It almost feels as though using the Ron Burgundy 'boy, that escalated quickly' GIF would be a little too on the nose.

The NBA Conference semi-finals proved to be just as dramatic as we all hoped, with two of them going all the way to all or nothing Game 7s.

In the East, despite a bit of a comeback once Joel Embiid returned from injury, the Philadelphia 76ers were unable to halt the number one seed Miami Heat, while defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks are also out after going down in Game 7 to the Boston Celtics.

Over in the West, the Golden State Warriors overcame the Memphis Grizzlies in a tempestuous series defined by Ja Morant's knee injury, while a sensational performance from Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks saw them destroy the Phoenix Suns in their own backyard in Game 7 on Sunday.

They may not be the Conference Finals many predicted, but they will be absolutely covered in compelling narratives, so Stats Perform is here to take a look at what should be two fascinating contests to determine this year's NBA finalists.

Eastern Conference Final

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics

Perhaps this pairing was to be expected given they are the one and two seeds respectively in the East, but with Giannis Antetokounmpo in their corner and an NBA championship to defend, many will have expected the Bucks to get the better of Boston.

The Celtics showed their mettle, though, in particular Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 28.3 points per game (PPG) in the postseason.

Tatum's 6.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game are supported by an impressive average of four turnovers as the 24-year-old has set about trying to drag his team all the way.

He has not been alone though, with Jaylen Brown averaging 22.2 PPG, while an unlikely hero emerged in the 109-81 win against the Bucks on Sunday as Grant Williams top-scored with 27, the first time he has done so for the Celtics. Williams hit seven of the Celtics' 22 made three-pointers in an incredible shooting barrage.

 

The Heat took full advantage of an Embiid-less Sixers in the opening games of their series with Philadelphia before losing their 2-0 lead, only to see it out 4-2.

Jimmy Butler shone throughout and is averaging 28.7 PPG in the playoffs so far, as well as 5.4 assists and 7.5 rebounds.

His 32 in Game 6 helped ease any nerves about going to a decider, while even the 40 he managed in defeat in Game 4 made the Sixers work harder than they should have had to.

The Celtics won two of their three meetings with the Heat in the regular season, but Miami were triumphant last time out in late March, winning 106-98 at TD Garden thanks to 24 from Butler and 23 from Kyle Lowry, who may not feature in Game 1.

Lowry injured his hamstring in Game 3 of the Heat’s first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, and is a doubt for the start of this series.

Western Conference Final

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Can you stop Luka Doncic, or do you just watch in awe and hope the ball pops before he can score?

That probably won't be the question Steve Kerr and the Warriors will be asking, but they will certainly have to come up with some way of dealing with the dangerous Slovenian.

Doncic is averaging 31.5 PPG from his 10 playoff games so far and was unsurprisingly trending on social media on Sunday as his own personal scoring was such that he was single-handedly matching the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Footprint Center.

His 6.6 assists and 10.1 rebounds per game in the postseason also show how dominant he has been, but that should not take away from the fine work going on elsewhere in Jason Kidd's team.

Having had to carry the Mavericks through most of the first round against the Utah Jazz in Doncic's absence, Jalen Brunson demonstrated his worth with 24 against the Suns in Game 7, while Spencer Dinwiddie posted 30 points of his own too.

 

The Warriors are unsurprisingly just as good at spreading the wealth, even if Stephen Curry – like Doncic – is leading the way with his 26.9 PPG in the playoffs.

The three-point assassin is tied with team-mate Klay Thompson for shots from beyond the arc, with both sinking 42 efforts in the postseason so far, which emphasises the importance of Thompson as well, who has averaged 20.4 PPG.

Jordan Poole is playing his part too with 19.3 PPG, including a 50 per cent success rate on field goal attempts, making 74 from 148.

Dallas may have the upper hand going into this one, not just because of their complete undressing of the Suns in Game 7, but also because they won three of the four games against Golden State in the regular season, with Doncic scoring 41 in their last meeting in early March.

Daniil Medvedev remains hopeful he can feature at Wimbledon despite Russian and Belarusian players being banned from the tournament due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The All England Club, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, confirmed in April that Russian and Belarusian players would not be permitted to play this year, due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

That means unless the ATP and WTA can convince tournament organisers to rethink, men's world number two and reigning US Open champion Medvedev will not compete at Wimbledon.

