Tag Archives: rally

Australian Open 2013: Gilles Simon confirms he is fit to face Andy Murray

Murray is favorite to beat me, admits Simon after declaring himself fit following Monfils battle

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

06:17 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:17 GMT, 20 January 2013

Gilles Simon, Andy Murray’s fourth round opponent in the Australian Open, confirmed that he will be able to take the court for the match despite suffering heavy cramping in his Saturday night epic against Gael Monfils.

The slightly-built Frenchman was unable to speak to the media after beating his compatriot 8-6 in the fifth set of an extremely gruelling encounter that lasted nearly four and three quarter hours, and was marked by the sheer length of the rallies involved.

He only appeared in public this afternoon local time, having needed extensive treatment when he came off the court after midnight in some distress suffering cramp all over his body following the most attritional match imaginable.

Scroll down to watch the 71-shot rally between Simon and Monfils

Shattered: An exhausted Gilles Simon sits down after winning his third round match against fellow countryman Gael Monfils

Shattered: An exhausted Gilles Simon sits down after winning his third round match against fellow countryman Gael Monfils

There had been rumours that he had been taken to hospital and might pull out of his meeting with Murray due to leg or arm injuries, but he quickly quashed those while admitting that he was still very sore.

'No, my treatment was here, but yes I was in bad shape,' he said. 'I’m never cramping on the court normally. I felt like I played the end of the match in a dream, like I was not even on the court. I was just hitting the ball, trying to run, and not thinking anymore. I was too tired to be upset or happy, at the end of the match I had just completely lost control.'

Gilles Simon

Gael Monfils

Epic: Simon and Monfils shared a brilliant 71-shot rally during their third round match

One of the rallies against Monfils had
lasted 71 strokes and took one minute forty second to complete, but many
of the baseline exchanges were long between two counter punchers.

'All parts of my body were painful but there’s no miracle cure so you’ve just got to have massage and stretching. I went to sleep about 5am and woke up about two o’ clock.'

Murray is about the last player you want to meet if your legs are heavy because he is so skilled at making opponents run side to side and back and forward, so it looked a mountainous task for the fourteenth seed to disrupt his march towards the last four.

Giving it everything: Simon rests on the net during his third round match

Giving it everything: Simon rests on the net during his third round match

Treatment: Simon received medical attention

Treatment: Simon received medical attention

Their match will start at 5pm local time so there was another 24 hours to recover, with Roger Federer the featured night match on Rod Laver Arena.

'With Andy I know how strong he is and of course it will be really difficult but at the moment I’m just happy I won the last match. Even if I don’t have a lot of chance to win this it’s my job to go on court and do the maximum I can to bother him and give him a hard time.

Next up: Andy Murray will be the strong favorite against Simon

Next up: Andy Murray will be the strong favorite against Simon

'It is not easy to win 6-2 6-3 6-2 against Andy and I’m not sure if we play longer than that I will be able to make it to the end. But I will do everything I can to be ready and I still have another sleep.'

Another small problem for Simon is that Murray has won their last nine matches against each other, so he would start as strong favourite regardless.

VIDEO Watch the amazing 71-shot rally between Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils

Australian Open 2013: Janko Tipsarevic retired from match with Nicolas Almagro

Agony for Tipsarevic as he is forced to retire as Almagro goes on to face Ferrer

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

07:24 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

07:24 GMT, 20 January 2013

Eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic retired from his fourth-round match at the Australian Open with an injured left foot while trailing Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 5-1.

The 10th-seeded Almagro advanced to a quarter-final against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who beat Japan's Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Tipsarevic said he injured the foot while changing directions during a rally late in the seventh game of the first set, and could barely walk on it afterward.

In a bad way: Janko Tipsarevic receives treatment

In a bad way: Janko Tipsarevic receives treatment

Into the next round: Spain's Nicolas Almagro is into the quaqrter finals after Tipsarevic retired

Into the next round: Spain's Nicolas Almagro is into the quaqrter finals after Tipsarevic retired

Almagro said: 'That's not the way you want to win. But that's sport.

