Andrey Rublev maintained his magnificent form by beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets to win the Rotterdam Open.

Rublev won Sunday's final 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to claim his fourth consecutive ATP 500 title.

The world number eight from Russia has now won 13 of his 14 matches this year, his only defeat coming against Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Rublev won 75 per cent of points on his first serve, winning the first set on a tie-break after saving four break points in the opening game.

Fucsovics was unable to turn it around in the second set, Rublev claiming his second win in three meetings with Fucsovics.

Just the one break in the opening game of the second set was enough for Rublev to add to his victories in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna last year.

 

 

Karim Benzema's late equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw for Real Madrid at rivals Atletico Madrid and extended their unbeaten run in El Derbi to 10 LaLiga matches.

Atleti are the side in the ascendancy in Spain's top flight this season, but they have been second best in their own city in recent years and could not end a poor sequence in this fixture on Sunday.

Luis Suarez's 10th league strike against Madrid had appeared enough for a precious victory, yet missed chances came back to bite Diego Simeone's men as the long-serving Atleti coach was denied a club-record 309th win in the job.

Benzema, fit again to captain the side, marked his 371st LaLiga appearance – a record among Madrid's non-Spanish players – with an 88th-minute leveller to maintain the champions' interest in the title race.

Madrid stay third, five points behind Atleti, but Barcelona – winners against Osasuna on Saturday – are now within three of the leaders, who have one win in five in all competitions.

Karim Benzema's late equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw for Real Madrid at rivals Atletico Madrid and extended their unbeaten run in El Derbi to 10 LaLiga matches.

Atleti are the side in the ascendancy in Spain's top flight this season, but they have been second best in their own city in recent years and could not end a poor sequence in this fixture on Sunday.

Luis Suarez's 10th league strike against Madrid had appeared enough for a precious victory, yet missed chances came back to bite Diego Simeone's men as the long-serving Atleti coach was denied a club-record 309th win in the job.

Benzema, fit again to captain the side, marked his 371st LaLiga appearance – a record among Madrid's non-Spanish players – with an 88th-minute leveller to maintain the champions' interest in the title race.

Madrid stay third, five points behind Atleti, but Barcelona – winners against Osasuna on Saturday – are now within three of the leaders, who have one win in five in all competitions.

While Madrid have a hold over their neighbours, no player has scored more league goals against Los Blancos than Suarez since he moved to Spain in 2014 and the Uruguayan made the most of the game's first chance of note after 15 minutes.

Marcos Llorente beat Nacho on halfway and advanced to slide through a pass that met the well-timed run of Suarez, who shaped a fine low finish around Thibaut Courtois.

The first half was otherwise short of goalmouth action, although Madrid's appeals for handball by Felipe prompted a VAR review shortly before the break, only for referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez to stick with his original decision rather than awarding a penalty.

Courtois twice came to Lucas Vazquez's rescue at the start of the second period as he was exposed up against Yannick Carrasco, brilliantly blocking from both the rampaging winger and Suarez.

It appeared as though the brilliance of Atleti's own goalkeeper would ensure those stops would not scar the hosts as Jan Oblak stood tall to save from Benzema twice in quick succession and then parried clear the same man's free-kick.

But there was still time for Benzema to have the final say, granted an empty net when Casemiro squared in front of Oblak after Suarez had lost the ball up the field.

After two days of sunshine, the heavens opened on the third day of the 2021 Piranha Senior Invite in Plantation, Florida, for the finals but it didn’t change the course of Alia Atkinson’s dominance over the proceedings.

Liverpool slumped to a sixth successive home defeat on Sunday as relegation-threatened Fulham claimed a 1-0 win.

The worst part for Jurgen Klopp's beleaguered side was the fact that, from the moment Mario Lemina put the visitors ahead at half-time, the writing was on the wall to an extent.

The Reds' slump includes January's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, when Mohamed Salah scored from the penalty spot.

That was the only defeat where they have found the net, with the losing run immediately preceded by a 0-0 draw against Manchester United.

