Manchester City clinched the Premier League title after Arsenal lost at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. This is the fifth time in six seasons that City have won the league title.
In tennis, Elena Rybakina won the Italian Open after Anhelina Kalinina retired from the final with a thigh injury. In the men’s singles event in Rome, Daniil Medvedev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to make the final, where he will face Holger Rune.
Italian tennis star Matteo Berrettini has pulled out of the French Open for the second time in as many years.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 21 May, 2023:
Manchester City win Premier League
Manchester City won the Premier League for the fifth time in six seasons on Saturday, taking a first step to a possible golden treble of trophies as second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners’ challenge finally evaporated after a second consecutive defeat left Mikel Arteta’s side four points adrift of City with one game left for them to play.
Taiwo Awonyi’s first-half goal also ensured Forest avoided relegation in their first season back in the top flight for 23 years.
City’s third successive English title has turned Sunday’s league game at home to Chelsea into a celebration match.
Pep Guardiola’s men will now look to complete a treble when they face local rivals Manchester United and Italian giants Inter Milan in next month’s FA Cup and Champions League finals respectively.
City have become the dominant force in the English game since an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover transformed their fortunes in 2008.
But admiration for the quality of their football under manager Guardiola has also been accompanied by questions over their financing, with City facing a mammoth 115 charges for breaking Premier League rules.
Nevertheless, City captain Ilkay Gundogan insisted his side had been pushed hard this season.
“The Premier League is without doubt the most demanding and competitive league in the world so that tells you everything about what an achievement this is,” he said.
But for Arsenal manager Arteta, a former assistant to Guardiola, there were thoughts of what might have been for the longtime leaders.
“First of all congratulations to Manchester City for winning the championship but it is a sad day for us,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“Now we have to face the reality, today we gave a goal away and we were not good enough to break them down. We could play for three hours and we would not have done it.”
Man United, Newcastle close to Champions League spot
Manchester United and Newcastle were on the brink of qualifying for next season’s Champions League after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
United’s 1-0 victory at Bournemouth, combined with Liverpool’s failure to beat Villa, left Erik ten Hag’s men and Newcastle within touching distance of ensuring top-four finishes.
Fourth-placed United and Newcastle, in third, are both three points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, who have only one game left.
Rybakina wins Italian Open
Elena Rybakina won the Italian Open on Saturday and promptly turned her attention to Roland Garros and the pursuit of a second career Grand Slam title.
Kazakhstan’s Rybakina captured her second WTA 1000 title of the season at Foro Italico when Ukrainian opponent Anhelina Kalinina retired with a thigh injury which she had been carrying all week.
World No 6 Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon champion, was leading 6-4, 1-0 when Kalinina called it quits shortly after midnight in a final long-delayed by rain.
Rybakina, 23, became the first woman to capture two WTA 1000 titles this season, having already won the prestigious Indian Wells hard court tournament in March.
She was also runner-up at the Australian Open and in Miami and now she is eyeing up the French Open.
“Hopefully I can go far at the French Open,” she said. “I have good memories playing there.
“Now that I’ve got more matches on clay, it’s a bit easier and (gives) a bit more confidence definitely.
“It’s always important to be healthy, be ready physically, then hopefully I can go far there.”
She offered wishes for a speedy recovery to Kalinina.
“She has done an amazing job, I hope she is fit for Roland Garros,” Rybakina said.
The 68-minute match didn’t get underway until 11 pm, Rybakina telling the hardy fans in the stadium who sat through more than four hours of delays that she knew it wasn’t easy for them.
Rybakina, who will rise to four in the world ahead of Roland Garros, is only the third woman to have reached the finals at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome in the same season.
The others were Monica Seles in 1991 and Maria Sharapova in 2012.
The Russian-born Rybakina has now won 28 matches this season – only world No 2 and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has won more, with 29.
Medvedev to face Rune in final
Daniil Medvedev moved into only the second clay court final of his career on Saturday as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-5 at the Italian Open.
The former world No 1 will play for the title on Sunday at the Foro Italico against Holger Rune, who came from a set and a break down to put out Casper Ruud 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas suffered through several rain interruptions totalling four and a half hours as the atrocious weather of this week continues.
Medvedev advanced to his third Masters final of the season after Indian Wells and Miami.
Results on Saturday from the ATP/WTA Italian Open in Rome (x denotes seeding, players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Women’s singles final
Elena Rybakina (KAZ x7) bt Anhelina Kalinina (UKR x30) 6-4, 1-0 - retired
Men’s singles semi-finals
Holger Rune (DEN x7) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x4) 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-2
Daniil Medvedev (x3) bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) 7-5, 7-5
Berrettini ruled out of French Open
World No 20 Matteo Berrettini withdrew from the French Open for a second successive year on Saturday after failing to recover from an abdominal injury.
The 27-year-old Italian, who suffered the injury at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, will focus on returning for the grass court season.
“I will not be ready in time for Paris so my return to the tour will be in Stuttgart,” he wrote on Instagram.
Berrettini is the defending champion at the Stuttgart event which gets underway on June 12.
He missed last year’s French Open with a hand injury 12 months after making the quarter-finals.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day