'Sometimes you can't do your best and you need to stop. I think he made the best decision.'

Almagro, seeded No 10, has lost all 12 of his previous matches with Ferrer but is hoping to buck that trend and reach his first grand slam semi-final.

Going forward: Almagro will meet David Ferrer

Going forward: Almagro will meet David Ferrer

In control: Almagro was ahead in the match when it was stopped

In control: Almagro was ahead in the match when it was stopped

'It will be a good fight. I know him and he knows me,' he said.

'It is a big opportunity for me to be in a semi-final. I'm ready to fight. I'm healthy and happy with my tennis.

'I think I'm playing really well and we'll see what will happen on Tuesday.'

Sebastien Loeb wins ninth World Rally Championship

Home sweet home: Loeb celebrates his ninth World Rally Championship in France

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UPDATED:

16:54 GMT, 7 October 2012

Sebastien Loeb wrapped up his ninth consecutive World Rally Championship title in style with victory on home soil in France.

Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena once again underlined their dominance of the sport as they finished 15.5 seconds ahead of Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala in the overall standings after the 22nd and final stage of the Rallye de France.

Loeb's 75th WRC win is his eighth in 11 races so far this season, and sees him wrap up yet another title with two rounds to spare.

Cloud nine: Sebastien Loeb (R) and his co-driver Monaco's Daniel Elena (L) celebrate on the podium in Strasbourg

Cloud nine: Sebastien Loeb (R) and his co-driver Monaco's Daniel Elena (L) celebrate on the podium in Strasbourg

Rally good: Loeb and his co-driver Monaco's Daniel Elena steer their Citron DS3

Rally good: Loeb and his co-driver Monaco's Daniel Elena steer their Citron DS3

'It has been a great moment. We had been dreaming of it since the weekend began, it is pure happiness,' said Loeb.

Loeb's win also secured Citroen their eighth manufacturers' crown, but also heralded the end of an era with the Frenchman previously announcing he would not defend his title in 2013, electing instead for a part-time WRC programme.

'The season has been perfect but I want to enjoy this rather than think about this title being our last together,' he added, referring to long-time co-driver Elena.

Centre of attention: Loeb talks up his latest World Rally Championship success on home soil in France

Centre of attention: Loeb talks up his latest World Rally Championship success on home soil in France

Celebration: Loeb enjoys his victory with his Citroen team

Celebration: Loeb enjoys his victory with his Citroen team

With 244 points, Loeb is 71 ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen with two races to go.

Latvala's strong run to second place – the Finn following up his win in Britain last time out – denied Citroen the further satisfaction of a one-two finish, with Hirvonen coming home in third place, 44 seconds adrift of his team-mate.

Citroen Junior's Thierry Neuville was on superb form today, winning five of the final day's six stages as he claimed a career-best fourth place overall, ahead of Mads Ostberg.

Ott Tanak took sixth, while the top 10 was rounded out by Evgeny Novikov, Chris Atkinson, Martin Prokop and Sebastien Chardonnet.

London 2012 Paralympics: Table tennis: Will Bayley takes silver

Britain's Bayley forced to settle for silver after losing table tennis final to Wollmert

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 2 September 2012

Will Bayley had to settle for a Paralympic silver medal after losing 3-1 to the defending champion Jochen Wollmert in the class seven table tennis final.

The 24-year-old Brit drew level at one game all but the veteran German proved too strong, completing a hat-trick of Paralympic singles titles with an 11-8 4-11 11-5 11-4 victory.

Bayley, who was born with arthrogryposis, topped the world rankings this year but Wollmert always loomed as his biggest rival for Paralympic gold.

Touching: Jochem Wollmert (left) consoles GB's Will Bayley (right) after beating him 3-1 in the table tennis final

Touching: Jochem Wollmert (left) consoles GB's Will Bayley (right) after beating him 3-1 in the table tennis final

The fifth-seed had said before the Games: 'We don't talk much. We're not close friends. I'd love to beat him in London.'

Bayley was understandably fired up, fist-pumping in celebration with every point he won and he was roared on the partisan ExCel Centre crowd.

