Tuesday 23 January 2018

In Brief: Breen on track to retain world title

Waterford's Craig Breen has taken an impressive lead after the first day of Rally de Espana as he looks to capture the S2000 World Rally Championship title this weekend.

Breen began the day two points ahead of second-placed PG Andersson, knowing that, if he finished ahead of the Swede in the competition, he would be world champion for the second successive year, having won the WRC Academy in 2011.

The Motorsport Ireland Driver of the Year started slowly in extremely wet conditions and he trailed Andersson by three and a half seconds after the first stage.

Breen lost more time on stage two, with the Swedish driver establishing a 16.2-second lead. However, the Waterford driver hit back in style on stage three, finishing nearly a minute and a half faster to take the lead by one minute and nine seconds, and he ended the day over three minutes to the good.


Amy Broadhurst was crowned European junior champion following a thrilling win over Svetlana Khilchenko of Russia.

Broadhurst, whose brothers Stephen and Paul have won bronze in European youth and schoolboys competition, claimed a 16-15 win in Poland.

Broadhurst and Khilchenko shared the first round of their 57kg duel 5-5. The Russian orthodox had edged 9-8 ahead by the end of the second, but six-time Irish champion Broadhurst kept finding the target with big lefts in the final round to secure victory.

Ireland's Sally Carrig and Niamh Folan won bronze at the 20-nation tournament.

Katie Taylor, meanwhile, was named Boxer of the Year at the IABA's annual awards dinner.


World No 1 Novak Djokovic marched into the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals with an unblemished record after completing his round-robin matches with a 6-2 7-6 win over Czech Tomas Berdych.

The Serb, winner of the year-end showpiece in 2008, followed his victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray with another clinical performance in front of a 17,000 sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena.

Djokovic, whose thoughts have been with his sick father, dominated the first set with precision hitting and then showed his mettle to fend off a Berdych fightback as he won all three group matches at the event for the first time.

Andy Murray clinched his place in the semi-finals by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-6 in his final Group A match.


An unbroken century stand between Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis put South Africa in charge of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Amla and Kallis were unbeaten on 90 and 84 respectively as the tourists, who chose to bat, closed day one on 255-2.

Irish Independent

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