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Arsene Wenger says he thinks the English anthem is his favourite

God Save the Queen, says Wenger as he reveals the English anthem is his favourite

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:05 GMT, 16 January 2013

Arsene Wenger has revealed his love for the English national anthem as he paid tribute to the country where he has managed for the last 16 years.

The 63-year-old Frenchman has helped mould the modern English game since he took over at Arsenal in 1996 and he admitted the country has had an effect on him too.

At the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations today, Wenger said: 'I feel grateful because football was love affair of my life. England created football. I’ll always have massive respect for that.

French export: Arsene Wenger has been taken in by English football culture

French export: Arsene Wenger has been taken in by English football culture

'Without this country, I would not have known football. So the anniversary is a good opportunity to thank England as sometimes the world forgets that.

Since arriving at Arsenal, Wenger has won three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups, including doubles in both the 1997-98 and 2001-02 seasons.

His 'Invicibles' team, which went unbeaten in the 2003-04 campaign, epitomised the football which has led to millions of fans around the globe following the Premier League.

Wenger built a team good enough to go a whole season unbeaten

Invincibles: Wenger built a team good enough to go a whole season unbeaten

'There’s a real passion here for the game but as well, I believe the whole world benefits from this sport,' he said.

'When I travel to World Cups and Euros, I say always, “Let’s be on time, I don’t want to miss the national anthem of England”.

'That’s where you feel the passion of the game. No matter where it is, there are more English people than anybody else. That’s fantastic.'

Wenger and Alex Ferguson have had a love-hate relationship

Best of enemies: Wenger and Alex Ferguson have had a love-hate relationship

Australian Open 2013: Roger Federer into second round

Flawless Federer fires timely reminder of title threat as Swiss star strolls through

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

05:24 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:13 GMT, 15 January 2013

Roger Federer opened up his Australian Open challenge – and his season – with a routine straight-sets victory over France's Benoit Paire.

The second seed came to Melbourne having played no warm-up tournaments, but showed no signs of rustiness as he kicked off his bid for a fourth Australian Open title with a 6-2 6-3 6-1 win over the world No 46 in just 83 minutes.

For Paire, who deals more in spurts of inspiration than the sustained brilliance of Federer, it was a painful experience and by the end he looked keen to get off court as quickly as possible.

Main man: Roger Federer eased into the second round with a straight forward win over Benoit Paire

Main man: Roger Federer eased into the second round with a straight forward win over Benoit Paire

Federer said: 'Benoit's a good player, a good talent. I haven't played a match this season yet. You're not sure [how you're going to play] and that's why you're relieved when you get through the first one.'

Federer, who won the pair's only previous encounter in straight sets, was immediately into his stride as he broke in game one, then produced a wonderful pick-up at net in his opening service game, going on to save two break points to hold for a 2-0 lead.

Paire held twice and matched his opponent in patches, but Federer broke again for 5-2 then served out in style.

Family affair: Federer's wife Mirka and two children (below) were watching him in first round action

Family affair: Federer's wife Mirka and two children (below) were watching him in first round action

The children of Switzerland's Roger Federer

Paire was unruffled, though, and opened up set two with back-to-back aces to help take the first game.

But normal service was resumed as Federer broke for 2-1 then held to love to take a firm grip on the second set.

Paire held to stop the rot as Federer sent a backhand long, but he struggled to make any impact on the Swiss player's delivery as the set progressed with serve.

Federer produced a textbook serve-volley point for 5-3, but failed to take a set-point chance as Paire held on to make him serve for the set.

Different league: Benoit Paire was unable to get to grips with Federer's superior game

Different league: Benoit Paire was unable to get to grips with Federer's superior game

Predictably, the task presented the former world No 1 with few problems as he held to 15 and took the set when Paire pushed a backhand long.

Federer broke to open the third and, with all hope lost, Paire came out swinging, but he was missing more than he was hitting and the tactic served only to hasten his demise.

Even when Paire did show good touch at net with an acute backhand, Federer was there to pat the ball into the open court – a point which gave him a 4-0 lead.

Paire finally held for 4-1, then, produced the unlikeliest of break points – his first since Federer's opening service game of the match – but could not convert it.

