Laura Robson loses to Su-Wei Hsieh in Guangzhou Open final

Chinese Taipei's Hsieh took the first set but the British number one saved five championship points at 5-3 down in the second and battled to win it 7-5.
Robson continued to build momentum into the third set, taking a 3-0 lead.But Hsieh won five successive games and sealed victory in two hours 48 minutes.
Sara Gomer was the last Briton to win a WTA singles title in 1988, while Jo Durie was the last to reach a final in 1990.However, teenager Robson, who made it as far as the fourth round of the US Open at the start of this month, will rise into the top 70 of the world rankings for the first time on Monday.
The first set began on even terms as Robson broke her opponent's serve in the third game then trailed 40-15 on her own serve in the fourth, and saved two break points before Hsieh prevailed.

Hsieh, who won her first title in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, was using her drop shot to great effect and won the next three games and, though Robson took the eighth after a long battle, Hsieh held her nerve to take the first set 6-3.After some encouragement from coach Zeljko Krajan, Robson broke Hsieh in the second game of the second set to lead 2-0, but once again Hsieh won four successive games to go 4-2 up.It left the Taiwanese player only needing to hold serve to close out victory, and it looked like a straight-sets defeat was on the cards for Robson as, despite a spirited rally, she dropped the eighth game to trail 5-3.But despite the searing Chinese heat, Robson dug deep to save match point on those five occasions in the ninth game, eventually winning four games in a row to seal the second set in style.

And a first British WTA title for 24 years looked on the cards when London-based Robson won the first two games of the third set and saved three break points in the third game to take a 3-0 lead - having won seven games on the trot.But the pendulum began to swing towards Hsieh as she won the next five games, breaking Robson twice to claim a 5-3 advantage, and although Robson held serve in the ninth game, Hsieh powered to victory.Meanwhile, British number two Heather Watson reached the main draw of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo with a 5-7 6-3 6-2 win over world number 62 Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic in the final round of qualifying.In Seoul, top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 5-7 6-4 to reach the final of the Korea Open.Wozniacki will meet Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, who beat United States player Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the other semi.


Frustrating Liverpool, Nolan's nose for goal

It wasn't quite deja vu but there were certainly similarities. It will probably prove a simplification, if not wrong altogether, to say that one system and one approach is a guarantee of success against Liverpool but Sunderland's gameplan was rather reminiscent of West Bromwich Albion's four weeks earlier when they won 3-0. 

In both games, the home side played like the away team. Both played 4-2-3-1 - as Arsenal also did in their 2-0 win at Anfield - and both dropped deep, ceding both possession and territory and then counter-attacking. Liverpool had the ball for 66% of the game at the Stadium of Light. While Sunderland had spells of pressure, for the majority of the game they retreated to conserve energy and challenged Liverpool to break them down. 

Just as Albion's two holding midfielders, Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob, stayed close to their two centre-backs, so did their Sunderland counterparts, Lee Cattermole and Jack Colback. The aim is to limit the space between the lines, to force Liverpool to operate in wider positions and further from the opposition's goal. 

That Sunderland's focus was on position, not pressing is evident from the statistics. Liverpool's anchor midfielder, Joe Allen, was allowed to be on the ball and completed 103 passes, more than Cattermole, Colback, James McClean and Seb Larsson managed between them. Their importance lay less in their efforts on the ball than off it and the absence of the injured Adam Johnson, a more attack-minded but less defensively-disciplined winger, may have helped Sunderland's shape as Larsson moved to the right and they stationed two banks of four in front of Simon Mignolet's goal. 

As in the Albion game, being organised wasn't quite the same as keeping Liverpool quiet. The visitors had 23 efforts on goal and six before Sunderland's first - and only - attempt on target. But, in another common denominator, they did not score the opening goal of the game, which would have drawn the home side out. 

In both games, too, Luis Suarez has had a series of shots: eight at the Hawthorns and six at Sunderland, one bringing his second goal of the season, but only three of those 14 have been on target. 

