World No.2 leaves French Open, tragedy strikes Moto GP and more…9 min readReading Time: 6 minutes
The Top Two
Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open
Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka from Japan withdrew from the French Open to prioritise her mental health. This news came as a shock to the fans across the world who were looking forward to seeing Osaka, ranked No.2 by the Women’s Tennis Association, play this year.
Osaka rankled tournament officials when she said that she wouldn’t participate in press conferences at the French Open to protect her mental health, and stated that athletes were often forced to attend these press conferences at tournaments. Rolland Garros, another name for the French Open, then fined her $15,000 for not speaking to the media after her first round match. Following this, Osaka released a statement saying she would withdraw from the tournament.
Nike, her sponsor, has come out in support of her and applauded the athlete for talking openly about her struggles with depression.
Tragedy strikes Italian Grand Prix
19-year-old Swiss motorcycle rider Jason Dupasquier died at the Careggi Hospital in Florence, following a crash during Moto3 qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix
Dupasquier was involved in an accident with Ayumu Sasaki and Jeremy Alcoba. He appeared to fall and was then hit by his own motorbike and that of Sasaki. He was treated on the track for approximately 30 minutes before a helicopter landed and airlifted him to a hospital in Florence. Dupasquier’s team, Prustel GP, did not take part in the race.
Chelse Emerge Victorious in Europe; Manchester Flounders
In the second all-English Champions League final in three years, Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 to claim the trophy for only the second time in their history. Kai Havertz became the third Chelsea player after Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to score a goal in the final. His first half strike, assisted by Mason Mount, helped the London team hand Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola only his second defeat in a final. The Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel became the first football manager to reach two consecutive Champions League finals with two different teams. The German took over from Frank Lampard in the middle of the season and has done a stellar job.
Villareal won their first ever major trophy after they beat Manchester United in a marathon penalty shootout that ended 11-10 to claim victory in the Europa League final.
The Spanish team’s goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli decided the shootout by converting his own spot-kick and then saving one from the Man United No.1, David de Gea. Earlier Gerard Moreno gave Villareal the lead in the first before Edinson Cavani restored parity in the second half. Manchester United have now gone trophyless for four seasons in a row for the first time in 30 years.
Barcelona Femeni complete historic treble; win Copa de la Reina
FC Barcelona won the Copa de la Reina for the eighth time after beating Levante (4-2). They are now the first Spanish women’s team to achieve the treble of Cup, League and Champions League. Barcelona is the first club to secure the coveted treble in both men’s and women’s football. Patri Guijarro, Alexia Putellas (2) and Marta Torrejon were the goalscorers for Barcelona. Iba Redondo and Estafania Banini gave Levante a fighting chance with their second half strikes.
Zinedine Zidane stepped down as the coach of Real Madrid after the Los Blancos failed to win a trophy for the first time in 11 seasons.
In Italy, Antonio Conte announced his departure from Inter Milan. The manager declared that he was unhappy with the lack of investment from the owners despite winning the Serie A title.
Simone Inzaghi has been named as his replacement.
Massimiliano Allegri has been appointed as the new Juventus coach, replacing Andrea Pirlo, who was sacked after his first ever season as a manager.
Milwaukee advance in style
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first career play-off triple-double helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 120-103 victory over the Miami Heat. That sealed a 4-0 series clean sweep for the Bucks against last year’s finalists. The Bucks will now face either the Boston Celtics or the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns are tied at 2 wins apiece in their play offs as are the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers.
The Philadelphia 76ers are poised to claim a sweep, going into the fourth game against the Wizards.
The Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics have a 3-1 lead at the end of four games, over the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets respectively.
French Open begins with upsets
Two-time finalist Dominic Thiem suffered a shock defeat in the opening round of the French Open to Spaniard Andujar Pablo. He overcame a two-set deficit to upset No.4 seed 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber was defeated in straight sets 6-2 6-4 by Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina. The German, who hasn’t made it past the 4th round of a grand slam since winning Wimbledon in 2018.
The tennis big three- Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal all feature in the same half of the French Open draw this year.
In other interesting matchup news, Venus Williams has teamed up with teenager Coco Gauff with an eye on the Doubles title at the Roland Garros. Gauff is less than half the age of her partner Williams. Gauff has won three doubles titles in her career to add to her two singles crowns. The 40-year-old Venus WIliams has 14 Grand Slam doubles titles.
The remainder of the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the September-October window.
With India expected to face heavy rains in September, the organizers decided that it wouldn’t be possible to host the IPL in the country. The tournament is expected to start on September 18 or 19 and end by October 10.
Josh Donaldson scores 2,00,000 runs in Major League Baseball history
Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson scored the two millionth run in Major League Baseball history this past weekend, crossing the plate on a Nelson Cruz ground-rule double.
The millionth run in MLB history was famously scored by Bob Watson on May 4, 1975.
Egan Bernal wins Giro d’Italia
24-year-old Egan Bernal won the Giro d’Italia. He had won the Tour de France in 2019. Italian racer Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) finished in second place while Britain’s Simon Yates (BikeExchange) made the podium in third.
British team Ineos have now triumphed in 12 Grand Tours since their inaugural season as Sky Procycling in 2010 – defending Tao Geoghegan Hart’s win at the Giro in Milan last October.
Team USA fail to qualify for 3×3 men’s basketball
Reigning World Champions, U.S.A men’s 3×3 basketball team have failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after they lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the qualifying tournament. They lost 21-16 to the Dutch, who are assured qualification along with Poland and Latvia.
The U.S. women sealed a spot at the Games with a 21-13 win over Spain in the semi-finals.
(Out-Actioned is a weekly sports bulletin)
Author’s Note: Adithya is a freelance writer and sports enthusiast.