Veronika Kudermetova upset top seed Elina Svitolina in the second round of the Kremlin Cup and Jelena Ostapenko fought back to knock Elise Mertens out of the Luxembourg Open on Thursday.

Kudermetova came out on top in her first match against a top-five opponent, defeating Svitolina 6-1 2-6 7-5 in Moscow.

The 22-year-old Russian wrapped up the opening set in only 28 minutes and came from 2-0 down in the decider to move into the quarter-finals.

Kudermetova's attacking approach paid off, world number four Svitolina showing resolve in the final set but missing out on a last-eight showdown with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Kiki Bertens advanced with 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Kaia Kanepi, while Pavlyuchenkova won an all-Russian contest with Varvara Gracheva 5-7 6-4 6-2.

Kristina Mladenovic will face Bertens after battling her way past sixth seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-5 3-6 6-3.

The top seed also bowed out Luxembourg, with Ostapenko digging deep to see off Mertens 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Ostapenko, runner-up to Coco Gauff at the Linz Open last weekend, will now come up against Antonia Lottner, who went through when Andrea Petkovic retired with a knee injury after losing the first set 6-1.

Defending champion Julie Goerges saw off Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-4 6-4, while Anna Blinkova and Monica Puig also made it through, defeating Kristyna Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (8-6). 

The Maracana will host next year's Copa Libertadores final, South American football governing body CONMEBOL has announced.

Rio de Janeiro's iconic ground saw off competition from seven stadiums, including five others in Brazil, to claim hosting rights for the showpiece match on November 21, 2020.

A number of other high-profile fixtures have previously been staged at the Maracana, including games at the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympics and 2019 Confederations Cup.

CONMEBOL also revealed on Thursday that the 2020 Copa Sudamericana will be played at Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Cordoba, Argentina. 

Team Sunweb's teenage rider Edo Maas is unlikely to walk again after breaking his back following a collision with a car this month.

The 19-year-old Dutchman was rushed to hospital in Milan after suffering severe injuries in an accident on the descent of the Madonna del Ghisallo during the Piccolo Lombardia.

Maas underwent multiple operations this week but has lost the feeling in both of his legs.

A statement from Maas' family said: "Edo is now fully conscious and has been awake for a couple of days, and responds well to family and visiting team-mates. The fractures to his back and the injuries on his face required multiple intensive surgeries over the last week, all of which were successful.

"Edo is currently processing the diagnosis that the fracture in his back has led to paraplegia, a loss of nerve feeling in his legs. At this moment it remains unlikely that functionality in his legs will ever return, but fighting power and hope prevails.

"At this stage no further information on Edo's condition is available. We ask to respect Edo and the family's privacy, as they process this difficult news. Another update will be provided when necessary."

VAR technology could be used to weed out racists during matches, the head of Italy's football federation has proposed.

President Gabriele Gravina said the federation [FIGC] would look for support from authorities to improve video technology with a view to pinpointing offenders.

The VAR – or Video Assistant Referee – system has become a major component of modern football, but only in helping referees reach correct decisions on the pitch.

According to Gravina, the same equipment could be deployed to closely monitor the stands at matches.

Although closed circuit television is already often in use to observe behaviour of fans, Gravina appeared to indicate a higher grade of kit should be used.

He said, speaking to Sky Sport24: "If it is one, two or 10 people – action must be taken. Companies today can identify those responsible through technology. We have an experiment in mind that should give great results and we will talk about that soon.

"I have no intention – and nor does the world of football – to let down my guard. It astonishes me that some chants are sometimes heard and other times not: we need to understand the reasons, this isn't normal.

"We will use VAR against the 'buu' [the noise regarded as racist in Italy]."

Gravina suggested Bulgarian Football Union [BFU] chief Borislav Mihaylov may have been treated harshly after he resigned in the wake of Monday's match against England in Sofia, where several home fans aimed racist abuse at visiting players and some were seen making Nazi salutes.

