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Mark Selby beats Shaun Murphy UK Championship final

Selby celebrates return to top of rankings with UK Championship victory over Murphy

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UPDATED:

01:23 GMT, 10 December 2012

It was a case of better late than never for Mark Selby as he beat Shaun Murphy in the williamhill.com UK Championship final.

The Leicester man landed the biggest ranking event title of his career, tying up a 10-6 victory over his good friend Shaun Murphy at two minutes past midnight at the York Barbican Centre.

It was an appropriate way to mark his return to the world No 1 ranking, and Selby was warmly embraced by Murphy after wrapping up his win.

Done it: Mark Selby celebrates with the trophy after winning the final of the UK Snooker Championships

Done it: Mark Selby celebrates with the trophy after winning the final of the UK Snooker Championships

Selby, 29, had a 14-month spell as snooker's top-ranked player in which he failed to win a major trophy, and consequently he relinquished top spot to Judd Trump last month.

But Trump's first spell as number one was brief, ending when Selby reached the final at York's Barbican Centre. And there could be no better way for Selby to begin his second stint as the sport's leading player than with some long-awaited silverware.

He and Murphy looked to be perfectly matched as they shared the opening 12 frames today.

But just as a very late finish, well into the early hours of the morning, began to loom, Selby seized control and reeled off four straight frames after the interval to take the trophy and a 125,000 winner's cheque.

While Selby has won the Masters title twice, the UK Championship and World Championship titles had proved elusive. Now he has the first of those, the second will be his target in the second half of the season.

From 4-4 at the end of the afternoon action, they progressed to 6-6 by the evening mid-session interval, and in the best-of-19 contest that meant there were a possible seven frames still to play.

Selby needed only four.

It was no surprise the final was closely fought until its closing stages, with both men having needed to rely on battling tendencies to last the distance over the nine-day tournament.

Selby came from 4-0 behind to beat Neil Robertson 6-4 in the quarter-finals, while Murphy produced the tournament's finest fightback to stun Ali Carter in their semi-final, recovering from 8-4 adrift to win 9-8.

No 1: Selby will return to the top of the rankings

No 1: Selby will return to the top of the rankings

Selby had breaks of 54, 66, 70, 58, 51 and 98 in his success, while Murphy had 83, 98 and 65.

This was the first all-English final at the UK Championship since Jimmy White beat John Parrott in 1992. In those days the final was a best-of-31 match.

There was plenty riding on this final, with Murphy seeking his first ranking title for over 18 months and Selby bidding to lift his maiden UK Championship.

Selby now has a third ranking title to his name, still a meagre tally considering his great ability.

Murphy remains on four rankings titles.

Selby's charge began after the mid-session interval, and as Murphy's game began to deteriorate he took full advantage.

Murphy had the chance to pinch the 16th frame but could not hold his game together under intense pressure and Selby made certain of the title by clipping in the blue.

Selby was delighted at last to claim one of the game's two biggest ranking titles.

'I'm over the moon,' he said. 'It means a great deal to me and to beat someone of Shaun's class in a major final it makes it even more special.

Not to be: Shaun Murphy lost out to his close friend

Not to be: Shaun Murphy lost out to his close friend

'It was a strange game tonight. It wasn't pretty. I felt as if it wasn't even my arm half the time, twitching all over the place and flicking them in here and there.'

Murphy felt Selby deserved the victory.

'He's the hardest player on tour by a mile,' said Murphy. 'He's a worthy world No 1, he fully deserves it and he fully deserves tonight.

'This tournament doesn't owe me anything. I should have gone home to Luca [Brecel] in the quarters and I should have gone home to Ali in the semis. I've had a great week and I've had great support.

'I've played some good stuff and I've been beaten by the best in the world so it's not all bad.'

Selby conceded he too could easily have gone out of the tournament before the final.

'I never really give in until the last ball's potted, that's just me all over,' he said. 'If I wasn't like that there's no way I would have got to the final.

'Like Shaun, I should have gone out to Ryan Day, should have gone out to Neil, but here we both are in the final.'

With 125,000 in his bank account just before Christmas, he added: 'We can have a bit more tinsel and a few more baubles, so that's good.'

