Carson Wentz is one of three players to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Indianapolis Colts, the team announced on Monday.

Quarterback Wentz had only returned to practice last week following surgery to deal with a broken bone in his left foot, an injury that initially seemed set to rule him out for the start of the new NFL season.

"I'm optimistic, but we'll see how it responds," Wentz said after his first appearance on the practice field since July 29, having undergone the procedure on August 2.

"It's going to be up to the doctors, for sure. At the end of the day, as long as there's nothing that I can do to injure myself and make it worse, I know I've played through a lot worse. But it's going to come down to what the doctors say."

The former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller was due to begin full-team reps as he stepped up his recovery, with the Colts aiming to get a better indication over his health ahead of Week 1 of the regular season, but that plan has now been scuppered.

When exactly Wentz will be available again, along with center Ryan Kelly and wide receiver Zach Pascal, who are the others to be placed on the list, is unclear.

Those players or members of staff who have been vaccinated can return after two negative test results 24 hours apart from each other, per NFL's health and safety protocols.

However, if someone from an NFL team tests positive having not received the vaccine, they will have to serve a 10-day isolation period. Anyone unvaccinated deemed to be a high-risk close contact must isolate for five days, as well as continue to return negative test results.

The Colts start the new season with a home game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 12.

Ross Brawn has defended the FIA's handling of the Belgian Grand Prix and insisted drivers deserved to be awarded points from the shortest race in Formula One history.

Torrential rain prevented any competitive racing at the Spa-Francorchamps track on Sunday, with Max Verstappen awarded the victory when the red flag was raised after just two laps were completed behind the safety car.

Lewis Hamilton, who was third behind George Russell, branded the event a "farce" and claimed the drivers were only sent out for financial reasons.

Regulations ensured only half the usual points were awarded, but Fernando Alonso stated it was "shocking" that any were given out on a "terrible day”.

F1 managing director of motorsport Brawn knows the outcome was "not ideal" but did not see any alternative.

"I feel terrible for the fans, who turned out in their thousands and braved consistently wet conditions in the grandstands to support their heroes," said Brawn in his column. "They showed such dedication and will never forget this weekend.

"Unfortunately, the weather worked against us. It was relentless. The FIA tried everything they could, sending the cars out twice behind the safety car to assess the conditions. It wasn't so much the intensity of the rain that was the problem, more that it was consistent which led to very poor visibility.

"It's pretty rare to see a weekend where the weather has been so intense, so consistently. Every effort was made to get the race under way safely and normally, there is a window when you can bring the safety car in, but that wasn't possible.

"At the end of the day, safety comes first. And it wasn't safe enough to continue the race. So the FIA did the best they could in what have been very challenging circumstances, of which we've not seen in decades.

"Half points were awarded. It's not ideal but if you can't reward someone for the race, reward them for the bravery in qualifying.

"A lap like George Russell did in qualifying in the absence of a full race should be rewarded. As I say, it's not ideal, but it's where we are. The weather just wasn't in our corner on Sunday."

Nicole Grant is of the view that the new additions to the board of the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association will bring the required dynamism needed to take the sport forward in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Table Tennis Association finds itself in a race against time to raise approximately US$33,000 to fund a 12-member team to the Pan American Youth Championships set to serve off from September 12-19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Jamaica plans to send U19 and U15 teams to the championships but according to JTTA President Andrew Lue, while the association has a team on paper, they need to raise the funds that will enable them to confirm participation by September 3.

“We have received permission for all players in the team events to also play singles, doubled and mixed doubles so it’s an excellent opportunity for not only the athletes but for Jamaica to gain international ranking points. The US$33,000 (approximately J$5million) will go towards travel, accommodations, entry fees, gear, Covid tests and stipends,” Lue told Sportsmax. TV.

“International competitions are an integral part of our strategic development and Olympic road map for Paris 2024.”

The full team includes Tsenaye Lewis, Kelsey Davidson, national women’s champion Solesha Young, Neveah Scott, Joel Butler, Jon Pierre Daley, Christopher Lyn, Jayden Ebanks, Brian Blake, Matthew Fung, Garu Whyte and Rasheed Clarke.

There are four players to each team, Lue explained, U19 girls, U19 boys and U15 boys. The players who have qualified to play singles are Davidson, Lewis and Alessio Tulloch. However, Tulloch is unable to go and will be replaced by Rasheed Clarke, who won the U19 title at the recent national championships.

