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.

Nick Paul scored twice, including a stunning individual goal late in the second period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 on Saturday.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions came from a goal down in the previous two games, and had to do it again on the road at the Scotiabank Arena after Thursday's overtime win to level the series.

Morgan Reilly scored for Toronto but Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped an eventual 29 shots to keep the Lightning in the game, before Paul's brace secured the series win.

The Leafs were condemned to their seventh consecutive playoff series loss, and have not made the second round since 2004. After the match, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe commended the reigning champions on their series win.

"They [Tampa Bay] don’t get a lot of credit because you don’t really think of them this way, but we knew coming into this series that going into third periods down against this team was going to be a challenge," he said post-game.

"They are the number-one team in the NHL when it comes to limiting chances against when up a goal in the third period. All regular season, they were that.

"That is sort of the hallmark of their success. That is championship hockey. They didn’t give us a great deal in that third period tonight. Those are the things I take away - just how hard they defend and how they prioritise defending."

In Saturday's other results, the Carolina Hurricanes won their series-deciding game at home to the Boston Bruins 3-2, while the Edmonton Oilers claimed Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings with a 2-0 win.

Novak Djokovic claimed his 1,000th ATP Tour win with a dominant victory over Casper Ruud in the semi-final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Saturday.

The world number one was in fine touch, winning an imposing 40 per cent of return points on first serve as he defeated the Norweigian world number 10 6-4 6-3 and progressed to the Rome final.

The Serbian becomes the fifth player in the open era to reach 1,000 wins, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

After the match, Djokovic asserted how seeing contemporaries in Federer and Nadal achieve respective milestones in 2015 and 2020 provided motivation.

"Thanks to the tournament and the crowd for celebrating the milestone with me," Djokovic said post-match.

"I've seen Roger and Rafa celebrate those milestones in the last couple of years and I was looking forward to get to that 1,000 myself. I'm really, really blessed and privileged to have that many victories on the tour.

"It's been a long time, ever since I won my first match on the tour. Hopefully I can keep going and many more victories to come."

Djokovic will look for victory 1,001 when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, after he defeated Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3.

The 34-year-old leads their head-to-head matchup 6-2, with the last meeting being Djokovic's epic five-set win in the French Open final last year. Djokovic also won last year's quarter-final in Rome between the two.

This final appearance makes for the Greek world number five's best result in Rome, and he is savouring his time at the Foro Italico.

"It's one of those tournaments that I think has the most history in sport," Tsitsipas said. "As you can see looking around the sides, one of the most beautiful stadiums.

"There's a lot of history playing on these courts and you feel very proud that you made your way here and are able to participate in such a historically rich event."

Matteo Berrettini has confirmed he will skip the French Open later this month as he continues to recover from surgery on his right hand.

The Italian has played only six matches since his semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open in January, undergoing surgery following the Indian Wells Masters.

On Saturday, the 26-year-old confirmed he is making progress but not yet ready to return for the second grand slam of the year.

"My hand is feeling great, and I am working hard to build up my match fitness," Berrettini posted on Instagram.

"My team and I have made the decision that going straight back into five-set matches on clay at Roland Garros would not be sensible, therefore I will delay my comeback to compete in the full grass season.

"Thank you as always for all the support. I can't wait to be back competing."

The world number eight reached the quarter-finals last year in Paris, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in four sets, before losing again in four sets to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

Ons Jabeur believes clawing back a match point against Daria Kasatkina puts her in a strong place to push for glory against world number one Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur won for an 11th straight time as she defeated Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia on Saturday.

Her victory sets up a final against Swiatek, who extended her winning streak to 27 matches by defeating Aryna Sabalenka.

Jabeur, who won in the Spanish capital last week, is aiming to become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

However, it would all have been different had Kasatkina converted her match point in the deciding set.

"It means a lot to me, especially mentally, that I could come back from a match point and prove that I did that today," Jabeur said.

"Hopefully I can keep being stronger mentally, because I know [the final] is all about mental [strength].

