This Week in Sport: 31st August – 6th September

A fantastic week of sport lies ahead. After months of uncertainty, the US Open begins in New York on Monday. Tuesday sees a pivotal Game 5 in the NHL playoffs between the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks. There is more playoff action on Wednesday as the Milwaukee Bucks face the Miami Heat in the NBA. Thursday marks the start of a new UEFA Nations League season. The highlight of the opening matches is a heavyweight clash between Germany and Spain. The end of the PGA season begins on Friday with Day 1 of the Tour Championship. The weekend starts with a thrilling North Island v South Island rugby union match in New Zealand and we end the week with the second T20 between England and Australia.

Monday 31st August 3:00PM GMT – Tennis: US Open, Day 1

The US Open gets underway at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Monday 31st August at 3:00PM GMT.

One of tennis’ biggest tournaments makes its return today. The US Open promises to be full of surprises, with an unorthodox field due to the ongoing pandemic. On the courts today, Novak Djokovic begins his campaign to win his first US Open title since 2018. His first-round match is against world number 107, Damir Džumhur. Elsewhere, young superstar and fifth seed, Alexander Zverev, starts his tournament on the main court against Kevin Anderson.

With six of the top eight women’s players missing the tournament, the women’s draw is wide open. Top seed Karolína Plíšková is looking for her first Grand Slam title and begins the tournament against Anhelina Kalinina. Naomi Osaka, the 2018 champion, enters in fine form and faces her Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi in her opening match. Serena Williams starts her campaign on Tuesday.

Don’t miss a single serve, stroke, or set on this thrilling first day.

Tuesday 1st September 1:45AM GMT (2nd September) – Ice Hockey: Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks

The NHL playoffs continue with Game 5 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday 2nd September at 1:45AM GMT.

The Golden Knights are living up to their first seed status in the adapted NHL playoffs. They have outscored their opponents 40-23 so far, including a 5-0 shutout in game one of this series. They have been controlling the ice with a potent offence and a stalwart defense. Can they make a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals like they did in 2018?

Meanwhile, the Canucks are the dangerous underdogs of the Western Conference. They upset the defending champion Blues in the first round. And after taking game two against the Golden Knights, they are staying firmly in contention. It has been nearly a decade since the Canucks made the Conference Finals but can they be the surprise contenders of the playoffs?

Wednesday 2nd September 10:30PM GMT – Basketball: Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat

The NBA Conference Semifinals continue with Game 2 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat at the HP Field House in Orlando on Wednesday 2nd September at 10:30PM GMT.

The Milwaukee Bucks have been the team to beat this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast have brought a dominant energy to the playoffs. The high-scoring Milwaukee offense put up 581 points against Orlando in the first round. And they will look to do the same against Miami. But the question is, is it finally their year?

The Miami Heat, a young team built around free agent acquisition Jimmy Butler, are looking to pull off the upset. After earning the fifth seed, Miami swept the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. While Butler is the star of the show, he has a strong supporting cast with the likes of Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragić. Do they have enough to topple the mighty Bucks?

Thursday 3rd September 6:45PM GMT – Football: Germany v Spain

The 2020-21 UEFA Nations League begins with a major clash between Germany and Spain at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart on Thursday 3rd September at 6:45PM GMT.

Putting a winless inaugural Nations League behind them, a strong German side takes the field tonight. Undefeated for almost a year, they boast a fairly inexperienced squad anchored by the likes of Toni Kroos and Timo Werner. With Switzerland and Ukraine the other sides in the group, Spain stand to be Germany’s biggest obstacle. Can they overcome their fellow European giants?

Led by icons Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets, Spain is ready to make an impact. While undefeated since November 2018, they have fallen short in major competitions as of late. However, they will look to retake their position as one of the most dominant sides in Europe. Does that resurgence start tonight?

The last competitive match between the two sides was a decade ago at the 2010 World Cup. In that Semi-final, Spain won 1-0. But what will happen when they meet tonight?

Friday 4th September 2:00PM GMT – Golf: PGA Tour Championship

The grand finale of the PGA Tour gets underway with the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Friday 4th September at 2:00PM GMT.

