Former world heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, is in Antigua and Barbuda in the hopes that a partnership involving the government and his marijuana farm, will reap massive rewards.

Tyson, who became the heavyweight champion of the world in xxx before losing his crown and his fortune after a string of life-changing mishaps, has the backing of Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne.

Browne told a press conference that Tyson’s investment went further than marijuana, extending to entertainment, leisure, and accommodation.

“Their interest goes beyond marijuana products or hemp products; they are also looking at the whole area of entertainment and leisure and one of the most exciting projects that they will establish within the next nine months is the establishment of an annual marijuana conference here in Antigua,” said Browne.

“It will be like the Davos of cannabis; it will take place on an annual basis and will bring stakeholders from throughout the globe for that matter right here on Antigua to discuss various opportunities within the industry. So, we are very excited about that. They are also interested in establishing a hotel accommodation property and they will be looking at a number of sites to determine suitability.”

Tyson believes the association will turn his marijuana farm, Tyson Ranch, into a powerhouse.

Tyson Farm is just one arm of the larger Tyson holistic holdings which sells marijuana strains, edibles and merchandise.

Charles Leclerc insisted he could only take limited satisfaction from a stunning performance in qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix as real success would be a third straight victory.

The breakout Ferrari star claimed pole position for a third consecutive race, having won from the front in the prior two.

Leclerc's outstanding performance - and that of Sebastian Vettel, third in his Ferrari - was unexpected by rival Lewis Hamilton, as he acknowledged, but also by the Italian team themselves.

Ferrari brought upgrades to Singapore but could not have anticipated such a sensational qualifying result on a track where Mercedes and Red Bull were favoured.

Even with the upgrades, Ferrari had struggled earlier in the week. But Leclerc suggested his driving was at fault.

"I was not happy with my driving yesterday," he told a news conference on Saturday. "It was not a great day for me.

"So, I improved quite a lot driving today and also we improved the balance quite a bit from yesterday to today."

He is now looking for another triumph, building on successes in Belgium and Italy.

"It feels great but you enjoy qualifying for a very short time because then you need to focus on the race," Leclerc said. "In the end, there are no points awarded for the pole position, which is a shame.

"It's great, it's very good to see that we are on pole on a track like this where we expected to struggle but, on the other hand, for me personally, I'm just focusing on the race now.

"I will, of course, be very happy if I'm in the same position tomorrow."

Vettel will hope to be able to compete on Sunday, potentially finally ending a winless run that goes back to Belgium last season, as he feels he is capable of matching Leclerc's performance.

"The car was good and I felt good, so it's obviously a shame that I didn't put together the last attempt in Q3," he said. "But I think it was there today."
 

HAMILTON HOPING FOR HELP OF HIS OWN

Hamilton repeatedly referred to Ferrari's upgrades as he reflected on being pipped to pole by Leclerc, saying: "They've not been so strong in Budapest, for example, and all of a sudden they've brought an upgrade here and it seems to have worked."

The Mercedes superstar suggested he was already looking forward to similar tweaks that would make it easier for the Silver Arrows to match Ferrari's pace.

"It was clearly a big step for them and we'll just keep pushing," he said. "We've not had an upgrade really for a while, so maybe, when that comes, it'll help us a little bit."
 

MORE WOE FOR RENAULT AND RICCIARDO

Daniel Ricciardo's first season at Renault has not at all gone to plan and he was hit with another setback late on Saturday.

A Renault official was called before the stewards after it was reported the Australian's car, having qualified eighth, had exceeded its power limit in Q1.

His result was later disqualified, meaning he is set to start from the pit lane on Sunday, a tough ask within the tight confines of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
 

THE GRID

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
6. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
9. Lando Norris (McLaren)
10. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Nico Rosberg
2015: Sebastian Vettel

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 284
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 221 (-63)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 185 (-99)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 182 (-102)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 169 (-115)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 505
2. Ferrari 351 (-154)
3. Red Bull 266 (-239)
4. McLaren 83 (-422)
5. Renault 65 (-440)

WEATHER FORECAST 

Another warm, dry day is anticipated on Sunday, with temperatures potentially reaching 33 degrees Celsius and only 20 per cent chance of rain. Given the similar conditions in qualifying, Leclerc and Hamilton should be set for another tussle.

Daniil Medvedev racked up another straight-sets win to book a shot at Borna Coric in the St Petersburg Open final.

The US Open runner-up, who has enjoyed a sensational run of form since Wimbledon, defeated Egor Gerasimov 7-5 7-5 in the last four.

Qualifier Gerasimov was competitive but unable to repeat his quarter-final upset of third seed Matteo Berrettini.