"I knew that physically I could handle anything. Believing that I could play even four weeks in a row, I can do it. I am exhausted, yes, but it's part of my job.

"It's going to help me push more. There is only one match left. I gave it all from the first round, now I should really continue giving my best."

Swiatek found matters rather more comfortable against Sabalenka, who she beat 6-2 6-1. The 20-year-old is in the hunt for a fourth title of 2022.

"At these tournaments where we play day after day, we don't really get time to celebrate," she told reporters.

"Right after we finish the previous match, we have to think about the next one.

"It's pretty tough. But I know that after I'm going to be really proud of myself. For sure I'm going to have time to think about what I did.

"I'm just constantly surprising myself that I can do better and better. I feel like I actually can believe now that the sky's the limit. That's the fun part, for sure."

In the last 25 years, only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Swiatek this season (17).

Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final after beating Casper Ruud.in straights sets to claim his 1,000th ATP Tour win.

Djokovic secured a return to the top of the rankings by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime on Friday and the legendary Serb, who turns 35 next week, was celebrating again in Rome on Saturday after reaching an astonishing landmark.

The 20-time grand slam champion beat Ruud 6-4 6-3 at the Foro Italico to set up a repeat of last year's French Open final, which he won by storming back from two sets down to deny Tsitsipas a maiden major triumph.

Djokovic is only the fifth man in the Open Era to reach 1,000 wins and will take his record tally of ATP Masters 1000 finals to an incredible 55 on Sunday.

A five-time winner on the clay in the Italian capital, Djokovic made a blistering start, breezing into a 4-0 lead as Ruud was unable to hold twice under huge pressure from the Serb.

Ruud warmed to the task, breaking back to reduce the deficit to 5-3, but the first set was over when the 23-year-old sliced a backhand long after being forced wide by the top seed.

Norwegian Ruud started the second set with a commanding hold to love and there were no further break points until Djokovic moved into a 4-3 lead.

Ruud had saved three break points with excellent defence on the back foot, but Djokovic was not to be denied at the fourth time of asking.

Djokovic consolidated that break to stand on the brink of the final and then broke again to seal the victory with his 20th winner of the semi-final, dispatching a forehand beyond Ruud, who he beat at the same stage of this tournament two years ago.

The Belgrade native will be out to extend his record of ATP Masters 1000 titles to 36 when he faces Greek Tsitsipas for the first time since breaking his heart at Roland Garros last season.

Daria Kasatkina had progress to the Internazionali d'Italia final in her grasp, but Ons Jabeur struck back to set up a showdown with Iga Swiatek.

World number one Swiatek saw off Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday's other semi-final, and it is Tunisia's Jabeur who will meet her on Sunday.

Jabeur had to do things the hard way, saving a matchpoint in the deciding set before going on to prevail 6-4 1-6 7-5.

The victory is Jabeur's 11th in a row and sends the 27-year-old into her second final in the space of a week following her win in Madrid.

Jabeur started strong with an immediate break of serve, yet Kasatkina stubbornly fought back with two breaks of her own.

However, a slip up from the Russian at 3-1 up allowed Jabeur to drag herself back into the set before she broke again to win it.

The momentum swung the other way as Kasatkina dominated the second set to force a decider, in which Jabeur's steel was on full show as she sealed a fourth straight win over the world number 23 with a sublime drop-shot.

Jabeur has now won 17 matches on clay in 2022, more than any other player on the WTA Tour, while she is the first to reach three finals on dirt in the same season since Simona Halep did so in 2017.

Should she overcome Swiatek – who is herself on a remarkable 27-match winning run – Jabeur will become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

Thomas De Gendt celebrated "finally winning a stage again" as he claimed victory in stage eight of the Giro d'Italia.

De Gendt, who was dubbed the 'Breakaway King' earlier in his career, won his first Giro stage back in 2012 and the 35-year-old Belgian rolled back the years to cross the line first on Saturday.

It was a superb ride from the Lotto-Soudal man who, as his nickname would suggest, led from the breakaway and then held off Davide Gabburo's late charge in Naples.

