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The sports wrap 10th September 2018

LanguedocLiving, Sep 9

Djokovic wins US Open while Osaka beats Williams in high drama.

Novak Djokovic produced some superb tennis to dispatch Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Sunday to win the US Open final for his 14th Grand Slam title. But the high drama came in Saturday’s women’s singles final where Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam title as the great Serena Williams went into meltdown, receiving a code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racquet abuse and a game penalty for calling the umpire a "liar" and a "thief". Her angry row with Portuguese umpire Carlos Ramos in some of the most dramatic scenes ever seen at a Grand Slam final overshadowed 20-year-old Osaka’s tremendous 6-2,6-4 victory over the 36-year-old winner of 23 Grand Slam titles. Williams refused to shake hands with umpire Ramos after the match. The American graciously congratulated Osaka at the net after the 20th seed completed an extraordinary victory and, although Williams' behaviour will grab the attention, nothing could detract from a classy and composed display from Osaka at Flushing Meadows. "I'm sorry it had to end like this," a crying Osaka said. On Sunday Williams was fined 17,000 US dollars for the code violations. In the men’s singles, 31-year-old Djokovic produced an impeccable performance to beat del Potro 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to earn his third triumph in New York and equal American great Pete Sampras' haul of major trophies. The Serb, who won Wimbledon in July, will climb to fourth in the world after back-to-back Grand Slam victories. Only great rivals Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17) have won more. Third seed Del Potro, 29, was playing his first Grand Slam final since winning the 2009 US Open, having almost quit the game in 2015 because of multiple wrist injuries. A fairytale finish at Flushing Meadows was not to be, however, as former world No.1 Djokovic's quality shone through. Djokovic is one of only eight men to win the Wimbledon-US Open double and has now accomplished that feat for a third time. (Languedoc Living's tennis correpondent Katrina Allen will be reviewing the US Open in Tuesday's digest).

France win and draw, England lose as Nations League gets under way

France beat the Netherlands 2-1 on Sunday after drawing 0-0 against Germany last Thursday while England lost 2-1 at home to Spain as the new UEFA Nations League tournament got under way at the weekend. The World Cup champions followed their disappointing away draw against Germany with a solid victory over the Dutch at the Stade de France thanks to goals from teenager Kylian Mbappe and seasoned striker Olivier Giroud. France started the brighter and took a deserved lead when Mbappe tapped-in on 14 minutes. Despite creating little, the visitors levelled midway through the second half as Ryan Babel scored. However Olivier Giroud's brilliant volley with 16 minutes remaining was enough to hand Les Bleus the points in Group A1. It was the Chelsea striker’s first goal in 11 internationals. England's Nations League campaign opened with defeat as they were beaten 2-1 by Spain at Wembley on Saturday in their first match since the World Cup. Marcus Rashford gave England the perfect start in the League A4 match with an 11th-minute strike from Luke Shaw's pass but Spain responded with an almost instant equaliser thanks to Saul Niguez's low finish. Rodrigo Moreno then took advantage of poor marking at a free-kick to score the winner from close range after 32 minutes. England’s other Group A opponent is Croatia who beat them in the World Cup semi-finals. In other Nations League matches, Wales thrashed Ireland 4-1 at home then lost 2-0 away to Denmark in Group B4 while Northern Ireland suffered a shock 2-1 home loss to Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group B3. The winners from the four groups of three nations in League A will qualify for the finals, to be played at a yet to be decided European city in June 2019. Four nations, one from each of the four leagues, will also qualify for the UEFA Euro 2020 finals.

Cook on way to triumphant farewell to the international game

Alastair Cook moved to 46 not out in his final innings as an international cricketer as England led India by 154 runs on day three of England's fifth Test against India at The Oval. The opener, who is set to retire after his 161st Test, took the home side to 114 for two in their second innings after India were earlier dismissed for 292, The left-handed Essex batsman received standing ovations when he arrived at the crease and again when he left at the end of the day as he followed up his first-innings 71 with another knock typical of his 12-year Test career. India had earlier been revived by 56 from debutant Hanuma Vihari and a swashbuckling 86 not out by Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja added 32 for the 10th wicket with last man Jasprit Bumrah as India, who found themselves 160 for six on Saturday, got up to 292 all out.That left England 40 runs ahead and precariously placed, but Cook's 125-ball stay ensured there would be no top-order panic to allow the tourists to continue their revival. He was joined by his successor as captain, Joe Root, who moved fluently to 29 not out by the close. England already have an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series against the world No.1 ranked Test side.

