World No 2 Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player since compatriot Rafael Nadal in 2006 to defend an ATP Masters 1000 title after winning the Madrid Open on Sunday.
Arsenal stayed in the hunt for a first Premier League title in nearly two decades after notching a 2-0 win over high-flying Newcastle United. Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top-four were dealt a blow after losing 1-0 to West Ham United.
Two-time defending world champion Max Verstappen extended his lead in the Formula One drivers’ standings after winning the Miami Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 8 May, 2023:
Alcaraz defends Madrid Masters title
Carlos Alcaraz celebrated “being almost at the door” of becoming the top ranked tennis player in the world again after defending his Madrid Open title on Sunday.
The Spaniard earned his 10th career title with a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Jan-Lennard Struff and can reclaim the world number one ranking from Novak Djokovic simply by playing a single match at the Rome Masters next week, before the French Open.
Currently ranked second, Alcaraz spent 20 weeks in the top spot after his US Open triumph in September, becoming the youngest player to reach world number one.
Djokovic’s Australian Open triumph saw him depose Alcaraz but the 20-year-old confirmed he would play next week in the Italian capital.
Alcaraz continued his Roland Garros build-up by adding the Madrid trophy to victories in Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Indian Wells this year, although he was below his best against lucky loser Struff, the world number 65.
The triumph and his impending return to the top of the rankings reiterated his bright future at the game’s summit.
Alcaraz said his only worry for his future in tennis is injury, rather than any mental aspects.
Alcaraz was given a tricky time by his German opponent but eventually became the youngest player since Rafael Nadal in 2006 to defend an ATP Masters 1000 title.
Arsenal pass Newcastle test, De Gea blunder hurts Man Utd
Arsenal kept the Premier League title race alive as Martin Odegaard’s strike and Fabian Schar’s own goal beat Newcastle 2-0 on Sunday to close to within one point of leaders Manchester City while a David De Gea goalkeeping howler saw Manchester United suffer a 1-0 defeat at West Ham that threatens to send their season into a tailspin.
City have a game in hand on top of their slender lead, but the Gunners are refusing to give up the fight in their hunt for a first league title in 19 years.
Newcastle’s second home defeat of the season slows the Magpies’ charge towards Champions League football next season as their lead over fifth-placed Liverpool remains three points.
Arsenal held an eight-point lead at the top of the table just a month ago but had won just one of their previous five league games to let the destiny of the title slip out of their hands.
Arsenal went in front with their first shot on goal as Odegaard took aim from long range and arrowed the ball low beyond Nick Pope’s left hand on 14 minutes.
Tempers started to flare on both sides of a feisty contest before another piece of brilliance from Martinelli produced the crucial second goal.
The Brazilian ran half the length of the field and then fired in a low cross that Schar could only turn into his own net.
While Arsenal still need favours from City in the run-in to achieve their goal, a top-four finish is still within Newcastle’s reach.
Just a few days ago Manchester United were heavy favourites to finish in the Premier League’s top four but now they are wobbling badly while the Hammers have edged closer to safety.
The result hinged on a catastrophic first-half error by De Gea, who let a tame shot from Said Benrahma squirm past him in the 27th minute after his team had largely dominated the opening period.
De Gea’s blunder came on the day on which he became the most-capped goalkeeper in Manchester United’s history, appearing for the 540th time to move ahead of Alex Stepney.
United, who suffered the pain of conceding a last-gasp penalty in their defeat at Brighton on Thursday, had been boosted by Arsenal’s 2-0 win at third-placed Newcastle earlier in the day.
They are still in fourth place but are now just one point ahead of red-hot Liverpool in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League, even though they still have a game in hand.
Verstappen comes from ninth on grid to win Miami Grand Prix
World champion Max Verstappen powered from ninth on the grid to beat team-mate Sergio Perez and extend Red Bull’s all-conquering start to the season with victory at the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.
The win – Red Bull’s fifth from five races this season – extends Verstappen’s lead at the top of the standings to 14 points and follows his triumph in the inaugural Miami race last year.