But it was the veteran German who started fastest, opening a 4-1 lead in the opening game before closing out the first game 11-8.

Bailey, making his Paralympic debut, responded determinedly.

Not quite: Will Bayley was forced to settle for second place as he was beaten by the defending champion

Not quite: Will Bayley was forced to settle for second place as he was beaten by the defending champion

Not quite: Will Bayley was forced to settle for second place as he was beaten by the defending champion

Not quite: Will Bayley was forced to settle for second place as he was beaten by the defending champion

He won the first two points of the second game and then fended of a brief rally from Wollmert to take it 11-4 and draw level in the match.

But Wollmert resumed control, riding his luck at times, to take the third game 11-5 and leave Bayley staring down the barrel of a defeat.

When Wollmert opened a 2-0 lead at the start of the fourth game, Bayley called for a time-out but he could not arrest the momentum and the German, who plays points with a back-hand, won gold by taking the final game 11-4.

Bayley fell to the ground and appeared to be in tears when Wollmert came over, putting that pre-Games rivalry aside to console the Brit and raise his arm in the air for the home crowd.

Dejected: Bayley looked downcast as he fell to a 3-1 defeat in the final

Dejected: Bayley looked downcast as he fell to a 3-1 defeat in the final

Flying the flag: Bayley proudly held the Union Jack after winning the silver medal in London

Flying the flag: Bayley proudly held the Union Jack after winning the silver medal in London

London 2012 Olympics: Joanna Parker out of table tennis singles

Parker upbeat despite defeat as Silbereisen proves too strong in table tennis singles

Olympics women's singles by Kristin Silbereisen.

The challenge was always going to be difficult for Parker, who sits 72 places below her opponent in the ITTF world rankings.

In the end, the German's power proved too much for the Brit's defensive style as she slipped to a 4-1 loss in the second round.

'It was always going to be a tough game,' said Parker. 'I have seen her play defenders before and she has got a very good game against it.

'Her first attack is just so strong, especially for a woman, and that makes the rest of the rally all the more difficult.

All over: Joanna Parker has crashed out of the table tennis singles

All over: Joanna Parker has crashed out of the table tennis singles

'I am happy because I played well but, to beat players at that level, I have to be better.'

After losing the first two games, Parker threatened a comeback by taking the next.

However, she handed the initiative back to Silbereisen with a sloppy start to the fourth – something she was left rueing.

'I did well to win that set and I think I made her nervous,' added Parker. 'That changed the dynamic a little. But I got off to not the best start in the next and gave her the confidence again, and then she ran away with it.'

Too strong: German ace Kristin Silbereisen wasa 4-1 winner against Britain's Joanna Parker

Too strong: German ace Kristin Silbereisen wasa 4-1 winner against Britain's Joanna Parker

Despite her loss, Parker – who will be joined by Kelly Sibley and Na Liu for the team event on August 3 – can at least take away the memory of Saturday's 4-0 triumph over Caroline Kumahara.

'Having the whole hall watching me has been a new experience,' she admitted. 'I'll never experience anything like that again. Anything else in the future will mean nothing compared to this – it has been a great experience.

'Yesterday's moment was great. Even today, when I lost, the crowd were still cheering me and I cannot be too disappointed.'

Britain's hopes of causing a splash in the singles format now rest with Parker's boyfriend Paul Drinkhall, who will take on Singapore's Zi Yang at 1:30pm.

'I hope he can do better than me,' she said. 'He is confident in his own ability and he should be really.

'He can play some really good table tennis and it is just a matter of bringing it on the day.'

[related]

Wimbledon 2012 live: All the action from day 10

WIMBLEDON 2012 LIVE: All the latest news from day ten at the Championships as it happens

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UPDATED:

12:55 GMT, 5 July 2012

SW19 essentials

All the latest Wimbledon news

Full results from the singles

Today's order of play

Join
Sportsmail for the very best live coverage throughout the 2012
Wimbledon Championships.

