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Nadal reclaims French Open throne with brutal defeat of Wawrinka

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Clay court tennis king, Rafael Nadal, regained his Roland Garros throne after two years in exile with a brutal 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 mauling of Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Sunday.

Rewinding the clock to the days when he was untouchable on the crushed brick dust, the 31-year-old completed “La Decima’’ with the victory.

But he did it in style by turning 2015 champion Wawrinka into a human punchbag, winning in just over two hours.

This title, an unprecedented 10th at a single grand slam in the professional era, was arguably the most impressive of his 15.

It arrived three injury-plagued years after the last one, without dropping a set and conceding only 35 games in seven matches.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only Bjorn Borg, who conceded 32 on his way to the 1978 title, has been a more ruthless champion.

Having beaten world number one Andy Murray with a majestic display of power in the semi-final, third seed Wawrinka arrived full of confidence.

At 32, he was trying to become the oldest French Open winner since Andres Gimeno in 1972.

But the barrel-chested “Stanimal’’ was powerless as Nadal turned the final into an exhibition of his clay court supremacy — taking his French Open record to an eye-watering 79-2.

As a weary Wawrinka sliced a volley into the net on match point, Nadal collapsed on his back on the baseline.

“I’m a little emotional,” Nadal said before getting to clamp his jaws on `La Coupe des Mousquetaires’.

“The nerves and adrenaline I feel on this court is impossible to compare.”

Straw hats and fans were “de rigueur’’ for an expectant Court Philippe Chatrier.

The final began with temperatures hovering around the 30 degrees Celsius mark —- perfect conditions for Nadal’s trademark monstrous topspin game.

Wawrinka looked tentative and heavy-legged although he did have a glimmer in the third game when Nadal was forced to save a break point.

He had before now spent nearly five hours more on court than Nadal to reach the final.

Nadal failed to convert any of the four break points he had in the following game, but drew first blood the next time an opportunity arose to take a 4-2 lead.

Then he switched on the after-burners.

A matter of minutes later, Wawrinka wafted a forehand long to hand Nadal a second break of serve and the opening set.

Wawrinka was flat, striking not a single winner off his glorious single-handed backhand in the first set, and with less than an hour on the clock his task already looked forlorn.

Nadal was given a time violation warning at the start of the second, but Wawrinka could not halt his charge as the Spaniard bounded into a 3-0 lead in the second.

This was after he had won seven games in a row.

With the crowd attempting to lift Wawrinka so as to stop, he fired himself up with a roar of “C’mon’’.

Nadal was relentless though, pinning Wawrinka back behind the baseline.

Even when he was stretched the response was emphatic, one astonishing forehand, whipped from close to the front row of seats to land in the corner.

This drew gasps from the crowd and applause from Wawrinka.

Social media lit up at that point with women’s semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky tweeting “OMG!”

Wawrinka could not lay a glove on Nadal and his frustration boiled over as the Spaniard closed in on a two-set lead, destroying his racket frame after a missed forehand.

After Nadal sealed the second set, both players left the court while court staff watered down the red dust.

Nothing could extinguish Nadal’s fire though and he surged two breaks ahead in the third set despite the best efforts of Wawrinka to try and extend the contest.

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Football

NFF makes new appointments

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday announced the appointments of new media officers for the various National Teams.

In a statement signed by Demola Olajire, NFF Director of Communication, Toyin Ibitoye and Miss Jane Nweze have been retained for the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons, respectively, until after the two teams’ major championships.

He said Ibitoye and Nweze will still retain their positions until the Super Eagles’ AFCON finals in Egypt and the Super Falcons’ FIFA World Cup finals in France, NAN reports.

Olajire, however, announced the appointment of Pius Ayinor as media officer for the Super Eagles B, also known as CHAN Eagles.

“Sharif Abdallah will serve as media officer for the U-23 National Team (Olympic Eagles), while Andrew Randa will take charge at the camp of the U-20 Boys National Team (Flying Eagles).

“Cecilia Omorogbe will work with the U-20 Girls (Falconets), while Francis Achi will serve the U-17 Boys (Golden Eaglets) and Faith Meremegbunam will work with the U-17 Girls (Flamingos).

“Tobi Adepoju will be media officer of the U-15 National Boys (Future Eagles),’’ Olajire said.

According to him, all the newly-appointed media officers will serve until after their next major championships, before giving way to other persons to also benefit from the experience.

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Football

My expectations from Man United, Man City clash – Guardiola

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Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola has revealed what he expects when his side tackle Manchester United in Wednesday’s Premier League derby clash.

Guardiola says he expects the ‘best’ Manchester United team to face Man City at Old Trafford.

Man City head to the game following a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, while Ole Gunnar Solskjear’s side were defeated 4-0 by Everton on Sunday.

“I expect the best United tomorrow, I am sure,” Guardiola was quoted by Man City’s official website as saying in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“They are bright. Football players try to do their best and tomorrow is going to happen. We prepare for their strong points and weak points.”

Guardiola added: “I don’t make theories about what happened in the past. Every game is completely different.

“The fact is this club grew a lot in the last decade, so it is not scary to go there.

“Before that, it was maybe more difficult. The players Manchester City have had in the last decade made this game a little bit more equal.”

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Man Utd vs Man City: Solskjaer releases killer squad

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Manchester United have released a strong squad to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in Wednesday’s Premier League derby fixture at Old Trafford.

According to Mirror UK, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer released a list of 25 players on Tuesday.

Man United head to the game following a 4-0 defeat to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday at Goodison Park.

Below is Man United’s Premier League squad against Man City:

De Gea, Romero, Grant, Dalot, Darmian, Bailly, Valencia, Young, Jones, Shaw, Lindelof, Rojo, Smalling, Herrera, Fred, Matic, McTominay, Pereira, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Sanchez, Lukaku, Rashford.

The kick-off time for the match is 8pm.

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