While You Were Asleep: Djokovic up and running in Tel Aviv, China to host first international badminton tournament in three years, Verstappen eyes history

21-time grand slam champion, Novak Djokovic, playing a singles tournament for the first time since winning Wimbledon in July, reached the Tel Aviv quarterfinal on Thursday with a straight-sets victory over Spain’s Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic eased to a 6-0, 6-3 win over his 115th-ranked opponent in 87 minutes, firing 30 winners and breaking Andujar four times.

It was the fewest games Djokovic has lost in any match this season.

He was always in control against his Spanish rival who he has now defeated three times, taking control of the match by winning the first seven games.

Djokovic was unable to play on the recent US hardcourt circuit and missed the US Open due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Badminton: China to host World Tour finals

China will host its first international badminton tournament since 2019 in December, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Thursday, after two years of disruptions caused by COVID.

The season-ending World Tour Finals, scheduled for Guangzhou from December 14-18, will feature the top eight players and pairs in each category with a prize pool of $1.5 million, the biggest the event has ever offered, the BWF said.

November’s Hong Kong Open had already been cancelled for the third straight year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and complex quarantine measures.

The World Tour Finals were relocated in 2020 and 2021 due to Chinese COVID restrictions.

Max Verstappen on cusp of history

Max Verstappen said he would need a dose of luck to wrap up a second successive Formula One title on Sunday in Singapore.

The Dutchman is 116 points clear of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and 125 ahead of Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez.

He will be crowned champion in Singapore if he can leave with at least a 138-point margin to his closest challenger, with only five races left after Sunday’s floodlit Marina Bay spectacular.

But he will have to chalk up a sixth consecutive win on Sunday and need other results to go his way to secure the earliest end to a title battle since Michael Schumacher won his fifth championship with six races to spare in 2002.

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