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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lehman leads

HOUSTON, Texas - Tom Lehman began brilliantly with an eagle and five birdies on the first eight holes to shoot a 7-under 65 yesterday and take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.

He was a stroke ahead of Fred Funk and Tom Jenkins tied for second, while past winners John Cook and Bernhard Langer topped a large group at 68. Michael Allen, coming off consecutive victories at TPC Tampa Bay and the Legends of Golf better-ball event with David Frost, opened with a 69. Australian Peter Senior was tied 49th after managing a one over 73.

Kings triumph

CHENNAI, India - Chennai Super Kings scored a hard-fought 10-run win over Deccan in the Indian Premier League yesterday despite a valiant 77 from Chargers batsman Cameron White. The Australian struck two sixes and nine fours in 53 balls but Deccan could only manage 5-150 after Chennai had scored 6-160, boosted by 42 from South African Faf du Plessis, at Chidambaram Stadium.

White added 68 for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (36) and the target always looked out of reach despite Australian allrounder Daniel Christian chipping in with an unbeaten 27.

Errani versus Elena

BUDAPEST - Top-seeded Sara Errani of Italy will meet unseeded Elena Vesnina of Russia in the Budapest Grand Prix WTA final after straight-sets victories yesterday.

Errani beat Anna Tatishvili of Georgia 6-2 6-1 for her 14th successive win on clay, and Vesnina eliminated fifth-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-2 6-4 in the other semifinal at Romai Tennis Academy.

"Anna played a good match, she played strong, but maybe she was a bit tired after the long match she had yesterday," Errani said.

Bulls down

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia 76ers rallied to beat the top-seeded Chicago Bulls 79-74 yesterday and gain a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round NBA playoff series.

The battered Bulls, already without reigning league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, suffered another injury blow as French centre Joakim Noah hurt his ankle in the third quarter of the defeat.

Elsewhere in the East, Rajon Rondo returned with a bang from his one-game ban to score a "triple-double" to lead the Boston Celtics to a 90-84 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Rondo scored 17 points with 14 rebounds and 12 assists, his seventh career playoff triple double helping the Celtics take a 2-1 lead over the Hawks in their best-of-seven series.

Rising star

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Rising Mexican star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez reckons his World Boxing Council super welterweight title defence against US veteran Shane Mosley today (Fiji time) is the start of bigger things.

"This is another test, another gate that I have to walk through," Alvarez said. "With Mosley being who he is, I feel that I have entered the big leagues. There will be way bigger fights and better things for me."

Mosley, a 40-year-old warrior, says Alvarez won't find it so easy to walk through him, even if his last six fights included three defeats and a draw - and unimpressive efforts against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Woods misses cut

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - Australian John Senden is tied third with a 10-under par 134 at the US PGA Tour's $US6.5 million ($A6.35 million) Wells Fargo Championship. Nick Watney put a string of lackluster rounds behind him to fire an eight-under par 64 and seize the 36-hole lead at the North Carolina event.

Watney had a 12-under total of 132 and was one stroke in front of fellow American Webb Simpson, who had five birdies in a four-under 68 for 133. Tied with Senden was Stewart Cink, seeking his first victory since his British Open triumph at Turnberry in 2009, Ben Crane and DA Points. Crane carded a 64, while Points and Senden both shot 68.

On a day when 14-time major champion Tiger Woods missed the cut for just the eighth time in his pro career, Watney was going in the other direction - up.

Stoner fastest

ESTORIL, Portugal - Casey Stoner followed up his Spanish Grand Prix victory by setting the fastest time in yesterday's practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril as Britain's Cal Crutchlow impressed again.

Stoner, who has had to dismiss rumours that he will retire at the end of the season, led the way with a lap of one minute 38.396 seconds aboard his Repsol Honda.

Estoril is the only circuit where the 26-year-old Australian has not won in the premier class after his breakthrough win in Spain last weekend. The defending world champion left it late to claim top spot on Friday by edging out Yamaha's Ben Spies.

Estoril Open

ESTORIL, Portugal - French second seed Richard Gasquet defeated Daniel Munoz-de la Nava 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 yesterday to reach the semi-finals of the Estoril Open, as he plays his first clay court tennis event of the season.

Gasquet, who lost the 2007 final to Novak Djokovic on his last visit to Estoril, beat the lowest-ranked player remaining in the field in No.148 de la Nava. He now faces another Spaniard, Albert Ramos, the fourth seed who saw off local favourite Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3.

Crucible masterclass

SHEFFIELD, England - Ronnie O'Sullivan's bid for a fourth world snooker championship gained momentum in a Crucible masterclass which gave the Englishman a 11-5 lead over semi-final opponent Matthew Stevens yesterday.

O'Sullivan had built a 5-3 lead over the Welshman after Thursday's session, during which Stevens called a foul on himself which neither O'Sullivan nor the referee had noticed.

The ‘Rocket' took up where he left off, reeling off six straight frames and treating a rapt audience to breaks of 61, 62, 110, 98, 90 and 113 as he continued to show the form which suggests a final place is well within his grasp.

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