Toronto Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray capped his career year with the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, while Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes was the National League (NL) winner.

Ray was rewarded for his fine season in Toronto, where the Blue Jays narrowly missed out on the MLB playoffs despite a 91-win campaign.

The 2017 All-Star boasted a 2.84 ERA – the best among qualifiers in the AL, having come off a 6.62 ERA last year.

Ray – acquired by the Blue Jays in 2020 – led the AL in ERA-plus (154) and WHIP (1.045), while striking out an MLB-best 248 batters in 32 starts.

It is the fifth time a Blue Jays pitcher has claimed the AL Cy Young and the first since Hall of Famer Roy Halladay in 2003, while Ray is just the ninth pitcher in history to earn the top honour heading into free agency.

In the NL, Milwaukee's Burnes reigned supreme after starring for the Brewers, who lost to eventual World Series champions the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series (NLDS).

Burnes ended the season as the leader in ERA (2.43), strikeout rate (35.6), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.88), fielding independent pitching (1.63) and barrel rate (2.9 per cent).

The right-hander – Milwaukee's first Cy Young winner since Pete Vuckovich in 1982 – had started the season by striking out a record 58 batters before issuing his first walk.

Baker Mayfield says he is "probably the most beat up I've been" but still plans to play for the Cleveland Browns against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Mayfield has been playing through a torn labrum and also has a knee ailment on top of that shoulder issue.

He struggled mightily as the Browns were thrashed 45-7 by the New England Patriots in Week 10, completing 11 of his 21 pass attempts for 73 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

That dropped the Browns to 5-5 and last place in the AFC North. However, they are far from out of the mix in a crowded playoff picture and Mayfield has no plans on taking a week off even against the winless Lions.

Asked about how he feels physically, Mayfield, who did not practice on Wednesday, said: "Pretty sore. That time of the year. One day at a time but I'll be good.

"Probably the most beat up I’ve been. Multiple things, not just one."

Head coach Kevin Stefanski added of Mayfield: "Baker is as tough as they come. He's sore. He's fighting through it."

Casper Ruud fought back from a set down to claim his maiden ATP Finals victory after late replacement Cameron Norrie made a blistering start in Turin.

Norrie stepped in as a second alternate at the season-ending event at the Pala Alpitour following Stefanos Tsitsipas' withdrawal due to an elbow injury on Wednesday.

The Briton got off to a flyer in his first ATP Finals match, but eighth seed Ruud hit back to win 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the night session after losing his opening Green Group contest to world number one Novak Djokovic.

Ruud lost only two games when the two met in the San Diego Open final last month and Norrie looked hungry for revenge as he bossed the first set, grasping both break-point opportunities.

Ruud won the only break point of the second set to force a decider and just one further break was enough to get him up and running in the competition.

After becoming the first Norwegian to win an ATP Finals match, Ruud will do battle with Andrey Rublev to join Djokovic in qualifying from the group.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Ruud  – 32/22
Norrie– 30/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Ruud  – 10/0
Norrie – 6/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Ruud – 2/5
Norrie – 2/2

The Carolina Panthers are "trending" toward starting Cam Newton at quarterback for their Week 11 clash with the Washington Football Team.

Carolina last week brought their 2011 first overall pick and 2015 MVP Newton back on a one-year deal having parted company with him after the 2019 campaign.

Newton, who was released by the New England Patriots before the start of this season, made his second debut against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and had an instant impact.

P.J. Walker got the start in the absence of the injured Sam Darnold but it was Newton who produced the moments that will live long in the memory.

His first touch saw him find the endzone on a two-yard run to give the Panthers the lead, with his second seeing him connect with Robby Anderson on a two-yard touchdown pass as Carolina cruised to a 34-10 win.

Both Walker and Newton are in a position physically to start, but head coach Matt Rhule indicated it is the latter who will likely do so as the Panthers aim to boost their playoff hopes by moving to 6-5.

"You know, I think we're probably trending that way to be quite honest with you. I'm not gonna probably pull that trigger 'til later," Rhule said of Newton starting.

