Aryna Sabalenka lost her first match since successfully defending her Australian Open title when she lost Tuesday to Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 in the second round of the Dubai Championships.

Iga Swiatek lost her serve three times in the first set before beating Sloane Stephens, 6-4, 6-4. Coco Gauff downed Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy, 6-1, 7-5. And Elena Rybakina avoided an upset when Victoria Azarenka retired. Azarenka won the first set 6-4 but lost the second 6-2 in increasing pain.

Also, Wimbledon champion and No. 7 seed Marketa Vondrousova defeated Peyton Stearns 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 for the third time in eight months.

• Karolina Muchova, last year’s runner-up at the French Open, had an operation on her right wrist for an injury that has sidelined her since September.



NBA: Kevin Ollie, who led UConn to the NCAA title a decade ago, was named the interim head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

A day after firing Jacque Vaughn, the Nets announced they were turning the team over to Ollie, who was hired as an assistant coach ahead of this season.

• The Phoenix Suns signed forward Thaddeus Young, giving the team another veteran presence as it scrambles for playoff position in the crowded Western Conference race.

Young, 35, has played 1,162 career games, third among active players behind LeBron James and Chris Paul. He played 23 games for Toronto earlier this season, including six starts, averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Marko Arnautović came off the bench to score in the 79th minute and lift Inter Milan to a 1-0 win over visiting Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the Round of 16.


Arnautović replaced the injured Marcus Thuram at halftime and redeemed himself after missing a couple of early chances.

• Luuk de Jong converted a penalty to cancel out a goal by his former teammate Donyell Malen as PSV Eindhoven and visiting Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 in the first leg of their Round of 16 matchup in the Netherlands.

U.S. WOMEN: Veteran Alex Morgan will replace Mia Fishel on the roster for the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup after Fishel tore a ligament in her right knee during practice.


NHL: The Detroit Red Wings signed forward Michael Rasmussen to a four-year, $12.8 million contract extension.

Rasmussen, 24, has skated in 55 games this season, recording 11 goals and 12 assists. He has a plus 11 rating. He has reached double-digits in goals in each of the last three seasons.



ASIAN TOUR: Joaquin Niemann, Matthew Wolff and Louis Oosthuizen will give the field in Oman a familiar look. They are among 21 players from Saudi-funded LIV Golf who will play the first International Series events on the Asian Tour. The series is funded by LIV Golf and features a $2 million purse, and this one comes a week before LIV goes to Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

Some LIV players are under contract to play in occasional International Series events. For others, it’s a rare chance to earn world ranking points. The Official World Golf Ranking doesn’t award points to the league that has the same 53 players for the entire season (13 four-man teams and Hudson Swafford as a singles player).


NFL: The Tennessee Titans hired three new coaches with first-time head coach Brian Callahan bringing former Cincinnati colleague Colt Anderson with him as the new special teams coordinator.

The Titans also hired Scott Fuchs as assistant offensive line coach and Steve Donatell as defensive assistant.



IDITAROD: The race’s governing body disqualified Eddie Burke Jr., the 2023 race rookie of the year, from this year’s event by citing a rule but not his specific infraction.

The ruling came days before the March 2 ceremonial start. The board cited a rule which says all “Iditarod mushers will be held to a high standard of personal and professional conduct.”

— News service reports

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