Medvedev made the decisive break late in each set and dropped serve just once in the 90-minute match, the Russian reaching his eighth final of 2019 as a result.

He is the first player since Novak Djokovic at the end of 2018 to reach the final in five consecutive tournaments played.

Top seed Medvedev will meet Coric after the Croatian came from behind to defeat Joao Sousa 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

Coric, seeded fourth, has won all of his three matches this week in a deciding set to reach a sixth career ATP Tour final.

Sousa lost a contest lasting two hours and 16 minutes despite saving 14 of 17 break points. A tense second-set tie-break, which was level at 5-5 before Coric won two straight points, ultimately proved decisive.

Coric holds a 4-1 head-to-head advantage over Medvedev, who is looking to become the first Russian to win in St Petersburg since Mikhail Youzhny 15 years ago.

At the Moselle Open, Aljaz Bedene will meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

World number 76 Bedene reached his first ATP Tour final of the year after disappointing the home fans in Metz with an upset 4-6 6-1 6-2 win over France's Benoit Paire.

But the home support will have Tsonga to get behind on Sunday after he overcame fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4).

Both players dominated on serve, with Pouille failing to convert the solitary break-point opportunity of the match while leading 6-5 in the first set, as Tsonga reached his fifth Moselle Open final.

Marc Marquez is "on another level" at the Aragon Grand Prix and Fabio Quartararo is not convinced he can deny the pole-sitter a second straight MotoGP victory.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez crashed during FP2 on Friday but was top of the pile in qualifying for the fifth time in the past six grands prix 24 hours later.

The Spaniard ended his longest winless streak of the season – just two races – at the San Marino Grand Prix last weekend by pipping Quartararo in a thrilling final-lap battle.

The rookie Petronas Yamaha rider will start next to Marquez on the grid on Sunday but thinks it unlikely that he will challenge for a first win of his career in Aragon.

"On qualifying I disconnected my brain on the last lap and try to make the best. We did it, and this is really positive because we know our bike is not the best on this track, but we really pushed her to the limit and made P2 and it was the best we could get today," said Quartararo, before discussing the chances of defeating Marquez.

"Everything is possible, but honestly he's on another level on this track. My main goal is to finish the race in a really good way, try to bring points home. I think we have the pace to finish in the top five and that's the goal."

Maverick Vinales joined Marquez and Quartararo on the front row of the grid, with Valentino Rossi taking sixth behind Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Vinales suggested the race will be decided in the opening laps, but Marquez knows he cannot afford to let his concentration slip throughout.

"We showed a good performance all weekend. We worked really hard in FP4 and it was a good rhythm, I was able to be very fast during many laps," said Marquez.

"The main target was front row, but pole position was even better. I just have to concentrate on tomorrow, analyse everything and choose the best [tyre] compound.

"The key for the race is to be concentrated during all the laps, to be focused in our rhythm, understand the grip of the track and the tyres, understand the weather.

"Apart from these things we will work in our way, find the limit in our bike and keep pushing until the end."

 

'PERFECT' ESPARGARO FOLLOWS MARQUEZ

Another man full of praise for Marquez was Espargaro - so much so that he considered his ability to stick with the superstar for a stretch and qualify fifth "a perfect lap".

"I was already quite fast on my first run, then with the second tyre I was behind Maverick but, just before we started the last lap, Marquez overtook me," Espargaro said.

"I thought 'there's no way to follow him' because he's on another planet this weekend. But I was able to follow. I did a perfect lap."

It was a rare good day for Aprilia, with Espargaro's team-mate Andrea Iannone enjoying his best qualifying session of the season to come in 11th.

Espargaro added: "There's nothing to lose. Our season has been a disaster so far. I hope that I can do a good race.

"The most important thing for me is that, when I come back into the garage afterwards all the faces of my team, all the people around me are smiling because we need this.

"We need some positive energy in the garage ahead of the flyaway races because everybody is working hard yet the results aren't coming."

His brother Pol, at KTM, is not enjoying such a good week, though, as he potentially faces surgery on a wrist fracture that will keep him out of the race.

18th place for Mika Kallio on the #aragongp #motogp grid for the 23 lap race tomorrow at 13.00 as @polespargaro heads back to Barcelona for further check-ups on a left wrist fracture and perhaps surgery #KTM pic.twitter.com/JF2xf6zcaS

— KTM Factory Racing (@KTM_Racing) September 21, 2019  

THE GRID

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team)
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
7. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
11. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team)
12. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Marc Marquez
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Marc Marquez
2015: Jorge Lorenzo

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 275
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 182 (-93)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 151 (-124)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 149 (-126)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 134 (-141)

Teams

1. Ducati 333
2. Repsol Honda 308 (-25)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 263 (-70)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 200 (-133)
5. Petronas Yamaha 192 (-141)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry day is forecast, with conditions expected to be similar to qualifying - dry and with an air temperature in the mid 20s (degrees Celsius).

