SYDNEY (AAP) - Catherine Cox has done it all in the netball world, but there'll be a unique fire burning inside her when she leads the West Coast Fever into battle against the NSW Swifts today in the Trans Tasman Championship. The Australian star was shown the door by the Swifts at the end of last season, after she was firstly dumped as skipper and then told she was unwanted by new coach Lisa Beehag. Cox handled the departure with her usual class, but will surely have a point to prove at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre when she steps on court against her former teammates for the first time. A four-time title winner and three-time MVP for the Swifts since starting with the club in 2002, Cox has said she was given little choice but to move away from the NSW club once Beehag came on board.
QINHUANGDAO (AFP) - Women's boxing legend MC Mary Kom spoke of her immense relief after she was handed an Olympic lifeline on Friday ù without even throwing a punch. The five-time world champion was reduced to a bundle of nerves at the Women's World Boxing Championships in China after she failed to gain an automatic Olympic spot after losing to Nicola Adams in the quarter-finals. But the world number-two flyweight Adams, from England, dismissed Russian Elena Savelyeva in the semi-finals 11-6, clearing the path to London for the celebrated Kom. "It was emotional ù sat there watching as I had no medal after losing to Nicola in the quarter-finals. I was up and down. Nicola has helped me get a chance to go to the Olympics so I will try my very best," said "Magnificent Mary", who who watched Adams ù who has also qualified for the 2012 Games ù from the stands with the rest of the nervous Indian boxing squad.
World champ wins
CERVERE (AFP) - Britain's world champion Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory on the 13th stage of the Tour of Italy on Friday, but Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez maintained the overall lead. Cavendish finished ahead of Norway's Alexander Kristoff and Mark Renshaw of Australia on the 121km run for his third stage win of this year's race. For the 26-year-old Cavendish, it was a seventh stage win of the season and his 10th career victory on the Giro in his fourth participation. Friday's triumph was also his 33rd career stage win in the three grand tours of Italy, France and Spain. Dutch rider Martijn Keizer had set the early pace, escaping for the fourth time in five days, and was joined by Italy's Francesco Failli to build a lead of five minutes.
HYDERABAD (AP) - Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra struck vital blows as Deccan Chargers completed a five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Friday. Steyn grabbed 2-16 and Mishra took 2-20 as Deccan Chargers restricted Rajasthan to 8-126 after the visiting side won the toss at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Akshath Reddy then top scored with 42 as Deccan reached 5-128 in 18.4 overs. The defeat knocked Rajasthan out of contention for a berth in the playoffs with seven wins and eight losses from 15 games. Deccan, led by Australian Cameron White after regular captain Kumar Sangakkara was dropped due to lack of form, remain at the bottom of the table with three wins, 11 losses and one no-result from 15.
Top two in semis
ROME (AFP) - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal turned in command performances on Friday to roar into the ATP's Rome Masters semi-finals, with both players rating their current tennis at near the top of their abilities. Defending champion Djokovic, the top seed, fought through the first set, before racing away in the second to beat French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 6-1. "In the second set I played one of the best sets on clay this year. This is encouraging for the challenges ahead. With Roland Garros coming, I'm playing and feeling better in every match," said the Serb. Djokovic was tested early on by Tsonga in a first set filled with five breaks of serve. But after winning the opener in nearly an hour, Tsonga's defences collapsed as the top seed came home for his 29th win of the season.
David finds form
LONDON (AFP) - Nicol David overcame an early scare to reach the semi-finals of the British Open on Friday and earn a meeting with Laura Massaro, the player who has been the nearest thing to a rival over the past 18 months. The World Open record-holder from Malaysia suffered a rocky ride for the first 20 minutes against giant-killer Joelle King before turning it around completely in a 8-11 11-3 11-4 11-0 success. King, the 12th seeded New Zealander had ousted defending champion Rachael Grinham, and began as if she might overpower the favourite as well. However she began to show the physical cost of her previous day's effort as early as halfway through the second game. From that moment David was rid of her early tension, moved better, and moved the ball about with good control, further to drain her opponent's limited resources. "I knew she would be firing up and for a while I was struggling to get my shots together," David admitted.