It means, following 16 attempts without reward against Fulham, Liverpool have racked up 115 shots since they last scored from open play at Anfield in a 1-1 draw against West Brom on December 27.

That amounts to the longest run of open-play shots without scoring at home since Opta began collecting the exact times of shots.

Portsmouth (114 in January 2008) and Manchester City (101 in August 2007) are the only other two clubs to have chalked up this unwanted century.

Gabriel Jesus got the nod to lead Manchester City's attack in the derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, with Phil Foden having to be content with a place on the bench.

Jesus took his tally in all competitions to 11 goals this season with a midweek brace in the 4-1 win over Wolves, which extended City's winning streak to 21 matches and allowed the Premier League leaders to head into Sunday's fixture with a 14-point lead over third-placed United.

That performance against Wolves persuaded Pep Guardiola to retain Jesus in his XI, despite the fact his team have often operated without a specialist centre-forward during their record-breaking run.

Foden was joined among the substitutes by Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva, as Kevin De Bruyne was named as captain in midfield on his 250th City appearance.

Both Jesus and De Bruyne were looking to improve their individual records against United. The Brazil striker has not scored in nine derby appearances, while none of De Bruyne's 77 Premier League assists have come with United as the opponents.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was aiming to become the first United manager in history to win his first three away derbies and selected a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

Edinson Cavani returned from injury during the midweek 0-0 at Crystal Palace – United's third consecutive goalless draw – but the veteran striker was not part of the derby matchday squad.

Rade Krunic and Diogo Dalot scored their first Serie A goals for Milan in an impressive 2-0 victory at Hellas Verona.

Krunic opened the scoring with a brilliant first-half free-kick and Dalot doubled Milan's lead with a classy strike early in the second period at Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Stefano Pioli’s side should have won by a more emphatic margin, but victory moved them three points behind leaders Inter, who play Atalanta on Monday.

The Rossoneri are now unbeaten in four matches ahead of a Europa League encounter with Manchester United on Thursday.

Milan made a positive start and they should have been in front when Rafael Leao headed Davide Calabria's whipped delivery over the crossbar.

Pioli's men continued to pose an attacking threat and Krunic made the breakthrough 27 minutes in, finding the far corner of the net with a sublime free-kick after he was upended by Giangiacomo Magnani at full tilt.

Striker Leao twice fired over to ensure Verona trailed by just the one goal at the end of a one-sided first half.

But Dalot put Milan two up just four minutes into the second half with a sublime finish, finding the top-right corner of the net with his right foot after throwing a clever dummy just outside the penalty area.

Alexis Saelemaekers came close to a third goal when he drilled a venomous strike over the bar as Verona struggled to contain Milan.

Federico Ceccherini headed wide at the other end with around 14 minutes to go and Krunic cleared Marco Faraoni’s header off the line as Milan secured three precious points.

 

Fulham boosted their survival hopes as they inflicted a sixth consecutive Premier League home defeat on Liverpool, winning 1-0 at Anfield.

Mario Lemina's strike close to the half-time break earned the visitors a deserved three points that means only goal difference separates them from safety.

It also extended a dreadful run of form for the Premier League champions, whose hopes of qualifying for any form of European football next term now look under huge threat.

No doubt encouraged by their hosts' woeful recent form, Fulham made the brighter start.

They twice went close when Josh Maja flicked an unorthodox effort just past the post before Ademola Lookman drove wide after cutting into the box too easily.

And, though Liverpool looked to respond through Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian was unable to hit the target after getting in behind on two occasions.

Fulham kept the pressure on, with only a brave Alisson stop and an excellent Neco Williams block denying Maja and Lookman respectively.

And the Reds could not deny them before half-time, with Lemina picking Salah's pocket at the edge of the box before arrowing a brilliant low effort into the far corner.

Liverpool showed improvement following the break, Diogo Jota stinging the palms of Alphonse Areola with a well-struck left-footed volley just inside the box.

But their desperation to get back into the game led to gaps opening up, which Ivan Cavaleiro almost exploited in shooting wide after pinching the ball in midfield and breaking at pace.

