2017 FOX Sports Asia Fan Favourites

The end of 2017 is almost upon us and FOX Sports Asia picks ten of our favourite sporting moments thus far. Which one is your favourite?

It is never easy to settle on a favourite sporting moment for the year. Especially so when you look back at all the magical moments that 2017 has brought us.

Whether be it on the green of the golf course or the football pitch, we present our ten favourite sporting moments for 2017. Don’t forget to vote in our poll below!

The Masters (Golf)

Everyone remembers their first and it is a theme that ran deep at the 2017 Masters Tournament.

Typically, the first golfing major of the year has never failed to ignite golfing fans. But this being the first Masters following legend Arnold Palmer’s passing late last year, things got off on a sombre note – with Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne paying a heartfelt tribute to “The King” before the ceremonial tee shots.

Buttons were also distributed to all on opening day to commemorate Palmer.

Nonetheless, it was still the living that grabbed all the headlines. Particularly veteran golfer Sergio Garcia.

Dubbed the “best player never to win a major”, Garcia couldn’t have chosen a better stage and manner to clinch his first major. He is only the third Spaniard, after Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros, to get his hands on the coveted green jacket.

Trailing by two shots behind then-leader Justin Rose, the 37-year-old Garcia hit a birdie on the par-4 at the fourteenth hole before rallying with an eagle on the par-5 in the fifteenth.

Things got down to the wire after Rose bogeyed the seventeenth hole and the pair went to a playoff. But Garcia was not to be denied as he sealed his maiden Masters win with a birdie at the eighteenth – the first playoff hole.

Guess there’s a FIRST time for everything, amirite Sergio?

Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal [Australian Open final] (Tennis)

Despite playing each other 38 times within a thirteen-year stretch, tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal brought a new intensity to their rivalry in the 2017 Australian Open grand finals.

Prior to this match, Nadal held the upper hand – beating his Swiss opponent 23 times!

But after spending the second half of 2016 recuperating from knee surgery, the 37-year-old seemed to be rejuvenated and his bold move to switch to a bigger head sized racket meant that he had more topspin on his backhand as well as a much more aggressive serve.

Their three and a half hours five-set battle saw Federer prevail 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 for his eighteenth slam title.

Despite losing the match, even Nadal felt that it was something special and going so far to call it “a good match, in a very special final for the fans and for us.”

Rafael Nadal v Gilles Muller [Wimbledon fifth round] (Tennis)

If there ever was a time when fifteen-time major champion Nadal had to sing for his supper, this was probably it. There was never a dull moment in the fast paced, at times frantic, match.

It takes a special effort to get past the usually-dominant world number two, and 23th seed Muller certainly stepped up on this occasion – matching his illustrious opponent to take the match 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 in a five-set four hours and 47 minutes fifth round duel.

In recognition for their herculean efforts and a spectacular match, both players received a standing ovation and rapturous applause.

It was Muller’s first Grand Slam quarter-final since the 2008 US Open. Guess both players really wanted the win badly.

Sloane Stephens v Venus Williams [US Open semi-finals] (Tennis)

How quickly things have changed for young tennis star Sloane Stephens! At the start of 2017, the 24-year-old, ranked 934th, was wheelchair-bounded and recovering from foot surgery.

Fast forward half a year to the US Open semi-finals, and Stephens more than held her own against her fellow American, veteran Venus Williams.

Catching the 37-year-old off guard at the start, the now-thirteen seed Stephens took advantage of an edgy Williams to take the first set 6-1 in just 24 minutes. But the fifth seeded player stormed back to win the second set 0-6 with her trademark groundstrokes.

Things were pretty one-sided for the first two sets before the resilient Stephens edged Williams 7-5 in the tight third set for the win: “’It required a lot of fight, a lot of grit, I knew if I hung with it I would have a few opportunities and that’s what I did,’ she said. We (Stephens and Williams) played some incredible points, I just worked my tail off and tried to get my racket on every ball.”

Italian GP (Mugello): Andrea Dovizioso brilliant win at home (MotoGP)

As always in motorsports, leave it to the Italians to provide the drama. But truth be told, there is hardly a more deserving underdog story than Andrea Dovizioso.

In what was only his third MotoGP victory, and his first win in the dry, the 31-year-old Italian saved his best for his peeps in Mugello.

Despite suffering from food poisoning on race day morning, Dovizioso bided his time early on in a tight battle among a lead group comprising of Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

But the plucky Italian Ducati rider surged into the lead with ten laps remaining and never looked back. After squeezing past Yamaha title leader Vinales, Dovizioso proceeded to set the pace with a one-second lead.

Ultimately, the 110000-strong crowd got the Italian fairy tale ending that they wanted with homeboy Dovizioso securing his first win for the season. He would go on to capture another five wins so far this season.

If you ask us, based on that herculean showing, Andrea Dovizioso’s brilliant Italian GP win takes the whole cake. And every single crumb. #respect

Azerbaijan Grand Prix (F1)

While both have been two of Formula 1’s biggest names over the past decade, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have long enjoyed a level of mutual respect and never shared a heated rivalry.

Up till this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Believing that Hamilton had deliberately braked in front of him to cause a collision, Vettel pulled level with the Mercedes driver and swerved his Ferrari into the side of the Briton’s car.

Singapore Grand Prix (F1)

Despite being called the “crown jewel of Formula 1”, the Singapore Grand Prix has been never been the most exciting of races in the calendar.

All that changed this year when, despite wet conditions, the race was allowed to go ahead as per normal, resulting in a monumental crash right at the start between Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen.

None of them were able to carry on, paving the way for Lewis Hamilton – who had started fifth on the grid – to claim what proved to be a pivotal win en-route to a fourth drivers championship.

RB Leipzig 4-5 Bayern Munich [May 13, 2017] (Football)

There may have been little riding on the match with the Bundesliga title already decided, but champions Bayern Munich and second-placed RB Leipzig still gave fans a treat with an absolute classic.

Trailing 4-2 with six minutes left on the clock, Bayern went on to net three goals – two in injury-time – to seal a memorable come-from-behind victory.

RB Leipzig 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach [September 16, 2017] (Football)

Given Leipzig’s recent rise in Bundesliga, having lost just ten league games since the start of last season, one would not usually bet against them going on to claim all three points once they have taken the lead.

But that is exactly what happened back in September as Borussia Monchengladbach twice came from behind to salvage a share of the spoils in a tantalising encounter at the Red Bull Arena.

Guangzhou Evergrande 5-1 Shanghai SIPG [September 12, 2017] (Football)

In one of the greatest games in the history of Asian football, Guangzhou Evergrande entered the second leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final trailing Shanghai SIPG 4-0 on aggregate and needing a minor miracle to advance.

Yet, they somehow achieved that, claiming a 4-0 win in 90 minutes to force extra-time, before both sides scored to bring the game to the dreaded penalty shootout.

From there, hat-trick hero Ricardo Goulart – who had converted from the spot earlier in the tie – was the only one to miss as SIPG survived an almighty scare.

Do you agree with our choices? Vote now in our poll to let us know which is YOUR favourite 2017 sporting moment!

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