Wigan 0 Bradford 0 (AET, 2-4 penaltiess): Shaun Maloney, Jordi Gomez miss Matt Duke hero

Wigan 0 Bradford 0 (AET, 2-4 on pens): Brave Bantams hold on to reach quarters

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 30 October 2012

Twice this season Bradford have won in extra-time to progress in this competition.

Here they left it even later, beating Premier League Wigan in a penalty shootout to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 24 years.

Safe hands: Matt Duke saves Jordi Gomez's spot-kick

Safe hands: Matt Duke saves Jordi Gomez's spot-kick

Gutted: Shaun Maloney reflects on his missed spot-kick

Gutted: Shaun Maloney reflects on his missed penalty

Match facts

Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Watson, Lopez, Stam (Orsula 120), Fyvie, Jones, Redmond (Beausejour 77), Gomez, Boselli, McManaman (Maloney 77). Subs not used: Pollitt, Kone, Golobart, Kiernan.

Booked: Jones, Thompson, Lopez.

Bradford: Duke, Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Meredith, Hines (Baker 101), Thompson (Gary Jones 56), Doyle, Atkinson, Wells (Connell 65), Hanson. Subs not used: McLaughlin, Brown, Bass, Swain.

Booked: McHugh, Darby.

Referee: Roger East.

Click for the latest League Cup results and stats

The League Two side converted all
four of their attempts and did not need to take a fifth when first Shaun
Maloney hooked his effort over the bar and then Jordi Gomez saw his
spot-kick saved by Matt Duke.

It sparked scenes of wild celebration
in the rain among Bradford's 5,000 travelling fans who had already seen
Phil Parkinson's side knock out Burton Albion and Notts County in
extra-time in the earlier rounds, as well as beating Watford with a 90th
minute winner.

Defeat to the lowest ranked team left
in the competition means Wigan have now gone out to lower league
opposition in six of the last nine season.

When Ivan Ramis had a header ruled
out for offside in the 10 minute, Roberto Martinez's side could never
have imagined that they would have such trouble putting the ball in the
back of the net again.

Fine chance: Bradford's Make Duke denies Wigan's Mauro Boselli

Fine chance: Bradford's Make Duke denies Wigan's Mauro Boselli

Hot tickets: A sparse crowd attended the fourth round fixture

Hot tickets: A sparse home crowd attended the fourth round fixture

Not surprisingly they dominated and
had a total of 22 shots on goal, but Gomez and Mauro Boselli – whose
only starts and goals this season have come in this competition – were
guilty of some glaring misses, while Duke came to the rescue on several
occasions.

Bradford rarely threatened another
upset but Nahki Wells gave Wigan a scare in the first half when he
connected with a cross by Zavon Hines and hooked his volley well wide of
the upright.

Eyes on the ball: James Hanson watches as Wigan's Adrian Lopez clears his lines

Eyes on the ball: James Hanson watches as Wigan's Adrian Lopez clears his lines

Hot pursuit: Bradford's James Meredith gets to grips with Callum McManaman

Hot pursuit: Bradford's James Meredith gets to grips with Callum McManaman

The outstanding Hines then raced
nearly the full length of the field in the 75th minute, shortly after
receiving treatment for a clash of heads, only to be denied a fantastic
goal when Ali Al Habsi blocked with his legs.

It was the Wigan keeper's first real save of the night.

On hand: Meredith deals with the threat of Mauro Boselli

On hand: Meredith deals with the threat of Boselli

Going to ground: Bradford's Nathan Doyle falls after David Jones' challenge

Going to ground: Bradford's Nathan Doyle falls after David Jones' challenge

/10/30/article-2225429-15C42334000005DC-756_634x325.jpg” width=”634″ height=”325″ alt=”Painful viewing: A steward and the Wigan mascot observe proceedings” class=”blkBorder” />

Painful viewing: A steward and the Wigan mascot observe proceedings

Alejandro Canizares leads Jason Dufner and co at Perth International

First there was Tiger, now here's koala! Canizares leads Dufner and co in Perth

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 18 October 2012

Former world No 3 Paul Casey continued his return to form to be amongst the leaders on the opening day of the inaugural ISPS HANDA Perth International.

Casey made the most of perfect conditions to card a five under par round of 67 to be two shots behind joint leaders Michael Hendry and Alejandro Canizares.

Englishman Casey has struggled for form this year after suffering a dislocated shoulder in a snowboarding accident last Christmas.

