This Week in Sport: 5th – 11th October 2020

Another thrilling week of sporting action lies in wait, kicking off with some unmissable MLB playoff action which will see the Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS. Meanwhile, there is a whirlwind affair taking place in Orlando as the Los Angeles Lakers continue to lock horns with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Four Singles Quarterfinals are scheduled to take place at the French Open on Wednesday, as we edge closer to discovering this year’s champions. Week 5 of this NFL season begins on Thursday with an intriguing matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is an epic clash on Friday as week 2 of the NRL Finals begin, with the Sydney Roosters playing host to the Canberra Raiders. Saturday will see the first of two Premiership Rugby Semifinals play out. The week’s final instalment of sporting action will see the Formula 1 Eifel Grand Prix play out at Nürburgring in Germany.

Monday 5th October (00:07AM GMT Tuesday 6th) – Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees

In the MLB, a thrilling ALDS begins between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees at Petco Park in San Diego on Tuesday 6th October at 12:07AM GMT.

Tampa Bay and New York finished first and second in the AL East, and this is the ALDS matchup many would have been anticipating. Both sides eased past their respective Wild Card opponents, but this week’s series will provide both sides with a much sterner test of their World Series credentials. Though these two outfits have never met in the postseason, they share a well-publicised disdain for each other, after some fiery meetings in the past.

Tampa Bay arguably holds the edge heading into this week’s festivities, after winning the regular season series with the Yankees 8-2. However, when it comes to playoff experience, the Yankees are competing on an entirely differentl plane, having appeared in 370 more postseason games than their ALDS adversaries.  

Tuesday 6th October (1:00AM GMT Wednesday 7th) – Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat

The NBA Finals move to a pivotal Game 4 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando on Wednesday 7th October at 1:00AM GMT.

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to continue their march to a 17th NBA Championship as they take on the Miami Heat in Game 4 of their NBA Finals series.

Last week, the Lakers raced into a two-game lead, only to see their adversaries half the arrears in a hard-fought Game 3. After the initial two outings, Miami looked almost dead and buried, but a spirited display from the Heat ranks, in particular Jimmy Butler who dropped 40 points, ensured they are still alive and kicking heading into this week's Game 4.

Appearing in his ninth Finals series in 10 seasons, LeBron James is looking to become the first player to win the Championship with three different franchises. Before this year's run, Miami's last four Finals appearances came in consecutive years between 2011 and 2014, when a certain Lakers player was part of a star-studded roster. Can Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra get the last laugh over his former colleague, or will LeBron's Lakers prevail?

Wednesday 7th October 10:00AM GMT – Tennis: French Open, Day 11

Who will progress to the Semifinals of the French Open? Tune in from 10:00AM GMT to find out!

Though it is yet to be determined which players will appear in Wednesday’s Quarterfinals, many of the big-hitters remain in the hat. Rafa Nadal is one such player, with the Spaniard boasting an unrivalled record at this particular competition. With 97 wins and just two losses at Roland Garros, Nadal holds a 98% win record on the clay courts of Paris, having gone all the way on 12 occasions, winning the three most recent editions. However, providing stiff competition to the Spaniard will be, amongst others, world number one Novak Djokovic, who remains the last person to beat Nadal at Roland Garros.

Meanwhile, the Ladies’ draw has traditionally been much more competitive, with six different players winning the most recent editions. In fact, the last player to successfully defend her French Open title was Justine Henin-Hardenne, who won three straight editions between 2005 and 2007. With reigning champion Ashleigh Barty choosing not to participate this year, the field remains wide open for a new winner, so tune in to find out who progresses this week!

Thursday 8th October (00:20AM GMT Friday 9th) – American Football: Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week five’s curtain-raiser between the Bears and the Bucs will showcase some of the NFL’s most exciting talents, with kick-off coming at 00:20AM GMT on Friday.

Since the inception of the NFL in 1920, no other franchise has won more football matches than the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay hold the unfavourable record of lowest all-time winning percentage. However, to predict this game by studying the history books would be ill-advised, as Tampa Bay has been given a new lease of life after their off-season dealings, which saw the likes of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski relocate to the Sunshine State. After losing their season-opener against the Saints, the Bucs have bounced back impressively to win on their last three outings, and they’ll be looking to extend that winning run on Thursday.

However, Chicago were quick out the blocks this term also, winning their opening three outings of the campaign. Though they saw their perfect record disappear after last week's clash with the Colts, they should still provide Tampa Bay with some strong competition, particularly defensively. Matt Nagy, the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year, guided Chicago to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 two seasons ago and, having missed out last term will be desperate to see his side play postseason football once again this time round. We are set for an exciting game on Thursday.

Friday 9th October 8:50AM GMT – Rugby League: Sydney Roosters v Canberra Raiders

In the second round of the NRL playoffs, the Roosters take on the Raiders in a titanic clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on Friday 9th October at 8:50AM GMT.

The Sydney Roosters will look to bounce back from last week’s narrow loss against Penrith Panthers as they welcome the Canberra Raiders to the Sydney Cricket Ground. The back-to-back champions were given a lifeline heading into the Finals, as they edged into fourth place over today’s opponents on account of their far superior points difference. However, Week 2 of the Finals is ‘win or go home’, and should the Roosters have designs of becoming the first team to win three straight Grand Finals since the Eels achieved the feat in the 80s, they must overcome a Raiders side who are in imperious form.

Canberra have won seven of their last eight outings, and will be desperate to extend that run of form as they eye back-to-back Grand Final appearances for the first time since the turn of the millennium. In a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final, which side will come out on top to keep their premier dreams alive?

