Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Davydenko unmoved by Murray

Nikolay Davydenko remains unconvinced Andy Murray has what it takes to win a grand slam despite his impressive first round victory over the Russian at Wimbledon.
Nikolay Davydenko: Unimpressed by Andy Murray
Murray went into the match with questions marks over his form and having had to defend himself against accusations that he exaggerated his recent back injury.

Davydenko stoked the flames with his own comments about Murray's on-court demeanour, adding the Scot was not good enough to win one of the sport's four major titles.

And although Murray was utterly dominant, racing to a 6-1 6-1 6-4 victory on Centre Court, Davydenko was unmoved.

Asked if he still believed Murray would not be able to win a slam, Davydenko replied simply: "Yes."

The Russian was also grudging in his appreciation of Murray's performance, saying: "I didn't play against him for a long time so I don't know if it was his best. It would be the best tennis if he beat me 6-0 6-0 6-0, but he didn't do that."

Murray looked on the money from the first shot, reeling off nine straight games after Davydenko had held serve at the start of the match and astonishingly he did not make a single unforced error in the first two sets.

Everything in the Murray game was working well, but particularly his backhand slice and forehand, with which he powered winner after winner past Davydenko.

The 31-year-old said: "He played fast, he served well, he pushed me back on the return, he made less mistakes. It's always what he does. And I started to make mistakes from the baseline, I felt like I had no confidence.

"In the third set I relaxed a little bit and I tried to get a bit more control from the baseline but it was tough. I don't like so much to play on grass."

Davydenko has slipped to 47th in the world rankings from a high of number three and has never really recovered from a broken wrist he suffered in 2010, which came only months after he won the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the first time it was held in London.

The match did enable him to reach a personal milestone, though.

Davydenko said: "For me it was perfect. It was my first time on Centre Court. In every other grand slam I played on the biggest court already many times. Here it was tough, I never had good results."

Murray was happy to silence his critics, at least for now, but mostly he was just pleased to get through the match after having to wait two weeks since his second-round loss at Queen's Club for a competitive encounter.

He said: "I just wanted to go out there, play well, keep my focus, and not worry about the other stuff. I think I did a good job of that. It's time to let the tennis do the talking."


Top 10 Sexiest Male Athletes of Our Time

By Lauren Reid

Seeing as sports writing is a mostly male dominated field, I feel that women rarely have the opportunity to be presented with the sexiest men of the athletic world.

Well, here you go ladies, and men alike: I present you with the sexiest male athletes of their sports, based on their obviously good looks and accomplishments. And men, please don't cringe because you know deep down you secretly love them too.

Swimming: Michael Phelps

Who wouldn't find a 14-time Olympic gold medalist sexy?

Phelps holds the title of most gold medals won by any Olympian, and also currently holds 37 world records. The 24-year-old has previously been linked to former Miss California USA 2009, Carrie Prejean.

Who doesn't love a man in gold?
Nascar: Kasey Kahne

Perhaps the most unrecognizable face on this countdown belongs to NASCAR hunk Kasey Kahne.

The 30-year-old has claimed multiple racing titles including the Pocono 500 and the Sprint All-Star Race. Kahne's baby blues have been known to follow the classic California girl: tall, thin and blonde.

Cycling: Lance Armstrong

If beating cancer and conquering the Tour de France seven times isn't enough, just look at the 39-year-old's dating history for proof.

Armstrong has dabbled in the Hollywood pool of beauties previously dating Sheryl Crow and Kate Hudson. Look for the cycling champ to be running shirtless along a California beach near you.
Tennis: Andy Roddick

The former No. 1 tennis champ in the world currently holds the record for the fastest serve in a Grand Slam tournament.

Roddick, 27, recorded a serve at 152 mph at the U.S. Open in 2004. If that isn't enough to make most guys jealous, Roddick is newly married to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker.
Golf: Tiger Woods

There couldn't be any playboy more notorious than Woods deserving of this title.

The 34-year-old golf superstar married Swedish model Elin Nordegren, and proceeded to have reportedly over 120 affairs throughout the ten years of their marriage.

Any man who can bag that many women while married to a supermodel is unfortunately deserving of a sexy title. In addition, Woods is recognized as the world's most marketable athlete, and has 14 Major Championship titles under his loose belt.
MLS: David Beckham
This soccer phenom holds the honor of the most nominations for sexiest man than any other athlete on this list.

Most recently, Beckham was voted People's sexiest man in 2008.

The 34-year-old is married to former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham, and has a clothing line as well as a fragrance line. Throw his adorable three kids into the mix and you have a recipe for an admirable stud.
NBA: Dwyane Wade

Basketball's hottest comes in the form of NBA star Dwyane Wade, who was one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2005.

Wade, 28, has a gold medal from the 2008 Summer Olympics, and a 2006 NBA Championship, among other shining achievements.
NHL: Sidney Crosby
Fresh-faced Sidney Crosby is arguably one of the NHL's most accomplished athletes.

At the young age of 22, "Sid the Kid" is captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and holds the richest endorsement deal in NHL-Reebook history.

Crosby is also an Olympian, after bringing home the gold medal for his home country of Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Last but not least on his dubious list of honors: he is the youngest NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup at age 21.

MLB: Alex Rodriguez

This 34-year-old defending World Series Champion has been linked to Hollywood stars Madonna and Kate Hudson, to name a few. But don't let those pretty blue eyes fool you; his five-year marriage to wife Cynthia came to a screeching end in 2008 after reports of affairs and irreconcilable differences.

NFL: Tom Brady
NFL's sexiest comes in the package of 32-year-old Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. The three-time Superbowl Champion is married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and previously dated actress Bridget Moynahan.


Monday, June 25, 2012

UFC 147 Results Recap: Wanderlei Silva Vs. Rich Franklin

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: (L-R) Opponents Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin face off after making weight during the UFC 147 weigh in at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drummond on June 22, 2012 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
by Tim Burke

In the main event at UFC 147, Rich Fraklin survived a major scare at the end of the second round to take a unanimous decision victory over Wanderlei Silva in a 190-pound catchweight fight. That's how their first bout at UFC 99 went down as well, though that one was closer than this. The final scores were 49-46, 49-46, and 49-46.

Franklin mainly controlled the fight with solid striking from the outside and not letting Silva get close enough to blitz him. The one time he did, Silva dropped him in the second round and nearly pounded him out, but Franklin managed to minimize the damage on the ground and made it to the end of the round. After recuperating for a minute, he went right back to what he was doing before and won the next three rounds.

What was the high spot of this fight?

Either Silva almost finishing Franklin, or the last thirty seconds where they both threw caution to the wind and just brawled. Franklin dropping Silva right at the final bell was crazy.

Where do these guys go from here?

Franklin said after the fight that he wants to make one more run at the UFC middleweight title before he retires. I don't know if that will be possible or not, but I'm excited to see him try. The future Hall of Famer is still an excellent fighter that can give anyone (except Anderson Silva) problems. A bout with Alan Belcher sounds like a good next fight for Franklin.

Silva fought valiantly but came up short. He still wants to fight opposing TUF Brazil coach Vitor Belfort next, but Dana White didn't see that happening. If that isn't the plan, I'd like to see Silva face the loser of the UFC 149 bout between Tim Boetsch and Hector Lombard.

Watch it now, later or never?

Now. It was slow at times, but never boring. There are definitely worse ways to spend 25 minutes.
SBN coverage of UFC 147

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 147 in the full entry.

Italy defeats England on penalties, reach semis at Euro 2012

Azzurri move on to face Germany
The Associated Press

Italy won the semifinal place its dominating play deserved, though it took a penalty shootout to overcome England's resistance Sunday at the European Championship.

Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty to give Italy a 4-2 shootout victory after a 0-0 draw, setting up a semifinal match against three-time champion Germany on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart deflects a shot by Italy's Antonio Nocerino, unseen, during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between England and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart deflects a shot by Italy's Antonio Nocerino, unseen, during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between England and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)
Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo — with an audacious slow chip-shot down the middle of the goal —and Antonio Nocerino also scored for Italy.

"Tonight, we played with heart and character, but also with ideas," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. "Our idea of playing was extraordinary in my opinion, against a side that was difficult to play."

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who saved a penalty in the shootout, left the field blowing out his cheeks in a gesture of relief. The goalkeeper was in goal when Italy won the 2006 World Cup in a shootout, though he did not save any France spot kicks that night in Berlin.

Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored England's penalties, briefly giving their team a 2-1 lead in the shootout. But Ashley Young hit the crossbar with England's third, and Ashley Cole's attempt was then saved by Buffon diving to his left.

For England, it was yet another exit from a major tournament in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. England lost to Portugal in the same manner at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

"We have done the country proud but again we go home with heartbreak and it's difficult to take," said Gerrard, who played in both those previous shootout losses.