Bear necessities: American star Jason Dufner and his Amanda meet a koala at the Perth International

Bear necessities: American star Jason Dufner and his Amanda meet a koala at the Perth International

Furry friend: South Africa's Charl Schwartzel gets to grips with the Australian native

Furry friend: South Africa's Charl Schwartzel gets to grips with the Australian native

Perth International Leaderboard

Click here for all the latest scores

The 35-year-old did, however, show he
was on the way back at last week's Shinhan Donghae Open on the Korea
Golf Tour with a third-place finish and could have gone even lower today
but for some missed putts.

His long hitting served him well on
the picturesque Lake Karrinyup Country Club course as he birdied all
four par-fives, and picked up a further shot on the par-fourth 10th, in
an unblemished round.

Leader: Alejandro Canizares of Spain tees off on the 17th hole on his way to a superb 65

Leader: Alejandro Canizares of Spain tees off on the 17th hole on his way to a superb 65

'I've got some very good golf that is
starting to show through,' Casey said in an interview on Sky Sports
News. 'I'm going to fight and start playing the golf I know I'm capable
of and today was the start of that.'

While his injury problems have seen
Casey slip to 132nd in the world, he was the highest-ranked player on a
leaderboard dominated by little known names.

New Zealander Hendry defied his world
ranking of 574 as he fired eight birdies in his round that was matched
by Canizares, whose only win on the European Tour came six years ago.

Back in form: England's Paul Casey is in contention at Lake Karrinyup after an opening round of 67

Back in form: England's Paul Casey is in contention at Lake Karrinyup after an opening round of 67

Nice approach: Mikko Ilonen on the 11th

Nice approach: Mikko Ilonen on the 11th

Canizares was runner-up at the Reale
Seguros Open de Espana earlier this season but has since slipped to 70th
in the race to Dubai.

With only the top 60 set to qualify to
play at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in late November, the 29-year-old
knows this may be his last chance.

'I'm 70th at the moment so this is
either my last or my second to last tournament of the year,' he told the
European Tour's official website. 'I need a good finish – if I win it will fix a lot of things.'

Argentinian Emiliano Grillo, who is
also ranked outside the top 500, sat in between Casey and the leaders
after his 66 included an eagle three at the 15th.

While the lesser lights took centre
stage tournament drawcard Jason Dufner endured a mixed day in his first
appearance since the United States lost the Ryder Cup.

Dufner had got off to a healthy
beginning when he birdied three of his opening six holes but from there
he struggled, carding four bogeys in total, to finish the day with a 71.

Fellow American Bo van Pelt was a shot
better off while Edoardo Molinari, the brother of one of Europe's Ryder
Cup heroes Francesco, was also back in the field on one under.

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni backs young guns to fire against Germany

Ireland boss Trapattoni backs young guns to fire against Germany

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 11 October 2012

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni
Trapattoni has urged his young guns to seize their moment in the game he
has earmarked as the most crucial in the World Cup 2014 qualifying
campaign.

Ireland go into a competitive match
without one of Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Damien Duff
for the first time in 15 years.

Given was on the bench for the dead
rubber against Romania on October 11 1997, but this will be the first
time the golden quartet, who were stalwarts of the squads which reached
the 2002 World Cup Finals, and last summer's European Championships,
have not featured in a qualifier.

Injury nightmare: Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

Injury nightmare: Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

Match details

Ireland (4-3-3): Westwood; Coleman, O’Shea, O’Dea, Ward; Fahey, McCarthy, Andrews; McGeady, Walters, Cox.

Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Boateng, Badstuber, Mertesacker, Schmelzer; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Ozil, Mueller, Reus; Klose.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).

And on Friday night at the Aviva Stadium, Trapattoni's new-look Irish team, still reeling from their Euro 2012 disaster, will be facing the might of FIFA's second-ranked team Germany, who are unbeaten in nearly five years in qualifying matches.

Under-fire manager Trapattoni, who has named Sunderland defender John O'Shea as his captain after Robbie Keane failed his fitness test, says he is looking to the new generation to pull off a major shock against Joachim Low's slick outfit who bring a 12-game winning run to Dublin.

The 73-year-old Italian said: 'We are missing a lot of players but this is a great opportunity for the younger players to show us what they can do.

'They have quality, they have the possibility to grow and help us look to the future and the new campaign. We have to see if they can change the page and look at this new energy. I am an optimist.