Jon Rahm made a remarkable recovery at Wentworth's 18th hole on Saturday to retain a share of the BMW PGA Championship lead alongside Danny Willett.

An eagle at the last on Friday had seen Rahm join Willett at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds, but it appeared the same hole would prove his undoing 24 hours later.

Rahm, leading by a single stroke heading to the par-five 18th, sent an awful drive towards the bushes and looked to be facing a first double-bogey of the week.

The Spaniard's problems were compounded by Englishman Willett's proficiency at the same hole, lining up a birdie putt from four feet.

Willett executed the putt to move to 15 under for the week, but Rahm, having made the green with his fourth shot, sank a stunning effort to save par.

The duo held a three-shot joint-lead, with Indian Shubhankar Sharma having surged into contention with nine birdies before a bogey at the last left him on 12 under with a 66.

Justin Rose also dropped a shot at the last to join Sharma, having made an eagle at the 17th, with Christiaan Bezuidenhout the third man at the same score.

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy had been made to work hard to make the cut on Friday following a dismal opening-round 76, but he was back on form as the weekend began.

A fine 65 left the world number two on six under for the week, low enough to provoke a sliver of optimism that an unlikely title challenge might still be on the cards.

McIlroy, who was hoping for Rahm and Willett to slump, told Sky Sports: "I've done what I can and shot a good score.

"If I go out [on Sunday] and shoot something similar, I don't know if it's going to be quite good enough but at least I've given myself something to hope for. That's a nice thing."

American Patrick Reed appeared to be in contention after signing for a 67 to reach nine under, while Italian Francesco Molinari was a shot further back.

The 18th did not cause Englishman Ross Fisher as much trouble as it had others, as he achieved a brilliant albatross to finish his third round - earning a new BMW for the feat.

Sebastian Vettel felt he "peaked too early" in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix as he watched team-mate Charles Leclerc storm to a spectacular pole.

Ferrari defied expectations at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Saturday as Leclerc claimed his third consecutive Formula One pole and fifth of 2019, while Vettel came third.

After winning at Spa and Monza, the Scuderia were not expected to have the fastest package in Singapore at a track more suited to rivals Mercedes and Red Bull.

Friday's FP1 and FP2 action appeared to back up that view despite some Ferrari upgrades being introduced, but the Italian team upped the ante in FP3 and then excelled in qualifying.

Vettel looked likely to claim pole when he was over three-and-a-half tenths clear of Leclerc after the first runs in Q3, but instead the other Ferrari won the session – and out-qualified him for an eighth straight race - after the German aborted his second attempt due to a mistake.

"The final bit of Q3 wasn't great but sometimes that's the way it goes," said Vettel, a four-time winner in Singapore.

"I was feeling good, so maybe I peaked a bit early, we had a tiny wobble and there was no point in finishing that lap. The final attempt should've been better but overall the car was making sense and feeling good.

"It puts us in a good position for Sunday. It should be a good race, let's see what the tyres are going to do, if we can push for the two hours or will we have to manage them.

"I'm looking forward to it. We were quick out there and it's always fun round here one way or another."

Leclerc looks best placed to triumph as Ferrari seek a third straight win for the first time in 11 years.

"I'm extremely happy to be on pole," said Leclerc, who was joined on the front row by championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

"It was a very good lap, if you look at it, there were some moments when I thought I had lost control of the car. We had a very tough Friday, it was not my day, but I worked hard in the car and it paid off – this feels great.

"I would like to thank the team so much for what they've done - an amazing job to bring the package we needed. We came here knowing it would be a difficult track for us but we brought some bits which work properly, which is not always the case."

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto explained the updates to his cars had exceeded expectations.

"It's even better than we hoped, we brought a new aero package," Binotto told Sky Sports.

"It's always nice to start at the front in Singapore but the race is Sunday and we shouldn't forget that. I still believe the arrows [Mercedes] are very strong."

Eight of the 11 grands prix in Singapore have been won by the pole-sitter.

Wales coach Warren Gatland hopes Alun Wyn Jones can earn more plaudits with a fine performance in his record-equalling 129th Test appearance against Georgia.

The Six Nations Grand Slam champions will be the last of the big hitters to kick-off their Rugby World Cup campaign when they take to the field in Toyota on Monday.

As expected, Gatland has named Jones in his line-up and that means the veteran lock will tie Gethin Jenkins' Wales appearance record.