England coach Roy Hodgson said he had faith in those selected for the shootout, and recalled Cole's cool finish to help Chelsea win the Champions League on penalties last month against Bayern Munich.

"Penalties has become an obsession for us in English football and in training they have done extremely well," Hodgson said. "But you can't reproduce the tired legs. You can't reproduce the pressure. You can't reproduce the nervous tension.

"[The Italians] stood up to it better than we did. Pirlo's penalty was the perfect example."

England had briefly led the shootout after Riccardo Montolivo put Italy's second penalty wide of goalkeeper Joe Hart's right post and Rooney sent Buffon the wrong way. The momentum shifted after Pirlo's bold piece of skill levelled at 2-2.

"I just saw that the goalkeeper was moving a bit earlier so I decided to play it the other way," Pirlo said. "It just comes to you at that moment and it went well."

The first scoreless match at Euro 2012 was neither dull nor lacking good football as Italy often outclassed a determined England side and twice hit the post, but was also let down by poor composure in front of goal. Italy finished the match with 35 attempts on goal, compared to only nine for England.

Daniele De Rossi hit the post in the third minute, and Buffon saved a shot from Glen Johnson in the fifth. It was England's first scoring chance and proved to be its best.

"Had we won it, we wouldn't have been apologizing for the victory," Hodgson said.

Balotelli took centre stage for much of the match, but failed to find his target. The Italy forward hesitated and allowed John Terry to block his chipped shot in the 25th, then forced Hart, his teammate at Manchester City, to save an acrobatic shot.

Balotelli kicked the goal post in frustration after he surged between England's central defenders but put a half-volley over the crossbar.

Italy continued to attack in the second half and De Rossi, taking a ball over his shoulder, scuffed his shot wide. De Rossi sank to his knees in obvious exasperation, but more Italian anguish quickly followed.

Three quick chances in the 52nd saw Hart beat away De Rossi's long-range shot, block Balotelli's follow-up and watch Montolivo lash the loose ball high.

Hodgson had to react to Italy's dominance, and sent on substitutes Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott, who both scored in a 3-2 win over Sweden. But England still failed to convince and Rooney made little impression after an early diving header. His overhead kick deep in injury time sailed high.

Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute, and swept a clear shot wide in the best chance of the second period of extra time.

In the 115th, Nocerino thought he had scored from Diamanti's cross but was offside.
© The Associated Press, 2012

Leishman unlikely winner at Travelers

Rivals fall apart at the Travelers
Marc Leishman shot a final-round, bogey-free 62 to secure his first PGA Tour victory.
Marc Leishman shot a final-round, bogey-free 62 to secure his first PGA Tour victory. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images) 

CROMWELL, Conn. - Every so often Marc Leishman would glance over at the Travelers Championship trophy placed on the table next to him, smile, and shake his head.

After what had transpired at TPC River Highlands over two hours on Sunday, nobody could blame Leishman if he wasn’t completely convinced he was wearing the champion’s jacket, or that he’d see his name etched onto a PGA Tour trophy for the first time.

“Unbelievable,’’ Leishman said. “It’s probably not the way I would have expected to get my first win. But you take them when you get them, any way you can.’’

Leishman certainly did his part, shooting a bogey-free, 8-under-par 62 to finish 72 holes at 14 under. But because he started the round six shots back, there were at least six players finishing behind Leishman who would factor prominently in the outcome.

All six failed, combining for a steady stream of wild shots that sent balls out of bounds, into lakes, off greens. Missed 2-footers, blown two-shot leads. The final round of the Travelers might have ended with a 28-year-old affable Aussie holding court in the winner’s news conference. But it was a comedy of errors that helped send him there.

None worse than Charley Hoffman, who took a two-shot lead to the 17th tee. Leishman had been done for 90 minutes, and nobody else on the course was within three shots of Hoffman, so it was his tournament to lose. Which he promptly did, putting his tee shot on the 17th into the water with a hybrid, which led to a double bogey.

“It’s a tough tee shot for me on 17,’’ Hoffman said. “Simply blocked it.’’

Now tied with Leishman playing the 18th hole, Hoffman’s drive once again sailed way right. Not into the water this time, but on the side of a hill in heavy rough, with an uneven stance. Hoffman bunkered his approach, blasted out to 15 feet, and never gave his par putt to tie a chance. A double bogey-bogey finish when he had been in control.

“Two bad swings out there unfortunately cost me the golf tournament,’’ said Hoffman, who shot 66 and tied Bubba Watson for second at 13 under, one behind Leishman. “What I did on 18 was pretty pathetic. Obviously a bad finish and bad taste in my mouth.’’

He wasn’t alone. Watson shot 65 and never made a bogey. But his drive on the par-4 15th found the water, and he couldn’t make a birdie on the final five holes.
Tim Clark trailed Hoffman by three shots when he knocked his second shot on the par-5 13th on the green. Then he knocked his 30-foot eagle putt off the green and almost into the water hazard. He chipped up and holed a nervy 5-footer for par, and with three more pars was still 13 under when faced with a 2-foot par putt on No. 17. Considering Hoffman’s collapse, Clark needed the short putt to stay one behind Leishman and give himself a chance for a tying birdie on 18. Instead, he missed the near-gimme, confirming his fears.
“I pretty much knew I was going to miss it, to be honest with you,’’ Clark said. “Mentally I’m a long way away from where I need to be. I played great. Hit the ball great. But obviously 17, that’s like taking a bullet to the head.’’

Clark shot 67 and tied John Rollins (68) and third-round co-leaders Brian Davis (70) and Roland Thatcher (70) for fourth, two shots back. They had late-round issues, too. Like Watson, Rollins and Thatcher hit their tee shots on No. 15 into the water, each making bogey. Davis bogeyed No. 13 - the second-easiest hole in the tournament - when his second shot found the pond guarding the green.

Even James Driscoll, who briefly had a share of the lead early in the round, couldn’t steer clear of the contagious bad play. Driscoll hit drives out of bounds on No. 10 (double bogey) and No. 14 (quadruple bogey), ending his bid for his first tour win.

The mountain of miscues benefited Leishman, who had more than two hours to kill from the time he finished his round until the final twosome of Davis and Thatcher played the last, Thatcher still with a chance to tie after a birdie on No. 17 drew him within one. But he bunkered his approach and couldn’t blast out for birdie, making Leishman a most unlikely champion.

“Waiting around is really hard, especially when - well, it wasn’t too bad because, you know, Charley was ahead, and it didn’t look like I had much of a chance,’’ Leishman said. “Waking up this morning I definitely didn’t think I was going to be in this situation, but I’ll gladly take it.’’

Leishman’s first victory since a 2008 Nationwide Tour win was sure to please his wife, Audrey, and their newborn son, Harvey, back home in Virginia Beach, Va. At least they could be up watching on TV. Not so back home in Warrnambool, Australia, where Paul and Pelita Leishman were likely fast asleep when their son became a PGA Tour winner.

“Mom and Dad probably woke up this morning and got a real shock,’’ Leishman said. “Gone to bed probably not expecting a whole lot.’’

It was that kind of day, full of surprises.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

Olympic trials 2012: Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh face coin toss as Justin Gatlin runs 9.8sec 100m

Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh face either a run-off or a coin toss to determine the final place in the United States' women's 100 metres team for this summer's Olympics.

The pair yesterday dead-heated for third place in the National Championships in Eugene, Oregon – which double as the Olympic trials – with an initial announcement to the crowd suggesting Tarmoh had been given the verdict by 0.0001 seconds before the results were then reviewed.

With no tiebreak procedure included in USA Track and Field's regulations, the governing body considered their options before announcing that both athletes will be given the choice of a run-off or a coin toss. If Felix and Tarmoh disagree on their preferred method then a run-off will be used, but if neither declares a preference then a coin-toss will be used.

Justin Gatlin ran 9.80 seconds to win the men's 100m and qualify for his second Olympics along with Tyson Gay (9.86) and Ryan Bailey (9.93).

A confident Gatlin said: "I knew I had to get out of the blocks, keep the middle flawless, bring it home precisely and have the technique coming through the line.

"I have a lot left in the tank. This season so far has been undefeated and I'm just trying to ride that wave."

Gay added: "I feel pretty good, just excited to make the team.

"I feel like I'm on my way up. This is only my second race of the year and I only started training in March."

Bailey's better-known team-mate Walter Dix was beaten into eighth place in the final and said: "Things like this happen. I really can't say much about it. I'm just glad my team-mate Ryan Bailey made it through."

LaShawn Merritt – who like Gatlin has returned from a drug ban to earn selection – ran a world-leading 44.12sec to win the men's 400m. Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum ran personal bests to join Merritt on the Olympic team.