Shortly after that chance, Jurgen Klopp looked to his bench for inspiration, introducing Sadio Mane in place of Georginio Wijnaldum.

And the Senegalese nearly levelled just minutes into his cameo, sending a looping header onto the post from Naby Keita's cross.

But that was as close as Liverpool came across a final 25 minutes that featured surprisingly few uncomfortable moments for Fulham, who were good value for their win.

What does it mean? Fulham give themselves a chance

Having looked dead and buried earlier in the season, Fulham are now only in the Premier League's bottom three by virtue of goal difference.

As the form team in that part of the division, Scott Parker's side will now fancy their chances of reeling in Brighton and Hove Albion or Newcastle United before the campaign comes to a close.

What's next?

Liverpool must shake off another Anfield defeat quickly as they head to Budapest for the 'home' leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Fulham, meanwhile, have six days to prepare for hosting Premier League champions in waiting Manchester City at Craven Cottage.

Antonio Conte is focused only on this season with Inter, rather than his long-term future at the club, as the Serie A leaders prepare to host Atalanta.  

Inter's 2-1 triumph at Parma on Thursday – sealed thanks to a brace from Alexis Sanchez – made it four league wins on the spin, though Conte acknowledges there is still a long way to go yet in their bid for a first Scudetto since 2010.  

The former Juventus and Chelsea boss is in his second year in charge of the Nerazzurri, his current deal running until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.  

It remains to be seen if he will sign an extension to extend his tenure beyond then, though his primary concern right now is staying clear of the chasing pack in the title race.  

"The fact is I have another year to run on the contract. At this moment, all of us – me, the coaches, the players – must focus on the present," Conte said.

"We cannot be distracted by other factors, we must be concentrated because we can influence the present, from here to the end of the season.  

"What will happen externally, I do not know. We have no influence over that. We can influence the present and our job.  

"I know that people want to talk about other factors, but we must stay concentrated. We need continuity and consistency. We want to show that Inter are back to the levels it deserves. 

"We cannot get carried away and think about the future – we must stay focused and think about the here and now. Our objective is playing matters and doing well for the club." 

Conte will come up against one of his former clubs on Monday, though Atalanta are a far different proposition now to when he was in charge in 2009-10.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side are once again fighting for a top-four finish, their total of 49 points a club-record tally after 25 games in a top-flight campaign.

Inter have triumphed only once in their last six matches against Atalanta in Serie A, with Conte full of praise for his opposite number ahead of the game at San Siro.

"We are facing a team that creates big problems for everyone, in the Champions League and in the league, where they have won several times against the big names," Conte said. 

"Atalanta have consolidated, aware of their means and have strong players, both the starters and those who enter during the match – I think of [Luis] Muriel, who has taken over many times and has solved complicated games. 

"Gasperini is doing an extraordinary job, the group is following his ideas and I'm happy for him and for Atalanta, who I coached for a while."

Spain head coach Luis Enrique cast his vote in the Barcelona presidential election on Sunday and kept his fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

The former Barcelona player, who coached the team to treble glory in the 2014-15 season, was one of thousands who turned out to Camp Nou to vote in person.

Barcelona said 20,663 club members had already voted by post for their choice of the president to lead the club forward.

Luis Enrique was among a host of big names who arrived at the club's stadium to have their say in the election, with current players including Lionel Messi also exercising their right.

"It is an opportunity to choose the president of Barca and with joy. I hope that the one who comes out on top, the one picked by all the members, will be the best for the club," Luis Enrique said, quoted by Mundo Deportivo.

He was pictured wearing a face mask as he submitted his voting card, with the elections taking place while COVID-19 remains a major global crisis.

"Everything is strange in these times and what we have clearly demonstrated is the ability that we have to adapt," Luis Enrique said. "We will prepare and look for the positive side of things."

Xavi, a former Barcelona midfield talisman, urged members to come out and vote, to take their chance to influence the club's future direction.