We'll bring you all the latest news, scores and
pictures as they arrive from the All England Club, plus we'll have
game-by-game coverage of the key matches.

Our
unrivalled team of reporters at Wimbledon will bring you the latest
news and views from behind the scenes – and don't forget you can send
your comments throughout the day to [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

13.54: BREAK! Kerber's worst game and she pays heavily. Radwanska battles to break point and lets Kerber do the rest as the German can only find the net with a forehand. The Pole is closing in on victory. Kerber 2-3 Radwanska

13.52: But Radwanska isn't having any of it and responds with a hold to love. Kerber 2-2 Radwanska 3-6

13.49: One sloppy forehand aside, Kerber holds with ease to 15 as she lets power dictate the play. Good tactic. Kerber 2-1 Radwanska 3-6

13.46: But Radwanska isn't letting up. Staying rooted to the centre of the court, she has Kerber running from side-to-side before running to the net to volley and see out her serve. Kerber 1-1 Radwanska 3-6

13.44: And Kerber proves that with a fairly simple hold. There is more power in the German's play now – she knows she can't get sucked into the rally game. Kerber 1-0 Radwanska 3-6

13.41: Radwanska brings the sunshine with her as she returns. Kerber will now serve and she can take heart from the fact she isn't playing too badly. She needs this set though.

Into the light: Many were inside Centre Court for the semi-finals

Into the light: Many were inside Centre Court for the semi-finals

13.38: FIRST SET RADWANSKA! Kerber is keeping her calm but the Radwanska gears are oiled now and she is flying through them. The Pole is given one chance to serve out for the set and she takes it by launching her second ace out wide. Radwanska goes straight for a break, Kerber chooses to have some thinking time in her chair. Kerber 3-6 Radwanska

13.34: BREAK! The good, the bad and the ugly from Kerber. Good in her first ace of the match and a superb cross-court backhand winner. Bad with her double fault, and ugly in the way she fires into the net to allow Radwanska to break and now serve for the first set. Kerber 3-5 Radwanska

13.31: The crowd are warming up now. Radwanska's second serve is poor but her first serve, while not powerful, is effective as Kerber fails to return from out wide to allow the Pole to hold. Kerber 3-4 Radwanska

Back in the set: Agnieszka Radwanska broke back shortly after losing her serve in the first set

Back in the set: Agnieszka Radwanska broke back shortly after losing her serve in the first set

13.28: The Radwanksa second serve remains a weakness for her though and it enables Kerber to earn a break point. Radwanska saves it though and it's now our first deuce.

13.25: BREAK! Radwanska says sorry but that's the Pole's accuracy for you as her baseline drop shot hits the net cord before dropping over for 15-30. A point each sets up break point for the third seed and she takes it after Kerber forehands into the net. Kerber 3-3 Radwanska

13.22: Some slight nerves from Radwanska. At 40-30 she faults but despite a slow second serve, Kerber fires the return well wide. Kerber 3-2 Radwanska

13.19: This is like the Kerber we saw in the first set against Lisicki. Radwanska takes advantage of the German's weak second serve to earn her first point against the head, but the Pole fires a wide backhand on the next point to allow the eighth seed to hold. Kerber 3-1 Radwanska

13.15: BREAK! Kerber's aggression is a double-edged sword but it comes to her aid on this occasion. She skips to the net to earn break point on the volley before allowing Radwanksa to drop a shot wide of the track line. Kerber 2-1 Radwanska

13.13: More of the power from Kerber but with Radwanska accuracy she also holds to love. No nerves so far considering they are both trying to reach their first grand slam final. Kerber 1-1 Radwanska

13.10: Typical Radwanska. Not too much aggression but plenty of accuracy as she holds to love. Kerber 0-1 Radwanska

Reach out: Angelique Kerber aims to reach her first grand slam final

Reach out: Angelique Kerber aims to reach her first grand slam final

13.07: Away we go then, Radwanska to open serve…

13.02: After a long wait in the corridor the players make their way out to very cloudy conditions. The roof is up for now but showers are expected.

12.59: But head-to-head records suggest there is nothing in it. It's 2-2 between the pair and they have never met on grass.

