Best of the Weekend: Oct 7-8

Lewis Hamilton was the big winner of the weekend in Japan, but he wasn’t the only sports star celebrating an important victory. Join us as we round up the Best of the Weekend.

Happy Hamilton on the verge

The last stop on Formula 1’s Asian sweep looks like it might have been the last straw for Sebastian Vettel’s title hopes after the Ferrari driver failed to finish for the second time in three races.

Technical problems cost Vettel dearly as he was forced to retire with engine failure, leaving title rival Lewis Hamilton to wrap up a relatively simple win and extend his lead in the championship to 59 points.

Most pundits believe the race is already over for this year with just four rounds left, and Hamilton can seal the deal in Texas in two-weeks time with a win if Vettel fails to finish in the top five.

Ferrari need to solve their reliability problems and fast!

Egypt, Costa Rica on the ‘Road to Russia’

This weekend may have been free of domestic football, but the world’s top players were still in action, busy trying to book their respective nations a spot at next summer’s football extravaganza in Russia.

Countries who sealed qualification this weekend included African nations Nigeria and Egypt, for whom Mohamed Salah was the hero with a stoppage time penalty.

Sparking wild celebrations across Egypt!

In Europe, England, Germany, Poland and Spain finalised their participation, while in CONCACAF Costa Rica also secured a ticket to Russia in similar dramatic fashion to Egypt with a 95th minute equaliser from defender Kendall Waston, much to the delight of their players, fans and commentators.

More spots will be settled over the next few days, although it’s not all smiles as football powerhouse Argentina and their talisman Lionel Messi are in danger of missing out just four years after making the final.

Hatton hits the highs at St Andrews

There were much more sedate celebrations on the golf course this weekend.

First, it was the turn of Tyrrell Hatton to toast a win as managed to defend his title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Hatton, who went bogey-free over 55 holes, finished 24-under-par, three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, who fired a course record 61 in the process.

It was Hatton’s second win on the European Tour and in doing so he became one of only four men to successfully defend a trophy for their first two wins.

Hats off to Hatton.

Another player to successfully defend his title was Brendan Steele, who claimed the Safeway Open for the second time in succession with a three-shot over Tony Finau.

It was the 34-year old’s third PGA Tour win. Wonder how he’ll celebrate?

Mighty Mouse makes history at UFC 216

The weekend also saw two epic battles inside the Octagon at UFC 216 in Las Vegas.

First up was flyweight legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who was aiming for a record 11th title defence of his UFC belt.

He didn’t disappoint. After completely dominating Ray Borg for the first four rounds, Johnson then pulled off an incredible flying transition into an armbar that left the battling Borg no option other than to submit.

It was a fitting way for a man who many regard as the best UFC champion of all time to break the record.

The question is now, who else is there left for him to fight?

The other contest saw Tony Ferguson prevail in his grudge match with Kevin Lee, a win that saw Ferguson claim the interim lightweight belt and the right to a fight against reigning champion Conor McGregor.

And Ferguson wasted no time in letting McGregor know that he was coming for him.

WARNING: Parental Advisory Explicit Content!

Garcia at the double in China!

Out on the courts, Caroline Garcia continued her hot streak in China, claiming her second title in as many weeks in Beijing.

Garcia, who also won in Wuhan last week, defeated new world number one Simona Halep in straight sets to complete a stellar week.

The win will see Garcia rise to number nine in the new rankings, but more importantly puts her in with a great chance of making the season-ending spectacular in Singapore.

In the men’s tournament, Rafael Nadal continued his superb year with a comprehensive win over Nick Kyrgios.

It was Nadal’s sixth win of the year and his 75th career title. He now stands just behind John McEnroe on the all-time Open era list in fourth place.

Nadal wasn’t the only winner on the men’s tour as David Goffin claimed victory at the Japan Open.

The Belgian needed just 84 minutes to beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 for his first trophy at an ATP World Tour 500-level tournament.

It was Goffin’s fourth career title.