Sunday, May 31, 2009

Live - French Open

Serena Williams

Live video - Wozniack v S Williams


To get involved text us on 81111 with TENNIS before your message. (Not all contributions can be used; UK mobiles only; network rates apply)

By Piers Newbery

Text in your views on 81111
1043: " When I saw Rafa faltering yesterday, I put a cheeky £10 on Fed at 3/1! Come on son, get the career slam!"
From Alex, Exeter, via text on 81111

1043: "Nevermind doing a soderling, I would take a serena williams. Complete and utter anihilation of the opening set/history paper 1."
From Sam in london via text

1039: Serena wraps up the first set 6-1 against Wozniack in just 23 minutes, finishing it off with a vicious smash.

Andy Murray
1037: Barely a mention of Andy Murray so far, which will please some and infuriate others. He was on great form yesterday, beating Marin Cilic in straight sets, and it's Fernando Gonzalez next up. That will be on the Red Button and website streaming (UK only), obviously. I'll let you know as soon as we have some schedule information later on today.

1033: Serena is on top form today, leading 4-1, and poor old Wozniack is having a miserable time. The winner of this one will pay Kuznetsova or Radwanska next, the Russian leading 4-3 with a break. It's a bumper line-up today but, personally, Del Potro v Tsonga is the one I'm really looking forward to. Both men must feel they can win it now.

Text in your views on 81111
1030: "I've taken a £2 punt on Gael Monfils at 37-1. I really hope Fed does it but them odds were just too tempting."
From Rob, Oldham, via text on 81111

1028: "Made a tidy profit out of rafa yesterday instead of revising oops."
From anon via text

1027: "Re 0950. Indeed, lots of students around the country are hoping to pull off a soderling in exams today."
From Jamie, Oxford, via text

1025: The big names are not messing around this morning, perhaps spooked by losing not only Nadal but women's champion Ana Ivanovic yesterday. Serena is 3-0 up and Kuznetsova 4-2 in front.

1021: Still on Rafagate and it's nice to see he and Soderling are getting along better than at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. Nadal won a third-round match that was played over five days because of terrible weather, and said afterwards: "He's very strange. I say hello to him seven times to his face, he never answers. He hits a lucky shot, he does not wave. I thought it was me, but I asked around the locker room and almost nobody has anything nice to say about him. If I fall down, he says nothing. He touches his backside, grabs his pants, makes fun of me - very unprofessional."

1016: After an inordinately long warm-up we're ready for some action, and Serena serves first against Wozniack. On Court Suzanne Lenglen we have seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova up against 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

1013: If you get the chance, have a listen to Nadal's press conference from yesterday evening. While my peers attempt to find the secret to the defeat, the man himself is pure class. "Defeats never make you grow but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until now was," he said. "You need a defeat to give value to your victories."

Get involved on 606
1009: "Probably won't even see Federer's match - got revision for my exam this afternoon! Mind you, didn't stop me from watching the third and fourth set of Nadal's match yesterday: amazing!"
From AlexR4444 on 606

1007: So, Rafa.... Firstly, I think we all owe Elena Dementieva an apology. Who among us did not scoff on Saturday when the Russian said: "He actually looks a little bit tired to me. I think it's going to be a tough challenge for him to win this time, actually." Any lottery numbers, Elena?

The sun is out
1004: It's another beautiful day in Paris and Court Philippe Chatrier is surprisingly quite full, bearing in mind the time of the day. First up is second seed Serena, who is still going despite some tough matches, against 24th seed Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada. I would say this looks pretty straightforward for the American... but I won't.

It's good news for a Briton
1000: Andy Murray might be enjoying a day off but there is British interest today as top seed Laura Robson begins her campaign in the girls' singles against Russia's Karina Pimkina in the second match on Court Six - I'll keep you up to date with that one.

BBC Radio 5 Live
0953: We will reflect more on Rafa's demise but this already thrilling tournament has a whole new edge now, and today's line-up is a belter. The provisional schedule for the Red Button and website streaming (UK only) is to stick with Court Philippe Chatrier from 1000 BST for Serena Williams v Aleksandra Wozniak, followed by Roger Federer v Tommy Haas and then Juan Martin del Potro v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, before switching over to Court Suzanne Lenglen for Gael Monfils v Andy Roddick. And we are joined in the second week by live coverage every day from 1000 BST on BBC Radio 5live Sports Extra.

0950: Robin..... Soderling. Not Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic. Not even a Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gael Monfils. From this day forward, when a man (or woman) overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds, dreams the impossible dream, fights the unfightable foe etc, let it be known as 'doing a Soderling'. And in the words of the late, great Brian Moore, "It's up for grabs now!"

Moyes rules out return to Celtic

Everton manager David Moyes
Moyes believes he is at the right club to match his ambitions

Everton manager David Moyes has hinted that Celtic had sounded him out about a return to Glasgow but insists he is determined to stay at Goodison Park.

"There may well have been an inquiry from Celtic but that doesn't interest me," said Moyes, who began his playing career at Parkhead.

"I am not tempted to take any steps. I am the Everton manager and I am a really loyal person.

"I am also really ambitious. But this club can match my ambitions."

The 46-year-old, who spent three seasons at Celtic Park before moving on in 1983, has been in charge at Everton since 2002.

And finishing fifth in the Premier League and as runners-up to Chelsea in the FA Cup appears to have spurred Moyes on to achieve more with the Toffees.

