WNBA star Brittney Griner tried to call her wife nearly a dozen times through the American embassy in Russia on the couple’s fourth anniversary Saturday, but they never connected since the phone line at the embassy was not staffed, Cherelle Griner said Monday. The couple has not spoken by phone in the four months since Griner’s arrest in Russia on drug-related charges. That was to have changed Saturday, when a long-awaited call was to have finally taken place. But the day came and went without any contact, leaving an anguished Cherelle Griner to wonder what went wrong and to suspect at least initially that Russian authorities had thwarted the call. On Monday, she said she learned from her wife’s lawyers a more distressing truth: Brittney Griner had actually tried to call 11 times over a period of several hours, dialing a number she’d been given at the US embassy in Moscow, which the couple had been told would then patch the call through to Cherelle Griner in Phoenix. But each time, the call went unanswered because the desk at the embassy where the phone rang was apparently unstaffed on Saturday. “I was distraught. I was hurt. I was done, fed up,” Cherelle Griner told The Associated Press. “I’m pretty sure I texted BG’s agent and was like: ‘I don’t want to talk to anybody. It’s going to take me a minute to get my emotions together and just tell everybody I’m unavailable right now. Because it just knocked me out. I wasn’t well, I’m still not well.”
Auburn’s bats wake up as it bounces Stanford from College World Series
Cole Foster’s three-run double in the sixth inning gave Auburn the lead, and the Tigers beat No. 2 national seed Stanford 6-2 in a College World Series elimination game for their first win in Omaha in 25 years. The Tigers (44-21) will play Tuesday against the loser of Monday night’s game between Arkansas and Mississippi. Stanford (47-18) concluded a short, disappointing stay in Omaha. The Cardinal lost their opener against Arkansas 17-2 — the most lopsided game here in 34 years — and then did next to nothing after taking an early lead against Auburn. Stanford, which staved off elimination five times in its regional and super regional, went 0-2 in a CWS for the first time in 18 appearances. Trace Bright (5-4) went five innings for the win and Blake Burkhalter, the Tigers’ star closer, struck out six of the eight batters he faced for his 16th save. Auburn had been 0-3 in the CWS since beating Rice 10-1 in 1997.
Serena Williams skips practice at Eastbourne ahead of return
Serena Williams skipped her scheduled practice session at Eastbourne at late notice as the 23-time Grand Slam champion prepares to make her return to competition after a year away. Williams trained at a nearby club over the weekend and was expected to have an on-site session at Devonshire Park ahead of playing doubles with Ons Jabeur. Their first match is set for Tuesday against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova. The 40-year-old Williams, who hasn’t competed anywhere since she was injured in the first round of Wimbledon last year, was awarded a wild card for singles at the All England Club. Jabeur said it was “unbelievable” to have been asked by Williams to be part of her journey back to competition at the Wimbledon warmup. “I’m a good secret keeper — yes, I’ve known (since) before the French Open,” said the No. 3-ranked Jabeur, who arrived at Eastbourne after winning the title in Berlin on Sunday. “Many players were jealous because I’m playing with her. Honestly, Serena is Serena. She is a legend and always will be.”
Ceccon sets world record, Ledecky claims yet another title
Italy’s Thomas Ceccon set a world record in the men’s 100 backstroke and Katie Ledecky claimed yet another gold at the swimming world championships. Ceccon stunned the competition in Budapest by clocking 51.60 seconds to shave 0.15 seconds off the previous best mark set by American Ryan Murphy at the 2016 Olympics. Murphy finished second, 0.37 seconds behind, followed by compatriot Hunter Armstrong, 0.38 behind Ceccon. “Hats off to Thomas,” Murphy said of seeing his record beaten. “That’s a really, really fast time and it’s going to be an exciting couple of years.” Ledecky extended her record world title haul to 17 with her fourth in the 1,500 freestyle. Ledecky never looked threatened and clocked 15:30.15 – just under 10 seconds more than her world record from 2018 – to finish 14.74 seconds ahead of fellow American Katie Grimes.