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Chris Ashton backed by Saracens coach Paul Gustard

Ashton backed by Saracens coach Gustard after poor Six Nations

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

21:49 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 3 April 2013

Chris Ashton, the under-fire England wing, has received the backing of Saracens defence coach Paul Gustard.

The club head into Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Twickenham believing Ashton is in excellent form despite his poor Six Nations campaign that led to an inquest into his tackling.

Ashton scored his first try in almost two months last Saturday, against Wasps, and Gustard expects more in the Heineken Cup.

Out of sorts: Ashton scored just one try in the Six Nations

Out of sorts: Ashton scored just one try in the Six Nations

Jumping for joy: Chris Ashton celebrates after scoring against Wasps

Jumping for joy: Ashton celebrates after scoring against Wasps last weekend

‘Even if Chris had not scored a try, it does not mean he’s not played well,’ Gustard said. ‘He’s done really, really well for us in the last two weeks and is in a good place after a good show at Wasps.

The problem of being a wing in rugby is that it’s a bit like being a goalkeeper in football. You are the last line in defence; a mistake can cost you.

‘Chris is not a bad defender. Sometimes, he misses a tackle but so what Everyone misses a tackle,’ Gustard added.

On the run: Ashton charges upfield playing for Saracens

On the run: Ashton charges upfield playing for Saracens

He could also be Ashton’s coach on England’s summer tour of Argentina if he does not make the Lions trip to Australia.

Gustard is taking over temporarily because Andy Farrell will help coach the Lions with Warren Gatland.

‘I’m not going to change the way England defend,’ he said. ‘The system has worked well over the last season. It’s a matter of learning and developing as a coach.’

Phil Taylor to play Raymond van Barneveld in World Championships semi-final

Barney and Taylor in fine form as they prepare for semi-final showdown

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 December 2012

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld will play their third match on the PDC World Darts Championship stage when they clash in a blockbuster semi-final on Sunday.

'The Power' romped to a 5-0 win over an out-of-sorts Andy Hamilton after Barney demolished Simon Whitlock 5-1 on Friday night at Ally Pally.

Taylor was in a ruthless mood as he dropped just two legs against the 2012 runner-up while Van Barneveld averaged 102.32 as he continued to make light work of a tough draw, following his 4-0 whitewash of Gary Anderson in the previous round.

In top form: Phil Taylor thrashed Andy Hamilton 5-0 in the quarter-finals

In top form: Phil Taylor thrashed Andy Hamilton 5-0 in the quarter-finals

The 15-time world champion pounced on a hatful of missed doubles from ‘The Hammer’ as he won the first six legs to take a two-set lead.

Hamilton finally registered his first leg when he held throw at the start of the third set before Taylor responded with a 78 checkout to level at 1-1.
And ‘The Power’ took advantage of Hamilton’s misfortune in the next leg as he broke the throw after ‘The Hammer’ came agonisingly close to a 146 checkout. Taylor then continued his dominant form as he wrapped up the set 3-1 before another clean sweep in the fourth set.

Hamilton then won his second leg of the match at the start of the fifth set but it wasn’t long before normal service was resumed for Taylor as he reeled off the next three legs to seal an emphatic whitewash.

Off his game: Hamilton missed some key doubles

Off his game: Hamilton missed some key doubles

He told Sky Sports: ‘It wasn’t easy but he just kept missing doubles. That game was all about finishing and Andy just kept letting me in. I knew if I could put him under pressure he was missing doubles. You’ve got to bully him, that’s what Andy does to other people.’

Van Barneveld said he no longer fears the 15-time world champion but Taylor said: ‘I think he does, why would he say it otherwise I’m not going to get into a slanging match with Barney because it is the semi that everyone wanted. If he doesn’t fear me then I’m going to have to make him.’

The man with the unenviable task of denying Taylor a 16th world title is Van Barneveld, who cast a spell over ‘The Wizard’ with a clinical performance.

The first three legs all went against throw with Van Barneveld edging 2-1 ahead. Whitlock had a chance to force a deciding leg but a missed 84 checkout let the Dutchman in to hit his favourite double 18 and take a high-quality first set 3-1.

