Bjorkman and Mirnyi win
Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi combined for their first Masters Cup doubles title yesterday, extending a drought for Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor at the season-ending tournament. Second-ranked Bjorkman and Mirnyi broke third-ranked Knowles and Nestor twice in the first set and once in the second for a 6-2, 6-4 victory. It was a second title for Bjorkman, who won the then season-ending ATP Tour World Doubles Championship with Jan Apell at Jakarta in 1994. The unbeaten Bjorkman-Mirnyi pairing topped the Gold Group in round-robin matches here, including a victory over Knowles and Nestor in their second match. Knowles and Nestor were back in the final for the first time in eight years, but still are yet to win a year-end tournament title.
Senden wins in Australia
John Senden shot a closing 7-under 65 yesterday, capped by a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th, to break out of a three-way tie for the lead and a one-stroke win in the Australian Open. Senden, who won the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour in July -- his first win in the US in 139 starts there -- moved into contention on Saturday with a 67, the lowest score of the third round at Royal Sydney. Yesterday, the 35-year-old Senden moved in and out of the lead with several others, including US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby, before going to 8-under 280 with his birdie on the last. Ogilvy missed a birdie putt on 18 to finish with a 67 and at 7-under 281. Appleby, playing with Ogilvy and in the group behind Senden, bogeyed 18 to finish with a 68 and tied for third, two shots behind Senden.
Gronholm leads one-two
Finland's Marcus Gronholm led a one-two finish for Ford in the Rally of New Zealand yesterday to clinch the carmaker's first world manufacturers' title in 27 years. Gronholm won the New Zealand rally for the fourth time, taking out four of six stages on the final day and 12 of 17 stages overall to head off fellow Finn and Ford driver Mikka Hirvonen by 56 seconds. Manfred Stohl of Austria finished third in a Peugeot and Xavier Pons of Spain fourth in a Citroen. Seven-time world motorcycling champion Valentino Rossi of Italy moved into 10th place overall in a privately-owned Subaru. Rossi, who calls rallying his second love after motorcycling, was racing in a World Rally Championship event for only the second time. He drove a Peugeot in the 2002 British rally but failed to see out the first day.
■ Rugby Union
WRU president dies
Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) president Keith Rowlands died on Saturday at the age of 70. Rowlands, WRU president since 2004, collapsed at his home in Cardiff and died around midday, the wru.co.uk Web site said. Less than 24 hours earlier he had watched Wales beat Canada 61-26 in a Test match at the Millennium Stadium.
England draw in Adelaide
England drew with South Australia in its final Ashes warmup match yesterday. South Australia was 164-2 in its second innings at the Adelaide Oval, trailing England by four runs, when the teams agreed to call an early end to the three-day match. England was bowled out for 415 before lunch yesterday. South Australian opener Daniel Harris finished unbeaten on 71 and Callum Ferguson seven not out. Matthew Elliott made his first first-class half-century of the season, 55, before he was out to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. Panesar took 1-34 yesterday, while Kevin Pietersen (1-24) claimed a wicket when Cameron Borgas (27) hit a ball straight to deep mid-wicket.