Liverpool were the superior side at 0-0 in both games, but then trailed 1-0. As with the majority of goals they conceded last season, individual errors, rather than tactical failings, were the cause. The immediate issue was poor defending by Martin Skrtel, allowing Steven Fletcher to get beyond him, but the build-up was also notable for mistakes. As Craig Gardner, Sunderland's right-back, came forward, Liverpool had two players in reasonable positions: left-back Glen Johnson and, tracking back from as the left of the front three, Suarez. The problem was that both made flimsy challenges, allowing Gardner to go past them and cross. 

That Suarez was on the flank was notable. Rodgers tweaked his tactics in two ways: Steven Gerrard, who had been the most advanced of the three central midfielders, operated further back and closer to Allen and Jonjo Shelvey, and the front three alternated more often. At various points four players - Suarez, Raheem Sterling, Fabio Borini and the substitute Stewart Downing - were the left winger with the Uruguayan taking the longest turn there. Sterling, who had spent virtually all of his embryonic career on the left, was on the right for much of the match. It gave Liverpool a different threat: whereas Borini, as more of a striker, looks infield when on the right, Sterling was prepared to go outside his full-back, Danny Rose, and that led to Suarez's goal. 

The statistical anomaly that Liverpool have not led, let alone won, against a team with a back four (Manchester City played 3-4-1-1 at Anfield) suggests more teams may play 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 against them and the reality that they have not been ahead in those matches means Albion, Arsenal and Sunderland have never had to chase the game. One advantage of Rodgers' philosophy for opponents is that they can predict his formation and set up accordingly. Perhaps a blueprint has been established by West Brom and now Sunderland. 

Jacoby Ford officially done for season

Jacoby Ford's season has come to an end, cornerback Ron Bartell is on hiatus and cornerback Coye Francies and long snapper Nick Guess have had theirs resuscitated by being signed to the Raiders roster from the team's practice squad.with Ford undergoing season-ending Lisfranc surgery on his left foot Tuesday and Bartell suffering a broken left shoulder blade in Oakland's opener the night before, as well as Pro Bowler long snapper Jon Condo still trying to come back from a concussion suffered against San Diego, the Raiders needed reinforcements. So none of the four moves are all that surprising.

Ryan Mathews Likely to Miss Titans Game

It appears as if the San Diego Chargers will be without running back Ryan Mathews for another week.Michael Gehlken of the Union-Tribune San Diego, who covers the team on a daily basis, tweeted Friday that he doesn't believe Mathews will suit up Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.Mathews is on his way back from a broken clavicle that was suffered in the Chargers' preseason opener back in early August. He's only been through a few practices, so he's not likely anywhere ready be step in and be effective.

Curtis Brinkley and Ronnie Brown shouldered the load last week in the win over the Oakland Raiders, but they were extremely ineffective. The pair combined for just 17 yards on 16 carries. Yes, 17 yards on 15 carries. Neither back did anything to deserve more playing time than the other. So you can expect it to be another mixed bag against the Titans.But the Chargers will likely only have to be without Mathews for one more week, though. Gehlken believes that Mathews will be ready by Week 3, which is great news for Norv Turner's offense. If San Diego can't run the ball with any effectiveness, Philip Rivers is going to have a tough time with an extra defender dropped back while only rushing four.The only good news here is that Mathews is one week closer to a return. 

Pierre Garcon out for Washington Redskins

Pierre Garcon is unlikely to play for the Washington Redskins when they take on the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.Officially listed as questionable on the team's injury report, Garcon hurt his right foot during Week 1's victory over the New Orleans Saints an injury Redskins coach Mike Shanahan described as similar to turf toe. He has been limited in practice all week.

If Garcon doesn't play, first-year wide receiver Aldrick Robinson is expected to take his place. He had four catches for 52 yards last week after Garcon was hurt.Robinson was a sixth-round draft pick out of Southern Methodist University in 2011 who played on the Redskins' practice squad last season."He's got a lot more confidence in his hands," Shanahan said, according to The Washington Post. "Being here at the OTAs and summer camp, he is a lot more comfortable in the system. He made a couple of big plays in preseason where he has a lot of confidence. You can see that. He has a lot of speed to separate from defensive backs throughout the league. Especially when you take a look at the first game and the catches he made, he should have a lot of confidence.