Bondarenko wins title in Tashkent

MOSCOW - Ukraine's veteran Kateryna Bondarenko beat second seeded Timea Babos of Hungary in staright sets to claim the title at Tashkent Open WTA tournament on Saturday. Bondarenko, 31, who is 133rd in the WTA rankings, prevailed 6-4, 6-4 in one hour 28 minutes. "I played a good match today with some really good rallies," Bondarenko, who won her maiden WTA title in Birmingham in 2008, said. "I was happy to finish the match in two sets, I was getting tired." Ukraine's veteran looked confident from the start and broke her rival's serve in the seventh game for a one-set lead after 38 minutes. In the second set Bondarenko broke early again for a comfortable 3-0 lead, which she kept throughout to claim her career's second WTA title. The win at Tashkent will allow Bondarenko to return into Top-100.–AFP


Henderson closes on Mozo in NZ Open

WELLINGTON - Spain's Belen Mozo saw her lead slashed to one stroke in a windswept third round of the New Zealand Women's Open Saturday as Canadian Brooke Henderson chipped her way into contention ahead of an approaching storm. As many players struggled in the stiffening breeze, overnight leader Mozo had two bogeys in her 71 to be 15-under 201 going into the final round while Henderson had five birdies in her faultless 67 to be on 202. "My chipping was awesome. It saved me a couple of times and got me close to make a couple of tap-in birdies so that was the key today. I was hitting it well and judging the wind pretty well," she said. Not everyone was put off by the strengthening wind on Saturday with American Brittany Lincicome and Nicole Broch Larsen firing the day's best rounds of 66.–AFP

Boxer Ortiz fails drugs test

MEXICO CITY - Cuban boxer Luis Ortiz has failed a drugs test and put his world heavyweight clash with Deontay Wilder of the United States in doubt, the World Boxing Council said Friday. "It was a positive test and it seems to be very difficult that the fight scheduled for November 4 could take place," WBC spokesman Victor Cota told AFP. However, the bout has not been cancelled as the test was carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and is therefore not official. "He has the possibility to do another test," added Cota. On Thursday, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced on Twitter that his organisation had "received confirmation from VADA of a positive test by Luis Ortiz". A diuretic substance was found in his urine sample.–AFP

New Bale injury a concern for Wales

MADRID - Gareth Bale looks set to miss Real Madrid's La Liga clash with Espanyol Sunday, sparking fears he could also miss out on two crucial World Cup qualifiers for Wales. Bale limped off with a calf strain after scoring and providing an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday. "We will see tomorrow. It is a strain, nothing important but, as always, we don't like to take risks when a player has a small issue," Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday. Wales are battling for a playoff place as they lie second in European World Cup qualifying Group D, but just a point ahead of the Republic of Ireland with two qualifiers remaining. Chris Coleman's side travel to Georgia on Oct 6 before hosting Ireland three days later. AFP

Guardiola reveals Spain ambition

LONDON - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he wants to coach Spain in future. Former Spain midfielder Guardiola is in his second season with City after successful spells at Barcelona and Bayern. The 46-year-old failed to win a trophy in his first year in England, but City have emerged as early pace setters in the Premier League title race this season. While Guardiola has no plans to leave City any time soon, he admitted he is keen to test his skills at international level. Asked whether he would like to take charge of a national team, Guardiola told BBC's Football Focus: "Yes, Spain I think. "I would like to be a manager in a World Cup, and the European Cup, I would like to feel that." After first season at City, Guardiola spent big on new signings before the new campaign.–AFP