2021, The Year In Sports: February recall

2021, The Year In Sports: From Djokovic's 18th Grand Slam win to Mumbai City FC winning League Winners Shield, here is a look at the top sporting moments from February.

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final.   -  Getty Images

From Djokovic's 18th Grand Slam win to Mumbai City FC winning League Winners Shield, here is a look at the top sporting moments from February.

Feb 2: Dinda retires from all forms of cricket

A veteran in the Indian domestic cricket circuit, pacer Ashoke Dinda called time on his career which saw him take 420 wickets in 116 first-class matches. The 36-year-old also played 13 ODIs and nine T20Is for India, taking 12 and 17 wickets, respectively.

ALSO READ: 2021, The Year In Sports: January recall

Feb 3: Red Devils win by a record margin

Manchester United thrashed Southampton 9-0 in an English Premier League match at Old Trafford to register the joint-biggest margin of victory in the league’s history.

Manchester United 9-0 Southampton   -  Getty Images

 

Feb 5: International cricket returns to India

England became the first international cricket team to visit India since the outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the cricket calendar in 2020. The visitor took on the host in the first Test in Chennai.

ALSO READ: 2021, The Year In Sports: March recall

Feb 6: Root smashes double ton in 100th Test

England captain Joe Root smashed a double-century in his 100th Test match on day two of the first Test against India in Chennai, registering the highest score by a player in their 100th Test and by an England captain in India.

 

Feb 7: Medvedev leads Russia to maiden ATP Cup title

Russia beat Italy in the summit clash in the tournament’s second iteration in Melbourne. Daniil Medvedev outclassed Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-2, while Andrey Rublev thrashed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-2 to seal the title.

Feb 7: Ibrahimovic in club 500

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the 500th goal of his career as AC Milan beat Crotone 4-0 to top the Serie A points table. The 39-year-old reached the landmark 21 years after scoring his first goal for Malmo in 1999.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his 500th club goal   -  AFP

 

Feb 7: Indian tennis legend Akhtar Ali passes away

A father figure in Indian tennis, Akhtar Ali, 81, breathed his last after prolonged health issues. Father of current India Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali, Akhtar had reached the junior Wimbledon semifinal in 1955 and represented India in eight Davis Cup ties between 1958 and 1964.

Feb 7: Mayers makes remarkable debut

West Indies’ Kyle Mayers hit 210 on Test debut as West Indies chased down a mammoth 395 with three wickets remaining in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram. He became the first batter in the history of the game to score a double-hundred on debut in the fourth innings of a Test and his 250 runs in the match was the second-highest by a West Indian on debut.

Feb 8: Ishant joins 300 club

Indian pacer Ishant Sharma completed 300 Test scalps with the dismissal of Dan Lawrence on the fourth day of the first Test against England in Chennai. In doing so, Ishant became the sixth Indian bowler and only the third pacer from the country to reach the milestone.

Feb 9: England wins Test in India after almost nine years

England trounced India by 227 runs in Chennai in the first Test of the four-match series and registered its first win in more than eight years on Indian soil.

Jimmy Anderson celebrates a wicket on day 5 of the first Test between India and England in Chennai.   -  Jimmy Anderson/Twitter

 

Feb 11: Raina’s Grand Slam debut comes to abrupt end

Indian tennis player Ankita Raina’s Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open ended in the first round as she and her partner Mihaela Buzarnescu lost to the Australian pairing of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock 6-3, 6-0.

Feb 13: Axar Patel makes Test debut

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel received cap number 302 as he made his Test debut in the second Test against England in Chennai. Patel took seven wickets in the match, including a fifer in the second innings.

Feb 15: 'Skyscraper' Struve retires from MMA

The tallest fighter in UFC history at 7 feet (213.36 cm), Dutchman Stefan Struve announced his retirement from professional fighting after almost 16 years in the sport. 

Feb 16: India levels series in Chennai

After a humiliating defeat in the first Test, India roared back with a 317-run demolition of England in the second Test in Chennai and levelled the series 1-1.

Feb 17: Tsitsipas outlasts Rafa in grilling five-setter

Stefanos Tsitsipas (right) pounded away at Rafael Nadal’s backhand until it finally broke down. His younger legs eventually wore Nadal down to produce a stunning 3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in the quarterfinals.   -  Getty Images

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned World No. 2 Rafael Nadal 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open to become only the second man to beat the Spaniard from two sets down in a Grand Slam.

Feb 17: Australian Open title eludes home favourite Barty

The wait for a homegrown champion at the Australian Open continued as World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty suffered a 6-1, 3-6, 2-6 shock defeat to 22nd ranked Karolina Muchova in the quarterfinal.

Feb 17: Faf du Plessis retires from Test cricket

South Africa batter and former skipper Faf du Plessis announced his retirement from Test cricket after representing his country in 69 Tests and scoring 4,163 runs at an average of 40.02.