Meaning business: Raymond van Barneveld eased into the semi-final with a win over Simon Whitlock

Meaning business: Raymond van Barneveld eased into the semi-final with a win over Simon Whitlock

Barney’s imperious start continued as he checked out 86 in the first leg of set two before a magical 135 checkout in the next leg broke ‘The Wizard’s’ throw. The five-time world champion hit double 10 in the next leg to seal a 2-0 lead before the Aussie fought back.

Whitlock won the third set 3-2 as all legs went with throw before breaking throw to lead 1-0 in the fourth. But Van Barneveld broke back with a 112 checkout before winning a pivotal deciding leg with an 86 checkout to go 3-1 ahead.

And the match was all but over as Barney broke at a crucial time in the fifth set to take a commanding 4-1 lead. With the set level at 2-2, Whitlock had the throw in the deciding leg with a chance to move just one set behind, but it was the Dutchman who hit double four to put himself on the brink of a semi-final place.

End of the road: Whitlock's World Championship was brought to an end by Van Barneveld

End of the road: Whitlock's World Championship was brought to an end by Van Barneveld

Barney knew the importance of that break as tears of joy started to run down his face. The five-time world champion had the throw in the next set and he checked out 91 on Whitlock’s throw before closing out the set 3-0 and the match 5-1.

He told Sky Sports: 'When I knew I was playing Simon I thought it was going to be a 5-4 or 5-3 game. Simon has a good record against me but that was a different Van Barneveld. I won the Grand Slam and believed in myself and thought “just play the board, not the opponent”.’

When asked about his emotional cry at the end of the fifth set, Barney said: ‘I’ve had so many times when I was missing so many doubles and it meant so much for me that that dart went in to win that set. I was so emotional there because I’ve put so much time and effort in.’

'I’m not scared,’ said Van Barneveld about playing Taylor in the semis. ‘I want to play the best players in the world.’

The two remaining quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday night and they are every bit as mouth-watering as Friday’s double header.

Reigning champion Adrian Lewis plays red hot Dutchman Michael van Gerwen with a repeat semi-final against James Wade on the cards. ‘The Machine’, who led Lewis 5-1 before losing 6-5 last year, takes on Wes Newton.

Middlesbrough 3 Huddersfield 0 – match report: Scott McDonald hits double

Middlesbrough 3 Huddersfield 0: McDonald double gets Boro back to winning ways

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UPDATED:

22:31 GMT, 27 November 2012

Scott McDonald's brace helped Middlesbrough recover from back-to-back defeats as they recorded a convincing win over an out-of-sorts Huddersfield.

Boro's impressive start to the campaign had hit a snag when they suffered successive losses to Cardiff and Bristol City, but they got back to winning ways in front of nearly 22,000 at the Riverside this evening.

With Marvin Emnes and Ishmael Miller both on the bench, McDonald repaid manager Tony Mowbray's faith in starting him by stabbing home the opener.

At the double: Scott McDonald (right) hit two goals as Middlesbrough beat Huddersfield

At the double: Scott McDonald (right) hit two goals as Middlesbrough beat Huddersfield

MATCH FACTS

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Hines, Bikey, Halliday (Parnaby 90), Ledesma (Zemmama 87), Bailey, McEachran, Smallwood, McDonald, Jutkiewicz (Miller 87).

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Emnes, Luke Williams.

Booked: Hoyte.

Goals: McDonald 28, Ledesma 66, McDonald 85.

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Lynch, Peter Clarke, Dixon, Ward, Norwood (Atkinson 54), Arfield, Robinson (Hammill 54), Church, Novak (Lee 68).

Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Gerrard, Wallace.

Att: 21,850

Ref: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).

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Only the crossbar denied the hosts a
second before the break as Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies pushed
Peter Clarke's hacked clearance on to the woodwork.

Lukas Jutkiewicz and McDonald
continued to cause the visitors' back four problems but it was Emmanuel
Ledesma who got the second goal with a dipping free-kick just after the
hour mark.

McDonald then fired in his second of
the evening, Jutkiewicz once again grabbing the assist, to extend
Huddersfield's winless streak to three games.

Both sides made changes from their weekend XIs and it was Huddersfield who were the more impressive starters.

After a couple of speculative efforts
went wide, Jack Hunt's mazy run culminated in a vicious left-foot strike
which just whistled over the top of the crossbar.

There was plenty of frustration for
the home side early on as Josh McEachran and Ledesma failed to coax out
their creative sides.