12.56: What a turnaround this is for Kerber by the way. Last year she lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Britain's Laura Robson – now she's on the brink of the final.

I fancy her childhood rival, Radwanska, to topple her today though. Despite defeating Lisicki, the German was often battling herself as well as her compatriot and the Pole is unlikely to make the same amount of errors that Sabine did.

12.53: Just for a moment though I have been quite startled by some of the messages on Centre Court. Remember to wear sunscreen, a hat and to drink some water

Do people really need to be told this

12.50: Two top games are on the way, with Serena Williams taking on Victoria Azarenka later on, but first up it's Angelique Kerber up against Agnieszka Radwanska.

I'm looking forward to this one in much the same was as I'm not looking forward to typing the Pole's first name again.

12.45: Good afternoon folks. Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of Wimbledon where on day 10, the women's semi-finals take the spotlight…if not the sunlight, which is currently AWOL in south-west London.

Going strong: Serena Williams is chasing her fifth Wimbledon title

Going strong: Serena Williams is chasing her fifth Wimbledon title

Marco Tardelli says Ireland are not Cinderella

Tardelli: Ireland determined to go to the ball… but we are NOT Cinderella

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UPDATED:

20:01 GMT, 12 June 2012

They may have been written off by the rest of Europe but as they
prepare to face world champions Spain, Ireland’s players and management
continue to believe they can pull off the great shock of Euro 2012.

The crushing defeat at the hands of Croatia now forgotten, the
Republic of Ireland will travel to Gdansk desperate to avoid another
humiliating defeat and the prospect of an exit after just two games of
the finals.

Captain Robbie Keane led the rally call from the training base on the
Baltic coast, while assistant manager Marco Tardelli continued to
insist that Ireland would prosper from their role as underdogs.

'There is good pressure,’ said Giovanni Trapattoni’s No 2. 'We are
Cinderella. We are underdogs. The players want to do something very
important for the country. They believe. We believe. We are on the pitch
to win. In the football, there are three results and all things are
possible.

Tug: Robbie Keane pulls back John O'Shea

Tug: Robbie Keane pulls back John O'Shea

'The player work very hard and they need to feel well physically and psychologically. I think the players are ready now.

'We speak with the players and they are professional. We need to see a
performance now because we conceded three goals in a strange way. I
think we are ready for the next match.’

Euro 2012 email button

Although there were a couple of tetchy moments in training in Gdynia,
observers and visitors to the team hotel say the squad unity
after the opening match defeat has never been stronger.

Winger Aiden McGeady was involved in an exchange with Trapattoni and
Tardelli during the practice match and Keane also had a heated debate
with the Ireland manager.

The pair will take to the stage in Gdansk this evening ahead of the game
as Trapattoni keeps faith in the 31-year-old captain who was one of a
number of players who struggled to make an impact against Croatia.

Fire away: Jon Walters will hope to start

Fire away: Jon Walters will hope to start

Keane said: 'Listen, we know it's going to be a tough task. They are one
of the best teams in the world, but there's no reason why we can't play
against them and get something out of the game.

'We go into every game hoping to get three points, so that would be our main aim.

'It's very difficult as a player to go into a game thinking that you
just want to get a point. It's very hard to do that as a player and we
will certainly go in hoping to get three points.

'But it wouldn't be the end of the world if we did get a point.’

Getting ready: Ireland training at the Gdynia Stadium in Poland

Getting ready: Ireland training at the Gdynia Stadium in Poland

Trapattoni changed his first team line-up for the practice match
in Gdynia. Richard Dunne was partnered by Darren O’Dea in central
defence and Stephen Kelly came in at right-back for John O’Shea. Jon
Walters replaced Kevin Doyle upfront and that is still expected to be
the Italian’s only change.

Interestingly, Spanish players who met the media at their countryside
base faced criticism about their opening 1-1 draw with Italy.

And Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets blamed the surface in Gdansk
for a lacklustre performance from the world champions. The worry is that
the harsh assessment of their opening performance could inspire the
Spaniards against Ireland.

