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The week in numbers: w/e 3/7/11

Haye landed an average of just six punches per round (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

72David Haye landed just 72 punches during his comprehensive points defeat by Wladimir Klitschko in their world heavyweight title fight in Hamburg. Klitschko registered 134, nearly twice as many.

144Mahela Jayawardena scored 144 as Sri Lanka defeated England by 69 runs in the second one-day international at Headingley.

119 – England captain Alastair Cook scored 199 at Lord’s in the third ODI, but Sri Lanka still cruised to an easy six-wicket victory as Dinesh Chandimal made an unbeaten 105.

7Thomas Levet became the seventh Frenchman – and only the second in the last 42 years – to win golf’s French Open as he beat Britain’s Mark Foster by one stroke.

5 – Number of trophies won by the Great Britain rowing team at Henley Royal Regatta, the last major event in the UK before the London 2012 Olympics.

84Durham‘s Callum Thorp took 6/20 as Lancashire were bowled out for just 84 in the first innings of their County Championship match. Durham won a low-scoring match by five wickets.

4.70 – 19-year old Holly Bleasdale cleared a height of 4.70m to break the British women’s pole vault record, previously held by Kate Dennison, by 10cm.

5 – Double Paralympic swimming champion Eleanor Simmonds was one of five British gold medallists on the opening day of the IPC European Championships in Berlin yesterday.

Wimbledon in numbers

Pironkova beat Venus for the second consecutive year (image courtesy of wimbledon.com)

2 – Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova became only the second woman to beat Venus Williams at back-to-back Wimbledons, after winning their last-16 match 6-2 6-3. The other player to do so was Venus’s sister Serena in 2002 and 2003.

8 – For the first time in the Open era, the eight quarter-finalists in the ladies’ singles were represented by eight different nationalities.

1Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first player ever to defeat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam singles match from two sets down, winning 3-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4.

4Sabine Lisicki became only the fourth female player ever to reach the semi-final of a Grand Slam singles tournament as a wild-card, after Zheng Jie (Wimbledon 2008), Kim Clijsters (US 2009) and Justine Henin (Australia 2010).

5Andy Murray lost in four sets to Rafael Nadal in their semi-final, but nonetheless boasts an enviable record of five semi-final appearances in his last seven Grand Slam tournaments.

3 – Murray is only the second male player to have lost his first three Wimbledon semi-finals. Tim Henman is the other.

1 – By reaching the men’s final, Novak Djokovic became the first Serbian tennis player to gain the world number one ranking.

Eight proved to be Kvitová's lucky number? (image courtesy of wimbledon.com)

21 – Petra Kvitová defeated Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4 in the ladies’ singles final to become the first left-handed winner since Martina Navratilova in 1990, 21 years ago. At the time, Kvitová was less than four months old.

1Kvitová also became the first number eight seed to win a ladies’ singles Grand Slam final, at the tenth attempt.

38 – Sharapova‘s erratic serve contributed towards her downfall. She served 38 double faults, 14 more than any other female player and more than twice as many as Kvitová’s 17.

5 Novak Djokovic‘s 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal in the men’s final was the fifth time he has defeated the Spaniard in 2011, but also marked his first victory over him at a Grand Slam tournament.

35 – No player converted more break points in the tournament than Djokovic‘s 35. Nadal was second, with 30.

17Djokovic bounced the ball 17 times before serving on championship point.

The Tour de France in numbers

16George Hincapie has now equalled the all-time record of Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk in making his 16th start at the Tour de France.

Gilbert claimed his 13th win of 2011

13Philippe Gilbert won stage one to take his 13th win of 2011, his first career Tour victory and the yellow jersey. He is one of a select group of riders to have won stages of cycling’s three Grand Tours: the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

80 – Number of seconds lost by defending champion Alberto Contador when he was caught on the wrong side of a crash in the peloton on the run-in to the finish of the first stage.

12 – Number of seconds separating first from seventh in Sunday’s team time trial, won by Garmin-Cervélo.

1:42 – Contador finished the second day of the Tour 1:42 behind yellow jersey Thor Hushovd.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, Infostrada and wimbledon.com.)

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My sporting month: July 2011

There is no major football tournament this summer – with all due respect, the European under-21s, under-17s World Cup and Women’s World Cup aren’t close to being on the same scale – but July is nonetheless an action-packed sporting month, with much of the major action taking place here in the UK.