Mihaylov stepped down on Tuesday after being told he must go by the Bulgarian prime minister, with the government threatening to pull funding from the BFU.

Gravina also said any perception of Italy as "the country of the maximum concentration of racial discrimination" had been disproved.

Instead, Gravina said: "It is a widespread phenomenon, to be condemned powerfully and throughout the continent."

He called on government authorities to collaborate with sporting bodies to fight racism, and said "improving the technological aspect" of battling the problem should be a priority, with support from police and political allies.

"We can win the battle if we are united and focused on a common goal – removing these people from our competition," Gravina added.

Paris Saint-Germain have been boosted by the return of Kylian Mbappe to their squad to face Nice, with Edinson Cavani also included.

The Ligue 1 champions were dealt injury blows during the international break as world-record signing Neymar and impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye sustained hamstring issues.

But Thomas Tuchel can call on star attacker Mbappe again on Friday, with the World Cup winner available after a complication with his hamstring ahead of the previous match against Angers.

Mbappe had been out earlier in the campaign with a similar issue and had to withdraw from France duty during the international break.

Tuchel told a news conference on Thursday the 20-year-old has been "training normally" as he hoped to have him available.

"I am happy that we reached an agreement with the France national team because he couldn't play," Tuchel said. "On Monday, he trained by himself to keep coming back. He couldn't have played against Turkey.

"He now has a full week of training under his belt, but that's different, training with a small group of players, compared to a high-intensity match of football.

"You can't play when you're only 80 per cent. You need to be 100 per cent for these types of matches."

Mbappe was joined in the PSG squad by their record goalscorer Cavani, who has not played since August.

The Uruguay international - out of contract at the end of the season and linked to Juventus - is back following a hip injury.

Jamaica centre Samardo Samuels is expected to join Athens-based club Panionios BC ahead of the new Greek Basketball League (GBL) season.

The much-traveled 30-year-old former NBA player was recently back in the United States where he took part in the Big 3 league.  Samuels represented the Trilogy. 

Prior to the move, the controversial player had found himself without a club, after being suspended by French basketball outfit Limogues following an argument with the coach.

A string of short stints has followed the player since 2017 when he signed with Spanish club Real Betis Energia Plus.  The big man parted ways with the club after a coaching dispute. 

Samuels signed with the Serbian club Partizan for the rest of the 2017–18 season.  He was suspended by the club on November 15, for the violation of its discipline code, just a day after Partizan lost in a EuroCup game against Alba Berlin.  The player reportedly criticized head coach Miroslav Nikolić and made inappropriate remarks to a female journalist.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has the support of the club after the spat between his wife Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney, manager Brendan Rodgers has said.

Coleen Rooney, wife of England's record goalscorer Wayne Rooney, last week alleged that stories about her personal life had been leaked to a newspaper by someone with access to Rebekah Vardy's Instagram account.

By changing her privacy settings to mean only those logged in on Rebekah Vardy's account could view her Instagram stories, Coleen Rooney said she posted a series of fabricated tales about her personal life which made their way into print.

Rebekah Vardy strenuously denied any involvement in passing on details to The Sun newspaper and hit back at Coleen Rooney.

Rooney was nicknamed 'WAGatha Christie' by British media for the elaborate way in which she claimed to have worked out how the stories reached the public domain.

Rebekah Vardy blamed "various people having access to my insta" and said she was "disgusted" to have to deny involvement at a time when she was heavily pregnant.

The unusual saga came during football's international break. Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy are former England team-mates but have retired from playing for their country.

Rodgers addressed the matter at a news conference on Thursday and said: "It's something that is personal and outside of our remit. All we ever offer is support to the players and their families.

"I was aware of what went on last week. I actually gave Jamie an extra few days away with his family to have a rest and I'm sure that was a difficult week for them. We're here to support him, and his family if they need it."

Rodgers added: "I spoke to Jamie earlier on in the week. He has trained fine and been great this week."

Wayne Rooney, who is also Manchester United's record scorer, will return to English football following his time with MLS team DC United when he joins Championship club Derby County in January.