"But I think, and I was pretty transparent the other day, in terms of wanting to push him into that role I think it's good for our team.

"But we're getting P.J. ready as well. As I said, gameplan-wise, I think we could see a myriad of different things happen."

WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon says he is even more concerned about Peng Shuai after receiving an email purportedly written by the two-time major doubles champion saying she is safe.

Peng has reportedly been missing since making sexual assault allegations against a former top Chinese government official.

She posted on Chinese social media site Weibo allegations against Zhang Gaoli – the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee – claiming he had forced her to have sexual relations with him.

Chinese state media sent a statement to Simon with an email supposedly written by Peng stating the allegations of sexual assault were not true and that she is "resting at home."

The WTA boss on Wednesday reacted by saying he has "a hard time believing" Peng wrote the email and he is even more worried about the 35-year-old.

"The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts," he said in a statement.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government.

"The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail.

"Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship.

"The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to."

The WTA called for a full investigation into the matter last week.

Peng's social media post, along with all of her other content, has been removed from Weibo.

A spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs informed reporters he was not aware of the situation.

"I have not heard of the issue you raised," the spokesperson said via a widely released statement. "This is not a diplomatic question."

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is "pretty close" to a return, having practiced on Wednesday.

Murray has missed the last two games, in which the 8-2 Cardinals have gone 1-1, because of an ankle injury.

However, there appears to be optimism he could play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

"I'm pretty close," Murray told reporters. "I'm much further along than I thought I was going to be."

Murray has thrown for 2,276 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. His average of 8.89 yards per attempt leads the NFL while he also has three rushing touchdowns to his name.

Colt McCoy has deputised for the Cardinals in the last two games but suffered a chest injury in their loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. 

Miles Sanders is closing in on a return to action for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have activated the 21-day practice window for the running back.

An ankle injury suffered in the Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders landed Sanders on injured reserve.

He remains on IR but the roster move by the Eagles means he would be allowed to return to action this week if he is deemed to have made sufficient progress.

The Eagles are at home against the 5-4 New Orleans Saints on Sunday and head coach Nick Sirianni has told reporters there is a chance Sanders will be available.

The NFC East team have won two of their last three games to reach 4-6, ensuring they remain in contention for a Wild Card place.

Sanders was a second-round draft pick in 2019 after a college career at Penn State and was averaging 4.76 yards per carry this season before going down against the Raiders, having topped 800 yards in each of his first two years in the league.

Jordan Howard and Boston Scott have supported mobile quarterback Jalen Hurts in helping Philadelphia cope well with Sanders' absence – the Eagles lead the league with 208.7 rushing yards per game since Week 8, per NFL.com

The Saints game will be an intriguing battle. The Eagles have the third-best rushing attack with 144.3 yards per game, while Sean Payton's team are allowing only 72.9 YPG on the ground – which is the best mark in the NFL.

Hurts has been highly effective as a runner and 20.6 per cent of his rushes going for 10 or more yards represents the best mark of any qualifying player in 2021.

He has also rushed for a first down on 39.2 per cent of his carries, a ratio second only to the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been banned from all rugby activities for two months for his conduct towards match officials during a series win over the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus, head coach of the Springboks for their 2019 World Cup triumph, has also been suspended from all matchday activities with immediate effect until September 30 next year.

World Rugby on Wednesday revealed that an independent misconduct committee found the 49-year-old was guilty of all six charges that were brought against him.

Erasmus accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win in the first Test in July and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

He also made the claims in a 62-minute clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against the world champions.

Erasmus also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls".

In summary, World Rugby revealed he had been guilty of threatening a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official's performance and then making good on that threat; published or permitted to be published the video containing numerous comments that were either abusive, insulting and/or offensive to match officials.

He was also found to have attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials; did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials; published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match.

The committee also deemed Erasmus to have engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the 'Erasmus Video'.

Erasmus was warned about his future conduct and told to issue an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby were also charged with not ensuring Erasmus complied with the World Rugby Code of Conduct and/or permitted him to commit acts of misconduct; and/or did not publicly correct any comments or publications by or on behalf of the director of rugby that amounted to misconduct.