However, everything depends on if the JTTA can raise the money required.

YouTube star-turned-boxer Jake Paul survived the biggest test he has faced inside the ring after withstanding former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

Paul (4-0) was sent to the ropes by boxing debutant Woodley, who landed an overhand right in the fourth round to rattle the 24-year-old in Cleveland on Sunday.

However, Paul overcame the adversity to score a split decision 77-75, 78-74, 75-77 for his fourth professional boxing win.

"He's a tough opponent ... it was a tougher fight than I expected," Paul said afterwards. "My legs felt weird since the locker room, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

"All respect to Tyron, he's a tough opponent. This is a dream come true."

Paul was not happy one judge awarded the fight to Woodley, adding: "Let's be honest, that's bull****.

"Especially in my hometown. Like, where's that judge at? He hit me with one [real] shot the whole fight."

Woodley demanded a rematch post-bout, the 39-year-old saying: "I feel like I won the fight.

"F*** the Fury fight – me and Jake need to run that back. I want a rematch."

There has been talk of Paul facing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury's younger brother Tommy (7-0) in his next boxing bout.

But Paul said: "I haven't gone to the dentist, I haven't gotten my haircut. My teeth are crooked, my nose is crooked, I may need to chill out for a bit. I'm still only 24."

After winning 13 consecutive games, the New York Yankees suffered back-to-back MLB losses following Tony Kemp's late home run as the Oakland Athletics triumphed 3-1.

With the next pitch after Mark Canha's double, Kemp produced the decisive hit in the eighth – his tie-breaking two-run homer lifting the A's on Sunday.

In 16 at-bats against the Yankees this season, Kemp slugged 1.124 and did not strike out once. According to Stats Perform, no other player in history has had a 1.100-plus slugging percentage with zero strikeouts against the Yankees in a season with at least as many at-bats.

Paul Blackburn had earlier tossed down five shut-out innings for the Athletics, before Andrew Chafin closed out the win.

Yan Gomes' fourth-inning run had put the A's ahead before Gary Sanchez scored following fielding errors from Gomes and Mark Chapman on Anthony Rizzo's nine-pitch at-bat.

The result – which completes a split of the four-game series – helped the A's (72-59) move closer in the American League (AL) Wild Card standings, two and a half games adrift as the Yankees (76-54) lead the race.

 

Franco joins exclusive group as Rays crush Orioles

The Tampa Bay Rays topped the Baltimore Orioles 12-8 to become only the third team in MLB's divisional era to win 18 games against one opponent in a single season. Joey Wendle delivered a two-homer and six-RBI performance, including a seventh-inning grand slam. Rays rookie Wander Franco, meanwhile, extended his on-base streak to 29 games with a sixth-inning single. Franco's run is the longest active streak in the majors, the sixth longest in American League/National League history and second longest in AL history. It is the longest streak by any player under the age of 21 since Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (43) in 1956.

Javier Baez hammered a two-run home run into the second deck before igniting controversy with a thumbs down gesture to his own fans after receiving boos earlier in the game as the New York Mets won 9-4 against the Washington Nationals.

The Chicago White Sox belted five home runs in their 13-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, including a pair from Luis Robert. Jose Abreu joined Paul Konerko (six) and Frank Thomas (10) as the only White Sox players with six-plus 100-RBI seasons. He became the first White Sox to reach 100 RBI in 125 games or fewer since Jermaine Dye in 2006.

Austin Riley drilled a two-run homer to help the Atlanta Braves to a commanding 9-0 shut-out victory over the high-flying San Francisco Giants.

Yoshi Tsutsugo crushed a walk-off three-run homer to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates past the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

 

Abreu and Astros suffer blowout

Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu had a nightmare as the Texas Rangers powered an eight-run fifth inning in their 13-2 win. Astros pitcher Zack Greinke allowed six runs with nine hits, before Abreu stepped up in the fifth, only to allow seven runs from five hits including an Adolis Garcia grand slam, the Rangers' first since 2019. It was a blowout for the AL West-leading Astros against the Rangers, who are last in the AL West.

 

Salvy hits hot streak

Kansas City Royals star Salvador Perez homered for the fifth consecutive game in his side's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, tying Mike Sweeney's franchise record from 2002. Perez has also moved into second for home runs in the majors this season, behind only two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani (42) and he has scored eight home runs and 15 RBIs on the Royals' current 10-game trip.

