Donnie Nietes showed little rust as he scored a unanimous decision win over Pablo Carillo of Colombia in his comeback fight Saturday night at the Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai.
The 38-year-old four-time world champion displayed his elite skills, using his jab well throughout the 10 rounds and catching Nietes with a number of clean shots throughout the contest.
Carrillo was able to last the distance, but it was a comfortable win for Nietes, who will now go in search of big fights in the super-flyweight division.
It was Nietes’ first fight after a 27-month layoff.
Saso 15 shots off Thai leader
Yuka Saso struggled with a five-over par 77 and skidded down the leaderboard at the ANA Inspiration Saturday in Rancho Mirage California.
The two-time PSA Athlete of the Year who started the round at 12th on four-under par was still in going position through 13 holes until disaster struck her on the par-3 14th which double-bogeyed.
It was downhill from there for the 19-year-old Fil-Japanese ace as she also bogeyed the 15th and 17th holes for a three-day aggregate of 217, 15 shots of Thai Patty Tavatanakit who shot a five-under par 67 for a five-shot lead in the first major event of LPGA Tour.
She was five strokes in front of defending champion Lee Mi-rim of South Korea and American Ally Ewing.
Ewing climbed the leaderboard with a bogey-free six-under par 66 while Lee, who won the rescheduled 2020 edition last September, signed for a 68.
Chinese veteran Feng Shanshan, playing her first LPGA event in more than a year, carded an even par 72 for sole possession of third place on eight-under 208.
Barty keeps Miami title
MIAMI (AFP) ‒ World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty retained her Miami Open title Saturday as Bianca Andreescu’s injury curse struck again.
Australia’s Barty completed a 6-3, 4-0 victory after Andreescu was forced to retire in tears with an injury to her right ankle in the second set at the Hard Rock Stadium.
Barty had dominated the Canadian world number nine throughout the contest behind a powerful service game and accurate forehand.
The end came soon after the third game of the second set, when Andreescu collapsed to the court after rolling her right ankle during her service game.
Barty broke for a 3-0 lead as Andreescu, clearly struggling to move properly battled on. Despite being heavily strapped on her ankle, Andreescu retired soon afterwards, unable to continue.
It was a bitterly disappointing end for Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion who missed the first few months of the 2020 season with a knee injury before last year’s pandemic shutdown.