That all changed 28 minutes in, though, as McDonald turned in Jutkiewicz's centre for the opener.

Justin Hoyte burst into the box from
his right-back berth and rolled the ball to Jutkiewicz, who in turn
fired across goal where McDonald produced one of his predatory finishes.

You beauty: Emmanuel Ledesma (second right) scores the second goal for Boro from a free kick

You beauty: Emmanuel Ledesma (second right) scores the second goal for Boro from a free kick

Terriers captain Clarke then had his goalkeeper Smithies to thank just before the break as he spared the centre-back's blushes.

Jutkiewicz kept his head down when
embarking on a run and was oblivious to the fact nobody in a red shirt
was near his cut across, yet Clarke sliced his clearance towards goal
and Smithies had to palm the ball on to the crossbar.

Smithies' opposite number Jason Steele
also had to be alert to ensure Scott Arfield's dipping effort did not
drop under his crossbar.

McDonald and Jutkiewicz almost
combined to devastating effect once more minutes after the break but the
latter dallied when the chance materialised, allowing Smithies to
narrow the gap and make the save.

Manager Simon Grayson waited less than
10 minutes after the interval to make alterations for the visitors,
introducing Adam Hammill and Chris Atkinson.

It did not prevent Boro's front two
from threatening their goal once more, however, as Jutkiewicz displayed
great strength to turn away from two men before teeing up McDonald, who
smashed an effort narrowly wide.

The hosts did not have to wait much longer to double their advantage as Ledesma curled in a magical 25-yard free-kick.

The Argentinian earned the set piece
himself, when he cajoled Paul Dixon into tripping him, and his curling
effort dipped so low that Smithies could only push it into the roof of
his net.

Jutkiewicz forced Smithies into a good
save before he once more assumed his role as the provider for McDonald
five minutes from time.

The visitors wanted play stopped with
Hunt down on the ground injured but Boro continued unabated and
Jutkiewicz's cushioned header down was drilled home by McDonald to wrap
up the points.

Tony Bellew fights through the blood to step closer to world shot

Bellew fights through the blood to step closer to world shot

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 17 November 2012

Tony Bellew survived a nasty cut to
jump a step closer to a world title shot with a unanimous decision win
over Argentina's Roberto Bolonti in Nottingham.

The fiery Liverpudlian was seeking
to build on his recent win over Edison Miranda as he looks to earn a
second bid for world honours.

Bellew had shown his world title
credentials in a premature and unsuccessful shot at Nathan Cleverly's
WBO light-heavyweight title last year and has been rebuilding towards
another crack since then.

Stepping stone: Tony Bellew celebrates his victory over Roberto Bolonti

Stepping stone: Tony Bellew celebrates his victory over Roberto Bolonti

He continued that progress at the Capital FM Arena with a solid win over Bolonti despite suffering a nasty third-round cut above the right eye which had initially looked potentially catastrophic to his hopes.

Tonight's scrap with Bolonti was essentially an eliminator of sorts for the WBC crown, with the body's inconsequential 'silver' belt on the line.

Evertonian Bellew, 29, had a record of 18-1 (12KO wins) heading into the bout while 33-year-old Bolonti (30-1, 19KO wins) was boxing outside Argentina for the first time.

Bellew provided the early pressure and landed a left which wobbled Bolonti mid-round.

Through the gate: Tony Bellew throws a punch

Through the gate: Tony Bellew throws a punch

A right to the top of the head then put Bolonti down, though the South American may have lost his footing.

He beat Victor Loughlin's count and survived the round as Bellew failed to capitalise, despite landing a big right.

The second round was all Bellew until a cheeky right from Bolonti gave him food for thought.

A left hook put Bolonti down in the third but again he rose quickly with a clear head.

He was certainly more wary as a result but things threatened to turn when Bellew suffered a bad cut over the right eye, thought to be from a Bolonti left hook.

Down and out: Tony Bellew knocks Roberto Bolonti down

Down and out: Tony Bellew knocks Roberto Bolonti down

The wound was far from superficial as blood flowed into the Englishman's right eye but Bellew at least had Mick Williamson, a renowned cutsman, in his corner.

A left hook to the body by Bellew punctuated a quieter fifth round with the Briton remaining patient safe in the knowledge Williamson had worked his magic on the cut.

