Daily Digest: Wendie Renard and Naomi Osaka lead nominees for World Sportswoman of the Year

Renard and Osaka

In today’s news, the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year nominees are revealed, Hayley Ladd commits her future to Manchester United and the U.S.A stand on the brink of another title.

Renard and Osaka lead nominees for World Sportswoman of the Year

Lyon Captain Wendie Renard and Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka lead a six-person shortlist for the 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the year award.

Simone Biles has won the award the past two years, while Serena Williams and Jessica Ennis are just some of the other names to have been awarded the accolade.

Osaka, who finished third last year, recently won the Australian Open and is currently on a run of 21 consecutive victories.

Federica Brignone

The 23-year-old will face strong competition in the form of Wendie Renard –– one of women’s football’s most decorated players. Renard led Lyon to a fifth consecutive Champions League title in 2020 and has won a record 14 French League titles.

Other nominees include Anna van der Breggen, who won the women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships; Federica Brignone, winner of the 2020 Alpine Ski World Cup; Breanna Stewart, MVP in the final’s of the Women’s NBA; and finally Brigid Kosgei, who has won back-to-back London Marathons in 2019 and 2020.

Hayley Ladd extends Manchester United contract

Manchester United’s Hayley Ladd has extended her contract until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Voted the club’s player of the season last year, she has made 39 appearances since joining from Birmingham City and has helped Man United climb up to third in the Women’s Super League table.

A versatile midfielder who can also play in defence, Ladd has made over 50 appearances for Wales and will now remain at United for at least another two years.

Hayley Ladd

Speaking on the club’s website, Ladd said: “We have an exciting time ahead of us and I know that if we continue to put the work in, day in, day out, then we can achieve our goals.”

U.S.A. on the brink of fourth SheBelieves Cup title

The SheBelieves Cup draws to a close tonight, as the United States face Argentina, knowing a point will be enough to see them lift the trophy for a fourth time in six years.

The U.S. have won 36 consecutive matches and 52 on home turf, while Argentina sit bottom of the competition, having lost both matches so far — to Brazil and Canada respectively.

Both Brazil and Canada know that only a win will give them a chance of beating the United States to the title, but they will have to rely on Argentina picking up points as well.

The U.S. will be without midfielder Catarina Mascario who has left the team to return to France. Mascario started in the United States’ win over Canada on Sunday, but will now return to her club side, Lyon, to complete a period of quarantine ahead of the reigning French champions’ upcoming Champions League fixture against Brøndby.

Karen Bardsley confirms loan move to OL Reign until the end of the season

Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has agreed to join National Women’s Soccer League side OL Reign until the end of June.

The 36-year-old has made over 100 appearances for City, lifting seven major trophies, but now finds herself as the club’s third choice goalkeeper –– behind Ellie Roebuck and Karima Benameur Taieb.

Consequently, Bardsley, who boasts 81 England caps to her name, has now completed the loan switch to the U.S. side, who restart their domestic campaign on April 9th.

Karen Bardsley

Head Coach Gareth Taylor said: “We’re very supportive of Karen’s decision to take up this opportunity over in the States for the next few months. We understand her desire after the past year or so to get more game time under her belt and this move is an ideal one for her.”

Johanna Konta loses on return to Tennis

Britain’s Johanna Konta has lost her first match since retiring from the Australian Open, after being defeated by American Shelby Rogers in straight sets.

It was a comprehensive defeat for the British number one, who was well beaten 6-2, 6-2 by the world number 53 in the last 16 of the Adelaide Invitational.

Rogers herself reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, eventually losing out to world number one Ashleigh Barty.

This was Konta’s first match since an abdominal injury forced her to retire in the opening round of the first major of the year.

She described herself as being in a “state of shock” after that defeat, having never retired in a Grand Slam match up until that point.

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