 

Sunday's results 

Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 St Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays 12-8 Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets 9-4 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians 7-5 Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves 9-0 San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox 13-1 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 13-2 Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies 5-0 Los Angeles Dodgers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 3-1 New York Yankees

 

Red Sox at Rays

The Red Sox (75-57) make the trip to Tampa to take on leaders the Rays (82-48) in a crucial clash in the AL East on Monday. Nick Pivetta starts for Boston as Tampa Bay counter with Luis Patino.

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith agreed to a four-year contract extension, the NFL franchise announced.

Smith – preparing for his 10th season in Minnesota – reportedly signed a new deal worth $64million, which is understood to be the highest for a safety in NFL history.

The five-time Pro Bowler is the Vikings' longest-tenured player but has become one of their most consistent and reliable members, having not missed a game since 2016.

Smith tied a career-high for interceptions (five) last season, along with 89 tackles and five quarterback hits.

The 32-year-old is Minnesota's franchise leader with four interception returns for touchdowns, and his 28 interceptions rank seventh all-time and third among Minnesota safeties in team history.

Minnesota finished with a 7-9 record in 2020, missing the postseason.

The Vikings will open their 2021 season against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 12.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich is optimistic T.Y. Hilton's neck injury is not season ending but admitted he will miss NFL games.

Hilton – a four-time Pro Bowler – re-aggravated the neck issue during Wednesday's final training camp ahead of their NFL season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on September 12.

Reich said the wide receiver would undergo further evaluation on the issue with a timeline to be confirmed after those results are received but admitted the 31-year-old will miss the season start.

"He will miss some games, we don't know exactly how many," Reich told reporters on Sunday. "We're optimistic it's not season ending. We don't know exactly how many games."

He added: "He was experiencing some discomfort during the trip to Detroit. So we took scans, it was a disc issue, so that's a complicated issue. More meetings, more evaluation to come, more opinions to come.

"Obviously want to do our due diligence there. We got all the right people on it. We'll just continue to meet with the doctors, work with their cue and move forward accordingly."

Hilton played 15 games for the Colts last season, with 762 receiving yards from 56 receptions and five touchdowns.

"When you're talking about a guy like T.Y. Hilton, him missing games, that's an obvious big blow because he's not only a great player but he's a great leader," Reich said.

"But it's just unfortunate — I had said several times to Chris [Ballard, Colts general manager], I really thought T.Y. was looking as good this training camp as I've seen him.

"He looked as fast as ever and as instinctive as ever. Even in the short time that he and [quarterback] Carson [Wentz] worked together, I could tell — instant connection. And I could feel that talking to Carson. So that's unfortunate. But the good news is we got good depth and the guys will step up."

New York Mets star Javier Baez insisted "if we win together, then we're going to lose together" after explaining his thumbs down celebration amid boos from the team's fans.

Baez arrived from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline, but the World Series champion and two-time MLB All-Star has struggled to impress in New York, where fans have voiced their dissatisfaction.

Since joining the Mets, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Baez has hit .207/.258/.414 with three homers and five RBIs in 16 appearances.

The Mets (63-67) are third in the National League (NL) East and seven games adrift in the Wild Card race.

Baez homered in Sunday's 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals and celebrated by giving the crowd a thumbs down, a gesture replicated by team-mates Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar.

"Just the boos that we get," Baez said. "We're not machines, we're going to struggle. We're going to struggle seven times out of 10.

"It just feels bad when I strike out and I get booed, it doesn't really get to me, but I want to let them know that we're going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.

"If we win together, then we're going to lose together and the fans are a really big part of it. In my case, they've gotta be better. I play for the fans and I love the fans, but if they're going to do that, they're just putting more pressure on the team and that's not what we want."

Baez added: "It was my opinion, it's just how I feel. I love the fans and I like playing for the fans, but we can't have our fans against us."

The Mets released a statement afterwards, with president Sandy Alderson condemning Baez's actions.

"These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Alderson said. "Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team's recent performance.

"The players and the organisation are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan's right.

"The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly. Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities."

Mets manager Luis Rojas said: "Especially Mets fans, New York fans, this market, this city knows baseball probably more than any other city.

"They have the right to react however they want, and we've got to understand where they're coming from. Our job is to be ready every game to give them the best baseball.