'This is the most important match in our pool and this is one of those matches that personally I would love to play in myself.

'I am very excited about this game. I
have very beautiful memories of Germany and I know also their players. I
will be proud if we can beat or draw with them. We don't have players
like Moller, Ozil, Klose, Gomez, Goetze, and Podolski but we have our
quality.'

Former
Manchester United defender O'Shea will wear the captain's armband for
the first time in his 82nd international with few other options
available to Trapattoni who has suffered the worst injury crisis of his
51-game reign this week.

Ruled out: Robbie Keane

Ruled out: Robbie Keane

Keane, whose Achilles injury suffered at the hands of Paul McShane in training, has remained with the squad in the hope of being fit for Tuesday's trip to Faroes Islands.

But the stand-in skipper has acknowledged there are significant boots to fill for players like Seamus Coleman who will be making his competitive debut.

O'Shea added: 'Obviously it will be a bit strange not having the four of them there but Robbie still has a chance for the game on Tuesday and I am sure he will be around.

'He will be important figure, with his experience at relaxing people before the game, talking and making sure everyone is focussed on their jobs.

'But the new blood has to get a
chance. And what a team to do it against, the cream of Europe, the cream
of the world. They are ranked second and have some of the best young
players in the world who have shown it at their clubs already this
season and in the Champions League.

'So it is a massive test for us but one that the players and
management and the fans are looking forward to. We have to grab hold of
it and really take our chance.

'Your first couple of games for Ireland are really special, they all
are, but this really counts because there is qualification at the end of
it.

'All the lads have
impressed in training and friendlies and shown it at club level too so
they are picked on merit. Look at Seamus Coleman. He was playing on
right side of midfield and then he has gone back to full back and he has
done fantastically.

Threat: Germany's Lukas Podolski

Threat: Germany's Lukas Podolski

'There is a bit more pressure to it but he has shown in his attitude and ability that he will be able to overcome that. He has done brilliantly at Everton who have had a great start to the season. He has shown he is ready for this test.

'Four players from the Euros will be starting the game and the rest are, shall we say younger, and the experience is missing but people have been calling for these players to be given a chance . Now they have a massive chance and what a way to do it against Germany.

'Obviously it will be a bit strange without the four but Robbie still has a chance for the game on Tuesday and I am sure he will be around. He will be important figure, with his experience at relaxing people before the game, talking and making sure everyone is focussed on their jobs.

'Yes there are some familiar faces missing but the new blood has to get a chance. And what a team to do it against, the cream of Europe, the cream of the world. They are ranked second and have some of the best young players in the world who have shown it at their clubs already this season and in the Champions League.

'So it is a massive test for us but one that the players and management and the fans are looking forward to. You look forward to playing an occasion like this and playing against the best in the world is something you dream of. We have to grab hold of it and really take our chance.'

Meanwhile Germany coach Low warned his players not to underestimate their hosts and believes this could be the toughest test they will face in the 2014 campaign.

He said: 'The Irish never gave up and always fought back, even when they were behind. They were so proud to play for their country.

'That impressed me. I expect there to be a fantastic atmosphere tomorrow and I expect the Irish to play at a very high tempo and with a high level of intensity, and we are going to have to resist. We must not think at any time that the Irish will accept defeat.'

Heather Watson loses to Mona Barthel at Bell Challenge

Watson bows out of Bell Challange at first hurdle after Barthel defeat

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UPDATED:

07:41 GMT, 11 September 2012

Heather Watson suffered another first round exit after being defeated in the Bell Challenge in Quebec, but the Brit gave third seed Mona Barthel a big scare.

Watson, who also fell at the first hurdle in the US Open in her last outing, won the first set on a tie-break before her world No 36 ranked opponent levelled proceedings.

Barthel then capitalised as Watson appeared to run out of steam in the decider, the German 22-year-old advancing courtesy of a hard-fought 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 win in two hours and 38 minutes.

End of the road: Watson suffered another first-round defeat

End of the road: Watson suffered another first-round defeat

Moldova 0 England 5 – match report: Frank Lampard scores double

Moldova 0 England 5: Roy's boys up and running on road to Rio after Lampard double

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UPDATED:

20:55 GMT, 7 September 2012

England launched their World Cup qualifying campaign with a five-star performance in Moldova, to record their biggest away win since 1993.

