The sports wrap 4th September 2017

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Chris Froome extends Vuelta a Espana lead on stage 15.

Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez pulled off an impressive win on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday but it was Britain’s Chris Froome who increased his overall lead in his bid to win the race for the first time. On another tough day in the mountains, the Astana rider Lopez arrived alone at the 2,510m summit of the Alto Hoya de la Mora after overtaking Briton Adam Yates in the final kilometres. Four-time Tour de France winner Froome countered Vincenzo Nibali’s move on the final climb and widened his advantage over him by six seconds. He now leads the Italian Bahrain-Merida rider by one minute and one second. Russia’s Ilnur Zakarin moved up to third overall by finishing second behind Lopez, 36 seconds off the pace, with Wilco Kelderman third on Sunday’s 129.4km ride from Alcala la Real. Froome, once again helped to a strong finish by Team Sky team-mates Wout Poels and Mikel Nieve, finished fifth, with Nibali seventh. Froome is looking to become the first man to achieve a Tour-Vuelta double in 39 years. Only French greats Jacques Anquetil in 1963 and Bernard Hinault in 1978 have previously won both races in the same year.

Hamilton wins at Monza, leads Vettel in drivers’ championship

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday with a dominant drive that sent him clear at the top of the Formula One world championship ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who finished third. The triple champion, who started the last race of the European season from a record 69th career pole position, led Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas to a runaway one-two finish at Monza, Ferrari’s home track. The first driver to win two races in a row this season, with the Italian GP following on from Belgium a week ago, Hamilton now leads Vettel 6-4 on victories in 2017. He has 238 points to Vettel’s 235. “I love it here in Italy and I love the passion of the fans,” Hamilton declared on the podium. “We did a great job, the team did an exceptional job this weekend,” he added. Vettel, who had led the standings since he won the Australian season-opener in March, finished the final race of the European season 36.3 seconds behind the winner. Bottas was 4.4 seconds adrift of Hamilton.There are seven races remaining. Mercedes are 62 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings.

England, Germany, Spain set for automatic cup qualification

Belgium became the first European country to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia while champions Germany, Spain and England stayed on track for automatic qualification. Belgium defeated Greece 2-1 away in Group H but other big guns Italy and France suffered setbacks in the weekend matches. Unbeaten Spain outplayed four-time champions Italy 3-0 at the Bernebau in Madrid in Group G with two goals from Isco on his home turf and the Azzurri now look set for the play-offs. After France’s thumping 4-0 win over the Netherlands in Group A on Friday, Les Bleus inexplicably struggled to a shock goalless draw at home to minnows Luxembourg, drawing boos and whistles from the Toulouse crowd over a disappointing performance. France would still qualify if they beat Bulgaria and Belarus in the final two games but Sweden are now just one point behind in the battle for an automatic place after the Swedes thrashed Belarus 4-0. Germany kept their 100 per cent record in Group C with a 2-1 victory away to the Czech Republic and play Norway at home on Monday. England also stayed unbeaten in Group F with a flattering 4-0 win in Malta and play second-placed Slovakia in a vital match at Wembley on Monday. Of the other nations, the Republic of Ireland ground out a 1-1 away to Georgia to stay in second place behind Serbia in Group D but Wales crept closer with a 1-0 home win over Austria. The top teams in the nine groups qualify automatically with the eight best runners-up playing off for the remaining four places.

Federer and Nadal on course to meet at US Open for first time

Roger Federer and world No.1 Rafael Nadal stayed on track to meet at the US Open for the first time in their long careers after the Swiss clinically despatched Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in straight sets. The third seed, who is aiming to make it three Grand Slams in 2017 after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, beat 35-year-old Lopez 6-3 6-3 7-5. Five-time champion Federer, 36, who came through two gruelling five-set matches in the first two rounds, goes on to face Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last 16 and could meet Nadal in the semi-finals. “I’m really excited how I feel after two five-setters,” the 19-time Grand Slam champion said. Top seed Nadal earlier beat Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-1 6-4 in three hours and 16 minutes. In the women’s singles, world No.1 Karolina Pliskova played down an arm injury after fighting back to beat China’s Shaui Zhang in the third round. Zhang, ranked 26 in the world, had match point at 5-4 in the second set, but Pliskova turned it around to win 3-6 7-5 6-4. The result means the Czech stays in the race with Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza to end the tournament as number one.

