Update on the latest sports


NHL reaches agreement to send players to Olympics in Beijing

UNDATED (AP) — NHL players are going back to the Olympics. The league has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation to participate in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

Under the agreement, the league or players are able to withdraw if coronavirus circumstances change for the worse or there’s an outbreak during the season. If that does not happen, it will be the first Olympic men’s hockey tournament with NHL players since Sochi in 2014 after they skipped Pyeongchang in 2018.

The league and players’ association agreed to Olympic participation as part of their collective bargaining agreement extension last summer pending a deal with international officials.


Osaka takes Grand Slam win streak to 3rd round

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka returns to the court for the first time since the first night of the U.S. Open when she faces 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez Friday in a third-round evening match.

The defending champion received a walkover into the third round when opponent Olga Danilovic withdrew Wednesday with a viral illness unrelated to COVID-19.

Osaka has won 16 straight Grand Slam matches and is pursuing her fifth career Grand Slam trophy.

Action started Friday morning under a second straight day of sunny skies and comfortable temperatures following the heavy rain and wind that pounded the area Wednesday night.

Three-time U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka opens open play on Arthur Ashe Stadium against two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza (GAHR’-been moo-gah-ROO’-thuh). Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber meet in another marquee women’s match.

On the men’s side, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, twice a major runner-up, faces Pablo Andújar. Medvedev is trying to take the next step and win his first Grand Slam title. He’s yet to drop a set.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (SEET’-see-pahs) and Andrey Rublev are also on the men’s schedule.


No. 10 Tar Heels, Hokies meet in early ACC Coastal clash

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — No. 10 North Carolina and Virginia Tech will get the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division race off to a fast start when they meet Friday night in Blacksburg, Virginia. It’s the only game on Friday’s schedule that features a ranked team.

The Tar Heels have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Sam Howell. The Hokies will be trying to make a better showing than a year ago when UNC gained 656 yards in a 56-45 victory. That came against a team decimated by injuries and COVID-19 quarantine. Coach Justin Fuente says the Hokies are healthy this time.


Dodgers visit Giants for big 3-game series

UNDATED (AP) — The Giants and the Dodgers are tied for first in the NL West as they open a three-game series in San Francisco Friday night.

The rivals split their first 16 games this year, with each team scoring 68 times. The Giants took two of three in their previous series from July 27-29, led by Johnny Cueto’s 5 2/3 innings of four-hit ball in a 5-0 victory in the rubber game. Los Angeles has won 23 of 29 to erase San Francisco’s lead in the division.

David Price pitches the opener for the World Series champions. Anthony DeSclafani takes the mound for the Giants.

In other highlights of Friday’s schedule:

— Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee) takes a 12-start unbeaten streak into an outing at Texas. The Angels’ two-way star is 7-0 with a 3.15 ERA since his last defeat May 28, asserting himself not just as a heavy favorite for AL MVP but as a likely recipient of some votes in AL Cy Young Award balloting. Glenn Otto makes his second big league start for the Rangers after being acquired from the Yankees in July for slugger Joey Gallo. The 25-year-old blanked Houston over five innings in his debut last week.

— Bryce Harper and the Phillies’ big-name lineup have produced at least seven runs in seven straight games, a first for the franchise since June 1933. They carry a six-game winning streak into a series at Miami and trail the NL East-leading Braves by 1½ games. Harper has multiple hits in six of his past eight games and is hitting .330 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs since Aug. 1. Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Gibson is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his past two starts. He’ll oppose Marlins youngster Jesus Luzardo to open a three-game set.