One for the scrapbook: Federer signs autographs after completing a routine win in Melbourne

One for the scrapbook: Federer signs autographs after completing a routine win in Melbourne

Paire's game descended into trick shots as he attempted – unsuccessfully – a volley between his legs as he served to stay in the match.

Staying in the match looked like the very last thing he wanted, though, and Federer closed it out at the second attempt.

Afterward, the Swiss, who will next face either Israel's Dudi Sela or former world number three Nikolay Davydenko or Russia, explained his decision to play no warm-up matches.

'I've had a few busy years since I had kids,' he said. 'I just wanted to cool down a bit. It's nice to enjoy the off season. I hope it's the right decision, we'll see how it goes. I'm confident in my play.'

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jumping for joy: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also made it through to the second round with a straight-sets win

Meanwhile, former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised to a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 win over fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra.

Serving for the match, Tsonga hit a backhand drop half-volley at the net, then powered a forehand to the open court on match point to advance to the second round at Melbourne Park.

Tsonga, seeded seventh, had his best result in a Grand Slam when he made the final of the 2008 Australian Open, losing to Novak Djokovic.

Manchester City 1 Reading 0 – match report

Manchester City 1 Reading 0: Barry leaves it late to rescue champions

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 22 December 2012

Gareth Barry headed a last-gasp winner as champions Manchester City denied Reading an unexpected and morale-boosting point at the Etihad Stadium.

City created numerous chances in a mostly one-sided affair completed in heavy rain but the visitors looked set to hold firm and lift themselves off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

But City fought to the end and Barry got on the end of a cross from David Silva to head home in injury time.

Last gasp: Gareth Barry celebrates scoring City's winner with David Silva

Last gasp: Gareth Barry celebrates scoring City's winner with David Silva

Living on the edge: A frustrated Carlos Tevez bemoans a wasted chance as it seemed City would drop points

Living on the edge: A frustrated Carlos Tevez bemoans a wasted chance as it seemed City would drop points

Match facts

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Nastasic, Rekik (Milner 84), Barry, Javi Garcia (Dzeko 58), Y Toure, Silva, Aguero, Tevez.

Subs not used: Wright, Kompany, Lescott, Razak.

Booked: Y Toure, Aguero.

Goal: Barry 90.

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte (Shorey 86), McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan (Guthrie 70), Tabb, Kebe, Pogrebnyak.

Subs not used: Taylor, Le Fondre, Hunt, Gorkss, Robson-Kanu.

Booked: Gunter, Mariappa, Leighterwood.

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Latest Premier League results, fixtures and table

A seventh successive defeat was harsh on Reading, who after slumping 5-2 to Arsenal on Monday were much more resilient.

Under-pressure manager Brian McDermott
always knew the game was a tough assignment but was moments away from
claiming a more than creditable draw.

McDermott had made four changes with
Jem Karacan returning from injury to make his first appearance since
October while Chris Gunter, Ian Harte and Alex Pearce also came in.

It took less than two minutes for
Adrian Mariappa to collect the game's first booking as he clattered into
Carlos Tevez in an early attempt to impose himself.

Thereafter the visitors spent most of
the rest of the first half on the back foot, with Mariappa and Pearce
particularly working hard to repel attack after attack.

City could only curse their luck as they carved out several opportunities but failed to take them.

Getting to grips: Reading mostly coped well with their more illustrious opponents

Getting to grips: Reading mostly coped well with their more illustrious opponents

Blocked off: Sergio Aguero's threat was snuffled out as Reading defended manfully until the end

Blocked off: Sergio Aguero's threat was snuffled out as Reading defended manfully until the end

The hosts were so dominant that
18-year-old Karim Rekik, making his Premier League debut at left-back in
the absence of Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov, was able to get
through mostly untested.

The centre-back pairing of Kolo Toure
and Matija Nastasic, while senior duo Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott
looked on from the bench, also had a largely comfortable afternoon.

Tevez played in strike partner Sergio Aguero for City's first serious opportunity but Adam Federici rushed out to claim.

Aguero made another good run to reach
the byline but his cross evaded everybody before Javi Garcia planted a
firm header straight at Federici.