A fine of £20,000 was issued to SA Rugby along with a warning as to future conduct. The organisation was told there must be an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby issued a joint statement along with Erasmus confirming both parties will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts.

Trying to predict the 2021 NFL season has seemed like an exercise in futility.

It is a year that has served as a perfect illustration of the NFL being a 'week-to-week league'; upsets have been frequent, making the elite teams tougher to discern, even with 10 weeks in the books.

Only four teams in the AFC are below .500 while, of those currently outside the playoffs in the NFC, every team aside from the winless Detroit Lions is at worst a game back in the loss column of the final Wild Card berth.

It sets the stage for a fascinating stretch run in the regular season and, for fantasy purposes, can sow doubt around players who would otherwise be considered sure things.

But, in Week 11, there are some clear standouts who look primed for highly productive performances. Once again, Stats Perform has identified four offensive players and a defense that deserve starting spots this week.

Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders were shredded by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs last week as their commitment to playing coverage looks featuring a single-high safety backfired spectacularly.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley seems steadfast in sticking with such coverages and the evidence suggests it will prove the Raiders' downfall again versus the Bengals.

Though the Bengals enter the game on a two-game losing streak, they can afford to have confidence in Burrow flourishing in Las Vegas.

Burrow is delivering a well-thrown, accurate ball on 84.4 per cent of his pass attempts against Cover 1 robber looks and on 90.2 per cent of throws versus Cover 3 zone.

The Raiders, therefore, represent the ideal matchup as the Bengals and Burrow look to bounce back. 

Running Back: A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

The Packers will be without starting running back Aaron Jones because of a knee sprain, however, Dillon has proven himself an impressive complement and should excel filling the void while Jones is on the sideline.

Dillon was not efficient in the Packers' win over the Seattle Seahawks last time out, averaging only 3.1 yards per carry while finding the endzone twice.

However, he has averaged at least 4.9 yards per rush in the three other games where he has received at least 10 carries this year.

Against a Vikings defense giving up the third-most yards per rush in the league (4.74), Dillon will have the workload and the matchup to enjoy a career day in Jones' absence.

Wide Receiver: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs

The second-year wideout is on a tear, Lamb having racked up 378 receiving yards and four touchdowns over the last four games.

He is establishing himself as Dak Prescott's top target on a loaded offense few have managed to slow down in 2021.

The Chiefs have improved on defense of late but theirs is a unit allowing the third-most pass yards per play in the NFL (7.41). It is tough to have faith in Kansas City to slow down a receiver in Lamb's vein of form.

Tight End: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts

Returning from a fractured hand, Knox was targeted just once in the Bills' blowout win over the New York Jets.

The game script did not really call for Knox to be heavily involved as Buffalo built an insurmountable lead.

However, things are likely to be closer against the Colts, meaning Knox may need to reproduce the breakout form he delivered earlier in the season.

Knox has a touchdown in four of his seven games in 2021. Against a Colts defense allowing the seventh-most TD drives in the NFL (27), he's a strong bet to find the endzone again.

Defense: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

Miami's ultra-aggressive defense created havoc in their stunning win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. The Dolphins sacked Lamar Jackson four times, their commitment to relentlessly blitzing defensive backs derailing Baltimore's passing game, intercepted him once and forced two fumbles, with one returned for a touchdown.

Now they face a Jets team that has turned the ball over 22 times this season, committing 13 giveaways in their last four games.

They have turned to Joe Flacco in the belief the veteran, and not ailing second overall pick Zach Wilson or Mike White, gives them the best chance to win. However, Flacco threw an interception in each of his previous three appearances for the Jets last season. Despite the quarterback change, the signs still point to Miami's defense enjoying another disruptive day.

Joe Flacco will start for the New York Jets when they face the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The veteran quarterback replaces Mike White, with rookie Zach Wilson not ready to return from a second-degree PCL sprain.

Flacco was reacquired by the struggling Jets (2-7) in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles last month following Wilson's injury blow.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh on Wednesday confirmed the 36-year-old will suit up to start in the Week 11 battle between the bottom two in the AFC East.