"I haven't had many conversations with Javy about that, everything's been about the game. Getting to know Javy more and more everyday, he's an outstanding kid to be around. Javy being a new guy around here, getting to know our fanbase.

"Some of the reaction that our fanbase has, you see it's something he's learning. Our fans are like that, our fans are very passionate. They're going to demand the best out of everyone here."

Patrick Cantlay outlasted Bryson DeChambeau in a thrilling six-hole play-off to win the BMW Championship and secure the FedEx Cup lead heading into the season-ending Tour Championship.

In an absorbing battle for pole position in the finale of golf's lucrative FedEx Cup play-offs race, Cantlay birdied the sixth sudden-death hole to upstage DeChambeau in Maryland on Sunday.

Cantlay (66) had drained a long-range birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a play-off with DeChambeau (66) after the pair finished 27 under through regulation at Caves Valley Golf Club.

The duo traded clutch putt after clutch putt in the play-off before Cantlay prevailed, becoming the only player with three victories on the PGA Tour this season.

Cantlay will now head to East Lake as the FedEx Cup play-offs leader – the American will start the 30-man Tour Championship 10 under, while DeChambeau will begin seven under in third, a stroke behind second-placed Tony Finau.

The win also marked the first 54-hole leader/co-leader to go on to win on Tour since Phil Mickelson at the US PGA Championship – a span of 14 events.

"I just tried to stay in my own little world. When the reporters asked me this week, 'Are they going to get to 30-under?' I didn't think so but I felt like it today," said Cantlay.

"My game feels really good, it has for a while now since the Memorial. I'm finally starting to putt like me again and it's really nice."

The final round started with Cantlay and DeChambeau tied for the three-stroke lead and the pair extended that advantage to four shots by the end of 72 holes, ahead of Im Sung-jae (67).

Rory McIlroy – a two-time Tour Championship winner and two-time FedEx Cup champion – carded a final-round five-under-par 67 to finish outright fourth at 22 under.

The former world number one will be seeded 16th for Thursday's decisive event.

Reigning FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson (66) – 15th in the rankings – finished in a tie for sixth alongside Sergio Garcia (69), a shot behind Erik van Rooyen (65).

World number one and FedEx Cup hopeful Jon Rahm will start the Tour Championship in fourth position, dropping two spots, following his two-under-par 70.

Alex Noren (66) and Abraham Ancer (71) closed out the event 18 under, though the former still missed out on a top-30 berth at East Lake.

Justin Thomas (66) – sixth in the rankings – and Brooks Koepka (68) – 20th in the standings – finished 13 shots off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton hit out at Formula One bosses as he claimed "money talks" after a farcical Belgian Grand Prix was aborted after only two laps.

Heavy downpours prevented any competitive racing from taking place in the shortest F1 race in history at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday.

Following an initial delay of half an hour due to the poor conditions, the start was eventually put back by over three hours, with two failed attempts to get under way after Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

The crowd were not rewarded for their patience, as a red flag was flown after only two and a half laps with the drivers behind the safety car.

Max Verstappen was declared the winner ahead of George Russell, with Hamilton third – the positions they started on the grid.

With only half points awarded due to F1 regulations, Red Bull's Verstappen cut Hamilton's championship lead to only three points.

The seven-time F1 world champion felt the drivers were only sent out for financial reasons and fans should be given refunds.

"Money talks, and literally the two laps to start the race was all a money scenario," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"Everyone gets their money – and I think the fans should get theirs back too. Unfortunately, they didn't get to see what they paid for.

"It's a shame we couldn't do the race tomorrow. I love this track as well, so [I am] sad we couldn't do this. Today wasn't a race. I think the sport made a bad choice today.

"Of course, we wanted to race but this minimum of two laps you need to do to count as a race, between the gap [between the race stopping and resuming] it rained consistently.

"There was only one reason why they sent us out. That's why I feel more bad for the fans."

George Russell rejoiced in achieving a maiden Formula One podium finish, even if the circumstances of his second place at the Belgian Grand Prix were a little unorthodox.

The race was called off at a rain-soaked Spa after just two laps behind a safety car, with pole-sitter Max Verstappen declared the winner as British duo Russell and Lewis Hamilton completed the top three.

Heavy rain had delayed the start by over three hours as Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

The conditions ultimately made competitive racing impossible, but a two-lap procession was enough to declare a result, with half points awarded.

