Sports Digest


Hutchinson just misses out

CYCLING: Northern Ireland riders Michael Hutchinson and Wendy Houvenaghel finished just off the podium in yesterday’s time trial at the Commonwealth Games, netting fourth and sixth respectively, writes Shane Stokes.

Hutchinson competed the 40km course two minutes and 14 seconds off the blistering pace set by David Millar (Scotland), who added Commonwealth gold to the bronze medal he took in Saturday’s road race. Millar was 54 seconds quicker than Alex Dowsett (England) and 60 faster than Australia’s Luke Durbridge.

Houvenaghel was closer to the winning time in the women’s event, but ended up further off the podium. She competed the 29km distance 35.67 seconds off the time of Tara Whitten (Canada), who edged out Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) by 4.85 seconds and England’s Julia Shaw by 10.22. Northern Ireland’s Heather Wilson was 15th in the womens time trial but it was one race too many for David McCann who pulled out of the men’s race.

Murphy six shots off the pace

GOLF: Gary Murphy was the best of the Irish players at the Roma Golf Open carding a round of 70 for a one under par total and share of 40th place – six shots off the leader Matt Haines of England.

A round of 64 – the lowest of his professional career so far – saw Haines sign for seven birdies at Olgiata Golf Club on the outskirts of the Italian capital, to lead by one stroke from home favourite Lorenzo Magini.

Haines’s round round puts him back into the all-important top 20 of the Challenge Tour Rankings.

Magini, making his first appearance on the Challenge Tour, upstaged a number of his supposed superiors by carding six birdies and an eagle in a round of 65. Amongst the group of seven players on five under par is England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Stuart Davis and Andrew Marshall, Argentina’s Pablo Del Grosso, Denmark’s Andreas Harto, Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Scotland’s George Murray.

Colm Moriarty, a late addition to the field, signed for a round of 71 to remain level. Niall Kearney finished with a round of 77, six over par.

Niland clinches quarter-final place

TENNIS: Conor Niland chalked up his second win this year over Belgium’s Niels Desein in the second round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Rennes, France yesterday.

As in his first round clash against Germany’s Dieter Kindlmann, Niland lost the first set, but he stormed back to clinch a quarter-final spot on a 4-6 6-1 6-4 scoreline after one hour and 49 minutes.

Desein, who lost to the Limerick man in the first round of the Jersey Challenger last March, edged the first set but 151-ranked Niland upped his level in the second set, and in the decider, the 151-ranked Irishman converted two of his five break points, while he saved three himself. against his 206-ranked opponent, who had shocked Serbia’s Ilija Bozoljac in the first round.

Daley takes diving gold in Delhi

COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Tom Daley produced a perfect dive and then looked on as Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham failed to hold his nerve allowing the 16-year-old to add the Commonwealth 10-metre platform title to his world crown in the final event at the Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatics Complex in Delhi.

The pair traded the lead throughout and demonstrated the world-class nature of the competition as they were awarded a total of 13 maximum scores of 10 between them with the English diver getting a clean sweep with his dive in the third round.

Daley entered the final round with a lead of just 1.75points.

However, while he showed few nerves with a near-flawless dive, his Australian rival had to settle for his fourth silver of the week.

Debutant Pujara inspires India

CRICKET: Debutant Cheteshwar Pujara struck a sparkling 72 as India thumped Australia by seven wickets in the second and final test yesterday to sweep in the series and consolidate their world number one status.

Man of the series Sachin Tendulkar followed up his first innings double century with an unbeaten 53 to help India chase down the 207-run target.

India’s back-to-back wins pushed Australia down to the fifth place, behind England, in the ICC rankings.

 Federer adorns display with spectacular shot 

TENNIS: Roger Federer stole the show with a magical between-the-legs shot as the world’s top four players sparkled on their way into the third round of the Shanghai Masters yesterday.

World number three Federer cut tall American John Isner down to size in a 6-3 6-4 win with a crowd-pleasing display featuring several volley-fuelled rallies, while world number one Rafa Nadal overcame inspired Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4 6-4.

Serbian world number two Novak Djokovic, who defended the China Open in Beijing, eased past Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-3, while number four Andy Murray thrashed Chinese wildcard Bai Yan 6-2 6-2.

Federers spectacular showboating shot when he had his back to the net in the second set drew the day’s biggest cheers.

“The reaction to the shot was amazing, as it usually is. Im hitting that shot so well now,” said Federer who has successfully deployed the shot at the 2007 Dubai Open and the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Opens.