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Niland, Sorensen stun Open rivals

IRELAND'S Conor Niland and Louk Sorensen tore the form book to shreds as they maintained their charge for a place in the main draw of the Australian Open.

After his first-round win in qualifying on Wednesday, 288-ranked Niland yesterday edged the United States' 163-ranked Jesse Witten, the No 28 seed, 2-6 6-1 6-4 at Melbourne Park.

And world No 287 Sorensen ended the main-draw hopes of another American, 158-ranked Michael Yani, the No 26 seed, on a 6-4 3-6 6-3 scoreline.

Now the Davis Cup team-mates are just one match away from a place in the 128-strong main draw, headed by world No 1 Roger Federer.

Niland and Sorensen had a day's rest between their first-round and second-round contests, but they will be back in action today, with the Limerick man taking on Brazil's 192-ranked Ricardo Hocevar and the Stuttgart native facing New Zealand's world No 263 Daniel King-Turner.

In yesterday's action on Court No 5, Niland's victory over Witten was particularly notable, as the Florida right-hander won five matches in last year's US Open, three in qualifying and two in the main draw.

"I didn't do enough with the ball in the first set, but I played more aggressively in the second and third, and that was a big help," Niland said.

"It was easier to play today with much less wind than on Wednesday, and I think that was reflected in the quality of my performance."

In the second contest, Yani outgunned Sorensen 10-3 in the aces department, but the Irish player took a decisive grip once he broke his opponent at 2-1 in the final set.

"I never looked back from that point," said Sorensen, a son of Ireland Davis Cup team boss Sean.

Stephen Maguire saw off Ryan Day 6-1 to reach the Pokerstars.com Masters semi-finals yesterday, despite being nowhere near top form.

The match was scrappy throughout, with Day frequently wasting chances to wrap up frames and Maguire taking advantage.

Though the scoreline appeared one-sided, the Welshman was within one pot of reaching the mid-session interval on level terms.

Trailing 2-1, he moved into a 26-point lead in frame four with just the colours remaining -- only to jaw the frame-ball yellow and watch his opponent clear the colours and pinch the frame for a 3-1 lead which he never looked like relinquishing.

The San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos will play at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010, American's National Football League has confirmed.

The 49ers, officially the home team, are five-time NFL champions, while the Broncos have twice won the Super Bowl. Wembley secured the game following the success of the previous three fixtures that have been held in London.

The NFL has confirmed it is "still exploring the possibility" of hosting a second game in the UK this year.

Irish Independent