Williams driver Russell, who performed wonders to qualify second on the grid, felt it was a suitable reward.

"We don't often get rewarded for great qualifyings, but we absolutely did today," said the 23-year-old.

"It was a shame we did not get the race under way but, from my side, and the team's side it's an amazing result.

"The whole team deserve it because there has been so much hard work going into work over the last few years and there has been nothing to show for it, but we absolutely nailed it yesterday."

Red Bull's Verstappen is now just three points behind defending champion Hamilton and he reflected on a crucial performance in Saturday's qualifying, which also took place on a sodden track.

He said: "Now, in hindsight, it was very important to get that pole position. It's a shame to not get proper laps, but the conditions were very tricky.

"At 3.30pm the conditions were decent but the visibility was very low. I think if we'd started at 3pm we would have had a decent chance.

"Big credit to the fans for staying here all day."

Hamilton added: "They knew, at the end, the track wasn't any better and they did it just so they could do two laps and declare a race. I really hope the fans get their money back.

"You couldn't see even five metres in front of you on the straight. You couldn't even see the flashing light in front of you."

The Belgian Grand Prix was called off at a rain-soaked Spa after just two laps, though that was still enough racing for Max Verstappen to claim a victory that cuts Lewis Hamilton's championship lead.

Heavy downpours ruined Formula One's return after the mid-season break, with the start delayed by over three hours after Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

Eventually the cars did get out onto the track with the plan to stage a one-hour race amid time constraints, only for the red flag to again be waved after the field had tip-toed around behind the safety car.

However, having managed to successfully get around the circuit twice, a final result was declared with half points awarded.

Having claimed pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen was awarded the victory, his sixth of a hugely impressive 2021 campaign for Red Bull.

Hamilton, meanwhile, had to settle for third place, behind fellow Briton George Russell. It means the reigning world champion leads the driver standings by just three points with 10 rounds to go.

"It's a win but not how you want to win. Today a big credit goes to all the fans around the track for staying here the whole day in the rain, the cold, windy conditions. They are actually the bigger winners today," Verstappen said.

Racing had already been pushed back from the scheduled start of 15:00 local time (14:00 BST) when Perez provided a further complication. The Red Bull driver lost control in the tricky conditions and skidded into a barrier. Unable to reverse out, he climbed out and appeared set to be out of the race.

But, with his team having time to work on the damage amid the lengthy stoppage, the Mexican was cleared by race director Michael Masi to resume from the pit lane.

In the end, the entire grid returned from the pits behind the safety car to try and get under way, only for the red flag to be waved again. Not long after, it was confirmed racing had been stopped, bringing a rather damp and disappointing end to proceedings.

 

Rafal Majka produced an impressive solo effort to claim a comfortable victory on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.

The UAE-Team Emirates rider went solo with 87 kilometres of the 197.5km route from Navalmoral de la Mata to El Barraco remaining and held off a chase led by Steven Kruijswijk.

Majka finished one minute and 27 seconds ahead of Jumbo-Visma's Kruijswijk for his first stage win in four years, with Chris Hamilton of Team DSM taking third.

"Sometimes you try and it's not easy to to get in break, but today I tried from the start," Majka said. "I didn't wait for nobody today. 

"I wanted to win the stage. I wanted to win for my father and my two two kids. I only thought of one thing.

"I had a bad start to the season and it wasn't easy for me and my family, especially when my father died. I wanted to win for him, for my kids and for my great team UAE Team Emirates."

There was no change in terms of the general classification standings on Sunday as race leader Odd Christian Eiking retained his 54s lead on Guillaume Martin, while two-time defending champion Primoz Roglic remains third.

However, there was some drama as Adam Yates jumped ahead of the peloton to snatch 15s on Eiking and the rest of the chasing pack in the battle for the red jersey.

INEOS Grenadiers rider Jonathan Narvaez abandoned the race midway through and Jonathan Caicedo did not start as they joined fellow Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz in dropping out.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 04:51:36
2. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:27
3. Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) +2:19
4. Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:42
5. Giulio Ciccone (Trek - Segafredo) +2:57

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 59:57:50
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:36

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 200
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 108

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 50 
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
3. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 29

What's next?

After a much-needed day of rest, the riders go again on Tuesday with a flat 180km stretch from Laredo to Santo Cruz de Bezana. It is the last clear stage for the sprinters, so expect a mass sprint for the finish line.

