ATLANTA: Top seed John Isner beat Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the Atlanta Open on Thursday. Two-time defending champion Mardy Fish of the US, the No 2 seed, withdrew from the tournament with a right ankle injury. Fish was leading Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 3-2 when he pulled out. Isner will play 19-year-old fellow-American Jack Sock, a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) winner over Steve Johnson in a matchup of wild cards. Muller will face Australia’s Matthew Ebden, who beat James Blake 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4. In other quarter-finals, fourth-seeded Andy Roddick faces Michael Russell and No 3 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan plays countryman Go Soeda, the No 8 seed.
NYON: Turkish club Fenerbahce will return to the Champions League against FC Vaslui of Romania in the third qualifying round after serving a one-year exile in a match-fixing investigation. Motherwell, who got a place when Scottish league runner-up Rangers were excluded for financial problems, will be at home first against Panathinaikos. Two former European champions were in Friday’s draw — Celtic, the 1967 winners, are at home against HJK Helsinki or KR Reykjavik. Feyenoord, the 1970 winners, travel first to Dynamo Kiev. FC Copenhagen will host Club Bruges first, and Belgian champion Anderlecht are at home first against Shamrock Rovers or Ekranas. First-leg matches are played on July 31-August 1. Return matches are on August 7-8. Winners advance to a playoff round which decides who join 22 teams in the group stage.
Boucher op ‘went well’
CAPE TOWN: Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has undergone a second operation on the eye he injured in England that forced him into an early international retirement. Cricket South Africa says the three-hour procedure on Boucher’s left eye at a clinic in Cape Town on Thursday “went well,” adding that “the outcome looks very positive and the surgeon is pleased with the procedure.” CSA didn’t give a long-term prognosis but eased fears Boucher may have lost some of the sight in the eye. Boucher was struck in the eye by a dislodged bail in South Africa’s first tour match in England against Somerset last week. —