Each Monday, All Baller Zone highlights some of the stories that made the biggest headlines in the world of sports over the weekend.
From the French Open to the Ultimate Fighting Championship to the Euro 2020 tournament going down in various stadia across Europe and despite the ‘short period’ between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the past weekend still did roll in a complete package of tension, excitement, fear, jubilation, apprehension and celebration, for not one, but many sports lovers.
We cast our eyes on the just-concluded weekend to bring you The Big 5!
Novak Djokovic ended his 2021 French Open campaign by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in an incredible men’s final on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the world No.1 has now claimed his second Roland Garros title his 19th Grand Slam, taking him just one behind the all-time men’s record, currently shared by both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Talking tough ahead of his Wimbledon title this month, before the Olympics and US Open, the 34-year-old Serbian says “everything is possible” as he targets a ‘golden’ Grand Slam in 2021 after winning the French Open for the second time.
4: AND STILL, THE CHAMPION – Adesanya Beats Vettori To Defend Title At UFC 263
After previously meeting with, and defeating Marvin Vettori in April 2018, Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya cruised to yet another victory over Vettori as he retained his undisputed 185-pound title in the main event of UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona.
The Saturday night’s UFC rematch had Adesanya showing his class with a virtuoso performance as he picked apart the Italian. Adesanya dedicated his victory to his teammate Fau Vake, a promising up-and-coming fighter who died in May from injuries sustained in an alleged attack in Auckland, New Zealand.
3: CIRO, LORENZO, ‘AUTOGOL’ – Italy Start Euro 2020 With Impressive Win Over Turkey
Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and a Merih Demiral ‘autogol’ (own goal in Italian) all in the second half of the opening game of the EURO 2020, had the Azzuris kick off in spectacular fashion, their campaign with an impressive win against Turkey in front of their own fans.
The first of 51 fixtures to be played in 11 European cities over the next month, Friday’s victory was the first time Italy had scored three times in a single game at the European Championship, with Roberto Mancini’s side registering 24 attempts as they extended their unbeaten run to 28 matches stretching back to September 2018.
2: THE KING OF CLAY – Djokovic Outlasts Rafael Nadal In Intense French Open Semifinal
Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s hopes of 14th French Open title in an extraordinary semi-final contest on Friday with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 result after coming back from a set down at the Philippe Chatrier court in Paris.
Termed as “the final before the final”, Nadal was beaten for just the third time at the Roland Garros despite having won 105 of his previous 107 matches on the Parisian clay, losing only to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Djokovic in the last-eight six years ago. The Serb proceeded to take on Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.
1: FORZA CHRIS – Christian Eriksen Survives After Collapsing In Denmark’s Euro 2020 Opener
An instant moment of shock on Sunday to over 15,000 fans at Parken Stadium, and millions watching on Television ensued after Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed near the end of the first half in the EURO 2020 game between Denmark and Finland. The Danish midfielder was then carried off on a stretcher after about 10 minutes of onfield treatment.
UEFA later revealed that Eriksen has been stabilized after initially announcing that the game had been suspended “due to a medical emergency.” The game which had been suspended for more than 90 minutes, resumed at 8:30 p.m. local time and Finland eventually won 1-0, with Eriksen named man of the match.