Rasmus Hojgaard triumphed at the European Masters after Ryder Cup hopeful Bernd Wiesberger fluffed his lines on the 72nd hole.

Wiesberger's double-bogey six at the last saw him miss out on a ninth European Tour title by one stroke as Hojgaard took the trophy on 13 under.

Austrian Wiesberger just needed a par at the last to see off the threat of clubhouse leader Hojgaard at the picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland, with the Dane having birdied his final hole.

But Wiesberger, chasing a win that would have moved him into the automatic qualifying spots for this year's Ryder Cup, drove a nervy tee shot into the bunker and then found water with his next stroke.

Needing an up-and-down to force a play-off, Wiesberger was unable to salvage it and it was Hojgaard who was left to celebrate a third European Tour success.

Henrik Stenson, himself eyeing a wildcard in Padraig Harrington's European team, finished third, only two shots off the summit, following a closing 63.

Fabio Quartararo stretched his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings on Sunday with a controlled victory at the British Grand Prix.

Having qualified third at Silverstone, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider surged to the front early on and led superbly to claim an 18th podium finish in the top category, level with Christian Sarron for the most achieved by a Frenchman.

Quartararo has finished in the points for 13 consecutive races – surpassing the previous career high of 12 that he achieved in MotoGP2 in 2018 – and he now leads the championship by 65 points from Joan Mir, who climbed to second.

Valentino Rossi, chasing a double-century of podium finishes and a fifth in six races at Silverstone, finished down in 16th.

This race has turned into one dominated by Spanish riders, who have won six of the most recent 10, but the chasing cohort could not put French star Quartararo under enough pressure in overcast conditions in Northamptonshire.

Brothers Pol and Aleix Espargaro were locked in a tussle for first from the off as the former fought determinedly to avoid a third-straight outing without a points finish, something he last endured three years ago.

However, once Quartararo put his extra pace to good use on lap five and built a three-second advantage, the leader never looked under threat.

Alex Rins, winner of this race in 2019, picked off Pol Espargaro on lap eight and took second, but Suzuki Ecstar team-mate Mir could not do likewise and eventually limped through in ninth.

Aprilia celebrated their first MotoGP podium as Aleix Espargaro just held off the challenge of Jack Miller for third, the Australian at least collecting points at the British GP for just the second time.

It proved an historic race as, for the first time in MotoGP, there were six different manufacturers in the top six.

TOP 10

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha)  
2. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.663s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +4.105s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +4.254s
5. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +8.462s
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +12.189s
7. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM) +13.560s
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +14.044s
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +16.226s
10. Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM) +16.287s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 206
2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 141
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 137
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 136
5. Jack Miller (Ducati) 118

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 301
2. Ducati 254
3. Pramac Racing 205
4. Suzuki Ecstar 205
5. Red Bull KTM 199

Novak Djokovic is a strong favourite to become only the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam and make history at the US Open.

Djokovic has won all three majors this year and can complete a 2021 clean sweep at Flushing Meadows.

The irrepressible world number one would also go beyond Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – both absent due to injury – with 21 grand slam singles titles if he triumphs in New York.

There will be no elusive record-equalling 24th major singles crown for Serena Williams, who has not recovered from the hamstring injury she suffered at Wimbledon.

With Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka the leading contenders to take the women's singles title, Stats Perform use Opta data to preview the final grand slam of the year.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES FOR DOMINANT DJOKOVIC

Djokovic was thrown out of the US Open last year after accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball.

The 34-year-old arrived in New York in far better spirits than when he left last September, having taken on all comers this year.

Djokovic missed out on a Golden Slam when he failed to win Olympic gold in Tokyo, but he could join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) as the only men to win all four majors in the same year.

Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (970) and Steffi Graf (1988) are the only women to achieve the incredible feat.

 

BARTY TO GO BACK-TO-BACK?

Barty became the first Australian woman to win a Wimbledon singles title for 41 years in July.

Not since Williams in 2012 has a player claimed back-to-back women's singles major crowns in the same year, but Barty could take some stopping.

She could become the ninth woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season. 

Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams and Serena Williams can boast that achievement.

OSAKA BACK TO DEFEND TITLE

Japanese sensation Osaka won her third grand slam title at Flushing Meadows last September and went on to add a fourth at the Australian Open this year.

