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Nadal strolls to Madrid victory

Rafa Nadal claimed a fifth title since his return from injury when the Spanish world No 5 dismissed 15th-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-4 to win the Madrid Open.

In the women's competition, world No 1 Serena Williams racked up the 50th title of her illustrious 18-year career when she thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-4 to defend her crown.

Elsewhere, a nose bleed suffered by Sinead Lohan proved Ireland's undoing in their final Fed Cup Europe-Africa Zone Group Three tie, against Malta in Moldova.

The Tramore 18-year-old fell to a 7-5 6-4 defeat against Malta's Elaine Genovese on a clay court surface in Chisinau.

Donnybrook's Jane Fennelly made a tremendous Fed Cup debut, coasting to a 7-5 6-0 victory over Rosanne Dimech in the No 2 singles rubber. Malta finished in fifth place, with Ireland back in eighth.

BOXING

JOHN JOE NEVIN will become the only Irish boxer besides Katie Taylor to be ranked No 1 in the world if he wins a medal at the one tournament he never has next month.

Nevin has been named in a 10-strong Irish squad for the European Championships in Minsk in June. "I'm flying at the moment," Nevin said. "I'm looking forward to getting back to my boxing."

CRICKET

If The Hills are to reach the RSA Irish Cup final, they'll have to do it the hard way.

Reward for the 27-run victory over NCU league leaders Instonians was a second-round game against the union's defending champions CIYMS.

Saturday's victory owed much to Ireland international Max Sorensen. First he scored 66 not out and then extinguished any hopes of a late Instonians rally with the last two wickets to leave Instonians short of their revised target of 198 in 31 overs.

MOTOR SPORT

Carlow MC's Mount Wolseley Hotel Stages Rally saw three different leaders in the opening three stages, but from there on, Wexford pair James Stafford/Amy Ryan pulled away from their opposition to finish almost two minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.

EQUESTRIAN

Aoife Clark snagged two second-place finishes at Chatsworth International Horse Trials in England.

Showjumper Denis Lynch was runner-up with Quintus in Friday's Speed class at Hamburg. Thomas Ryan, Alex Duffy and Cameron Hanley all qualified for yesterday's Grand Prix in Munich, with Ryan slotting into sixth with Cruise on Clover.

Irish Independent