For me, most of the month will be taken up watching 200 men in skin-tight suits with really bad tan-lines pedalling through scenic countryside. Which means, of course, that I kick off my monthly preview of sporting highlights with …

1. Tour de France (2nd-24th)

The world’s biggest cycling race starts its 98th edition tomorrow (Saturday), with a course that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Tour’s first visit to the Alps. The race will climb the mighty Col du Galibier twice, setting a new record for the highest ever finish in the Tour’s history in the process.

Can Alberto Contador – who is racing pending the outcome of a doping appeal – add a fourth Tour victory to his Giro d’Italia win in May? Or will Andy Schleck, second to the Spaniard in each of the last two years, finally climb the top step of the podium? British interest will be fuelled by sprinter Mark Cavendish – winner of 15 stages in the past three years – and Bradley Wiggins, who claimed victory at the prestigious pre-Tour Critérium du Dauphiné. Cavendish will be eyeing his first sprinters’ green jersey, while Wiggins will be in hot pursuit of Contador and Schleck as they chase the yellow jersey for overall victory.

For Tour de France previews, stage recaps and analysis, click here.

2. Wimbledon finals (2nd & 3rd)

The past fortnight has given us some wonderful tennis and massive upsets, not least the departure of world number one Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Serena Williams and her sister (and five-time champion) Venus all on the same afternoon. But as soon as it has arrived it is almost over, and the championships draw to a close with what will hopefully be a memorable set of finals on what is forecast to be a hot, sunny weekend.

In the women’s final tomorrow (Saturday), Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitová, a semi-finalist last year, will participate in her first Grand Slam final after beating Victoria Azarenka. She will take on Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, who will be seeking her fourth Grand Slam title, but her first since the Australian Open in 2008.

It’s anyone’s game in the men’s draw, which sees the semi-finals take place today. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, conqueror of Roger Federer, takes on Novak Djokovic, to be followed by Andy Murray against defending champion Rafael Nadal. Each has played some scintillating tennis during the tournament – Djokovic’s match against Marcos Baghdatis last Saturday being one which particularly sticks in the memory – and, whoever wins, it promises a final of the highest quality. And for the rest of the month, expect tennis courts up and down the country to be full to overflowing.

3. British Grand Prix (10th)

If anyone is to mount a serious challenge to Sebastian Vettel‘s apparently serene defence of the Formula 1 drivers’ title, it will have to start at the British Grand Prix. Jenson Button and Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber are both 77 points – more than three race wins – behind, with Lewis Hamilton the only other driver with more than half the German’s current tally of 186 points.

The Red Bull drivers have won the last two races at Silverstone, with Webber coming out on top last year, while Hamilton won in 2008. Button, however, has never finished higher than fourth here. The high-speed nature of the track and the new rule changes – the DRS moveable rear wing and faster-wearing tyres – should ensure some close and spectacular racing no matter what.

4. The Open (14th-17th)

Royal St George’s hosts the world’s oldest golf championship for the first time since 2003 when Ben Curtis lifted the old Claret Jug, with hopes high for a first European victory in three years. European golf is currently in the ascendancy after Rory McIlroy’s astonishing eight-shot triumph at the US Open last month, and with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, McIlroy and Martin Kaymer occupying the top four spots in the world rankings.

Last year, the unheralded South African Louis Oosthuizen dominated the field at St Andrews, winning by seven shots despite having missed the cut at all but one of his previous attempts at the majors. Since then, he has continued his form, winning the Africa Open in January and tying for ninth at the US Open. Can he repeat last year’s miracle, or will the Americans finally break a winless streak at the majors dating back to Phil Mickelson’s victory at the 2010 Masters?

5. England vs India, First Test (21st-25th)

The recent 1-0 series win over Sri Lanka consolidated England‘s third place in the ICC test rankings, and they will have the opportunity to progress further with a good result against India in the first of a four-test series at Lord‘s. Not only would a series win against easily the top-ranked side in the world be a real statement of intent, it will also give England the chance to overhaul South Africa and claim second spot ahead of their tough winter tours against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Alastair Cook and Ian Bell have each scored two centuries already this summer, while Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann have been in fine form with the ball. England will need to be at their best to defeat India, but this improving side is as good an England team as we have seen for many years.