Frank Lampard scored twice to provided the perfect answer to questions about his age, with Jermain Defoe, James Milner and a deflected Leighton Baines free-kick underlining England's overwhelming superiority.

It has to be pointed out England will face much stiffer tests than this, while the exits of John Terry and Steven Gerrard proved they did not escape unscathed.

Early breakthrough: Frank Lampard celebrates scoring England's opening goal against Moldova

Early breakthrough: Frank Lampard celebrates scoring England's opening goal against Moldova

Spot on: Lampard blasts home his penalty kick to open the scoring in the Zimbru Stadium in Kishinev

Spot on: Lampard blasts home his penalty kick to open the scoring in the Zimbru Stadium in Kishinev

Match facts

Moldova: Namasco, Armas, Epureanu, Bulgaru, Golovatenco, Sergei Kovalchuk, Sergei Kovalchuk, Gatcan, Onica, Suvorov (Dedov 46), Patras, Picusciac (Sidorenco 76 (Ovseanicov – 85)).

Subs not used: Serghei Pascenco, Racu, Ovseanicov, Cebotaru, Bordiyan, Doros, Alexandru Pascenco, Ivanov, Alexeev, Negai.

Booked: Bulgaru

England: Hart, Johnson, Lescott, Terry, Baines, Milner, Lampard, Cleverley, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Walcott 58), Gerrard (Carrick 46), Defoe (Welbeck 68).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Walker, Bertrand, Cahill, Jagielka, Sturridge, Butland.

Goals; Lampard 3 pen, 29, Defoe 32, Milner 74, Baines 83.

Booked: Johnson

Referee: Paul van Boekel (Geboren)

Attendance: 10,250

Although the support they received
from a 10,000-capacity stadium was impressive, Moldova, without a goal
in a year, were poor, every bit their lowly status as 141st-ranked team,
according to FIFA.

England are third in that list. And
although no-one actually believes they are that good, Roy Hodgson's men
can feel confident they have the quality to navigate the journey to the
world's most glamorous football nation.

Though his squad seemed to remain much
the same, there were only six survivors in Hodgson's starting line-up
from the team that lost their Euro 2012 quarter-final to Italy on
penalties in Kiev.

Lampard might have come in quite handy on that night.

After all, when he drilled home from
the spot after only four minutes this evening, the Chelsea man was
converting his eighth penalty for England, a record.

However, as he will be 36 when the
next World Cup finals get under way, some feel Lampard's time on the
international stage should be brought to an end.

All too easy: Lampard finds space in the penalty area to head England two goals to the good

All too easy: Lampard finds space in the penalty area to head England two goals to the good

All too easy: Lampard finds space in the penalty area to head England two goals to the good

All too easy: Lampard finds space in the penalty area to head England two goals to the good

Double trouble: Lampard wheels away after doubling England's advantage in Moldova

Double trouble: Lampard wheels away after doubling England's advantage in Moldova

Hodgson has dismissed such claims, insisting he will not jettison anyone on the grounds of age until others prove more capable.

How right he looks now, with Lampard moving onto 25 England goals with his first-half salvo, one more than Sir Geoff Hurst.

Hodgson could take some satisfaction from the knowledge one of his surprise selections created the opener.

Preferred to Manchester United
team-mate Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley was eager to make a positive
impression on his first competitive start.

Three and easy: Jermain Defoe cracks in England's third goal, beating Moldova's keeper at the near post

Three and easy: Jermain Defoe cracks in England's third goal, beating Moldova's keeper at the near post

All smiles: Defoe celebrates his goal team-mates James Milner (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

All smiles: Defoe celebrates his goal team-mates James Milner (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

He did exactly that by meeting James Milner's far post cross perfectly, only for Semion Bulgaru to block it with his hand.

Referee Paul van Boekel gave England the benefit of the doubt and Lampard gave them the early advantage they craved.

In truth, though Moldova tried hard,
they lacked the finesse to do any damage at this level, or the defensive
solidity to keep England out.

Keeper Stanislav Namasco was
unconvincing as he dealt with efforts from Defoe, Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Glen Johnson before he was beaten once more by
Lampard midway through the half.

