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Behringer, Germany cruise past Zimbabwe in women’s soccer opener

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Melanie Behringer and Melanie Leupolz each picked up a brace as Germany comfortably moved to a 6-1 win over Zimbabwe in both sides’ Olympic opener on Wednesday at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.

Germany climbs atop Canada for the Group F lead after one match on goal differential, and Zimbabwe sits last behind Australia.

Sara Dabritz and Alexandra Popp also scored for Germany, while Kudakwashe Bhasopo scored the lone goal from Zimbabwe (who also had an own goal).

Up next for Germany is Australia on Saturday, when Zimbabwe meets Canada.

MORE: Highlights/match replay here

It could’ve been a much worse score line for Zimbabwe, as Germany had seemingly countless shots deflect over, go wide, or just plain hit the frame.

Zimbabwe defender Lynett Mutokuto somehow escaped punishment — not even a foul — when her lunging studs caught Germany’s Simone Laudehr on the ankle. Leupolz of Bayern Munich replaced Laudehr.

Germany went ahead soon after, as Dabritz rose high to head Dzsenifer Marozsán’s corner kick toward the back post. Her sixth international goal gave the favorites a 1-0 edge in the 23rd minute.

Anja Mittag missed the frame with the 11th German attempt of the match, as the chances were 11-0 just over a half hour into the proceedings.

Popp made it 2-0 in the 36th minute, taking advantage of a moment’s hesitance from Zimbabwe keeper Lindiwe Magwede to power Leupolz’s cross home with a header.

Rutendo Makore’s quick move from the left ended with a shot that surprised German ‘keeper Almuth Schult, and Bhasopo was on the doorstep to slot home the rebound.

Behringer had been knocking on the door all night, and finally found her goal with a gorgeous free kick to restore the 2-goal cushion.

Her second goal was indicative of Germany’s match, as Berhinger saw her penalty kick saved only to push the rebound underneath the off-balance Magwede. Popp flicked on for Leupolz to score Germany’s fifth goal moments later.

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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