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In return to clay, Andy Murray beats Dominic Thiem in Madrid

Andy Murray beat former US Open winner Dominic Thiem in his return to clay at the Madrid Open.Clive Brunskill/Getty

Andy Murray got off to a good start in his surprise return to clay, defeating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Monday. Playing as a wild card after changing his mind on participating in the clay-court season, the former No. 1 broke Thiem once in each set and made only 13 unforced errors on center court. The 78th-ranked Murray hadn’t played a clay-court tournament since the French Open in 2020. He said he trained for four weeks on the surface to prepare for his return. “All matches right now are important for me,” he said. “Playing matches on the clay, you need a little bit more patience on the court, you need to think a little bit more than on the other surfaces. It’s been really positive for me.” Murray won the Madrid title in 2008 and 2015. He hadn’t played in the Spanish capital since 2017, the year he was ranked No. 1 for the last time. He also was a finalist in Madrid in 2016, losing to Novak Djokovic. “I feel very lucky to get to play in these places,” Murray said. “Fantastic atmosphere, not having been back here for a long time. I hope everybody who came to watch enjoyed it as much as I did playing.”

SOCCER

Ronaldo scores again in 3-0 Manchester United win

Cristiano Ronaldo had plenty of reasons to smile after Monday's victory.Catherine Ivill/Getty

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be the shining light in an otherwise disappointing season for Manchester United. Make that 18 goals in the English Premier League for the Portugal superstar after he converted a penalty that he earned himself in a 3-0 victory over Brentford. Ronaldo also had a goal disallowed at Old Trafford for a narrow offside as United saved one of its best performances of the season for its final home game. Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane were the other scorers. The victory kept alive -- at least mathematically -- sixth-placed United’s chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League. United, though, has only two games remaining and is five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and three behind Tottenham, with both rivals still having four to play. Ronaldo, who has netted in each of his last four games, is third on the league’s list of top scorers behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (22) and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min (19).

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MISC.

JMU cancels rest of softball season after player’s suicide

James Madison has canceled the remainder of its softball season as the school tries to cope with the suicide of one of its star players last week. Lauren Bernett, a sophomore catcher and cleanup hitter for the Dukes, died April 25 following a stellar weekend series against Drexel, for which she was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s player of the week. The Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia ruled the death a suicide. “This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly,” JMU coach Loren LaPorte said in a news release of the cancellation. “We are so grateful for the support of our fans all season and for the love from the softball community during the past week. We will use this time to continue healing and to honor Lauren’s memory while finishing the academic semester strong.” James Madison (21-21, 10-5 CAA) was one game behind Delaware for the top spot in the league before Bernett’s death. In tribute to Bernett, teams including Liberty and Tennessee have worn purple ribbons in their hair during games.

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Porsche nears agreement to join Formula 1, Volkswagen CEO says

Volkswagen’s sports-car brand Porsche is close to a deal to enter Formula 1 while Audi’s separate push is less advanced for now. Porsche’s plans are “quite concrete,” VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said. While Diess didn’t provide further details, the maker of the 911 sports car has reportedly been in talks with Red Bull Racing about a partnership. Sister brand Audi’s plan for Formula 1, which has included discussions with British sports-car maker McLaren Group, hasn’t yet advanced to decisions on parameters for such a venture or which team to join, he said. “According to both premium brands, Formula 1 is the most important lever to boost brand value,” Diess said. “With the plans for a bigger presence in China and the US, the attraction as the biggest motor-racing spectacle is only going to grow.” Both Porsche and Audi have started work on F1 engines, he said, adding that the board’s decision to greenlight formal talks hasn’t been unanimous.

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