"There are not many bigger clubs in England," he added. "Just because they have owners with a lot of money does that mean they are bigger?

"Money might give me more scope but I am at a great football club."


Gordon Strachan, who left Celtic Park last week after four years at the helm, is believed to have recommended Motherwell's Mark McGhee has his successor.

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has expressed his interest in the vacancy, while West Brom's Tony Mowbray and Burnley's Owen Coyle are also thought to be on Celtic's radar.

Speaking at the end of last week, chairman John Reid insisted Celtic had not made an official approach for any manager.

Celtic coach Neil Lennon has confirmed he will be staying on and revealed that chief executive Peter Lawwell had sought his advice about the appointment.

"The next manager needs to have a strong personality and a wee bit of charisma," said the former Northern Ireland international.

"And any manager of the Old Firm needs a hide as thick as a rhino."

Monday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


Keep an eye on the gossip column throughout the day for updates and breaking news.


Manchester United will make a last-ditch attempt to keep striker Carlos Tevez at the club and are willing to pay £25m for the Argentine.
(Full story: Daily Telegraph)

However, Manchester City are leading the race for Tevez and are prepared to pay £30m to land the 25-year-old. (Daily Mirror)

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has insisted that Xabi Alonso is a key part of his plans and does not want to sell him. Real Madrid are reportedly interested in the midfielder. (Daily Telegraph)

Birmingham are set to land Ecuador striker Christian Benitez for £6.25m from Mexican club Santos Leguna. (Daily Mirror)

Alex McLeish's Premier League new boys also look set to sign Manchester City keeper Joe Hart on loan. (Daily Mirror)

West Brom are keen on Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson and will bid £1m for the Scotsman. (Daily Mirror)

Winger Glen Little looks set to leave Portsmouth and join Championship side Coventry. (Daily Mirror)

Sheffield United are poised to sell young defender Kyle Naughton and have slapped a £5m price tag on his head. (Daily Mirror)

West Ham captain Lucas Neill looks set to leave the club after turning down a new one-year deal.
(Full story: Daily Mail)

And Manchester City now appear favourites to sign Australian defender Neill from the Hammers.
(Full story: The Sun)


Former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti will be given £50m to spend on new players if he takes over at Chelsea.
(Full story: The Sun)

Chelsea captain John Terry has urged Blues owner Roman Abramovich to bankroll Ancelotti, if the Italian arrives at Stamford Bridge. (Daily Mirror)

Ancelotti could be given up to £100m by Abramovich to spend on new players. (Daily Star)
(Full story: Daily Star)

And captain Terry has urged the Italian to make Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Valencia forward David Villa his first signings as Chelsea manager.
(Full story: The Guardian)

Ancelotti's arrival may mean the Chelsea careers of Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and Deco will come to an end.
(Full story: The Sun)

The 49-year-old coach is also lining up Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and will pay £23m for the front-man.
(Full story: Daily Express)

Ancelotti will hope to bring AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo with him to Stamford Bridge.
(Full story: Daily Star)

The former Italian midfielder is also targeting Atletico Madrid's £50m-rated striker Sergio Aguero.
(Full story: Daily Express)

Ancelotti is keen to appoint Filippo Galli, who was his assistant at AC Milan, as his number two at Stamford Bridge.
(Full story: The Times)

However, Ancelotti's Chelsea move could be in doubt after Real Madrid declared their interest in the Italian.
(Full story: Independent)


Alan Shearer looks set to turn down the chance to become the permanent manager of Newcastle unless owner Mike Ashley can quickly offload the club at a knockdown price. (Daily Express)

Shearer will also have to reduce his financial demands if he is to be installed as Magpies boss.
(Full story: The Guardian)

Sunderland are set to unveil current Wigan manager Steve Bruce as their new boss. (Daily Mirror)

However, Wigan are still holding out on the £3m in compensation they want for Bruce's departure. (Daily Express)

Meanwhile, Sunderland officials have spoken of their puzzlement at claims from former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini that he has been offered the manager's job at the Stadium of Light.
(Full story: The Guardian)

Wigan owner Dave Whelan wants to replace Bruce with Swansea manager Roberto Martinez. (Daily Mirror)


Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has revealed the secret behind his recent fine form - the removal of his wisdom teeth. (The Independent)

Chelsea players celebrated their Wembley triumph on Saturday with a night out and left the FA Cup in a bin liner. (Daily Star)

Departing Blues manager Guus Hiddink and his partner Liza were each given a £50,000 Rolex Daytona watch by Chelsea players as a thank you. (The Sun)

But Hiddink could be fined £50 after being caught on camera smoking a cigar in Chelsea's Wembley dressing room on Saturday. (Daily Mirror)

Perez to return as Real president

Florentino Perez
Perez is determined to bring the glory days back to Real Madrid

Florentino Perez will be sworn in as Real Madrid president on Monday after no other candidate stood against him.

Several challengers pulled out or were not able to lodge a bank guarantee of 57.4m euros (£51m) required by the club to take over from Vicente Boluda.

Perez, 62, previously held the position between 2000 and 2006.

In that time they won the Primera Liga twice and the Champions League and earned the nickname Galacticos because of the wealth of star players.

Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and David Beckham were among the biggest names at the club during Perez's reign.

And the Spanish construction magnate has already indicated he wants to assemble another team of lavishly gifted players.


