DONGGUAN, China, July 4 (Xinhua) — The Tianjin Pioneers lost to the Beijing Royal Fighters 97-83 on Saturday, becoming the only team to suffer a winless record in all games of the first phase after the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) restarted league action.
After the 6-6 tie at the beginning of the game, Beijing scored eight straight points to lead by 14-6. Sun Yue had a flagrant foul on Tianjin’s Meng Zikai before Tianjin cut the deficit down to 45-40 with a 10-1 run at the end of the second quarter.
A technical foul sent Sun off the court as the game continued with Arnett Moultrie dominating the paint to help Beijing to a 73-67 lead going into the fourth quarter. Beijing’s shooters then made straight baskets to establish a 20-point advantage and set the tone for the game.
“We fight on despite repeated setbacks,” said Liu Tie, coach of Tianjin. “The team is improving game by game, the losses are the price of growing up. We may lose more games this season, but the players are becoming more experienced and it’s possible for us to make breakthroughs in the future.”
Moultrie contributed a game-high 30 points and 16 rebounds, while his teammate Zong Zan had 11 points and five rebounds. Shi Deshuai had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists for Tianjin.
Qingdao and Dongguan were selected as the joint hosts for 10 teams each in the first phase of the restarted CBA. After Saturday’s games, all 20 teams will gather in Qingdao to finish the regular season. Enditem
Third seed Elise Mertens of Belgium pushed aside Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2 to make the quarterfinals at the WTA Prague Open here on Wednesday.
Mertens struggled at the beginning of the match but fought her way back to win the first set. In the second set, Giorgi broke Mertens in the second game. The duo seesawed the seventh game before the Belgian broke Giorgi after eight deuces.
Mertens hit four fewer winners than Giorgi but a steady first serve with 85% points won and less unforced errors gave her the win.
The 24-year-old Mertens will face either Tamara Zidansek or wildcard Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals.