The Sports Matrix: Monday 20 June 2011

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The Independent Online

McIlroy in hunt for first major win

Rory McIlroy pushed last night for his debut major win as he began his final round at the US Open with birdies on the first and fourth hole. He further improved his overnight lead of eight shots at the top of the leaderboard at Congressional.

Bell’s century puts England in control

Ian Bell’s century gave England a chance of victory in the third Test with Sri Lanka. Bell scored an unbeaten 119 as England declared on 377 for 8, 193 runs ahead. They then reduced Sri Lanka to 112 for 3 at stumps, although rain is expected at the Rose Bowl today. MORE

Turner, Thomas shine in Sweden

Charlene Thomas won the 1500m yesterday on the final day of the European Team Championships in Sweden. Thomas beat a world class field, while Andy Turner won the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.42 seconds. MORE

Murray ‘must keep animal instinct’

“The biggest obstacles at Wimbledon for Andy Murray is clearing his mind after every point, not getting too hung up on his mistakes,” writes Nick Bollettieri for the i. “Let the animal instinct of Andy Murray do most of the talking. He has the instinct to win it.” MORE

U-21s knocked out by Czech late show

Two late Czech Republic goals put England out of the European Under-21 Championship last night. Danny Welbeck headed England into a crucial lead but Jan Chramosta scored in the 89th minute and Tomas Pekhart made it 2-1 in stoppage time.

Zvonareva: I won’t change my style

Vera Zvonareva, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, has told i she will not not stop her racket-throwing antics. “If I feel like I’m so frustrated that I need to break my racket to let it out and focus on my game, I will do it,” she said. “I don’t care what people say.” MORE

Modric expected to modify his stance

Tottenham’s Luka Modric is expected to backtrack on an interview he gave, in which he insinuated he wanted to join Chelsea, by issuing a statement to try and rebuild the damage done to his relationship with Spurs and chairman Daniel Levy. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Confidence in Andy Murray’s winning Wimbledon is based on a massive act of faith. It has more to do with the annual xenophobic yearnings of Centre Court than any hard evidence of his having the required belief. MORE

Nadal hails strong rivals for title

Wimbledon starts today, with the world’s focus on the top four players in the men’s singles. Any of the top four ranked players could hold aloft the trophy in 13 days’ time. Rafael Nadal, the defending champion and world No 1, has won the title in his last two visits. Roger Federer looked in excellent shape at the French Open, while Novak Djokovic’s remarkable run of 43 matches unbeaten was finally ended in Paris by Federer. Andy Murray has a better chance than ever to end Britain’s 75-year wait for a Wimbledon champion. Nadal remains the player to beat, but has complimented the form of all of his opponents. “We’re playing well,” Nadal said of the top four. “I think Novak has had a fantastic season. The first six months were really unbelievable. Roger has had a very good season, especially at this last tournament at Roland Garros. He played fantastic. Andy, too. He had a very good start in Australia.” MORE

Murray promises on-court change

Andy Murray has admitted toi that sometimes his negative body language plays into opponents’ hands. “In some matches where I have been up, you can let guys back in [to games] if you are getting down on yourself,” he said. “I am looking to change.” MORE

Sanchez set for Barça over City

Barcelona are likely to end Manchester City’s pursuit of Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez this week with a £32m purchase. The European champions have matched City’s £25m bid with £7m of add-ons, and Sanchez’s preference for them should seal the deal. MORE