Good week/Bad week: Best and worst from the sporting world in the past seven days

Last Updated: 09/06/14 1:31pm

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Rafael Nadal: Nine-time king in Paris

Rafael Nadal: Nine-time king in Paris

Sky Bet

Another busy period of action has thrown up plenty of contenders for our weekly pick of the winners and losers.

There were some familiar scenes in Paris, a new driver on top of the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix and the end of one club's proud home record in the Challenge Cup. 

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Good Week

Rafael Nadal

My trophy: Nadal celebrates

Nadal continued his dominance of the French Open, claiming the title for the ninth time in 10 years with a four-set win over Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard has lost just once at Roland Garros during his entire career (Robin Soderling beat him in the fourth round in 2009) and now has 14 grand slam titles, level with Pete Sampras and three short of Roger Federer's record.

Nadal's form earlier in the claycourt swing had been shaky, including quarter-final defeats to compatriots David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in Monte Carlo and Barcelona respectively. 

Djokovic also beat him in the final of the Rome Masters and had the chance to regain the world No 1 ranking from his rival - as well as completing a career grand slam of his own - with another victory on Sunday.

Instead, it was normal service resumed as Nadal gave yet another claycourt masterclass, recovering from the loss of the opening set - just the second he'd dropped during the fortnight - to win 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Maria Sharapova

In the women's event, Maria Sharapova took a rather less straightforward route to the title.

The Russian has never been the most graceful mover on clay and her serve remains as erratic as ever but she now has two French Open victories among a collection of five grand slams, testament to an iron will.

Sharapova was extended to a deciding set in every match from the fourth round onwards, coming from a set down to beat Sam Stosur, Garbine Muguruza and Eugenie Bouchard and then seeing off a spirited comeback from Simona Halep in a marathon final.

"It's the most emotional victory for me," she said. "The toughest one physically that I've come across in a final, especially a grand slam. There are not too many finals that you go past three hours.

"You're not just born being a natural claycourt player. Okay, maybe if you're Nadal. But certainly not me. I didn't grow up on it, didn't play on it. I just took it upon myself to make myself better on it."

Daniel Ricciardo

Mercedes' iron grip on Formula One this year was finally loosened in Canada as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo claimed his maiden grand prix victory.

Championship leader Nico Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were both hampered by brake problems and a mid-race loss of power, Hamilton eventually forced to retire.

Ricciardo, the Australian in his first season alongside Sebastian Vettel, took his chance by passing Rosberg's ailing Mercedes with three laps to go.

The 24-year-old from Perth is the fourth Australian to win a grand prix - Sir Jack Brabham, Alan Jones and Mark Webber are the others - and the first new winner since Pastor Maldonado at the 2012 Spanish GP.

Freddie Burns

An under-strength England team went down 20-15 to New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland, Conrad Smith's 78th-minute try ensuring the All Blacks' 20-year unbeaten run at Eden Park continues.

So far, so predictable. Rather more surprising was the excellent performances of several England players who got their chance only because the Saracens and Northampton contingent of the touring party was not available for the series opener due to their late arrival after the Premiership final.

Leicester-bound fly-half Freddie Burns started the tour as England's fourth-choice in the position but got his chance due to the unavailability of Owen Farrell (Saracens) and Stephen Myler (Northampton), plus George Ford's shoulder operation.

The 24-year-old - who had struggled for much of last season at Gloucester, particularly after his impending switch to Leicester was made public - produced an assured display as England threatened to cause a huge shock.

Burns kicked four penalties as England led 12-9 going into the final 15 minutes before making way for Danny Cipriani, who also gave a good account on his return to Test action after almost six years away.

Bad Week

Wigan Warriors

Wane's Wigan suffers defeat

Wigan Warriors' 28-year unbeaten home record in the Challenge Cup was ended by a 16-4 quarter-final defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers.

Tries from James Clare, Kirk Dixon and Lee Jewitt saw the Tigers into the last four as cup holders Wigan were limited to just a Liam Farrell effort in response at the DW Stadium.

Castleford were also the last team to beat Wigan at home in the competition back in 1986, and they went on to lift the trophy at Wembley that year.

"We were superb," said Castleford coach Daryl Powell. "It's obviously a pretty big win and for me as well. We haven't won anything yet so we don't want to get too carried away but I think it just cements us as a genuine team.

"There's been a fair bit of doubt about that from some people and I think that is what I'm most pleased about."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Arsenal midfielder suffered a knee injury in England's penultimate World Cup warm-up fixture, a 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Miami.

Oxlade-Chamberlain now faces a fitness race to recover in time for England's opening group match in Brazil, against Italy on June 14.

England completed their tournament preparations by drawing 0-0 with Honduras, a match notable for some meaty challenges flying in.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury was the only major worry to emerge from the week in Florida, much to manager Roy Hodgson's relief.

LeBron James

Spurs stunned in NBA play-offs

Miami Heat's bid for a third straight NBA title suffered a setback with a 110-105 defeat to San Antonio Spurs in the opening game of this year's best-of-seven finals series.

With the air conditioning on the blink at San Antonio's AT&T Centre, the Heat - and in particular their star player LeBron James - wilted in soaring temperatures.

James, the four-time league MVP and finals MVP in each of the last two years, scored a game-high 25 points but had to leave the floor with cramp in the closing stages.

His absence proved crucial as the Spurs outscored their opponents 36-17 in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind victory.

"It felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Sergio Martinez

Cotto cuts down Martinez

The Argentinian lost his WBC middleweight title to Miguel Cotto when he failed to answer the bell for the 10th round of their fight in New York.

Martinez, who was unbeaten in more than four years, was down three times in the opening round and again in the ninth before his corner pulled him out.

The comprehensive nature of the loss, combined with the fact he came into the fight on the back of knee surgery, leaves the 39-year-old to ponder if it is time to hang up the gloves.

"I got hit and I never recovered after that. I tried my best," said Martinez, speaking through a translator, afterwards. "He caught me cold, he caught me hard at the beginning and I didn't recover from it."

Cotto's victory made him the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles at four different weights.

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