The week in numbers: w/e 26/6/11

Wiggins won his first national road race title

1Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead both won their first British national road race titles yesterday. Armitstead had finished second in each of the last two years, while Wiggins will now wear the British champion’s jersey at the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday.

0 – Number of goals conceded by Switzerland en route to the UEFA under-21 final. However, Spain scored late in each half to claim a 2-0 victory to add the European under-21 title to their World Cup and European Championship trophies at senior level.

2 – Britain’s Alistair Brownlee won the European triathlon title in Pontevedra in Spain, with his brother Johnny finishing second.

Vettel eased to his sixth win of the season (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

6Sebastian Vettel claimed his sixth win of the Formula 1 season (out of eight races) at the European Grand Prix in Valencia. He has now won eight of the last ten races dating back to the end of last season.

0 – Number of retirements during the European GP, only the fourth time this has happened at an F1 race (1961 Netherlands (15 starters), 2005 USA (six), 2005 Italy (20), 2011 European (24)).

48Leicestershire were bowled out for just 48 in their second innings as they lost their County Championship game against Northamptonshire by an innings and 155 runs. David Lucas took 5/20 to finish with a match return of 9/75. He also scored 60 with the bat.

3 Rory McIlroy‘s US Open win, coupled with Martin Kaymer‘s failure to finish in the top eight at the BMW International Open, moved him up to number three in golf’s world rankings. UK golfers now occupy the top three places, with the top two being Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

Wimbledon in numbers

Kimiko Date-Krumm's previous Wimbledon singles win came in 1996 (image courtesy of wimbledon.com)

15 – 40-year old Kimiko Date-Krumm recorded the first victory of the entire tournament, defeating Britain’s Katie O’Brien 6-0 7-5. It had been a record 15 years since her last singles win at Wimbledon, having retired from tennis between 1996 and 2008.

15 – Number of consecutive games won by Andy Murray to close out his 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0 first round win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

34 – Games required by John Isner to beat Nicolas Mahut 7-6 6-2 7-6 in their first round match. When the pair met at the same stage last year it took 183 games and over 11 hours of play, in the longest match in the history of tennis.

143 – In mph, the fastest serve of the tournament’s first week, by the American Andy Roddick.

Lisicki was the fastest women's player in more ways than one (image courtesy of wimbledon.com)

45Sabine Lisicki took just 45 minutes to win her first round match against Anastasija Sevastova, 6-1 6-1. Lisicki has also recorded the fastest serve in the ladies’ competition so far, at 124mph.

0 – Number of times Novak Djokovic has attempted to serve and volley in his three matches so far.

0 – Number of sets lost by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the tournament’s first week.

72 – Spain’s Feliciano López hit 72 aces during the first week, the most by any player.

40,076 – Total number of points played across the first three rounds of the men’s and ladies’ singles.

2,908 – Total number of aces served in the first three rounds of the two singles competitions – an average of one every 13.8 points.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, Infostrada and wimbledon.com.)

The week in numbers: w/e 19/6/11

Tremlett took his first six-for as an England player

6England‘s Chris Tremlett took an international career best 6/48 in Sri Lanka‘s first innings in the third Test at the Rose Bowl.

150 – Having hosted this season’s Champions League final, Wembley Stadium has also been awarded the 2013 final to mark the FA’s 150th anniversary.

4 – In seconds, the winning margin of Levi Leipheimer at the nine-day Tour de Suisse, a key warm-up event in advance of the Tour de France.

665 – In minutes, the length of the Wimbledon men’s singles first round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut last year. The pair have been drawn together again in this year’s first round.

23 – Wickets that fell on Sunday alone in the County Championship match between Middlesex and Kent. Tim Murtagh took 5/27 as Kent were skittled out for 87, while Azhar Mahmood claimed 6/36 as Middlesex were dismissed for 153. Kent closed on 46/3 in their second innings.

McIlroy broke a string of records at the US Open (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

268 – Shots taken by Rory McIlroy in winning the US Open, four fewer than the previous record (by four others).

49 – Runner-up Jason Day‘s eight-under par score would have been enough to have won 49 of the last 50 US Opens.

2 – McIlroy became the second consecutive winner from Northern Ireland, after Graeme McDowell last year.

2 – Goals conceded by England under-21s after the 88th minute in their must-win game against the Czech Republic at the European U21 Championships. They lost 2-1 and failed to qualify for the semi-finals as a result.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports and @InfostradaLive.)