The decision has split opinion in tennis, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev questioning the ruling, while Andy Murray expressed his backing.

However, Medvedev has not given up hope that Wimbledon may opt for a late change of heart and allow him to play.

"I don't know if this decision is 100 per cent and it's over [for me]," the Russian said.

"If I can play, I'm going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament. If I cannot play – well, I'm going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play."

Questions remain as to a potential backlash should Wimbledon exclude the two countries' players from appearing, with reports suggesting the ATP and WTA may remove ranking points from the tournament.

"I tried to follow what's happening because I don't have any decisions to make. It's right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved," Medvedev added.

"It's a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody's going to give a different opinion.

"[When] you show a tennis ball to 100 people, I'm sure some of them are going to say it's green and not yellow. I think it's yellow. [But] if somebody tells me it's green, I'm not going to get in conflict with this person."

Medvedev returns to action this week at the Geneva Open, where he faces Richard Gasquet or Australian John Millman in his opening match after recovering from a hernia injury that kept him out for six weeks.

Luka Doncic lauded the belief in the Dallas Mavericks dressing room after playing a starring role in a 123-90 thrashing of the Phoenix Suns.

The Mavs advanced to the Western Conference finals, where they will face the Golden State Warriors, courtesy of a dominant showing in Game 7 against the top-seeded Suns.

Doncic had as many points as Phoenix in the first half, making a mockery of the Mavs' status as supposed underdogs.

And it came as no surprise to Doncic, who finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

“I know we were the underdogs,” he said.

"Everybody had the Suns to win this one, but the whole locker room believed and that's what won us the game."

Asked whether he knew he alone had matched the home team's total first-half points tally, Doncic said: "Yeah, of course.

"I'm having fun. I always say when I'm having fun it is the way I best play.

"Honestly, I'm really happy, man. You can't get this smile off my face right now.

"I think we deserve this. We were playing hard the whole series – maybe a couple of games here we were not ourselves.

"But we knew we came here with a statement Game 7. We believed, our locker room believed, everybody believed, so I'm just happy."

Chris Paul vowed to carry on playing after the Phoenix Suns suffered more playoff heartbreak by going down to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

A year ago, the Suns blew a 2-0 lead to lose the NBA Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks but responded by recording the best regular-season record in the league this campaign.

Once again the Suns were heavily fancied and even more so after taking a 2-0 lead against the Mavs.

But on Sunday it was a feeling of deja vu as the Suns were blown out of the water in a 123-90 defeat to crash out of contention.

At one stage the Mavs led by 46 points, while the Suns had just 27 in a disappointing first half – veteran Paul not registering his first field goal until the third quarter.

With Paul now 37 years of age, and reportedly playing with a quad issue, naturally there was talk of retirement, but the 12-time All Star plans to continue as he chases that elusive first NBA championship.

"You play long enough and you don't win, every time you lose, they're going to say it was your best chance," Paul told reporters.

"But I think for me, us, it's we'll be right back next year. I'll tell you that much.

"I'm not retiring tomorrow, thank God. Hopefully, I'm healthy coming back. But I'm [going to] keep playing."

Paul's series mirrored the Suns' fortunes. He averaged 23.5 points and had just two turnovers in the Suns' opening two victories but in the following five that slipped to just 9.4 points and an average 3.6.

Paul said now the Suns simply have to "get back to work".

"It was just a tough game. All season long, we tried to lean on our defence and tonight our defence wasn't there and our offence wasn't there either," Paul said. 

"I think coach [Monty Williams] said a lot of it. You play all season to be in this situation and it didn't work out for us.

"There's probably no greater message than get back to work. At the end of the day you at least had a shot at it, one of 16 teams in the playoffs and a great regular season, but we didn't reach our goal.

"I don't think anything matters except everybody just trying to get a little bit better for next season.

"It's tough. Obviously we got further last year, but we didn't reach the goal. We've got a lot of young guys on our team and I think, even just this experience of this playoffs is better than not. It's unfortunate in the fashion that we lost, but we've got to try to figure out ways to get better.

"At the end of the day, they just executed better than we did. Defensively, we just never caught up with the ball.

"They were making tough shots, they were getting threes, lay-ups, a little bit of everything and we never made the game competitive."