Silva played a neat one-two with Tevez
but shot wide and Aguero then teed up Tevez but Federici saved. The
ball rebounded to Tevez but his follow-up was deflected over.

A rare attack from Reading saw Karacan shoot well wide but City responded with Tevez crossing for Barry to head at Federici.

Sergio Aguero jumps over Adam Federici

Lack of goals: City's strikers are not on top form

Waiting for the breakthrough: Sergio Aguero skips over Federici as another chance goes begging

Pressure: David Silva tried to help City breech Reading's defence

Pressure: David Silva tried to help City breech Reading's defence

Silva jinked his way through the area
to create another opportunity but Reading scrambled clear as Yaya Toure
and Tevez jostled to reach his cross. Toure claimed he was impeded but
referee Mike Dean saw nothing untoward.

Pablo Zabaleta had an effort deflected over and Nastasic also missed the target as City maintained the pressure.

Aguero burst through just before the
break but Reading closed down shooting angles and Tevez could not get on
the end of his cross.

Tevez threatened after the restart but could only shoot at Federici.

Tevez tried his luck again from a
free-kick outside the area but his curling effort was pushed away from
the top corner by the Reading keeper.

Can't complain: Reading boss Brian McDermott will be pleased with the showing from his men

Can't complain: Reading boss Brian McDermott will be pleased with the showing from his men

All action: Barry fights for the ball as City refused to give up

All action: Barry fights for the ball as City refused to give up

Reading could have snatched a shock
lead when Pearce got forward to win a clear header from a Harte corner
but his effort was well wide.

City boss Roberto Mancini decided it was time for change and sent on Edin Dzeko for the mostly ineffective Garcia.

The Bosnian was quickly into the action and was millimetres away from connecting with a header after good work by Zabaleta.

Dzeko did win a clean header at a corner on 66 minutes but his attempt flew narrowly over the bar.

No you don't: Adrian Mariappa slides in to try and block Silva's effort on goal

No you don't: Adrian Mariappa slides in to try and block Silva's effort on goal

There were clear signs that the home
fans were growing frustrated with their side's ineffectiveness in front
of goal as the game wore on.

Mancini made another change as Scott
Sinclair came on for Tevez but it was Reading who next threatened as
Pavel Pogrebnyak broke and crossed for Jay Tabb.

Tabb went down after colliding with
Rekik but Dean did not feel there was a foul and nor did he see a
possible handball against Nastasic as the ball came in.

Reading grew in confidence and and
Pearce headed another good chance wide after Jimmy Kebe had won a corner
with a good break down the right.

As the game moved into four minutes of injury time, City launched a final push.

Aguero fired into the side-netting but
Barry came good as he jumped above the defence to reach Silva's ball
and head firmly past Federici.

Manchester United stars at Old Trafford for charity gala in aid of UNICEF

Manchester United stars suited and booted for charity dinner at Old Trafford

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 19 December 2012

The stars of Manchester United were out in force on Wednesday night for the club's annual gala dinner.

Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand fronted the star-studded cast arriving at Old Trafford for the dinner in aid of charity UNICEF.

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co on stage at Manchester Unted's gala dinner

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined on stage by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co at Unted's gala dinner

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney

Chris Smalling

Double act: Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney strike a pose with Chris Smalling and partner Sam Cooke

Sir Alex Ferguson however was a notable absentee.

The United boss, whose secrets behind
his unrivalled success at Old Trafford were in part revealed following an
unprecedented study by Harvard University, didn't join his side at the
black-tie affair despite his name being mentioned on the official
invite.

Patrice Evra

Darren Fletcher

Suit you, sir: Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher look the part as they arrive at the home of Manchester United

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

The United boss is unlikely to be
happy that his side playing three games in seven days over the Festive
period starting with a tricky trip to Swansea on Sunday.

United will begin the tough run of games with a six-point cushion over rivals Manchester City as they
attempt to wrestle back the Premier League trophy to the red half of the
city.

SHINJI KAGAWA

Jonny Evans

Thumbs up: Shinji Kagawa (left) and Jonny Evans with his girlfriend Kate Wathall

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Nick Powell

Alexander Buttner

Picture perfect: Summer signings Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner with their respective partners

Lat year's gala raised 130,000 for
charity and some punters would have paid in excess of 3,500 a ticket
for last night's do which included a three-course meal, free bottle of
wine and a VIP drinks reception at the United museum, according to the
club's website.