"This won't be my first rodeo," said Merritt. "I will go in confidently, and I am definitely confident in Tony and Nellum that they can handle this.

"They came out of college and now they're with the big dogs – it's a different mentality to run with someone who can run 44.8 in the first round."

Sanya Richards-Ross secured her place in the women's event in even more emphatic fashion. Her time of 49.28sec was also the best in the world this year and gave her a winning margin of 0.74sec ahead of fellow qualifiers DeeDee Trotter and Francena McCorory.

"Today was phenomenal," said Richards-Ross. "It's a dream come true. I'm excited to (represent) Team USA."

Marquise Goodwin produced a PB of 8.33m to defend his national championship in the men's long jump and qualify first ahead of Will Claye. George Kitchens Jr was third, helping to lay the ghost of 2009 when he was third with a wind-assisted jump but was not selected for the World Championships as he had not achieved the A standard with a legal jump.

A similar fate befell Suzy Powell-Roos in the women's discus, as she finished third but without having made the A standard. The third ticket to London instead went to sixth-placed Gia Lewis-Smallwood, the highest-placed athlete with the A standard after leading pair Stephanie Brown-Trafton and Aretha Thurmond.

Lewis-Smallwood said: "It's my first Olympic Team. I'm happy about that. I wish I could have placed higher, but I made it."

Reese Hoffa, who set a world-leading mark, Ryan Whiting and Christian Cantwell took the three places in the men's shot put while 2008 silver medallist Jenn Suhr was joined in the women's pole vault squad by Becky Holliday and Lacy Janson.


5 Wimbledon winners and how they fared the following year

Serena Williams

It's hard to repeat

Here's how the recent champs at Wimbledon defended their crowns:
Roger Federer: Beat Rafael Nadal in the finals.
Amelie Mauresmo: Lost in fourth round to Nicole Vaidisova.
Federer: Lost to Nadal in finals.
Venus Williams: Beat Serena Williams in finals.
Nadal: Withdrew before first round because of injury.
Venus Williams: Lost to Serena Williams in finals.
Roger Federer: Lost in quarters to Tomas Berdych.
Serena Williams: Beat Vera Zvonareva in finals.
Nadal: Lost in finals to Novak Djokovic.
Serena Williams: Lost in fourth round to Marion Bartoli.

Cano, Yankees touch up Dickey in 6-5 win over Mets

By MIKE FITZPATRICK | The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Not even R.A. Dickey's darting knuckleball could prevent another power show by the New York Yankees.

Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, and the Yankees touched up Dickey for five runs in a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday night.

Nick Swisher hit an early three-run shot against Dickey, who was coming off consecutive one-hitters - making him the first major league pitcher in 24 years to accomplish that feat. But in a much-anticipated matchup at sold-out Citi Field, both he and Yankees ace CC Sabathia were missing their best stuff.

''We feel like we can beat everybody. We never go into a game saying, 'We'll probably lose this one because this guy's hot,''' Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira said. ''When people say, 'You can't beat him,' we go, 'OK, we'll prove you wrong.' It's kind of fun.''

Leading off the eighth, Cano drove a 2-0 delivery from Miguel Batista (1-2) over the home run apple in straightaway center for his 16th homer and fifth in seven games. Taking advantage of a shaky Mets bullpen again, the Yankees won the final two games of the weekend series by one run to finish 5-1 against their crosstown rivals this season.

''Not too bad for a bunch of chickens,'' said Swisher, eager to take a shot at Mets closer Frank Francisco.

Before the series, Francisco called the Yankees ''chickens'' and later explained what he meant was that they often complain about calls by the umpires - especially balls and strikes.

Francisco saved the series opener Friday but was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a strained muscle on his left side.

Including a sweep at home earlier this month, the Yankees have won five consecutive series against the Mets since May 2010.

The Bronx Bombers hit 15 home runs against the Mets this season - seven at reconfigured Citi Field - to account for 24 of their 32 runs. They lead the majors with 112 homers in 71 games, including 34 in the last 19 games.

''They hit balls out of the ballpark like there's nothing to it,'' said Mets manager Terry Collins, who acknowledged he should have brought in left-hander Tim Byrdak to face Cano.

The talk of the town lately, Dickey was riding an unprecedented roll of dominance that rivaled any in baseball history. But the knuckleballer had an uncharacteristic bout of wildness against the homer-happy Yankees and lasted only six innings. He walked three, hit a batter and threw his first wild pitch of the season.

''I didn't have a great knuckleball. It was just coming out wobbly a little bit. I kept searching for it,'' Dickey said.

Boone Logan (2-0) gave the Yankees another splendid performance out of the bullpen, and David Robertson retired Ruben Tejada with a runner on third to end the eighth. Rafael Soriano worked a scoreless ninth in the rain for his 15th save in 16 chances.

The Yankees have won 14 of their last 18 road games.

Sabathia, also coming off a complete game with double-digit strikeouts, gave up nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He was betrayed by his defense while yielding five runs - one earned.

''It's up to me to be able to pick these guys up,'' Sabathia said. ''I didn't make good enough pitches with two strikes.''

Dickey received a big ovation during pregame introductions and sent a smiling Alex Rodriguez sprawling to the dirt with a high-and-tight pitch in the first - perhaps the first time he's been buzzed by a knuckleball.

Dickey used his bat and legs to help the scrappy Mets get started on their comeback from a four-run deficit. He singled off Sabathia in the fifth and hustled home from second on David Wright's two-out RBI single.

The 37-year-old pitcher slid into Chris Stewart at the plate, getting a face full of catcher's mitt as his helmet was knocked off and the ball squirted away.

Trailing 5-2 in the sixth, the Mets capitalized on Cano's error at second base to score three unearned runs with two outs. Vinny Rottino, pinch-hitting for Dickey, drew a four-pitch walk from Sabathia and screened Teixeira when Andres Torres grounded a two-run single just past the Gold Glove first baseman.

Tejada tied it with a single off Cory Wade, who struck out pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Dickey wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second but couldn't escape in the third. Two walks sandwiched around Rodriguez's dribbler for an infield single loaded the bases for Teixeira, the pitcher's old buddy from their early days in Texas.

Teixeira made solid contact on a sacrifice fly, ending Dickey's streak without allowing an earned run at 44 2-3 innings - second-best in team history behind Dwight Gooden's stretch of 49 innings in 1985.

Swisher then sent a 2-1 knuckler well beyond the 390-foot sign in right-center for his 11th homer and a 4-0 cushion. He clapped his hands high as he rounded first base and wore a broad smile when he got back to the dugout.

''Lucky,'' Swisher said. ''I've never hit a ball like that off a knuckleballer, I know that.''

It was the first home run off Dickey since Cincinnati slugger Joey Votto connected on May 17. After a no-decision in that game, Dickey won his next six starts heading into Sunday night.

''It didn't quite live up to the billing,'' he said. ''But golly, I'm so proud of our guys who scrapped and fought. We can build off that.''

NOTES: Yankees C Russell Martin sat out after leaving Saturday's game in the ninth inning with a stiff lower back. Stewart usually catches Sabathia anyway, but manager Joe Girardi reiterated that he wants to get Sabathia and Martin working together again. ... Raul Ibanez had three hits for the Yankees. ... Mets 1B Ike Davis, scratched from the lineup Saturday and sent home because of food poisoning, flied out as a pinch-hitter to end it. ... The crowd of 42,364 was the largest in the 4-year history of Citi Field.


