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eye infection brings end to djokovic finals streak

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic retired during his quarterfinal in the Dubai Championships with an infection in both eyes Thursday, ending his global run of 17 consecutive final appearances.

Djokovic said he had had the problem since he arrived in Dubai.

"Started with an infection (in the right eye), and then severe allergy," Djokovic, wearing dark sunglasses, said at his news conference. "It's gotten worse the last two days, unfortunately. ,… It was ultrasensitive (Thursday), the lights, and just wasn't to be."

The retirement ended Djokovic's run of 17 straight finals, dating to the 2015 Australian Open. He won 13 of those finals, including the '15 Australian and U.S. Opens and Wimbledon, and this year's Australian Open. He was one final away from tying Ivan Lendl's Open era (since 1968) record of 18 straight in 1981-82.

Playing Feliciano Lopez, Djokovic called for the ATP trainer while trailing 1-2 in the first set. He returned to play but quit after Lopez closed out the set 6-3.

Lopez plays unseeded Marcos Baghdatis, who upset fourth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-0. Second-seeded Stan Wawrinka set up a semifinal with unseeded Nick Kyrgios by beating eighth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-1. Kyrgios beat third-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.


Teenager saves Man U in Europa

England discovered a new teen sensation as 18-year-old Marcus Rashford scored twice in his debut and host Manchester United beat Danish club FC Midtjylland 5-1 to join Liverpool, Tottenham and four Spanish sides in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Also advancing were Spain's Villarreal , Valencia, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao. Germany's Borussia Dortmund also got through after comfortably eliminating Porto.

Rashford was called up from United's local academy against FC Midtjylland after Anthony Martial hurt his right hamstring in the warmup. By the end of United's 5-1 win, which sealed a 6-3 victory on aggregate, the fans were singing the striker's name.

Rashford came to the rescue after United fell behind in the 27th minute to the little-known Danish team, which won the first leg 2-1. After United equalized on an own goal in the 32nd minute, Rashford scored clinical finishes to put United — owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs — ahead on aggregate and become its youngest-ever scorer in European soccer.

Rashford hadn't started a game above the under-19 level for United.

et cetera

Boxing: The president of the World Boxing Council sharply criticized the International Boxing Association for its intention to allow professionals to compete in this summer's Olympics. The association "does not have a clue of what boxing means and represents," Mauricio Sulaiman said. He also predicted "dangerous mismatches between experienced professional fighters and amateur boxers" if pros compete.

Times wires

Sports in brief 02/25/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:43pm]
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