Wednesday 22 November 2017

In brief: O'Leary pulls clear of rivals

Sailing

Another strong showing by Peter O'Leary yesterday enabled the Cork helmsman to extend his overall lead of the Star class at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at Weymouth, where 989 Olympic hopefuls from around the world have gathered this week.

O'Leary, with his temporary German crew Frithjof Kleen, scored two fourth places to move 10 points clear of the next boat.

Second place is held by double-Olympic bronze medallist Freddie Loof, with Johan Tillander from Sweden, while world champion Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are in third place.

Multiple Olympic gold medallist Robert Scheidt, with Bruno Prada, won the second race yesterday, but are counting a 17th place and lie sixth overall.

Two further races will be sailed today, with the top 10 crews then competing in tomorrow's medal race finale.

Ireland seems set to have a second boat in the medal race tomorrow as Annalise Murphy had a third place yesterday in the Laser Radial, though an earlier 13th place dropped her in the overall standings from eighth to ninth overnight.

Nevertheless, the Dun Laoghaire sailor enjoys a 15-point margin of comfort to stay within the top 10 and provided her consistent form holds, her place in the final appears certain.

Tennis

LOUK SORENSEN battled his way through to his first tournament quarter-final this year with a gutsy performance in the second round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Brasilia.

Sorensen has missed five months of the season with a variety of injuries -- dropping his world ranking to No 279 -- but he made light of his lack of competitive action to see off Matwe Middelkoop.

The Irish No 2, who advanced to the second round of this year's Australian Open, struggled to find a rhythm in the first set, and one break of serve allowed 277-ranked Middelkoop to take the opener.

But Sorensen got to grips with his opponent's game and went on to dominate the majority of the contest, winning 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Roger Federer has set himself a target of reaching at least 20 Grand Slam titles before he retires.

The 29-year-old Swiss took his tally to 16 at the Australian Open earlier this year, but he failed to get beyond the quarter-finals at either the French Open or Wimbledon and has dropped to No 3 in the world rankings, his lowest position since 2003.

However, he insisted: "I believe that having won three Grand Slams per season three times, and two per year a couple of times, it's something doable for me. I only play 16-20 tournaments per year, so I'm not overplaying and that keeps the fire burning. The motivation is huge for the next few years."

Federer last night beat Michael Llodra 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to set up a Rogers Cup quarter-final clash with his conqueror at this year's Wimbledon, Tomas Berdych.

Irish Independent

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