De Gendt, who took King of the Mountains jersey at the Vuelta a Espana in 2018 and has two Tour de France stage wins to his name, suggested he thought his time had past, but was thrilled to finally end his wait for another Giro success.

He told reporters, as quoted by cyclingnews.com: "Today was one of those days that suits me. It looks a little bit like the Barcelona stage in Volta a Catalunya, always up and down.

"It's hard to recover. It's also hard to close the gap. But 10 years after the Stelvio stage, I finally won a stage in the Giro again.

"If you would have asked me two weeks ago, if I was able to win a stage in the Giro I would have said no because I was in such bad shape. But now the good legs are coming."

Juan Pedro Lopez had a bit of work to do to maintain his 38-second lead in the general classification standings, but he fended off an attack from Lennard Kamna, who stays second ahead of Rein Taaramae.

Guillaume Martin was the big mover, leaping up 24 places into fourth as he finished three minutes ahead of the peloton.

SLOW DOWN!

Spectators are a huge part of any Grand Tour, and while sometimes they can get too close, the support is always appreciated, and one fan took to the side of the road with an amusing request.

With stage eight being a 153km circuit around Naples, there were four ascents of the Lago Lucrino, and it appears this particular spectator holds – or, held – the record pace up the climb on Strava, a website that amateurs and professionals alike use to track their rides.

"Slow down, don't take my KOM pls", read his sign. It is doubtful the pros met that request.

STAGE RESULT  

1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 3:32:53
2. Davide Gabburo (Bardiani CSF Faizane) same time
3. Jorge Arcas (Movistar) same time
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) +0:04
5. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) +0:15

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 32:15:31
2. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:38
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

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. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 68
2. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43 
3. Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) 27

James Lowe scored a try in each half as magnificent Leinster reached the European Champions Cup final with a 40-17 defeat of holders Toulouse at a raucous Aviva Stadium.

Leinster will face La Rochelle or Racing 92 at the Stade Velodrome on May 28 after a hugely impressive win over the Top 14 side in Dublin on Saturday.

Johnny Sexton pulled the strings and scored 15 points in an influential display as Leo Cullen's side, who scored four tries, kept themselves in the hunt to match Toulouse's record tally of being crowned European champions for a fifth time in Marseille. 

Fly-half Sexton's penalty put Leinster in front, but Antoine Dupont raced from deep in his own half to go under the posts to punish Jamison Gibson-Park for a poor grubber kick.

Sexton doubled his tally with the boot and Leinster were rewarded for piling on the pressure with two tries in the space of five minutes, Lowe finishing from close range before Josh van der Flier crashed over after they lost Tadhg Furlong to injury only 16 minutes in.

It was five successful kicks out of five for Sexton when he added another penalty after one from Thomas Ramos at the other end, before Emmanuel Meafou was sin-binned late in the first half.

Leinster failed to increase their 23-10 lead while Meafou was off the field, but Lowe was left with a simple finish after he was picked out by the excellent Sexton, who expertly added the extras.

Selevasio Tolofua gave defiant Toulouse hope when he bundled himself over in the right corner and Ramos converted with 15 minutes to go, but Ross Byrne was on target with a penalty and converted a late Hugo Keenan try as Cullen's men marched into the final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas sank the title hopes of Alexander Zverev as the Greek star edged the Rome edition of their semi-final series on clay this season.

At the Internazionali d'Italia, Tsitsipas scored a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over German Zverev to earn a place in Sunday's final.

These two players have now met 12 times in their careers, and Tsitsipas holds an 8-4 head-to-head winning record.

Three of those matches have come at clay-court ATP 1000 tournaments in the past four weeks, with Tsitsipas winning a semi-final on the way to the title in Monte Carlo, then losing to Zverev at the same stage in Madrid.

This latest instalment in Italy was a gripping contest, as the players battled to take on Novak Djokovic or Casper Ruud for the title.

An early break came in the seventh game when, serving at 30-40, Tsitsipas attacked the net but Zverev hit the net cord on his backhand return. The deflection disorientated Tsitsipas slightly and he volleyed wide. One break was enough for the set.

