Five days to the weekend

The best sporting action this week.

Monday

ANDY Murray faces the sizeable challenge of Canada’s Milos Raonic in the fourth round of the US Open today. Raonic, 21, and the 15th seed in New York, has one of the most formidable serves in the game – his rapid three sets win over James Blake in the previous round included 29 aces and a points won on first serve figure of 89 per cent. The pair have met only once before, Raonic beating Murray on the clay of Barcelona in April. Back home, the Scottish Communities League Cup third round draw takes place this afternoon.

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Tuesday

THE appointment of Warren Gatland as head coach of the 2013 British and Irish Lions is expected to be confirmed today. The Lions will spend the month of June in Australia, playing ten matches including three Tests against the Wallabies. In New York, US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love will name his four wild card choices for inclusion in the team to play Europe in that set-to at Medinah later this month. There’s a flat race meeting at Musselburgh in the afternoon and, at the Paralympics, there’s equestrian action, sailing and swimming, and a welter of track and field finals.

Wednesday

ENGLAND play South Africa at Trent Bridge in the fifth and final one-day international of the Natwest series, which the hosts lead 2-1. The quarter-finals of the US Open tennis get underway at Flushing Meadows and, at the Paralympics, there are finals in archery, athletics, cycling, shooting, swimming, and fencing. Closer to home, Gregor Townsend announces the Glasgow Warriors team who will line up against Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Scotstoun on Friday.

Thursday

BILLY Stark’s young Scots play their latest Uefa European Under-21 Championship qualifying group game against Luxembourg at St Mirren Park in the evening. The Scots put five goals past the visitors in the away tie last October so will not be anticipating too tough a test. The US Open tennis quarter-finals are completed while, in Indiana, the FedEx-BMW golf championship tees off. On the European Tour, the KLM Open gets going at Hilversum in the Netherlands.

Friday

AHEAD of Scotland’s Fifa World Cup qualifier with Serbia on Saturday, the other home nations get in on the act with Wales taking on Belgium, Republic of Ireland facing Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland playing Russia, and England meeting Moldova. In the RaboDirect PRO12, Edinburgh play Cardiff Blues in Wales, while Glasgow welcome the Scarlets. It’s women’s semi-finals day at the US Open tennis, and there’s a Diamond League athletics meeting in Brussels. Cycling’s Vuelta a Espana is nearing its climax in Spain, and there’s a lot more finals action at the Paralympics.