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Sharapova is Brisbane bound

TENNIS: Maria Sharapova has assured organizers of the Brisbane International tennis event that she will start her Australian Open preparations at the tournament despite her withdrawal from a South Korean exhibition this week with a neck injury.

The No 2-ranked Sharapova was scheduled to play Caroline Wozniacki in Seoul last Friday, but pulled out on Wednesday with a strained neck muscle and later apologized to her South Korean fans on Facebook.

Brisbane tournament director Camerson Pearson said today that Sharapova's manager had contacted him and said the four-time Grand Slam singles winner and reigning French Open champion would arrive in Brisbane tomorrow, two days earlier than planned.

Clarke hits ton

CRICKET: Australia captain Michael Clarke posted his 22nd Test hundred but Shane Watson fell just short as there was finally some joy for Sri Lanka on the second day of the Test in Melbourne.

Clarke (106) converted his half-century into a first hundred at the MCG, with Watson dismissed for 83. Australia had moved onto 332 for six at tea - a lead of 176 on the first innings.

Smith stars

BASKETBALL: Josh Smith scored 31 points and Al Horford added 22 as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 126-119 in double overtime last night after blowing a 22-point fourth-quarter lead.