Jamie Vardy has scored five Premier League goals for Leicester this season, with Rodgers' men riding high in fourth position. They play Burnley on Saturday.

George Coetzee and Ryan Fox top a congested leaderboard after the first round of the Open de France.

Coetzee set the clubhouse target with a six-under 65 at Le Golf National on Thursday, with the South African's only bogey coming at the 17th.

The four-time European Tour winner got under way with back-to-back birdies and reeled off another three in a row from the sixth to hit the turn in 31, then went on to sign for his lowest opening round of the season. 

"It was almost perfect," Coetzee said. "I played really well. It's nice to be in the mix again. It's been kind of a hard, long year but it feels like the game is coming along nicely."

Fox also went out in 31 following birdies at the first, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth holes, as the New Zealander's solitary dropped shot came at 13.

Benjamin Hebert, Kurt Kitayama and Richie Ramsay were just a shot off the lead after starting with five-under rounds of 66.

Hebert's seventh gain of the day moved him into a share of second spot in his homeland, while there was just one bogey apiece for American Kitayama - third in the Italian Open last week - and Scot Ramsay.

Victor Perez is among seven players another stroke back on home soil, along with Nicolas Colsaerts, but it was not a good day for defending champion Alex Noren.

The Swede faces a battle to make the cut after carding a one-over 72.

Manchester City and Liverpool have been fined by UEFA for incidents that took place during Champions League matches this month.

The teams were charged two weeks ago and UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) met on Thursday to decide their punishments.

City have been slapped with a €15,750 (£13,000) fine for the throwing of objects in their 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on October 1.

Dinamo have also been ordered to pay €20,000 (£17,300) for the same offence and acts of damages in the away end at the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool were sanctioned to the tune of €10,000 (£8,600) after their supporters came onto the pitch during and after their 4-3 Champions League win against Salzburg at Anfield on October 2.

A group of youngsters climbed over the hoardings at full-time and ran towards Andy Robertson to collect his shirt, while another spectator entered the pitch midway through the second half and was led away by stewards. Salzburg were fined €3,250 (£2,800) over the throwing of objects.

Ajax must pay a total of €68,000 (£58,800) in fines. Acts of damages and crowd disturbances from the travelling fans at Mestalla has resulted in a ban from selling tickets for their trip to Chelsea on November 11, while they must contact Valencia within 30 days and agree compensation.

Christian Benteke and James Tomkins have signed new deals with Crystal Palace, the Premier League club have announced.

Belgium striker Benteke has scored just one top-flight goal since the start of last season and was due to be out of contract next June.

The 28-year-old has agreed to stay on for a further 12 months, however, while centre-back Tomkins has extended his deal through to the end of 2021-22.

Tomkins has played 87 times for the south London side since joining in 2016, but he has not featured since injuring his groin in April.

Palace confirmed the new deals on their official website on Thursday and chairman Steve Parish added: "I'm pleased that agreements have been reached with these two important senior players. 

"Both James and Christian bring vast Premier League experience, commitment and professionalism to the squad.  

"These new deals show that we recognise their levels of performance in recent seasons, that we believe in both players, and that they are hugely motivated by the direction the club is heading."

A decision on whether next week's Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid can go ahead at Camp Nou is set to be made on Thursday, Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona at the start of the week after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca are due to host bitter rivals Madrid.

Barcelona's main airport was briefly closed on Tuesday due to the tension, with Spanish league officials raising concern the Clasico could be affected by protests.

One option would be to move the game to Madrid and for Barca to host the second Clasico of the season, but that was opposed by Blaugrana head coach Ernesto Valverde on Thursday.

There have also been suggestions the match should be postponed and an alternative date in the calendar found. Valverde thinks the game should go ahead as planned.

Rubiales said Barca and Madrid swiftly submitted their observations on the matter and the RFEF would be seeking to make an early decision.

