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Nadal notches up an easy win

TENNIS: Rafael Nadal cruised into the last-16 of the Sony Open as he conceded just one game in his 6-1, 6-0 crushing of Denis Istomin.

The world number one, who suffered a shock early exit in his defence of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells two weeks ago, laid down an impressive marker as he bids to win a maiden Miami title.

He broke the helpless Istomin on six occasions and won 54 of 79 points in total. Nadal, who has been runner-up in this tournament on three occasions, will next face Fabio Fognini after the Italian overcome Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Nadal's conqueror in the Australian Open final in January, Stanislas Wawrinka, was given few problems as he too advanced to the fourth round following a 7-5, 6-4 win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The world number three will next face Alexandr Dolgopolov after the 22nd-seeded Ukrainian came from a set down to defeat Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5). Seeded trio Tomas Berdych, John Isner and Milos Raonic also progressed through to the last-16 after comfortable wins.

In the women's action, Maria Sharapova reached the quarter-finals as she recovered from a set down to beat Kirsten Flipkens.

The fourth seed was on court for two hours against the 19th-ranked Flipkens, losing the first set 6-3 before taking the next two 6-4, 6-1.

Consistency has never been a problem for Serena Williams and she swept aside Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1. Her reward is a meeting with Angelique Kerber – a three-set winner over Ekaterina Makarova – while Sharapova's next opponent, Petra Kvitova, lost the first set to Ana Ivanovic 6-3 but then rattled off two bagel sets to win 6-,0 6-0 in a quite remarkable turnaround that saw Ivanovic double fault 10 times.


CYCLING: Slovenian cyclist Luka Mezgec won a sprint finish yesterday to take the leader's jersey after the first stage of the 94th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, with the pre-race favourites grouped together close behind.

Mezgec, of Giant-Shimano, edged Leigh Howard of Orica and Julian Alaphilippe of Omega Pharma to win the 105.4 mile opening leg in a time of four hours, nine minutes, 13 seconds.

Tour de France champion Christopher Froome of Sky was 10 seconds behind in 48th – the same mark that defending champion Daniel Martin finished on.


CRICKET: South Africa have been penalised for a slow over-rate in yesterday's narrow win over New Zealand.

The Proteas, who won the World Twenty20 Super 10 match by two runs thanks to a stunning display of death bowling by Dale Steyn, were judged to have fallen behind the required rate by two overs.

Holland were dismissed for just 39, the lowest total in international Twenty20 history, as Sri Lanka ran riot in Chittagong.