Monthly Archives: October 2014

Federer confirms he is still a master

Federer wins yet another big prize

Federer wins yet another big prize

It seemed as if Roger Federer’s time at the top of tennis world was coming to an end a year ago, but his impressive run in 2014 continued with another big win at the Shanghai Masters.

As Federer beat the gallant Gilles Simon 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/2) in a tight final in China, hie confirmed his status as world No.2 was justified and now he will set his sights on glory in the ATP World Tour finals in London next month.

Federer, who will move ahead of his old foe Rafael Nadal in the ATP rankings on on Monday, was playing the better tennis but the second set also went to a tiebreak, where the 17-time grand slam winner wrapped up victory in an hour and 52 minutes.

Simon got off to the perfect start and silenced the largely Federer supporting crowd by breaking the Swiss in the first game.

The rest of the set went with serve to leave Simon serving to take it but Federer earned himself two break points and, while the first one went long, Simon found the net on the second to allow his opponent to level things up.

The 33-year-old easily took the next game and had two set points against the serve but Simon battled back and it went to a tie-break, which the Swiss maestro just edged.

The Frenchman was showing great spirit as he was made to work hard on his serve while providing little resistance against Federer's.

He did mount some pressure in the 12th game and gained two set points against the serve but Federer saw them off and took it to another tie-break.

The second tie-break was far simpler than the first for Federer as a stunning forehand gave him set point and Simon found the net to prompt an almighty roar of celebration from the champion.

"It's been an unbelievable week for me personally," said Federer.

"I got very very lucky to come through the first round, saving five match points, so I know what a privilege it is to be here today.

"I couldn't be more happy. It's been an absolute dream week for me.

"I'd also like to congratulate Gilles for fantastic play not just in the final but for the entire week and I hope you can keep it up for the rest of the year."

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Patience needed after Jules Bianchi horror crash

Jules Bianchi prior to yesterday's race

Jules Bianchi prior to yesterday’s race

The Marussia Formula 1 team have asked for “patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates” following Jules Bianchi’s horror crash at the Japanese GP.

The Frenchman had surgery on Sunday after suffering a severe head injury when his car hit a recovery vehicle. Bianchi, 25, was unconscious when taken to hospital.

"Marussia would like to acknowledge the huge outpouring of affection and support for Jules," the team said in a statement.

"Further medical updates will be communicated in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, where Jules is being treated, when they feel it is appropriate.

"Representatives of the Marussia F1 Team and Ferrari will remain at the hospital to support Jules and the Bianchi family."

Bianchi's lost control close to where Sauber driver Adrian Sutil had spun and hit the tyre barrier. 

As a recovery vehicle was lifting Sutil's car, Bianchi travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.

Sky Sports reports suggested Bianchi is not breathing unaided and is "fighting for his life" after the incident. 

Wilson capitalises on McIlroy mistakes

Oliver Wilson (right) reacts with his caddy during the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews Old Course

Oliver Wilson (right) reacts with his caddy during the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews Old Course

An emotional Oliver Wilson admitted he could be “drunk for a while” following his win in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, after starting the week ranked 792nd in the world.

Wilson, who finished runner-up nine times on the European Tour before losing his card, recorded a closing 70 at St Andrews to finish 17 under par, one shot ahead of world number one Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Richie Ramsay.

Fleetwood, who was playing alongside Wilson, missed from 10 feet for birdie on the last to force a play-off, while Ramsay was two clear of the field after his eighth birdie of the day on the 15th, only to bogey the 16th and 17th in a closing 67.

McIlroy double bogeyed the first after misjudging his approach and seeing his ball spin back into the Swilcan Burn, and although he birdied the next four holes and made two more on the 10th and 12th, his chances ended when he putted into the Road Hole bunker on the 17th.

But the likeable Wilson's win was so popular amongst his fellow professionals that McIlroy summed up the mood by writing on his Twitter account: "Don't think I could've chosen a better person to finish 2nd to this week! Congrats @Oliver_Wilson so well deserved!"

Wilson is ranked a lowly 102nd on the Challenge Tour but claimed the first prize of almost £500,000 and a two-year exemption on the European Tour, moving from 252nd to 39th on the Race to Dubai.

"I don't have words for it," Wilson said. "It's been 10, 11 years coming, nine runners-up and I hadn't done a whole lot (wrong) to lose those but nothing has really gone my way.

"I know so many people had written me off and that hurt, but I just kept believing and a lot of people around me helped. I can't thank them all enough but they know who they are. It's pretty special."

Hamilton wins in Japan

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton secured a third successive win to open up his championship lead at an incident-filled Japanese Grand Prix.

The leader did not take the chequered flag as the race was red-flagged for a second time in the afternoon following two separate crashes on the same corner.

Hamilton had started behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg on the grid but passed his Mercedes team-mate and rival to open up a 10-point gap in their battle for the title.

Having already been stopped due to the weather brought on by nearby Typhoon Phanfone, the race was cut short by nine laps as the Marussia of Jules Bianchi went off at the same site as Adrian Sutil's Sauber – which was being recovered by marshals and machinery at the time.

