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Roddick eases through in Oz

TENNIS: Top seed Andy Roddick continued his steady build-up to this month's Australian Open with a workmanlike 7-6 6-3 second round win over Australian Carsten Ball at the Brisbane International.

The world number seven, playing his first tournament since a knee injury cut short his 2009 season, saved a set point before winning the opener on the tiebreak, and then snatched the second with a single break.

Roddick's fellow American James Blake saved three match points and recovered from a service break down in the deciding third set to defeat Frenchman Marc Gicquel 6-3 3-6 7-6 in a much tighter match on the Pat Rafter centre court.

"I was not going to let him beat me. You play your best when you have that clear mindset," said Blake.

Czech Radek Stepanek also survived a close shave before beating Ukranian qualifier Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr 5-7 7-6 6-2 to keep alive his Brisbane title defence hopes.

In the women's draw, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova brushed aside Hungary's Agnes Szavay 6-3 6-1, while unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3 6-1 to join Kim Clijsters in the semis.

Clijsters' fellow Belgian Justine Henin, playing her first tournament since coming out of retirement, will play Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva today.



O'Shea thrashes Bunting at BDO

DARTS: Tony O'Shea hammered Liverpudlian Stephen Bunting 4-0 to join defending champion Ted Hankey in the BDO World Darts quarter-finals.

Top seed O'Shea, who lost to Hankey in last year's final, had no problems seeing off Bunting in their second round clash to set up a meeting with Norway's Robert Wagner, who was a 4-3 winner against Brian Woods.

Hankey, meanwhile, was a 4-1 winner against Willy van de Wiel and will now face Dave Chisnall, who beat Tony West 4-2.

NBA: Miami 92 Atlanta 75, Oklahoma City 98 Chicago 85, New Orleans 91 Utah 87, LA Clippers 105 Portland 95.


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