Bellew landed a left uppercut in the ninth which was the best shot of the middle rounds while a left hook to the mid-section was correctly adjudged to have been too low.

A right uppercut seemed to hurt Bolonti and Bellew piled in, landing combinations for the first time in several rounds.

Tough test: Roberto Bolonti gets a shot in against Tony Bellew

Tough test: Roberto Bolonti gets a shot in against Tony Bellew

While the pace was slow and the action fractured, Bellew was winning the rounds with relative ease.

Another uppercut in the 10th led to another aggressive flurry but again Bolonti held it together.

At the final bell the fighters embraced, with both men claiming to have won. But the victory was clearly Bellew's, with scores of 120-106, 119-107 and 120-106.

Marvin Sordell race claims still not been reported to police

Bolton's Sordell yet to make formal complaint to police over Millwall race claim

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 8 October 2012

Police are still waiting for Marvin Sordell to make a formal complaint after the striker claimed Bolton players were racially abused by Millwall fans on Saturday.

The forward claimed on Twitter that he was taunted by fans at the London club's ground as he warmed up as a substitute.

He also alleged that three other Bolton players were abused during the npower Championship fixture.

Claim: Marvin Sordell says some Bolton players received racist abuse at Millwall

Claim: Marvin Sordell says some Bolton players received racist abuse at Millwall

Scotland Yard have said no official complaint had been made, but that any allegations would be investigated.

A spokesman said: 'There has been no complaint made to us, but if any allegation of racist behaviour or chanting is made it will be investigated thoroughly.'

Sordell, who also plays for England Under 21s, said on the social networking site: 'It's 2012 in England and people are still shouting racial abuse at a football game! #shocking.'

In another entry, he claimed Lee Chung-yong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe also suffered abuse.

He said: 'Chungy, Pratts, Benik and I had all sorts of things said to us. The police were standing yards away and did nothing.'

Both Millwall and Bolton are investigating the claims.

Millwall's
statement said: 'The two clubs remain determined to do everything in
their power to ensure that racist behaviour will not be tolerated.

Him too: Sordell also said team-mate Benik Afobe had been targeted too

Him too: Sordell also said team-mate Benik Afobe had been targeted too

'We will be speaking to the police and
the match officials on this matter but no further comment will be made
until this process has been completed and the investigations have been
concluded.'

Bolton said it was working with
Millwall in the inquiry, and added: 'Both clubs remain determined that
racist behaviour or language will not be tolerated.'

Millwall defender Danny Shittu says
he did not hear any racial abuse towards Bolton's players during
Saturday's match at The Den.

Shittu told Sky Sports News on
Monday: 'On the day we didn't really hear anything. I think there was so
much going on that day, but me personally I didn't really hear
anything.

'It's something that I didn't really find out about until I got home and saw it on the news.

'It something that is very, very sad to see. I know that Millwall have been doing a lot to combat these kind of things.

'And not just Millwall, I know a lot of clubs work on that. We're very disappointed to hear something like that going on.'

Sordell also said Lee Chung-Yong (left) was subjected to abuse at The Den

Sordell also said Lee Chung-Yong (left) was subjected to abuse at The Den

Shittu, currently in his second spell with Millwall, has also played against the Lions at The Den.

And the 32-year-old insists he has never been on the receiving end of racist taunts as an opposition player.

'When I did play against them, anybody will tell you that anybody who comes back to Millwall, it's a hard ground to play at,' added Shittu.

'The fans really do get on your back, but personally I didn't really experience any racism from them.

'It is a hard place to come and play and you do get a lot of abuse, like you do at any club you go to.

'I didn't personally get any racist taunts or anything like that.'

Millwall to report alleged racism against Marvin Sordell

Millwall to report alleged racism to police after Sordell claim

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UPDATED:

10:27 GMT, 8 October 2012

Millwall have pledged to call in police to investigate claims that four Bolton players were subjected to racist abuse.

Bolton forward Marvin Sordell claimed on Twitter that he was taunted by fans at the London club's ground on Saturday as he warmed up as a substitute.

He also alleged that three other Bolton players were abused during the npower Championship fixture.

Claim: Marvin Sordell says he and other Bolton players received racist abuse at Millwall

Claim: Marvin Sordell says he and other Bolton players received racist abuse at Millwall

Scotland Yard have said no official complaint had been made, but that any allegations would be investigated.

