Wednesday 24 January 2018

Slam sweep for Sharapova

TENNIS: Maria Sharapova defeated Sara Errani to win her first French Open title yesterday, completing the career Grand Slam four years after injuries almost forced her to quit tennis.

Sharapova, the No 2 seed, won 6-3 6-2 over No 21 Errani at Roland Garros in Paris.

She lost just one set in seven matches en route to the title and sunk to the clay after she won on a backhand error by Errani. "This is an amazing moment in my career," Sharapova told the crowd in French, after former champion Monica Seles handed her the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. "I'm speechless, it's been such a journey to get to this stage."

"I just want to congratulate Maria, she played a good match today," said Errani, who will be ranked inside the top 10 next week. The 25-year-old was playing in her first Grand Slam singles final.

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IRELAND'S Daniel Glancy yesterday had to be satisfied with a doubles runners-up spot on the Turkey ITF circuit.

After reeling off three victories earlier in the week, Mayo man Glancy andWilliam Boe-Wiegaard of the US came up short in the final against Ukrainian duo Oleksandr Nedovyesov and Ivan Sergeyev on a 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 scoreline.

Tempering Castlebar native Glancy's disappointment was the fact that he picked up 10 doubles world ranking points for his feat in reaching the decider.

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gaelic games: Clare romped to a place in the Munster JFC final when they beat Waterford 0-13 to 0-7 at the Gaelic Grounds last night.

After only 12 minutes Clare led by 0-6 to 0-1 -- and the closest Waterford got was to narrow the gap to three points at the interval (0-7 to 0-4). Noel Downes scored five of Clare's points, all from play.

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MOTORSPORT: Sebastian Vettel yesterday earned pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix.

It's the second straight year Vettel had the fastest qualifying time at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Lewis Hamilton also will be in the front row for today's race in Montreal. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third in qualifying on a clear and sunny day.

Vettel started on the pole last year and led almost all of the 2011 race, which was delayed repeatedly by downpours. But he skidded on the final trip down the back stretch and was passed by Jenson Button. Red Bull's Mark Webber finished fourth, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was fifth, while Ferrari's Felipe Massa was sixth.

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athletics: Laura Reynolds (Mohill AC) achieved the Olympic standard in the 20K Walk at the IAAF Permit Race Walking Meeting in La Coruña, Spain yesterday -- in a time of1:32.37, inside the standard of 1:33.30.

The Leitrim woman had achieved the 'B' standard on two separate occasions and this was her last chance to reach the top grade, which brings the total number of Irish athletes to achieve the 'A' Olympic standard to 19, the highest ever.

In other good news for Athletics Ireland, Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) ran a stunning 2:04.82 at the Dublin Graded Meet, earlier in the week -- inside the 'A' qualification standard for World Junior Track and Field Championships in July.

Things, however, didn't go as well for David Gillick (DSD AC) on his first outing this season at the Primo Nebiolo meet in Turin on Friday night, finishing eighth in a time of 48.36, well off his best. His next outing will be in a meet in Russia on Tuesday night.

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SAILING: Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have won Gold at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, the host venue for the 2012 Olympics. The Irish pair performed consistently during the regatta, remaining in the top three throughout, and their third place finish in yesterday's double points race saw them jump ahead of their rivals.

Meanwhile, Annalise Murphy won the bronze medal in the Laser Radial class at the prestigious Skandia Sail for Gold regatta at Weymouth yesterday. Murphy, who will represent Ireland at the Olympics, won the final medal race to improve from fifth position overall.

She also took bronze in this event last year and it was the perfect warm up for the Olympics which will take place on the same course in August.

"This is a fantastic result from Annalise," said James O'Callaghan, the performance director of the Irish Sailing Association. Meanwhile, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGivern, who have already qualified for the Olympics, finished seventh in the 49er class.

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CYCLING: Colombian rider Nairo Quintana won the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in the French Alps, while Britain's Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead yesterday

Quintana, of Spanish team Movistar, raced into Morzine alone, pulling ahead of his rivals halfway up the final climb of the Col de Joux Plane to finish the 167.5 km(104-mile) mountain stage in 4 hours, 46 minutes, 12 seconds.

Tour de France title-holder Cadel Evans finished second and narrowed the gap to Wiggins in the overall standings to 96 seconds.

Wiggins, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and defending Dauphine champion, finished fourth.

Meanwhile, in the first stage of the Tour de Suisse, Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished in 25th position for the AG2R team -- 31 seconds off the leader Peter Sagan of the Liquigas team.

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cricket: Graham Onions was ecstatic to be back in the England team as the third Test against West Indies finally got under way on day three at Edgbaston yesterday.

Onions took three wickets for 56 runs as the hosts restricted their opponents to 280 for eight at stumps. Following two washouts, Onions was finally able to mark his return after two years spent battling a career-threatening knee and back injuries.

And the 29-year-old paceman was happy to ruffle a few West Indies feathers. "There were a few nerves, that's only natural, but I loved it today," he said.

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GOLF: Britain and Ireland moved within a point of the United States in the amateur women's Curtis Cup after a stirring afternoon fourball fightback yesterday on day two in Nairn.

B&I was down six points to three after the morning foursomes but managed two and-a-half points in the reverse fourballs to trail 61/2 to 51/2 at the end of the day. B&I go in to the eight singles today needing to win five matches to regain the trophy for the first time since 1996.

If successful, B&I would hold the women's amateur team trophy as well as the men's amateur after the B&I team regained the Walker Cup last year, also in Scotland.

However, B&I captai Tegwen Matthews' biggest disappointment was the continuing poor showing by England's Charley Hull who, at 16 years, is the youngest of all 16 competitors but also the highest-ranked player at No 4 in the world.

Hull lost her Friday fourball match as well as yesterday's foursomes encounter. Matthews left her out of the afternoon fourball

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Rory McIlroy is one shot off the lead at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis after recording a round of 72.McIlroy who led after two rounds had six bogeys yesterday though he did end with a birdie to remain in touch.

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SOCCER: UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Russia over the behaviour of their fans during their European Championship victory over Czech Republic.

Anti-racism campaigners claimed Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie was the victim of monkey chants during Friday's Group A game in Wroclaw.

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