Gatlin zips by Gay in the 100 meters

In her third attempt to make the Olympics, Brittany Viola didn’t fold under the pressure - she won by nearly 60 points.
In her third attempt to make the Olympics, Brittany Viola didn’t fold under the pressure - she won by nearly 60 points. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images) 
Justin Gatlin flew out to a fast start and held off Tyson Gay to win the 100 meters in Sunday night’s US Olympic track trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, finished in 9.80 seconds, beating Gay by 0.06 seconds.
Ryan Bailey was a surprise third-place finisher as he edged Mike Rodgers, Doc Patton, and injured Walter Dix (hamstring), the Olympic bronze medalist in Beijing.
Gay, the American record-holder in the event, proved he was back after missing almost a year as he recovered from a hip injury that required surgery.
“Bittersweet. I always like to win,’’ Gay said. “I came in second. But at the end of the day, it was about making the team. I got to make sure I turn this little bit of a frown into a happy face.’’
Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt ran the 400 meters in 44.12 seconds, best in the world this season, for a chance to defend his title in London.
Tony McQuay, winner at the NCAA championships earlier this month, was second in 44.49, and Bryshon Nellum was third in 44.80 to earn the other two spots.
Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist before winning the silver in Beijing, finished sixth in 45.24.
On the women’s side of the 400, Sanya Richards-Ross tied a meet record (49.28) for a spot on the Olympic team. Richards-Ross also plans to run in the 200 in Friday’s trials.
Her mark in Sunday’s final tied Chandra Cheeseborough’s 1984 record.
Stephanie Brown Trafton won the discus with a throw of 213 feet, 10 inches for a chance to defend her gold medal. Aretha Thurmond was second at 204-2 for a spot on her fourth Olympic team.
American record-holder Suzy Powell-Roos finished third with a throw of 197-6, but she doesn’t have the Olympic “A’’ standard of 203-5 required to make the team. The third spot went to fifth-place finisher Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who has met the standard this season; her best throw Sunday was 192-10.
Jenn Suhr cleared 15 feet, 1 inch to win the women’s pole vault for a return trip to the Olympics. Suhr won the silver medal in Beijing, finishing behind Russian world record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva.
Marquise Goodwin, a senior wide receiver at the University of Texas, won the long jump with a personal-best distance of 27-4.
Reese Hoffa won the men’s shot put with a mark of 72-2 1/4.
US track and field officials say they have a procedure in place to break the third-place tie between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh in the women’s 100 meters held Saturday.
The scenarios involve either a coin toss or a runoff to decide which athlete will earn the third and final spot. If both athletes choose the same option, it will determine the tiebreaker. If the athletes disagree, the tiebreaker will be a runoff. If both athletes decline a preference, the tiebreaker will be a coin toss.
Diving - In Federal Way, Wash., Brittany Viola, in her third attempt to make the Olympics, won the women’s 10-meter platform.
Viola dominated, winning by nearly 60 points ahead of Katie Bell, who claimed the other qualifying spot.
Earlier, Chris Colwill rallied from third place to win the men’s 3-meter springboard, while Troy Dumais held off Kristian Ipsen in the final round to finish second and reach his fourth Olympics in the event.

White Sox acquire Youkilis from Red Sox

Veteran Kevin Youkilis switched Sox on Sunday, traded from Boston to Chicago.
Kevin Youkilis took off his batting helmet, waved to the crowd and blew a kiss to his adoring fans.
A favorite at Fenway Park for so long, he wanted a final chance to say so long.
The Boston Red Sox traded away the hard-nosed Youkilis on Sunday, sending the three-time All-Star infielder and cash to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart.
“Bobby (Valentine) wanted him to have that moment of walking off the field,’’ Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said.
A member of Boston teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, the 33-year-old Youkilis had seen his playing time drastically cut lately. He now joins the AL Central-leading White Sox, who wanted a regular third baseman.
“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,’’ White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.’’
Youkilis had a rousing end to his days with the Red Sox. He was unavailable after the game, leaving behind a locker without his nameplate above it.
After hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning of a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, he was lifted for a pinch runner. Longtime pal Nick Punto came out to replace him and the pair hugged.
Youkilis saluted the crowd and was rewarded with a standing ovation. His teammates, coaches and Valentine all were on the top step of the dugout cheering for him, and they urged Youkilis to take a curtain call.
Youkilis’ time in Boston became limited because of the play of rookie Will Middlebrooks, hitting .326 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 41 games.
“The way Middlebrooks was playing, he needs to be in the lineup every day,’’ Cherington said. “Bobby’s done a good job of shuffling everyday.’’
But the GM said the veteran Youkilis will long be remembered for his hustle and grit.
“He was a very passionate player that played very, very hard,’’ Cherington said. “He sort of willed himself to being an All-Star and obviously was a huge contributor for us in the middle of the lineup. He did a lot of good things.’’
The Fenway faithful should get to see Youkilis soon. The White Sox visit Boston a week after next month’s All-Star game.
The season started kind of rocky between Youkilis and first-year manager Valentine.
In April, Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment to the game in his weekly television interview, then later apologized to him a day later.
Youkilis, who can play both of the corner infield spots, is a career .286 hitter with 133 homers and 563 RBIs.
Longtime teammate Dustin Pedroia said it was a tough day.

Royal Ascot 2012: Australian super mare Black Caviar took everyone on an emotional rollercoaster ride

So that, ladies and gentlemen of Great Britain, was Black Caviar. How was it for you? Given perhaps the grandest billing of any horse to arrive in this country, she ended up winning by roughly the length of a horseshoe.
Royal Ascot 2012: Australian super mare Black Caviar took everyone on an emotional rollercoaster ride on the day the BBC bowed out of racing
Pin-up: Black Caviar's appearance was one of the highlights of Royal Ascot Photo: REUTERS
By Jonathan Liew

Perhaps, as trainer Peter Moody said, the result was never in doubt. Perhaps it was merely a wickedly slice of theatrical cunning on the part of the horse and her jockey, Luke Nolen. Winning a race despite having stopped before the end is quite the party trick.

And thus ends one of the most surreal fortnights the sport has ever seen. Since a chartered plane carrying Black Caviar landed at Heathrow, via Singapore and Sharjah, the world of racing has been consumed by a giddy, breathless excitement it scarcely knew it still possessed.

From the airport to the Ascot paddock, her every twitch and whimper has been scrutinised. The BBC had prepared a crib sheet for us, containing vital facts such as: “she loves swimming and going to the beach”, as if she were a teenage tennis prodigy. John Parrott reported that there were punters placing a bet on Black Caviar just so they could keep the slip, without the slightest intention of collecting.

But our mania had nothing on what was going on back home. Thousands of spectators packed Federation Square in Melbourne in the middle of the night to watch the race. A range of Black Caviar-branded horse shampoo (“enriched with the natural essential oil of Australian tea tree”) will go on sale in August.

“You get kids drawing little squiggly pictures of her and sending them to us,” racing manager Jeff O’Connor said in an excellent BBC preview feature. “We’ve never had that before. We’ve never ” At this point he choked up with emotion. Some of those drawings must have been harrowing.

Racing is, I think, the only sport left that can inspire this sort of wide-eyed, ingenuous devotion. Never again will the Americans swoon over a pop band in the way they did over The Beatles when they first visited in 1964.

Never again will the English be so astounded by foreign footballers as they were by the Hungarians at Wembley in 1953, who played a brand of football never seen before in this country.

Only horses retain the ability to reawaken such emotions, and Black Caviar’s arrival on these shores evoked a sense of wonder that has largely been lost in an age when humans can hop around the globe at will.

Part of this is the shroud of mystery that still attends racehorses.We can peer inside Lance Armstrong’s lungs and perform painstaking Prozone analysis on great footballers but, as Willie Carson pointed out on Tuesday, what makes unbeaten pair Frankel or Black Caviar so fast is something we will only know when they die and we can cut them open.

When the 1930s thoroughbred and double Classic winner Hyperion died in 1960, it was discovered in the post-mortem that he had an extra pair of ribs.

By then, alas, it was too late for beaten rivals to file complaints to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. And so we sat trapped in a vortex of innocence, in which what we knew was dwarfed by what we did not.

“I wish I knew,” Peter Moody chuckled ruefully when asked what Black Caviar’s secret was. “She must have remarkable bone density,” Clare Balding speculated. “That’s an excuse I always use.”

Only racing manages to keep even its finest experts suspended in such enchanted, almost childlike ignorance. Perhaps that explains why everyone in it is so small.

Black Caviar’s triumphant flying visit was a fitting end to six decades of Royal Ascot coverage on the BBC. Not everything went to plan for them over the week - spelling Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s name wrongly on a caption was a particular low point - but it is hard not to feel a sharp sense of loss.

Over the years, they have done far more good than bad, and, in Balding, have given us one of the finest presenters on television.

Then again, perhaps Channel Four will do just as good a job when they take over next year. As former presenter Peter Dimmock, all 91 years of him, reflected as the broadcast drew near its close: “It’s quite incredible, the changes. But time moves on, and there we are.”


Atkins was on fire - Smith

Warrington coach Tony Smith praised the contribution of centre Ryan Atkins who grabbed a hat-trick of tries as the Wolves defeated Hull 40-18 at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
The England international grabbed two first half tries and claimed his hat-trick with a superb individual effort to put his side on the road to victory and close the gap on leaders Wigan to a point.
Smith said: "Ryan was on fire today, in real good form. He looked sharp, powerful and speedy for most of the game."
He continued: "And he did some tough stuff for us as well, it just wasn't all flashy stuff, it just looked like that when he got the ball someone hit the fast forward button. He just went tearing into them at both ends and some of his carries early in sets got us the momentum we were looking for.
"I thought Trent Waterhouse was very strong and powerful for us also and the other stand out was Stefan Ratchford who I thought was brilliant at full back and has real big influence on us. It was also great to have Michael Monaghan back who slotted straight back in."
Smith was delighted how his side lifted in the second half after going in level 18-18 at half time.
The Wolves boss added: "The game was there at half time for whichever team wanted to lift. I thought in the second half we were very good and across the board to a man they all lifted and responded and looked sharp.
"I didn't think we were bad in the first half, we just lacked a little intensity and in those few moments Hull took every advantage. I thought we looked like a team who had had a week off and just a bit rusty and we had a tough week with illness in the group and the atrocious weather so we probably got the first half performance we prepared for."
Hull coach Peter Gentle was disappointed with a huge penalty count against his side during the game. Hull were on the receiving end of a 15-8 penalty count and also had Willie Manu sin-binned during the second half when the Wolves grabbed two tries in his absence.
Gentle said: "The rucks were disgraceful today, they were the slowest they have been all year and unfortunately he was only penalising one side. Against a side running second on the table you need to go 50-50 with possession of the football but a with a two to one penalty count you've not a chance."

