SPORTS DAY: Calm Ricciardo triumphs in Monaco

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SPORTS DAY: Calm Ricciardo triumphs in Monaco

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor

FORMULA ONE
Ricciardo overcomes snags to win in Monaco
Daniel Ricciardo kept calm and carried on to win a tense Monaco Grand Prix for Red Bull on Sunday after power unit problems threatened to wreck his hopes of victory in Formula One’s showcase race. It was the first time the Australian had won from pole position, his first triumph in the Mediterranean principality he also calls home, and a fitting celebration for the former champions’ 250th start. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, last year’s winner, finished second to cut Lewis Hamilton’s overall lead to 14 points after six of 21 rounds. Hamilton, the reigning world champion, was third for Mercedes.
RUGBY
Ruthless Lions close in on SA Conference title
The Lions have one hand on the South African Conference title‚ which will secure a home play-off place‚ after beating the Stormers 26-23 at Newlands on Saturday. Victory moved the Lions to 40 points on the standings and put them six points clear of the Jaguares in the race for the top spot. While there was an element of fortune in Saturday’s win at Newlands thanks to two yellow cards and a red card against the home team‚ the Lions turned the screw when they had to. They showed the ruthlessness of team at the top of the standings rather than at the bottom. “We are relieved and pleased because Newlands is a tough place to win no matter what the circumstances are‚” Lions coach Swys de Bruin said. “Our discipline was very good. At halftime I calmed the guys down and I told them‚ if we win the discipline battle‚ we will win the game.Mitchell happy to take heat for Bulls' defeat
Bulls coach John Mitchell has taken responsibility for the disappointing 38-28 loss to the Brumbies at Loftus on Saturday, which has effectively ended their hopes of qualifying for the Super Rugby play-offs. The Bulls occupy the bottom spot of the South African Conference and face a mountain to climb in their remaining round-robin matches against the Sunwolves in Hong Kong‚ the Jaguares at home and the Lions away after the Springboks’ June Tests against England. After losing to the modest Brumbies‚ who arrived at Loftus on the back of five consecutive defeats‚ the Bulls have lost their second match on the trot following the 54-24 humbling by the on-form Jaguares last weekend. “I will take responsibility and look at the reasons we failed as a group. At the end of the day‚ whenever there is a bad performance the person to look at is myself‚” Mitchell said.
SOCCER
Egypt’s football body optimistic on Salah’s injury
Egypt’s national-team doctor said he was optimistic that Mohamed Salah could play in the World Cup, after the star striker was hurt in the Champions League final. “The Egyptian King” and Liverpool’s top scorer was forced off after 31 minutes in the Champions League final by shoulder injury sustained in a tangle with Real defender Sergio Ramos. “Through follow-ups on the phone with the national team’s delegation in Italy ... the officials at Liverpool said an x-ray on Salah’s shoulder” showed the injury to be in the ligaments, the Egyptian Football Associated said on Twitter on Saturday. The national team’s doctor, Mohamed Abou al-Ela “expressed his optimism that Salah would make it for the World Cup matches according to this diagnosis”, the association said.
CRICKET
Oz, UK back players over match-fixing allegations
England and Australia have backed their players following allegations of corruption in the sport made in a documentary aired by Al Jazeera on Sunday. Cricket’s Match Fixers is understood to allege details of a plan to fix England’s scheduled Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle in November and Australia’s Test against Sri Lanka at the same venue in 2016. Match fixing has become a major concern for the sport in recent years and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an investigation. “There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever,” England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said on Sunday. “The limited information we have been given has been discussed with all the England players.”
TENNIS
Sloane Stephens off to a flyer in Paris
Sloane Stephens enjoyed her first Grand Slam win as the reigning US Open champion by demolishing Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-2 6-0 in the first round of the French Open on Sunday. The American 10th seed’s first major as a Grand Slam winner lasted only three sets after she was beaten in the first-round of the Australian Open. That result in January was one of eight successive defeats she suffered following her Flushing Meadows triumph last September. But if Rus harboured any hopes of pulling off another upset, those hopes were dashed in 49 brutal minutes by Stephens. The Dutchwoman produced only two winners during the contest as Stephens ran her ragged from the baseline with a non-stop flow of flying groundstrokes. She now faces either Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova or Magdalena Frech from Poland.
GOLF
Akiyoshi qualifies for British Open with Mizuno win
Japan’s Shota Akiyoshi fired a two-under-par 70 in the final round on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open title and book a place in this year’s British Open. Akiyoshi, who was one-under for the tournament, finished ahead of New Zealand’s Michael Hendry and the Japanese pair of Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi, who were in a three-way tie for second place. The second-placed trio, who finished one stroke behind Akiyoshi, also qualified for the 147th Open at Carnoustie in Scotland from July 19-22. Akiyoshi negotiated windy conditions to prevail at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki on Sunday. The 27-year-old carded five birdies and three bogeys in the final round to secure his first title on the Japan Golf Tour.
RUGBY
Euro pain fuelled Saracens’ title charge: Barritt
Saracens captain Brad Barritt believes his club’s humiliations earlier in the season and the way the defence of their European title ended, fuelled their run to the English Premiership title. The South African-born England international led Saracens to a 27-10 win over Exeter in the final at Twickenham on Saturday. Saracens’ third top-flight title in four seasons ended Exeter’s reign as champions and capped a remarkable revival after their struggles earlier in the season. They lost seven successive games in all competitions during November and December, including a 46-14 home drubbing by European Champions Cup opponents Clermont Auvergne. “If you look back to that period, this probably ranks as one of the proudest turnarounds,” centre Barritt said. 
CRICKET
Pakistan crush sorry England at Lord’s
Pakistan wrapped up a crushing nine-wicket victory over England on Sunday to inflict the hosts’ first defeat in a May Test match at Lord’s. England’s last four wickets tumbled in 27 minutes and Pakistan knocked off the 64 runs they needed in less than an hour on the fourth day to put the touring side 1-0 up in the two-match series. “We were not good enough, if I’m being brutally honest; we have been outplayed in all three departments,” England captain Joe Root said at the presentation ceremony. “Pakistan’s bowlers exploited the conditions well but we played some poor shots and you can’t afford to do that.”
SOCCERRonaldo grumbling leaves Real unimpressed
Cristiano Ronaldo won the Champions League for a fifth time on Saturday but the striker’s petulant posturing over his future has left a sour taste at Real Madrid. While his team mates were celebrating a record-stretching 13th European crown, earned after a gutsy 3-1 victory over Liverpool, Ronaldo was casting doubt over his commitment to the club. “It was very nice to be in Madrid,” said Ronaldo, who was told it sounded like he was saying goodbye. “In the next few days I will give an answer to the fans,” he replied. “Because they have always been by my side.” For months, Ronaldo and his representatives have been wrangling with Real over a new deal, as the Portuguese reportedly seeks to surpass Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain as the highest-paid player in the world.
AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE

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