Catherine Tyldesley

Catherine Tyldesley

Red Devil: Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley arriving at Old Trafford for the gala dinner

Manchester City"s Sergio Aguero at supermarket ahead of visit from father-in-law Diego Maradona

Supermarket sweeper… Actually it's City striker Aguero stocking up for father-in-law Maradona's Christmas visit
PLUS: Supermarket XI – Robin van Persie Pig & Co owned by Steak Mansour

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UPDATED:

11:31 GMT, 28 November 2012

Sergio Aguero has been pictured stocking up on festive supplies at his local supermarket – father-in-law Diego must be making a Christmas visit.

The Manchester City striker, who is married to Maradona's daughter Gianni, posted this picture of himself on Twitter filling his trolley in Waitrose along with the caption: 'Tarde de compras en el Super' (In English: This afternoon, going shopping).

Lettuce entertain you: Sergio Aguero posted this image on Twitter with the caption 'this afternoon, going shopping'

Lettuce entertain you: Sergio Aguero
posted this image on Twitter with the caption 'this afternoon, going shopping'

Plans for this afternoon, Serge I'm going shopping, Mario... Aguero (left) heads out to the training field with Balotelli (right) yesterday

Plans for this afternoon, Serge I'm going shopping, Mario… Aguero (left) heads out to the training field with Balotelli (right) yesterday

Sportsmail understands that the Argentina legend, 52, who seemingly likes a good feed, will be paying his son-in-law a visit over over the Christmas period and is set to take in a City game.

Maradona watched Aguero and Co defeat bitter rivals Manchester United 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium in April this year. Captain Vincent Kompany scored the winner.

Famous fan: Argentina legend Diego Maradona watches his son-in-law Sergio Aguero help City beat United 1-0 at the Etihad last April

Famous fan: Argentina legend Diego Maradona watches his son-in-law Sergio Aguero help City beat United 1-0 at the Etihad last April

Family affair: Aguero (right) with wife Gianni, daughter of Maradona, and son Benjamin

Family affair: Aguero (right) with wife Gianni, daughter of Maradona, and son Benjamin

Ever the professional, Aguero, 24, who will line up at Wigan in a bumper night of eight Barclays Premier League fixtures, was snapped in the middle of the fruit and veg aisle – so City's nutritionist can rest easy.

It's not clear whether the striker was using Roberto Mancini's January shopping list, but here at Sportsmail we've come up with a Supermarket XI that may interest the Italian boss and his scouting network…

SPORTSMAIL'S SUPERMARKET XI…
RUUD GULLIT CHELSEA

1. Peter Stilton

2. Gabriel Heinze

3. Danny Roses

4. Frank Leboeuf

5. Didier Ham-ann

6. Marc Overmars bar

7. Patrick Berger

8. Food Gullit (pictured, right)

9. Little Pea (Javier Hernandez)

10. Robin van Persie Pig

11. Paulo Wan(pork)chop

Manager: Jam Allardyce

Assistant Manager: Milky Malkay

Owner: Steak Mansour

Who have we missed in our Supermarket XI. Use the comments section below to post your selections…

England 15 South Africa 16: Penalty call haunts Red Rose again as fortuitous try seals Springbok win

England 15 South Africa 16: Penalty call haunts Red Rose again as freak try seals Springbok win

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UPDATED:

17:03 GMT, 24 November 2012

England's autumn is beginning to look as bleak as the Twickenham weather after Willem Alberts' fortunate try earned South Africa victory.

Stuart Lancaster's men now head into next weekend's appointment with world champions New Zealand on the back of narrow defeats at home to Australia and the Springboks.

England competed every step of the way with South Africa, matching the Springboks for intensity and desire and they battled back from 16-6 down with real heart.

Crucial score: Willem Alberts goes over the line for the only try of the game despite the attentions of Joe Launchbury

Crucial score: Willem Alberts goes over the line for the only try of the game despite the attentions of Joe Launchbury

They were the better team,
particularly in the second half when Owen Farrell came on, but their
undoing was a slice of bad luck just after the interval.