Jones will be key to Wales' hopes of following up their Six Nations success with worldwide domination in Japan and Gatland is keen to see his star man deliver once again in a red shirt.

If he comes through that challege unscathed, the 34-year-old would then be able to claim the record outright in a huge Pool D clash against Australia.

"He has been absolutely outstanding in his services to Welsh rugby," Gatland said of Jones. "He's got better with age - he is like a good wine.

"Hopefully, he comes out of Monday night's game fit and available and, if selected, as he always says, against Australia, he will get that chance to break that Welsh record.

"He doesn't like me talking about these things, but he deserves all the accolades.

"He has been just such a great servant to Welsh rugby and the pleasing thing for me in the last couple of years is that recognition hasn't been just from Wales, it has been worldwide, too.

"People have realised what a contribution he has given to world rugby in terms of his performances and leadership.

"That's pleasing to see, that someone from Wales is recognised as one of the best players in the world in his position."

While Wales have their captain fit and available, opponents Georgia are missing skipper Merab Sharikadze, who is still recovering from injury.

Gatland is not taking them lightly, though, adding: "With Georgia, we know how strong they are up front and their scrum is a weapon. We've got to be competent at scrum time.

"The boys had a good training session this morning. We're really excited - we can't wait for Monday night."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wales - Dan Biggar

Gareth Anscombe's pre-tournament knee injury created a space at fly-half and, with Rhys Patchell among the replacements recovering from his own ailment, Biggar is the man who starts the campaign at number 10. He has started just two games for his country in 2019 but has experience on the world stage, having kicked 23 points to see off England four years ago.

Georgia - Tedo Abzhandadze

Abzhandadze, the opposite fly-half, was a star of Georgia's Under-20 team and, still just 20, has earned the starting job at the World Cup, playing what will be only his 10th Test against Wales. His early senior performances have not been entirely convincing and he will need to step up in a big way against the Welsh.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- The only previous meeting between these sides took place in November 2017 when Wales earned a hard-fought 13-6 win.
- Wales come into this fixture having lost their past two Rugby World Cup games. They have never lost three or more in succession at the tournament.
- Among Tier 1 sides, only Argentina have lost as many Rugby World Games to non-Tier 1 opposition as Wales (both three). The Welsh were beaten by Samoa in 1991 and 1999, as well as by Fiji in 2007.
- Georgia have lost 10 out of 10 Rugby World Cup games against Tier 1 opposition, with those defeats coming by an average margin of 33 points.
- Georgia won the 2019 Rugby Europe Championship, the eighth time in the past nine seasons they have triumphed at the second-tier tournament.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff admitted they had not anticipated Charles Leclerc to claim a stunning pole position for Ferrari in Singapore.

The slower Marina Bay Street Circuit was not expected to suit the speed of the Scuderia car this week, yet Leclerc blew Hamilton away with a blistering lap time of one minute and 36.217 seconds.

Hamilton, the reigning champion and season leader, now has work to do to deny breakout star Leclerc a third consecutive victory, having recorded poles in the past two races, too.

The shell-shocked Briton said: "I don't know where Ferrari picked up their pace because this is not known to be one of their tracks, but they did a great job.

"Charles really put some great laps in and I needed something special at the end, so I gave it absolutely everything I had.

"It was very, very close – I'm sure I nearly hit the wall a couple of times – but it was as much as I could get out of the car."

Hamilton is looking forward to Sunday's race, though, adding: "I'm really, really happy to be on the front row in the mix with them [Ferrari] and try to divide them tomorrow. We can be aggressive."

Team boss Wolff acknowledged he had also foreseen a challenge from Red Bull but not from Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who qualified third fastest.

Mercedes need a victory in Singapore to avoid equalling their worst run without a victory in the hybrid era thanks to Leclerc's sudden recent dominance.

"This is a circuit we thought the Red Bulls and Mercedes would battle for pole," Wolff told Sky Sports. "Ferrari's car is fast, they did a good job and we have to get our act together on Sunday.

"They are gaining a few tenths [of a second] on the straights but also very quick on the corners - quick everywhere.

"The statistics are against us, but the race has not started. If Lewis is able to get a good start and Valtteri [Bottas] can get up a position, then we're in a good position."

Red Bull star Max Verstappen was understandably disappointed after recording good times in practice but coming in fourth best on Saturday.

"The car felt alright but there was just not enough grip and I wanted to go faster," he said. "The four wheels were sliding.

"I'm a little bit surprised. After a positive Monza, we would expect to be really strong here and we weren't. We are too slow."

