Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sport in Brief - Meadow braced for Curtis Cup defence

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - APRIL 06: Stephanie Meadow of Ireland hits her tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club on April 6, 2013 in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - APRIL 06: Stephanie Meadow of Ireland hits her tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club on April 6, 2013 in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

WORLD No 6 Stephanie Meadow, the US college star who clinched Curtis Cup victory over the US at Nairn in 2012, is the solitary Irish player on the GB&I team which defends that trophy in St Louis next month.

Jordanstown native Meadow and England's Bronte Law are the only two survivors from Nairn. Leona Maguire and her sister Lisa were unavailable, as they're sitting the Leaving Cert.

SHARAPOVA FIGHTBACK EXTENDS WINNING RUN

Maria Sharapova staged a late fightback to keep her winning streak on clay going in Madrid.

The eighth seed, who won the title in Stuttgart two weeks ago, looked in real trouble at 4-1 down in the deciding set in her second-round encounter against American Christina McHale at the Madrid Open.

An early exit would have been costly for Sharapova, who made the final last year and is battling to hold on to her top-10 spot in the world rankings. But the Russian recovered just in time with a run of five straight games to win 6-1 4-6 6-4.

In the men's tournament, Fabio Fognini could be in trouble with the ATP after a bad-tempered loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round.

The 13th seed, who has been one of the form players of the season so far, became involved in a spat with umpire Mohamed Lahyani over a disputed line call in the third set.

Fognini told Lahyani, one of the most respected umpires on the circuit, that he would be "in trouble" if he went on to lose the match.

And, after Dolgopolov clinched a 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory, Fognini could be heard to say to the umpire: "Come now, I want to see you. Don't be scared."

IRISH LADIES SET FOR RUSSIA CHALLENGE

FOUR weeks on from their cruel defeat to European champions Germany, Ireland take on Russia in a Women's World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium (7.30).

Russia come to Dublin in second place of Group One with a two-point cushion over Ireland, underlining the importance of victory for Sue Ronan's charges.

Second spot in the group and a play-off shot at reaching next year's World Cup in Canada is very much in Ireland's grasp as they reach the half-way point of the qualifying campaign.

IRELAND (probable): E Byrne (Arsenal); M de Burca (Galway WFC), L Quinn (Eskilstuna United), D Caldwell (Avaldsnes), S Perry (Millwall); S Smyth (Amazon Grimstad), D Gorman (Peamount United); A O'Gorman (Peamount United), D O'Sullivan (Glasgow City), JA Russell (Peamount United); F O'Sullivan (SC Freiburg).

Irish Independent

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