Former president Joan Laporta is favourite to return for a second term in charge, with Victor Font and Toni Freixa the other men in the running.

Xavi, who Font has pledged to bring back to the club as head coach if he wins, had a major distraction on Sunday as his Al Sadd team attempted to wrap up the Qatar Stars League against Umm Salal.

But the 41-year-old wrote on Instagram: "From Doha I encourage all members to vote in the elections of the best club in the world. Long live Barca!"

Rangers have been crowned Scottish Premiership champions for the first time in a decade after Celtic slipped up at Dundee United on Sunday.  

Steven Gerrard's side had moved to the brink of glory on Saturday, a 3-0 home win over St Mirren leaving them needing just one more point to get over the line – provided Celtic triumphed at Tannadice less than 24 hours later.  

However, with their Old Firm rivals only able to draw 0-0 on the road, Rangers were able to celebrate a first top-flight title in Scotland since the 2010-11 season, in the process ending Celtic's run of success in the competition.  

Securing the league also gives Gerrard the first trophy of his managerial career in his third season in charge at Ibrox. They had finished second in the previous campaigns under the former England international, as well as losing the 2020 League Cup final. 

Gerrard said after the victory over St Mirren that the club had been "to hell and back over the past 10 years", having been forced to start afresh in the fourth tier of Scottish football following major financial problems, including liquidation. 

The Gers eventually completed the journey back to the Premiership in 2016, though had been unable to end the dominance of their Glasgow neighbours in recent years.   

Celtic were bidding to win a 10th consecutive league crown this term, a feat neither club had previously managed to achieve. However, while the defending champions have stuttered, eventually leading to the departure of Neil Lennon, Gerrard's Rangers have dominated. 

They are yet to lose a league game in the 2020-21 season, recording 28 wins and four draws in 32 outings so far, meaning an average of 2.8 points per game.  

A total of 77 goals averages out at 2.4 per game. Full-back James Tavernier – the team's penalty taker – is leading scorer with 11, but forwards Kemar Roofe (10) and Alfredo Morelos (10) have also reached double figures.  

However, it is an outstanding defensive record that has underpinned their charge: Rangers have conceded just nine goals, which works out at a ridiculously low 0.3 per outing.   

The clean sheet against St Mirren was their 24th in the league, while they have not committed a defensive error that has led to an opposing team scoring so far, per Opta data.  

Rangers have scored first in 28 of their 32 league outings and only once have they failed to triumph after breaking the deadlock, while just four points have been dropped all season from a winning position. 

There remains the possibility of further silverware before the season is over, too. Rangers are still in the Europa League, with Slavia Prague their opponents in the last 16. 

Diogo Jota gets a first Premier League start in 2021 as one of seven changes made by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp for the home game against Fulham on Sunday. 

Having suffered a knee injury in December, Jota made a return to first-team action on Thursday, though his appearance off the bench could not help the Reds avoid going down 1-0 to top-four rivals Chelsea at Anfield. 

The Portuguese forward is named in the starting XI to take on relegation-threatened Fulham, with Roberto Firmino ruled out due to what Liverpool announced to be a "minor knock". 

Klopp named Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane on a strong bench, with the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig to come on Wednesday. 

The decision to leave Fabinho out means Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams start together at the heart of the defence. Neco Williams, meanwhile, takes over from Alexander-Arnold at right-back. 

James Milner and Naby Keita come into the Liverpool midfield, while Mohamed Salah – who did not hide his disappointment at being substituted against Chelsea in midweek – starts too, along with Xherdan Shaqiri. 

Lionel Messi was among the Barcelona players to cast his vote in the club's presidential election on Sunday.

Former president Joan Laporta is favourite to return for a second term in charge, with Victor Font and Toni Freixa the other men in the running.

A sometimes ill-tempered campaign was extended when a rise in coronavirus cases put back the original polling day of January 24.

And further tumult was added to proceedings this week when ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu was arrested amid raids on Barcelona's headquarters by Catalan police this week.

Bartomeu was provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business.