Perez officially presented his candidacy on Thursday under the slogan "the dream is back" and said the team he would help build would be world beaters.

"We will build a spectacular team with top-notch players. We have set up a strong and stable sporting project, which will be able to call upon footballers who will turn each Real Madrid match into a fascinating rendezvous," he said.

Perez has not mentioned any names regarding top signings but the Spanish media has reported that Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, currently at Villarreal, is set to become coach in place of Juande Ramos and that AC Milan's Brazilian playmaker Kaka is the number one player target.

Real have also been strongly linked to Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso and Bayern Munich's French winger Franck Ribery.

Real's arch rivals Barcelona won the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Spanish Cup this season under debutant coach Josep Guardiola.

But in an interview published on Sunday in daily newspaper El Pais, Perez revealed Barcelona's success this season "motivates me even more" and he added that Real "needs a revolution".

Real ended the season on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat by Osasuna.

Stricker wins Texas sudden death

FINAL ROUND SCORES (US unless stated):
-17 T Clark (SA), S Stricker, S Marino -16 Jason Day (Aus) -15 P Casey (Eng) -14 Woody Austin, Vijay Singh (Fij) Selected others: -12 I Poulter (Eng)-11 J Furyk -10 L Donald (Eng) -6 J Rose (Eng), B Davis (Eng)

Steve Stricker
Stricker made it count on the second play-off hole

Steve Stricker clinched victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational following a three-way sudden death play-off.

Stricker won with a birdie at the second extra hole after finishing tied at 17 under with fellow American Steve Marino and Tim Clark of South Africa.

England's Paul Casey finished with a round of 66 to take fifth, two back.

Compatriot Ian Poulter shot 68 to end on 12 under, while Luke Donald was a two shots back after a level-par round of 70 at Colonial.

Another English pair, Justin Rose and Brian Davis, ended tied 34th on six under.

USA 10-27 Ireland

USA (0) 10
Try: Suniula Drop-goal: Malifa Con: Malifa
Ireland (8) 27
Tries: Casey, Whitten, Penalty try, Best Cons: Keatley 2 Pen: Keatley

By Richard Petrie

Ireland action
Niall Ronan evades a Mike Hercus tackle in Santa Clara

Ireland produced an unconvincing display as they beat USA Eagles 27-10.

Bob Casey scored the only try of the first half, with Ian Keatley adding a penalty to make it 8-0 at the break.

Ian Whitten crossed the home side's line early in the second half and a penalty try and a touchdown by Rory Best helped the Irish to victory.

Keatley kicked two conversions while Roland Suniula scored the Eagles' only try of the game, with Ata Malifa adding a conversion to his drop-goal.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney made only one change from the side which beat Canada in unimpressive fashion, Mike Ross coming in for Tom Court in the front row.

The Eagles were missing up to 15 players through injury or unavailability but exerted early pressure on the Ireland defence.

Keatley missed with an eighth minute penalty attempt but second row Bob Casey rumbled over for a try, which Keatley converted, five minutes later.

Keatley was successful with his second penalty attempt but USA fly-half Mike Hercus was off-target with three straightforward penalty efforts before the interval.

A minute after half-time half-time Whitten crossed the line for his second try of the tour, touching down after a fine move involving Keatley, Barry Murphy and Best.

Hercus skewed another penalty attempt wide from in front of the posts and was replaced soon after by Ata Malifa.

Referee Chris White awarded a penalty try after an Eagles infringement in the 52nd minute and Keatley added the points to make it 20-0.

Malifa replied with a drop goal and then inside centre Roland Suniula burst through to score a deserved try for the hosts, Malifa converting.

Skipper Best accepted a pass from Eoin Reddan and charged over the line for Ireland's fourth try in the 69th minute, which Keatley converted to give the scoreline a flattering look in Ireland's favour.

After the match, Irish coach Kidney admitted it was "a very poor game with a lot of mistakes".

"We said this was the start of our World Cup build-up and the players will know about the errors they made, but you have to start somewhere," he said.

"The lads trained very well during the week but you have to front up week in, week out if you are to compete in international rugby.

"We were not too euphoric after the Six Nations and we will not get too despondent now."

USA: C Wyles; K Swiryn, J Sifa, R Suniula, J Boyd; M Hercus, M Petri; M MacDonald, C Biller, W Johnson; J van der Giessen, H Smith; L Stanfill, P Dahl, N Johnson.

Replacements: J Welch, M Moeakiola, C Mackay, JJ Gagiani, T Usasz, A Malifa, A Tuilevuka.

Ireland: G Duffy; B Murphy, D Cave, I Whitten, I Dowling; I Keatley, P Stringer; T Buckley, R Best, M Ross; B Casey, M O'Driscoll; J Muldoon, N Ronan, D Leamy.

Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, R Caldwell, D Ryan, E Reddan, N O'Connor, D Hurley.

Armstrong confident ahead of Tour

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong is a seven time winner of the Tour de France

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong said he was in good shape ahead of his Tour de France comeback.

The 37-year-old, who returned to racing this year after nearly four years in retirement, finished a creditable 12th overall in the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.

"In the second half of the race I showed that I was certainly getting better," said the American.

"It's taking a lot of work up to this point but we might ride strong and be in the front in July."

Armstrong rewrote the record books in 2005 when he became the first rider to win seven Le Tour titles - all in succession.