"I can assure that we will work to try to have a resolution this evening, because there are people involved, supporters with booked trips, tickets, media, and that is what we have done," Rubiales said.

"Regarding the government, what I can say is that this is a matter of football, and it is the competition committee which has to decide. So the government hasn't contacted us or asked for one or another thing."

James Horwill is backing Australia to end their barren run against England and go on to win the Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies have lost six consecutive games against England since knocking them out of the previous World Cup at Twickenham four years ago.

Eddie Jones' side are firm favourites to continue that sequence at Oita Stadium on Saturday and set up a semi-final against two-time defending champions New Zealand or Ireland. 

Yet former Australia captain Horwill thinks Michael Cheika's men can defy the odds and lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.

Asked if the Wallabies can go all the way, he told Omnisport: "I don't see why not. They would get New Zealand next assuming they get past Ireland, which most people would expect them to do.

"It would obviously be challenging, but if we were able to perform as we did against New Zealand in Perth [where Australia were 47-26 winners in August] with a very dominant performance, there is no reason why we can't.

"It's just the consistency we need, which has been lacking over the last couple of years."

Horwill stressed the importance of Australia starting the game against England as they finished it in a 29-25 Pool D defeat to Wales last month, when they mounted a spirited fightback but gave themselves too much to do.

"You can see the way we play we are holding the ball and not kicking a lot. I don't see them changing the way they play." the 34-year-old ex-lock said.

"In the Wales game, we turned the ball over too much to start with. When you hold on to the ball, as we saw in that game, you can build pressure with gaining territory.

"That is a big part of the way the Australians have been playing, keep the ball and carry hard. If we can do that, we have some very damaging runners and a potent attack.

"The key is not allowing [England] to get into the position Wales were in to start with. Build the scoreboard, manage the game really well and hopefully not chase the game."

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Digicel, parent company of SportsMax, announced a multiyear expansion of its partnership that will deliver more than 200 live NBA games each season, tipping off on October 22 with the L.A. Lakers taking on the L.A. Clippers.

Extensive NBA programming will be provided to more than 30 Caribbean territories, including the Dominican Republic through Digicel, SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

Digicel, the Official Broadcast and Wireless Partner of the NBA in the region, through its subsidiary SportsMax will air over 200 regular-season and playoff NBA games, the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals and The Finals in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, while offering preferred access to all NBA games through NBA League Pass on its Digicel Play cable system and the SportsMax app with new bundle and standalone offerings. 

“We are thrilled to extend this landmark deal with the NBA that allows Digicel, through SportsMax, to continue to be the Home of Sports in the Caribbean, delivering the NBA as part of the best line-up of sports programming to Caribbean basketball fans across cable-TV and streaming platforms,” said SportsMax President and CEO, Olly McIntosh.

“We are seeing an incredible appetite for NBA content from fans in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, and we are thrilled to bring them more live games and content through this renewed partnership with Digicel,” said NBA Latin America Senior Vice President, Arnon de Mello. “We look forward to working with Digicel to continue to grow the game in the region.”

Digicel and SportsMax will also offer original NBA programming, including NBA Action, the league’s weekly show that offers the latest news, features, highlights and analysis from around the NBA, and NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network.  Fans will have access to select NBA TV programming, offering in-depth NBA coverage, highlights and appearances by current NBA players, coaches and legends. SportsMax’s programming will include onsite coverage from marquee NBA events.

Territories covered by the partnership include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Stay tuned to this space for full NBA broadcast schedule.

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca has had his Serie A touchline ban reduced from two matches to one.

Fonseca was handed a two-game ban by the Lega Serie A after continuing to aggressively shout at referee Davide Massa following his dismissal in Roma's 1-1 draw with Cagliari on October 6.

However, the 46-year-old appealed the decision and will now only miss one game - Sunday's trip to Sampdoria - before returning to the dugout for next week's home meeting with AC Milan.

Roma, who confirmed the news on their official Twitter page on Thursday, sit fifth in Serie A ahead of their return to action this weekend.

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