Williams out of Australian Open
TENNIS: Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open, prolonging her absence from the tennis tour because of an autoimmune disease.
Meanwhile, world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Open champion Li Na flirted with early exits before winning at the Sydney International today.
Denmark’s Wozniacki trailed Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 4-0 in the third set before claiming a 7-5 2-6 6-4 victory. Li fought back to beat Chanelle Scheepers 2-6 6-4 6-1.
Stricker holds on in Hawaii
GOLF: Steve Stricker became the first PGA Tour winner of 2012 with a three-shot victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui.
The 44-year-old carried a five-stroke advantage into the final round at Kapalua’s Plantation Course and although Martin Laird in second, Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd all put him under significant pressure, he did enough to close out the win.
A birdie at the 18th gave Stricker a closing round of 69 as he finished 23 under.
Stricker had started the day nervously, but picked up strokes at the eighth and ninth, as well as three more after the turn.
Olympics still on Harrison’s radar
SWIMING: Ryan Harrison will continue to pursue Olympic qualification despite being suspended from competition by the University of Tennessee.
National freestyle recordholder Harrison, from Derry, reacted to his suspension due to a “violation of team rules” by releasing a statement, insisting he had “never tested positive for any illegal substances”.
Harrison can seek to make the London Games as he’s only suspended from college championships.
Cardiff may host RWC 2015 games
RUGBY: The International Rugby Board have hinted that they may allow Wales to play some of their 2015 World Cup matches at the Millennium Stadium.
Ulster track Wilson
RUGBY: Northampton are trying to fight off French interest in Roger Wilson, with Ulster hoping to bring the No 8 back next season.