He retired after his final victory, only to return to racing at the beginning of 2009 to promote his Livestrong cancer charity.

However, his team's participation in July's cycling classic remains in doubt.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) set Sunday as a deadline for Kazakhstan-based team Astana to meet its financial requirements after the riders complained their salaries were not being paid.


The UCI has threatened to withdraw its Pro-Tour licence.

"The financial woes that left salaries unpaid are not completely resolved yet," team manager Johan Bruyneel said.

"I hope that the team sponsors will meet the deadline for the bank guarantee and the payments.

"Moreover the UCI now wants more guarantees about the team for the rest of the year."

Armstrong, who is considering buying the team, was joined by all but one of his team-mates in blanking out the sponsors' names on their shirts from the seventh stage of the Giro in protest at the money trouble.

Fifa approves Team GB compromise


Fifa has approved a proposal to field an all-English team to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The four home nations had written to football's governing body clarifying that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would take no part in the team.

The compromise was ratified at Fifa's executive committee meeting in Nassau.

"I am happy, they are happy, the IOC is happy, the organising committee is happy and I hope football is happy," said Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

"You have to bring a Great Britain team for the 2012 Olympics in football, and as they are four associations then take one association to be this team."

The development ends a dispute that has raged since 2005, when London won the right to host the Games.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations had feared their independence in world football would be under threat if they united with England at the Olympics.

A document had been prepared by the Scottish Football Association and sent to the other bodies, which paved the way for England - rebadged as GB in both the men's and women's competitions - to represent Great Britain on a one-off basis.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

This looks set to be in the form of an exclusively under-21 England side - a change Fifa is expected to make from the current under-23 (plus three over-age players) rule.

While expressing his delight about Fifa's approval, secretary of state for culture, media and sport Andy Burnham criticised the rigid stances of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish authorities.

"I think it's very disappointing and actually a bit narrow-minded in some ways that we're just saying young talent from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can't represent that team GB," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I understand entirely if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland don't want to be in any way seen to support the principle of team GB... but I think it is very unfair that a young player in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland who would get a call-up to that team, would be threatened with sanctions about joining that team.

"I just feel let's put aside the politics, let's just let sports people make their own decisions and let's put the best British team on home soil."

Fifa also approved a trial to use two extra assistant referees behind the goallines for next season's Europa League - formerly the UEFA Cup.

The idea has been championed by Uefa president Michel Platini and was tested last year in some European under-19 championship games.

"The International FA Board decided 'let's have experiments with two additional assistant referees' and we were looking where we have can such experiments," said Blatter. "Now we have found a solution together with Michel Platini and Uefa."

Blatter also announced that Wada has declared Fifa compliant with its world anti-doping code in all areas, except for one area regarding injured players and when they can resume practising with their clubs.

Blatter had previously been opposed to Wada's 'whereabouts' rule, where players have to provide details of their location for one hour every day of the year.

"I'm so happy that this WADA letter just came now," said the Swiss.

Nadal stays calm after shock loss

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Rafael Nadal

Watch Nadal bow out in Paris

Rafael Nadal was left to rue the end of his incredible French Open record which was halted by Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth-round in Paris on Sunday.

The four-time champion had never lost at the tournament, but Soderling ended his 31-match unbeaten run with a 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory.

"Defeats never make you grow but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until now was," said Nadal.

"You need a defeat to give value to your victories."

Soderling, 24, had lost his previous three matches against the number one seed, including a 6-1 6-0 defeat at the Rome Masters last month.

But the Swede was in sparkling form on Centre Court, although Nadal largely blamed his own form for the defeat.

"Well, that's the end of the road, and I have to accept it," said Nadal. "I need to face the fact I didn't play well this week. It's not a tragedy, I had to lose one day. I have to accept my defeat as I accepted my victories: with calm.

"So I have to stay calm and stay cool headed to try and analyse what I did wrong.

"It's not the worst (defeat) in my career. Not even close to that."

Soderling's Swedish Davis Cup captain Mats Wilander, a three-time French Open champion, said: "Everybody's in a state of shock, I would think.

"At some point, Nadal was going to lose. But nobody expected it to happen today, and maybe not this year. Now it's a matter of: There's a tournament to be won."

Nadal, who was booed by the French crowd when he retired injured from the Paris Masters at Bercy last year, again found it difficult to find support among the crowd.


"This tournament is so important, such a beautiful tournament for me. Well, that's the way it is," he said.

"Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad. But I wish when I'm back they can support me a bit more in key moments."

The world number one, who was supposed to be presented with a cake to celebrate his 23rd birthday on the terrace of the press bar on Wednesday, backed rival Roger Federer to end his French Open jinx.

If one guy deserves it, that's him

Nadal backs Federer to win the French Open

"That would be great - he has tried to win it for many years, and he was very unfortunate losing three finals and one semi-final," the Spaniard said.

"If one guy deserves it, that's him."

And with the start of Wimbledon a month away, Nadal revealed how he was preparing for the defence of his grasscourt title.

"Right now, my preparation is for the swimming pool at my house," said the 2008 champion.

Carrick misses England qualifiers

Carrick played in Man Utd's Champions League final defeat against Barcelona
The Champions League final was Carrick's 43 club game this season

Manchester United's Michael Carrick will miss England's upcoming World Cup qualifiers with a foot injury.

