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The sports wrap 8th October 2018

LanguedocLiving, Oct 7

Hamilton on brink of championship title after winning Japanese GP

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday to stand on the brink of a fifth Formula One title while Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel finished sixth after colliding with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Hamilton led from pole to flag, crossing the line 12.9 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a second successive Mercedes one-two. Verstappen finished third. The Briton now has a 67-point lead over Vettel with four races remaining and can sew up the championship next week with victory in Austin, Texas, should the German finish lower than second. Hamilton will be upbeat about his chances of doing that given his record at the U.S. Grand Prix, where he has won every race but one since 2012. “We’ve gone from strength to strength as a team this year. Austin is generally a good track for us and I can’t wait to unleash this beast there,” said Hamilton after leading every lap at Suzuka for his 71st career win. He is now only 20 victories off Michael Schumacher’s all-time record. Vettel, who had started eighth after a failed tyre gamble in qualifying, made contact with Verstappen’s Red Bull and spun while trying to pass the young Dutch driver for third on the eighth lap. The German resumed in 19th and scythed his way back through the field, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Stewards reviewed the Verstappen contact and took no action. Hamilton now has 331 points to Vettel’s 264, while Mercedes lead Ferrari in the constructors’ standings with 538 points to 460 for the Italians.

Chelsea stay unbeaten but Man City go top after draw at Liverpool

Manchester City stayed top of the English Premiership on goal difference after a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday but Chelsea also remain unbeaten alongside them on 20 points following an easy 3-0 win at Southampton. Arsenal kept up their winning form to move up to fourth place with a 5-1 away thrashing of Fulham. Tottenham are fifth behind their North London rivals after a scrappy 1-0 home win over Cardiff. The season’s surprise team Bournemouth are fifth after a 4-0 away win over Watford. In the weekend’s top match, Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty as Liverpool and Manchester City fought out a goalless draw at Anfield. The game rarely lived up to the pre-match hype but provided late drama when Virgil van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane with a few minutes to play. Algeria international Mahrez blazed the resulting spot kick over, but City will still go into the international break on top of the table. Chelsea continued to impress, head coach Maurizio Sarri highlighting the form of former Everton player Ross Barkley after the English midfielder scored a goal and provided an assist in their win at Southampton. Barkley set up Chelsea's opener with a fine pass to Eden Hazard, who finished with aplomb, before netting their second himself, tapping in Olivier Giroud's acrobatic cross "Today he played really well," Sarri said of Barkley. "I am really happy with him because from the beginning he has improved, day by day, week by week, match by match. Arsenal extended their winning run to nine matches in all competitions under new coach Unai Emery with French striker Alexandre Lacazette scoring two impressive goals before substitute Ramsey added a third and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice. In the Scottish Premiership, Hearts remain top of the table but Rangers inflicted the first defeat on them in 13 games this season, winning 3-1 at home to move up to sixth place in the division. Hibernian are second, two points behind, after thrashing Hamilton Academicals 6-0. Defending champions Celtic, who have made a stuttering start to the season, moved up to third spot after a 6-0 away thrashing of St Johnstone.

