Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Friday
Ajay Jayaram and Mithun Manjunath put in the hard yards to progress to the men's singles semi-finals with contrasting wins at the US$75,000 Vietnam Open Super Tour 100 tournament in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.
Former World No 13 Jayaram, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from a hamstring injury, dished out a spirited performance to outwit Canada's Sheng Xiaodong 26-24, 21-17 in a thrilling contest.
The 30-year-old Indian, who had reached the 2015 Korea Super Series final, will next face seventh seeded Japanese Yu Igarashi on Saturday.
In another match, young shuttler Mithun saw off China's Zhou Zeqi 17-21, 21-19, 21-11 after a hard-fought battle that lasted 56 minutes.
The 20-year-old, a semifinalist at the Russian Open, will square off against Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.
However, it was curtains for former national champion Rituparna Das as she lost 19-21, 14-21 to Thailand's Phittayaporn Chaiwan in the quarter-finals.
Jayaram surged to a 5-0 lead early on but he blew the lead as Xiaodong reeled off seven straight points to grab the advantage. He held a 17-14 lead at one stage before grabbing two game points.
However, Jayaram kept fighting and eventually nosed ahead even as the Canada shuttler squandered game point opportunities twice.
In the second game, Xiaodong led 7-3 at one stage but Jayaram turned the tables, leading 11-8 at the break. He continued to move ahead and managed to stave off a spirited challenge from his rival.
Mangaonkar tunes up for Asiad with title win
Top seed Mahesh Mangaonkar tuned up for tougher battles ahead in the Asian Games by overcoming a fighting Abhishek Pradhan to lift the title in the 43rd Maharashtra State Men's Squash tournament in Mumbai.
Mangaonkar, a member of the Indian Games squad, got the better of third seed Pradhan in the all-Mumbai final 11-8,12-10, 12-10 to pocket the champion's purse of Rs 1.3 lakh.
Pradhan, who reached the final after some hard-fought victories, took some time to settle down, enabling title favourite Mangaonkar to clinch the opening game.
The second game was much more competitive with fortunes swinging back and forth, leading up to 10-10 before the top seed stepped up his game and managed to grab the next two points for a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five game match.
The story was repeated in the third game with Pradhan failing to convert his chances and losing it over extra points to squander the title.
After his victory Mangaonkar, who did not drop a single game on his way to the title, said, "Bombay Gymkhana has been a lucky place for me as I have given some of my best performances here. I had a very good final with my close friend so it was fun."
"It was nice to have my family come and support me which helped me to step up my performance in the tie-breakers", he added.
Trump renews attacks on NFL players, says 'be cool'
US President Donald Trump on Friday renewed his attacks on NFL players pushing for criminal justice and other social reforms, as a number of players protested during the league's preseason opening late on Thursday.
The National Football League has struggled with how to address the issue of protesting players who kneel as the national anthem is played, as they react to Trump's drumbeat of attacks over the past year while managing relations with its players and maintaining its fans.
As games opened on Thursday, several players knelt, refused to stand on the field, or raised fists in protest.
Trump, who has urged the NFL to suspend protesting players, again called on the league to act, and said players should find another way to speak out.
"Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their 'outrage' at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love.....Be happy, be cool!" he tweeted early on Friday.
For the past few seasons, some NFL players have sought to call attention to the mistreatment of minorities by U.S. law enforcement by taking a knee during the anthem before games begin. Trump and others have blasted the gesture as a sign of disrespect to the U.S. flag and the military, launching a political fight.
League owners last month suspended a policy they had sought to put in place this season that would have required players to stand for the anthem, after the player's union objected.
Representatives for the NFL and the NFL Players Association did not respond to a request for comment.
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests in 2016, praised Miami Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson for kneeling Thursday night to "protest systemic oppression."
"Stay strong brothers!" Kaepernick said in a post on Twitter.
Trump has also condemned African-American players in other sports, spurring critics to say his comments are racially charged and intended to stoke his base ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm congressional elections.
Last week, the president lashed out at National Basketball Association star LeBron James after he told CNN in an interview that Trump was using sports "to kind of divide us."
In June, Trump refused to follow White House tradition of inviting league winners for an official visit, saying he would not extend an invitation to this year's NBA champs.