Carrick, 27, will be unavailable for Saturday's trip to Kazakhstan and the home game with Andorra four days later.

His place in the squad has gone to Aston Villa winger James Milner, with the 23-year-old being promoted from England's Under-21 squad.

Midfielder Carrick has not started a competitive game for England since the loss to Croatia in 2006.

The former Spurs star, who played all 90 minutes of Manchester United's Champions League defeat against Barcelona, was unlikely to be first choice for his country.

BBC Sport

But his absence leaves England coach Fabio Capello with only three recognised central midfielders - Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry - for the two games.

Capello is already without injured goalkeepers David James and Ben Foster, with Paul Robinson earning a recall.

Manchester United's veteran defender Gary Neville was a surprise inclusion in his squad, while Tottenham's Jermain Defoe also came back into the fold after injury.

Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was thought to require knee surgery, proved his fitness for his club on 24 May and was named in the squad.

Revised England squad:

Scott Carson (West Bromwich Albion), Robert Green (West Ham United), Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers)

Wayne Bridge (Manchester City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Gary Neville (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham United)

Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), David Beckham (AC Milan loan from LA Galaxy), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)

Carlton Cole (West Ham United), Peter Crouch (Portsmouth), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Fiji pip South Africa in Sevens

Fiji celebrate their victory at Murrayfield
Fiji finished second in the overall standings behind South Africa

Fiji pipped newly-crowned IRB Sevens World Series champions South Africa in the final of the concluding leg in Edinburgh to claim their first title.

And the 20-19 victory at Murrayfield took Fiji above England into second place in the final standings.

South Africa had clinched the overall title by progressing to the quarter-finals, where they defeated Australia.

They then beat hosts Scotland to set up a final with Fiji, who had overcome New Zealand then Wales.

It had been Scotland's second semi-final in a row, having reached that stage for the first time last weekend at Twickenham.

They defeated Samoa in their quarter-finals and then were only denied a first-ever final following a sudden-death Gio Aplon breakaway try for the new champions.

Ivanovic sent to defeat in Paris

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Ana Ivanovic
Ivanovic has struggled for form since winning the 2008 French Open

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic surrendered her French Open crown after a 6-2 6-3 defeat by Victoria Azarenka.

The 21-year-old Serb, seeded number eight, had not lost a set en route to round four but she was comfortably brushed aside by the ninth seed.

Azarenka now meets top seed Dinara Safina, who dropped only her fifth game of the tournament in a 6-1 6-0 thrashing of France's Aravane Rezai.

Maria Sharapova beat Li Na 6-4 0-6 6-4 and next faces Dominika Cibulkova.

Former world number one Sharapova, who has slipped to 102 in the rankings after a long spell out with shoulder trouble, fought back from 4-2 down in the third set to oust Chinese 25th seed Li.

The Russian was struggling with cramp to her left thigh in the latter stages but came through for a victory that keeps alive her hopes of a fourth Grand Slam title.

Her last eight opponent, Cibulkova,is through to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 6-2 6-4 win over Agnes Szavay of Hungary.

Szavay beat third seed Venus Williams in the third round, but she conceded five straight games in the second set as Cibulkova went 5-2 up.

The Slovak was broken while serving for the match, but only had to wait a short while to seal a place in her first major quarter-final.


"I felt like I going to cry because I was just so happy," said the 20th seed. "I play tennis for these moments."

Former world number one Ivanovic exits Roland Garros after she was comfortably beaten by Azarenka.

The 19-year-old Belarusian broke twice before taking the first set and although Ivanovic launched a spirited in the second, it was Azarenka who kept her composure to prevail.

"I started really well and felt really good at the beginning," said Ivanovic.

"Then after the third game, actually after (the) first point in the fourth game, I just suddenly started feeling so dizzy and I completely lost my balance.

"Ever since then it was really hard. I struggled with looking up. I started feeling very dizzy, and I was struggling a little bit to find my balance."

Safina continued her prolific run at this year's tournament with a 6-1 6-0 demolition of Rezai.

Dinara Safina
I honestly feel I can do much better - if somebody pushes me more I can get much more out of myself

Dinara Safina

The Russian falls just short of the record of Mary Pierce, who conceded four games en route to the Paris quarter-finals in 1994.

For a few minutes it seemed that Safina, bidding for a maiden grand slam title, would not have it all her way against Rezai.

The Frenchwoman, ranked 57 in the world, had two break points in the third game but then ran into a brick wall as all her groundstrokes started rebounding back to her side of the court faster.

Safina shrugged off the first break point with a service winner and Rezai sent a backhand wide on the second.

The Russian, who has only lost once on clay this season, went on to break for 3-1 after benefiting from two double faults by Rezai.

Safina mixed her game with sliced backhands to further unsettle the world number 57 and broke again for 5-1 with a forehand down the line, following on serve to pocket the first set.

Rezai managed only nine points in the second set as Safina peppered the court with groundstroke winners.

She bagged another straightforward victory on her first match point when the Frenchwoman netted a backhand.

"I'm surprised that I've only lost five games in getting to the quarters," said Safina.

"It's not a bad feeling, and I hope if I continue like this I can go a long way.

"I honestly feel I can do much better. I think that if somebody would push me more I still can get much more out of myself.

"Overall, I think I can serve much harder still. I think I'm playing good enough but I still feel like I can do better."