When Ben Youngs' hacked clearance
rebounded off JP Pietersen, the ball fell to Alberts who scored rugby's
equivalent of an open goal.

Farrell added three penalties to the
two struck by Toby Flood as England battled all the way to the death.
Lancaster will be encouraged by those qualities.

Family affair: Tom Youngs (left) attempts to intervene as Eben Etzebeth grapples with brother Ben

Family affair: Tom Youngs (left) attempts to intervene as Eben Etzebeth grapples with brother Ben

But assistant coach Graham Rowntree
himself said he was sick of talking about lessons learned and England,
despite Alberts' fortunate try, could have won the game.

Flood missed two first-half penalties
and again the spotlight will fall on a decision made by captain Chris
Robshaw when England were awarded a kickable penalty with just over a
minute remaining.

Last week, England were criticised
for not taking their points. Today, Robshaw changed his mind having
initially told Farrell to kick for touch.

Hands up: Chris Robshaw is closed down by Adriaan Strauss (left) and Francois Louw

Hands up: Chris Robshaw is closed down by Adriaan Strauss (left) and Francois Louw

Farrell slotted the penalty, but
England could not gather the restart and South Africa held on to extend
their unbeaten run in this fixture to 11 matches, dating back to 2006.

England had drawn heart from their 14-14 draw with South Africa in the third Test of the summer tour. Those lessons Rowntree referred to included the need to match the Springbok physicality.

Joe Launchbury was given his first international start while Alex Corbisiero, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan were brought back to bring some steel into the England pack. They all delivered.

Running free: Alex Goode breaks away from the clutches of Jannie du Plessis

Running free: Alex Goode breaks away from the clutches of Jannie du Plessis

Youngs justified Lancaster's decision
to promote him into the starting side with a clever display at
scrum-half, as did Mike Brown on the wing.

England reprised their tour tactic of
using two full-backs and the grim, wet conditions meant this was always
going to be an arm-wrestle in the rain at Twickenham.

England had to display their intent
from the outset and did, with Geoff Parling blocking Ruan Pienaar's box
kick and Robshaw pounced on Patrick Lambie to win the penalty.

Breaking away: Manu Tuilagi skips past Jean de Villiers

Breaking away: Manu Tuilagi skips past Jean de Villiers

Flood missed his shot at goal but England kept the pressure on as Brown claimed a confident high ball and escaped two defenders.

Parling and Morgan both piled forward
as England drove within five metres of the Springbok line. Chris Ashton
was wrapped up but England won a second penalty shot at goal for offside
and this time Flood made no mistake with the boot.

England defended resolutely when Flood
lost the ball as he tried to run from deep but Eben Etzebeth stole a
lineout and the Springboks earned a penalty which Lambie converted.

Clearing his lines: Ben Youngs gets a kick away despite the attentions of Duane Vermeulen

Clearing his lines: Ben Youngs gets a kick away despite the attentions of Duane Vermeulen

Flood returned from a brief spell in
the blood-bin to exchange penalties with Lambie but then missed a second
penalty shot at goal, earned by a strong England scrum.

Morgan crashed holes in the Springbok
defensive line but England could not capitalise and Lambie edged the
Springboks ahead for the first time in the match.

England came searing out of a scrappy
passage of play, dominated by the boot and some poor kick-chasing, with a
clean break from Alex Goode onto a clever ball from Ben Youngs.

Locked up: Joe Launchbury is tackled by Gurthro Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen

Locked up: Joe Launchbury is tackled by Gurthro Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen

But Flood's kick in behind skipped
dead in goal before Manu Tuilagi could get to it and England then wasted
a five-on-three overlap.

Just after the restart, South Africa extended their 9-6 half-time lead in a bizarre circumstances.
When Juande Kruger lost control as he
drove for the line, Ben Youngs tried to hack the ball clear but it
crashed into JP Pietersen.

The ball rebounded towards Morgan, who
could not gather it on his own line and Springboks flanker Alberts
pounced to score a try that was converted by Lambie.

Lancaster reacted to England falling 10 points down by sending on Farrell for Flood and they raised the intensity.