"One of the reasons we went and got Joe is for the experience, not only for the playing ability or for the [locker] room, but also for situations like this," said Saleh.

"Miami's got a dynamic coverage system, with all the different coverages they run. Joe has been there and done that and has kind of a steadying influence we felt would put us in the best position."

White threw four interceptions in last week's heavy 45-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. 

He has thrown for 953 yards with five touchdowns and eight interceptions in four matches this season.

Flacco spent the 2020 season at the Jets as backup before moving to the Eagles on a one-year, $3.5million contract.

The former Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl champion was relegated behind starter Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew at Philadelphia, who felt he was surplus to requirements.

Flacco completed 74 of 134 passes for 864 yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions for the Jets last season.

Novak Djokovic felt he had produced "a great performance" to cruise past Andrey Rublev and reach the last four at the ATP Finals in Turin.

A 6-3 6-2 triumph for Djokovic in just 68 minutes on Wednesday moved him into the semi-finals with a match to spare.

Djokovic will face alternate Cameron Norrie on Friday already knowing he will finish top of the Green Group after straight-sets wins over Casper Ruud and Rublev this week.

The Serbian dropped serve in the first game of the match against world number five Rublev but had few problems from then on.

Victory took Djokovic to 50 wins on the ATP Tour this season. He has been beaten just six times in 2021 and is now two victories away from a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals success. 

The 34-year-old has won 12 of his 13 matches since the start of the US Open, losing only to Daniil Medvedev – his main rival for glory again here – in the final of that competition.

"It was a great performance overall," said Djokovic, who won 27 of 31 points on his first serve and had 14 aces to zero double faults. 

"I served well and that helped tremendously. I wanted to put him out of his comfort zone, taking away the time and mix up the pace.

"I knew that I had to be on my toes and start well.

"I dropped my serve again like in the first match against Ruud. It was quite a nervous start from both of us until 4-3, then with new balls I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time. 

"I made him play. Winning the first set I put additional pressure on him, and I started to maybe play more consistently from the back of the court."

Rather than 2019 winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has withdrawn with an elbow injury, Briton Norrie is up next for the world number one at the ATP Finals.

"I always like playing new players, particularly in one of the greatest tournaments in the world here in Turin," added Djokovic.

"Cameron deserves to be here, it is not lucky. He worked his way to Turin with great wins in Indian Wells and some other tournaments.

"So it will be fun to watch him play against Ruud and I will get ready for my next match."

Djokovic has now made the last four of the ATP Finals on 10 occasions, with this being his 40th career win in the tournament (16 defeats).

Novak Djokovic secured his spot in Saturday's semi-finals with a straight-sets victory over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The world number one claimed a 6-3 6-2 win over world number five Rublev in the first-ever meeting between the two on Wednesday.

Djokovic confirmed his place as winner of the Green Group with his second consecutive victory, having also beaten Casper Ruud in straight sets in his opening match on Monday.

Despite Rublev's ranking, Djokovic dispatched his opponent in one hour and eight minutes as he raced to a 40th career ATP Finals victory and his 50th on tour this year.

The start of the match was close as the Russian broke Djokovic in the opening game, but the world number one responded in kind in the next game and eventually eased away to win the first set 6-3 as Rublev made some costly unforced errors. 

The second set was decided in similar fashion, with Rublev fading as Djokovic, who faces Cameron Norrie in his last round-robin match on Friday, broke twice to comfortably claim the victory.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Djokovic – 19/8
Rublev – 18/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Djokovic – 14/0
Rublev – 6/1

BREAK POINTS WON 

Djokovic – 4/6
Rublev – 1/1

Formula One technical director Ross Brawn believes the sprint qualifying race at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was the best yet ahead of an expansion of the format in 2022.

A dramatic race weekend in Brazil saw Max Verstappen top qualifying on Friday, Valtteri Bottas win the sprint event to claim pole position on Saturday, before Lewis Hamilton triumphed in a thrilling main event on Sunday.

Hamilton had started the sprint at the back of the grid and charged all the way up to fifth to improve his grid position for the main race, which he ultimately battled to win from 10th after a grid penalty.