Lennon to remain at Celtic Park

Neil Lennon challenges Willo Flood on Sunday
Lennon (left) played against the Celtic first-team in Sunday's charity game

Neil Lennon has been assured by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell that his future with the Glasgow club is safe.

Gordon Strachan stepped down as manager last week after missing out on a fourth consecutive Scottish title, leaving coach Lennon a concerned man.

"It's always a worry when a manager leaves, you don't know what the new manager is going to think," he said.

"Peter has spoken to me at length and he has told me what my role will be next year."

Lennon, who played for a Tommy Burns select side that lost 11-4 to the first-team in Sunday's charity match at Celtic Park, had been called into Strachan's backroom team last April.

His presence coincided with a Celtic revival that led to a third consecutive Scottish Premier League triumph and there had been speculation that Strachan might wish Lennon to follow him to his next managerial destination.

My long-term ambition is to manage Celtic, but I don't see that in the near future

Celtic coach Neil Lennon

"We've had the discussion about what the new manager might think, but Peter made it clear that the club want me to stay," said the 37-year-old Lennon.

"So I will be there to assist the new guy in any way that I can.

"He also asked me for a few recommendations for the job, but I won't tell you.

"We are where we were in 2005 and, after that, we had three and a half great years.

"So hopefully we can get the new man in as quickly as we can and get started again."

Strachan made a surprise appearance at the tribute match to take a bow and was given a warm round of applause by home fans who had not been unanimous in their support for the former Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder despite his success with the club.

"I was and I wasn't surprised when Gordon left," he said. "I think the Old Firm nowadays has a shelf life of four years.

"I think he thought long and hard about it and, whether we won the league or not, he probably would have went anyway.

"The next manager needs to have a strong personality and a wee bit of charisma.

"And any manager of the Old Firm needs a hide as thick as a rhino."

Lennon ruled himself out of the running - but only for the time being.

"My long-term ambition is to manage Celtic, but I don't see that in the near future," he said.

"I'm sort of at a crossroad about my future. I'm flattered that Celtic want me to stay, but there is a part of me that wants to go and do my own thing.

"But it's a huge job. I haven't got the experience, I still have a lot to learn and I'm not in any great rush."

Brownlee clinches maiden victory

Alistair Brownlee wins in Madrid on Sunday
Brownlee ran the legs off the field to win in style in Madrid

Britain's Alistair Brownlee launched his International Triathlon Union World Championship Series campaign in style with victory in Madrid on Sunday.

Brownlee took the gold in 1hr 51min 27sec with Courtney Atkinson (1:52.14) second and Javier Gomez third.

Brownlee, 21, was well placed after the swim and cycle and then blew the field away in the run to claim his first ITU series win.

"It was the perfect race for me really," said Brownlee.

"Everything seemed to go right from the start, I couldn't believe it. I had a fantastic swim next to Ivan Vasiliev and he just took me from there," added Brownlee, who won the junior championships in 2006 and world under-23 title in 2008.

"The first two bike laps were really hard as we settled into a good group and someone said we had a 45-second lead and I thought 'where did that come from?' Then, when it was 1:30, I couldn't believe it.

"I went off on the run and I thought, 'right, I'm going to make this hard after the tough bike' and before I knew it I had 30 seconds. I thought I was going to blow up on that last lap, but it was great to hold on."

Gomez, who returned to action following an ankle injury suffered after the 2008 Olympic Games, just missed out on silver in the second ITU series race of the season.

He lost out when Atkinson kicked late to take second and claim his ninth podium finish in his last 10 races.

Will Clarke was Britain's next finisher in 14th, just ahead of Olly Freeman in 17th. Stuart Hayes was 32nd while Tim Don pulled out after the bike.

The women's race was won by New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt in a sprint finish with Lisa Norden from Sweden. Jess Harrison from France was third.

The top British finisher was 2008 ITU World Champion, Helen Jenkins, down in 16th, while rising star Hollie Avil was forced to pull out after a puncture during the bike section of the race.

Cevaer clinches European Open win

FINAL LEADERBOARD (GB & Ire unless stated):
-7 C Cevaer (Fra) -6 G Orr, S Webster, A Quiros (Spa) -5S Dodd, C Wood, JM Singh (Ind)Selected others: -3 R McIlroy -2 S Garcia (Spa) +1 L Westwood +5 C Montgomerie

Christian Cevaer
Cevaer held on to his overnight lead

World number 449 Christian Cevaer produced a shock by winning the European Open by one shot.

The 39-year-old from France, whose only previous European Tour victory was the 2004 Spanish Open, edged out Steve Webster, Gary Orr and Alvaro Quiros.

In a closely fought final round, joint overnight leader Cevaer struggled to the turn in three over 39.

The Frenchman then managed five pars in a row, birdied the 15th and parred the final three holes to clinch victory.

He finished with a final-round total of two over 74 for a seven-under total of 281 - 13 more than Ross Fisher took in winning by seven last year.


Cevaer picked up a winning cheque of £300,000 for his efforts at the London Club in Kent.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who began the day three shots behind the leaders Jeev Milka Singh of India and Cevaer, finished with a total of 285 after a three-over 75.

Swansea eye former Hearts winger

Salius Mikoliunas has won 33 caps for Lithuania
Salius Mikoliunas has won 33 caps for Lithuania

Swansea City are leading the race to sign Lithuanian winger Saulius Mikoliunas, BBC Wales understands.