Off-balance: Toby Flood (front) and Ben Morgan get to grips with JP Pietersen

Off-balance: Toby Flood (front) and Ben Morgan get to grips with JP Pietersen

JP Pietersen could not take an
excellent box-kick from Ben Youngs and Morgan spread the play wide for
Tuilagi, who crashed through the South African defence.

A mistake from Farrell put England on
the back foot but they came storming out of defence with an interception
from Tuilagi inside his own 22.

Tuilagi powered downfield and then fed
Ashton but a poor pass to Brown, who should have come closer, checked
England's momentum and a promising move ended when Launchbury knocked
on.

Mixed fortunes: England were inconsistent in the line-out

Mixed fortunes: England were inconsistent in the line-out

England kept piling on the pressure,
helped by some poor South African kicking. Mako Vunipola crashed into
the Springbok 22 and England won another penalty when Francois Louw came
in off his feet.

Farrell converted it and then booted
England back into South African territory but again the Twickenham crowd
were left frustrated as Ashton knocked the ball forward.

England came again and, with a minute
remaining, earned the kickable penalty which Robshaw, eventually,
instructed Farrell to kick for goal.

ATP World Tours Finals: Jonny Marray and Freddie Nielsen win doubles

Marray and Nielsen survive huge scare to revive London love affair at ATP Finals

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UPDATED:

14:38 GMT, 6 November 2012

Wimbledon champions Jonny Marray and Freddie Nielsen extended their winning streak in London in dramatic fashion with victory over Indian pair Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in their opening match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The British-Danish duo's success at SW19 as wild cards was one of the most unlikely stories of the sporting year and earned them a place at the end-of-season showpiece at the O2 Arena.

They made a great start on Monday afternoon, winning the opening set, and held a match point at 6-5 in the second but Marray's return found the top of the net.

Back on form: Jonathan Marray (left) and Frederik Nielsen celebrate their victory at London's O2

Back on form: Jonathan Marray (left) and Frederik Nielsen celebrate their victory at London's O2

It looked like their chance had gone when the Indians levelled the match and then took a 5-1 lead in the match tie-break but Marray and Nielsen fought back to take a 8-7 lead.

Twice Bhupathi and Bopanna held match points, at 9-8 and 10-9, but Marray and Nielsen saved them both and then took their chance, with the Dane serving it out 6-4 6-7 (1/7) 12-10.

On the money: Marray and Nielsen picked up from where they left off at Wimbledon in the summer

On the money: Marray and Nielsen picked up from where they left off at Wimbledon in the summer

Talking tactics: Marray (right) and Nielsen figure out a way to win their opening doubles clash

Talking tactics: Marray (right) and Nielsen figure out a way to win their opening doubles clash

Judd Trump beats Neil Robertson to claim International Championship crown

Trump beats Robertson to claim International Championship title

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 4 November 2012

Judd Trump became the first winner of the International Championship, beating Neil Robertson 10-8 in the final in Chengdu.

The 22-year-old Bristolian became
world No 1 with his semi-final hammering of Peter Ebdon and on Sunday added
the 125,000 first prize.

Champion: England's Judd Trump

Champion: England's Judd Trump

A tight match seemed to have swung Robertson's way when he led 8-6 but his rival left-hander found another gear, breaks of 96 and 119 helping him turn the contest around.

The first four frames were split before Robertson returned from the first interval to open up a 4-2 lead, with breaks of 51 and 41 in frame four.

Trump took two contrasting frames to level – the first at one visit after a stunning opening red, the second a messy affair – but Robertson took the last of the afternoon session with a 50 break to lead 5-4.

The evening began with a re-rack and then a cagey start to frame 10, but Trump took it with a run of 57 to level the match once more.

He nudged ahead but Robertson responded with breaks of 68 and 88, and a 73 after the interval took the Australian 8-6 ahead.

Trump looked to be in trouble when he hammered the black off the table having gone 22 ahead in the vital 15th frame, but responded to close to within one.

And the world number one proved his mettle, going close to a century in the next and then making 119 to go ahead at the perfect time with just one frame needed for the title.

He opened up in the next with a swerve to pot a long red and then split the pack well, but could only make 39. Robertson failed to respond, though, and another superb opening red and pink set Trump on the way to victory.