Wimbledon 2012: Britain's female players will finally get their moment in the sun, believes Greg Rusedski

Greg Rusedski says "this could be the most interesting Wimbledon yet” for the six-strong squad of British female tennis players including Laura Robson.
Laura Robson has already achieved one of Rusedski’s stated priorities by breaking into the world’s top 100 players Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND
By Oliver Brown

Rusedski’s enduring passion for British tennis is self-evident. On his mentoring days at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, he is reputedly the first to turn up and the last to leave.

Enlisted by the Lawn Tennis Association on a four-year deal to develop the top national prospects from the ages of 15 to 18, the former British No 1 responds with a rare dedication - a product, he claims, of his resolve to 'give back’ to the country that afforded him his first chance in the game.

As a commentator, critic and now coach, Rusedski has reinvented himself as an uncompromising voice of his sport. While he derived kudos from his surge to the 1997 US Open final, not to mention his five last-16 appearances at Wimbledon, his greatest talent could yet lie in galvanising the next generation.

His contribution to inspiring Kyle Edmund, Evan Hoyt and Luke Bambridge to last year’s Junior Davis Cup triumph in Mexico signalled a most auspicious start.

The 38 year-old, born in Montreal, is a man of strident opinions, not afraid to declare that Britain should be more ambitious in expecting excellence from its tennis prodigies or in seeking to elevate more players to the world’s top 100.

His arguments acquire particular resonance for the women’s contingent, where the successful transition from junior to senior levels is rarely accomplished and where a first-round decimation on the lawns of Wimbledon has become almost a traditional annual ritual.

Laura Robson was the sole second-round survivor 12 months ago, succumbing narrowly to Maria Sharapova on Court One despite having split from long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou only a week earlier. Once more, she finds herself the standout hope among the British women at SW19, saddled with the expectation of a public that still vividly recalls her junior Wimbledon glory aged 14.

“I’ve been impressed with how well Laura has matured,” Rusedski says. “She is that rare species: an exciting young talent who has gone on to perform consistently.”

Even so, Robson argued this month that, at 18, she has felt hampered by her rapid physical development. She is four inches taller than when she won the Wimbledon girls’ title in 2008 and insists she has not completed the training she would have wished due to her growth spurt. The encouragement is that, upon starting this summer’s tournament, she has already achieved one of Rusedski’s stated priorities by breaking into the world’s top 100 players.

“Laura, with her attitude and ability to dictate play on court, has the ability to climb even higher,” he predicts. “The one concern is that she stays healthy.”

Heather Watson, her doubles partner and sidekick away from tennis, faces a more uncertain path. Where Robson has demonstrably improved her serve, Watson’s remains woefully under-strength - a significant handicap in the women’s modern power game, as illustrated by the 6-0, 6-2 swatting she suffered at the hands of Victoria Azarenka in Melbourne.

The Guernsey native is also without any 'go-to’ shot with which to trouble the elite, and yet what she lacks in raw inspiration she offsets with lung-bursting effort. “The guarantee with Heather is that you will always receive 110 per cent,” Rusedski explains. “She only knows how to play one way, and that is aggressively. She’s a natural athlete and moves beautifully. At 20, she’s also still undergoing a growing process, but the fact that she has qualified for two slams this year is promising.”

Anticipation mounts that Watson can advance this fortnight beyond the opening round, where she suffered a tearful three-set defeat to Sweden’s Mathilde Johansson last year. But any such prognosis for Elena Baltacha, increasingly the elder stateswoman of the British sisterhood at 28, is fraught with problems. According to Rusedski, “it is all about the draw for Elena.

She has reached the second round on five occasions, but hasn’t won a grand slam match in 2012 and has fallen back outside the top 100. I sympathised with her at the French Open, where she was drawn first up against Sam Stosur, a great clay-court player, and was a set and 4-0 down before she could blink. She needs some luck this time.”

So, too, does Anne Keothavong, who has endured a chequered few months, tumbling out of the top 50 and withdrawing from her Australian Open match against Mona Barthel due to food poisoning.

She has only ever won six matches at the slams in her entire career, reaching the high-water mark of the third round at the US Open in 2008, but harbours fond memories of Wimbledon after her second-round appearance alongside Venus Williams on Centre Court four years ago.

“Anne has not the best of grass-court practice, losing early at Edgbaston and Eastbourne,” Rusedski says. “But she is a fighter. And for her, the priority is more to make the British Olympic team, given that her brother James is going to be one of the umpires.”

Britain’s six-strong women’s division at Wimbledon is fleshed out by Naomi Broady, the Under-18 champion whom Rusedski admires for her courageous vanquishing of Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in the first round last year, and fellow wild card Johanna Konta.

The inclusion of Konta is intriguing, given that the Australian-born 21 year-old has only been a British citizen for four weeks. But Rusedski, who similarly did not adopt citizenship until 1995, has seen sufficient quality from the youngster to convince him that she can carry the British flag effectively.

“She’s a rapidly improving player and she’ll be good for the others to have around,” he says. “For our girls this could be the most interesting Wimbledon yet.”


No celebrations for Willett

There was no wild partying for England's Danny Willett after his first European Tour win on Sunday night - he had 36 holes to play at Sunningdale on Monday.

The 24-year-old from Sheffield finally tasted victory after no fewer than 19 top-10 finishes when he beat Australian Marcus Fraser on the fourth hole of a play-off at the BMW International Open in Cologne. He was teeing off again just after 10am Monday morning as part of a 96-strong field battling for 10 places in next month's Open Championship at Royal Lytham.

"It's a lot of events," said Willett when reminded that he had finally won at the 106th time of asking. "I've been in some terrible places mentally. When you are in your bad spells you doubt whether you are good enough to win or compete."

It is probably even harder when there are great expectations.

He followed American star Rickie Fowler as number one on the world amateur rankings in 2008, the year after he was a team-mate of Rory McIlroy - another holder of the position for a spell - at the Walker Cup.

Even before turning professional he had a round of 64 at the Spanish Open, but last season the clergyman's son dropped from 23rd to 91st on the money list and battled injuries.

He added: "I've had some ups and down in the last 18 months, but I'm injury-free now and I want to thank everybody for the support they've given me."

Willett is now close to reclaiming a place in the world's top 100 after falling to 204th entering last week's tournament. He was three clear with 10 holes to play on Sunday, but then came three bogeys and he needed Fraser to drop a shot on the last for them to tie on 11-under-par.

Fraser holed from 12 feet at the first hole of sudden death to stay in it, Willett missed from four on the next when the chance was there to end it, but he then almost chipped in two holes later - it was the 456-yard 18th every time - and Fraser three-putted from 30 feet.

Joint third only one behind were Ireland's 45-year-old Paul McGinley after a best-of-the-day 66, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (69) and England's Chris Wood, who bogeyed the short 17th when sharing the lead and is still seeking his first Tour title after 100 events that include 17 top 10 finishes.

Proctor shatters long jump record

Round-up: Shara Proctor rewrote one of the longest standing British athletics records to announce herself as a serious contender for an Olympic medal this summer.

By Sportsbeat | Eurosport
Shara Proctor wins her first national title at the Olympic trials (Reuters)

Proctor smashed Bev Kinch's 29-year old British long jump best to win her first national title with a giant leap of 6.95m.

The Anguillan athlete, who competes for Great Britain because her country is a British dependency and doesn't have a national Olympic committee, moved to sixth on the world rankings and will now travel to London 2012 as a genuine medal contender.

Lorraine Ugen also obliterated her personal best to claim second but her jump of 6.74cm fell just one centimetre short of securing her a guaranteed place on the Olympic team.

"I'm just on top of the world right now," said Proctor.

"I got the British record, I'm going to the Olympics, how good can it get?

"The conditions were not good but London might well be like this, so I need to prepare to jump far no matter what the weather is doing.

