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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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Owen compares Nigerian-born forward, Bukayo Saka to Ronaldo

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Following the Gunners’ 1-0 victory over Qarabag in the Europa League encounter played on Thursday night, Former Liverpool striker, Michael Owen has compared Nigerian-born and Arsenal forward, Bukayo Saka to Juventus ace, Cristiano Ronaldo, uniquesports.com.ng reports.

Saka made his first start for Unai Emery’s side against Qarabag on the left wing and showed plenty of confidence, as he tested goalkeeper, Vagner, with an early strike from the edge of the box and tried to take on defenders.

The 17-year-old also missed a good chance to score his first Arsenal goal in the second half against the visitors.

Owen has now suggested that Saka already has similarities with Ronaldo.

“He [Saka] looked really nervous at the start of the game, myself and Martin [Keown] were both talking about it,” Owen was quoted by Metro UK as saying.

“But he certainly grew into the game. Just him having the courage to run at players was really refreshing to see.

“Some of the skill… I watched Ronaldo doing this the other day for Juventus.”

“He’s just different class and by the end of the game, his confidence was oozing.”

Saka will hope to feature for Arsenal when they tackle Southampton this weekend in the Premier League.

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Mourinho gives injury update on nine Man United players ahead of Liverpool clash

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Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has provided latest injury update on nine of his players ahead of Red Devils’ Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday at Anfield.

The likes of Marcos Rojo, Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Anthony Martial and Diogo Dalot are all injured ahead of United’s clash with Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Mourinho said some of United’s nine injured players are certain to miss Liverpool clash.

Providing injury update on his players, Mourinho reiterated as quoted by Manchester Evening News on Friday at a pre-match conference: “The latest is to tell you again that in Valencia only De Gea and Matic were available to play and didn’t travel by decision.

“Apart from that, the players that didn’t travel were not fit to play in Valencia, all of them had injuries and they were not ready.

“All of them didn’t train yesterday again and today they will be a little, I don’t want to say [a] test, but a little introduction to training to see the answer, adaptation and to see if we can increase a little bit tomorrow to have them for Sunday.

“But for sure, I hope, is better not to say for sure, I hope some will be available but for sure some will not be.”

“I’m going to try, I’m going to try,” Mourinho added. “I always try and I want to play a team that is capable to be with me on that desire and on that ambition and on that confidence.

“We know that we are going to play against the leader, against a team in a high, but we have our qualities, we have our potential and even with the problems we have and the doubts in terms of team choice, of tactics, of approach, of philosophy, we have doubts about everything.

“But we are going to arrive with the players we have available and going to have a team capable of going there and fight for the victory.”

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Antonio Valencia ready to exit Man Utd in January transfer window

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Manchester United player, Antonio Valencia is set to leave United during the transfer window in January after having a bust out with the club’s manager, Jose Mourinho, according to reports.

The United captain has not featured in a match since September after liking a social media post that called for Mourinho to be sacked.

Valencia publicly apologised immediately and then spoke to Mourinho directly, but still found himself out in the cold under his manager.

According to Daily Mail, West Ham and several Spanish clubs are ready to sign the Ecuadorian in January.

Valencia’s agents sat down with United this week to discuss his future, as the defender continues to wait for a new contract offer.

But it seems the 33-year-old has now accepted his relationship with Mourinho is beyond repair.

Despite his difficulties with Mourinho, Valencia is in line to play against Liverpool on Sunday after United were hit with a host of injury concerns.

Defenders, Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw are all battling injuries and Valencia is set to keep his place after playing against Valencia in the Champions League mid-week.

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