World Championship Snooker and High Drama
The World Snooker Championship
The World Snooker Championship continues to deliver superb drama from The Crucible. Five matches have already gone the distance in the opening round and a half alone. Shocks have been commonplace in this year’s competition, with the defeat of No.1 Ronnie O’Sullivan in round one and world No.2 Mark Selby in round two. Reigning world champion Mark Williams endured a tough tournament having been in hospital for chest pains, he was knocked out by an emotional David Gilbert in the second round. Williams was the third, three-time world champion, to be knocked out before the quarter-finals and this has freed up the tournament for some lesser exposed World Championship performers to shine. Judd Trump trailed Ding Junhui 9 frames to 7 at the break and both players will be desperate to come out on top, given Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby have been beaten on their side of the draw. 2010 World Champion, Neil Robertson is now favourite to win the tournament and he looked very impressive beating Shaun Murphey 13-6 in his last 16 encounter. James Cahill, the amateur conqueror of Ronnie O’Sullivan, could not continue his fairy-tale run and was halted 13-12 in a thriller by World No. 15 Stephen Maguire. Two-time finalist Ali Carter is also through to the quarter-finals after beating notable youngster Zhou Yuelong 13-9.
Trophée Hassan II - European Tour Event
The Hassan II Golf Trophy has been a European Tour Event since 2010. Played at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam since 2016 it was won last year by Alexander Lévy. This year’s field was made up of 156 players, all hoping for the lion’s share of the €2,500,000 on offer. It was Jorge Campillo who managed to get his first European Tour win at the age of 32. Arguably the most consistent player in the world currently and it is hard to see how this is only Jorge’s first win. From his last five events, Campillo has finished in the top three in four of them. Two seconds at the Oman Open and Qatar Masters, followed by a third in the Indian Open at the end of last month saw Campillo come into this tournament red hot and he did not disappoint, winning the Trophy by two shots. Second were South African, Erik Van Rooyen & American pairing, Sean Crocker and Julian Suri. The Tour now looks forward to the China Open next week before the British Masters that comes from Hillside 9th-12th May.
The Barcelona Open was won by Dominic Thiem as he made light work of Daniil Medvedev in the final, winning 6-4, 6-0 in straight sets. Thiem was consolidating his spot in the top five and now looks set to have a good run with ATP 1000 events in Madrid and Rome at the start of May. Questions from the tournament will once again revolve around Nadal’s seeming vulnerability even on clay. He is now 0/2 on clay this season and that is not something one would expect given his ‘King of Clay’ status. Medvedev gained his place in the final by beating Kei Nishikori in the semi-final. Alexander Zverev continued his disappointing start to the clay season with another last 32 defeat to the unseeded Nicolás Jarry. The Madrid Open gets started on the 5th May and The Italian Open on the 12th. Lots of great clay action to come before Roland Garros at the end of the month!
The Stanley Cup Playoffs - NHL
The Quarter-Finals of the NHL play-offs are underway and three of the four games are finely balanced at 1-1 after two games.
The Dallas Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Saturday to tie series 1-1
The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Sunday to tie series 1-1
The Colorado Avalanches beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Monday to tie the series 1-1
The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 2-1 on Sunday to lead their series 2-0
All the games are very much in the balance still, but a win for Carolina on Thursday would see them lead 3-0 and close to sealing their places in the last four. It has been a very interesting play-offs so far with the two first seeds, Calgary Flames & Tampa Bay Lightning already been beaten in Round 1.
Three teams have booked their places in the Euroleague Final Four.
CSKA Moscow beat Final Four Hosts Kirolbet Baskonia 3-1
Fenerbahce beat Zalgris Kaunas 3-1
Real Madrid beat Panathinaikos 3-0
The final game is between Anadolu Efes and Barcelona and they currently have their series tied at 2-2
Serie A & Coupe de France
The race for the top four in Serie A continues with four games to go. A bad weekend for AC Milan as they were beaten by top four challengers Torino 2-0. Roma also won 3-0 to put themselves fourth. Atalanta can move ahead of them though with a win on Monday night and put it in their own hands for the remainder of the season.
The Coupe de France Final was a rollercoaster too and PSG missed out on the double by losing 2-2 on penalties to Rennes. PSG were 2-0 up after 20 minutes but threw it away, drawing after 90 mins and going to extra-time. Kylian Mbappé got himself sent off with two minutes to go and Rennes held their nerve to win on penalties. Neymar landed himself in hot water after the game as he lashed out at a fan and blamed the defeat on ‘lost’ youngsters. A bad night for the Paris club, but a great one for Rennes who captured their first Coupe de France title since 1971.
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