This Week in Sport: 12th – 18th July 2021

We have another fantastic week of sport for you to enjoy. On Monday, we have day 9 of sumo wrestling’s prestigious July Grand Tournament. That’s followed by the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday. Our midweek event is the crucial Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.

Thursday sees the start of the next Major of the golf season as the best in the game head to Surrey for The Open Championship. Friday sees the continuation of Pakistan's Tour of England, with the first of three T20 matches.

Starting the weekend is the 120th Challenge Cup, with St Helens taking on the Castleford Tigers. We close out the week with the next race of the F1 season, the British Grand Prix.​

Sumo Wrestler at the July Grand TournamentMonday 12th July 4:00AM GMT – Sumo Wrestling: The July Grand Tournament Day 9

Sumo’s prestigious July Grand Tournament continues with its ninth day of competition at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya on Monday 12th July 2021 at 4:00AM GMT.

Just two fighters remain undefeated at The July Tournament. 36-year-old Hakuhō Shō, who holds the rank of Yokozuna, the highest in sumo wrestling, is looking to fend off retirement after missing all or most of the past six tournaments and undergoing surgery in March. However, he has put on a fine display in Nagoya and enters Monday with an 8-0 record in the tournament so far. He will close out Monday’s Makuuchi Division proceedings with a match against the 2-6 Maegashira #4 Chiyotairyu Hidemasa.

The other competitor at 8-0 is the winner of the past two Grand Tournaments, Terunofuji Haruo. Terunofuji is currently a Ōzeki but can gain promotion and join Hakuho at the Yokozuna rank if he can win the championship, or finish with a championship-calibre record. If he is able to earn promotion, he will become the 70th Yokozuna. His recent dominance is a testament to his tenacity, as a spate of injuries had forced him as low as the fifth-tier Jonidan Division in 2019. Terunofuji’s tournament continues against 5-3 Maegashira #5 Okinoumi Ayumi.

Shohei Ohtani for the Los Angeles AngelsTuesday 13th July 11:30PM GMT – Baseball: MLB All-Star Game

The 91st MLB All-Star Game takes place at Coors Field in Denver on Tuesday 13th July 2021 at 11:30PM GMT.

Teams representing the MLB’s two leagues will meet for the annual All-Star Game on Tuesday. 2021 marks the most first-time All-Stars selected for an All-Star Game, with 41 players making their first All-Star roster.

For the American League, the most experienced starter is Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Pérez, who makes his 7th All-Star appearance. Behind Pérez, there are just two players, Xander Bogaerts and Aaron Judge, who are multiple All-Stars. The other five starters are all first-time All-Stars.

The National League also boasts a team primarily of All-Star debutants. Leady by six-time All-Star Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals and five-time All-Star Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, the NL team has four first-time All-Stars in the starting lineup.

Perhaps the most exciting sight at the game will be Shohei Ohtani of the Angels. The Japanese two-way sensation, who currently boasts a .276 batting average and 33 home runs as well as a 3.49 ERA through 67.0 innings on the pitcher’s mound. Ohtani is the first player to be named an All-Star as both a batter and pitcher in the same year.

Deandre Edoneille Ayton for the Phoenix Suns playing against the Milwaukee BucksWednesday 14th July 1:00AM GMT (Thursday 15th) – Basketball: Milwaukee Bucks v Phoenix Suns

The Milwaukee Bucks host the Phoenix for a crucial Game 4 of the NBA Finals at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Thursday 15th July at 1:00AM GMT.

Game 4 will prove to be the pivotal fixture in the best-of-7 NBA Finals.

The Phoenix Suns enter Game 4 with a 2-1 series. Looking for their first franchise championship, the Suns raced out to a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks. Chris Paul and Devin Booker have stood out as team leaders for the Suns, serving as the major scoring threats in Games 1 and 2.

The Milwaukee Bucks, hunting for their first title since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, managed to keep themselves in the Finals with a vital win in Sunday’s Game 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo had his second consecutive 40-point game of the Finals, but perhaps more importantly, the Bucks’ defensive efforts finally came through, holding all the Suns’ scoring powerhouses to under 20 points.

With the series continuing in Milwaukee for Game 4, the Bucks will hope to continue that winning momentum on their home court. The last team to win the Finals after losing the first two games was LeBron and the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shane LowryThursday 15th July 8:00AM GMT – Golf: The Open Championship

The Open Championship returns for 2021. Play begins at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich at 8:00AM GMT on Thursday 15th July 2021.

After its 2020 cancellation, The Open Championship returns to the golfing calendar.

PGA Tour leaders Patrick Cantlay and Harris English will both be looking to secure their first titles at a Major, and secure their position in the Tour standings. Meanwhile, defending champion from 2019 Shane Lowry returns to the field, looking to become the first back-to-back winner since Padraig Harrington successfully defended his title in 2008.

The only Major winner from 2021 who won’t be in the field at Royal St George is Hideki Matsuyama, who has withdrawn due to a positive Coronavirus test. However, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and European Tour leader Jon Rahm will all be aiming to add to their trophy cabinets.

Royal St George's has previously hosted The Open 14 times, the last time being in 2011.

Jonny Bairstow for the England National Cricket TeamFriday 16th July 5:30PM GMT – Cricket: England v Pakistan (1st T20I)

Pakistan’s tour of England continues with the first of three T20 matches. Play begins at Trent Bridge in Nottingham at 5:30PM GMT on Friday 16th July 2021.

