Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek moved into the third round of the Madrid Masters after contrasting wins.
In football news, Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe have made their final bid to purchase Manchester United from the unpopular Glazer family.
Meanwhile, former England captain Andrew Strauss has resigned form his position in the ECB.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 29 April, 2023:
Alcaraz, Swiatek reach third round
Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz survived a major scare before beating Emil Ruusuvuori in three sets to reach the Madrid Open third round on Friday but admitted he “didn’t know what to do” at key parts of the match.
World No 2 and US Open champion Alcaraz fought back to see off the 41st-ranked Finn, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“It was really tough. I would say I was about to lose,” said Alcaraz who famously defeated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Madrid last year.
“It was complicated. There were moments that I didn’t know what to do.”
Alcaraz, fresh from defending his Barcelona title last weekend, will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the last 16.
The 19-year-old Alcaraz hit 10 aces in his 36 winners but was forced to save nine of 11 break points in the 2hr 16min clash. Five of those came when he was 3-2 down in the second set.
In sharp contrast, women’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek cantered to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Austrian lucky loser Julia Grabher.
Swiatek didn’t play Madrid last year but that didn’t dent her claycourt form as she went on to capture a second French Open later in the season.
After winning the Stuttgart title last weekend, the Pole is riding a five-match winning streak on the surface.
Swiatek will next face American left-hander Bernarda Pera who was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Germany’s Tatjana Maria.
Results in the Madrid ATP/WTA 1000 tournament on Friday (x denotes seeding; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Men’s singles second round
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) bt Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x26) bt Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/2)
Hugo Grenier (FRA) bt Sebastian Korda (USA x22) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (9/7)
Alexander Zverev (GER x13) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-7 (6/8), 7-5, 6-0
Karen Khachanov (x10) bt Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x20) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN x28) bt Alex Molcan (SVK) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Andrey Rublev (x5) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-5, 6-4
Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x3) 6-3, 6-4
Jaume Munar (ESP) bt Tallon Griekspoor (NED x30) 7-6 (7/3) – retired
Daniel Altmaier (GER) bt Oscar Otte (GER) 6-4, 7-5
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) bt Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x15) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x12) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 7-5
Borna Coric (CRO x17) bt Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3, 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x29) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-3, 6-4
Holger Rune (DEN x6) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (11/9)
Women’s singles second round
Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Julia Grabher (AUT) 6-3, 6-2
Bernarda Pera (USA x28) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-1, 6-3
Zheng Qinwen (CHN x22) bt Caty McNally (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Ekaterina Alexandrova (x16) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x11) bt Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Wang Xiyu (CHN) bt Bianca Andreescu (CAN x23) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Petra Martic (CRO x27) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
Anna Kalinskaya bt Elena Rybakina (KAZ x7) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Magdalena Frech (POL) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Marie Bouzkova (CZE x29) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3
Martina Trevisan (ITA x18) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-2, 7-5
Alycia Parks (USA) bt Victoria Azarenka (x15) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Veronika Kudermetova (x12) bt Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (x21) bt Jaqueline Cristian (ROM) 7-5, 3-6, 6-2
Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) bt Jil Teichmann (SUI x25) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Daria Kasatkina (x8) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3
Last round of Man United sale bid
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe made their third and final offers to buy Manchester United on Friday.
Sheikh Jassim is in a bidding war with Ratcliffe after the pair emerged as the main contenders to buy the Premier League club from the Glazer family.
While Sheikh Jassim’s latest offer is reported to be over £5 billion ($6.2 billion), the size of Ratcliffe’s improved bid was yet to be made public when Friday’s deadline for the third round of bidding passed at 2100 GMT.
Sources said Sheikh Jassim’s bid for 100 percent control of the club comes with the promise of significant additional funding for transfers and infrastructure.
The spending would include either redeveloping United’s out-dated Old Trafford stadium or build a new ground, along with overhauling the club’s training facilities.
Sheikh Jassim’s bid also promises to erase United’s $620 million debt.
INEOS chemical company founder Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan who failed in his attempt to buy Chelsea last year, reportedly wants to purchase a controlling stake in United of more than 50 per cent.
That would allow United’s executive co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer to remain as shareholders with a 20 percent stake, which has raised concerns among a fanbase tired of the Americans’ controversial reign.
The Glazers reportedly want a world record £6 billion fee for a sports club before they agree to sell the Old Trafford outfit, raising the possibility they might not accept either Sheikh Jassim’s offer or Ratcliffe’s approach.
Strauss steps down as ECB strategic adviser
Andrew Strauss is to leave his position as strategic adviser to the England and Wales Cricket Board after his suggested reforms to the domestic calendar failed to gain the backing of English counties.
The former England captain was commissioned to conduct a high-performance review following the team’s 2021/22 Ashes rout in Australia.
His report made 17 recommendations, notably reducing the overall number of first-class and T20 Blast matches in an English season.
But his proposals sparked a backlash among county loyalists, angered at what they deemed another attempt to blame the domestic game for the national side’s latest failure in Australia.
And with most of England’s 18 first-class counties member-owned clubs, Strauss’s plan failed to gain sufficient support, with the existing schedule remaining in place.
The case for a major shake-up of the county structure was also weakened as an England side that had own just one of its last 17 Tests under former captain Joe Root, went on to triumph in 10 of their next 12 under new skipper Ben Stokes and red-ball coach Brendon McCullum.
There was an administrative shake-up too, with Richard Gould succeeding Tom Harrison as ECB chief executive and Richard Thompson taking over as chairman.