Saturday 10th October TBC – Rugby Union: Premiership Rugby Semi-final

The first Semi-final of this Premiership Rugby season will play out this Saturday.

After 22 weeks of gruelling competition, this week finally marks the start of the playoffs, as the two Semifinals are contested on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Three teams have already secured qualification to this weekend’s showcase, with Exeter Chiefs, Wasps and Bristol Bears taking three of the spots. However, due to Sale’s clash with Worcester having been rearranged for this Wednesday, there is still one place up for grabs. Bath Rugby will be watching Wednesday’s clash with bated breath, as they currently reside in fourth spot, but a win for Sale will see the Sharks displace Bath to book their ticket to the Semifinals.

Since winning the title in 2017, Exeter have twice lost out in the two successive Finals, but, having finished top of the pile this term, they will be strong favourites to return to the league’s showpiece game in two weeks’ time. Make sure you tune in to find out which two sides reach this year’s Final!

Sunday 11th October 12:10PM GMT – Motorsport: Eifel Grand Prix

F1 returns to Nürburgring for the first time since 2013 – lights out comes at 12:10PM GMT on Sunday.

After enjoying a week’s hiatus in this F1 season, the winners and losers from last month’s Russian GP would have had plenty of time to stew on their respective performances. One man who will be travelling to Germany in high spirits this week is Valtteri Bottas, after the Finn reigned supreme in Sochi to close the gap on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. That result meant that Hamilton’s celebrations of matching Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 grand prix wins were put on ice, but the Brit will hope to get the party started in Nürburg this week as he lingers precariously on 90 wins.

This particular race would have been marked in the calendar’s of F1 fans as a special occasion, as the Nürburgring track hosts a race on the F1 schedule for the first time since 2013. Though the track has been drastically altered since being deemed unsafe in the 70’s, this circuit still provides a nerve-jangling test for even the most established drivers on the tour. Tune in to find out which driver comes out of top in the Eifel mountains!

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions around the globe firstly go to the MLB, where playoff action will be taking place all week long. The second ALDS will see the Houston Astros take on the Oakland Athletics. Meanwhile, in the NLDS, the LA Dodgers will tussle with the San Diego Padres, whilst Atlanta Braves entertain Miami Marlins.

This week’s offering on Monday Night Football from the NFL sees the undefeated Green Bay Packers take on NFC rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, who remain winless heading into week 4. Additionally there is the bonus on Monday of the rearranged  blockbuster clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. There are two more standout ties from a typically hectic day of football on Sunday, as the Tennessee Titans meet the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Las Vegas Raiders to Arrowhead Stadium. Meanwhile, there is also plenty of NCAA College Football to watch out for on Saturday, with two of the key ties seeing Clemson host Miami and Florida travel to Texas A&M.

Though the weather has started to turn, cricket fans around the world will still have plenty of action to sink their teeth into. This week, Australia and New Zealand’s women will lock horns in a scintillating ODI series. Meanwhile, the captivating IPL season resumes with a heavyweight clash between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Capitals on Monday. Another game headlining this week’s IPL action will see the Mumbai Indians take on the Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

It is another important week in the world of cycling as the Giro d’Italia continues, with seven more stages taking place.

The aforementioned French Open will play out all week long, with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The NBA Finals series between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat will play out throughout the week. Meanwhile, there is another electrifying series playing out in the WNBA, as the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm lock horns in the Finals.

One of the most sought-after titles on the PDC Tour will be contested this week, as the World Grand Prix gets underway at the Ricoh Arena. Michael van Gerwen will be eyeing a third straight Grand Prix win, but must first overcome a potential banana skin in his First-Round tie against Krzysztof Ratajski.

Whilst the top domestic leagues across Europe enjoy a brief hiatus, there are plenty of International games scheduled to ensure we still get our weekly dose of elite football. The ever-fiery Iberian derby will play out on Wednesday, as Portugal welcome next-door neighbours Spain to Lisbon. England are in action on Thursday, as they entertain Wales at Wembley in a friendly that could be far from amicable. Spain return to action on Saturday as they take on Switzerland in the Nations League. Meanwhile, England will be embroiled in another mouth-watering clash on Sunday as they do battle with the stars of Belgium, with the winner earning top spot in Group 2. The paths of two teams with perfect records in Group 3 will finally cross on Sunday, as France lock horns with Portugal on the outskirts of Paris. We must turn our attentions to the MLS to see any semblance of top-flight domestic action this week, as Orlando City and Columbus do battle on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, in the NWSL, Sky Blue FC will face Chicago Red Stars in New Jersey.

The world’s golfing elite will grace the hallowed turf of Wentworth Golf Club this week as they contest the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. Meanwhile, TPC Summerlin will play host to an unmissable event on the PGA Tour, as the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open plays out. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship gets underway on Thursday and will also play out across the weekend.

There is plenty of Rugby League action this week, which is headlined by Wigan Warriors’ trip to Warrington Wolves in the Super League. as well as the Eels against the Rabbitohs n the NRL playoffs.

The Rugby Union action continues to come thick and fast, with the Sharks’ clash with the  Lions headlining the Super Rugby Unlocked action on Friday. There is plenty more to watch out for across the weekend, including Edinburgh’s trip to Munster in Pro14 Rugby. International Rugby also comes to the fore this weekend, as New Zealand compete with Australia for the Bledisloe Cup.

More Motorsport action comes in the shape of the MotoGP’s France Grand Prix, playing out at Le Mans on Sunday.

On Saturday, Welshman Liam Williams will set about defending his British middleweight title against fellow Brit Andrew Robinson.

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

Fixture

Photos by New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Roland-Garros, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sydney Roosters, Wasps Rugby, FORMULA 1.

Written and information correct on 5th October at 7am GMT

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