It was Trump's third ranking title, having won the China Open and the UK Championship last year, while for Robertson it was only a second defeat in 12 ranking finals.

Carlos Tevez shows "Hammers" sign to West Ham fans

Tevez still a fans' favourite at West Ham after 'Irons' sign as City rue missed chances

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 4 November 2012

The love affair between Carlos Tevez and the West Ham supporters is still going strong following the striker's latest return to Upton Park with Manchester City.

Tevez's goals kept the Hammers in the Premier League in 2007 and he has always been a fans' favourite in east London despite joining Manchester United and then City.

The Argentine striker delighted the home support by crossing his arms in a 'Hammers' sign on Saturday night and they responded by singing 'there's only one Carlos Tevez' and 'Carlos Tevez, he wants to come home.'

A place in his heart: Carlos Tevez held his crossed arms aloft showing a Hammers sign to the fans of his former club

A place in his heart: Carlos Tevez held his crossed arms aloft showing a Hammers sign to the fans of his former club

Tevez played 84 minutes against his old employers but could not add to his tally of four Premier League goals for the campaign.

His old club, sitting in eighth position in the table, will have been happier with the goalless draw than Roberto Mancini's men.

Mancini started
with a powerful strikeforce of Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko as well as
Tevez, but City were still unable to breach the Hammers defence.

Appreciated: West ham fans responded by singing songs praising Tevez, whose goals saved them from relegation in 2007

Appreciated: West ham fans responded by singing songs praising Tevez, whose goals saved them from relegation in 2007

Class act: Tevez shone for Manchester City at Upton Park, despite being unable to make the crucial breakthrough for his team

Class act: Tevez shone for Manchester City at Upton Park, despite being unable to make the crucial breakthrough for his team

In fact, it was West Ham who had the better chances early on.

Kevin Nolan slotted a
well-taken volley past Joe Hart that was wrongly
disallowed for offside before Yossi Benayoun sent a side-footed volley
crashing onto the crossbar.

But Mancini was also left to rue a number of missed chances later in the match.

On the stroke of half-time, Mancini’s
talented, but unpredictable, striker Balotelli scuppered a gilt-edged
chance by missing a gaping goal with a close-range volley.

Gareth Barry was next to fluff his
lines when he latched onto a Tevez ball, controlled the it before somehow
steering his shot wide from six yards out. The former Aston Villa midfielder was perhaps relieved to realise the referee had penalised him for taking the ball down with his arm.

Mancini said he was happy with his
side’s performance, but concerned by the missed chances – in particular
by his compatriot Balotelli.

Tevez and Co now turn their attention
to Tuesday’s clash with Ajax at the Etihad, where defeat would likely
confirm their exit from the Champions League in the group stages for the
second year running.

All smiles: Tevez shared a joke with George McCartney (left) before kick-off at Upton Park

All smiles: Tevez shared a joke with George McCartney (left) before kick-off at Upton Park

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finish top two after first practice session

Hamilton sets the pace in Abu Dhabi as Button says team-mates departure will be 'a big loss'

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UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 2 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton continued his love affair with the Yas Marina circuit to lead the way in initial practice ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

For the fifth time in 10 practice sessions at the futuristic track, Hamilton set the pace as he spearheaded a McLaren one-two, finishing exactly a third of a second quicker than Jenson Button.

Hamilton's lap for the 5.554-kilometre track of one minute 43.285 seconds was also set on the harder of the two Pirelli compounds for this weekend, the medium, with the quicker soft rubber being saved for session two.

Setting the pace: Lewis Hamilton was fastest after first practice

Setting the pace: Lewis Hamilton was fastest after first practice

Setting the pace: Hamilton leaves the pits during the first practice session

Setting the pace: Hamilton leaves the pits during the first practice session

RESULTS AFTER FIRST PRACTICE

1. Hamilton
2. Button
3. Vettel
4. Alonso
5. Webber
6. Schumacher
7. Maldonado
8. Rosberg
9. Bottas
10. Raikkonen

Over the three years the race has
been staged in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have locked out
the front row of the grid between them – the latter claiming two poles
to the former's one.