His move up the field was the highlight of an entertaining sprint that had more fireworks than the previous two held in 2021 at Monza and Silverstone.

The sprint schedule also leads to more meaningful action on the Friday, when qualifying takes place rather than the normal practice sessions.

"Saturday's F1 Sprint was, in my view, the best one of the three," Brawn wrote in his column for the F1 website. "It had plenty of action, with loads of battles – including Lewis carving his way through the field. 

"It was a great Saturday afternoon of entertainment, an appetiser for the main course on Sunday.

"We had a fabulous Friday, too, with a dramatic qualifying session. It can never be underestimated how much of an impact the Sprint has on a Friday.

"With only one hour of practice, it creates some jeopardy heading into the rest of the weekend, as the teams are not as prepared as they can be."

Brawn has previously revealed F1 plans to double the number of sprint race weekends to six in 2022 and are pondering some small but significant changes.

Presently points are only awarded to the top three drivers in the sprint but that could be increased to the top 10 to align with the main race and encourage more daring overtakes further down the field.

New cars that promote overtaking are already coming in for next year, while Brawn has accepted that the formal award of pole position should come after Friday qualifying rather than for the Saturday sprint.

He added on Wednesday: "We think the foundations are very strong for the Sprint and will be presenting more details of our plans for six events in 2022 in the coming weeks in discussions with the FIA and the teams.

"There are things we need to tweak but Brazil showed the Sprint is a great addition to the weekend. 

"It has made Friday, Saturday and Sunday big moments that are exciting for all of us."

There are three races to go in the F1 season, with Verstappen leading Hamilton by 14 points going into the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix this week, with the constructors' championship also finely poised.

"We're seeing a titanic battle for this year's two championships," added Brawn.

"The race in Brazil was just another twist in an engrossing tale. It’s been fantastic. No one knows what will happen next.

"We have got two new venues to visit in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, before heading to the finale in Abu Dhabi where the circuit has had a series of modifications. The stage is set."

First-round leader Dustin Risdon widened his lead to three strokes on the second day of the 54th Jamaica Golf Open Championships at the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover on Tuesday.

Lewis Hamilton will continue his late push to keep his crown as Formula One world champion at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix this week.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton has three races left in his quest to deny Red Bull rival Max Verstappen glory.

Verstappen leads the championship by 14 points, a lead that was reduced by Hamilton's memorable win at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton started the sprint qualifying race at the back of the grid and then the main event on Sunday in 10th on the grid, sitting 21 points adrift.

Damage limitation would have been a reasonable aim, but instead Hamilton turned the tables with a famous win that hauled him back into contention.

A tense and thrilling title race has also proven controversial, with Mercedes this week requesting a review of the decision not to take any action against Verstappen for an incident involving the pair in Brazil.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff branded Verstappen's defence while Hamilton attempted to pass him as "over the line", but Red Bull boss Christian Horner saw nothing untoward.

Verstappen still has the precious lead that means he has the title race in his hands. The Dutchman knows he will be world champion if he wins the next two races while also setting the fastest lap.

In a remarkable year, he has finished in the top two for 15 of his 16 finished grands prix this year.

But a surging Hamilton - looking for a record eighth championship that will see him surpass Michael Schumacher - will not relinquish his title without an almighty scrap, and a night race at Losail Circuit will provide the latest twist.

LAST TIME OUT

Hamilton claimed a crucial win with a magnificent performance in Brazil.

Verstappen had extended his lead in the title race on Saturday to 21 when he finished second behind Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the sprint qualifying race.

Hamilton had his Friday qualifying session result ruled out due to a DRS infringement, meaning he started the Saturday sprint in last, but impressively charged up from 20th to fifth.

A five-place grid penalty meant he still had to start back in 10th for the main event on Sunday, yet the reigning world champion delivered, gaining eight places within the early exchanges before, at the third attempt and after the controversial moment, he overtook Verstappen with 12 laps remaining.

