Update on the latest sports
Williams vs. 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, Karolina Muchova (kar-ah-LEE’-nah MOO’-koh-vah) takes on American Jennifer Brady after upsetting 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.
Cats beat Canes in OT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Florida Panthers have won a battle of two of the NHL’s top teams.
Jonathan Huberdeau’s (HOO’-bur-dohz) second goal of the day completed the Panthers’ 4-3 win over the Hurricanes. Huberdeau opened the scoring for Florida and added an assist before his seventh goal of the season sealed the win at 2:29 of OT.
Alex Wennberg and Juho Lammikko (YOO’-hoh lah-MEE’-koh) also scored as the Panthers improved to 10-2-2, one point ahead of Carolina and Tampa Bay for the Central Division lead.
Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho (AH’-hoh) tallied in the first period and Vincent Trocheck (TROH’-chehk) added third-period goal for the Hurricanes.
Rangers’ Trouba out 4-6 weeks, Panarin ready to return
NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob Trouba’s (TROO’-bahz) broken thumb will keep the New York Rangers’ defenseman out of action for four to six weeks. Trouba was injured in the second period of the Rangers’ fourth straight loss, 3-2 to the Devils on Tuesday.
MVP finalist Artemi Panarin is expected to return to the Blueshirts 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.
Arrieta finalizes his return to the Cubs
UNDATED (AP) — Jake Arrieta (ar-ee-EH’-tuh) is returning to the Chicago Cubs after finalizing a $6 million, one-year contract that includes an extra $1 million in performance bonuses.
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.
The Cubs also agreed to contracts with veteran relievers Brandon Workman and Pedro Strop (strohp), according to a person familiar with the deals.
In other MLB news:
— Infielder Donovan Solano went to salary arbitration with the Giants on Wednesday, asking for a raise to $3.9 million rather than the team’s $3.25 million offer. The 33-year-old middle infielder hit a career-high .326 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 190 at-bats during the pandemic-shortened season.
— Left-hander Tyler Anderson has finalized a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Pirates, where he joins a very young pitching staff. The 31-year-old Anderson is coming off a solid season in San Francisco, going 4-3 with a 4.37 ERA.
— Indians all-time saves leader Cody Allen has announced his retirement on Twitter. The 32-year-old Allen spent seven years with Cleveland and posted three 30-save seasons, including 32 for the 2016 American League champs. He picked up 149 of his big league 153 saves while in an Indians jersey.
— Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo says veteran catcher Stephen Vogt (voht) received a positive COVID-19 result during intake testing and will miss at least the next 10 days. Pitching prospect Luis Frias tested positive a few days earlier and didn’t practice.
— Athletics catcher Sean Murphy will be sidelined for several weeks with a collapsed lung that required surgery. He is expected to be fully recovered by opening day.
— Twins bench coach Mike Bell has taken an indefinite leave from the team because of kidney cancer. The 46-year-old Bell had surgery to remove the growth last month, shortly after being diagnosed. He’s been recovering at home with his family in Arizona.
— 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. Ellis was fired last month after the team reopened an investigation of sexual harassment against him. New allegations and evidence came to light in January.
— Tim Tebow (TEE’-boh) is retiring from baseball after five years and three minor league seasons, all as a Mets outfield prospect. The 33-year-old Tebow spent the 2019 campaign at Triple-A Syracuse and batting .223 with 18 homers and 107 RBIs in 287 minor league games in the Mets system. Over four big league spring trainings, Tebow batted .151 with one home run in 34 games.
Cavs’ Love 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 returning from 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 for the Cavs, who are sitting center Andre Drummond while attempting to trade him.
The Cavs have lost eight straight and had Wednesday’s game against San Antonio postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Spurs.
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 has been called off, along with the fifth-ranked Texas A&M women’s game the same day at home against Missouri. The Aggies have had five straight games postponed, the first four 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 tonight against Syracuse was 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.
Also in the ACC, the league says No. 18 Virginia Tech’s trip to No. 16 Florida State and Clemson’s visit to Pittsburgh scheduled for Saturday have been postponed. Additionally, North Carolina’s game at Boston College next Tuesday is also postponed.
The postponements come amid positive COVID-19 tests, quarantining and contact tracing for Virginia Tech, Clemson and Boston College.