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Simona Halep upset at Wimbledon; one top-10 woman left after 3 rounds

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Top-ranked Simona Halep became the ninth woman in the top 10 seeds to be upset in the first week of Wimbledon, falling 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan in the third round on Saturday.

No. 7 Karolina Pliskova is the only top-10 seed left in the women’s draw heading to the round of 16. The clear favorite is No. 25 seed Serena Williams, seeking her eighth Wimbledon title and first Grand Slam title since Sept. 1 childbirth.

Williams gets fellow mom and Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina in the fourth round on Monday and would not play a seed before the semifinals. She is the only Grand Slam singles winner left in the bottom half of the draw.

The top half is headlined by No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, and two-time Grand Slam winner and 11th seed Angelique Kerber, who beat No. 18 Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday.

Halep, who won her first Grand Slam at the French Open last month, made the Wimbledon quarterfinals the last two years and the semifinals in 2014.

Rafael Nadal had no such problems, and guaranteed he will stay No. 1 in the men’s rankings as he reached the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur.

Nadal hasn’t dropped a set so far in the tournament. Against de Minaur, he faced only three break points and saved them all, while producing nearly twice as many winners, 30-17.

This is Nadal’s eighth trip to the round of 16 at the All England Club, where he has won two of his 17 Grand Slam titles. A year ago, the Spaniard lost at that stage.

He and Roger Federer have swapped the No. 1 ranking a half-dozen times this season, the most since there were eight changes in 1999.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev was upset by Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis, a former top-10 player, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.

Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and former finalist Milos Raonic advanced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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