Poleman Bottas had been unable to keep control of the race after Verstappen and Sergio Perez nipped ahead to make it a Red Bull one-two early on, but Hamilton ensured it was Mercedes' weekend as he cut the Dutchman's lead in the championship.

Bottas ultimately took third, with Perez settling for fourth as well as a point for the fastest lap which stopped Hamilton from making further gains on Verstappen. Charles Leclerc was the best of the rest in fifth for Ferrari.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN QATAR

A new circuit means there is no past form for teams or drivers to look back on, but Hamilton goes into the week as favourite for victory on the back of his Brazil brilliance.

The Briton has won five of the last seven GPs raced in Arabian Peninsula, most recently this year in Bahrain when he won despite Verstappen starting from pole.

This will be Hamilton's 35th different circuit – he has won at 29 of the previous 34 he has appeared at during his F1 career and taken pole at 30 of them.

As well as the thrilling battle in the drivers' standings, Mercedes are now 11 points clear of Red Bull in a race for constructors' glory that looks poised to go down to the wire.

McLaren, meanwhile, have fallen to 31.5 behind Ferrari in the battle to finish third as they continue to lose momentum, with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in need of a morale-boosting result in Qatar.

After this race, the Qatar Grand Prix will move to a new purpose-built circuit from 2023 as part of a 10-year contract for the event.

TOP FIVE OPTA FACTS

F1 history - Losail in Qatar will be the 75th circuit to host an F1 race, the 11th in the Asia and the third in the Arabian Peninsula after Sakhir in Bahrain and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton thrives - In Brazil, Hamilton become the F1 driver to win the most races in the Americas (18) and the Briton will now be looking to be the driver to win the most races in the continent of Asia, surpassing Sebastian Vettel (28).

Masterful Max - Verstappen comes to this contest after equalling the tally of podiums (57) earned by Nico Rosberg, the last person other than Hamilton to win the title. The Dutchman is six points away from being the eighth F1 driver to surpass the 1,500 mark.

Three in a row? - Mercedes have taken the pole position in the last two qualifying sessions (both by Bottas in Mexico and Brazil) and are now looking to equal their best run this season, the three taken between Emilia Romagna and Spain (Hamilton x2 and Bottas).

900 up - McLaren will become the second team to reach 900 GPs in F1 after Ferrari (1,027). The British team appeared for the first time in Monaco 1966 with only one driver, Bruce McLaren, who failed to finish that race. This year they are the only team to have recorded a one-two finish (in Monza).

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers 

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 332.5 
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 318.5 
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 203
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 178
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 151

Constructors 

1. Mercedes 521.5 
2. Red Bull 510.5 
3. Ferrari 287.5 
4. McLaren 256
5. Alpine 112

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been forced to withdraw from the ATP Finals in Turin because of an injury to his right elbow, with Cameron Norrie taking his place.

Tsitsipas was beaten in straight sets by Andrey Rublev - who faces Novak Djokovic next - in his opening Green Group match on Monday and was scheduled to take on Casper Ruud on Wednesday.

However, the 23-year-old's elbow issue means that ATP Finals debutant and Indian Wells winner Norrie will play Ruud instead, in his first match of the group stage.

Ruud's first outing ended in a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Djokovic, although the Norwegian may be more confident of his chances in this match, having beaten Norrie 6-0 6-2 in their only other encounter last month at the San Diego Open final.

Tsitsipas - who won the ATP Finals in 2019 - was forced to retire from his Paris Masters clash against Alexei Popyrin last month, also due to an ongoing elbow problem, and the Greek is no longer able to play through the pain.

Norrie is the second alternate to join the competition after an injury to one of the original eight. Jannik Sinner replaced fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini and went on to defeat Hubert Hurkacz in the Red Group on Tuesday.

 

Naomi Osaka has expressed her concern over the situation of Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from publicly since accusing China's ex-vice premier of sexual assault.

Peng, a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2013, posted allegations against Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo last week.

The post, along with all of Peng's other content, has since been removed from the site.

Multiple reports suggested the 35-year-old had subsequently not been seen or heard from, and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) called for a full investigation into the matter.

There has so far been no response from the Chinese government to the allegations.