Osaka returns to grand slam action for the first time since withdrawing from the French Open, citing struggles with her mental health.

The world number three could be the first woman to win consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams claimed three in a row from 2012 to 2014.

Osaka is the only woman to win at least one major title over the past four seasons, winning the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021, as well as the US Open in 2018 and last year.

 

ZVEREV BIDS TO BANISH PAINFUL MEMORIES

Alexander Zverev was beaten by Dominic Thiem in his maiden grand slam final in New York last year after the German had been two sets up.

He will not have to face Thiem this time around as the defending champion is sidelined due to injury.

Zverev was the only player to serve 100 or more aces during the tournament last year, firing down 131 but also racking up more double faults (64) than anyone else.

The world number four won his fourth title of the year in Cincinnati last week but Djokovic is undoubtedly the man to beat at Flushing Meadows.

The New York Yankees' 13-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Oakland Athletics in MLB, beaten 3-2.

The Yankees were riding their best winning streak since a 13-game run in 1961, having reached 15 in a row in 1960 and 19 in succession in 1947.

But the Yankees crashed back down to earth on Saturday as the A's snapped their six-game skid in the process, despite Aaron Judge's two-run homer in the ninth.

Frankie Montas fuelled the A's with seven shut-out innings, while Matt Chapman homered for the hosts in Oakland.

 

Ohtani celebrates another feat

Shohei Ohtani became the first Los Angeles Angels and Japanese-born player with a 40-home run and 20-stolen base season after helping his team rout the San Diego Padres 10-2. Ohtani – who already leads the majors with 41 homers – reached the mark with his 20th stolen base in 2021. According to Stats Perform, he is the third American League (AL) player with 40-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases before September, joining Alex Rodriguez (2007) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1999).

The Chicago Cubs blanked city rivals the Chicago White Sox 7-0 behind home runs from Patrick Wisdom and Alec Mills, and a Rafael Ortega grand slam.

The Kansas City Royals prevailed 4-2 against the Seattle Mariners after Salvador Perez homered for the fourth straight game.

 

Brault battered by Cardinals

The less said about Steven Brault's performance, the better after the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher was put to the sword by the St Louis Cardinals in a 13-0 humbling. Brault was crushed by the Cardinals, giving up eight hits, seven runs and two walks in three innings. He fell apart in the third inning after allowing five runs on six hits.

 

Clutch Martinez

J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning to lift the Boston Red Sox past the Cleveland Indians 5-3.

 

Saturday's results 

Boston Red Sox 5-3 Cleveland Indians
Oakland Athletics 3-2 New York Yankees
Kansas City Royals 4-2 Seattle Mariners
Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
Miami Marlins 6-1 Cincinnati Reds
Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros 5-2 Texas Rangers
St Louis Cardinals 13-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago Cubs 7-0 Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins 6-4 Milwaukee Brewers
New York Mets 5-3 Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants 5-0 Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Angels 10-2 San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 Colorado Rockies

 

Rays at Orioles

Now the hottest team in baseball after the Yankees' defeat, the AL East-leading Rays (81-48) visit the Orioles (40-88) riding a six-game winning streak. Chris Archer is set to start for the Rays, while Baltimore's Spenser Watkins toes the mound.

Novak Djokovic has history in his sights as he begins his US Open quest; after three grand slam titles in 2021, a fourth beckons at Flushing Meadows.

Rod Laver was the last man to achieve a sweep of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open singles in the same year, all the way back in 1969.

Steffi Graf won all four on the women's side in 1988, and it seemed a knock-in that Serena Williams would do likewise in 2015 when she headed to the US Open with three majors already bagged.

But winning any title at that level is never easy, and Williams famously came unstuck when she faced Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals.

Djokovic will be mindful that what seems an inevitability to the outside world remains very much still only a possibility. After his US Open tribulations last year, and a recent jolt at the Olympics, he will know anything can happen.

Here, Stats Perform looks at how Djokovic's situation at Flushing Meadows carries most of the hallmarks of Serena's own position as she headed into the tournament six years ago.

 

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SLAMS

It was not always this way, but Djokovic has reached the point in his career when he can choose targets, decide which records he wants to break, and throw everything at those goals.

At the start of the year in Australia, he savoured triumphing at Melbourne Park for a ninth time and pointed to how Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Williams and Margaret Court had achieved so much.