Steve Hansen is confident there is more to come from New Zealand after they kicked off their Rugby World Cup defence with an impressive 23-13 victory over South Africa.

The All Blacks had to withstand plenty of pressure in the opening quarter of their Pool B opener in Yokohama, but they seized control of the game in a stunning six-minute spell featuring tries for George Bridge and Scott Barrett.

Although South Africa fought back impressively after the interval, New Zealand were able to remain ahead and extend their streak of never losing a World Cup pool game.

"We're pretty happy with where we're at at the moment," said coach Hansen in his post-match news conference. "Everybody knew that this was going to be a big match and obviously it was. Both teams played very well at times and we're very happy to come out with a win.

"Were we perfect? No. But you're never gonna be at this stage of the tournament and that was the interesting part about this game for both teams.

"You're not in the swing of the tournament and right from the get-go you've got probably the biggest game of the group. We've come out on top. [I'm] very happy that we did, but there's plenty of stuff we can work on."

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus highlighted New Zealand's discipline as a key factor in the outcome.

"Discipline was always going to be a massive thing for us," said All Blacks skipper Kieran Read.

"South Africa love to build pressure through those penalties and they've got a kicker like [Handre] Pollard who showed right from the outset he can kick from 50 metres.

"It was a conscious decision from us to make sure we didn't give away too many penalties and we probably haven't been as smart throughout this whole year, but we were at a different level today."

Rassie Erasmus felt South Africa's Rugby World Cup defeat to New Zealand owed much to the All Blacks' superior discipline.

The Springboks applied plenty of pressure in the first quarter of Saturday's blockbuster Pool B opener but saw their 3-0 lead quickly turn into a 17-3 deficit, the defending world champions hitting top gear in a stunning six-minute blitz.

A Pieter-Steph du Toit try and Handre Pollard's second penalty gave South Africa hope after the interval, only for Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett to land three-pointers as New Zealand triumphed 23-13.

In a post-match news conference, Erasmus said: "I think they won it. I don't think we lost it. Two tries to one, they definitely deserved to win the game.

"If you concede, I think, 11 penalties to two, you're going to struggle to beat New Zealand. I think discipline was our biggest downfall. I don't think we can moan about anything.

"As I said, I think the penalty count was 11-2, so we did 11 things wrong. We have to go and fix it. They only did two things wrong, which is unbelievably well disciplined by them. That battle, we lost.

"I give all credit to New Zealand. When we had territorial and scoreboard pressure and they had that one opportunity to pounce, they pounced."

No team has ever won the World Cup after losing in the pool stage, but Erasmus believes his side can buck that trend.

"I think we can fight back. I think even in the game we fought back," he stated. "To be down 17-3 and get back to 17-13 and being in their 22 ... there were stages when we really fought back well."

With a smile, he added: "If you're grouped with New Zealand in your pool, you've got a good chance of not going undefeated through your pool.

"And then you have to fight back and try and get to the final, for the first time in history not being unbeaten. We have to go [down] that route now."

Erasmus said Trevor Nyakane (calf) was the only Springboks player to pick up an injury, attributing late concerns over Cheslin Kolbe and Du Toit to cramp.

In-form Charles Leclerc caused a shock at the Singapore Grand Prix by claiming a magnificent pole position.

The Ferrari driver, who has won the last two races, took his fifth pole of 2019 and third in succession with a tremendous lap of one minute and 36.217 seconds in the final moments of qualifying.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start second for Mercedes after coming in 0.191secs behind Leclerc.

Leclerc's team-mate Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third and has now been out-qualified by the Monegasque for eight straight races, with Max Verstappen coming fourth for Red Bull.

Valtteri Bottas was almost a second off the pace in fifth place and Alex Albon took the other spot on the third row in sixth.

Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.

Having won the last two races in Belgium and Italy, Ferrari were expected to trail Mercedes and Red Bull at a slower, higher-downforce Marina Bay Street Circuit.

That view was reinforced by Friday's action in practice, but after showing surprise pace in FP3, the Scuderia produced a magnificent qualifying performance on Saturday, clearly buoyed by upgrades they introduced this week.

Vettel was almost four-tenths clear of Leclerc after the first runs of Q3 and looked poised to take pole, with both Mercedes cars around a second back.

But the second runs shook up the grid as Vettel had to abort his effort after making a mistake.

Leclerc took advantage and then held on to top spot after five-time Formula One champion Hamilton improved significantly but only managed to get in front of one of the Ferraris.

Eight of the 11 Singapore Grands Prix have been won by the driver on pole, with man of the moment Leclerc well placed as Ferrari look to win a third straight race for the first time in 11 years.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:36.217
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.191s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.220s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.596s
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.929s
6. Alex Albon (Red Bull) +1.194s
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.601s
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.878s
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +2.047s
10. Lando Norris (McLaren) +2.112s

Marc Marquez's procession towards another MotoGP title looks set to continue at Aragon after he secured his ninth pole position of the season.

