Nigeria’s queen of tracks, Blessing Okagbare – Ighoteguonor won the 100m gold at the Shanghai Diamond League beating last year’s world leader Tori Bowie by almost a metre, 10.98 to 11.07. Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye finished 3rd in 11.13s while Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth in 11.22s. Top rated Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce trailed home in fifth place. “My race was pretty good,” Okagbare said. “It is not easy to compete with the best of the world – but I won. I focused on my start. Normally I don’t have the best start, but now I was leading from the beginning.”
Doncaster Rovers have released South Africa captain Dean Furman. The 26-year-old joined Rovers from Oldham on a two-year deal in July 2013 after a successful loan spell and made 66 league appearances. The League One side have also released goalkeeper Stephen Bywater, 33, defenders Jamie McCombe, 32 and Reece Wabara, 23, midfielders Abdul Razak, 22, and striker Theo Robinson, 26. Defender Rob Jones, 35, has been offered a new deal. The veteran missed the majority of the season with a knee injury, but returned in April to score twice in the final five games of the season. Winger Kyle Bennett, 24, has also been offered a new deal after scoring eight goals in 50 appearances this season.
Andre Villas-Boas guided Zenit St Petersburg to their third Russian Premier League title in five seasons after a 1-1 draw with FC Ufa. Zenit finished runners-up to CSKA Moscow in the past two seasons but have now clinched the 2014-15 championship with two matches to spare. Brazil striker Hulk put Zenit ahead against Ufa with a fierce free-kick. Haris Handzic scored a late header for the hosts but the point was enough for Villas-Boas’ team to seal the title. Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Villas-Boas joined Zenit in March 2014 and the team finished a point behind CSKA last season. The Portuguese is the third foreign coach to win the Russian Premier League with Zenit after Italian Luciano Spalletti in 2010 and 2012 and Dutch coach Dick Advocaat in 2007.
Benfica won the Portuguese league for the second year running on Sunday with one game to spare when they drew 0-0 at Vitoria Guimaraes and rivals Porto were held 1-1 at Belenenses. Porto were on course to take the title race to the final weekend when Colombia forward Jackson Martinez gave them a first-half lead, turning in a cross at the near post for his 21st goal of the season. But their chances evaporated on a hot afternoon when Tiago Caeiro snatched an 85th minute equaliser, firing home from close range after Dalcio’s pass opened up the Porto defence. The results meant that Benfica, who have won 26 of their 33 games and lost only three, stayed three points clear of Porto with one match each to play and cannot be caught because they have the better head-to-head record. Benfica won 2-0 at Porto in the first meeting and drew 0-0 in the return on their way to a record 34th league title, seven more than their old rivals. It was the first time for 31 years that the Eagles have won two titles in a row and a remarkable achievement for coach Jorge Jesus, who had to rebuild his side after several key members of last season’s treble-winning team were sold. “Benfica were better than our rivals and that’s why we reached the end in first place,” said the fiery 60-year-old who has also led his side to two Europa League finals in six years in charge. “With me, Benfica have always been challenging for or winning titles. We won this championship with the experience we gained over the last six seasons.”
Russian third seed Maria Sharapova came from a set down to beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6 7-5 6-1 and win her third Italian Open title. Suarez Navarro, the world number 10, battled hard in the first two sets but ran out of energy in the decider. Her best chance came at 5-5 in the second set but Sharapova finished the set with eight straight points. The Russian capitalised on her opponent’s weakness in the third set as she swept to a 35th career crown. Suarez Navarro, who was bidding for the second title of her career, made a strong start and broke Sharapova midway through the first set as the Russian tried to force matters. The Spaniard continued to cause problems in the second set but once Sharapova found her way into the match she looked strong, despite committing plenty of unforced errors. Sharapova, who will be second seed for the French Open which starts on 24 May, broke Suarez Navarro in the eighth game of the second set for a 5-3 lead and after going on to hand her opponent three break points in the next game, she eventually recovered to level the match. The Russian handed Suarez Navarro a break point in the opening game of the third set and despite twice saving the game, the Spaniard moved ahead when Sharapova hit an easy return just wide. That setback only served to spur the Russian on, who broke back immediately, sealing the game with a two-handed backhand return. From then on she dominated, holding serve on her final game to seal the victory.
Despite his prowess at tennis, turns Novak Djokovic isn’t quite as adept at opening a bottle of champagne. Celebrating on-court after beating Federer to the Italian Open, here’s how Novak did it. Pointing straight up at his face.
World number one Novak Djokovic continued his domination of men’s tennis with a 6-4 6-3 win over Roger Federer to win the Italian Open final. The pair went toe-to-toe in the opening set but Serbia’s Djokovic broke in the 10th game to seal it. Full of confidence, he broke Federer early in the second set and the Swiss player never recovered from that. Djokovic soon set up two match points and sealed his fourth Rome title when a Federer forehand went wide. It makes it 22 consecutive wins for the Serb and he will go into the French Open, which starts next Monday, in confident mood. He traded blows with Federer from the opening stages and, at 5-4 ahead, converted his first break of the set with a return winner that clipped the edge of the tramline. Djokovic’s precision, power and pace made him look unstoppable and he looked particularly dangerous from the baseline as he claimed his 19th win in 39 matches against the 33-year-old. “So far, this is the best season of my life,” he said. “I don’t know how it will go at Roland Garros, but I’m very confident. “I’m playing with great joy and concentration and I hope to continue. “This has been a very exciting week and today was my best match. It’s always a big challenge to play Roger and obviously I’m very pleased.”
Lionel Messi’s strike gave Barcelona their 23rd Spanish title as they beat Atletico Madrid to regain La Liga. Messi’s 41st league goal of the season ensured that Real Madrid will finish second – despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Espanyol. With one game left Barca hold a four-point lead ahead of rivals Real. Luis Enrique’s treble-chasing side play Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish cup final on 30 May, before facing Juventus in June’s Champions League final. Defending champions Atletico had gone close to opening the lead before Messi exchanged passes with Pedro and fired low into the corner. The Barcelona players and staff celebrated on Atletico’s Vicente Calderon pitch after reclaiming the crown which they lost to Diego Simeone’s side on the final day of last season exactly a year ago. And they could yet repeat the feat of 2008-09, when they won a historic treble under Pep Guardiola. The Catalan club have scored 108 goals so far in the league, with a fixture at home to relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna still to come. Their front three of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez – who missed the trip to Atletico through injury – have been prolific, netting 115 goals between them in all competitions. Barca had a trophyless campaign last time round under Argentine coach Tata Martino, but Enrique has turned the club’s fortunes around in his first season in charge.