Thursday 22 February 2018

Galligan shines in Diamond opener


IRELAND'S Roseanne Galligan ran her ninth fastest 800m time ever when she finished 10th in 2:02.42 in Doha last night, where the Diamond League season kicked off with a real bang.

Relatively unknown Kenyan Hellen Obiri set a new African record of 8:20.68 in the 3,000m. It was the fastest time in the world since 1993, and the first eight women home all broke 8:30, with Ethiopia's world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba only sixth.

Russia's Ivan Ukhov won the world-class men's high jump with 2.41m after three others all cleared 2.37m and Kenya's world champion Asbel Kiprop won the 1,500m in 3:29.18 in a race that saw six men go sub-3:31, including an Ethiopian record of 3:30.86 for sixth-placed Aman Wote.

Rafael Nadal claimed his 17th straight victory over Tomas Berdych as he continued his clay-court re-emergence by reaching the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

The world No 1 expressed delight at his 6-4 6-2 victory, and said he believed it marked a significant moment in his bid to bounce back from shock losses in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

"It was a match with a lot of intensity and perhaps it was my toughest match in the tournament," Nadal said. "I knew I had to go a step forward.

"I think I did it pretty well. To make the semi-finals for the first time in the clay season here in Madrid is great news for me."

Berdych held his own through the first six games but was crucially broken in the seventh and never managed to regain a foothold as Nadal saved the single break point opportunity that came the sixth seed's way.

Nadal will play compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals after the world No 45 pulled off a 6-3 6-4 win over Andy Murray's conqueror Santiago Giraldo.

England had to negotiate "borderline" conditions on their way to victory over Scotland in rain-drenched Aberdeen – but afterwards, captain Alastair Cook was in no doubt they were right to persevere.

A half-century from Ian Bell, and then a one-day international career-best 4-41 for off-spinner James Tredwell, helped to deliver a 39-run success.

Cook knows he, opposite number Kyle Coetzer and the umpires might easily have called time on a fixture which got under way five and a half hours late and was then beset by even more rain which reduced it to a Twenty20 format.

Irish Independent

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