"I know I have what it takes. I've still got some technical issues to work on but I'll be fine."

Jessica Ennis declared herself satisfied with her weekend's work at the Aviva 2012 Trials - but admitted there was also more work to do.

Ennis set a season's best 1.89m to win the high jump and took gold in the 100m hurdles but her long jump is causing cause for concern.

In her six attempts, she recorded three no jumps and twice made a mess of her run-up. Her best effort of 6.27 metres was well down on her personal best and only good enough for sixth.

And she knows its the discipline the could decide her Olympic heptathlon fate, a poor performance in the long jump at the World Indoors proving one of the major differences between the silver she won and the gold she wanted.

"I'm pretty happy overall," insisted Ennis

"My high jump is moving on, my hurdles are strong but my long jump was disappointing again.

"I'm struggling with my rhythm, it needs changing a little bit because I'm just not very comfortable."

Robbie Grabarz, ranked second in the world this season, won the men's high jump but is likely to be the only British jumper - four years ago Team GB had three Olympic finalists - after Samson Oni and Tom Parsons failed to achieve the selection standard.

"I'm just happy to make the team," said Grabarz.

"The year has been perfect so far and I still think there is much more to come in London."

Ross Millington won the men's 5000m final but Nick McCormick's second place, and A standard personal best in Spain last month, means he books his Olympic selection.

World champion Mo Farah, who will this week seek to defend his European title, will join him while Chris Thompson still needs to run quicker to be considered.

Jo Jackson won her seventh national 5,000m walk title and will now focus on four times the distance at the Olympics.

Jackson is slowly returning to fitness after keyhole surgery on a knee injury but claims everything will be okay by the Games.

"I still feel a bit rusty but every race is a massive leap forward for me," she said.

"Missing the whole of winter training did really set me back but everything is coming together and every race I can see massive improvements. I should be back at my best by the Olympics."

Elsewhere, Carl Myerscough won the men's shot title for the 11th consecutive time but still needs to throw another B standard to be considered for Team GB selection.

There are no such problems for Goldie Sayers, who will go to her third Games after winning the women's javelin title she has dominated every year since 2003.

Holly Bleasdale delivered under the most extreme pressure to secure her spot on Team GB - and claim a new British pole vault record.

The 20-year old underlined her Olympic credentials when she soared to a massive 4.87 metre personal best earlier this season.

But that performance was indoors and didn't count towards Olympic selection and she arrived at Alexander Stadium with an outdoor best this season of 4.43m - outside the required standard.

Needing to finish in the top two and clear 4.50m to book her place, Bleasdale failed her first two attempts at the height.

But she saved her best for last - creeping over the bar to also defend her national title ahead of Kate Dennison, who also qualified for the Games.

And still she wasn't finished, soaring over a championship record 4.60m and then clearing a British record 4.71m at her second attempt.

Perri Shakes Drayton held off the challenge of this year's British number one Eilidh Child to retain her 400m hurdles title- although both athletes booked their Olympic places with the top two finish.

"It was a bit bittersweet because obviously I’d like to have won the race but I hit that last hurdle," said Child.

"I crossed the finish line a bit gutted but then I’m going to the Olympics so I’m really happy at the same time. It’s a bit of a funny feeling."

Martyn Rooney and Conrad Williams finished one two in the men's 400m and James Ellington and Christian Malcolm took top slots over 200m to also secure their Team GB berths.

"The race was great, it was competitive," said Rooney.

"I can’t say I ran amazingly but I’m happy just to get a result and qualify for the Olympics.

"Now I can go into the next couple of weeks knowing what I need to do. I’ve got to run 44-low, simple as that. It’s a nice place to be."

Eilish McColgan, the daughter of former world 10,000 champion Liz, shruggled off an illness to win the 3,000m steeplechase and qualify for a first Games.

"I still can’t quite believe it, to be honest," said McColgan.

"I knew that top two would secure my place but there’s a difference between thinking about doing it and actually doing it so I’m so pleased with that.

"The way I was feeling this week, to come out and run the way I did, I’m so happy that I’ve done it now. I can just rest and prepare for the games now. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait."

Barbara Parker, who smashed the British steeplechase record earlier this month, will join her on the team but opted to contest the 5,000m - which Jo Pavey won to secure her fourth consecutive Games appearance, although her Olympic target remains the 10,000m.

Laura Weightman produced a devastating final lap to obliterate her rivals in the 1500m - a performance which also guarantees Olympic selection.

Coached by Steve Cram, Weightman has enjoyed a breakthrough year and won by a clear margin, with former world medallist Lisa Dobriskey edging to second in a photo finish, although her selection is far from assured.

Rising stars Andy Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke left European champion Andy Turner sweating on his Olympic place after claiming the top two sprint hurdle slots at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham.

Training partners and close friends, despite their very different backgrounds - Clarke is the heir apparent to the baronetcy - they have respected no reputations this season.

And they claimed the two guaranteed Olympic qualifying slots in the 110m hurdles, ahead of world medallist Turner and two-time world finalist Will Sharman.

“Obviously I didn’t come here for third place, I hope that was enough to qualify for the team,” said Turner.

“I’ve got work to do, I’m not in the best shape but I feel like I’m booking more competitive. I felt good in the first half of the race and then I hit a hurdle and the both of them came through.

“I know I’ve got something in me but it’s no good having something inside you if you can’t put it out there. I’ve got work to do but I hope that’s enough.”

Winner Pozzi could barely contain his delight at a breakthrough season that started with a fourth place at the European Indoor Championships.

He said: "I’m on top of the world. My preparation in the last week or so has been quite disturbed and I was unsure whether I could come here and achieve what I wanted. To get that done, get that all out the way and come here and win, I’m absolutely chuffed.

"I’m looking forward to the Olympics like you wouldn’t believe. It’s been building for years and years with so much media coverage, you can’t help but buy into the dream so I can’t wait."

Margaret Adeoye ran the Olympic A standard in the heats and then won the 200m title to also book her Olympic place.

She will be joined by Anyika Onuora, who had run the A standard earlier this season and claimed second place.

"I would have liked to win but getting that Olympic place is all that really mattered this weekend," said Onoura, who also confirmed her place in Team GB's 4x100m squad.

"I wasn't too nervous, I've been here a million times before so I knew what to expect.

"I just need to keep myself ticking over, there is nothing major or alarming that needs to be worked on. It's about staying fit and healthy now and making the training count."

Andrew Osagie defended his 800m title and Mukhtar Mohammed pipped four-time national champion Michael Rimmer on the line to take second - meaning he will travel to the European Championships in search of the A standard time.

Rimmer has that time and his reputation should surely earn him a slot on the team.

Elsewhere, British record holder Lawrence Okoye won the discus while Laura Samuel took the triple jump - although she lacks the standard required to earn election.


Domenicali says Ferrari still needs to be more competitive despite European GP win

Fernando Alonso, FerrariBy Jonathan Noble and Glenn Freeman
Ferrari still cannot be satisfied with the job it is doing in Formula 1 this year, despite Fernando Alonso's sensational victory in the European Grand Prix that has helped him edge clear in the championship fight.
That is the view of Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who believes the fact that the Valencia triumph owed more to his driver's stunning efforts to charge through the field than having a dominant car needs to be taken as a sign that things still need to improve at Maranello.
"The car is at another level from what we were seeing at the beginning of the season, but it is not yet the car that is the quickest," explained Domenicali, who saw Alonso become the first double winner of the 2012 campaign.
"In my view Red Bull, or the Red Bull that I have seen this weekend, is the quickest in terms of pure performance. In the race it was leading comfortably, the pace was very strong. That is something that we need to look at,
"We know what our target is at the end of November, so we know that, in my view, they did something very good this weekend, and they improved the car. They had problems with reliability, but we are not, in my view, at the level that we should be in terms of the performance.
"So we have a lot to do, but we are leading the championship and that is something that will be very helpful for the people at home to keep working with more creativity and ideas."
Red Bull Racing introduced a dramatic update to its RB8 in Valencia - with the car featuring a heavily revised sidepod, diffuser and rear suspension configuration.
Those improvements helped Sebastian Vettel take a dominant pole position, and seize control of the race before being forced out with an alternator problem.
Vettel's retirement left the way open for his rivals to take advantage, and it was Alonso's great efforts – which included a brave move past Romain Grosjean after a safety car restart – to take an emotional victory.
When Domenicali was asked if Alonso ever surprised him, he replied: "We know he is the number one driver. That's the reason why he is here with us.
"I am very happy for him because he had such a pressure. Certain feelings you have just watching the eyes of a man that you know. So I was really so happy from my heart to see him fight like this. And I am also happy for the team because they were working in terms of the right strategy and the right calls; this is the strength of our team.
"But as I said, we need to stay cool, calm. This victory is very important because our main rivals in the championship had some problems. Reliability is a key factor this year, and you need to score points every time."