Marquez is 93 points clear of nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso at the top of the standings as he bids for a fourth straight championship - and there was no let-up in his performance during qualifying on Saturday.

The Repsol Honda superstar saw a dominant run of poles disrupted last week as he clashed with Valentino Rossi in qualifying at San Marino, but he has now run fastest heading into race day nine times this season - his most in a campaign since an outstanding 13 in 2014.

Marquez has recorded three consecutive wins at Aragon, too, and his time of one minute and 47.009 seconds makes him favourite to triumph again in what will be his 200th start.

He set the benchmark after a strong early showing from Maverick Vinales, although Fabio Quartararo - a qualifying expert - pushed hard late on.

Quartararo left his best lap for last and fell just 0.327 seconds short as he failed to match Marquez's pace over the final sector.

Further down the grid, there were contrasting results for the Espargaro brothers, with Pol suffering a wrist fracture and deemed unfit to ride as Aleix starred to sit in fifth.

Dovizioso's hopes of challenging Marquez this weekend took a hit as he came 10th in the second session.

Danilo Petrucci's slump continued, meanwhile, as he failed to even reach Q2. The Italian is third overall for 2019 but has not made the podium in the past six races, finishing a year-low 10th last time out in San Marino.

Jorge Lorenzo, who has been working his way back from injury, was way off in Q1, 20th overall.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:47.009
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.327s
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.463s
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.649s
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +0.724s
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +1.006s
7. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +1.313s
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +1.363s
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.449s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +1.599s
11. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team): +2.231s
12. Pol Espargaro (KTM)

New Zealand were far from perfect in their Rugby World Cup opener, but a six-minute spell of breathtaking brilliance showed why the two-time defending champions remain the team to beat.

While the All Blacks are understandably many people's favourites to prevail in Japan, it is fair to say their status as rugby's dominant nation has come under more questioning than usual in recent months.

South Africa won this year's Rugby Championship, in which Steve Hansen's men suffered a stunning 47-26 defeat to Australia - albeit one they avenged the following week with a 36-0 thumping of the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks have also been displaced by Ireland at the top of World Rugby's rankings and the likes of Wales and England have been tipped to mount strong challenges for glory over the coming weeks.

For 20 minutes on Saturday, any doubts over New Zealand's strength were heightened as South Africa started superbly in a blockbuster Pool B opener in Yokohama that could well serve as a dress rehearsal for the final at the same venue on November 2.

Throughout the first quarter, the Springboks dominated territorially, their ferocious line-speed causing no end of problems.

However, one misplaced pass from Faf de Klerk - with South Africa leading 3-0 - triggered a sudden shift in momentum as the All Blacks demonstrated a ruthless streak no other team can match.

The Boks initially got off lightly when De Klerk's wild pass from a ruck was pounced upon by Richie Mo'unga, who kicked ahead before being halted just short of the line. Makazole Mapimpi was penalised for not releasing the number 10, but the wing avoided a yellow card and the All Blacks merely picked up three points to level the score when a try had appeared highly likely.

New Zealand had found their mojo, though, and in a matter of minutes they took complete control with two stunning tries in quick succession.

Hansen's decision to start Beauden Barrett - widely viewed as the world's finest fly-half - at full-back in order to accommodate Mo'unga has prompted much debate, but the presence of two playmakers was certainly influential as the All Blacks hit top gear.

Mo'unga's cross-field kick to Sevu Reece started the move that led to the first try. Reece promptly skinned the out-of-position Mapimpi before working the ball through Aaron Smith to a galloping Ardie Savea. From the next phase, Barrett surged through a gap from second receiver and laid on a simple finish for George Bridge.

Barrett was also heavily involved in the passage of play that led up to the All Blacks' second score, which was finished by namesake Scott Barrett after Anton Lienert-Brown had dazzlingly weaved past five defenders.

Having been 3-0 down and on the rack, New Zealand were suddenly 14 points to the good and their opponents understandably appeared somewhat stunned for the remainder of the half.

To their credit, the Springboks did battle back gamely after the interval, but they had been left with too much to do.

It has been 12 years since the All Blacks last lost a World Cup fixture. Their magical six-minute blitz on Saturday suggests it will take something special to deny them another title.

Kieran Read was pleased with the clinical edge New Zealand showed as they saw off South Africa 23-13 in their opening game at the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks started the highly anticipated Pool B clash in Yokohama - which will also host the final - positively but only scored three points through Handre Pollard during their period of dominance.