Pick that out: James Milner (left) fired home his first competitive goal for England in the second half

Pick that out: James Milner (left) fired home his first competitive goal for England in the second half

All in a day's work: Manchester City midfielder Milner celebrates his strike in muted fashion

All in a day's work: Manchester City midfielder Milner celebrates his strike in muted fashion

Again the delivery came from the right – this time from Johnson – and Lampard was perfectly placed to convert.

Within three minutes, England had another.

Earlier this week, Defoe spoke about how being on the pitch is an escape from the tragedies he has experienced recently.

Selected ahead of Danny Welbeck for
his first competitive start in two years, Defoe's lively display was too
much for Moldova to cope with.

Five star: Leighton Baines wraps up the scoring with a deflected free-kick seven minutes from the end

Five star: Leighton Baines wraps up the scoring with a deflected free-kick seven minutes from the end

Give him a big hand: Everton left-back Baines acknowledges his late strike against Moldova

Give him a big hand: Everton left-back Baines acknowledges his late strike against Moldova

And when Oxlade-Chamberlain rolled a pass through a static defence, Defoe found the net with a first-time shot.

The sting in the tail from that
impressive opening period came when skipper Gerrard did not reappear for
the start of the second period. Football Association staff played down
injury concerns.

However, with an encounter against
Ukraine to follow at Wembley on Tuesday, Hodgson will hope Gerrard has
not suffered one of his periodic muscular problems.

Early bath: England captain Steven Gerrard (centre) was taken off at half-time with the game won

Early bath: England captain Steven Gerrard (centre) was taken off at half-time with the game won

If there is a consolation, it would be that Carrick has now made himself available.

On as Gerrard's replacement, Carrick
kept the ball ticking over as Hodgson would have wanted, even if some of
the intensity had disappeared from England's overall performance.

A fourth goal eventually arrived
courtesy of James Milner after both Cleverley and substitute Welbeck had
declined opportunities to shoot themselves.

Worth the trip: Lampard and Glen Johnson thank the travelling England fans for their support

Worth the trip: Lampard and Glen Johnson thank the travelling England fans for their support

Job done: England manager Roy Hodgson applauds his side's efforts during their 5-0 win

Job done: England manager Roy Hodgson applauds his side's efforts during their 5-0 win

And 10 minutes from time, Leighton
Baines completed the victory, with, remarkably, England's first goal
direct from a free-kick since David Beckham scored against Ecuador in
2006.

However, the late departure of the
injured Terry, leaving England to play the remainder of injury-time with
10 men and Carrick alongside Joleon Lescott in central defence,
confirmed Hodgson's men did not have things all their own way.

Wimbledon 2012: Petra Kvitova eases past Varvara Lepchenko

Defending champ Kvitova growing into tournament after Lepchenko rout

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UPDATED:

13:39 GMT, 30 June 2012

Defending champion Petra Kvitova sailed into the second week of Wimbledon courtesy of her most accomplished performance of the tournament so far.

The fourth seed dropped just one game on her way to a 6-1 6-0 win over Uzbekistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko, setting up a fourth-round meeting with Francesca Schiavone in the process.

Strong performance: Kvitova

Strong performance: Kvitova

That match will no doubt present a harder task for the Czech, but for now she can reflect on a hassle-free opening week that has seen her lose just 13 games in total.

Winning smile: Kvitova

Winning smile: Kvitova

She appears to have got stronger as she has gone along too, having conceded eight games to first-round opponent Akgul Amanmuradova and four to Great Britain's Elena Baltacha last time out.

The only time she looked in any trouble was when she conceded two first-set break points, but she saved them with ease.

She
won 53 points to her 53rd-ranked opponent's 28 and now has a day to
prepare for her meeting with Italian Schiavone, who secured her passage
through with a similarly routine 6-0 6-4 win over Klara Zakopalova.

Wimbledon 2012: British talent shines through

High five! Wonder Ward leads march of the Brit bunch at Wimbledon

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UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 26 June 2012

Two huge roars across the All England Club, separated by just a few minutes, sent out the message loud and clear: British tennis doesn’t always need to be about Andy Murray.

Moments after Elena Baltacha defeated Italy’s Karin Knapp, James Ward triumphantly raised his arms in the air after beating world No 36 Pablo Andujar for his first ever win at Wimbledon.

