Paire fined $16,500 for ATP meltdown

WASHINGTON - France's Benoit Paire was fined $16,500 by the ATP Tour on Wednesday after an epic meltdown at the end of his first-round match at the ATP Washington Open. Paire lost to Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday at the hardcourt tuneup event for the US Open. Down 4-2 in the final set, the Frenchman netted an overhead smash to surrender a break and a 5-2 edge. He smashed his racquet on the ground four times and kicked it in frustration. Baghdatis tried to calm Paire but he hurled two more racquets onto the court, where a ball person collected them. But after losing the match, he congratulated Baghdatis then walked off to a chorus of boos. The fine was issued by the tour for an audible obscenity, unsportsmanlike conduct and a lack of giving best effort.–AFP

Four share lead at windy Fiji Int’l

WELLINGTON - Andrew Dodt, Nick Cullen, Jarryd Felton and Ben Campbell mastered windy conditions to share a four-way lead at the Fiji International on Thursday. The wind was already strong when Australia's Dodt, Cullen and Felton shot their five-under-par 67s in the morning, before New Zealander Campbell matched them in even tougher conditions in the afternoon. "That was not easy," said Dodt, 32, who is yet to finish in the top 10 this European Tour season, and is seeking his first win since 2016. "It was very tough, very windy, you had to control your ball, course management was a big factor. It was a really, really solid round. Four-time major-winner Ernie Els was level par after carding four birdies and four bogeys, while home favourite Vijay Singh was struggling at four over.–AFP

Mexican Aguirre new Egypt head coach

CAIRO - The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Thursday the appointment of Mexican Javier Aguirre as head coach of the national team on a four-year deal. Aguirre replaces Argentinian Hector Cuper after his contract expired following the 2018 World Cup, where Egypt lost all three of their matches to crash out in the group stage. The 59-year-old Aguirre has previously coached Mexico and Japan. "When we chose Aguirre, we were keen that he has a long and honourable history, and he gave in Spain a great effort," EFA chief Hany Abu Rida said at a press conference, sitting next to the new coach. Aguirre's most recent job was with the UAE’s Al Wahda from 2015-2017. He will earn $120,000 a month with his two assistants, and was promised a $500,000 bonus if Egypt qualify for the 2022 World Cup.–AFP

Japan’s Muto joins Newcastle from Mainz

LONDON - Newcastle United announced they had completed the signing of Japan forward Yoshinori Muto from Bundesliga club Mainz after he was granted a work permit on Thursday. Muto, who underwent a medical and agreed personal terms with the Magpies last week, has joined the Premier League club on a four-year deal. The transfer fee is believed to be around 11 million euros. "I am very happy to be a player for Newcastle United and I am really looking forward to playing in front of the fans. As the first Japanese Newcastle player, I am honoured to be a player for such a big club." Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez said the club had followed Muto for some time, praising his energy and work rate. Mainz director of sport Rouven Schroeder said the club had respected the player's wish to play in the Premier League.–AFP

Basel unveil Koller as new manager

GENEVA - Basel reacted to their shock elimination from Champions League qualifying by naming ex-Austria coach Marcel Koller as their new manager on Thursday. The 57-year-old Swiss national, who will be assisted by Thomas Janeschitz and Carlos Bernegger, takes the reins just a day after Basel suffered a 3-0 home defeat by PAOK to go out 5-1 on aggregate in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Koller was Austria's head coach from November 2011 to October 2017, leading them from 72nd in the FIFA standings into the top 10 and Euro 2016 in France. But the team failed to qualify for this year's World Cup in Russia. He has also led Saint-Gallen (1999/2000) and Grasshopper (2002/3) in the Swiss league, as well as FC Cologne and VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga.–AFP