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Novak edges past Murray

NOVAK DJOKOVIC squeezed past Britain's Andy Murray in the latest chapter of their evolving rivalry last night but ended the day still uncertain of place in the last four at the ATP World Tour Finals after Tomas Berdych overpowered Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Once again there was nothing between the two 25-year-olds as Djokovic chiselled out a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory to take command of Group A at the season-ending showdown.

Victory for Tsonga later against Berdych would have guaranteed Djokovic a top-two finish in the group and progress to the semis but Berdych's 7-5 3-6 6-1 victory means all four players, even winless Tsonga, could still qualify.

Djokovic, who has two wins from two matches, faces Berdych tomorrow when victory would guarantee top spot in the group. Murray, who like Berdych has one win, plays Tsonga knowing a straight-sets victory would clinch a semi-final spot.



Walsh boost

BOXING: Irish boxing has received another boost following John Joe Nevin's dramatic U-turn with the news that Ireland's high-performance coaching team led by Billy Walsh are about to sign new contracts.

With Nevin staying amateur, the IABA are keen to secure the services of Walsh, his technical and tactical coach Zaur Antia and Pete Taylor.

The trio, who have heralded an unprecedented period of success for Irish boxing in recent times, had been frustrated by negotiations over their deals, with interest pouring in from overseas.

"We're currently resolving it," Walsh said. "I think we're in a good place. Before too long, it'll all be sorted."

On Nevin's U-turn, Walsh added: "I knew from a while back he was going to stay. I'm thrilled."



US champ dies

BOXING: Carmen Basilio, the former two-weight world champion and conqueror of the great Sugar Ray Robinson, has died at the age of 85, the International Boxing Hall of Fame has announced.

The American held the world welterweight title over four years before stepping up to wrest the middleweight crown from Robinson over 15 brutal rounds in New York in 1957. He was beaten in a rematch six months later.

Basilio, who died in hospital in Rochester, New York, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, located in his home town of Canastota, in 1990.


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