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Nadal seals top spot and semi slot

TENNIS: Rafael Nadal booked his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals and secured the year-end number one ranking with a hard-fought victory over Stanislas Wawrinka at London's O2 Arena.

Novak Djokovic had kept the ranking race alive going into the season-ending tournament with a run of 17 straight victories, but Nadal still knew two wins in London would be enough to give him the honour for the third time.

It is a remarkable achievement given Nadal did not play a tournament until February after seven months out with knee problems. He was an easy winner against David Ferrer in his opening round-robin match in London. That meant a straight-sets win over O2 debutant Wawrinka would send him through to the semi-finals and the omens were good given he had won all 24 of their previous sets.

Nadal prevailed in two tie-breaks, to win 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (8/6).



CYCLING: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has reiterated he was clean when he made his Tour de France comeback in 2009 and 2010.

The 42-year-old Texan, who was stripped of seven Tour titles – won from 1999 to 2005 – and banned from competitive sport for life after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs, maintains he did not dope when he returned to racing after his initial retirement.

He finished third in the 2009 Tour and 23rd in the 2010 edition.

But those results have been erased after the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team.

Armstrong said: "I was terrible then (2010). I wasn't that good in '09. It's so funny as people point to Ventoux (on the penultimate stage).

"It would be one thing if you were 15th, rode away, won by five minutes and made the podium, but I was f****** hanging on by the skin of my teeth."