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Rocket off to a storming start

SNOOKER: Former World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan made an emphatic start to his bid for a fifth Masters title last night with a 6-1 victory over tournament debutant Robert Milkins.

The 38-year-old was ruthless in this first-round clash at the Alexandra Palace, without ever really needing to hit top gear.

The triumph set up a quarter-final meeting with either Barry Hawkins or Ricky Walden.

Earlier, 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy produced a stunning comeback from 4-2 down to advance with a 6-4 triumph over Ding Junhui.

Murphy will play 2011 runner-up Marco Fu in the quarter-finals, the Hong Kong man having beaten Judd Trump 6-5 in the first round on Monday.

When play got under way Ding made a flying start and soon found himself 2-0 up thanks to breaks of 99 and 84.

Murphy fought back and knocks of 71 and 64 got him back on level terms at the interval. Ding swiftly regained his two-frame lead but then missed a couple of relatively straightforward pots for 5-2, and instead a break of 56 from Murphy allowed the Englishman to close to 4-3.

Murphy went ahead by edging frame nine, capitalising when Ding was unable to gain position on the yellow, and never looked likely to relinquish the upper hand.



CRICKET: Ireland 'A' made it a clean sweep on their short tour of Sri Lanka after winning both their Twenty20 contests against BRC in Colombo.

Andrew Balbirnie and James Shannon both scored half centuries as Ireland racked up an impressive 202 for 3 in the first match. Balbirnie top scored with 63 from 42 balls, sharing an opening stand of 132 with Shannon, who made 58 from 43 deliveries. BRC were skittled for just 98 in 15.3 overs.

The second match saw Ireland rejig their batting order with Chris Dougherty scoring 32 from just 21 balls.

BRC were never in contention after early wickets fell, ensuring comfortable 50 run win.



TENNIS: A British man has been arrested and charged over suspected illegal betting activity at the Australian Open.

The 22-year-old was spotted by police at Melbourne Park yesterday and charged with courtsiding, a form of court-side betting that involves placing bets on point outcomes throughout a match.

He was charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome and bailed to appear in court tomorrow.