Dubai Tennis Championship Final – Murray v Verdasco
Murray returns to form in Dubai
After a slow start in which he dropped his first two service games Andy Murray recovered to defeat Fernando Verdasco. He broke bac on both occasions and then a third time to eventually take the first set 6-3. He then took total control breaking twice more and finding his service rhythm to easily take the second set 6-2. It is Murrays’s first tournament win of 2017 and the 45th ATP title of his career, expect more to come.
America’s Sam Querry scored a surprise victory defeating Rafael Nadal. Querry got off to a quick start and took the first set in just 29 minutes. Nadal repsonded in the second and had five break point chances in the eighth game. However Querry held him off to level at 4-4 with the set eventually going all the way to a tie break. Nadal made key baseline errors allowing Querry to take it 7-3 and claim his first title of 2017 having served 19 aces in a very impressive display.
Georgia were looking at a potential shock defeat as Spain led 10-3 at half time in Medina Del Campo. Tries from Giorgi Tkhilaishvili and test debutante Soso Matiashvili eventually saw the Six nations B Champions home 20-10. Romania comfortably saw off Russia 30-10 with the pick of the tries being Jody Rose’s interception try going 40 yards to complete the score. Belgium found themselves 21-0 down against Germany but threatened an unlikely comeback when Andy Williams went over to close the gap to just 5, however a try from Jaco Otto secured the victory for Germany who have two wins out of three.
The USA are the Americas Rugby Champions for the first time in a thrilling decider against Argentina. David Tameilau went over from a driving maul to give the USA a surprise 15-3 lead. However two penalty tries brought Argentina back into it and when full back Gabriel Ascarte went over in the corner Argentina had a 12 point lead. Cam Dolan got a try six minutes from time to bring the American back within a score it but they still needed a converted try to level and take the title. Tameilau was the hero breaking a tackle to score from close range for his second try, Ben Cima nailed the conversion for a 27-27 draw and due to previous bonus points it was enough for the USA to win the title for the first time.
In the other final games Freitas Alleges and Leivas Ballestrino got two tires each as Uruguay comfortably thrashed Chile 45-14, Chile finish bottom of the table. Finally Brazil scored an impressive upset win over Canada 24-23 in another tight finish. Winger Ze Tranqez got the winning score in the very last minute to give Brazil victory in Sao Paulo.
Mexico’s Juan Hernandez Naverette went into the lions den in Thailand and beat home favourite Nawaphon Kaikanha. The Thai appeared comfortable in the first two round and there was nothing to suggest what was to happen in the third. Naverette caught Kaikanha with a clean left up. The Thai boxer got up at eight but sensing the finish the Mexican then launched a blitz of hard shots leaving the ref no option than to step in and stop the fight. It the Kaikanha first defeat and an impressive display from Navarette who went into the fight the underdog but came out the Champion.
Unification WBC & WBA Welterweight Title – Thurman v Garcia
Thurman gets split decision in fight that fails to deliver the hype
A battle of two unbeaten fighter in New York, most were expecting an explosive contest between WBC Champion Danny Garcia and WBA Champion Keith Thurman. In the end it delivered a fairly cagey affair. Despite a quick start from Thurman he then backed off into jab and move mode keeping at at range. The fight was tough to score as Garcia was coming forward most of the time but Thurman was delivering the higher quality shots on the counter. In a contest that could have gone either way, the scores were as close as it looked with Thurman getting a split decision by four and two points on two card with Garcia getting the other by two points. There is scope for a rematch, although the stunted nature of much of the contest could mean the demand is not there.
Austrian Dominic Thiem has won again on South American soil. Having won in Argentina and Mexico in 2016, he claimed the Rio Open beating Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets. The Spaniard took a 3-2 lead in the first set but Thiem, ranked 8th in the World, fought back to break twice taking the first set 7-5. He broke twice again in the second set and serving eight aces in the match to take it 6-4 and win his eighth ATP title.
