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Weakened Ireland suffer narrow loss

IRELAND'S U-19s lost 1-0 to Turkey in Istanbul yesterday in their final friendly match before the UEFA elite stage qualifiers in May.

After making seven changes from the team that drew with the Turks on Tuesday, an understrength Ireland were outplayed in the first half and fell behind to a 21st-minute strike by Ilker Sayan, which proved to be the only goal of the game.

team in FACTFILE

TENNIS

World No 1 Novak Djokovic beat fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 7-6 in the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday to set up a semi-final meeting with Andy Murray, who wasted six match points before beating Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-5.

Roger Federer is also through to the semi-finals after beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-4 and will face Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who beat France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-2.

Elsewhere, Louk Sorensen nailed down a place in the second round of the ITF Futures event in Harlingen, Texas, by beating South Korea's Soong-Jae Cho 6-4 6-4.

Golf

THE match-play stages of the Spanish Amateur Championship will have no Irish representation after all 10 players failed to make the cut yesterday.

Nicholas Grant was the highest-placed Irishman following the two rounds of stroke play, but he could only finish in a tie for 37th with a five-over-par total of 149.

Reeve Whitson, Harry Diamond and Geoff Lenehan were two shots worse off; Frenchman Romain Langasque's six-under-par 138 was the best two-round score.

BASKETBALL

THE Superleague enters into its final weekend of the regular season, with most of the jostling for position complete ahead of the play-offs.

Derbies in Cork and Dublin will keep the interest going for one final week but, with the top spots in both northern and southern conferences sealed, there will be little stress at the various venues around the country.

Irish Independent