When Richie Mo'unga set upon a loose pass from Faf de Klerk and was illegally challenged by Makazole Mapimpi, the fly-half restored parity and kick-started a six-minute spell in which the reigning champions racked up 17 points.

George Bridge scored his eighth try in six Tests before a handling error from Pollard preceded Scott Barrett running in the All Blacks' second.

Pieter-Steph du Toit made the most of some slack New Zealand defending after the restart and Pollard was successful with a drop-goal from distance, but Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett kept the Springboks at arm's length from the tee.

"It was a heck of Test match. It was the full 80 minutes that we had to work," said All Blacks skipper Read.

"You're fortunate [that] sometimes it just happens in those couple of moments and we managed to take them. That's probably the difference in the game.

"We had to defend a little bit early on and when you don't have the ball you can't do too much, so when we did get opportunities we wanted to try to speed the game up."

Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi was frustrated his team did not punish New Zealand further when they had the chance, having reduced their arrears to four points in the second half.

"I think we took too long to get into the game," said Kolisi, despite his side appearing to be firmly on top during the first quarter.

"I think we stuck to our guns and our plan worked in the second half. We wanted to score first and it happened, but we couldn't capitalise on our opportunities."

Beauden Barrett, who started at full-back, played on with a bloody nose after being hit in the face by Duane Vermeulen's boot when trying to tackle the forward.

Barrett said: "It's a bit sore. It's never good getting a boot to the nose, especially from a big lad like Duane. You expect to take a few bumps when you play the Springboks, so it was worth it.

"We got to throw the ball around a bit – sometimes too much, it was a bit greasy out there, but there was some expansive rugby. If we can keep doing that all tournament that's what we're here for."

Melbourne Storm outclassed Parramatta Eels to win 32-0 at AAMI Park and move within one match of a fourth straight NRL Grand Final appearance.

Josh Addo-Carr scored two of the home side's five first-half tries in a blistering start that set up a preliminary final date with Sydney Roosters, the team that beat them in last year's decider.

Cameron Smith was sent to the sin bin late in the opening 40 minutes for slapping Reed Mahoney but nothing could keep the Storm from issuing a convincing response to last weekend's surprise 12-10 loss to Canberra Raiders.

The Eels, high on confidence following an extraordinary 58-0 humbling of the Brisbane Broncos, were starved of possession against a hardened finals force as their season to came to a bitter end.

Addo-Carr needed just five minutes to set the tone, the winger racing 60 metres as he turned multiple chasers inside out to open the scoring.

Maika Sivo took out his frustration with a bone-rattling shoulder charge on Ryan Papenhuyzen but the Storm were hardly intimidated.

Suliasi Vunivalu crossed to double the margin before Cameron Munster chased down a clever Smith kick to give Craig Bellamy's men 12 points in 16 minutes.

Captain Smith's failure to convert all three tries did little to halt Melbourne's momentum as Vunivalu brilliantly knocked a kick back into play to gift Jahrome Hughes a straightforward score.

The minor premiers were running rampant and, courtesy of Addo-Carr, had gone 22-0 ahead by the time Smith was sin-binned in the 29th minute.

Parramatta were more competitive after half-time, but a string of errors and a clash of heads between team-mates Marata Niukore and Tepai Moeroa summed up their performance.

Papenhuyzen rubbed salt into the Eels' wounds by somersaulting over in the right corner and the full-back rounded out the scoring, making the conversion after Nelson Asofa-Solomona crossed in the dying moments.

New Zealand were unforgiving as they punished South Africa errors to get their Rugby World Cup title defence under way with a thrilling 23-13 victory in the blockbuster Pool B clash in Yokohama.

Rugby Championship winners South Africa had been tipped as the leading contenders to dethrone New Zealand in Japan and they piled the pressure on the All Blacks in the early stages.

However, they only had three points from Handre Pollard to show for their efforts before sloppiness set in during a six-minute blitz that included tries from George Bridge and Scott Barrett.

Pieter-Steph du Toit crossed and Pollard scored a fine drop-goal as the Springboks regained a foothold in the second half, but the All Blacks were able to retain their record of having never lost a group stage match.

Pollard split the posts in the second minute after Bridge was pinged for not releasing the ball, and the Springboks maintained their commanding start.

He then hit the upright from the tee after Faf de Klerk intelligently won another penalty, but the scrum-half's stray pass was pounced on by Richie Mo'unga and Makazole Mapimpi's illegal attempt to win it back led to the fly-half restoring parity.

