This Weekend’s Big Match-Ups (April 21-24)
With the NBA playoffs in full swing, the Premier League title race going down to the wire, and the clay court season proving a hit on the ATP Tour, the world of sport has really been a wild ride over the past few weeks. This weekend is no different, as plenty of big matchups are going on in the world of sport. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights you should look forward to this weekend.
ATP Tour: Barcelona Open (April 17th-23rd)
The Barcelona Open, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world, is set to begin this week. The tournament, which is a part of the ATP Tour 500 series, will be held at the iconic Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 from April 17th to April 23rd.
Many top players will be participating in this year's edition of the Barcelona Open, unfortunately excluding the injured Rafael Nadal, who has won the tournament a record-breaking 11 times. Carlos Alcaraz, last year’s winner and world number one, is one of the favorites for this year’s tournament, with his style suiting the clay courts more than most of the field. Other notable players include Stefanos Tsitsipas, who won the tournament in 2018, and Casper Ruud, who has been in excellent form recently.
The Barcelona Open is known for its stunning clay courts, which are some of the best in the world. The surface, which is favored by many top players, requires a different set of skills than other surfaces, such as hard courts. The clay courts are slower, which means players need to have excellent footwork and patience to succeed. It should be a relatively open field this year, and we can’t wait to see who comes out on top.
Premier League: Arsenal vs. Southampton (April 21st)
After dropping points against a struggling West Ham side last weekend, Arsenal are in a precarious position. They are still four points ahead of a rampant Manchester City, but City have a game in hand and the sides face each other at the Etihad Stadium on April 26th in a tie that’s already being billed as the title decider. The league is still Arsenal’s to lose, but they have to win all the rest of their games and not lose against City in order to make sure of the trophy.
Their attempt to regain their form starts this weekend against a Southampton side that’s been rooted to the foot of the table for the past few weeks and look almost a certainty to go down to the Championship. They need results fast in order to propel themselves up the table and challenge for a miraculous escape, and a win against Arsenal would send a stark message to the rest of the relegation battlers that they are not out of it yet. It’s not the likeliest outcome, but Arsenal cannot assume that this game will be easy against a team fighting for their Premier League lives.
MLB: Rays @ White Sox (April 22nd)
This weekend, the Chicago White Sox will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in an MLB match-up of two of the biggest teams in the league. The teams have had contrasting fortunes recently, but this game has always been a close, nervy affair between these two.
The Chicago White Sox, who currently sit in fourth place in the American League Central division, have had a bad start to the season. With a record of 7-11, they have struggled against many teams, with some of their players underperforming, including Mike Clevinger and Andrew Benintendi. As hitters go, Gavin Sheets has played well, but not outstandingly enough for the White Sox to get over their fielding issues.
The Tampa Bay Rays, on the other hand, are currently sitting in first place in the American League East division, and actually are the best team in the league at the moment. With a record of 15-3, they have been playing superbly and have dominated teams in recent weeks. The team is known for their excellent pitching staff, which includes Jeffrey Springs and Shane McClanahan, both of whom have been performing at a high level.
NBA: Suns @ Clippers (Game 4, April 22nd)
After a fantastic first two games, the series between the defensive powerhouse Los Angeles Clippers and the attacking juggernaut Phoenix Suns is tied at 1-1. In game 1, Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers to a huge upset against the favored Suns, and showed that even without his partner-in-crime Paul George, the Clippers have just as good a chance as anyone to come out of the Western Conference.
However, game 2 saw a terrific performance from Phoenix star Devin Booker, scoring 38 points to help the Suns overturn a 13-point deficit to triumph and tie the series. Game 4 takes place this weekend at the Crypto.com Arena, and whatever happens in game 3, this should be another historic battle between some of the biggest stars in the league. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul have been some of the most spectacular players of the last decade, and all of them will be up for this matchup like no other.
Author: Dan Anderson