Weekend Round-up

by whyilovesport

Tennis

Rafael Nadal is in red-hot form heading into the French Open as he won the Madrid Masters final 6-2 6-4 over a tired-looking Stanislas Wawrinka. The Swiss 15th seed was playing his second tournament in a row after winning in Portugal last week and a runner-up finish in the Spanish capital sees him ranked back inside the top 10 for the first time since 2008.

For Nadal, it was his fifth title from seven events he’s entered since his seven month injury layoff, and he’s made at least the final in all seven. It was a record-extending 23rd Masters level title for Rafa – next best is Federer with 21.

It’s also Nadal’s 40th clay court title, which ties him equal second with Thomas Muster – they are both six behind all-time leader Guillermo Vilas.

 

Serena Williams won the women’s tournament, one of just four premier mandatory events all year on the WTA Tour. She retained her no.1 ranking by beating nemesis Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-4.

By defending her title, Serena had the unique achievement of doing a blue clay-red clay double. The American earned the 50th title of her career, becoming just the 10th woman to do so.

Serena firms to French Open favourite now, where she hasn’t won since 2002. And she will certainly want to do better than last year where she was a shock first round loser to Virginie Razzano.

 

Golf

Tiger Woods’ best season in years continues as he won his fourth title already this year winning the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach. Tiger overcame the hurdle of a double bogey on the 14th hole to secure his 78th PGA Tour win of his career, just 4 behind all-time leader Sam Snead.

Sergio Garcia snuffed any hopes of forcing a playoff when he found the water not once, but twice on the challenging Island Green 17th hole, which is designed to make or break your round. To make matters worse, he again found the drink on 18.

24 year old rookie David Lingmerth of Sweden was still in with an outside chance, but a missed birdie putt on 17 and an ordinary approach shot on 18 cost him.

Tiger has a 52-4 record in converting a 3rd round lead into a title win, a staggering conversion rate of 93%.

There was a three-way tie for second; David Lingmerth, Kevin Streelman and Jeff Maggert all finishing 11 under, two shots behind Tiger.

Best of the Aussies: Marc Leishman -7, Jason Day -5, Adam Scott -5 (winner -13).

 

Football

The man that will be eternally immortalised into football folklore, Sir Alex Ferguson, coached Manchester United to a 2-1 win in his last home game as coach of Manchester United. Although the match itself was irrelevant because the championship had already been sealed, it was a fitting end to the legendary coach who was given knighthood from the Queen in 1999.

To think he started off coaching United in 1986 is astounding. His records are unparalleled. He guided the team to 13 of its 20 Premier League titles as well as plenty of other silverware.

It was also veteran Paul Scholes’ last game at Old Trafford after announcing his second retirement. And in a startling revelation, Sir Alex confirmed Wayne Rooney has asked to leave the club. Watch this space on that one.

Sir Alex still has one more match that will be more about celebration than anything.  His final match will be at West Bromwich Albion next weekend, which coincidentally will be his 1500th match as coach of United.

 

On Saturday, Wigan pulled off a 1-0 upset over Manchester United to win the FA Cup at Wembley. Substitute Ben Watson headed the only goal from a corner, in the first minute of time added on.

It was a fairytale finish for a club competing in just their first FA Cup final. Wigan only become prominent when entrepreneur Dave Whelan bought the club in 1995.

Unfortunately, the winning coach Roberto Martinez looks headed to coach Everton.

And the losing coach Roberto Mancini is on the chopping block in a ruthless industry where so much money is poured into one team, you just have to win. For City to go a season without a trophy is considered a failure.

 

On Sunday, Barcelona celebrated their 22nd Spanish league title with a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid. The title was already decided the day before when nearest rival Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Espanyol.

It didn’t take long for new Barca manager Tito Vilanova to make an impact. He replaced Pep Guardiola at the end of last season. The title was made all the more emotional because Tito missed a large chunk of the season spent in New York receiving chemotherapy treatment on his lungs.

 

Formula 1

Fernando Alonso won his home Spanish GP for the second time in his career at the circuit de Catalunya. It sent the passionate locals into raptures.  Alonso said: “It was fantastically emotional and the fans really helped because you feel the support from everyone.”

Felipe Massa got his first podium of the season as Ferrari had a 1-3 finish which helps reduce the arrears to Red Bull for the constructors’ title.  

Kimi Raikkonen coolly finished second and quietly sneaks to within four points of overall leader Sebastien Vettel, who finished fourth. The second Red Bull of Mark Webber was fifth.

Mercedes wasted a good opportunity with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton fading to sixth and 12th after both cars started from the front row of the grid.

There were still issues with tyre degradation and many people are urging Pirelli to get their act together quickly.

The next race, race 6 of 19, is the prestigious Monaco GP in a fortnight’s time where Webber is the defending champion.  

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