Gemili coach unsure about Olympic 'cauldron'

The coach of teenager sprinter Adam Gemili is not yet convinced he is mentally ready for the "cauldron of the Olympics" after revealing he was an "emotional wreck" after guaranteeing selection for London 2012 by finishing second to Dwain Chambers in the 100 metres at the trials.
The 18-year-old, who leads the British rankings this year with 10.08 seconds, booked his place at the Games with a top-two finish at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium, but his coach Michael Afilaka insists deciding whether he should go is anything but a straightforward decision.
The main target of the former footballer, who was on the books of Chelsea, Reading and Dagenham and Redbridge until he decided to concentrate on athletics in January, is the 100 and 200m at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, which get under way on July 10.
And Afilaka claims there is currently only a 51% chance he will also compete in London. He said: "It's not about turning it down. The key is that we have to remember this is a young kid and everybody is getting carried away.
"It's not the World Juniors versus the Olympics. It's always been the juniors and the Olympics is just a bonus. We have to be sensible. We don't want to deviate from the plan. Eleven months ago the aim for Adam was to make the relay six for the junior team and he was not good enough to do that.
"If you throw him into the cauldron of the Olympics and he gets burned then he might never recover. I'm not saying we're not going to do it. I'm just saying that right now the plan is World Juniors and we'll adjust accordingly."
Afilaka insists the fact the Olympics are in London will play no part in his decision. He said: "It's irrelevant. The reality is the competition doesn't change. I'm very clear what that competition is and it's brutal - from getting kitted out to walking into the Olympics Stadium. I've been there, seen it, trust me. He's not just a young kid, he's young to athletics. I'm not saying no, but it really has to be a day-by-day decision."
Gemili had looked the smoothest of the qualifiers into yesterday 100m final, but was pipped by Chambers, 16 years his senior, who took the title in 10.25 seconds, 0.04secs ahead of his young rival. That final was the highest-profile race Gemili has been in in his fledgling career, but the spotlight at the Olympics will be something else entirely.
Afilaka added: "You have a number of British athletes who have been on their own, but sprinkle a couple of Americans in and they go blank. The development is not just physical, it's mental as well. If you saw him yesterday evening he was an emotional wreck. Literally, with no asking him, I knew there was no way he could do the 200 today. We have to be very sensible."
The UK Athletics selectors will meet on July 2 to decide on the team for London, so Afilaka and Gemili will make a decision on his involvement over the next week.

Miki Roque: Former Liverpool defender dies of cancer

Miki Roque 
Former Liverpool defender Miki Roque has died in Barcelona at the age of 23 following a battle against cancer.

Real Betis defender Roque was at Liverpool from 2005 to 2009, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2006, before joining the Spanish club.

He played once for the first team - against Galatasaray in the Champions League in December 2006.

A Liverpool statement read: "Everyone would like to send their thoughts to Miki's family at this sad time."

Roque underwent surgery to remove a tumour in his pelvis last year.

While at Liverpool, Roque had a loan spell with Oldham at the end of 2006-07. He also made temporary moves to Spanish sides Xerez and Cartagena before switching permanently to Betis. 

Wimbledon 2012: Roger Federer on his love affair with SW19 as he aims for a record-equalling seventh title

It is hard to imagine Wimbledon without Roger Federer. The hoopla surrounding his arrival at SW19 each year and speculation over his wardrobe for the occasion has become almost as much a part of The Championships as strawberries and cream.
Eye on the prize: Roger Federer's latest target is a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon singles title Photo: AFP
By Alexandra Willis
Wimbledon 2012 - Roger Federer's latest target is a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon singles title

His love affair with Wimbledon has lasted nearly a decade and it has got to the stage that one of the things he looks forward to most about the event is the chance to have a cup of tea with the chairman before the action begins.

“I cherish those moments,” Federer said. “When I can see the trophy, see the Centre Court with no people inside.

“Go see the chairman and have a relaxed chat, maybe some tea on the balcony, that for me is the favourite part of Wimbledon, next to obviously playing the big matches.”

On this sort of foundation, the romance is built to last but it has not always been this way for one of the game’s greatest ever players.

In fact, only after Federer had his name engraved on the honours board in 2003, did he really appreciate the tournament and its history. “I definitely felt different,” he said of the impact of his straight sets victory against Mark Philippoussis.

“I felt like I had an obligation towards Wimbledon, towards the club, to represent tennis as a whole, as a statesman, as well as just being the classic young up and coming tennis player.

“So all of a sudden I did feel more pressure, and a big sense of pride as well, being in this awkward yet incredible situation. I think it helped me grow as a person and as a player.”

Wimbledon, then, was Federer’s first love; the Grand Slam title that got him started and has brought the 30 year-old a total of 16 slams so far. That starts to explain why he believes the success “changed everything”, but there is more to it than that.

“Your life as a tennis player is complete if you win Wimbledon, in my opinion,” Federer said.

His history, his struggles before finally reaching that “completing” moment is key to his SW19 love story. It started in 1998 when this tempestuous 16 year-old with a slightly amateur blonde rinse was playing an Austrian, Philip Langer (Federer remembers the name), in the boys’ singles.

Federer is happy to admit he was a bundle of nerves. So tense that he started seeing things that weren’t there. “I went up to the umpire and said to him I think you need to check the net, the net seems too high,” Federer recalls, laughing.

“He said I don’t think so, but OK. And he checked. And of course it was the right height.

“I was just so incredibly nervous, I felt the net was like a volleyball net and I couldn’t hit a ball into the court.” That was just an illusion.

Giving Langer a runaround, winning 6-0, 6-2, Federer then breezed his way to the title without dropping a set. His Wimbledon story had begun. But far from thundering to greatness, Federer stumbled when he returned the following year. “After winning the juniors in '98, I got the wild card in 1999 [as is tradition at Wimbledon]. I think I played on Court 6 or Court 8 against Jiri Novak and I lost in five sets after being up two sets to one. It isn’t the best memory,” he said, looking rather put out. The following year Federer was drawn against fifth seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the first round and lost in straight sets.

In 2001, sporting a ponytail, he was seeded for the first time, and powered his way to the quarter-finals, beating the indomitable Pete Sampras in the fourth round. His five-set victory was the only time the two ever met in competition. “A lot of friends and players told me: 'This year I think you can really beat him’,” Federer said at the time. “It felt unbelievable.” However, in the quarter-finals, he came unstuck against a number six seed who seemed to be going places, Tim Henman.

The following year he returned as the seventh seed, and this time with a bit more expectation, only for qualifier Mario Ancic to see him off in straight sets in the first round. “I got completely surprised,” Federer said of Ancic. “What it taught me was not to underestimate any opponent, no matter where they’re from, what technique they have, what ranking they have.” It was an important lesson and, after working so hard to crack Wimbledon, one he has not forgotten.

Federer dropped just one set on his way to beating Mark Phillipousis the following year and, after that Ancic defeat, didn’t lose at The Championships again for six years.

While the grounds of the All England Club changed around him, Federer embarked on the most successful run of form at Wimbledon since Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras, winning five consecutive titles, before adding a sixth two years later.

Federer enjoys remembering the little details of his time here just as much as the victories themselves. “It’s obviously changed over the years. Back in 1998 there was no Millennium Building, and my locker room was under the old No2 Court, which today doesn’t exist any more.

“When I got my first trophy I was in a holding room in the old Championships locker room, under Centre Court, which today also has been redone.” Some things stayed the same, however. Like Federer winning titles.

“I never thought I would get on the run I did. But each one of them is very personal and very different to one another,” he says.

“The first one is, you don’t know if you’re going to win anything again after that, you could be just a one slam wonder, you could have an injury and never play again.

“Your life as a tennis player is complete if you win Wimbledon in my opinion, and that’s what I was able to do in 2003.” So, that one must be a bit more special than the others, then?

Not necessarily. “That I was able then to defend it was quite extraordinary. But the first one and the last one have been very special no doubt about it.” Perhaps the last one is a bit more special because of what Wimbledon did for Federer.

“I did get the net of my 15th grand slam victory, they [the Club] gave it to me as a present, for beating the all-time Grand Slam record of Pete Sampras. “Hopefully one day I can put it against a wall, it could look quite cool. So those are plenty of memories, besides all the Wimbledon trophies in my trophy cupboard which I look at once in a while.”

The modesty, the gentle smile, his politeness. It’s all so English.

That’s why the immaculately turned-out champ took time out of his clay court schedule in Madrid last month, amid all the kerfuffle over the blue clay, to discuss his latest mission for a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon singles title.

