NEW YORK - Matt Ebden is desperate to play a part in Australia's latest push for re-entry to the Davis Cup World Group after enjoying his best-ever US Open campaign. Ebden lost 6-4 6-2 6-2 to in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the second round after making the main draw at Flushing Meadows for the first time in three attempts. After being handed his Cup debut in Australia's Asia-Oceania quarter-final victory over China in February, Ebden backed up to collect another singles point for his country in the semi-final triumph over Korea in April.
NEW YORK - Serena Williams advanced to the third round of the US Open yesterday with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. The 14-time Grand Slam champion overcame six double-faults and 24 unforced errors and will next face Russia's Ekaterina Makarova for a berth in the last 16. Earlier, Serbia's Ana Ivanovic also reached the third round but admitted she needs to take painkillers every morning to see her through at Flushing Meadows.
LONDON - English club Queens Park Rangers says it has reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign Spanish midfielder Esteban Granero. Both clubs announced the deal on their respective websites, with QPR saying the move is still conditional on the mandatory medical exam. QPR did not detail the length of Granero's contract. Granero had already been a regular substitute under Jose Mourinho at Madrid, but his role appeared further diminished with the arrival of Luka Modric from Tottenham earlier this week.
Maicon to move
ROME - Inter Milan said they were willing to let Maicon leave for Manchester City, as reports continued to claim the clubs were negotiating a transfer fee for the highly-rated Brazilian defender. Maicon's contract with the Nerazzurri will expire at the end of next season, meaning he could leave Inter for free in June 2013. Although neither club has officially announced news of the deal, speculation is gathering pace ahead of transfer deadline and Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has said he would not stand in Maicon's way.
MONTE CARLO - Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2011-2012 season yesterday. Iniesta earned 19 votes in the poll of journalists from across Europe, two more than Barcelona teammate and last year's winner, Lionel Messi, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. The 28-year-old Iniesta was instrumental in helping Spain successfully defend its European Championship title this summer and was crowned the tournament's best player.
WELLINGTON - Veteran New Zealand seam bowler Chris Martin has been dropped for the second cricket Test against India starting in Bangalore. Martin makes way for Tim Southee in the only change to the starting 11 that succumbed by an innings and 115 runs with four sessions to spare in the first Test at Hyderabad. The 37-year-old struggled on a pitch that suited spin, taking 1-76 from 27 overs in his 70th Test. Coach Mike Hesson resisted making any other changes despite the humbling.