After the opening 90 minutes today
Vettel was forced to settle for the third-quickest time, with the
25-year-old German finishing 0.765secs behind Hamilton, with everybody
else over a second down.

That included Ferrari's Fernando
Alonso, the only driver who can realistically stop Vettel from making it
three titles in a row as the duo go into the last three races separated
by 13 points.

With Ferrari experimenting with new
parts, Alonso was fourth, a fraction over a second off Hamilton's pace,
and a quarter of a second behind Vettel.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was the best of the rest, followed by Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes and Williams' Pastor Maldonado.

Meanwhile, Button believes Hamilton's impending exit from McLaren will be 'a big loss' to the team.

Big loss: Jenson Button says McLaren will miss Hamilton next season

Big loss: Jenson Button says McLaren will miss Hamilton next season

Grosjean confident he'll be at Lotus next season

Romain Grosjean sees no reason why he will not be partnering Kimi Raikkonen for a second season at Lotus next year.

Earlier this week Lotus confirmed Raikkonen had signed a new one-year deal following a successful return to Formula One after two years competing in rallies and NASCAR.

Lotus, however, made no mention of French driver Grosjean, perhaps unsurprising given the errors he has made this year and penalties incurred.

After two races without incident, it may be Lotus are waiting until the end of the campaign to ensure Grosjean has learned lessons and they can again trust him for the future.

Grosjean, 26, is confident of his seat for 2013 as he said: “With the team we're happy together, they've put a lot of confidence and faith in me during a hard time.

'I'm showing them I'm working and improving and trying to sort out all the problems, whilst keeping my speed.

'But there is no reason that it goes bad for the future.'
Grosjean has confirmed Lotus kept him informed of Raikkonen's deal, and that it 'didn't come as a surprise'.

When Lotus will make an announcement with regard to his own position is open to question, with Grosjean adding: 'I've no idea, to be honest.

'(Team principal) Eric Boullier is better placed than me to answer that.'

Button has previously made it clear
he has enjoyed pitting his wits against a fellow world champion in
Hamilton these past three years, helping to make him a better driver.

Although there will be no second crown
for either man this season, a 24-point gap between the British duo
means Hamilton is set to leave for Mercedes with a 2-1 victory in their
inter-team rivalry based on total points at the end of the season.

Rising star Sergio Perez may have been
recruited as replacement, but the 32-year-old Button cannot help but
feel Hamilton's departure will be felt by the team.

'With Lewis leaving, obviously the team loses a very fast driver,' said Button.

'He's
a guy that's achieved a lot with the team, wins and obviously a world
championship – the last guy to win a world championship for the team.

'It is a big loss, but things change and you learn to move on and adapt. It's definitely not the end of two strong drivers at McLaren.'

Although Perez has acquitted himself well at Sauber over the last two years, the 22-year-old Mexican still remains an unknown quantity.

Perez has conjured three superb podiums this season but his results have otherwise been sporadic, and notably since he was announced as Hamilton's replacement he has failed to score a point in three races.

Assessing Perez's potential, Button added: 'I think Sergio will be fast, but I really don't know.

'He's obviously unknown in a McLaren because he's not there yet. But it's a great opportunity for Checo, and I'm sure he will take it with both hands.'

Hamilton, meanwhile, insists he has no regrets about joining Mercedes, who are currently on their worst run since returning to the sport at the start of 2010.

Like Perez, since Hamilton announced he was moving to the Brackley-based team on a three-year contract, they have also failed to pick up a point in the last three races.

When you consider that in the previous 52 races Mercedes had not scored in only four, it highlights just how much they have plumbed the depths.

Asked by Press Association Sport about Mercedes' run, Hamilton said: “I've been told about it.

'It makes me even more driven to help them score points, and no, I'm not thinking 'have I made right decision'

'I'm very happy with the decision I made. What is happening to them doesn't have any impact on that.

'People do sometimes lose their way. Even we (McLaren) have struggled in the past and not scored points.'

Appreciating the size of the task awaiting him at Mercedes when he officially joins on January 1, Hamilton said: 'I already knew how big it was going to be.

'I really thought about it long and hard, and I could see how big it was. Perhaps it's now growing.

'But as a task I'm really excited about it, excited to meet new people and to being in a different environment, and to mould myself into that environment.'