The 25-year-old has been on loan at SPL side Hearts for four seasons from Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas, but has been released by both clubs.

"The signatures are not signed yet, but Swansea are the most probable outcome," Mikoliunas, who has 33 caps, told the website.

"I can't say exactly when but I should be signing a contract any time soon."

The player is also understood to be wanted by Austrian club Magna Wiener Neustadt.

Mikoliunas played just 13 games for Hearts this season, in part due to a torn lateral knee ligament that kept him out of action for two months.


His parent club Kaunas are sponsored by Hearts' majority shareholder Valdimir Romanov.

Mikoliunas was unable to agree a new contract to remain at Hearts, with the Tynecastle club criticising the role of agents in his exit.

Swansea are also set to sign Southampton wing Nathan Dyer, who has been on loan at the Liberty Stadium this season, who is expected to put pen to paper on Monday.

Menchov wins Giro despite crash

Denis Menchov
Menchov claimed overall victory despite a late spill

Denis Menchov won the 100th Giro d'Italia on Sunday despite falling inside the last mile of the closing time trial.

The Russian was 41 seconds clear of Danilo Di Luca in the overall standings with Franco Pellizotti taking third.

Menchov fell shortly before the finish in Rome but jumped onto a spare bike provided by his team car.

Ignatas Konovalovas won the 8.95-mile (14.4km) time trial by only one second from Englishman Bradley Wiggins.

Menchov finished 10th on the stage with Italian Di Luca 16th.

In the overall standings Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre was fourth, with seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong 12th.


Menchov had a 20-second lead coming into the final day as the Giro celebrated its centenary year with one of the closest finishes in its history.

Di Luca briefly looked to be on the brink of a famous victory when he got to the first time check fastest of all and five seconds up on Menchov.

But the LPR rider had blasted out too fast and proceeded to fade, finding himself 14 seconds down on Menchov at the next time check.

By the time he crossed the line Di Luca had lost 45 seconds to Konovalovas, whereas Menchov, who had won the 12th stage time trial to take over the pink jersey last Thursday, was getting stronger.

The Russian looked like he might win the final stage as well but with rain starting to fall he crashed with one kilometre remaining.

Menchov was still sliding along the wet surface as his mechanic jumped out of the team car and took another bike from the roof.

Menchov went to pick up his crashed bike but the mechanic shouted to get on the new one and the Russian rode the unblemished machinery home to claim the race.

Despite the crash he gained 21 seconds on Di Luca to win by 41 seconds overall.

The time trial course ended in front of the Colosseum, having taken the riders past the Vatican and the Circus Maximus.

Final stage:

1. Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania / Cervelo ) 18mins 42secs
2. Bradley Wiggins (Britain / Garmin ) +1
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway / Columbia ) +7
4. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine / Astana ) +11
5. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy / Lampre ) +16
6. Giovanni Visconti (Italy / Team ISD ) +18
7. Dries Devenyns (Belgium / Quick-Step ) +20
8. Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands / Rabobank ) +21
9. Stefano Garzelli (Italy / Acqua & Sapone ) +23
10. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +24

Overall standings:

1. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) 86hrs 3mins 11secs
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR ) +41
3. Franco Pellizotti (Italy / Liquigas ) +1:59
4. Carlos Sastre (Spain / Cervelo ) +3:46
5. Ivan Basso (Italy / Liquigas ) +3:59
6. Levi Leipheimer (U.S. / Astana ) +5:28
7. Stefano Garzelli (Italy / Acqua & Sapone ) +8:43
8. Michael Rogers (Australia / Columbia ) +10:01
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia / AG2R ) +11:13
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy / Lampre ) +11:28

Champion Nadal falls to Soderling

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal will now turn his attention to Wimbledon, where he is the defending champion, sooner than expected

World number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal saw his 31-match unbeaten run at the French Open come to an end with a shock defeat by Robin Soderling.

Nadal, who was bidding for a fifth straight Roland Garros title, lost 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history.

Soderling's win comes a month after was beaten 6-1 6-0 by Nadal in Rome.

"I told myself this is just another match," said the Swede, who now plays Fernando Verdasco or Nikolay Davydenko.

"All the time, I was trying to play as if it was a training session. When I was 4-1 up in the (fourth set) tie-break, I started to believe."

Soderling, seeded 23, had lost his previous three matches against Nadal but seemed a man transformed on Court Philippe Chatrier.

He unleashed one formidable service game after the next, while his relentless, pinpoint groundstrokes forced Nadal to constantly scramble just to stay in contention.


When the Swede took the opening set it was the first time Nadal had dropped a set at the French Open since the 2007 final against Roger Federer.

The Spaniard struggled from the outset against a player with whom he was involved in an unsavoury spat at Wimbledon two years ago.

Nadal was broken in the fourth game as Soderling went 4-1 ahead and again in the crucial eighth as the free-flowing, uninhibited Swede continued to find the corners with devastating accuracy.

He deservedly claimed the opening set when the champion netted a backhand.

Despite missing his usual fluency, and visibly rattled by Soderling's unrelenting assault, Nadal broke for the first time to lead 2-1 in the second set, only to surrender his advantage in the 10th game.

Nadal would then have been expected to storm past the 6ft 4in Swede but Soderling executed a fine backhand volley to go to 5-5.

The Spaniard did, however, run away with the tie-break to level the match when a Soderling forehand flew long.

