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Wednesday 16 August 2017

Harrington and Lowry stay in hunt at Dunhill

gOLF: France's Raphael Jacquelin claimed the halfway lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but Irish duo Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington remain very much in contention.

Jacquelin carded a second round of 70 in the pro-am event to finish nine under par, one shot ahead of Lowry and Harrington, England's Oliver Wilson and France's ­Alexander Levy.

Lowry, who finished joint third in this event 12 months ago, was the only player in the top 12 to play at St Andrews yesterday, meaning he will face Carnoustie today before the final round is again played over the Old Course.

"To be honest, the way I played to shoot two under was quite good," said Lowry after a round containing four bogeys and six birdies. "The forecast was pretty bad today and everyone was expecting the worst, but it wasn't actually that bad. Hopefully I can go out to Carnoustie tomorrow and hopefully the weather is not too bad over there and I can shoot a decent score."

Harrington, currently ranked 324th, said: "I think the big one for me, I've got to get inside the top 15 in the world to make the Olympics in 2016. I've got 22 months to go. I'm starting at absolute zero probably at the moment. I really feel good about my game, so I believe I can do it."

A run of five birdies and an eagle in the last 12 holes took Rory McIlroy within five strokes of Jacquelin.

Djokovic braces for Murray

Tennis: Rafa Nadal's return to action came to a shuddering halt when the Spaniard was beaten by Slovakia's Martin Klizan in a late-night quarter-final duel at the China Open.

After world number one Novak Djokovic had continued his march through the draw to set up a mouth watering semi-final against Andy Murray, Nadal ran out of steam against the aggressive Klizan who won 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3 for the biggest scalp of his career.

Women's top seed Serena Williams was forced to pull out through injury while Maria Sharapova destroyed Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian women's quarter-final.

Murray won last week's Shenzhen Open and Djokovic said: "I've seen a little bit of his matches this week. He's hitting the ball very well. Every time I play him, it's a huge challenge. It's a very physical match, a lot of long rallies. I do not expect anything less tomorrow."

Typhoon threat to Russian GP

Motor Sport: The worst impact from a typhoon lurking off the coast of Japan will be felt the day after the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix tomorrow and could affect preparations for the next race in Russia, the sport's weather forecaster has warned.

UBIMET says the centre of the typhoon would pass close to Suzuka on Monday and expects it to cause "widespread transport disruption, structural damage and possible injuries".

Formula One teams face a quick turnaround and must transport equipment to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix next weekend.

"Keeping to this tight schedule will be wholly dependent on how the typhoon behaves and will be a tough challenge," UBIMET said.

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