Brit special: Elena Baltacha produced the goods in the round one

Brit special: James Ward produced the goods in the round one

Brit special: Elena Baltacha and James Ward produced the goods on Tuesday

The 25-year-old was soon joined in the second round by British women’s No 1 Anne Keothavong, who swept aside Spain’s Laura Pous-Tio 6-3, 6-3. With Heather Watson having won on Monday that makes it five Brits through to the second round for the first time since 2006, when Tim Henman, Andy Murray, Richard Bloomfield, Martin Lee, Jamie Delgado, Sarah Borwell and Melanie South all made it.

Laura Robson and Johanna Konta were unable to join this year’s winners as they bowed out despite taking much higher-ranked opponents to the wire.

After sealing a gutsy victory, delighted Baltacha ran over to Judy Murray — her Fed Cup captain — who told her she will also be going to the Olympics, news that saw them both burst into tears. ‘I was very emotional,’ said a tearful Baltacha.

Baltacha has endured what she called a ‘nightmare’ few weeks, losing her British No 1 spot, contracting conjunctivitis and struggling with a neck problem which meant she didn’t practise her serve for five days leading up to the match.

Upsetting the odds: Ward's win over Pablo Andujar proves British tennis isn't just about Andy Murray

Upsetting the odds: Ward's win over Pablo Andujar proves British tennis isn't just about Andy Murray

All that against the backdrop of potentially missing the Olympics she was so desperate to be a part of.

‘I think everything I’ve been feeling over the past three weeks has all come out in those tears,’ she added.

Up next for Baltacha is last year’s champion Petra Kvitova, a match she admits she has little chance of winning, although it could give her another chance to play on Centre Court.

‘The first time I played on Centre I remember crying for probably an hour before I went on because I was overwhelmed that they put me on such a big court. Have I got a shot at beating her Probably not but you never know.’

Ward was facing an opponent in Andujar with whom he was already familiar as the pair were formerly hitting partners. It soon became clear on Court 14 that the contest would be closer than the 137 places that separated them in the rankings.

Blotch on the copybook: Laura Robson was undone by former Grand Slam champion Francesca Schiavone in three tough sets

Blotch on the copybook: Laura Robson was undone by former Grand Slam champion Francesca Schiavone in three tough sets

Neither was able to establish a firm grip during four sets in which the balance of power shifted on numerous occasions.

And it appeared as though the match was slipping away from the British No 2 until a disputed call in the sixth game of the final set went Ward’s way when the Spaniard slipped over.

Ward asked if his opponent was OK and received a rebuke from the umpire who had misinterpreted the Briton’s comments. ‘I’ll keep my mouth shut in future,’ he said later.

From there on, Andujar failed to win a game, but Ward insisted such a performance had been coming after a recent improvement in his form.

‘I’ve not been playing like someone with my ranking recently,’ he said, ‘I’ve been unlucky to meet guys at the top of their game. But Pablo is a very good player. He has wins in clay-court tournaments for fun and he’s not ranked 36 in the world for nothing.’

Ward’s triumph was tinged with disappointment as he had been hoping for a wildcard entry into the Olympics, but there was some good news.

For good measure: Andy Murray kept up his side of the bargain with an easy win

For good measure: Andy Murray kept up his side of the bargain with an easy win

The prize- money for reaching the second round was enough for the Arsenal fan to reconsider his decision to give up his season-ticket at the Emirates. The 14,500 will be ample for Ward to renew. A win over No 10 seed Mardy Fish on Thursday and he might be able to afford a corporate box.

Keothavong reached the second round for the fourth time in her career, seeing off world No 102 Pous-Tio comfortably after a topsy-turvy start to the match.

She said: ‘Does this mean everyone is going to write something good Brits winning matches at Wimbledon. Isn’t that what everyone wants For Wardy to come back and win a match like that is brilliant.

Marching on: Anne Keothavong beat Spain's Laura Pous-Tio in straight sets

Marching on: Anne Keothavong beat Spain's Laura Pous-Tio in straight sets

‘I think it’s been great. The better all the Brits do, I think the better all round for everyone.’

Robson became the British No 2 on Monday, breaking into the world’s top 100 for the first time, and cruised to the first set 6-2 against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. But the Italian rallied to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

‘I thought I was in control and then just made a few mistakes and let her get back into the match,’ said Robson. ‘She’s a Grand Slam champion and took advantage of that completely.’