Tsitsipas broke in the second game of the second set, with Zverev serving a double fault at the critical moment, and then got decisively ahead in the fifth game of the decider when Zverev netted on the forehand.

This was a strong win for last year's French Open runner-up, who lost that championship match from two sets up against Djokovic at Roland Garros. It carries Tsitsipas through to his first Internazionali d'Italia final, and a 20th final of his ATP career. He has an 8-11 record in finals to date, and a tour-leading 31 match wins this season.

Francesco Bagnaia secured another lap record and so another pole position at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, this time leading a Ducati one-two ahead of Jack Miller.

Bagnaia had ended defending MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo's sequence of four consecutive poles last time out at the Grand Prix of Spain, setting a Jerez record.

The Italian protected that position to win for the first time this season and will hope to repeat the feat at Le Mans, where he was again dominant in qualifying.

Bagnaia's time of 1:30.450 edged out Miller by 0.069 seconds, with Quartararo – looking to become the first home winner in France since 1954 – forced to settle for fourth.

But the Monster Energy Yamaha rider, who again leads the standings, recognises Bagnaia and Ducati are doing something special in qualifying.

Indeed, Bagnaia has a leading eight poles since the start of last season.

"I was disappointed, but two minutes later I was happy," Quartararo said. "On the qualifying, we miss something – all the time, not only in qualifying. 

"Ducati is able to really do something crazy – and the riders, I would not say only Ducati.  

"But we are all the same in the race pace, so it's difficult to really make the difference."

Even so, Bagnaia believes Quartararo will be the man to beat, although he added: "I think after the modification I did in qualifying, I am more close now.

"But it's difficult to say now. The forecast says tomorrow it will rain. I hope it will not be like this, but it looks like it could be."

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1:30.450
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.069s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +0.159s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.238s
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.261s
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.413s
7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.493s
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.527s
9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.618s
10. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.698s

Valentino Rossi has retired from MotoGP – and soon his iconic number 46 will follow him.

The number was associated with Rossi's bike throughout his epic 26-season career, in which he won nine championships across all classes.

Rossi quit the sport at the end of 2021, having celebrated 115 wins and 235 podiums.

Now, at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, the rider's number will also be retired.

The 46 has not been used in the 2022 MotoGP season, having been left vacant by Rossi, but the competition has moved to ensure it will not be taken in future either.

"The number 46 will be retired from use in the MotoGP class at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello," a statement read on Saturday.

"Synonymous with nine-time world champion and MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, the number will be signed off in style at the upcoming Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.

"The retirement ceremony will take place on the main straight on Saturday, just ahead of qualifying.

"Rossi will be in attendance as his legacy is honoured and number retired, having raced the number 46 into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame over 26 seasons of success – creating one of the most recognisable calling cards in global sport."

Iga Swiatek continued her remarkable winning run to reach the Internazionali d'Italia final as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-1.

Top seed Swiatek extended to 26 matches unbeaten, dating back to mid-February, with victory over Bianca Andreescu to set up the last-four meeting with Sabalenka, who battled past Amanda Anisimova.

The pair exchanged opening breaks in a tentative start to the clash in the Italian capital before Sabalenka again failed to hold her serve as Pole Swiatek took an early 3-1 lead.

World number eight Sabalenka, the third seed in the tournament, offered little response as the in-form Swiatek then claimed the first set with ease.

Sabalenka was again caught cold and had no answer as world number one Swiatek raced out the blocks in the second set, breaking twice via marathon rallies, to gain a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek swiftly wrapped victory up, despite a short medical time out for her opponent, and has now won all three of her WTA Tour encounters with Sabalenka in 2022, conceding just 12 games in the process.

Meanwhile, in the last 25 years only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Iga Swiatek this season (17).

The 20-year-old Swiatek continues on her quest for a fourth straight WTA 1000 crown and fifth consecutive title and in the final will face either Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina, who face off later on Saturday.

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