Montpellier go top of Top 14 table with 37-6 win over Oyannax

Montpellier Herault made it two wins out of two to sit on top of France’s Top 14 table after an easy 37-6 home win over Oyannax on Saturday. Newly promoted Oyannax battled hard to stay in the match in the first half but Montpellier’s quality came through after the break with South African duo Frans Steyn and Henry Immelman effectively securing the win with tries before returning hero Louis Picamoles completed another comfortable evening for Montpellier. Newly promoted Agen provided the shock of the round with a 23-19 victory over a poor Racing 92 side who had Anthony Tuitavake sent off in the first half. It was a remarkable victory by Philippe Sella’s men over the 2016 Top 14 winners. In a rematch of the 2017 final, champions Clermont Auvergne edged Toulon 21-16 at home, while elsewhere Stade Français beat La Rochelle 35-24 while Castres, Lyon and Toulouse also picked up home wins. In England, European champions Saracens began their 2017-18 Aviva Premiership campaign in style with a convincing nine-try thrashing of Northampton Saints at Twickenham. Sean Maitland scored a first-half hat-trick with further tries coming from Brad Barritt, Richard Wigglesworth, Alex Lozowski and Vincent Koch. Schalk Brits and Ben Spencer added more tries for Saracens in the second half to give the Saracens a 55-24 victory. Lewis Ludlam scored for Northampton with Tom Wood also crossing twice, but Saints missed out on a bonus point. Saracens lost in the Premiership play-off semi-finals last season, but won the European Champions Cup for a second successive year, while Northampton came seventh domestically – their lowest league finish since the 2008-09 campaign.

Notts Outlaws win first domestic T20 cricket title

Notts Outlaws won their first domestic 20-over title with a 22-run victory over Birmingham Bears in the T20 Blast final at Edgbaston on Saturday. A magnificent 132-run stand between Brendan Taylor (65) and Samit Patel (64 not out) propelled Notts to 190-4 after they had slumped to 30-3 early on. Harry Gurney’s 4-17 restricted the Bears to 168-8, despite Sam Hain’s 72. Notts now hold both domestic limited-overs trophies after their One-Day Cup success at Lord’s in July. And Peter Moores’ side are well-placed to complete a treble-winning season by claiming the Division Two title in the County Championship.

MotoGP great Valentino Rossi breaks leg in training accident

Legendary MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi broke his leg in two places in an off-road motorcycle accident late last week. The seven-time world champion was training with riders from his VR46 academy in Italy when he crashed his motorcycle and fractured both the tibia and fibia in his right leg. A metal pin was inserted to hold the bones together. It was the same leg the 38-year-old Italian broke in 2010. Raffaele Pascarella, the surgeon who operated on Rossi, said the procedure “went perfectly.” The accident came days after Rossi finished third in the British Grand Prix in his 300th race in the premier class. Rossi, who has finished runner-up the past three seasons, is fourth in the MotoGP standings, 26 points behind leader, fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:
http://www.bbc.com/sport, http://www.espn.com, http://www.lequipe.fr, http://www.reuters.com/news/sports, www.skysports.com,
· For county cricket enthusiasts, BBC Local Radio will broadcast live commentary of every single county match with increased coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra most weeks.

Calendar Keynotes: 4 – 10 September

Monday, 4 September
Football: World Cup European qualifying – Germany v Norway, Northern Ireland v Czech Republic (Group C), England v Slovakia, Scotland v Malta (Group F)
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, rest day
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)
Golf: USPGA Tour, Dell Technologies Championship, TPC, Boston, US (final day)

Tuesday, 5 September
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 16, Los Arcos – Logrono ( 40.2km – TTT)
Football: World Cup European qualifying – Moldova v Wales, Republic of Ireland v Serbia (Group D), Italy v Israel, Liechenstein v Spain (Group G).
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Wednesday, 6 September
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 17, Villadiego – Los Machusos (180.5km – summit finish)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)

Thursday, 7 September
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 18, Suances – Santo Toribio (169km – hilly, summit finish)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)
Cricket: England v West Indies, third Test, Lord’s, London (series tied at 1-1)
Golf: PGA European Tour, Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland (till 10 September)

Friday, 8 September
Football: French Ligue 1 – Metz v Paris St. Germain
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 19, Caso (Parque de Redes) – Gijon (149.7km – hillly, flat start)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)
Cricket: England v West Indies, third Test, Lord’s, London (series tied at 1-1)
Golf: PGA European Tour, Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland (till 10 September)

Saturday, 9 September
Football: English Premier League – Manchester City v Liverpool, Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth, Everton v Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City V Chelsea, Stoke City v Manchester United. French Ligue 1 – Nice v Monaco, Montpellier v Nantes, Troyes v Toulouse. Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid v Levante, Valencia v Atletico Madrid, Barcelona v Espanyol. German Bundesliga – 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich. Italian Serie A – Juventus v Chievo.
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 20, Corvera – Angliru (117.5km – mountains, summit finish)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (till 10 September)
Rugby Union: France Top 14 – La Rochelle v Clermont Auvergne, Castres v Montpellier Herault. English Aviva Premiership – Bath v Saracens, Exeter v London Irish, Harlequins v Gloucester.
Cricket: England v West Indies, third Test, Lord’s, London (series tied at 1-1)
Golf: PGA European Tour, Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland (till 10 September)

Sunday, 10 September
Football: Italian Serie A – Inter Milan v SPAL, Lazio v AC Milan
Cycling: Vuelta a Espana, stage 21, Arroyomolinos – Madrid, final day (117.6km – flat)
Tennis: US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York (final day)
Athletics: Great North Run, Newcastle.
Rugby Union: France Top 14 – Toulon v Stade Toulouse. Aviva Premiership – Worcester v Wasps.
Cricket: England v West Indies, third Test, Lord’s, London (series tied at 1-1)
Golf: PGA European Tour, Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland (till 10 September)