Konta, who only received her British passport last month, impressed but paid the price for not taking her chances in the match held over from Monday against world No 32 Christina McHale, losing 6-7, 6-2, 10-8.

The 21-year-old, who was born in Sydney to Hungarian parents but has lived in Eastbourne since 2005, said: ‘I’m happy I was able to bring out the level that I want to start playing at. But I’m kicking myself. I had opportunities I didn’t take.’

Jamie Baker’s hopes are in the balance after rain stopped play with the Scot a set and a break down against Andy Roddick.

Alastair Cook ready for Australia ODIs

Captain Cook ready to turn up the heat on the Aussies ahead of ODI series

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 25 June 2012

Alastair Cook will on Tuesday take an early chance to reacquaint himself with the Australia side who became sick of the sight of him during the last Ashes.

The England one-day captain plays for Essex against an Aussie team who are here for a series of five one-day matches squeezed into the middle of another hectic summer.

Cooking with gas: The England captain leads his side against the Aussies

Cooking with gas: The England captain leads his side against the Aussies

England squad to face Aussies

AN Cook (capt), JM Anderson, JM Bairstow, IR Bell, RS Bopara, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, JW Dernbach, ST Finn, C Kieswetter, EJG Morgan, SR Patel, GP Swann, IJL Trott.

Cook, who scored 766 runs in his
triumphant Australian summer when England won the Ashes 3-1 Down Under,
wants to take a look at the old enemy’s attack ahead of Friday’s first
ODI at Lord’s. Ravi Bopara will join Cook in the tour match at
Chelmsford to bring back memories of the huge partnership the pair made
against Australia for their county during the fabled 2005 season.

England, who are unbeaten in six home
one-day series, have named a 14 unchanged from the original group who
beat West Indies 2-0. The players added to England’s squad for the
washed-out final 50-over match against West Indies — Stuart Meaker,
James Tredwell and Chris Woakes — were released in favour of the big
guns.

‘Playing against the No 1 ranked team
is an excellent test for us as we try to keep on steadily improving
ahead of the Champions Trophy next year and the 2015 World Cup,’ said
national selector Geoff Miller.

Old foe: Brett Lee is back on these shores to face England

Old foe: Brett Lee is back on these shores to face England

This series, which is another step
towards overkill and the erosion of the greatest rivalry in cricket,
allows English audiences to take a look at Australia’s new great pace
hopes, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, ahead of next year’s Ashes.

There are also some familiar faces in Michael Clarke, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson.

Australia plan to field their first-choice team in Tuesday’s day-night game ahead of the start of the NatWest Series.

‘England will be formidable
opposition in their conditions but we feel like we have got our one-day
side going in the right direction,’ said Australia coach Mickey Arthur.

‘Our guys know where they stand and they are ready to take the baton on.’

EURO 2012: England sixth in FIFA world rankings

England head into Euros as world's sixth-best team (well, according to FIFA…)

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UPDATED:

10:40 GMT, 6 June 2012

Spain will begin their defence of the European Championship as the world’s top-ranked team, while England have risen one place into sixth following their friendly wins over Norway and Belgium.

All four teams in Group B at Euro 2012 – Germany, Holland, Denmark and Portugal – are ranked in the top 10, while the highest ranked team in Group A is Russia, who are 13th.

Flying high: England are ranked the sixth best team in the world

Flying high: England are ranked the sixth best team in the world

How teams in Euro 2012 rank:

1 Spain (Group C)
3 Germany (B)
4 Holland (B)
6 England (D)
8 Croatia (C)
9 Denmark (B)
10 Portugal (B)
12 Italy (C)
13 Russia (A)
14 France (D)
15 Greece (A)
17 Sweden (D)
18 Republic of Ireland (C)
27 Czech Republic (A)
52 Ukraine (D)
62 Poland (A)

Germany have lost their No 2 ranking to Uruguay but remain ahead of Holland, who are ranked fourth, while Denmark have risen to ninth as a result of Portugal plummeting from fifth to 10th.

Co-hosts Ukraine (52) and Poland (62) are well adrift of their fellow Euro 2012 competitors.

Meanwhile, Argentina have climbed two places to seventh, Brazil one place into fifth and Croatia remain in eighth.

Ivory Coast are the lead African nation in 16th. Mexico head the CONCACAF countries, up one to No 19, while Japan are now Asia’s best, rising seven spots to 23rd.