World Sports News in Brief

Nadal straight into the groove at ATP Finals, win for Thiem

Monday, 2020-11-16 08:12:19
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Tennis - ATP Finals - The O2, London, Britain - November 15, 2020 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his group stage match against Russia's Andrey Rublev. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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London is bidding farewell to the ATP Finals after hosting it since 2009 but Rafa Nadal has unfinished business alongside the River Thames and his opening win over Andrey Rublev on Sunday (Nov. 15) suggests he is ready to land the one big title to elude him.

Often he has arrived physically spent after gruelling years, but he looked full of beans in a 6-3 6-4 victory that put him top of the London Group, ahead of Austrian Dominic Thiem who got his campaign off to a fine start with a 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas who he lost to in the 2019 final. Nadal will face Thiem on Tuesday.

* Italy overcame the absence of around 20 players plus coach Roberto Mancini due to injury or COVID-19 related issues to beat lacklustre Poland 2-0 on Sunday and go top of their Nations League group. Jorginho put Italy in front with a 27th-minute penalty and substitute Domenico Berardi, playing at home ground of his club Sassuolo, made the game safe in the 84th minute as the hosts extended their unbeaten run to 21 games.

* Early goals by Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens earned Belgium a comfortable 2-0 victory over England as they strengthened their grip on top spot in Nations League Group A2 in Leuven on Sunday. A second successive defeat for England, after a home loss to Denmark, left them in third place in the group with one match to come at home to Iceland next week.

* World number one Dustin Johnson won the Masters at Augusta National in emphatic fashion on Sunday to secure his second career major title. American Johnson, whose previous major triumph came at the 2016 U.S. Open, shot a four-under-par 68 to reach 20 under on the week, five strokes clear of Australian Cameron Smith (69) and Im Sung-jae (69) of the Republic of Korea.

* Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum scored two early goals to set them on their way to a 3-1 victory over Bosnia in their Nations League clash on Sunday, a first win for the Dutch under new coach Frank de Boer. The Dutch, who went top of Group 1, are away at Poland in their last game on Wednesday and have eight points, one ahead of the second-placed Poles and two ahead of Italy, who meet later on Sunday in Reggio Emilia.

* Top seed Aryna Sabalenka claimed her third WTA title of the year after beating her good friend and long-time doubles partner Elise Mertens of Belgium 7-5 6-2 in the final of the season-ending Linz Open in Austria on Sunday.

* Tennis Australia will schedule all of its summer tournaments in the leadup to the Australian Open in the southern state of Victoria due to COVID-19. Victoria, which hosts the year's first Grand Slam in the state capital Melbourne, will stage the team-based ATP Cup and other tournaments usually held in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.

* Slovakia ended Scotland's nine-match unbeaten run when a first-half goal from Jan Gregus gave them a 1-0 win in their Nations League match on Sunday between teams who both qualified for Euro 2020 amid drama last week. In other League B matches, Wales kept their seventh successive clean sheet in competitive games as they beat Ireland 1-0 and Turkey hit back to beat 10-man Russia in a match which hinged on an early red card for Andrey Semenov.

* Britain's Adam Peaty set a world record for the short course 100 metres breaststroke at the professional International Swimming League in Budapest on Sunday, finishing in a time of 55.49 seconds. The previous record of 55.61 seconds was set by South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh in Berlin 11 years ago.

* Suzuki rider Joan Mir clinched his maiden MotoGP crown and became the Japanese team's first world champion in two decades with a seventh-placed finish at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday. Mir began the race with a 37-point lead over his closest challengers Fabio Quartararo of Petronas Yamaha and Suzuki team mate Alex Rins, and secured a fourth successive top-10 finish from 12th on the grid to emulate American Kenny Roberts Jr., who won the riders' championship for Suzuki in 2000.

* Britain's Lewis Hamilton took a record-equalling seventh world championship and became Formula One's most successful driver of all time after winning a wet and slippery Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday. The 35-year-old Mercedes driver matched Ferrari great Michael Schumacher's seven titles in style, lapping sole rival and team mate Valtteri Bottas on a nightmare afternoon for the spinning Finn.