The champions had clicked into gear and Mo'unga's cross-field kick enabled Sevu Reece to charge down the right, setting a move in motion that ended with Beauden Barrett darting through a gap and offloading for Bridge to score his eighth try in six Tests.

New Zealand punished another mistake when Pollard dropped a high ball and Anton Lienert-Brown skipped in off the right before sending Scott Barrett under the posts, while Mo'unga missed a chance to make it 20-3 at the break from the left touchline.

Du Toit took advantage of a defensive lapse from the All Blacks to run straight in from a ruck in the 48th minute and Pollard reduced the arrears to four points with a stunning drop-goal from 40 yards out.

Mo'unga slotted through another penalty and the boot of Beauden Barrett helped keep the Springboks at bay as New Zealand extended their winning run in World Cups to 15 matches.

 

De Klerk opens the door

South Africa were in complete control until De Klerk's sloppy pass was set upon by Mo'unga, and it proved to be the turning point. New Zealand added 17 points in the next five minutes to underline their status as favourites for the trophy, with Rassie Erasmus likely to have concerns over the fitness of Trevor Nyakane and Cheslin Kolbe after late injuries.

Barrett at full-back pays off

Hansen's decision to play Mo'unga at fly-half and Beauden Barrett at 15 paid dividends, with both playing important roles as playmakers as the All Blacks tore South Africa apart in the first half. The latter was then granted the chance to play the last 10 minutes in his favoured position.

What's next?

The Springboks return to action against neighbours Namibia in Toyota next Saturday, while the All Blacks must wait until October 2 to take on Canada in Oita.

Naomi Osaka will face the unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the Pan Pacific Open after both players came through two matches on Saturday.

Top seed Osaka - a two-time runner-up in this event before it moved from Tokyo to Osaka - overcame Yulia Putintseva and Elise Mertens in straight sets after rain prevented her from taking to the court on Friday, winning eight of the last nine games against the latter to triumph 6-4 6-1.

The win over Putintseva was a particularly sweet one for Osaka, given the Ukrainian had won their last three meetings in straight sets, including a first-round success at Wimbledon earlier this year. 

While Osaka's presence in the final is no huge surprise, even if she has not made a decider since winning the Australian Open in January, Pavlyuchenkova has exceeded all expectations this week.

After thumping Misaki Doi 6-2 6-2 to end hopes of an all-Japanese final, Pavlyuchenkova shocked fourth seed Angelique Kerber with a 6-3 6-3 win.

The Russian will now contest her first final of 2019, having not dropped a set so far in this event.

 

France captain Guilhem Guirado thought his side had thrown away victory in their Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina when Emiliano Boffelli lined up a last-minute penalty in Tokyo.

Les Bleus claimed a 23-21 victory on Saturday, which could well prove crucial with England also in Group C, but only after Boffelli's last-gasp attempt at three points drifted narrowly wide from 53 metres.

That miss ensured a Camille Lopez drop-goal with 11 minutes remaining was decisive for a France side that had led 20-3 at the interval, only to be comprehensively outplayed in the second half.

Asked what was going through his head when Boffelli prepared to kick what could have been a match-winning penalty for Argentina, Guirado said: "I was thinking the game is finished and we lost the game."

Reflecting on his side's hit-and-miss display, the veteran hooker added: "We never controlled the game and we never controlled the ball in the second half, but we are very proud of the first half because we were very clinical. When we play like this we are very dangerous.

"I don't know [what went wrong after the interval], but we never controlled the ball. We were doing just two or three phases, we were playing a lot of kick-chase. I think we are better when we play with the hands."

Argentina captain Pablo Matera was deeply unimpressed with his side's performance in the first 40, which ultimately left them with just too much to do.

"[It was a] really bad start from us as a team and it's not good enough," said Matera.

"I think France at the beginning didn't do too much, but they took their opportunities and scored points."

Sofia Kenin came from a set down to defeat Samantha Stosur 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 and win her third WTA Tour title of 2019 at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

American 20-year-old Kenin produced a pivotal break at 4-4 in the second set, which came as she reeled off seven games in succession to turn the match on its head.

The third seed went a break up in the opener but surrendered her advantage and lost out in the tie-break when she sent a forehand from the baseline long.

Stosur, who was looking for her first WTA Tour singles title in over two years, dropped her serve at the start of the second but gave up just one point across three games to edge in front.

Kenin showed great character to force a decider and held to love either side of successive breaks to gain an advantage she did not relinquish, staving off a break point to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the match.

Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette will battle it out for glory at the Korea Open on Sunday.

Muchova defeated Wang Yafan 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 after coming from a break down in the first set, while Linette saved four set points before sealing a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (9-7) win over Ekaterina Alexandrova with her fourth match point.

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