Friday's Sports in Brief



The season opener scheduled for Saturday between Utah and Arizona in Salt Lake City was canceled following a request from the Utes due to what the Pac-12 said were a number of COVID-19 cases among Utah players.

The cancellation announced Friday is the second in two days for the Pac-12, which is just preparing to kick off a seven-game football season after watching while other conferences began playing in recent weeks. The game between Washington and California was canceled Thursday.

The league said Utah doesn’t have the required minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of positive tests and the need for other players to isolate under contact tracing protocols. The Pac-12 didn’t specify how many players had tested positive.

Two Conference USA games scheduled for this weekend also have been postponed due to COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing protocols.

Charlotte’s game at Middle Tennessee and UTSA’s visit to Rice have both been called off. In all, nine Bowl Subdivision games this week were either canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to 46 since Aug. 26.

“We are extremely disappointed to have to postpone our game at Middle Tennessee,” said Mike Hill, the 49ers athletic director. “The health and safety of everyone involved, however, remains the top priority during these challenging times.”

Attempts will be made to reschedule both games.

“After a great win last week at Southern Miss, I know our team was excited to get back on the field at home and renew the series with UTSA,” Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard said. “But the virus remains a constant challenge to our efforts to play this season.”


PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal trailed by a set and 0-40 before rallying to beat Spanish countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and reach the Paris Masters semifinals on Friday.

Nadal has never won the tournament in Paris and lost his only final 13 years ago. He plays the winner of the late quarterfinal between Alexander Zverev and three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.

The top-seeded Nadal’s victory also assured Diego Schwartzman the last slot at the season-ending ATP Finals, and at his rival Carreno Busta’s expense. Schwartzman advanced to the finals in London from Nov. 15-22, despite earlier losing to Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-1 in their quarterfinal.

Carreno Busta is a confidence-crushing 0-7 overall against Nadal, but there might be a good reason why he’s never beaten him.

He looked in control against a jaded-looking Nadal after conceding only five points on his serve in the first set.


HOUSTON (AP) — Jason Day was back in contention on the eve of the Masters after two eventful days alongside Phil Mickelson.

Winless in 2 1/2 years and fighting lingering back and neck problems, Day shot a 2-under 68 on Friday in the Houston Open to pull within two strokes of second-round leader Sam Burns at difficult Memorial Park.

The Australian watched the 50-year-old Michelson hit into the water twice en route to an 8 on the par-3 ninth, then hole out from 193 yards for eagle on the par-4 18th. Lefty missed the cut, following an opening 76 with a 73.

Day was in contention three weeks ago in Las Vegas in the CJ Cup when the neck problem forced him to withdraw early in the final round. The 12-time PGA Tour winner returned the next week at Sherwood to tie for 60th, and took last week off.


SYDNEY (AP) — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins is taking his experience gained in the pool to the board room: He’s been named president of Swimming Australia.

Perkins won gold in the 1,500 meters at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and broke numerous world records in his career. He retired from swimming in 2000 having won 23 medals at international competitions and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002.

The 47-year-old Perkins takes over the role that was left vacant by former president John Bertrand following the Swimming Australia annual general meeting last week. Bertrand skippered Australia II to victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, ending 132 years of American supremacy in the yacht race.


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