The Sports Matrix: Monday 9 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Blanc faces ‘racism’ inquiry today

Laurent Blanc, France coach, will today meet Patrick Braouezec, the man heading the inquiry into allegedly racist comments made by Blanc. The former Manchester United defender has been criticised for discussing a “race quota”. MORE

Djokovic breaks Nadal clay run

Novak Djokovic inflicted Rafael Nadal’s first clay-court defeat in nearly two years at the final of the Madrid Open last night. The Serb won 7-5, 6-4, extending his record in 2011 to 32 consecutive victories. Nadal had not lost on clay since the 2009 French Open.

Campaign begins to honour Ballesteros

Players are calling for Seve Ballesteros to be immortalised as the image of the European Tour, his silhouette on the Tour’s official logo. The Spanish flag was raised at the venue of this week’s Players Championship. MORE

Hughes wary of Liverpool threat

Mark Hughes has warned that his Fulham side face a “difficult challenge” in their home game with Liverpool tonight. Liverpool have won nine of their last 13 in the league and moved up to fifth, an improvement Hughes put down to one man: Kenny Dalglish. MORE

Vettel cruises to victory in Istanbul

Sebastian Vettel won the Turkish Grand Prix in a Red Bull one-two – the world champion finished 8.8 seconds ahead of Mark Webber. Fernando Alonso finished in third place while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton recovered from sliding wide to finish fourth. MORE

Wolves up to 17th with derby win

Wolverhampton Wanderers moved out of the relegation zone with a 3-1 win over neighbours West Bromwich Albion. Steven Fletcher scored two, and Adlene Guedioura the other before Peter Odemwingie’s penalty. Wolves are a point clear of Blackpool. MORE

Leicester strike back against Exiles

Leicester beat London Irish 32-23 to finish top of the Premiership, earning them a home semi-final play-off against Northampton next week. They were 23-13 down with 10 minutes to go before three late tries won them the game. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Can the kind of connection that Seve Ballesteros made with his audience, the depth of the passion it created, ever again be produced so cleanly? He, like Muhammad Ali, showed how sport can represent the best of life. MORE

Ferguson hails United’s ‘incredible’ achievement’ of title number 19

Sir Alex Ferguson famously once spoke of how winning Manchester United’s 19th title would “knock Liverpool off their f***ing perch”. The two clubs are level on 18 each, but yesterday – after United defeated their nearest rivals, Chelsea, 2-1 and moved six points ahead with two games to play – Ferguson was understandably jubilant. “It’s fantastic being the most successful team,” Ferguson said. United had only won seven titles when he arrived in 1986. “As soon as that one [Ferguson’s first] in 1992, the door opened to us. It is an incredible achievement.” Chelsea’s Carlo Ancelotti insisted that he hopes to stay at the club next season. “You know my position,” he said. “I have another year of contract. I would like to stay but the club will take a decision at the end of the season I accept the decision. We wait and see.” Ancelotti admitted his team underperformed: “I don’t know what the owner thinks about the season but in my opinion we could have done better.” MORE

Stoke power past poor Arsenal

Arsenal’s lingering, slim title hopes were extinguished as they went down 3-1 at Stoke. Kenwyne Jones and Jermaine Pennant had the FA Cup finalists 2-0 up by the break and a late Robin van Persie consolation was quickly matched by Jonathan Walters. MORE

Bulls beat Halifax in Challenge Cup

Bradford Bulls edged Halifax 46-34 in the Challenge Cup this weekend to set up a tie with Wigan in the next round, “It’s a tough draw, but at least we’re at home,” said Bulls coach Mick Potter. Bulls scored eight tries, with two from Gareth Raynor. MORE