Vunipola scores as Saracans fight back to maul Bristol Bears

England No.8 Billy Vunipola scored a try on his latest return from injury as Premiership champions Saracens recovered from a surprise half-time deficit to beat Bristol Bears 44-23. Vunipola, back after breaking his arm against South Africa in June, forced his way over from behind a Sarries scrum having come on with 35 minutes to go. The impressive Bears had led by five points at the break, with two Alapati Leiua tries cancelling out Matt Gallagher's opener. Alex Lewington touched down to make it 18-18 - but the game turned when Australian George Smith was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle to leave Bristol down to 14 men. Vunipola put the hosts in front shortly after, before Wales back Liam Williams scored a 25-minute hat-trick to seal a comfortable bonus-point victory. Exeter Chiefs, last season’s losing Premiershp play-off finalists against Saracens, also picked up a bonus point with a convincing 42-31 away victory over Wasps Elliot Daly and Josh Bassett twice put Wasps in front during a pulsating opening, but Santiago Cordero, Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade replied. Nathan Hughes crossed just before the break to give Wasps a 24-21 half-time lead before Simmonds and Slade scored again to give the Chiefs the edge. Dan Robson set up a thrilling finale but Don Armand sealed Exeter's victory. Saracens and Exeter top the Gallagher Premiership table with 10 points while Gloucester sit third on seven, with new signing Danny Cipriani again weaving his magic to help his side earn a dramatic 31-31 draw at Bath. Matt Banahan scored a late try following a brilliant no-look pass from the England fly-half.

Clermont Auvergne make it three out of three to head Top 14 table

Clermont Auvergne made it three consecutive victories to head the Top 14 table after beating Stade Francais 42-20 at the Marcel Michelin. Sitting behind them are Racing 92 who thrashed Agen 59-7 and Toulouse who had a 33-26 home win over La Rochelle. Montpellier had to settle for a 9-9 draw at Bordeux-Begles and lie in seventh place while newcomers Perpignan lost 22-16 at home to Lyon and are bottom of the table with three losses. Clermont’s match against Stade Francais, who were also unbeaten before this encounter, was enthralling with the boot dominating early proceedings. Morgan Parra opened the game’s account with successive three-pointers before Jules Plisson reduced the deficit. However, Clermont extended their 9-6 advantage when George Moala marked his debut by going over, leaving them 16-6 in front after 33 minutes. Although Gael Fickou immediately responded for the Parisians, Clermont had found their rhythm and Morgan’s Parra try and conversion gave them a 10-point buffer at the interval. Franck Azema’s men took that momentum into the second period and Wesley Fofana made Stade’s task even harder by crossing the whitewash. After Tony Ensor was red carded, it ended the game as a contest and Moala and Judicael Cancoriet secured the bonus-point victory for the hosts. Montpellier can thank Johan Goosen for kicking a late penalty as they went away from the Stade Chaban-Delmas with a creditable 9-9 draw against Bordeaux-Bègles. It was a pretty turgid affair which rarely sparked into life and it was the kickers who came to the fore.

St Helens beat Catalans to edge closer to Leaders’ Shield

St Helens all but sealed the League Leaders' Shield ahead of rivals Wigan Warriors, but left it late to beat Catalans Dragons 26-22 in a pulsating game at Perpignan on Saturday Morgan Knowles' score in the final minute ensured a six-point gap on Wigan Warriors with a superior points difference and only three games left to play. Saints had trailed 22-20 before that score after Catalans overhauled a 14-12 half-time deficit to lead. However, Knowles crossed and Danny Richardson kicked the goal to seal it. The defeat was doubly painful for Catalans, who saw Samisoni Langi sidelined through injury and Julian Bousquet split his nose in a head-to-head collision. Having had their Challenge Cup final hopes ended by Catalans, Saints had extra motivation to come up with the points in a bid to overcome their derby thrashing by Wigan last time out. This was Catalans' first home game since lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley, and in front of a partisan crowd, the Dragons - winless so far in the Super 8s - made a flying start. David Mead crossed from close range and Remi Casty profited from some smart offloading to score a second. Saints responded, and Mark Percival and Theo Fages scores put them in position going into the break. Catalans lifted their game after half-time, adding further tries from Iain Thornley and Kenny Edwards on the left edge to give their fans hope. Saints rallied, and were denied by the video referee before Jonny Lomax scored, and Knowles' late heroics left Catalans deflated and the trophy-bound visitors elated. Languedoc Living’s Rugby League correspondent Jake Hazell commented that the crowd were not happy with the referee who spoiled the match by "décisions arbitrales contestables". The referee had to be escorted off the pitch after the fans showed their disapproval. Catalans’ coach Steve McNamara said the refereeing was not good enough.”Some awful décisions in favour of St Helens made the final score unfair. We have to look forward to the next match and a great season behind the team.”

