed Daniil Medvedev cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win in 59 minutes over wild card Mackenzie McDonald, and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was eliminated by ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz.

Defending champion Thiem to miss US Open with wrist injury

Dominic Thiem won't get a chance to defend his U.S. Open crown.Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Defending champion Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the U.S. Open, saying Wednesday he will miss the rest of the year because of a right wrist injury. Thiem was hurt in June while playing in the Mallorca Open and said the pain returned last week after he hit a ball during training. Doctors recommended he wear a wrist splint for another six weeks before resuming training. The No. 6-ranked Thiem made the announcement in a social media post, and a statement from his management company described the injury as a detachment of the posterior sheath of the ulnar side of the right wrist. “I’m very disappointed not to be able to defend my U.S. Open title and to miss the rest of the season,” the 27-year-old from Austria said in the statement. “But I know this is what I have to do. I have a long career ahead of me, so I will only come back once I’m fully recovered and in good shape to compete.” Thiem won his first major title last year at Flushing Meadows, beating Alexander Zverev by becoming the first player to come from two sets down in the U.S. Open final since Pancho Gonzales in 1949.

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GOLF
James Imai, seen here competing for Brookline High in 2018, won the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links title this week.Jessica Rinaldi

James Imai, a 2019 grad of Brookline High School and a junior at Northwestern, took the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links title at Westover Golf Course in Granby, Mass. Imai shot a bogey-free 10-under over two days to take the title, having tied the course record in shooting a 65 on Tuesday. “I’ve played a lot of good golf, but some of the results haven’t been what I’ve liked, and to put two rounds together finally the past couple days, it’s awesome,” said Imai, who shot 3-under 69 on Wednesday. “It’s great to see hard work turned into results.”

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US Golf Association employee charged in embezzlement scheme

A former United States Golf Association employee has been charged in a scheme to embezzle funds from the unauthorized sale of U.S. Open Championship tickets, Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced Tuesday. According to a statement released by Williams, Robert Fryer, 39, of Perkasie, Pa., faces conspiracy, wire fraud, and mail fraud charges. Fryer allegedly used his position ahead of the 2013 U.S. Open held at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, through the 2019 U.S. Open held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California, to obtain 23,000 tickets that he sold to third-party ticket brokers for nearly $1 million. The face value of the tickets is over $3 million. “The defendant allegedly stole revenue from a legitimate business that pays taxes, employs many, supports a non-profit organization, and brings excitement and income to our district with U.S. Open events at courses like the Merion Golf Club,” Williams said. “Criminals that conduct ticket schemes like this prey on the excitement surrounding big events; fans should remember that any item with a low price that seems ‘too good to be true’ should be cause for caution and concern.” Fryer faces a maximum of 300 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,750,000 fine, and a $1,500 special assessment.

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HOCKEY

Arizona Coyotes to host rookie tournament with six teams

The Arizona Coyotes will host a “Rookie Faceoff” tournament in the desert next month. The team announced Wednesday the six-team tournament will be held Sept. 17-20 at Gila River Arena and Ice Den Scottsdale, the Coyotes’ practice facility. The tournament will include Pacific Division teams Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Vegas, along with Arizona and Colorado of the Central Division. It will include the top prospects from each team. The Coyotes will play three games at Gila River Arena, their home arena, and ticket proceeds will go to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation.

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SOCCER

Juventus signs Italy’s Euro 2020 star Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo

Manuel Locatelli, one of the stars of Italy's run to Euro 2020 glory, signed with European giants Juventus.Carl Recine/Associated Press

Juventus completed the signing of Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo, just over a month after he helped the Azzurri win the European Championship. The 23-year-old Locatelli joined initially on a two-year loan deal and the move will then be made permanent for a fee of up to 35.5 million euros, Juventus said. Locatelli was greeted by around 100 cheering fans on his arrival and departure from the club’s clinic for his medical on Wednesday. He signed plenty of autographs and posed for photos with supporters. He had long made clear his desire to move to Juventus and the two clubs had been locked in talks over the terms of the transfer and method of the payment. Locatelli is the youngest outfield player to have made at least 100 appearances in Serie A. He has played 144 games for AC Milan and Sassuolo, with eight goals and 11 assists. Last season he made the most passes and won the most tackles in Serie A. That earned Locatelli a spot in Italy’s squad for Euro 2020 and he was one of the best players in the group stage, scoring two goals against Switzerland in Italy’s second match.