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Pakistan rally to thwart Irish

IRELAND fell agonisingly short of a first series win against a full-member nation following a two-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the second RSA Insurance one-day international in Dublin.

Ireland had been on course for a historic success until eighth-wicket pair Kamran Akmal (81) and Wahab Riaz (47no) smashed 93 in 62 balls.

Ed Joyce's first Ireland century had helped the hosts to 229 for nine before Pakistan folded to 17 for four in reply. A giant-killing appeared on the cards until Kamran, who spent two seasons in Irish club cricket a decade ago, and Wahab launched a counter-attack.

 

FED STROLLS TO FRENCH WIN

TENNIS: Roger Federer is used to ending grand slam tournaments on Sundays rather than starting them but the French Open's quirky schedule could not throw the Swiss stylist off his stride as he strolled through his Roland Garros opener in ruthless fashion.

The 31-year-old thrashed Spanish grand slam rookie Pablo Carreno-Busta 6-2 6-2 6-3 in the first round this year.

He was in good company too. Fifteen-times major winner Serena Williams put down an early marker with a 51-minute drubbing of Georgia's Anna Tatishvili, winning 6-0 6-1 before completing the tougher task of conducting a courtside interview in French. "It's way, way, more nerve-racking than playing tennis," Williams said.

 

MURPHY DOES THE DOUBLE

SAILING: Dubliner Annalise Murphy won her second gold medal in as many weeks at the second EUROSAF series event at Medemblijk, Holland, at the weekend.

Unlike her win two weeks earlier in Italy, the fleet at the Dutch event included most of her main rivals from the London Olympic regatta she had dominated until the medal race final when she ended fourth.

 

McCONVEY SECOND IN RAS

CYCLING: Belfast man Connor McConvey finished second overall in the An Post Rás that was won by Marcin Bialoblocki, while another Irishman, Sam Bennett, stormed to his second stage win of the week in Skerries. Bennett created history on the Rás yesterday when leading An Post Chain Reaction team-mates Nicholas Vereeken and Shane Archbold to a clean sweep of the podium.

 

NIBALI COASTS TO GIRO TITLE

CYCLING: Vincenzo Nibali coasted to the Giro d'Italia title yesterday, while Mark Cavendish won the 21st stage for his fifth victory in this year's race. Rigoberto Uran finished second overall and Cadel Evans third, 4:43 and 5:52 behind Nibali, respectively.

 

FROCH TARGETS WARD NEXT

BOXING: Carl Froch has reacted to his thrilling victory over Mikkel Kessler by demanding Andre Ward travels to the UK for a rematch.


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