Britain’s Yates widens La Vuelta a Espana lead on Stage 15

Britain's Simon Yates increased his Vuelta a Espana lead as Thibaut Pinot claimed a summit victory on stage 15. The French rider tore away from an elite group of red jersey rivals at Lagos de Covadonga, an uncategorised climb with sections up to 20 per cent. Miguel Angel Lopez finished second, with Yates third, gaining time on Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. English Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, 26, now leads Valverde by 26 seconds, while Quintana is 33 seconds behind. He began the day 20 seconds clear of Spain’s Valverde and 25 clear of the Spaniard's Colombian Movistar team leader Quintana. Groupama-FDJ rider Pinot's decisive attack from 6km out saw him finish 28 seconds ahead of Astana's Colombian Lopez and 30 ahead of Yates, also claiming 10 bonus seconds for finishing first as he moved up to seventh overall. Having begun the day two minutes and 46 seconds behind Yates, he was perhaps afforded space to push clear on the cloud-covered slopes in Asturias. Down the road behind him, there were a series of exciting attacks and counter attacks as Yates tried repeatedly to open a gap on Valverde and Quintana, but each time he was closely marked and chased down.However, he did at least manage to claim the four bonus seconds on offer for third place, also opening a small gap on both his main rivals in doing so.

Rain forces postponement of BMW championship final round

PGA Tour officials ruled the Aronimink course in Philadelphia unplayable on Sunday as persistent rain fell and the BMW Championship final round was postponed until Monday. With more rain forecast overnight there was no guarantee they would be able to complete the penultimate FedExCup play-off event. That means third-round leader Justin Rose could be declared the winner and also gain the world No.1 ranking. Under tour rules, half the field must complete the final round by Monday for an event to extend into Tuesday. If the tournament is cut to 54 holes, Englishman Rose would win after posting a 17-under-par 193 total on Saturday, one stroke better than Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and American Xander Schauffele. In Crans-Montana, Switzerland, England's world No.44 Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed a fifth European Tour win at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club after edging out Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard in a play-off to defend the Omega European Masters. Fitzpatrick, 24, birdied the first play-off hole after finishing level with Bjerregaard at 17 under after 72 holes. Bjerregaard carded a final round seven-under 63, with Fitzpatrick making a birdie at the last for a 67. France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera (67) finished third, two shots off the pace. Fitzpatrick became the first player since Seve Ballesteros in 1978 to successfully defend the title.

Americas beat Europe to win IAAF Continental Cup

Team Americas won the IAAF Continental Cup in the Czech Republic on Sunday after beating defending champions Europe by 29 points. Noah Lyles, of the USA, won the men's 100m in 10.01 seconds for Americas in the final individual event in Ostrava. Americas sealed the win by claiming victory in the mixed 4x400m relay. This was the third edition of the Continental Cup, which replaced the World Cup for individual nations in 2010. South Africa's Caster Semenya won the women's 800m for Africa in one minute 54.77 seconds. Great Britain's Meghan Beesley finished fourth for Europe in the women's 400m hurdles, which was won by Jamaica's Janieve Russell in an impressive 53.62. The two-day IAAF Continental Cup saw four teams - Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe - compete for points across a variety of events, with each region having two representatives in each event except for relays, when they field one team each.

Mo Farah wins Great North Run for record fifth time

Mo Farah won a record fifth Great North Run in a course record of 59 minutes and 26 seconds on Sunday in Newcastle. It was also Farah's fifth win in a row in the race, with New Zealand's Jake Robertson 31 seconds back in second. London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot from Kenya won the women's race for a second time in three years. David Weir set a new course record to win the men's wheelchair race for the seventh time, with Martyna Snopek taking the women's race.Farah narrowly missed out on his half marathon personal best, finishing four seconds outside it after fading inside the final 200m, having pulled clear of Robertson with about two miles to go. Robertson, who finished a close second to Farah last year, clocked 59:57, with Belgium's Bashir Abdi third in 60:43. Olympic and world champion Cheruiyot posted a personal best of 67:43 to win the women's race ahead of compatriots Brigid Kosgei (67:52) and Joyciline Jepkosgei (68.10).

Dovizioso wins at home but Marquez extends championship lead

Italian Andrea Dovizioso won the San Marino Grand Prix for Ducati on Sunday while reigning world champion Marc Marquez finished second to increase his MotoGP championship lead to 67 points. Local favourite, the legendary Valentino Rossi, managed only a distant seventh for Yamaha and lost second place overall to Dovizioso who now has 154 points to Spaniard Marquez’s 221 with six races remaining. Rossi has 151. Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, who had started on pole position at the Marco Simoncelli circuit on Italy’s Adriatic coast, crashed out on the penultimate lap while heading for a Ducati one-two finish. That lifted Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, whose home race at Silverstone last month was cancelled due to heavy rain and drainage problems, to third as the leading non-factory finisher on an LCR-Honda. “We did everything perfectly,” said Dovizioso, who had started in fourth place and was leading after six laps. His winning margin was 2.822 seconds. The win was Dovizioso’s first at Misano and third of the season as well as his team’s third in a row.

