The Weekend Roundup
Missed all the sports action last week? We got you. Every week we bring you the essential news and results to make sure you haven’t missed out.
Anyone heard of Bianca Andreescu? No, us neither. Before this weekend the 18 year old Canadian was an unknown, ranked outside the world’s top 150. All this changed as she took her first senior title at Indian Wells, California, on Sunday. By beating three-time Grand Slam Champion, Angelique Kerber, in the final 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 Andreescu becomes the youngest winner of the event since Serena Williams in 1999.
From the outset the youngster showed few nerves, breaking the German in the opening matching and never facing a break point herself in the first set. Kerber’s experience prevailed in the second set where, despite a ferocious attack from Andresscu, she was able to save three break points in the third game. The defence unnerved the Canadian as Kerber then won three games in a row to build an unassailable lead. In the decider, heat, fatigue and a niggling shoulder looked to have got the better of Andreescu who took a three-minute medical timeout. However, after a rallying cry to ‘push through’ from her coach Sylvain Bruneau, she won the next four games.
As she leapfrogs the rankings from 178th to 24th with such a mentally tough display, there’s a new star in the making.
From a rising tennis star to a skiier making a bid to become her sport’s GOAT. At 24 years old, Mikeala Shiffrin still has a lot of pro racing left in her, but her victory in the giant slalom in Andorra on Sunday was certainly a landmark moment in her career. This, her 60th career win, meant she became the first skier to claim World Cup wins in the overall, slalom, giant slalom and super-G events in the same season. With the season now over, Shiffrin will no doubt be eyeing the, now retired, Lindsey Vonn’s record 82 World Cup wins when racing resumes in the winter.
If anyone was in any doubt about the current pecking order in European women’s rugby, they won’t be now. England dominated this year’s Six Nations campaign, claiming the Grand Slam win with a superb 80-0 display against Scotland this weekend. With the World Cup two years away, there’s time for this newly professional England side to make still greater improvements, especially given the large number of promising young players coming through their ranks. 21-year-old Jess Breach consistently stood out, scoring nine tries over the course of the competition. In the pack, 19-year-old Hannah Botterman has shown constant improvement since her debut last season and is another one to watch in the future.
In the Superleague Manchester Thunder are now level on points with Wasps at the top of the Superleague thanks to a significant away win at Saracens Mavericks 49-57. Wasps have a game in hand which they will play this evening, but it won’t be an easy one as they face a strong Loughborough Lightning side. After some shakey performances Team Bath are also finding their stride as they overcame the resilient Celtic Dragons, 56-50. It was a bad weekend for London Pulse as they remain on just three points a the bottom of the table after a 51-60 defeat to Severn Stars. Leading at half-time against a similarly struggling side, things were looking hopeful for the Copperbox residents, but the visitors fought back building momentum to overcome the advantage and see out the win. Elsewhere Surrey Storm beat Strathclyde Sirens 53-44, but are still 12 points adrift of the leaders.
Finally, a look at the beautiful game. The magic of the FA Cup couldn’t quite see part-timers Durham past Chelsea, the professional visitors, but they gave a good go of it. Despite the home side starting better, it was Chelsea who broke the deadlock thanks to a Cuthbert cross which eventually fell to Ji So-Yun who clinically slotted it home. Cuthbert who, at just 20, has been one of Chelsea’s star performers this season, was also later denied by the woodwork. Despite this, Durham had chances of their own, with keeper Telford having to scramble back to her line to thwart an excellent free-kick from Lisa Robertson. Nevertheless, Chelsea dominated possession and, having battled swirling wind as well as their opponents, were worthy victors. The Blues will now face WSL league leaders Man City in the semi-final after they eased past mid-table Liverpool 3-0.
Elsewhere, Championship promotion hopefuls Manchester United were eliminated by WSL side Reading after a goalless 90 minutes forced extra time. United looked to have snatched the win going ahead twice, but Reading equalised before a scrappy goal from forward Honnudottir sealing the Royals’ victory in the final minute. In their first ever FA Cup semi-final Reading will meet West Ham who cast aside Aston Villa 2-0 in their quarter-final match.