Elections were called after Bartomeu stood down in October, following a turbulent period in which Messi sought to leave the club.

But Barca captain Messi, who is out of contract in June and yet to commit to his next move, arrived to vote alongside fellow first-teamers Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Riqui Puig, as well as ex-Blaugrana forward Luis Enrique.

Laporta said this week he was the only candidate who could ensure Messi would stay at Camp Nou, while Font believes his proposal of bringing in Barcelona great Xavi as head coach would be persuasive to his former team-mate.

Barcelona beat Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday, with Ronald Koeman's side cutting the gap to leaders Atletico Madrid to two points - having played two games more.

Atleti face Real Madrid – third and three points shy of Koeman's men – in Sunday's Madrid derby.

Bruno Fernandes is convinced the signing of Alex Telles is the key component behind Luke Shaw's dramatic improvement at Manchester United after the left-back won the club's Player of the Month award.

It was not so long ago that Shaw's United career appeared to be petering out to an underwhelming conclusion, particularly during Jose Mourinho's ill-fated reign.

In two-and-a-half years playing for the Portuguese coach, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho criticised Shaw publicly on several occasions, yet the left-back kept his head down and – to the surprise of very few – ultimately outlasted the 'Special One', kicking on brilliantly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

His five assists this season is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total in previous campaigns, but that's just the tip of the iceberg – Shaw's chance creation frequency of 2.44 per game is almost double his previous best of 1.3 in 2016-17, and that was from just 11 appearances.

The only defender to lay on goalscoring chances at a better rate than Shaw is Ryan Fredericks (2.45), though his marginally improved record comes from 13 fewer games than Shaw's 23.

Liverpool's Andrew Robertson has previously been held up as something of a standard-bearer for full-backs in the Premier League, yet Shaw's 31 key passes from open play is just one less than his 32 from four fewer outings. Joao Cancelo leads the way (36), though he does count set-piece deliveries as among his strong points – the United man does.

Statistically, this season is an outlier for Shaw in almost every regard and highlights just how much of a step forward he has taken, but Fernandes is convinced there has been one major catalyst for this resurgence.

Speaking to the United website ahead of Sunday's derby clash with Manchester City, Fernandes said: "[Shaw]'s been playing really, really well in the last few months. I think he started a little bit slow like everyone did because at the beginning of the season we didn't start good.

"I think the competition between Alex and Luke has given both of them the chances to be better and to improve. This is really important because you know if you are not performing well you will be out of the team.

"I think Luke started to perform well when he had that pressure from Alex. At the same time, Alex when he plays has played really well because he knows that Luke is on the bench.

"So, the pressure between them is good but the relationship between them is better, I have seen that in the stands. Alex is always pushing to help everyone and I remember when I came off against Real Sociedad it was Luke in the stands and I saw a lot of times Luke pushing to help Alex.

"This is what we're about. You can be fighting for the same place, but you are fighting for the same achievements, you know.

"This has to be like that in every position in the team, we have to understand that whoever is playing it's because the manager thinks he's better for the team in that moment and the most important thing is the team.

"I think everyone is happy for Luke to win this Player of the Month award and I'm happy too because he deserves it, and I hope he can continue this form until the end of the season because he knows Alex is there to take his position."

Sunday's trip to City will see Fernandes go up against some familiar faces in Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Cancelo, all of whom are colleagues of his at international level with Portugal.

All three have enjoyed fine campaigns individually and, as a collective, have helped City embark on a club-record winning streak of 21 games across all competitions.

Avoiding defeat again on Sunday will mean City are unbeaten in 29 matches, another new club record, and Fernandes made no secret of wishing his compatriots were not doing so well as a team.

"I speak with them regularly, we have a good relationship, but the relationships stay out of the game. They know me and they know that on the pitch we are not friends anymore," he said with a grin.

"At the same time I enjoy seeing them play and every one of them is doing well individually and I'm happy for them. As a team I was hoping to see them do a little bit worse than they are doing, but individually I am happy for them because they are good people and they deserve to be in the positions they are and playing in the way they are playing."

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