Midi so close to first win of the season in loss to UK touring side

Midi Cricket Club came very close to lifting the gloom of a bleak league season, losing by only 14 runs in a friendly match against UK touring side, Maids Moreton CC, at their Pouzolles home ground on Saturday. Victory had seemed remote when half the side were out for 60 chasing a target of 207 in the 40-over game but a vintage innings from captain Dom George, coming in at number 7, and a brilliant late cameo from American import Ken Miller, who had earlier taken three wickets and pouched the catch of the season at deep mid-wicket, saw the home side come tantalisingly close to their first win of 2018. George top scored with 49 and Miller was left frustrated on 19 not out, as Midi were dismissed for 192 - deprived of a Maids deflowering.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:,,,,,

Calendar Keynotes: 10-16 September

Monday, 10 September

Football: UEFA Nations League, Group A3 – Portugal v Italy, Group B2 – Sweden v Italy, Group C1 – Scotland v Albania.

Cricket: England v India, 5th Test, The Oval, London (England have a winning 3-1 lead in series).

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana, rest day (till 16 September).

Tennis: WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Tuesday, 11 September

Football: UEFA Nations League, Group A3 – Iceland v Belgium, Group A4 – Spain v Croatia. International friendlies – Northern Ireland v Israel, Poland v Republic of Ireland, England v Switzerland.

Cricket: England v India, 5th Test, The Oval, London (England have a winning 3-1 lead in series).

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (till 16 September).

Tennis: WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Wednesday, 12 September

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (till 16 September).

Tennis: WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Thursday, 13 September

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s – Castleford Tigers v Huddersfield Giants.

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (till 16 September).

Tennis: WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Golf: The Evian Championship. Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-Les-Bains, Haute Savoie (till 16 September), 

Friday, 14 September

Football: Scottish Premiership – St Mirren v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Nice v Rennes, Paris St Germain v Saint-Etienne, German Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt.

Formula One: Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay (till 16 September),

Rugby Union: Gallagher Championship – Gloucester v Bristol.

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s – St Helens v Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons, Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves, Super 8s the qualifiers – Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils.

Tennis: Davis Cup World Group semi-finals – France v Spain, Lille, Croatia v USA, Zadar (till 16 September), WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (till 16 September).

Golf: The Evian Championship. Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-Les-Bains, Haute Savoie (till 16 September).

Saturday, 15 September

Football: English Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, Chelsea v Cardiff City, Manchester City v Fulham, Newcastle United v Arsenal, Watford v Manchester United, Scottish Premiership – Motherwell v Hearts, Rangers v Dundee, St. Johnstone v Aberdeen, French Ligue 1 – Caen v Lyon, Montpellier v Strasbourg, Toulouse v Monaco, Spanish La Liga – Atletico Madrid v Eibar, Real Sociedad v Barcelona, Valencia v Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid, Italian Serie A – Inter Milan v Parma, Napoli v Fiorentina, German Bundesliga – Mainz 05 v FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach v FC Schalke 04.

Formula One: Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay (till 16 September),

Rugby Union: Gallagher Championship – Exeter v Sale, Harlequins v Bath, Northampton v Saracens, French Top 14 – Lyon v Montpellier, Agen v Bordeaux Begles, Pau v Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse v Racing 92, The Rugby Championship – New Zealand v South Africa, Australia v Argentina.

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s the qualifiers – Toronto Wolfpack v Toulouse.

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (till 16 September).

Tennis: Davis Cup World Group semi-finals – France v Spain, Lille, Croatia v USA, Zadar (till 16 September), WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (till 16 September).

Golf: The Evian Championship. Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-Les-Bains, Haute Savoie (till 16 September).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Primus Classic, Belgium. 

Sunday, 16 September

Football: French Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Nimes, Marseille v Guingamp, Spanish La Liga – Sevilla v Getafe, Italian Serie A – Roma v Chievo, Juventus v Sassuolo, Empoli v Lazio, Cagliari v AC Milan, German Bundesliga – Werder Bremen v 1. FC Nuremberg.

Formula One: Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay (race day),

Rugby Union: Gallagher Premiership – Wasps v Leicester.

Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (final day).

Tennis: Davis Cup World Group semi-finals – France v Spain, Lille, Croatia v USA, Zadar (final day), WTA Japan Open, Hiroshima (final day).

Golf: The Evian Championship. Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-Les-Bains, Haute Savoie (final day).

Athletics: Berlin Marathon, Berlin, Germany.




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