Aryna Sabalenka managed to beat World No 1 Iga Swiatek on clay for the first time on Saturday to win the Madrid Open title. The World No 2 Belarusian prevailed in a high-quality final to win the Madrid title for the second time.
Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr starred for Real Madrid as Carlo Ancelotti’s side won the Copa del Rey for the first time in nine years after beating Osasuna in the final.
Manchester City took another step towards retaining the Premier League title after beating Leeds on Saturday as Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs also won.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 7 May, 2023:
Sabalenka wins Madrid title
World number two Aryna Sabalenka played a superb attacking game to beat Iga Swiatek in the Madrid Open final on Saturday for her first win on clay against her top-ranked rival.
The Belarusian prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to capture the title in the Spanish capital for the second time.
Until Saturday, the 25-year-old had lost all of her three previous meetings with the Pole on clay without even winning a set.
“It’s something unbelievable. I’m really happy that I’m able to fight against her and I’m able to get this win so it’s not like so super boring for people to watch our matches,” said the champion.
“I really enjoy playing on clay, because I have extra time. It’s not super fast, so I can go for my powerful shots. There are longer rallies. It’s like not just bomb, bomb.”
The big-hitting Belarusian gained revenge for defeat by her Polish rival in the Stuttgart final a fortnight ago with a thrilling triumph to end Swiatek’s nine-match winning streak ahead of her French Open defence.
Two-time Roland Garros winner Swiatek fought her way back into the match after an explosive start by Sabalenka, but the second seed came back strongly in the third set to win the first WTA 1000 final featuring the top two ranked players since 2014.
Sabalenka earned her 13th career title, and only her second on clay in two hours and 25 minutes, clinching victory on her fourth championship point with a forehand cross-court winner.
“I’m just super happy with this win, especially against Iga on the clay, it’s always tough matches against her,” added Sabalenka.
Rodrygo inspires Madrid to Copa del Rey win
Rodrygo Goes fired Real Madrid to Copa del Rey glory with a clinical double in a 2-1 victory over Osasuna in Seville on Saturday, with Brazilian compatriot Vinicius Junior playing a part in both goals.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid earned their 20th Spanish Cup at La Cartuja in their 40th final, ending a nine-year wait to lift the trophy again.
Osasuna, who have never won a major trophy, fought well but ultimately fell short against the reigning Spanish and European champions, who face Manchester City on Tuesday in the Champions League semi-finals.
Madrid have now won all six of the trophies available to them during Ancelotti’s second reign at the club, after the Italian returned in 2021.
Rodrygo fired Madrid ahead inside two minutes after Vinicius’ run down the left, and Ancelotti’s team had the better chances in the first half.
However, Lucas Torro levelled for Osasuna in the 58th minute to give them hope of an upset in their first cup final since 2005, and second ever.
Rodrygo whisked it away, firing home after a rebound fell his way following another Vinicius charge, ensuring Madrid would take the trophy back to the capital.
Man City close in on Premier League title
Manchester City opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win against Leeds on Saturday as Liverpool beat Brentford 1-0 to close on the top four.
Just hours after the pomp and ceremony of the coronation of King Charles III in London’s Westminster Abbey, City underlined their desire to extend their own reign as they chase a fifth Premier League title in six seasons.
Ilkay Gundogan scored both goals for Pep Guardiola’s men inside the first 27 minutes, but the City boss was left annoyed after Erling Haaland handed the German the chance to secure a hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Gundogan hit the post and within a minute Leeds were back in the game when Rodrigo fired home.
Arsenal face a tricky trip to third-placed Newcastle on Sunday, but even if the Gunners revive their title bid, City need just three wins from their last four matches to be certain of retaining the title.
Relentless City have won their last 10 league games and are unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions.
Defeat in Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge left Leeds one place above the relegation zone on goal difference.
Liverpool closed to within one point of fourth-placed Manchester United as Mohamed Salah’s solitary goal was enough for a sixth consecutive win for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The controversy came before a ball was kicked at Anfield as boos and jeers from the Liverpool fans drowned out the national anthem to mark the coronation.
Once the action got underway, Liverpool’s goal king Salah fired home his 30th goal of the season from Virgil van Dijk’s header.
It was also Salah’s 100th goal at Anfield as he scored for a ninth consecutive home game to break another club record.
United and Newcastle are still strong favourites to secure a place in the Champions League as they have two games in hand.
But Liverpool are at least applying the pressure thanks to their best run of form in a disappointing season.
Chelsea ended a six-game losing streak since Frank Lampard’s return as caretaker manager by beating Bournemouth 3-1 to end any threat of being pulled into the relegation battle.
Conor Gallagher headed Chelsea into a ninth minute lead, diverting N’Golo Kante’s cross beyond Neto.
Matias Vina equalised with a 21st minute curler, but Benoit Badiashile volleyed in Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick for his first Chelsea goal in the 82nd minute.
Joao Felix’s 86th-minute strike wrapped up Chelsea’s first victory in 10 matches in all competitions.
Harry Kane moved into second place in the Premier League’s all-time scoring list as his goal sealed a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace.
The England captain broke the deadlock in first half stoppage-time with a powerful header from Pedro Porro’s cross.
Kane climbed ahead of Wayne Rooney onto 209 Premier League goals, with Alan Shearer’s record of 260 in his sights next.
Sixth-placed Tottenham are six points adrift of the top four after winning for the first time in five games.
Aston Villa’s bid for a place in Europe next season was dented after Toti Gomes’ first goal for Wolves earned a 1-0 win that secured survival for Julen Lopetegui’s men.
Perez takes pole in Miami
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez grabbed pole position for Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix and with team-mate Max Verstappen left back in ninth on the grid, has his eyes on a victory that could send him to the top of the standings.
Perez is just six points behind defending world champion Verstappen after the Mexican’s second victory of the season in Azerbaijan last week.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, enjoying a strong season, claimed second place and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz will start in third in an all-Spanish speaking front row of the grid.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed out with one minute 36 seconds left, causing a red flag and the decision was taken not to resume the session.
Leclerc, who had clipped the wall earlier in qualification, lost control through Turn Six and span out of control the entry to the next turn, with his Ferrari spinning into the wall.
The premature end to the session left Verstappen, who had topped the final two practice sessions, without the chance to make a final lap to challenge for pole and Leclerc back in seventh.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, the seven-times world champion, failed to make it out of Q2 and will start down in 13th place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day