The lads: Ireland need to band together to get two good results

The lads: Ireland need to band together to get two good results

Busquets said: 'Obviously with a dry pitch it’s harder to control the
ball, it makes passing more difficult and Spain’s game is based on
passing. It is up to UEFA, and we hope of course that the pitch will be
better. It should be watered later to avoid injuries. We hope for a
better pitch in the next match.

It is true that all the teams are playing on the same pitch, but some
teams, due to their style of play, suffer more from a dry pitch than
others.’

Meanwhile UEFA have appointed Champions League final referee Pedro
Proenca to take charge of the game. The Portuguese official is the last
of the 12 referees to begin work at Euro 2012.

Robert Kubica retains hopes of Formula One return as Renault driver has further surgery on elbow

Kubica retains hopes of Formula One return as Renault driver has further surgery on elbow

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 6 June 2012

Robert Kubica is refusing to give up hope on a return to Formula One and has undergone further surgery in an attempt to realise his dream of a return to the pinnacle of motorsport.

Kubica suffered horrific injuries after a rallying accident in February last year. His right forearm was partially severed while he also suffered multiple fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg after his Skoda car was impaled on a crash barrier during the Ronde di Andora rally in Northern Italy.

Reports earlier this year claimed a return to Formula One for Kubica was 'nearly impossible'. However, the Polish driver has undergone further surgery to try and improve the mobility in his elbow following tests in a Formula One simulator.

Fresh hope: Kubica

Fresh hope: Kubica

Kubica was operated on at the Pederzoli hospital at the end of last month, when parts of his elbow were replaced with prosthesis. Head surgeon Ruggero Testoni said: 'The surgery was preceded by a series of tests in an F1 car simulator.

'This way the driver will be able to fully handle the steering wheel, while before he was unable to rotate the palm down, so he was forced to release the steering wheel in order to turn left. It will take at least one month in order to stabilize.'

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Kubica, a previous victor of the Canadian Grand Prix which takes place this weekend, was ultimately replaced at Lotus, formerly Renault, by Kimi Raikkonen after initial stand-in Nick Heidfeld failed to do enough to secure a permanent drive.

Raikkonen spent two years competing in the World Rally Championship before returning to Formula One this season. But mindful of the loss of such a talented as Kubica, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier revealed last month that Raikkonen's contract prevents him from competing in rallies after it was suggested he may want to compete in his home event in Finland.

Boullier said: 'Obviously, there is a trauma here after 2011. We can't have a contract with a driver that has a clause that allows them to take any risk because they are so valuable to the team. So, rallying, skiing, whatever you want, it is not allowed.'

Edinburgh"s David Denton confident of success

Edinburgh flanker Denton confident he can get the better of dangerman Ferris

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UPDATED:

18:15 GMT, 26 April 2012

Flanker David Denton is optimistic of winning his crucial battle with opposite number Stephen Ferris as Edinburgh seek to overcome Ulster on Saturday to secure a place in the Heineken Cup final.

For Edinburgh's attacking force – lauded throughout a stellar competition for Michael Bradley's men – to be in evidence in the semi-final at the Aviva Stadium, forward momentum is of paramount importance.

A key battleground which must be won if Edinburgh are to advance to the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham on May 19 is Denton's duel with Ferris, the Ireland and British Lions blindside flanker.

Get in: David Denton (second right) celebrates Edinburgh's win over Toulouse

Get in: David Denton (second right) celebrates Edinburgh's win over Toulouse

'I've always been confident in my own ability and this weekend's a great test for me,' Denton said.

'Ferris is one of the best, if not the best, blindsides in the world at the moment. He's a great player.

'When he gets on the front foot you can see the team rally behind him. I think if I can get on top of him there we'll stand a good chance.

'I've played against Ferris before and a very strong Irish back row and I didn't feel out of my depth.

'That's important. If you can go into a game feeling confident in your own ability and your team's ability, that's the first step.'

