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Dub Barrable set for Circuit

RALLYING: Circuit of Ireland Rally organisers have confirmed that this year's startline will include high profile FIA WRC 2 competitor, Dublin's Robert Barrable, who is set to contest the Circuit's international rally, the fourth round of the 2014 European Rally Championship.

Paris-based Federation Internationale de l'Automobile have officially signed off the Circuit's entry regulations allowing organisers to forge ahead and accept entries in both the International and National events.

Taking place from 17-19 April, the Circuit of Ireland Rally will be the first fully asphalt event on the FIA European Rally Championship roster.

The Circuit also counts as round two of the new-for-2014 FIA ERC Junior Championship.

HOSTS OFF TO FLIER

TENNIS: It was generally a good day for the hosts as the BNP Paribas Open began at Indian Wells.

Of the seven American players in action in the first round of the women's singles, four emerged victorious.

Madison Keys is a teenager of whom much is expected and a thumping 6-2 6-1 victory over Tsvetana Pironkova was just what she needed after an up and down start to the year.

Wild card Shelby Rogers made the best start of anyone in beating in-form Petra Cetkovska 6-0 6-4 while Lauren Davis defeated Chan Yung-jan 6-4 6-3 and Varvara Lepchenko was a 6-2 6-2 winner over Alison van Uytvanck.

There was disappointment, though, for Alison Riske, Christina McHale and Allie Kiick.

McHale reached the final in Acapulco last week but lost 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 to Australian Open quarter-finalist Casey Dellacqua.

Riske won the first set against Bojana Jovanovski before going down 3-6 6-3 6-3 and qualifier Kiick fell 6-4 6-0 to Japan's Kurumi Nara.

ROOT T20 DOUBT

CRICKET: England batsman Joe Root is a major doubt for the World Twenty20 tournament this month after fracturing his thumb during England's one-day series clincher in the West Indies.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Root was returning home from the Caribbean.

"Joe Root has a fractured thumb and is returning home to see a specialist," the ECB said on Twitter.

"Ruled out of West Indies T20's, World T20 decision not made yet."


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