Star winger Artemi Panarin proved the difference in Game 7 for the New York Rangers, with his goal in overtime clinching a 4-3 win and the series on Sunday.

Overtime seemed fitting for what has been such a tight series, and the 30-year-old Russian put the Rangers up in rare circumstances, shooting through a wall of Penguins players in a power-play to score.

It was the third-straight come-from-behind victory in the series for New York, who tied the game with 5:45 left in regulation via Mika Zibanejad.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt the conditions did not suit Panarin but he had the requisite skill to save his side when it mattered most.

"He's the guy, when it gets to overtime, I said to myself that he was going to score," Gallant said after the win. "If we get the winning goal, it's going to be him. Sure enough, he makes a great play.

"You know what? Honestly, the ice wasn't great tonight. The puck was bouncing and it affects his game more than the other guys. People get frustrated at times. I think we saw a little of that.

"I just thought he wasn't having his best night. He tried hard, he competed and got some pucks out. He usually makes a lot of plays and tonight it just wasn't there, but you just get a feeling with a guy like him that he can do that for you. And that's what he does."

The Penguins were bolstered by the return of Sidney Crosby after he missed Game 6 with an upper-body injury, caused by a hit from Jacob Trouba. The visitors equalised on a power-play following a penalty for high-sticking from Trouba and though they hit the lead, could not manage to see the series out.

In Sunday's other result, Johnny Gaudreau's goal in overtime secured the series for the Calgary Flames against the Dallas Stars, moving to the second round with a 3-2 win.

Shohei Ohtani starred with a home run in his second consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Sunday.

After becoming the third Japanese-born player to hit 100 home runs in the major leagues, the 27-year-old went deep over right-field in the first inning off Frankie Montas. Mike Trout also scored after his single ahead of Ohtani.

It was the reigning American League MVP's eighth home run of the season, trailing Trout by one among the Halos, while the team leads baseball in that category with 49 for the season so far.

Patrick Sandoval pitched into the seventh inning for Los Angeles, striking out four and giving up four hits over 101 pitches.

The Halos moved to 24-13 for the season with the win, five games behind the AL West-leading Houston Astros, while the A's remain bottom of the division on 15-22.

Pujols pitches ninth as Cardinals run riot

Albert Pujols pitched for the first time in his major league career, with the St. Louis Cardinals routing the San Francisco Giants 15-6.

Brendan Donovan and Corey Dickerson were the only Cardinals not to claim hits in the lineup, while Yadier Molina got two hits and four RBIs from three at-bats, as their team went 15-2 up heading into the final frame.

It meant Pujols, the Cardinals' designated hitter, went to pitch for the first time in his 22-year career. The 42-year-old gave up a three-run homer to Luis Gonzalez and a solo shot to Joey Bart, but managed to get the final three outs for the win.

Lux lights up late as Dodgers defeat Phillies

Gavin Lux earned late redemption for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies

The second baseman's fielding error allowed the Phillies to gain a 4-0 lead in the second inning, but Lux scored in the eighth inning to move the Dodgers to 4-3 after the eighth.

He then drove the winning two runs home with a walk-off shot deep into the right-field corner to deny the Phillies a four-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.

Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points as the Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, defeating the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-81 in Game 7 on Sunday.

Williams went seven-of-18 from the perimeter to lead the Celtics, with four others scoring in double digits in Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Payton Pritchard, who added 14 points off the bench.

The 23-year-old's seventh triple of the night came at an important time, too, with the Bucks starting to gather momentum at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Tatum was pivotal on both ends despite seven turnovers, putting up 23 points on 50 per cent shooting, eight assists and six rebounds.

The Celtics were able to restrict Giannis Antetokounmpo from scoring easily, with the reigning finals MVP getting 25 points but on 10-of-26 shooting, along with his 20 rebounds and nine assists.

With the series-deciding win, the Celtics have set up a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference finals, facing the first-seeded Miami Heat.

Doncic dominates as Mavs demolish Suns

Both of the contestants in the 2021 NBA finals were knocked out in same night in Game 7s on Sunday, with the Dallas Mavericks blowing out the first-seeded Phoenix Suns 123-84.

The Suns scored a disappointingly low 27 points on their home floor in the first half, as threes rained in on the other end, and the Mavs went into the main change with a 30-point lead.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker went missing when they were needed most, generating little in terms of dribble penetration and combining for 21 points on seven-of-22 shooting.