A spokesman said: 'There has been no complaint made to us, but if any allegation of racist behaviour or chanting is made it will be investigated thoroughly.'

Sordell, who also plays for England Under 21s, said on the social networking site: 'It's 2012 in England and people are still shouting racial abuse at a football game! #shocking.'

In another entry, he claimed Lee Chung-yong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe also suffered abuse.

Him too: Sordell also said team-mate Benik Afobe (pictured) had been targeted too

Him too: Sordell also said team-mate Benik Afobe (pictured) had been targeted too

He said: 'Chungy, Pratts, Benik and I had all sorts of things said to us. The police were standing yards away and did nothing.'

Both Millwall and Bolton are investigating the claims.

Millwall's statement said: 'The two clubs remain determined to do everything in their power to ensure that racist behaviour will not be tolerated.

Sordell also said Lee Chung-Yong (left) was subjected to abuse at The Den

Sordell also said Lee Chung-Yong (left) was subjected to abuse at The Den

'We will be speaking to the police and
the match officials on this matter but no further comment will be made
until this process has been completed and the investigations have been
concluded.'

Bolton said it was working with
Millwall in the inquiry, and added: 'Both clubs remain determined that
racist behaviour or language will not be tolerated.'

Mikel Arteta defends Fernando Torres

Lay off Torres! Arteta puts London rivalry aside to defend misfiring Chelsea striker

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UPDATED:

12:29 GMT, 28 September 2012

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has defended his Spanish compatriot Fernando Torres ahead of his side's derby match against Chelsea on Saturday.

The 50million Blues striker has never been able to reach his best in a Chelsea shirt but Arteta is appalled by some of the criticism which has come his way.

Arteta has known Torres for a long time, playing through the Spanish youth ranks together and they were even neighbours when at Everton and Liverpool respectively.

Flop: Fernando Torres has rarely looked like a 50m striker

Flop: Fernando Torres has rarely looked like a 50m striker

'I don’t like the way he has been treated because I have known him since we were 16 years old and I really appreciate him,' Arteta told the Evening Standard.

'He is a friend of mine. Football is like that — it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, it is only what you have done in the last few weeks and he has been criticised.

'Mentally he is really strong, even if someone doubts him, because he has been dealing with pressure since he was 17. At Atletico, he was captain by that age.

'Hopefully, he is going to get over that and it is going to become a better situation because it is not nice.

'I talk to him a lot. When we were in Liverpool, we used to live next to each other and he is a really nice guy. Everyone would tell you the same.

'Even if he plays for Chelsea, I don’t want something bad to happen to him. Obviously when it comes to the game tomorrow, we are not friends.'

Many thought Torres would come to the fore with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba now playing for Shanghai Shenhua in China, but bar occasional moments of brilliance he has still seemed out of sorts.

Arteta continued: 'When you play as a striker and they pay 50million for you, you are under huge pressure.

Leave him alone: Mikel Arteta defended his friend

Leave him alone: Mikel Arteta defended his friend

'And when the ball isn’t going in, it is
even more difficult because people always look at that. For a striker,
sometimes it is not fair. For a midfielder or a defender it is easier to
adapt. For a striker it is tough.'

Regardless of Torres' form, Arteta knows the derby will be a hard game for his team becuse of Chelsea's other attacking players.

'I knew Oscar from Brazil and Eden from France,' explained Arteta. 'They have Mata as well — tricky players who are creative in the final third. They can cause you trouble.

'Chelsea are top of the league so that means they are the best and we know it is a tough game.'

World Twenty20 2012: Zimbabwe eliminated after South Africa defeat

Zimbabwe eliminated after 10-wicket thrashing at hands of South Africa

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 20 September 2012

Jacques Kallis starred with the ball as South Africa cruised to a comprehensive 10-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in their World Twenty20 opener in Hambantota today, sealing their berth in the Super Eights in the process.

Kallis took four for 15 off his four overs as Zimbabwe were limited to 93 for eight and South Africa's openers Richard Levi (50 not out) and Hashim Amla (32no) easily knocked off the target with 44 balls remaining.