England have dominated their series against Pakistan so far. Entering the week, England have won the first two ODIs played against Pakistan, taking the first ODI by 9 wickets and the second by 53 runs.

England are on a good run in the T20 format, having won five of the eight T20 matches they have played in 2021. England haven’t lost a home T20 series since 2018, proving just how dominant they are in the format. Pakistan have also seen recent success in the T20 format. Their have won 7 of the 10 matches they have played in the format in 2021.

The two sides last met in the T20 format in 2020, splitting a three-game series 1-1 with 1 no result.

Tom Makinson for St. HelensSaturday 17th July 2:00PM GMT – Rugby League: St Helens v Castleford Tigers

St Helens face the Castleford Tigers face off in the 120th Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday 17th July 2021 at 2:00PM GMT.

St Helens return to the Challenge Cup Final after missing out last year. They had their last appearance in the Final in 2019. However, the perennial Super League champions have not won the cup tournament since 2008. They have had a strong cup run, winning their three matches by an average of 9 points.

They will face the Castleford Tigers, who make their first Challenge Cup Final since 2014. This is the 7th Final for Castleford, though they haven’t won since 1986. It has been a much more hard-fought Cup run for Castleford. They earned 1-point victories over Hull Kingston Rovers and Salford Red Devils before breaking out for a 35-20 win over Warrington in the semifinals.

Which side will end their title drought in the Challenge Cup?

Lewis Hamilton at Circuit Paul RicardSunday 18th July 1:00PM GMT – Motorsport: F1 British Grand Prix

The F1 season continues with the British Grand Prix. Racing begins at Silverstone in Northamptonshire at 1:00PM GMT on Sunday 18th July 2021.

Max Verstappen now has three consecutive race wins, and five total for the season, and leads the 2021 Drivers’ Championship by 32 points. The 23-year-old Dutchman is having a career year and has now joined the select set of title-contending drivers. Behind him in the standings is defending champion Lewis Hamilton. After a hot start to the season, winning three of the first four races of the season, Hamilton has only appeared on the podium twice in the last five races.

Silverstone is an iconic circuit. A mixture of sharp turns and short, fast straights, the British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the F1 calendar. Lewis Hamilton is the defending race champion from 2020. However, the F1 record for the circuit belongs to Verstappen, who set it during the 2020 race where he finished second.

The British Grand Prix will also debut the first trial of sprint qualifying. This new qualifying format will see the drivers take part in a race on Saturday afternoon approximately one-third the length of the Grand Prix, the results of which will determine the starting grid for the Grand Prix proper. If the trial, which will be done at two more races this season, is successful, it will become a more widely-used feature in the 2022 season.

Other highlights from around the world

Honourable mentions around the globe go to boxing. The highlight of the week’s fights is the light middleweight unification bout between WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring champion Jermell Charlo and WBO champion Brian Castaño.

The world of cricket goes beyond the England-Pakistan series. In English cricket, the County Championship and T20 Blast competitions both continue. Internationally, West Indies Women’s series with Pakistan continues, as does the West Indies’ Men series with Australia. India also continue their Tour of Sri Lanka.

While Euro 2020 and Copa América have both come to an end, there is still plenty of football to enjoy this week. A lot of this week’s action comes North America, where the domestic MLS and NWSL seasons both continue. Internationally, it is also the first full week of the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage.

While the PGA and European Tours are both in Surrey for The Open Championship, there is plenty more golf to watch out for. The PGA Tour is in Kentucky for the Barbasol Championship, an alternate event for golfers not in the field at The Open. The LPGA Tour is in Michigan for the Dow Great Lakes Invitational, the final event before the next Major of the season, the Evian Championship. Finally, the Ladies European Tour, are in Finland for the Gant Ladies Open.

For athletics fans, the Diamond League heads back to the United Kingdom for the second time this season for its final event before the Olympics begin next week.

Following the excitement of the MLB All-Star Break, the baseball season continues with the ever-exciting rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox closing out the week.

The AFL season continues in the world of Aussie Rules. On the slate of fixtures this week is the Sydney rivalry between Greater Western Sydney and Sydney, as well as 7th place Fremantle hosting 3rd place Geelong.

In basketball, Sunday will see a Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The WNBA will also play it’s final pre-Olympic match in the shape of the All-star game on Wednesday.

In cycling, the Tour de France will cover its final 823.3km, beginning the week in the Andorran town of El Pas de la Casa and ending, as is race tradition, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

For darts fans, the PDC season moves onto the Betfred World Matchplay event.

In motorsport, the F1 British Grand Prix is accompanied by the third race of the W Series season.

A very busy week awaits rugby fans also. In union play, it’s all about the internationals. The season of International Test Matches continues, as does the U20 Six Nations and British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa. In league play, the NRL continues with the most crucial match of the week being the 6th place Sea Eagles taking on the 7th place Dragons. The third and final match of the State of Origin series takes place, with New South Wales looking to sweep Queensland.

With Wimbledon over, the major tennis tours diverge. The ATP Tour is in Germany for the Hamburg European Open. The WTA are in Hungary, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic for a number of WTA 250 events.

For sailing fans, the 2021 SailGP season continues with its Great Britain meeting.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by Sumo Kyokai, Los Angeles Angels, Phoenix Suns, Shane Lowry, England Cricket, St.Helens R.F.C. Official, FORMULA 1

Written and information correct on 11th July at 10pm GMT

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