The Tour Championship, which will decide the champion of the PGA season, gets underway on Friday. As with many 2020 sporting events, it is likely to be an unforgettable edition of the tournament. Defending champion Rory McIlroy’s presence is questionable as he waits on the birth of his child. Meanwhile, a poor showing at last week’s BMW Championship has taken Tiger Woods out of contention.

However, the title race is far from clear. Dustin Johnson is the current tour leader and world number one. A strong showing in Atlanta could see him take victory. Similarly, Justin Thomas is having one of his best seasons since his legendary 2017 breakout. But as well as these bookies’ favourites, there are outside contenders like Collin Morikawa and Webb Simpson.

With a spectacular tour finale promised, you won’t want to miss a single swing.

Saturday 5th September Time 7.10AM GMT – Rugby Union: North Island v South Island

For the first time in 8 years, North Island will face off against South Island. The game will take place at the Sky Stadium in Wellington on Saturday 5th September at 7.10AM GMT.

The Covid-19 pandemic deprived New Zealand rugby fans of a thrilling showdown between the Blues and Crusaders to close Super Rugby Aotearoa. And so next, fotr the first time since 2012, players from the North Island will face off against players from the South Island. Led by coaches from the All Blacks, it is sure to be an unmissable match.

Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock will captain the South, while Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu leads the North. Both men have had fantastic seasons and will shine in these roles. The two sides are loaded with talent, bringing together the very best in New Zealand rugby.

The North-South game dates back to 1897 and the North leads the series 50-27-3. It is sure to be a welcome sight for rugby fans.

Sunday 6th September 1:15AM GMT – Cricket: England v Australia (2nd T20)

Australia’s tour of England continues with the second T20 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

After a successful series against Pakistan, England will test their mettle against Australia. They have come out swinging, putting on a number of exemplary performances. In recent Tests, England have been phenomenal, from Zak Crawley’s a double century to James Anderson’s five-for. But they have been good in the short format too, despite some bad weather, with a successful run chase under Eoin Morgan’s belt last weekend. They have truly built off of their success at the Cricket World Cup last year to re-establish themselves internationally.

Australia are retuning to international cricket for the first time since March. The squad showed promise in their rained-out intersquad practice over the weekend and are sure to give England trouble. Captain Aaron Finch has selected a well-rounded roster with plenty of dangermen with bat and ball. However, will they be able to bounce back from 6 months away from the game?

Other highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions from around the globe go to the Tour de France. This week, the race travels 1194.5km from Nice to Laruns. This takes the riders through beautiful from the south-east coast down to the Spanish border. Don’t miss a single minute to see who will take an early lead.

There is also plenty of playoff action to enjoy this week. The Conference Semifinals of the NBA begin this week. A lot of good teams are still left in the competition, making it some must-watch basketball. Meanwhile, in the NHL, the second round of the playoffs continue this week. Which teams will make their respective Conference Finals?

At the top of baseball’s AL East, the New York Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are holding a commanding lead in the division, can the Yankees gain any ground on them? Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox play a crucial series for both sides this week.

There is wealth of cricket for fans this week. England will finish their series against Pakistan before welcoming Australia. In county cricket, the exciting Vitality Blast continues. The group stage of the Caribbean Premier League comes to an end this week. Who will make it to the knockout round?

It’s a busy week for athletics fans. There are thrilling Diamond League events in Lausanne and Brussels. Elsewhere, the best of British athletics will meet in Manchester for the British Athletics Championships.

For rugby fans of both codes, there is action across the globe. In Premiership Rugby, Northampton take on Exeter while Bath face Wasps. And in the NRL, the Rabbitohs challenge the Storm while the Knights clash with the Sharks.

Round 15 of the AFL season takes place across Australia. In golf, the European Tour travels to southern Spain for the Andalucía Valderrama Masters. And the 2020 darts season continues with the Unibet Premier League. The US Open tennis also continues throughout the week.

Finally, it is the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.

A world-class week of sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by US Open, Vegas Golden Knights, Milwaukee Bucks, Die Mannschaft, PGA TOUR, Beauden Barrett, Cricket Australia

Written and information correct on Sunday 30th August 2020 at 10pm

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