Conversely, Luka Doncic had come into Game 7 with shooting splits of 45.7 and 29.6 per cent but lit the Suns up with the season on the line, finishing with 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

More importantly, Doncic was able to get his teammates good looks, with Dallas shooting an 48.7 per cent from the perimeter.

The Mavericks will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. 

Ajla Tomljanovic secured a routine first-round win over Irene Burillo Escorihuela at the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, while Magda Linette made comfortable progress at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

Second seed Tomljanovic wrapped up a 6-2 6-1 win over her Spanish opponent in Rabat on Sunday, kick-starting her bid to better her second-placed finish at the 2018 edition of the event.

The world number 44, who was beaten by fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty in the Wimbledon quarter-finals after overcoming Emma Raducanu in London last year, is on course for a potential meeting with Croatian 16-year-old Petra Marcinko, who shocked ninth seed Rebecca Peterson to claim a three-set victory.

The Australian Open girls' champion and junior world number one claimed a superb 6-0 2-6 7-5 win over the Swede for her first career top 100 triumph.

At the Internationaux de Strasbourg, meanwhile, eighth seed Linette saw off Varvara Gracheva 6-3 6-0 to reach the round-of-16, setting up a potential tie with Heather Watson.

Elsewhere, Harmony Tan downed Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-1 to set up a potential round-of-16 meeting with Shuai Zhang, who faces Belgium's Maryna Zanevska on Monday.

Adrian Mannarino dumped sixth seed Aslan Karatsev out of the Lyon Open with a straight-sets victory on day one.

Mannarino secured a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 win on Sunday to reach the second round in his homeland.

The Frenchman roared back from 5-1 down in the first set and rocked Karatsev further by winning the tie-break.

Mannarino then claimed the only break of the second set to advance at the expense of the Russian.

Holger Rune will be his opponent in round two following the Dane's 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3) defeat of Arthur Rinderknech.

Francisco Cerundolo will do battle with top seed Cameron Norrie in the second round after the Argentine saw off James Duckworth 6-2 3-6 6-3.

There were just two matches in the first round of the Geneva Open, with Tallon Griekspoor and Kamil Majchrzak progressing at the expense of seeds Tommy Paul (6) and Alexander Bublik (8) respectively. 

Sam Horsfield scooped the third title of his DP World Tour career as the Englishman triumphed at the Soudal Open in Belgium.

The 25-year-old won two tournaments in three weeks in August 2020, and a closing three-under-par 68 at Antwerp's Rinkven International course gave him a two-shot triumph on Sunday.

Horsfield, who has spent much of his life living in the United States, has only recently returned to action after a three-month injury lay-off and this was just his second event on tour since January.

He looked sharp regardless of that long spell of inactivity, and it was a thrill to get over the line and clinch another trophy.

Horsfield battled playing partner Ryan Fox of New Zealand over the closing 18 holes, with Fox's challenge falling away as he made three bogeys in the closing six holes to finish with a 71.

At 13 under par for the week, Horsfield finished two shots clear of Fox and Germany's Yannik Paul, who shared second place. Paul finished with a round of 69, made up of two birdies and 16 pars.

Horsfield said of the victory moment: "I was trying not to cry while I was over that little tap-in."

His girlfriend, Issi Bryon, has taken on bag duties in the absence of Horsfield's regular caddie, Mick Seaborn, this week. Horsfield on Saturday said his caddie had been "going through a tough time".

"Having Issi on the bag, it's been an amazing week," Horsfield said. "Mick's not here but I wish he was. I was able to do it for him and I'm so, so happy."

Jai Hindley held off strong competition from Romain Bardet and Richard Carapaz to claim victory on stage nine of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.

The Australian secured victory on Blockhaus despite being pushed hard by Bardet and Carapaz, with a very tight sprint ending at the top of the second summit.

Mikel Landa and Joao Almeida were not far behind, while Juan Pedro Lopez was able to recover from coming off his bike to retain the maglia rosa heading into Monday's rest day.

"It's pretty incredible," Hindley said after the race. "It wasn't the easiest year I had last year. I worked [hard] to get back to the level to compete at the Giro and I'm at a loss for words. It's pretty amazing.