Hamilton had pulled away from Rosberg after managing to find a way past his German rival and remained clear as the race ended prematurely.

Rosberg took second place, with compatriot Sebastian Vettel taking third for Red Bull on the weekend he announced he would be leaving the team ahead of next season.

Daniel Ricciardo will be leading the team in Vettel's absence and he took fourth place ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button.

The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa took sixth and seventh respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez's Force India's both in the points – either side of ninth placed Jean-Eric Vergne, who had started from 19th after an engine change.

All three drivers on the podium sent their wishes to Bianchi as everyone awaited an update on his condition after his accident, and Hamilton admitted the weather had caused issues throughout.

"What a day," he said. "It has been a very difficult weekend and today, with it raining so much. They were very tricky conditions."

The early rain saw the race initially red-flagged after just two laps.

With heavy, intermittent showers caused by the typhoon, the decision was made to start the race behind the safety car, with a short period in the pit lane following before the safety led them away again.

Fernando Alonso did not get very far into the restart as he suffered an electrical fault in his Ferrari after just five corners.

Hamilton was chomping at the bit to get racing, suggesting time and again over the radio that conditions were good enough to see the safety car come in.

But the Briton had to wait until the end of lap nine for the safety car to peel off and let the drivers go – with Button and Pastor Maldonado deciding to pit for intermediate tyres immediately.

The McLaren of Button was quick on his out lap, forcing much of the field to pit and follow suit at the next opportunity with the Briton moving up to third place in the process.

Both Mercedes opted against pitting as their pace was still enough to keep them clear, before Rosberg was the first to blink at the end of lap 14.

Hamilton remained out for a lap longer and ran wide at spoon corner as he looked to bridge the gap to his title rival, having gone quickest in the opening sector.

Vettel pulled off the first meaningful on-track overtake as he eased past the Williams of Massa to take fifth place, with the Brazilian also seeing Vettel's team-mate Ricciardo go through.

The drag-reduction system was enabled on lap 24 and Hamilton was able to finally get onto the back of his team-mate.

Having had a couple of tentative looks at passing Rosberg, Hamilton ran wide at turn one as the pair started lap 26.

But, with Rosberg complaining more than once over his radio about an issue with over-steer, the two Mercedes were soon pretty much line astern.

Hamilton made his move into turn one just three laps prior to his off – running around the outside of Rosberg, who had suffered a twitch at the start of the pit straight.

Ricciardo took the lead as Hamilton stopped as the Australian had yet to make a stop for a second set of intermediates but, despite rain beginning to fall again in the pit lane, the drop-off of his time forced him in.

The trio of Vettel, Button and Ricciardo were all in the battle for third and closed to within four seconds of one another as Vettel took a trip over the grass at turn five.

Ricciardo and Button were soon squabbling over fourth, with the Red Bull eventually able to get past despite the heavier rain seeing the DRS disabled.

Shortly afterwards, the Sauber of Sutil had hit the wall at turn eight after aquaplaning off the track and a second red flag was needed as Bianchi went off in the same place as Sutil's car was still being moved clear by the marshals.

That saw the race come to an end, with all of the cars returning to the pits behind the safety car once more.

Tom Watson takes blame for Ryder Cup disaster

Tom Watson in the firing line

Tom Watson in the firing line

Outgoing US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson accepts he has to take the blame for his team’s hammering against Europe at Gleneagles last weekend.

US team member Phil Mickelson pulled few punches as he suggested Watson has made mistakes in his mauling at the hands of Rory McIlroy and company and now the golfing great has spoken out to suggest his critics are right to point the finger of blame at him.

"I take complete and full responsibility for my communication, and I regret that my words may have made the players feel that I didn't appreciate their commitment and dedication to winning the Ryder Cup," said Watson.

"My intentions throughout my term as captain were both to inspire and to be honest.

"As for Phil's comments, I completely understand his reaction in the moment.

"Earlier this week I had an open and candid conversation with him and it ended with a better understanding of each other's perspectives.

"Phil's heart and intentions for our Team's success have always been in the right place. Phil is a great player, has great passion and I admire what he's done for golf.

"The bottom line is this. I was their captain. In hindsight whatever mistakes that were made were mine. And I take complete and full responsibility for them.

"I want to say again to the players, their families, the PGA and our country how proud and honoured I was to captain this talented group of golfers, and how privileged I was to spend the past two years working this labour of my love for the Ryder Cup."

On the performance of his team, Watson added: "The guys gave everything. They played their hearts out. I was proud to get to know each and every one of them. I know they are all going to win tournaments, be on future Ryder Cup teams and have wonderful careers.

"Our team certainly showed guts when it took it to the other team early in Sunday's singles matches. We were indeed tied with them as the scoreboard turned wonderfully "red".

"Our players started fast as I had asked them to in my comments the night before. I asked them to really concentrate on holes two to five, as the Europeans had won too many early battles on these particular holes.

"In the end, the facts are that the other team played better. My hat's off and congratulations to them."