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Saturday 19 August 2017

O'Brien's Magician set for Breeders' Cup

RACING: Magician is set to lead Aidan O'Brien's assault on the Breeders' Cup as he bids to win the Turf for the second year running.

Ryan Moore was in the saddle when Magician defeated The Fugue at Santa Anita last year but O'Brien's son, Joseph, is set to be in the plate on Saturday week.

Connections have had this race in mind for Magician following his second place behind Hardest Core in the Arlington Million in August.

GOOD FORM

"He's in good form. He ran well in Arlington and after that we decided to keep him for this. It's so far so good," said O'Brien.

"We've had to sometimes run him in bad ground over here, but fast ground is what he likes.

"He's been second in three Group Ones this season and we've freshened him up for this."

Magician could be joined in the Turf by Chicquita, who threw away her chance of winning the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares at Ascot on Saturday when veering to the left and ended up finishing third to Madame Chiang.

Ferrer and Murray progress

TENNIS: David Ferrer (pictured) and Andy Murray continued their push for a place at next month's ATP Tour Finals in London with opening-round wins at the Valencia Open.

Murray beat Ferrer in the Vienna final last weekend to climb above his rival into eighth place in the race for the O2 Arena, with the top eight set to qualify.

Ferrer is the top seed at his home tournament and opened his challenge for a fourth Valencia title with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Andreas Seppi.

The Spaniard looked at ease in the opening set, but then allowed Seppi to gain the edge in the second, with the Italian 5-3 up and serving for the match.

However, Ferrer produced a timely break of serve and then followed that up with another in game 12 to set up a meeting with compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

Third seed Murray, a wild card in Valencia, also progressed through in straight sets, but made hard work of his match with Jurgen Melzer.

In a contest that contained nine breaks of serve, countless unforced errors and a warning for Melzer for smashing his racquet as frustration threatened to bubble over for both players, Murray held the edge to win 6-3 6-3 in 81 minutes.

Victory in Valencia, where Murray also won the title in 2009, would see the Briton climb up to fifth in the rankings and all but assure him of a place in London.

Nadal and Federer cruise on

TENNIS: Top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal enjoyed straightforward outings at the ATP Swiss Indoors, progressing with minimal fuss in Basle.

Neither man expended too much energy in one-sided encounters, top seed Federer taking just 46 minutes to win his first round clash against Gilles Muller 6-2 6-1 and number two Nadal also comfortably beating the hour mark with a 6-1 6-1 second round success over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Nadal, now safely into the quarter-finals, had a helping hand with 11 double faults from the Frenchman ranked 120th in the world helping him make five breaks of serve.

Federer was thoroughly clinical in despatching Muller and goes up against Denis Istomin to join Nadal in the last eight. Belgian David Goffin is already there following a 7-6 (7/0) 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig.

Wild card Borna Coric was a surprise winner, seeing off sixth seed Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/2) 6-3.

The remaining first-round ties saw Istomin demolish Jerzy Janowicz 6-1 6-1 and Andrey Golubev defeat Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 6-3.

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