Feb 17: Kings XI Punjab becomes Punjab Kings

The IPL franchise from Punjab, called Kings XI Punjab since the inaugural edition in 2008, renamed itself to Punjab Kings as part of its branding strategy.

Feb 18: Morris becomes most expensive IPL buy

Rajasthan Royals roped in South African all-rounder Chris Morris for a whopping INR 16.25 crores at the IPL auction 2021, making the 33-year-old the most expensive player ever in the history of the IPL.

Feb 19: First WTA doubles title for Raina

Ankita Raina became India’s first WTA champion since Sania Mirza, when she won the doubles title at Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne.   -  TWITTER

 

Indian tennis player Ankita Raina collected her maiden WTA title as she bagged the Phillip Island Trophy with her Russian partner Kamilla Rakhimova. The win propelled Raina to the top 100 in the WTA doubles rankings, making her only the second Indian woman to figure in the top 100 after Sania Mirza.

Feb 20: Osaka wins second Australian Open title

World No. 3 Naomi Osaka beat Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the final to clinch her second Australian Open title and her fourth Grand Slam major. The 23-year-old extended her unbeaten streak to 21 matches and maintained a 4-0 win record in her first four Grand Slam major finals, a feat previously achieved only by Federer and Monica Seles in the Open Era.

Feb 21: Djokovic wins Grand Slam major No.18

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic   -  AFP

 

Defending champion Novak Djokovic clinched a record-extending ninth Australia Open by defeating Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. The Serb bagged his 18th Grand Slam major title with the win, inching closer to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s tally of 20. Djokovic extended his unbeaten run in Australian Open singles finals to nine and snapped Medvedev’s 20-match winning streak.

Feb 23: Tiger Woods suffers horrific car crash

Golf legend Tiger Woods was injured after crashing his SUV into a median on a downhill road in the suburbs of Los Angeles. The 45-year-old shattered the tibia and fibula bones of his right leg, while injuries to his foot and ankle needed to be fixed with ‘screws and pins’.

Feb 23: MotoGP team boss Gresini dies

MotoGP team boss Fausto Gresini, two-time world champion in the 125cc class, died due to Covid-related complications at the age of 60.

Feb 24: World's largest cricket stadium hosts first match

The Narendra Modi Stadium, formerly known as Motera Stadium and the largest in the world in terms of seating capacity, hosted its first international match as India and England locked horns in the third Test at Ahmedabad.

Feb 25: India wins shortest completed Test since WWII

India registered a 10-wicket victory over England in the third Test at Ahmedabad. The match, which concluded within two days, saw only 842 balls bowled across four innings and became the shortest Test match held since the Second World War.

Feb 25: Ashwin second-fastest to 400 Test wickets

Ravichandran Ashwin became the second-fastest to 400 Test wickets on the second day of the third Test against England in Ahmedabad when he removed Jofra Archer. The off-spinner went past pacers Richard Hadlee and Dale Steyn, tied at 80 Tests, to reach the landmark in 77 Tests. Muttiah Muralitharan had reached the figure in 72 Tests.

Ravichandran Ashwin reached 400 Test wickets in India's victory in Ahmedabad.   -  Getty Images

 

Feb 26: Deepak beats Olympic champion to enter final

Indian boxer Deepak Kumar stunned Olympic and world champion Shakhobiddin Zoirov 4-1 in the semifinal of the 52kg flyweight category at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Boxing tournament in Sofia.

Feb 26: Yusuf Pathan retires

All-rounder Yusuf Pathan announced his retirement from all formats of cricket after having played 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India between 2007 and 2012. Pathan was part of the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup winning teams and has three IPL trophies under his belt.

Feb 27: US Soccer scraps no-kneeling policy

United States Soccer voted to remove the ban on players kneeling during the national anthem to lend support to the movement against racial discrimination and police brutality. The gesture of solidarity was gaining currency in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Feb 28: Mumbai City FC bags League Winners Shield

Mumbai City FC topped the points table at the end of the league phase of the Indian Super League 2020-21 season after beating ATK Mohun Bagan 2-0 in Bambolim. Both teams ended on 40 points each, but Mumbai grabbed the honours owing to a superior goal difference.

Feb 28: Vinesh wins gold in Ukrainian event

A victorious Vinesh Phogat is all smiles.   -  AP

 

Star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat overcame reigning European champion Vanesa Kaladzinskay in the 53kg final to clinch gold at the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament in Kiev.

Feb 28: Morikawa wins WGC-Workday Championship

Winner of the 2020 PGA Championship, Collin Morikawa won the year’s first World Golf Championship (WGC) event at the Concession in Florida. Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka and Billy Horschel finished tied second with Rory McIlroy following behind.

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