PSG move eight points clear with 5-0 trashing of Lyon

Paris Saint Germain went eight points clear at the top of French Ligue 1 with a 5-0 thrashing of Lyon on Sunday which kept their 100 per cent record. Their ninth straight win was highlighted by a stellar performance from 19-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe who scored four second-half goals in a match marred by two players getting sent off. Brazilian star Neymar opened the scoring in the ninth minute before PSG lost Presnal Kimpembe to a red card in the 32nd minute. Lyon then had Louis Tisart sent off just before the end of the half. Mbappe, a key figure in France’s World Cup victory in July, then stole the show in the second half with a scoring blitz in the 61st, 66th, 69th and 74th minutes. Lille are in second place after a 3-1 home win over Saint-Etienne while Montpellier remain fourth after a 1-1 draw at Guingamp. In the Spanish La Liga, Sevilla went to the top of the table after Real Madrid’s poor season continued with a 1-0 defeat at Alaves and Barcelona could only draw 1-1 at Valencia. Sevilla beat Celto Vigo 2-1 leaving Barcelona second, one point behind, with Lionel Messi's fine goal not enough to give them victory against Valencia. Barca, now four matches without a win in the league, fell behind when Gerard Pique made a mess of a clearance and Ezequiel Garay tapped in at the back post. Messi then swapped passes with Luis Suarez and drilled in from 20 yards to equalise. In the Italian Serie A,.Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant goal as defending champions Juventus maintained their 100 per cent winning start by beating Udinese 2-0 to make it eight straight wins. It comes during a week in which the Portugal forward firmly denied rape allegations from an alleged incident in a Los Angeles hotel in 2009. Rodrigo Bentancur had headed in the opener for Juve, while Antonin Barak struck the foot of the post for the home side. Napoli stay in second place six points behind after a 2-0 home win over Sassuolo. In the German  Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund remain unbeaten at the top of the league after defending champions Bayern Munich astonishingly sustained back-to-back Bundesliga defeats losing heavily 3-0 at home to Borussia Monchengladbach. Bayern won their first four league games but are now winless in four matches. Bayern drop to fifth in the table, four points behind unbeaten leaders Borussia, who came from behind to beat Augsburg 4-3 in a thriller.

Saracens and Exeter continue unbeaten battle at top of Premiership

Billy Vunipola's try helped unbeaten Premiership champions Saracens come from behind to win 25-20 at Harlequins in a fiery London derby on Sunday. But last year’s runners-up Exeter remain top of the table after a tough 39-24 away win over a stubborn Bath side. Sarries and Harlequins traded penalties before Danny Care intercepted Ben Spencer's pass to race clear and score Quins' first try. Joe Marchant then leapt spectacularly to catch and dot down a miscued Marcus Smith penalty to put Quins 20-12 up. But the boot of Owen Farrell and Vunipola's try in the corner was enough to maintain Sarries' flawless record. Saracens, who slipped to second after failing to collect a try-scoring bonus point for the first time this season, have now won 13 consecutive Premiership matches and are still yet to be beaten since April, when they lost to Leinster in the Champions Cup. But rivals Exeter made it six wins from their opening six Premiership games with five tries against Bath. Chiefs were made to sweat for victory until the closing quarter despite Stu Townsend, Don Armand, Dave Ewers, Ian Whitten and Jack Nowell all crossing. Bath led three times up to the hour mark after Rhys Priestland's try and 12 points from the boot of Freddie Burns. Replacement Chris Cook added a second try late on before Joe Cokanasiga had a possible third score disallowed. Saracens and Exeter, both on 29 points, are 10 points ahead of Wasps who went down 35-21 at home to Gloucester who move into fourth spot on the Premiership table.

Clermont stay top despite defeat by La Rochelle

Clermont Auvergne suffered only their second defeat of the season going down 16-12 away to La Rochelle but remain top of the Top 14 table, two points ahead of Stade Francais who stunned last year’s champions Castres 14-9 on their home ground. Montpellier continued their recent good form to remain in fourth place behind Lyon after a convincing 29-17 home win over Toulon. In the Clermont match, La Rochelle led 9-0 at half-time thanks to three Ihaia West penalties. Barely into the second half, Damian Penaud scored for Clermont to reduce the score to 9-5 but a high tackle from their back-row Peceli Yato on 53 minutes meant the visitors were down to 14 players for 10 minutes. He was then joined by team-mate Etienne Falgoux and La Rochelle replacement prop Arthur Joly two minutes later due to scrum issues. That made it 14 against 13 before Clermont prop Loni Uhila saw red for making contact to Pierre Bourgarit’s head with his shoulder. The visitors were now down to 12 men. La Rochelle turned the screw at scrum time and were awarded a penalty try on the hour mark to move 16-5 in front before Clermont hit back via a driving maul, with replacement hooker John Ulugia crashing over to reduce the home side’s buffer to four points with nine minutes remaining. La Rochelle were able to hold on to their lead at Stade Marcel-Deflandre to claim their fourth win of 2018/19, all coming at home, and move into ninth spot on the table. In Montpellier’s home match against Toulon, a tight first half saw the hosts 10-7 ahead just before the interval but Timoci Nagusa’s effort just before the break seemed to dent the visitors’ confidence and last season’s runners-up effectively completed the victory through quick-fire scores from Jan Serfontein and Louis Picamoles, despite Anthony Meric’s consolation.