"I was just trying to survive as best I could, actually. I knew it was flattening out in the last k's and there was a right-hander before the finish with around 200m to go. I wanted to take the corner first and gave it everything to the line."

It was a day to forget for Simon Yates, though, who finished the stage over 11 minutes down on Hindley, and is likely now out of contention for the maglia rosa.

Lopez fought hard to recover after being forced off his bike following a collision with Sam Oomen, though the Spaniard offered an apology to the Jumbo-Visma rider afterwards.

"I want to say sorry to Sam Oomen because after we touched each other and I had to put one foot on the ground, I threw my bottle," Lopez said.

"When I came to my first Giro I didn't expect to have the maglia rosa so it was hard to believe that I still have it. I'm very tired but luckily I have a rest day tomorrow."

NO BREAKS IN THE HAND IS WORTH ONE IN THE BUSH

It must have been a scary moment for Natnael Tesfatsion as he went too fast into a left turn, veered off the road and flew over his handlebars headfirst into a bush.

He got back to his feet and carried on, but it was a particular blow after he had been leading the breakaway.

Tesfatsion was seen by a doctor and the official Giro race feed thankfully confirmed he had safely resumed the race, with seemingly more ego bruised than body.

STAGE RESULT  

1. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) 5:34:44
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) same time
3. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) same time
4. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) same time
5. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 37:52:01
2. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +0:12
3. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +0:14

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 147
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 120
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) 78

King of the Mountains  

1. Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) 83
2. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 69
3. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43

La Rochelle will face Leinster in the European Champions Cup final after beating Racing 92 20-13 in an almighty battle at Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

A year after losing to Toulouse in the final, La Rochelle will have another chance to be crowned European champions for the first time at Stade Velodrome on May 28 after fighting back to defeat their Top 14 rivals on a hot Sunday in Lens.

A second-half penalty try, which resulted in Racing being reduced to 13 men for around eight minutes, was a key moment in the semi-final as it put La Rochelle in front for the first time.

Ronan O'Gara's side edged out the Ireland legend's former employers to set up a repeat of last year's semi-final in Marseille, Ihaia West making amends for an off day with the boot by sealing it with a try right at the end.

Nolann Le Garrec put Racing in front with an early penalty and West failed to make it 3-3 when he missed a straightforward chance from the tee.

Virimi Vakatawa extended the Paris club's lead with a sharp sidestep to squeeze beyond two defenders and dot down for an opening try, which Le Garrec converted after 25 minutes.

La Rochelle applied sustain pressure and although Raymond Rhule had a try ruled out as the ball was not clearly out of a ruck when he scooped it up, West's penalty got them on the board and Gregory Alldritt powered his way over on the stroke of half-time.

West was unable to add the extras and the La Rochelle fly-half was off target with another penalty early in the second half before the ice cool Le Garrec booted Racing into a 13-8 lead.

Ill-disciplined Racing were rocked when Camille Chat and Cedate Gomes Sa were sent to the sin bin in quick succession, the second offence resulting in a penalty try that put last year's runners-up 15-13 up with just under half an hour go.

A disjointed and sloppy La Rochelle side failed to increase their advantage while Racing were two men down, during which time Le Garrec missed from the tee twice.

Pierre Popelin stepped up to miss a penalty at the other end, but O'Gara's men ended Racing's hopes of winning the Champions Cup for the first time, with West diving over to seal it.

Novak Djokovic became the oldest winner of the Internazionali d'Italia men's singles title in the Open Era as he fended off Stefanos Tsitsipas on the clay in Rome.

The world number one said he played a "perfect set" to race through the opener, before coming from a break down in the second to earn a 6-0 7-6 (7-5) victory in Sunday's final.

Djokovic made it a record-extending 38th Masters 1000 title in what was his 55th final at this level, and it was his sixth triumph at this event in the Italian capital.

At 34 years, 11 months and 23 days old, Djokovic is 10 days older than the previous oldest Rome champion, Rafael Nadal, who took the title last year.

He boosted his head-to-head record to 7-2 against Greek star Tsitsipas, winning their last six matches and all five they have contested on clay, including last year's French Open final where Djokovic came from two sets behind to scoop the grand slam. This victory clearly augurs well for Djokovic's upcoming title defence in Paris.