However, a spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs informed reporters he was not aware of the situation.

"I have not heard of the issue you raised," the spokesperson said via a widely released statement. "This is not a diplomatic question."

Now Osaka, a four-time major champion and one of the biggest names in the sport, has used her platform to question the situation.

"Hey everyone, not sure if you’ve been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused," Osaka wrote in a statement published to her official Twitter account.

"Censorship is never ok at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok. I'm in shock of the current situation and I'm sending love and light her way."

Osaka concluded her post with the hashtag: "#whereispengshuai".

On Sunday, WTA chairman Steve Simon addressed the matter in a statement that said: "The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern.

"As an organisation dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on – equality, opportunity and respect.

"Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

"In all societies, the behaviour she alleges that took place needs to be investigated, not condoned or ignored. We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward.

"Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected.

"We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.

"Our absolute and unwavering priority is the health and safety of our players. We are speaking out so justice can be done."

Osaka's comments follow on from men's world number one Novak Djokovic expressing his concern over the situation when speaking to the media earlier this week.

Djokovic said: "I don't have much information about it. I did hear about it a week ago.

"Honestly, it's shocking that she's missing, more so that it's someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times.

"It's not much more to say than hope that she will be found, that she's OK. It's just terrible. I can imagine just how her family feels that she's missing."

Collin Morikawa has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour ahead of this week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Morikawa becomes only the fifth American to be given the accolade after Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Patrick Reed.

The 24-year-old has been given the honour in recognition of his debut victory at The Open at Royal St Georges in July.

His two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth at Sandwich was the second time he had won a Major Championship on debut after also lifting the 2020 US PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Morikawa told the European Tour's official website: "Two and a half years ago when I turned pro, I had no clue what life was going to put in front of me, but I'm very thankful for what I've been able to accomplish.

"We want to grow the game as much as we can, and this is an important piece of that. So I'm going to honour this and this is going to be very special and it is definitely a top highlight so far since turning pro, so thank you."

Morikawa goes into the season finale as leader of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, and is hoping to become the first American to win it.

Promoter Bob Arum has revealed that Tyson Fury would 'prefer' to fight Oleksandr Usyk instead of Dillian Whyte if Anthony Joshua agrees to step aside.

Joshua activated his option for an immediate rematch after losing to Usyk, who is now the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, on September 25.

As a result, the 30-day period granted by the WBC for Fury and Usyk to arrange a fight passed without negotiations, with WBC interim champion Whyte in line to face Fury instead.

Fury is more interested in a clash with the Ukrainian, however, in an attempt to claim his belts and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, according to Arum.

"If Joshua decides not to exercise his rematch against Usyk and decides to step aside, the fight we would like to make is between Usyk and Fury," Arum said to Sky Sports.

"That is a fight to unify the titles once and for all. Then Joshua can fight the winner of the undisputed fight. Whyte can stand in line and fight the winner ultimately.

"That's what Tyson would like. And I represent Tyson. That is his preference. If they want to fight each other, which I believe they do, I would facilitate it."

Arum also explained why the WBC did not name a mandatory challenger to Fury's title on Tuesday night, despite Whyte expecting to be given a first opportunity to fight for a world title.

"Whyte's people had brought an arbitration proceeding against the WBC," Arum continued. "The WBC said they would not grant Whyte a mandatory position while the arbitration is pending.

"That was appropriate. Fury may end up fighting Whyte, we'll see. But it won't be with the requirement of the WBC. Whyte is an excellent fighter."

Fury had been in discussions with Joshua last year over an undisputed title fight, but it never materialised and Arum believes Joshua's best chance of facing Fury is to walk away from his rematch with Usyk for now.

"If Joshua decides he wants the rematch [with Usyk] straight away, which I think would be a mistake because there is no way he will win unless he gets new trainers in and figures out how to fight a southpaw, then he has the absolute right to do it and nobody will interfere with that contract," Arum added.

"If he decides, which I think he should, to take another fight, Usyk can fight Fury for all the belts, Joshua can fight the winner. I think that's the way he should go. If he does that, everybody will accommodate him."

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