The result means South Africa and Sri Lanka have both qualified for the Super Eights from Group C as Zimbabwe bow out of the competition having also been heavily beaten by hosts Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Stroll in the park: Kallis starred for the Proteas as they hammered Zimbabwe

Stroll in the park: Kallis starred for the Proteas as they hammered Zimbabwe

South Africa v Zimbabwe

Click here for a full scoreboard

After winning the toss and putting
Zimbabwe in, South Africa were soon establishing a suffocating
stranglehold on their African rivals thanks to some miserly bowling
right from the start.

Dale Steyn (one for nine) conceded
just a single off the first over, and then Morne Morkel (two for 16)
leaked just two off the second, which included South Africa's first
breakthrough when Vusi Sibanda was bowled for a duck.

Thanks for coming: Zimbabwe have been sent out of the competition at the first hurdle

Thanks for coming: Zimbabwe have been sent out of the competition at the first hurdle

Thanks for coming: Zimbabwe have been sent out of the competition at the first hurdle

The dangerous Brendan Taylor quickly
came and went for four, also dismissed by Morne Morkel, and when Albie
Morkel snared Hamilton Masakadza for six, Zimbabwe were in all sorts of
trouble on 16 for three.

Craig Ervine (37) and Stuart
Matsikenyeri (11) stemmed the tide for a while with a fourth-wicket
stand worth 35, but they were the only two Zimbabwe batsmen to reach
double figures as man-of-the-match Kallis made short work of the middle
order.

Kallis sent back Matsikenyeri and
Elton Chigumbura in successive balls in a double-wicket maiden before
also snaring Graeme Cremer (six) and Ervine as Zimbabwe limped to 77 for
eight.

Bowled over: Morkel was in the wickets as Zimbabwe posted a woeful total of 93

Bowled over: Morkel was in the wickets as Zimbabwe posted a woeful total of 93

Bowled over: Morkel was in the wickets as Zimbabwe posted a woeful total of 93

Bowled over: Morkel was in the wickets as Zimbabwe posted a woeful total of 93

Zimbabwe at least managed to avoid
their lowest T20 total of 84 but they did not make much more as South
Africa were set a target of 93 to win.

The Proteas achieved that with few
serious concerns, with the only clear opportunity seeing Amla dropped by
Sibanda at point, although South Africa were 88 without loss at that
stage.

All smiles: Kallis finished with figures of 4-15 from his allotted four overs

All smiles: Kallis finished with figures of 4-15 from his allotted four overs

US Open 2012: Andy Murray to face Novak Djokovic in the final

Murray to face Djokovic in US Open final after defending champion crushes Ferrer

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 9 September 2012

Andy Murray will face Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open on Monday after the defending champion defeated David Ferrer in their
delayed semi-final in New York.

Fourth seed Ferrer had led 5-2 when play was suspended on Saturday but,
although he took the first set, Djokovic quickly hit back and wrapped up
a 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory after two hours and 32 minutes.

Enlarge

All the rage: Serbia's Novak Djokovic

All the rage: Serbia's Novak Djokovic

It will be the second grand slam final meeting between Murray and Djokovic after the Serb's crushing win at the Australian Open last year at the start of a sensational season that saw him pick up three slam titles.

He successfully defended his title in Melbourne this year, beating Murray and Rafael Nadal back-to-back in brutal five-setters, but Murray got some revenge with victory in the Olympic semi-final before going on to win the gold medal. Djokovic will play in his third consecutive US Open final and his seventh final out of the last nine grand slams.

He said: 'It's a huge relief to get through this match. David's a great competitor, he's one of the fittest guys on tour and he never gives up.

Under pressure: David Ferrer scrambles to hit a a return

Under pressure: David Ferrer scrambles to hit a a return

'We were all praying for less wind today. He handled the wind much
better than I did but I came in today as a different player and I'm just
really happy to get to another grand slam final.'

On facing Murray, the 25-year-old added: 'I don't think there is any
clear favourite. He's looking for his first title, I'm sure he's going
to be very motivated. I hope we can come up with the best tennis for
this crowd.'

Djokovic had looked completely out of sorts in the wind,
complaining to umpire Carlos Bernardes that the match should be
postponed.

Quiet please: Djokovic makes a point

Quiet please: Djokovic makes a point

He was lucky to get his wish, with organisers worried about the threat
of a tornado that did not materialise, and had they carried on the
result may well have been different.

