World Sports News in Brief

Verstappen completes practice hat-trick in Mexico

Sunday, 2018-10-28 07:12:09
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Red Bull's Max Verstappen before qualifying at F1 Mexican Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico, October 27, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of Mexican Grand Prix practice on Saturday, setting the 21-year-old up for a qualifying session that could see him become the youngest Formula One driver on pole position.

The Dutchman, who was also fastest in both Friday sessions, lapped a damp Hermanos Rodriguez circuit with a best time of one minute 16.284 seconds at the end of the final tune-up before qualifying. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who looks set to clinch his fifth world championship in Sunday’s race, was second fastest but 0.254 slower, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third.

* Atletico Madrid climbed to the top of La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday, easing the pain of their humbling 4-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek. Atletico lead the standings on 19 points after 10 games although champions Barcelona could climb back to the summit if they beat Real Madrid in Sunday's 'Clasico'.

* Former France World Cup winner Thierry Henry was denied a first taste of success as Monaco manager after a rollercoaster 2-2 home draw with Dijon on Saturday stretched their winless run to 10 games. The result kept the team in 19th position, on seven points from 11 games, goal difference keeping them ahead of bottom side Guingamp, who conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with Strasbourg.

* Kei Nishikori will have a chance to win his first ATP title in over two years on Sunday after beating qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 6-3 to reach the Vienna Open final. The Japanese, ranked 11th in the world, will face this year's Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson after the South African beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3 3-6 6-4.

* Olympic champion Simone Biles soared to the top of all-around qualifying at the world gymnastics championships on Saturday just hours after visiting a Doha emergency room for kidney stone problems. Aiming for her fourth world all-around title, Biles piled up 60.965 points and even had a vault, 'The Biles', named after her, USA Gymnastics said.

* Salomon Kalou's late equaliser secured Hertha Berlin a 2-2 draw at front runners Borussia Dortmund, and Bayern Munich overcame resilient Mainz on Thiago Alcantara's 2-1 winner in the ninth round of Bundesliga on Saturday.

* Sadio Mane scored twice and Mohamed Salah continued his return to form as Liverpool eased to a 4-1 win against lowly Cardiff City to move top of the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday. Mane scored two fine second-half goals while Salah ended any suggestion that he was suffering from a 'goal drought' with his fourth strike in three matches to go alongside two assists.

* World decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer and British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, the European 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion, have been named men's and women's European athletes of the year.

* Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will take charge of the Philippines national team at next month's Suzuki Cup and the finals of the Asian Cup next year. The 70-year-old, who was recently linked with the head coach's role in both Iraq and Cameroon, is expected to arrive in Manila next week for the team's training camp ahead of the regional Suzuki Cup, which kicks off on Nov 8.

* MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez continued his domination of the 2018 season by putting his Honda on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix despite high winds at Phillip Island on Saturday. The Spaniard, who sewed up his fifth MotoGP title with three races to spare in Japan last weekend, swept to his fifth successive pole in Australia with a lap of one minute, 29.199 seconds before a sprinkling of rain disrupted final qualifying.

Reuters, Xinhua