"They've made history already," Djokovic said. "They made a tremendous mark in our sport. I'm trying to build that and develop that myself in a very unique, authentic way that is suitable to me.

"Whether I think about winning more slams and breaking records, of course. Of course, I do. And most of my attention and my energy from this day forward, until I retire from tennis, is going to be directed in majors, trying to win more major trophies."

It had very clear echoes of Williams in 2015, also in Australia, setting out her own ambitions for the year and specifically targeting the French Open and Wimbledon.

"Those are the two I really have my eye on, because I would like to do better at those. And I know I can do better," she said.

Williams set her heart and mind on that twin challenge and won both.

"I definitely am not going to play as much this year, and I'm just going to go for everything when I do play," said Williams.

 


BUILDING UP

When Williams reached New York in August 2015, she had delivered a 48-2 win-loss record for the season, landing each of the majors alongside the Miami Open and the Western and Southern Open. Petra Kvitova in Madrid and Belinda Bencic in Toronto had been the only two players to get the better of the 33-year-old Williams.

Djokovic has a 38-5 record for the year, albeit it has the feel of a more dominant year for the 34-year-old Serbian. Two of those losses came at the Olympics, in a semi-final and bronze medal match, and the other three came in his first three events on clay, losing to Dan Evans in Monte Carlo, Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade and Nadal in Rome.

When it mattered on clay, though, Djokovic majorly turned up in Paris, gutsily beating Lorenzo Musetti from two sets down in the fourth round, ending Nadal's streak of four Roland Garros titles by sinking the Spaniard in the semi-finals, and then leaving Stefanos Tsitsipas devastated in the final, with another fightback after dropping the first two sets.

Wimbledon followed, and Djokovic by then was openly targeting a Golden Slam – each major and the Olympic title.

Much like with Williams and her loss to Bencic in the Toronto semi-finals six years ago, however, Djokovic showed he was fallible as history beckoned. From a set up, he lost to Alexander Zverev at Tokyo 2020, a blow that was compounded by missing out on bronze when Pablo Carreno Busta sprang another shock.

 


HISTORY CAN BE A FIERCE OPPONENT

Williams and Djokovic have won non-calendar Grand Slams before, winning four in succession spanning two seasons.

Williams first achieved that from the French Open in 2002 to the Australian Open in 2003, and in 2015 she was aiming for five slams in a row at the US Open, having begun her dominant streak at her home grand slam the previous year.

She won the first set of the semi-final against Vinci, the world number 43, but was then second best to the Italian, with Williams saying her conqueror "played literally out of her mind".

But the disappointment was stark, underlined by Williams' terse response to the question of how disappointed she felt by the result.

"I don't want to talk about how disappointing it is for me," she said. "If you have any other questions, I'm open for that."

The four-in-a-row feat has only been performed once by Djokovic, from Wimbledon in 2015 to the French Open in 2016. Had he not been disqualified during the US Open last year for carelessly hitting a ball that struck a line judge, he would most likely currently be on a four-slam streak.

Those who win the first three slams of the year often do complete the set, but there are four instances of singles players falling one short by failing in the year's last major.

Before Williams, the most recent case was Martina Navratilova in 1984, when the imperious left-hander headed to the Australian Open – then played at the end of the year rather than the start – in pursuit of the Grand Slam. She lost to Helena Sukova in the semi-finals, and said: "If I'd have won, I'd have done it all. If I lost I had to start from scratch. Both are hard to cope with."

Navratilova had won 74 consecutive matches until that loss and ended the season with a 78-2 record.

In the men's game, Jack Crawford (1933) and Lew Hoad (1956) also fell short, both losing in finals of the US National Championships, the tournament that became the US Open. Don Budge (1938) and Laver (1962 and 1969) are the only men to have won a calendar Grand Slam in singles.

The weight of expectation is immense for Djokovic as he pursues what would be his crowning glory, not only sealing the Grand Slam but reaching 21 majors, one ahead of Nadal and Federer and into the outright lead in the men's game. The prospect cannot be ignored, and it will be a heavy burden to carry over the coming fortnight.

As Djokovic said on Friday: "I would be lying if I said that’s not something that I’m thinking about or that my attention is not going that way.

"I’m very motivated to play my best tennis. But I have to hit one ball at a time, as they say, try to be in the moment, have a guiding star in a way, a dream to win a slam here."

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