Soderling, coached by compatriot and 2000 finalist Magnus Norman, refused to yield, breaking to lead 4-3 in the third set before backing it up for a 5-3 advantage.

He took the set when Nadal netted another weary forehand off yet another deep Soderling drive.

Nadal broke to lead 2-0 in the fourth set, but Soderling hit back immediately as another tie-break loomed.

And when it arrived the 24-year-old clinched his famous win on a second match point when Nadal went wide with a pick-up.

Strettle out of Argentina Tests

Harlequins' David Strettle
Strettle missed the 2007 World Cup with a metatarsal injury

David Strettle has been ruled out of England's Tests against Argentina because of an abdominal illness.

The Harlequins winger is understood to be suffering with colitis, an inflammation in the intestine.

Bath's Matt Banahan, who featured in England's 33-26 defeat by the Barbarians, has been promoted from the Saxons squad as Strettle's replacement.

England play the Pumas on 6 June in Manchester before travelling to Salta a week later for the second Test.

The illness is yet another setback in Strettle's injury-laden England career.

The 25-year-old has suffered three separate broken metatarsal bones in his foot, one of which kept him out of the 2007 World Cup squad.


He also missed two Tests against South Africa before the tournament after picking up a gastric virus.

England have further fitness concerns over Newcastle centre Jamie Noon, who sustained a hamstring injury against the Baa-Baas at Twickenham.

But there was better news for England manager Martin Johnson as Sale duo Mark Cueto and Mathew Tait look set to be fit in time for the first Test at Old Trafford.

Super Murray into quarter-finals

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Andy Murray
Murray was competing in round four at Roland Garros for the first time

By David Ornstein

Britain's Andy Murray produced another clinical display to beat Marin Cilic 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 and reach the French Open quarter-finals for the first time.

The first set was a tale of two in-form players exchanging blows but Murray broke at 5-5 before serving out.

Murray took the second on a tie-break after breaks were exchanged and the third seed stormed past a deflated Cilic in the third to wrap up victory.

World number three Murray, 22, plays Fernando Gonzalez in the last eight.

Gonzalez, the 12th seed from Chile, claimed an emphatic 6-2 6-4 6-2 win against Victor Hanescu.

The pair have played twice previously - Gonzalez triumphed in Basel in 2005 and Murray in New York in 2006 - but never on clay.

I'm playing well - you don't get to the quarters of the French by not playing good clay-court tennis

Andy Murray

Murray will take great confidence from his defeat of 13th seed Cilic, who was yet to drop a set all tournament and had only seen his serve broken three times in the process.

The Scot becomes only the third British man to make the Roland Garros quarter-finals in the Open era here, after Roger Taylor in 1973 and Tim Henman in 2004.

"I played maybe two bad service games but you are always going to get moments like that in a best-of-five-set match," said Murray.

"I was obviously happy to win in straight sets because he's been playing very well.

"I'm playing well - you don't get to the quarters of the French by not playing good clay-court tennis."

The Scot got off to a fine start by pinning Cilic to the baseline with a succession of deep groundstrokes, which helped him earn two break points in game one.

The first was saved but Murray then illustrated why many regard him as the finest defender on the men's tour - scampering after a rasping Cilic forehand, lobbing a return to just inside the baseline, taking control of the rally and forcing his opponent to net.

Cilic, a 6ft 6in right-hander, responded aggressively and broke straight back with a superb return that Murray, digging it out from his feet, could only net.


The contest finally settled into some sort of rhythm as Cilic, who beat Murray in the semi-finals of the junior tournament at Roland Garros in 2005, held to 30 and the British number one to love.

Both players attempted to shake things up by employing the drop shot but Murray, whose speed around the court has improved considerably in recent months, always looked more comfortable in such situations.

A commanding hold drew Murray level at 5-5 and he brought up two break points when Cilic went wide with a forehand and long with two backhands.

Cilic saved the first when Murray went long but Murray used his inside-out forehand to target his opponent's second serve and Cilic again went long with a backhand.

Murray wrapped up the set with an unreturnable serve and his purple patch continued after the changeover.

Cilic started the second set with a love hold but Murray comfortably levelled at 1-1 and then cranked up the pressure to break for a 2-1 lead with a magnificent forehand cross-court winner.

Much to his credit, Cilic worked tirelessly to force his way back into the match and was rewarded in game eight when Murray went wide to hand back the break.

Cilic showed plenty of character to save break points at 4-4 and 5-5 before pushing hard for what would have been a decisive break - but Murray kept his composure to force a tie-break.

Both players set out in positive fashion but a mini-break for Murray at 2-2 proved the turning point and Cilic, whose win-loss ratio in tie-breaks now stands at 24-31, was quickly dispatched.

Murray was on the back foot for much of his first service game in the third set and Cilic earned a deserved break point.

But that was saved with an cool ace out wide and Murray, whose movement and shot selection was improving all the time, reasserted his authority with an inside-out forehand winner to move 1-0 up.

Cilic had shown throughout that he was liable to producing the odd sluggish service game and one duly arrived, allowing Murray to break to 15.

By this point the 20-year-old, who called for the trainer to treat a thigh problem, had let his head drop and a double fault followed by a netted forehand gave Murray the double break and a 4-0 lead.

Breaks were exchanged as Murray closed in on victory and that was secured when the right-hander from Dunblane served out, Cilic blasting another forehand long on match point number two.