Denton, though, is well aware Ferris is not the only obstacle in Edinburgh's way, with South Africa internationals Ruan Pienaar and Stefan Terblanche and Ireland Test duo Andrew Trimble and Rory Best among Ulster's stars.

Ulster's strengths were illustrated in the two RaboDirect PRO12 meetings this season, which ended in distant defeat for Edinburgh.

Main man: Stephen Ferris (centre) has starred for Ireland and Ulster

Main man: Stephen Ferris (centre) has starred for Ireland and Ulster

Asked if the 42-20 and 38-16 losses have any significance on Saturday's match, Denton said: 'For one reason or another the Heineken Cup's been going really well for us this year.

'It's where we've come together as a team and shown what we're capable of. In the Rabo we haven't.

'We're aware of them (the Ulster losses) in the same way that we're aware we haven't had a very successful RaboDirect season.

'If anything it shows how strong they can be so we're not going to be underestimating them.

'Ulster are a very strong team. They've got a lot of strength in depth and a lot of good players. They play a good style of rugby. Their defence particularly is very strong.

'It's going to be a tough game for us, but we showed we could do it against Toulouse and everyone knows how well we can attack when we're on song.

'If we can play close to our best, we're well capable of beating them.

'It's going to be a big battle for us but it's one we can definitely win.'

Almost there: Michael Bradley hopes to lead Edinburgh to the final

Almost there: Michael Bradley hopes to lead Edinburgh to the final

Denton pointed to Edinburgh's own match winners, among them captain Greig Laidlaw, who is set to line up at fly-half in the team poised to be announced on Friday.

Head coach Bradley is unlikely to make any changes from the side which secured the semi-final berth with a 19-14 win over four-time champions Toulouse three weeks' ago.

Mike Blair, in his final season as an Edinburgh player, is set to be named at scrum-half, behind a back-row of Denton, Ross Rennie and Netani Talei.

The front five is expected to be comprised of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Grant Gilchrist and Sean Cox, with Matt Scott and Nick De Luca at centre, Tim Visser and Lee Jones on the wing and Tom Brown at full-back.

Brown's selection means Chris Paterson, Scotland's record points scorer and most-capped player, is likely to have to settle for a place on the replacements' bench at best.

Paterson was on kicking tee duty against Toulouse, with Jim Thompson preferred as a substitute.

Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to reach Dubai final

Sweet revenge for Murray as Scot sees off Djokovic to reach Dubai final

Andy Murray gained some revenge for his Australian Open defeat to Novak Djokovic by beating the world No 1 in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Djokovic prevailed in an epic five-set match at the start of the year before going on to lift the title in Melbourne.

But the world No 4 turned the tables with a 6-2, 7-5 triumph in just one hour and 22 minutes, ending Djokovic's challenge for a fourth successive title in Dubai.

Final fling: Andy Murray celebrates beating Novak Djokovic in the semis

Final fling: Andy Murray celebrates beating Novak Djokovic in the semis

The first five games went with serve, but Murray gained an advantage in the sixth when, facing the first break point of the match, Djokovic put a forehand long to gift his opponent a 4-2 lead.

Murray then held off two break points in the next game before breaking again in the eighth, with a backhand winner ending a long rally to take the opening set in 30 minutes.

Classy display: Murray never looked in trouble against Djokovic

Classy display: Murray never looked in trouble against Djokovic

Djokovic continued to wobble at the start of the second set, and quickly found himself another break behind in game two after hitting a wild forehand long.

Murray held serve in the next to take a 3-0 lead, but his Serbian opponent finally stopped the rot in game four by serving to love.

All over: Djokovic's hopes of a fourth straight Dubai title were dashed

All over: Djokovic's hopes of a fourth straight Dubai title were dashed

Djokovic appeared to be growing in confidence again but Murray managed to keep his nose in front and open up a 5-2 advantage.

That left Djokovic serving to stay in the match, a feat he achieved, and the top seed built on that success in game nine when a forehand into the net from Murray allowed the Serbian to break back.

But his joy was short-lived as Murray found himself with two match points in the 12th and sealed a place in the final thanks to a weak shot into the net from Djokovic.