Djokovic broke serve to love in the opening game, Tsitsipas swatting a volley into the net to hand over the early advantage and set the tone for a wildly one-sided set.

Tsitsipas broke to lead 3-1 in the second set and he served for it at 5-3 but was broken to 15, sending a forehand wide on game point. The tie-break that soon followed was hard fought, with Tsitsipas looping a backhand long on match point as Serbian Djokovic earned the trophy once again.

Reflecting on his fast start, and his first title of 2022, Djokovic said on Amazon Prime: "I pleasantly surprised myself, I can say, even though I had a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match. I knew what to expect from the other side so I knew what I had to do, but I did play a perfect set, no doubt about it.

"After that it was a little bit tight, the beginning of the second for me. He used it, and at this level one or two points can turn a match around and he was back in the game. At 4-1 up for him and 30-40, the match could have easily gone into a third set, but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time to come back in the game, and the tie-breaker, I guess I was just an inch better, maybe calmer, and it was a tight tie-break for both of us."

Ahead of the French Open, which gets under way next Sunday, Djokovic is feeling in great shape for his title defence. Having missed the Australian Open in January in a deportation drama, Djokovic will head to Paris as a major rival to teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

Should Djokovic triumph at Roland Garros, he would match Nadal's men's record of 21 grand slams.

"I've been building my form in the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best shape on clay was usually coming around Rome time," Djokovic said.

"So it couldn't be a better time, coming into Roland Garros with a title at this wonderful tournament. I'm going to Paris with a lot of confidence."

Enea Bastianini said he tried to make Francesco Bagnaia "nervous" by overtaking him, a tactic that worked as he secured the win at the French Grand Prix on Sunday in MotoGP.

To make Bagnaia's afternoon even worse, the Ducati rider crashed out just a few turns later.

After working his way up from fifth on the grid, Bastianini made his way up to Bagnaia at the front before putting pressure on his fellow Italian.

The drama arrived on lap 21 as Bastianini overtook Bagnaia before the latter immediately took his position back, only to hit the kicker and run wide.

That allowed Bastianini to ease back into the lead, with Bagnaia's race ending after going into the gravel shortly after.

"I'm really happy about this race. The weekend has been really complicated for me with some crashes," Bastianini said after his win.

"In the race I see that my pace was really nice, and at the end when I see Pecco [Bagnaia] very close I understand 'okay now you have to stay behind', and I tried overtaking him in the second corner to make him a little bit nervous, and at the end he goes long and I win this race.

"It's all for my team because they work a lot at this Grand Prix to give me the best bike, and it's incredible this job."

Bagnaia started on pole alongside fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller, who did at least finish second, and the Australian explained why he had allowed Bagnaia to get back ahead of him early in the race.

"The boys rode a strong race at the front there. Pecco wanted to pass me early on, it seemed like he had a bit better speed," Miller said. "I had good grip, I just wasn’t able to push off on that right-hand side.

"Pecco wanted to pull away so I was like 'alright, go for it', but as soon as he got in the front he sort of started having moment after moment.

"Then I saw Bastianini coming and coming. He put the move on me and to be honest I had nothing back for him until he and Pecco got into a bit of a battle, my lap times started coming down again there towards the end and I was actually able to come a bit closer to him, but yeah he was riding really well today."

Iga Swiatek plans to "celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu" after becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2013 to win five successive WTA Tour events with victory at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number one faced Ons Jabeur – who had been on an 11-match winning run – in Sunday's final in Rome and simply had too much for the Tunisian.

Swiatek won 6-2 6-2, with the 20-year-old Pole getting an early break to establish a 3-0 lead that put her in control of the first set.

As it happened, last week's Madrid Open champion Jabeur never managed to wrest control back from her opponent – her only break of the match came while 4-1 down in the second, with Swiatek digging deep to save four break points in her next service game.

Swiatek then saw things out to defend her Rome title and add to her impressive recent streak.

Additionally, Swiatek has emerged victorious from every WTA 1000 event she has entered this season, having previously won in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

But she was quick to salute Jabeur's efforts after another commendable showing.

Swiatek said: "I want to congratulate Ons because she had such a good run on the clay court.

"You have shown fight, spirit, so much variety that it's really nice to have you on tour. Your tennis is different and your tennis is really interesting for women's tennis I think."

