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Dimitrov catapulted into big time by defeating Djokovic

TENNIS: Grigor Dimitrov has long been touted as the next Roger Federer but it may be the 21-year-old Bulgarian's stunning win (7-6 6-7 6-3) against world number one Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open yesterday that finally catapults him into the big time.

An inspired Dimitrov battled through cramp and milked the raucous support of the fans at the clay Masters event, producing some breathtaking shots to oust the top-seeded Serbian, who hurt his ankle during the match, in the second round and claim by far the biggest win of his career.

The youngest of the six players aged 23 or under in the top 50, he appeared close to tears as he embraced his coaching team after the three-hour slug fest.

"It's always great to win a match like that," he said, after the match. "Of course he's the number one, of course it's a great feeling. But it's just the beginning of the tournament."


Lions sorry for 'inappropriate' Twitter feed

RUGBY: The British and Irish Lions yesterday apologised for "inapppropriate" material published on their official Twitter feed.

Two recent tweets on @lionsofficial have been removed. One of them was believed to have included a photograph of an injured animal.

A tweet on the Lions twitter feed read: "@lionsofficial would like to apologise for any offence caused by recent and inappropriate tweets. The Lions' official Twitter account currently has more than 91,000 followers, while it has sent out almost 6,000 tweets.

The account's profile reads: "The only Official twitter account for 2013 British & Irish Lions. If you love the Lions follow them here and join the 'Sea of Red' heading to Australia."

Lions tour manager Andy Irvine spoke at the squad announcement in London about the need for responsible use of social media by players, and confirmed there would be a squad protocol.


Owens to ref Leinster's Amlin Cup decider

RUGBY: Nigel Owens will referee Leinster's Amlin Challenge Cup final against Stade Francais on Friday week.

The Welsh whistler will be the man in the middle of a fifth European final in the space of seven seasons, previously appointed to the 2007 Amlin Challenge Cup final and the 2008, 2009 and 2012 Heineken Cup finals. His assistant referees at the RDS Arena will be Leighton Hodges and Ian Davies, both of Wales.

Irish referee Alain Rolland, a fluent French speaker, will take charge of the Clermont-Auvergne v Toulon Heineken Cup final at The Aviva Stadium on Saturday week.

Rolland will oversee his second Heineken Cup final - having taken charge of the 2004 decider between London Wasps and Toulouse – and his 72nd tournament match which eclipses his compatriot Alan Lewis' old mark of 71. His assistant referees for the 2013 final will be Wayne Barnes (England) and George Clancy (Ireland).


Battaglin leads home Italian clean sweep

CYCLING: Enrico Battaglin led an Italian 1-2-3 to win the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia yesterday as Britain's Bradley Wiggins lost precious time in a testing finale.

The Tour de France champion lost 17 seconds as the peloton split in the final kilometres that included a quick descent followed by a flat section, which riders tackled in heavy rain with a cobbled section in the home straight. Wiggins dropped from second to sixth overall, 34 seconds adrift of Italian Luca Paolini who retained the pink jersey after finishing safe in the bunch.

The Briton was one of several riders held up behind a crash involving Juan Manuel Garate, Cristiano Salerno and Laurent Pichon, which happened with less than two kilometres left in the stage.

International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations state that a rider who is held up in this way in the final three kilometres – with the exception of uphill finishes – is credited with the same time as the main bunch.

Herve Broecke, president of UCI commissaires on the Giro, explained, however, that the "three-kilometre" rule could not be applied to Wiggins as he had already dropped back.

Montgomerie inducted into Hall of Fame

GOLF: Colin Montgomerie reflected on his major championship near-misses as he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida.

The Scot is the most successful British golfer in European Tour history, winning the Order of Merit eight times, including seven in a row between 1993 and 1999, and winning 31 events on tour.

Montgomerie also played on eight European Ryder Cup teams, holing the winning putt in 2004 and captaining the team to victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.

He said: "I've enjoyed thoroughly my exploits in major championships. It just so happens with five runner-ups and two thirds that I just haven't been so-called fortunate to walk through the door."