My sporting month: June 2011

With Saturday’s Champions League final in the can, and the Football League promotion playoffs also completed, the football season is finally over – although the transfer window and the current controversy swirling around FIFA will no doubt keep the back pages full over the next few weeks. However, the ‘summer season’ is now well and truly upon us. The month of June includes several traditional summer events, such as Royal Ascot (14th-18th) and the Henley Regatta (which starts on the 29th). But here are five key dates which I’ve marked in my calendar for the month of June.

1. French Open finals (4th & 5th)

The second of tennis’s Grand Slam tournaments concludes next weekend, with the top four men’s seeds still on target to meet in the semi-finals. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is scheduled to meet Andy Murray, while the currently unbeatable Novak Djokovic would take on Roger Federer.

In the women’s draw, however, none of the top three seeds qualified for the quarter-finals – only the third time ever this has happened at a women’s Grand Slam tournament. That has opened up the draw for Maria Sharapova, seeking her first Grand Slam win since the 2008 Australian Open, who could face Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka (at four, the highest-ranked player left in the draw). Meanwhile, home hopes rest on the shoulders of Marion Bartoli, who will face defending champion Francesca Schiavone after the pair won their respective quarter-finals.

2. Critérium du Dauphiné (5th-12th) and Tour de Suisse (11th-19th)

With the Tour de France barely a month away, the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse are the two key tune-up events in advance of the biggest race of the year. While one shouldn’t read too much into the overall results – last year’s races were won by Janez Brajkovič (RadioShack) and Fränk Schleck (now Leopard-Trek) – the nature of the mountain-heavy courses do provide some clear indications of form ahead of the Tour. Alberto Contador was restrained at the Dauphiné but showed flashes of his trademark acceleration in the mountains, while Andy Schleck tested himself with a couple of stinging attacks in Switzerland.

The Tour de Suisse is perhaps more likely to attract the top sprinters, with three stages looking flat enough to end in bunch gallops (the Dauphiné has two). But expect the top GC contenders to be split more or less evenly across the two, with each race featuring four mountain stages, a prologue and a longer individual time trial to provide a good all-round test. The winner of the Tour de Suisse is likely to have been decided before the closing time trial, whereas the Dauphiné concludes with a tough mountain stage which starts with a Tour favourite, the Col de la Croix de Fer, and finishes on the summit of La Toussuire.

3. Canadian Grand Prix (12th)

On the same weekend as the Le Mans 24 hour, the Canadian Grand Prix has long been a favourite on the Formula 1 calendar. An unforgiving circuit which is notoriously tough on engines, brakes and tyres, it has always been one of the better tracks for overtaking. And with the introduction this year of both the DRS drag reduction system and lower-endurance Pirelli tyres, this year’s event should provide plenty of close racing, overtaking moves and accidents as drivers slither around on worn tyres trying to fend off faster cars behind.

The chasing pack will be desperate to prevent defending world champion Sebastian Vettel – who has won five out of six races already this year – from extending an already commanding 58-point lead. Vettel has never won in Canada before, but Lewis Hamilton took his second victory here last year, and Michael Schumacher (a record seven times) and Fernando Alonso are also previous winners.

4. US Open (16th-19th)

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell had a stunning 2010 season, winning his first major in this tournament at Pebble Beach – the first European to win since Tony Jacklin 40 years previously – and going on to seal the point which won the Ryder Cup for Europe. This year the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland hosts the second major of the year, with McDowell joined by fellow Brits Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, the current top two in golf’s rankings, looking to continue foreign success on American soil after South African Charl Schwartzel won the Masters in April. McDowell’s compatriot Rory McIlroy will also be looking to put his Masters experience behind him, when he shot a disastrous 80 after taking a four-shot lead into the final round.

5. Wimbledon (starts 20th)

For many Britons, this is the unofficial start of summer – and often the cue for two weeks of torrential rain.

The 2010 tournament was arguably most memorable for the world record 11-hour, 183-game match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which eventually finished 70-68 in Isner’s favour in the fifth set. Ladies’ champion Serena Williams has not played in nearly 11 months, since suffering a foot injury and subsequently undergoing emergency surgery for a blood clot on her lung. She has not yet confirmed whether she will be present to defend her title. Meanwhile, Federer, Djokovic and Murray will all have their eye on unseating defending men’s champion Nadal.

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