Wigan to play Warrington in Super League Grand Final

 Sam Tomkins scored a try on his home farewell to help Wigan Warriors beat Castleford Tigers 14-0 and set up a Super League Grand Final against Warrington Wolves who earlier beat St Helens 18-13. The Catalans-bound full-back was at his inspirational best in a victory that gives him and coach Shaun Wane the chance of glory in their final match. Thomas Leuluai's early try put Wigan ahead, with a drop-goal from Tomkins edging them 7-0 up at the break. He then ensured an emotional victory and trip to Old Trafford with a try. Victory sends Wigan to their 10th Super League Grand Final and fifth under Wane, who will take on a role with Scotland Rugby Union this winter. Warrington’s Tom Lineham's two second-half tries against St Helens sent them to their second Super League Grand Final in three years. The first of Dan Richardson's three drop-goals on an enthralling night put Saints 3-2 up at the end of an absorbing and bruising first half. Luke Douglas grabbed the opening try for Saints immediately after the break. Jack Hughes responded, with Lineham's brace setting up a Old with Wigan on 13 October.

Medvedev beats home favourite Nishikori to win Japan Open

Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev stunned home favourite Kei Nishikori in the final to claim the Japan Open title after a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory in Tokyo on Sunday. Medvedev started quickly and Nishikori, aiming for his third title at this event, could not cope with the big-hitting Russian who broke his serve at the second time of asking. After that it was a story of mistakes by world No.12 Nishikori –- 11 unforced errors in the first set – and consistent serving by Medvedev who strolled to a 6-2 first set in just 25 minutes. Nishikori corrected issues with his own serve in the second set but still could not have an impact on Medvedev’s service games, winning only one point on the Russian’s serve during the entirety of the second set. Medvedev bided his time and broke a tired Nishikori, whose final shot was another wild miss, to wrap up the victory and secure a third ATP title of the season. In the Chinese Open, Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili followed up his win over Britain's Kyle Edmund by beating world No.2 Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in the final. World No.34 Basilashvili recorded a 6-4 6-4 win over the top seed in one hour 40 minutes in Beijing having beaten Edmund in the semi-finals. Basilashvili is set to move up to 23rd in the world rankings on Monday. In the women’s singles, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki defeated Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-3 in the final to claim her third title of the season. The Dane, who did not drop a set throughout the tournament, hit 12 winners and won four out of eight break point chances to beat the unseeded Sevastova in 87 minutes.

Hatton gives up lead as Bjerregarrd wins Alfred Dunhill Championship

Tyrrell Hatton lost a four-shot lead on the back nine as Denmark's Lucas Bjerregarrd won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by a single shot on Sunday. Seeking a third successive win in the event, the Englishman was one ahead going into the final round, which saw each group start at 08:30 BST from different tees. But he bogeyed four of the last nine holes for a level par 72 and a 14 under total alongside Tommy Fleetwood. Bjerregaard returned a 67 to seal his second European Tour title. Four shots behind overnight, the 27-year-old world No.92 began his final round at the 18th on the Old Course under the "Shotgun Start" system and made the first of six birdies. He was six adrift with 12 holes to play but when he rolled in a birdie putt from the edge of the 16th green he was two clear and a dropped shot at his final hole, the infamous Road Hole 17th, could not deny him the title.

Marquez holds off Dovizioso to win Thailand MotoGP

Championship leader Marc Marquez held off title rival Andrea Dovizioso to win a thrilling inaugural Thailand MotoGP on Sunday. Marquez passed Dovizioso on the final corner to secure his seventh win of the season. The Spaniard extended his championship lead over Dovizioso to 77 points with four races remaining, and the defending champion can clinch a fifth MotoGP title in six years at Motegi in Japan on 21 October. Maverick Vinales finished third, with Italian legend Valentino Rossi fourth. After a tight start to the race in which the top eight riders were covered by less than two seconds at the halfway mark, Dovizioso, Marquez and Rossi began to pull clear inside the final 10 laps. Vinales was able to close the gap and passed Yamaha team-mate Rossi to finish third with seven laps remaining. Marquez and Dovizioso traded places constantly inside the final three laps, with the Spaniard making the crucial move over his Italian rival on the final bend.

