IPL 2017 final, Premier League, La Liga showdown, Italian Open: What you should be excited about this weekend
From IPL cricket to Premier League football to Italian Open tennis there's something for everyone. Here's a look at all the sporting action that you can catch over the next few days.
The weekend is upon us and if you are a sports fan, then get ready to witness some mouth-watering fixtures over a weekend which will be decisive. From cricket to football to tennis, there's something for everyone. Here's a look at all the sporting action you can catch over the next few days:
Indian Premier League 2017 final
The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will arguably be the most watched game of the lot in India. Rising Pune Supergiant have already cemented their place in their maiden IPL final after showing resilience and discipline despite the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes and spinner Imran Tahir to defeat Mumbai Indians. Mumbai, on the other hand, will have a chance to avenge the loss provided they beat Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday in the second Qualifier.
However, if Kolkata win, they will have a chance to put their hands on the trophy for the third time having won in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Mumbai, known for their outstanding batting, have stuttered at the business end of the league and a shaky start could cost them a place in the final. Coming back from a narrow win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator on Tuesday, high-flying Kolkata will bank on its balanced side to outfox Mumbai. The final starts at 8 PM IST on Sunday.
Premier League: Battle for Champions League spots
While Chelsea have wrapped up the Premier League title, three clubs occupying third to fifth place — Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal — are separated by three points. Consequently, the battle for a top-four finish and the two remaining Champions League spots remains alive. There is a possibility that two teams end up finishing joint third or fourth with identical records, and in such a scenario, there would be a playoff match to decide the table.
Following Manchester City's comfortable 3-1 win over West Brom on Wednesday, the Pep Guardiola-led side sit third with 75 points. Liverpool, too, are just a win away from securing a top-four spot but with Arsenal also beating Sunderland 2-0, the race for fourth spot looks like an interesting one. The top three teams qualify directly for the Champions League group stage, with the fourth-placed side entering the playoff round. The fifth-placed side is guaranteed a place in the Europa League.
Arsenal face Everton, Manchester City travel to Hull City and Liverpool host Middlesbrough. All the matches will start at 7:30 PM IST on Sunday.
La Liga: Who will be crowned champions?
Real Madrid are just two games away from a feat they haven't achieved in almost six decades: Winning the Champions League and the Spanish League in the same year. A draw in Malaga this weekend and victory against Juventus in Cardiff next month would give Madrid their first double since 1958 when Raymond Kopa and Alfredo Di Stefano were leading the team.
The team had a shot at the double last season, but failed in the home league before triumphing in the Champions League.
Last season, it depended on Barcelona to falter in the final round, but this time it has the title in its own hands. This time around, the victory at Celta Vigo on Wednesday left Madrid a point away from winning the title for the first time in five years. Barcelona's hopes of a third straight title depends on it beating mid-table Eibar at the Camp Nou on Sunday and Madrid losing in Malaga. Both the matches begin at 11:30 PM on Sunday.
Italian Open: Will Rafael Nadal dominate claycourt again?
On one hand, you have Rafael Nadal, who has a chance to clinch yet another claycourt title, having carried on his hot streak to the Rome Masters in Italy. On the other hand, there is Novak Djokovic who is yet to win any silverware this season. All eyes will be on favourite Nadal as he has been in an imperious form recently, having won the Barcelona Open. On his path to the the semi-final stands Dominic Theim. World No 2 Djokovic continued to look more like his old self after a sluggish season as the Serbian marched on into the quarter-final for the 11th successive season, setting up a clash with Juan Martin del Potro.
In the women's tournament, Venus Williams overcame a determined Johanna Konta to win their third-round clash 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. In the absence of sister and defending champion Serena, she will now meet Spain's Garbine Muguruza on Friday for a place in the semis and a possible match-up with Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova. Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, the seventh seed, suffered a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova. Gavrilova will meet Dutch 15th seed Kiki Bertens after she beat unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7/3), 6-1.
The semi-finals will be played on Saturday, followed by the final on Sunday.
(With inputs from AP)
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