But under blue skies and with only a little breeze, the defending
champion was back to the form that has made him unbeaten in grand slams
on hard courts for two years.

Ferrer served out the first set, the only set Djokovic has lost at the
tournament so far this year, but the Serb promptly reeled off the next
five games.

Actor Stanley Tucci

Will Ferrell

Star appeal: Actors Stanley Tucci and Will Ferrell watch the semi-final

Ferrer finally held to avoid a love set but, although he was trading
well with Djokovic in long rallies, the second seed always seemed to
have one more shot.

Djokovic broke early in the third set as well but Ferrer showed his
tenacity to hit back. The Spaniard was broken again in the seventh game,
though, and that proved to be the crucial moment.

Djokovic wrapped up the set and then all but sealed victory by winning
the first four games of the fourth. Ferrer dug in to ensure at least the
scoreline would be respectable but he was well beaten.

Murray has certainly had the better of the schedule and a day's rest,
but there is no doubt, whatever he says, that Djokovic will go into the
final as the man to beat.

Cristiano Ronaldo latest: Real Madrid team-mate Alvaro Arbeloa offers support

All he needs is love! Arbeloa vows to stand by 'sad' Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo

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UPDATED:

14:20 GMT, 4 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Alvaro Arbeloa has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo needs more affection from his Real Madrid team-mates after the Portuguese striker declared he was unhappy at the club.

Super-rich Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were put on alert when the former Manchester United superstar made the revelation on Sunday.

Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals in a 3-0 victory over Granada on Sunday, and later admitted that he was feeling 'sad' for 'professional' reasons.

In need of affection: 95million-rated Cristiano Ronaldo said he is 'sad' at Real Madrid

In need of affection: 95million-rated Cristiano Ronaldo said he is 'sad' at Real Madrid

In need of affection: 95million-rated Cristiano Ronaldo said he is 'sad' at Real Madrid

In need of affection: 95million-rated Cristiano Ronaldo said he is 'sad' at Real Madrid

But Merengues defender Arbeloa revealed on Tuesday that the squad knew nothing about the 27-year-old's malaise prior to his announcement and has vowed to stick by his 'friend' Ronaldo.

Quoted in Marca, Arbeloa told reporters at the Spanish national team's base in Las Rozas: 'He just needs more affection from everybody, I don't know, that's all we can give him.

'Everybody has the right to be sad, he's a person just like anyone else.

'He doesn't share the problems of most Spanish people but it's perfectly reasonable that he can be sad.

'When Cristiano says (that he's sad) then perhaps it makes more of an impression.

'We're all going to help him because he is our friend.

'I
hope the fans haven't taken his words the wrong way. The media have
great power and people are influenced by what they hear and read.

Standing by my man: Alvaro Arbeloa has said Real Madrid team are like a family

Standing by my man: Alvaro Arbeloa has said Real Madrid team are like a family

Loyal: Arbeloa (right) described 'sad' Ronaldo as a friend and has vowed to support him

Loyal: Arbeloa (right) described 'sad' Ronaldo as a friend and has vowed to support him

Out of sorts: The Portugal captain refused to celebrate his two goals in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Granada

Out of sorts: The Portugal captain refused to celebrate his two goals in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Granada

'He knows that he's with the best team and hopefully he'll stay here until he retires.

'And if the fans keep believing in him, he'll be remembered as a club icon. We will help him.'

Ronaldo was quick to deny that the cause of his depression was missing out on being named UEFA's best player in Europe, with the award going to Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.

'Cristiano always wants to win every trophy,' Arbeloa added.

'His ambition has turned him into one of the world's greatest, but the most important thing for him is Real Madrid.

Oh dear: Ronaldo was substituted on Sunday after taking a heavy hit from Borja Gomez of Granada

Oh dear: Ronaldo was substituted on Sunday after taking a heavy hit from Borja Gomez of Granada

'Do not think that winning the Ballon d'Or is his primary concern.

'We are a family, we have to help him. Don't go thinking that money is the issue.'

It has been reported that Ronaldo is unhappy with his current deal at the Spanish champions and is shocked he has not been offered a new one, despite having three years remaining.

Media outlets in Spain have reported that the prolific goalscorer had a meeting with his agent and Real president Florentino Perez on Saturday, although it is unclear exactly what its purpose was.