Chaos erupts after Nurmagomedov retains UFC title

Chaos erupted after Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) lightweight title with a submission victory over Ireland’s Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on Saturday with members of his support team arrested after an all-in brawl broke out following the bout. The Russian ended McGregor’s attempt to win back the mixed martial arts title when he sealed a brutal submission victory with a rear naked choke hold in the fourth round, which then sparked a mass brawl. Fights broke out in and around the cage, with a red-shirted fan landing several blows on McGregor before security intervened. Both fighters were escorted from the arena by police and security. UFC boss Dana White later told Fox Sports that three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested. The fight had been highlighted by bad blood between both camps, with McGregor pleading guilty in July as part of a deal with prosecutors to resolve charges over an April melee in which he attacked a bus the Russian was travelling on.

Farah wins maiden marathon with new European record

Britain's Mo Farah claimed his maiden marathon win in only his third race with victory in Chicago on Sunday. The 35-year-old Olympic gold medallist, who was third in this year’s London Maratho, set a new European record with a time of two hours, five minutes and 11 seconds. Farah, competing in his first marathon in the US, burst clear of Ethiopia's Mosinet Geremew in the final half-mile in damp conditions in Illinois. He is the first British man to win the Chicago race since Paul Evans in 1996. Farah, a six-time world champion and double Olympic champion at both 10,000m and 5,000m, retired from the track in August 2017 to focus on road racing. In London in April he clocked 2:06.21 to beat Steve Jones' 33-year-old British record.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 8-14 October 

Monday, 8 October

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Tuesday, 9 October

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour – Tre Valli Varesine, Italy, UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (till 14 October).

Wednesday, 10 October

Football: International friendly – Italy v Ukraine.

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Cricket: ODI series – Sri Lanka v England, Dambulla.

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (till 14 October). 

Thursday, 11 October

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations), Group A3 – Poland v Portugal, Group B2 – Russia v Sweden. International friendlies – Wales v Spain, France v Iceland.

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Golf: British Masters, Walton Heath GC, UK (till 14 October).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Gran Piemonte, Italy, UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (till 14 October). 

Friday, 12 October

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations), Group A2 – Belgium v Switzerland, Group A4 – Croatia v England, Group B3 – Austria v Northern Ireland,

Rugby Union: European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 1 - Leinster v Wasps, European Rugby Challenge Cup, Pool 3 – Perpignan v Sale.

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Golf: British Masters, Walton Heath GC, UK (till 14 October).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (till 14 October). 

Saturday, 13 October

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations), Group A1 – Netherlands v Germany, Group B1 – Slovakia v Czech Republi.

Rugby Union: European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 1 – Bath v Toulouse, Pool 2 – Exeter v Munster, Pool 4 – Scarlets v Racing 92, Ulster v Leicester, Pool 5 – Montpellier v Edinburgh, European Rugby Challenge Cup, Pool 1 – Timisoara Sarecens v Dragons, Northampton v Clermont Auvergne, Pool 2 – Ospreys v Pau, Stade Francais v Worcester, Pool 3 – Connacht v Bordeaux Begles, Pool 4 – Enisei-STM v La Rochelle, Bristol v Zebre, Pool 5 – Benetton v Grenoble, Harlequins v Agen.

Rugby League: Super League Grand Final - Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves, Old Trafford, Manchester.

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (till 14 October), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (till 14 October), WTA Tianjin Open, China (till 14 October).

Cricket: ODI series – Sri Lanka v England, Dambulla.

Golf: British Masters, Walton Heath GC, UK (till 14 October).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Il Lombardia, Italy, UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (till 14 October).

Sunday,14 October

Football: UEFA Nations League (major nations), Group A3 – Poland v Italy, Group B2 – Russia v Turkey. International friendly – Scotland v Portugal.

Rugby Union: European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 2 – Gloucester v Castres, Pool 3 -Lyon v Cardiff Blues, Glasgow v Saracens, Pool 5 – Toulon v Newcastle.

Tennis: ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters, China (final day), WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open (final day), WTA Tianjin Open, China (final day).

Golf: British Masters, Walton Heath GC, UK (final day).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (final day).

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