Update on the latest sports
Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka in semis
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka has won 19 consecutive matches but none of those wins came against Serena Williams. Three-time major champion Osaka will meet 23-time Grand Slam singles title winner Williams in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday (Wednesday night EST).
This will be their fourth matchup. The most memorable was Osaka’s victory in the 2018 U.S. Open final, which ended with both players in tears during the trophy ceremony. That was one of Williams’ four losses in Grand Slam finals since her last major championship, which came in Australia in 2017.
In the other women’s semifinal, No. 22 seed Jennifer Brady faces No. 25-seeded Karolina Muchova (moo-KOH’-vah), who upset top-ranked Ash Barty in the quarterfinals.
Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) will continue his bid for a ninth Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall when he plays 114th-ranked Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the day’s lone men’s semifinal.
Arrieta finalizes his return to the Cubs
UNDATED (AP) — Jake Arrieta (ehr-ee-ET’-uh) is returning to the Chicago Cubs after finalizing a $6 million, one-year contract.
Arrieta can earn $1 million in performance bonuses under the deal. The 34-year-old won the NL Cy Young Award with Chicago in 2015 and helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series for their first championship since 1908. He went 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in 128 starts over five years in his first stint with the team.
To open a roster spot, the Cubs placed left-hander Kyle Ryan on the COVID-19 related injured list
The Cubs also agreed to contracts with veteran relievers Brandon Workman and Pedro Strop, according to a person familiar with the deals.
In other MLB news:
— The Tampa Bay Rays have traded right-handed reliever John Curtiss to the Miami Marlins for minor league first baseman Evan Edwards. The Rays also traded minor league catcher Ronaldo Hernández and minor league infielder Nick Sogard to the Boston Red Sox for left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Springs, right-handed pitcher Chris Mazza, and cash. The Red Sox placed catcher Kevin Plawecki on the COVID-19-related injured list.
— Left-hander Tyler Anderson has finalized a one-year deal with the Pirates worth $2.5 million where he joins a very young pitching staff in Pittsburgh. The 31-year-old Anderson is coming off a solid season in San Francisco. Anderson went 4-3 with a 4.37 ERA with the Giants.
— The Cleveland Indians’ career saves leader has retired. The team announced Cody Allen’s retirement on Twitter. The 32-year-old Allen spent seven seasons with the Indians, who drafted him in 2010. Allen got more than 30 saves three times, including 32 in 2016 when he helped the Indians win the AL pennant and get to Game 7 of the World Series.
— Two Arizona Diamondbacks players have tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t start practice today with the team’s pitchers and catchers. Manager Torey Lovullo says veteran catcher Stephen Vogt received a positive result during intake testing and would miss at least the next 10 days. Pitching prospect Luis Frias tested positive a few days earlier and also didn’t practice. This is Vogt’s second season with the Diamondbacks. He hit .167 with one homer last year in 72 at-bats.
— The Yankees start spring training this week without Brett Gardner for the first time since 2006. The 37-year-old outfielder became a free agent after the Yankees declined a $10 million option, triggering a $2.5 million buyout. Clint Frazier is projected as the starting left fielder. Deivi García, Domingo Germán, Michael King, Clarke Schmidt and Jhoulys Chacín (joh-LEES’ cha-SEEN’) will compete to start with Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery.
— Mets manager Luis Rojas condemned the behavior of former New York hitting performance coordinator Ryan Ellis but said he never witnessed his longtime coworker act inappropriately after Ellis was fired recently for sexual harassment. Ellis, who was promoted to the big league coaching staff last summer, was fired last month after New York investigated the matter for a second time.
Cavs’ Love takes part in practice, nears return from injury
UNDATED (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love took part in most of the team’s practice Wednesday as the five-time All-Star moved closer to playing after missing most of the season with a calf injury.
Love has been out since Dec. 27, when he aggravated a strain he initially incurred in an exhibition game. Love’s return would provide a boost as the Cavs deal with center Andre Drummond’s awkward situation. The team is sitting Drummond while trying to trade him.
The Cavs have lost eight straight games. They got in a previously unscheduled practice after their game Wednesday against San Antonio was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Spurs.
In other NBA news:
— A 33-year-old Milwaukee Bucks executive and son of a billionaire is running for the U.S. Senate in 2022 for the seat currently held by Republican Ron Johnson. Democrat Alex Lasry announced his Senate bid Wednesday in a YouTube video. Lasry is a New York City native. His father is Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
Weather scraps more sports in Texas, Oklahoma
UNDATED (AP) — The wintry weather in Texas and Oklahoma has led to another postponement for the Dallas Stars while adding to the list of Top 25 college basketball games now on hold. The Stars’ game against Tampa Bay scheduled for Thursday has been called off. Dallas and Tampa Bay are still scheduled to play Saturday, and temperatures are expected to be above freezing by then.
The Dallas Mavericks had a game against the Detroit Pistons scheduled for Wednesday called off. That will mean four straight nights of weather-related postponements at the home arena of the NHL’s Stars and the NBA’s Mavericks.
No. 8 Alabama’s visit to Texas A&M had been moved back a day to Thursday to account for weather but now has been called off along with the fifth-ranked Texas A&M women’s game the same day at home against Missouri. The postponement of the Alabama game makes it five straight games called off for the Aggies. The first four were because of COVID-19 issues.
Also off are No. 9 Oklahoma’s home game against No. 12 Texas and No. 15 Texas Tech’s game at TCU. Both games were moved to new days before getting postponed.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Syracuse-Louisville basketball game postponed again
UNDATED (AP) — The Louisville men’s basketball game scheduled for Wednesday night against Syracuse has been postponed following a positive COVID-19 test, quarantining and contact tracing within the Cardinals’ program. It’s Louisville’s fifth postponement in six games, including both scheduled meetings against the Orange.
Louisville coach Chris Mack returned to practice on Tuesday after testing positive last week and experiencing mild symptoms. A day earlier, assistant coach Dino Gaudio revealed in an ACC coaches conference call that the Cardinals would be without two scholarship players and a walk-on against Syracuse following positive tests.
Rangers’ Trouba out 4-6 weeks, Panarin ready to return
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers will be without defenseman Jacob Trouba for the next four to six weeks because of a broken thumb. That’s a significant blow to an underachieving team with playoff aspirations that has lost four in a row.
MVP finalist Artemi Panarin is expected to to return Thursday against Philadelphia after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury.
Coach David Quinn also expects defenseman K’Andre Miller to play after sitting out a loss Tuesday night to New Jersey with an upper-body injury.