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Williams guaranteed year-end number one ranking SINGAPORE: Serena Williams clinched the year-end world number one ranking for the fourth time without hitting a ball on Friday after Maria Sharapova, the only woman with any chance of overtaking her, was eliminated from the WTA Finals.Needing to win in straight sets to stand any chance of advancing to the semi-finals, Sharapova lost the second set of her match against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska at Singapore's Indoor Stadium, ending her slim hopes of leapfrogging Williams for the top spot.Sharapova had led 7-5 5-1 and appeared to be cruising towards victory but Radwanska dug deep to reel off five straight games and force a tiebreak, which she won 7-4 to even up the match and effectively eliminate the Russian from the tournament.Sharapova has already lost to Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova in the White Group and even if she goes on to win against Radwanska, the victory would only be a ...

Battered Wallabies head north to put down World Cup marker SYDNEY: Australia's beleaguered rugby union team left for their end-of-season northern hemisphere tour on Friday with a new coach and players talking of giving him an unbeaten start to his tenure as he eyes the World Cup in less than a year's time.New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was only appointed on Wednesday, two days before the team left for the five-match tour that includes tests against World Cup pool opponents England and Wales.Cheika was hurriedly ...

Japan to get 18th Super Rugby team in 2016: SANZAR SYDNEY: Japan has beaten out Singapore to win the right to host the 18th Super Rugby team when the southern hemisphere provincial competition expands for the 2016 season, governing body SANZAR said on Friday.The Singapore bid effectively conceded defeat on Thursday, leaving the way open for Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), which will host the World Cup in 2019, to put together Asia's first team in the championship."SANZAR will now work exclusively with the JRFU ...

NZ union signs conditional broadcast agreement WELLINGTON: The New Zealand Rugby Union and Sky Television have signed a conditional five-year deal for broadcasting rights from 2016, the NZRU said on Friday, with the final agreement expected to be signed off by the end of November.No financial details were disclosed due to the continued negotiation of rights in other countries, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew told reporters in a conference call.Sky, which has come under increased threat from Internet television providers for ...

Everton held by Lille but remain top in Europa League PARIS: Everton retained top spot in Group F on Thursday as they battled to a 0-0 draw at Lille in Europa League action following a day of trouble and fighting in the city centre between fans and police ahead of the tie. The Merseysiders, who last won their only continental trophy in 1985 when they lifted the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup, enjoyed the lion's share of possession but lacked a cutting edge up front ...

Royals outfield defenders cram for quirky AT&T test SAN FRANCISCO: The irresistible talents of the Kansas City Royals' outfielders may be tested by the inscrutable elements of San Francisco's quirky right field when the World Series resumes on Friday.Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Nori Aoki all had a cram course on Thursday's off-day in gauging caroms off the AT&T Park wall ahead of a Game Three that will snap a 1-1 tie in the best-of-seven championship."It's tough," said center fielder Cain, who has ...

Amla century, poor NZ batting gives South Africa series WELLINGTON Hashim Amla's composed century helped South Africa to within a sniff of reclaiming the one-day top ranking after they beat New Zealand by 72 runs to wrap up their three-match series with a game to spare on Friday.Amla's 119 led South Africa to an impressive, but not overly daunting, 282 for nine in the second match at Mount Maunganui before the home side failed to get going against a bowling attack that put them ...


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