And why, 14 years on from his debut at Wimbledon, Federer is as enthralled with the place as a 16 year-old kid. His advice for any 16 year-olds in the boys’ competition this year?

“Just enjoy it. You never know if you’re going to have another chance, you probably will, but it’s just the importance of sucking it all in. Because it’s the most extraordinary event, not just to attend, but to play in. It’s much more than you could dream it would be.”

- Roger Federer will be appearing on Live @Wimbledon, a new TV and radio channel, available from 9am to close of play on Wimbledon.com during The Championships


Alex Hales Blasts England to Win

Alex Hales proved he can be the match-winner to replace Kevin Pietersen after the opener blasted England to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the one-off NatWest Twenty20 international at Trent Bridge.
Alex Hales reacts after being dismissed for 99.
Alex Hales reacts after being dismissed for 99.

Hales fell just one run short of what would have been a deserved century - but still the highest ever score by an England batsmen - when he was bowled by Ravi Rampaul in the penultimate over with just four required to win.

And while Ravi Bopara (59), who shared a 159-run stand with Hales, departed in the last over to cause some nerves West Indies' difficult-looking 172 for four was finally chased down with two balls to spare.

Pietersen's retirement from limited overs cricket earlier this summer has left England relying on a talented if young batting line-up ahead of their World Twenty20 title defence later this year.

But Hales, who at 6ft 5in has the same towering presence at the crease as Pietersen, revealed he was ready to fill the void as a his 99 came from 68 balls, and included four sixes, to deny West Indies a first victory over England in their final game on tour.

The tourists had looked in pole position when, after Chris Gayle's early dismissal left them in trouble, Dwayne Smith blasted 70 before unbeaten pair Dwayne Bravo (54) and Kieron Pollard (23) crashed 63 from the final four overs.

That left an inexperienced England batting line-up, containing four batsmen with less than nine Twenty20 international appearances, under pressure to perform with just four games before they are due to fly out to Sri Lanka for their title defence in September.

The 23-year-old Hales, playing his fifth Twenty20 for England, and Bopara ensured their young team-mates were hardly even required though.

After the early loss of Craig Kieswetter, along with Eoin Morgan the only batsmen left from their World Twenty20 final team, Hales took the lead role as Bopara was content to operate at a run a ball.

Hales swung Rampaul over the leg-side fence for a pair of sixes before his third maximum, this time over mid-on, brought up his half-century from 33 balls.

Bopara had been far more sedate until he used the stiff breeze to clear the ropes off Bravo before they intelligently kept the scoreboard ticking over in the highest-ever Twenty20 second-wicket stand for England - beating the 111 by Pietersen and Kieswetter in the World Twenty20 final.

Hales picked his moments to attack, mostly with some muscular strokes over leg, and had looked certain to be the first Englishman to a first Twenty20 century until Rampaul snuck a Yorker through his defences.

While Bopara then holed out in the last over, with two required from three balls, Morgan hit the winning runs to grab victory.

After England lost the toss and were asked to bowl their immediate hopes of victory were significantly boosted with the early dismissal of danger man Gayle for two.

A Steven Finn short ball tempted Gayle, playing his first Twenty20 international in two years, to swipe at a ball he could only top edge high to Jonny Bairstow who held on well on the fine leg rope.

Gayle's departure served to undermine West Indies' hopes of a fast start and when Chris Broad and Graeme Swann also removed Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels the tourists were 30 for three.

With the Windies' powerful middle-order exposed early it was opener Smith who prised them out of trouble with some clean hitting.

He lofted both Swann and Samit Patel straight over the ropes, before his third six - a heave off Broad that went out of the ground - brought up his half-century from 46 balls.

Broad was celebrating his 26th birthday by captaining his country on his home ground, but Smith was intent on crashing his party as he sent him back over his head for another maximum as the slightly-delayed acceleration saw West Indies reach 100 off 91 balls.

The opener pulled Finn for his fifth sixth but was out next ball when the England quick claimed his second important scalp, cleverly firing a wide delivery that Smith chased only to edge behind.

That brought the big-hitting Pollard to the crease and he soon swiped Patel for a straight six before Bravo cleared the ropes from consecutive balls off Jade Dernbach as they added 63 from the last four overs.


Haskell demands further improvement

James Haskell believes England still have some way to go despite showing considerable signs of improvement during their tour of South Africa.
Stuart Lancaster's revamped side maintained the progress they began in this year's RBS 6 Nations with three battling displays in their Test matches against the Springboks but still lost the series 2-0. Haskell, who made an impressive international return in Saturday's battling 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth, feels he knows the areas the team needs to work on.
The 27-year-old flanker said: "To draw or win against a southern hemisphere side is pretty special, especially on their own turf. Moving towards the autumn internationals, hopefully this has been a big step, but I think we have got to be a bit more creative in attack. We have got to test teams a bit more."
He added: "We have got the physicality and the ability to finish. We have just got to be a bit smarter, get the likes of (Chris) Ashton and Manu (Tuilagi) running through holes rather than at people."
England will play the Springboks again during their autumn international programme later this year, as well as facing Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Haskell expects the current group of relatively inexperienced players to grow into a tougher unit.
"In terms of culture and character, this has helped as well," said Haskell, who by the autumn will be back in the English game with London Wasps after spells in Japan and New Zealand.
"You can look back and say that in the heat of the battle, in the fire of Port Elizabeth, we came together and we didn't take a backward step. We didn't have the polish we wanted but we were certainly positive.
"Every time you take to the field you gain a bit more knowledge about what it takes to win in international rugby. I think we will be a bit more settled.
"To push South Africa like we did in all these games, we have got to be pretty positive about that."

Murray hits back

Andy Murray: Hit back at suggestions he's a 'drama queen'
Andy Murray has hit back at suggestions he has talked up recent injury problems by revealing he endured eight painkilling injections in his back in order to play at the French Open.

The world number four was labelled a "drama queen" by former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade after he required on-court treatment on his troublesome disc during his second-round match against Jarkko Nieminen at Roland Garros last month.

Murray has responded by clarifying the extremes he had to go to just to participate in Paris.

Quoted in several newspapers, the 25-year-old said: "I think eight painkilling injections in your back before the French Open justifies a genuine injury.

"If someone is going to say to me my back injury is not genuine, they can come see my reports from the doctors, they can see the pictures of a needle about eight inches long in my back.

"I'm not accepting criticism any more because it's not fair."

American John McEnroe, winner of nine grand slam singles titles and now a television commentator, has also questioned the severity of Murray's problem, claiming it could be a "mental thing".

The British number one added: "A lot of people have suggested that it hasn't been genuine. But it's certainly not a mental thing.

"Often when things do start to get better. For a little while you can be over-sensitive in that area and think, 'Oh, is that not right?' But with my back problem, it's something that's there."

Murray has been handed a tough draw at Wimbledon as he chases a first major crown, beginning his 2012 campaign against Russia's former world number three Nikolay Davydenko in the first round on Tuesday.

Outpouring of Emotion for Alonso

Fernando Alonso delivered a highly-emotional speech following a heart-stopping European Grand Prix victory that has put him back in control of the topsy-turvy Formula One world title race.

Fernando Alonso enjoys his victory.
Fernando Alonso enjoys his victory.
From 11th on the grid Alonso took the chequered flag for the 29th time in his career, and subsequently a Spanish flag from a marshal he waved with tears in his eyes on his parade lap.

When Alonso pulled his Ferrari over in front of a grandstand due to some late technical issue, he stood on its front and took the acclaim of the thousands of fans.

It was the same when he eventually stood on the podium several minutes later as he was mobbed by many en route, including team principal Stefano Domenicali.

It was Alonso's second win on home soil, his first in 2006 in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, but it was clear this one meant far more to him given the current economic crisis gripping his country at present.

Explaining the reason behind his tears, Alonso said: "It was more for my own feelings and the people in the grandstands.

"I know it's not the best time in Spain at the moment, with the crisis and all the problems that people have.

"To come to a grand prix you have to make something extra. There are families who have made long trips to come here, they sleep in their car or in a caravan or whatever.

"They try to enjoy, but then yesterday... it's not that you feel sad, but we didn't deliver what they were probably expecting.

"Today we paid them back a little bit - only a little - for the support they gave us, for all the problems that they are facing, all the worries the Spanish people are facing at this time.

"With the football team (beating France 2-0 in a Euro 2012 quarter final) yesterday we saw all the flags in the windows and on the streets, so there is some kind of pride in being Spanish right now with sport.

"With (Rafael) Nadal, with the Spanish football team, I felt I needed to do something, so today is a very emotional day.

"I'm feeling very proud to be a Spanish sportsman at the moment.

"Winning this race in Spain is probably the best victory I have ever felt in terms of emotions. Nothing maybe compares to this one."