Jo Wilfried Tsonga won his second straight ATP title adding the Open 13 in Marseille to his Rotterdam Open title last week. He defeated fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-4 braking once in each set. The match lasted 69 minutes. It is the 14th title of Tsonga’s career and his third win in Marseille. He will hope to continue this fine form heading towards the French Open.
Delray Beach Open Final in Florida – Sock v Raonic
Second Title for Sock
Jack Sock has his second ATP title this year after winning his final by default. Top seeded Canadian Milos Raonic had to with draw due to a hamstring injury. As a result Sock is the Champion in Delray Beach, adding to his victory in Auckland in January continuing a fine start to the season for the American.
Vacant WBC Super Bantamweight Title – McDonnell v Vargas
Vargas too good for brave McDonnell
Rey Vargas claimed the WBC Super Bantamweight title in Hull getting off to a fast start against Gavin McDonnell. Vargas dominated the first four rounds getting through with a series of heavy shots. McDonnell had a better round five and did improve but it took him too long to get to the speed required. McDonnell had a good final three rounds but was by then too far behind, Vargas deservedly being given a majority decision. McDonnell may well get another chance down the line, as for Vargas, he will be a difficult champion to dislodge.
Deontay Wilder easily defended his WBC Heavyweight title against outclassed Gerald Washington. Wilder was in control from the start and opened up in round 5 when a heavy shot put Washington down. The challenger did get up only to be met by a barrage of additional punches as Wilder smelt the finish and delivered as the referee stepped in to stop the fight. For Wilder a contest with Anthony Joshua or Vladimir Klitschko must be on the cards to unify the titles before too long.
Vacant IBF Super Welterweight Title – Hurd v Harrison
Hurd turns it around after torrid six rounds
Jarrett Hurd had to endure a difficult six rounds against Tony Harrison before finally claiming the Vacant IBF Super Welterweight Title. Harrison came forward and controlled the fight for long periods in the early stages before Hurd began to take control from round 7 and began to wear Harrison down. A right hand late in the ninth put Harrison down and although he beat the count the referee deemed him unable to continue. Hurd remain unbeaten at 20-0 as a result and claims his first World Title in the process.
Stamina down the stretch sees Peterson take the title
Lamont Peterson became a two weight world champion getting the better of Champion Russian David Avanesyan in Ohio. The contest was a cagey tight affair for the first five rounds but in the middle of the fight the two stood toe to toe exchanging blows in a tit for tat affair in which neither established control. As it went on the Russian tired the faster and the body punching of Peterson began to tell it’s toll. Peterson was much more on the front foot landing telling blows which saw him sweep the final three rounds on all three judges scorecards that in the end was the difference. He was given the decision unanimously to claim his the title in his first fight since October 2015. His stamina was hugely impressive given how long he has been out of the ring.
Georgia began the defense of their Six Nations B title with a comfortable 31-6 victory over newly promoted Belgium. Giorgi Tkhilashvili and Giorgi Koshadze went over to give the defending champions a commanding 17-0 lead at half time, two more second half tries saw Georgia easisy home. Germany scored an upset victory over Romania in a thrilling contest. Romania lead 38-27 going into the final 10 minutes but tries from Dash Barber, his second of the game, and Marcel Cotezee six minutes from time completed the comeback for Germany to claim their first win against the Romanians for 70 years. Finally Spain got off to a winning start against Russia. Mathieu Belie got the only try of the game for the Spanish as they won the game 16-6.
Favourites Argentina got their second bonus point victory of the Championshp with an easy 57-12 thrashing of Uruguay. Sebastan Cancellier got a hat trick in a nine try demolition in Bahia Blanca. The USA also made it two out of two with Lock Tony Lamborn going over twice as part of eight tries in a 51-3 thrashing of Brazil. The final game saw Canada get their first win of the championship over Chile. Left winger Taylor Paris got a hat trick of tries to help Canada to a 36-15 victory.