As for her own performances, Swiatek added: "It wasn't easy for the whole week to play every day, but the crowd gave me so much energy.

"It was so nice to play here, be in Rome, and I agree with Ons in terms of good pasta! And today I'll celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu – no regrets!"

Swiatek now heads to Roland Garros – the scene of her first and only previous grand slam success in 2020 – as the firm favourite.

Enea Bastianini secured a big win at the French Grand Prix after a battle with Francesco Bagnaia, which ended with the latter crashing out.

Bagnaia started on pole alongside fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller, and led for most of the race.

However, after working his way up from fifth, Bastianini overtook Miller and started making ground up on Bagnaia at the front.

The drama arrived on lap 21 as Bastianini overtook Bagnaia, before the latter immediately took his position back, only to hit the kicker and run wide, allowing Bastianini to ease back into the lead.

Matters got much worse for Bagnaia just a few turns later as he crashed out, seemingly trying too hard to make the ground up.

Bagnaia had finished on the podium in six of his previous 12 MotoGP races (five wins), though had not reached it in any of his three Grand Prixs at Le Mans in the top category, and that run continued this time around.

Miller came home in second to at least give Ducati something to cheer, while Aleix Espargaro held off a challenge from Fabio Quartararo to take third.

Quartararo had finished on the podium in his previous two races and if he had done so in France, would have equalled his best run so far in the top category (three podiums in a row twice).

Alex Rins and Joan Mir made it a weekend to forget for Suzuki Ecstar as they both failed to finish, with Rins crashing out early after losing control of his bike when re-joining the track from the gravel on lap three. Mir made an uncharacteristic error to also go down in the gravel.

Marc Marquez finished sixth and has now collected points in his last nine MotoGP races (including two wins and three podiums), which was already his best run since 2019 and the best scoring run of any of the current riders.

TOP 10

1. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing)
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo) +2.718secs
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +4.182s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.288s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +11.139s
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +15.155s
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +16.680s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +18.459s
9. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing) +20.541s
10. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) +21.486s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 102
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 98
3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 94
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 69
5. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo) 62

Teams

1. Aprilia Racing 131
2. Suzuki Ecstar 125
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 121
4. Ducati Lenovo 118
5. Red Bull KTM 99

Tennis stars Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina are expecting a child, with their baby girl due to be born in October.

Monfils is the ATP world number 21, while Ukrainian Svitolina is ranked 27th in the WTA rankings.

On Sunday, the pair, who married in 2021, announced the news on their official Twitter accounts.

"With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October," a post on each of their accounts read.

Svitolina has been outspoken about her opinion on Russian and Belarusian athletes participating on the Tour, in the wake of Russia's invasion of her homeland.

In April, the 27-year-old called for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from all international tennis events unless they denounce the invasion in Ukraine.

She decided to take a break from tennis in March, citing a back problem.

The Atlanta Braves came out best after an action-packed eighth inning to defeat the San Diego Padres 6-5 on Saturday.

Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth following a four-run inning from the Padres, the defending World Series champions responded with a four-run inning of their own to split the opening two games of a three-game series.

Marcell Ozuna scored a home run and Austin Riley hit the go-ahead double in the response to hand the Braves the win, in what has been a sputtering start to the season.

Charlie Morton pitched solidly, striking out nine and giving up two hits over 83 pitches in six innings.

Atlanta have now won four of their past six games to move to a 16-18 record for the season.

Robert ruins Yankees win streak

Luis Robert drove home the winning run in the ninth inning to hand the Chicago White Sox a 3-2 win over the American League East-leading New York Yankees.

The Yankees were relentless at the plate over the opening two games of the series, scoring 25 runs but faced difficulty against Dallas Keuchel, who struck out three and gave up only four hits over 86 pitches.

While New York still hold the best record in baseball at 24-9, the loss ends a five-game winning streak.

Marte mashes Mariners

Patrick Mazeika hit the game-winning home run in the seventh inning, but Starling Marte was the star for the New York Mets in their 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Marte tripled, doubled, singled and claimed three RBIs from four at-bats for the Mets, who let a 4-0 lead slip when Jesse Winker tied with a three-run home run in the seventh inning.

Batting ninth, Mazeika had the final say however, mashing Andres Munoz inside the right-field foul pole for his second home run in the major leagues.

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