The 1-2 for Red Bull is their fourth in five races so far this year as the team utterly dominate the sport leaving their rivals to battle for the third podium position.
Aston Martin’s Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso took third for his fourth podium in five races this season as he continues to enjoy his late career revival.
Verstappen had to work hard for his third victory of the campaign after his disappointing performance in Saturday’s qualifying left him in the middle of the grid.
But the speed of the Red Bull car, combined with smart decisions on tyres, meant that the Dutchman was able to quickly get himself in contention and then produce a late surge to beat his team-mate Perez, who remains second in the standings.
Perez, starting on pole, made the perfect start, racing clear of his rivals but Verstappen, on hard tyres, quickly moved through the field and took just 15 laps to reach second place behind his team-mate.
Perez pitted on lap 20 allowing Verstappen to take the lead but the Dutchman had to give that up when he went into the pits on lap 46, changing to the medium compound tyres and coming out 1.2 seconds behind.
It took just two laps for Verstappen, who won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix a year ago, to take advantage of his fresher tyres with better grip as, after a brief joust, he overtook the Mexican, on 25-lap-old tyres, to take the lead.
Verstappen’s 38th win for Red Bull equals the team record set by Sebastian Vettel and is the first time a driver has won from exactly ninth on the grid since Niki Lauda at the French Grand Prix in 1984.
It was a disappointing day for Perez, who after his victory in Baku last week, had a great chance to win from pole but was left frustrated with the tyre choice.
Mercedes had some consolation at the end of a difficult week with George Russell taking fourth place ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and team-mate Lewis Hamilton finishing sixth.
Charles Leclerc, who crashed late in qualifying and started seventh on the grid, finished in seventh place on another disappointing day for Ferrari.
The Alpine pair of French drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocan finished eighth and ninth with Dane Kevin Magnussen finishing tenth.
It was a tough debut in his homeland for American rookie Logan Sargeant of Williams who had to pit early after losing his front wing and ended last.
New Zealand avoid Pakistan clean sweep
Henry Shipley and Rachin Ravindra shared six wickets as New Zealand beat Pakistan by 47 runs in the fifth and final one-day international in Karachi on Sunday.
The victory meant New Zealand avoided being swept in the five game series, which Pakistan won 4-1.
New Zealand batted first and were bowled out for 299 in 49.3 overs with half centuries from Will Young and Tom Latham.
Fast bowler Shipley then took 3-34 and spinner Ravindra a career best 3-65 as New Zealand survived a brilliant 72-ball 94 not out by Iftikhar Ahmed to dismiss Pakistan for 252 in 46.1 overs.
The defeat means Pakistan’s rise to number one in the ODI rankings lasted just 48 hours and they are now third behind Australia and India.
Ahmed led Pakistan’s fightback from 66-4 as he added 97 for the fifth wicket with Agha Salman who scored run-a-ball 57 but New Zealand held their nerve to get last man Haris Rauf run out for one.
Ahmed’s fiery knock contained eight fours and two sixes.
Pakistan won the first two matches by five and seven wickets in Rawalpindi before taking the next two in Karachi by 26 and 102 runs.
Murray wins first title since 2019
Former world number one Andy Murray won his first title since 2019 on Sunday with victory at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger in France.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray had gone without a title since he triumphed in Antwerp in October 2019.
Murray, now ranked 52, defeated top seed Tommy Paul, the world number 17 from the United States, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the clay court event.
The 35-year-old Briton, who is hoping to boost his ranking to ensure a seeded spot in the Wimbledon draw in July, last won on the second-tier Challenger tour at American events in Aptos and Binghamton in 2005.
“This last year, 18 months has been a bit of struggle with my game. But my team have been there supporting me and working with me to try and get better,” said Murray at the trophy presentation.
“We keep going from here.”
Both Murray and Paul were looking for crucial time on clay before the French Open starts in three weeks’ time.
Murray will also return to the top 50 at 42 when the new rankings are released on Monday.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day