Magnificent May – The ARENA Month in Sport
May is for clay! With huge events across the month from Spain, Italy and France we cannot wait to see how these huge tournaments play out. The questions are already circling about whether Rafael Nadal, ‘King of Clay’ retains his dominance on the surface. This is the first time in Nadal’s career that he comes into the Madrid Open without a win on clay and there will be challengers for his throne again after defeats at Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The likes of Djokovic, Thiem, Zverev, Medvedev and Fognini will all be looking to get wins under their belt at the Madrid Open 3-14th May and the Italian Open 6th-19th May. Both events will be a springboard to Roland Garros and whatever happens, it is going to be a brilliant month of tennis to watch.
In the WTA it looks as competitive as ever. Out of the ten principal events that have been this season, there have been nine different winners. The landscape of the women’s game is very unpredictable and this month’s tournaments in Madrid, Rome and Paris look likely to be no different. The market for the French Open at this stage is so tight that the top eight fancied players are separated by just five betting points. Predicting a winner for the Madrid Open would be a dangerous game, but given Simona Halep has yet to record a win this season she would be our shout to gain her first victory of the season.
We have a hugely exciting month in store in the football. The FA Cup reaches its conclusion on the 18th May and it looks set to be a brilliant final between Manchester City and Watford. The Hornets are looking for their first FA Cup win in their 121-year history and their best finish is when they reached the final in 1983-4. Manchester City are still chasing the treble and they will already know their fate in the Premier League on 18th May. Manchester City will be red hot favourites to win the historic trophy but will face a difficult test against a Watford side who have already shown their grit and determination to get to the final. Wembley will be a sea of blue and yellow and it is going to be a mighty spectacle.
In other football news, the conclusion of Serie A and the Eredivisie look set to be incredibly exciting. In Serie A the winner is not in doubt. However, the battle for the final Champions League spots is extremely tense. Six teams are still fighting for a place in Europe’s elite club competition and any one of Inter Milan, Atalanta, Roma, Milan, Torino or Lazio could land the prize. In the Eredivisie, with two games to go Ajax and PSV are locked together on 80 points. Who will hold their nerve better in the battle for the Dutch title?
The magical May action is already well underway at the World Snooker Championships and it represents the first of four major trophy’s that are up for grabs in May across IMG ARENA properties. We have already reached the quarter-final stages of the championship and with major upsets having already taken place, the tournament is destined for a very competitive conclusion. The two in-form players from this season that are still in the competition are Judd Trump and Neil Robertson. They are on opposite sides of the draw and look a good bet to play each other in the final on the 6th May. Neil Robertson will have to pass John Higgins to reach the semi-finals, while Judd Trump currently leads Stephen Maguire 7-1 and has one foot in the semis already. The remaining four players are Kyren Wilson, David Gilbert, Ali Carter and Gary Wilson. Roll on the bank holiday weekend when the final of the Snooker World Championship will be decided over 35 gruelling frames.
The EuroLeague also reaches its conclusion this month and the top five teams from this year’s tournament are the ones in contention for the Final Four. The Final Four is being hosted in Vitoria-Gasteiz this year at the Fernando Buesa Arena, home to Kirolbet Baskonia. Fenerbahce, CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid have already booked their places in Vitoria–Gasteiz and fittingly they filled the first three league places this season. The final game is between Anadolu Efes and Barcelona, the result will determine who will take the final spot in the EuroLeague Final Four. The Final Four is one of the most passionate spectacles of the sporting calendar and we can’t wait to be there.
Finally, we will be in Southport at Hillside Golf Club to watch Tommy Fleetwood host the 2019 British Masters. It is always a famous event in the European Tour calendar and this year looks no different. Lee Westwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Wallace, Matthew Fitzpatrick, last year’s winner Eddie Pepperell and many more will make it a quality event and should launch the Europeans into the Major’s that are taking place in the coming months.
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