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Crowe croons

DUNEDIN – New Zealand batting great Martin Crowe today said the cancer he was diagnosed with last year was under control and he was cutting all ties with cricket to reduce his stress levels.

Crowe said he believed worrying about cricket, particularly the axing of his protege Ross Taylor as New Zealand captain late last year, exacerbated his lymphatic cancer, leading to a large tumour in his stomach.

After five months of chemotherapy, the 50-year-old said doctors had told him his cancer had shrunk to safe levels, although there was always the possibility of a relapse.

“All through my left side the lymph nodes have gone back to their normal size,” he said.

Crowe said the impact that the controversial decision to drop Taylor in favour of Brendon McCullum had on his health showed him he needed to step away from the game.

Jolt to Bolt

ROME – Six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt said he will review the key ingredients missing from his race after being pipped to victory in his first 100 metre outing in Europe this season by American rival Justin Gatlin yesterday in Athens.

Gatlin came into the Rome Golden Gala expected to challenge the world record holder (9.58sec) on the back of two wins in the opening two legs of the Diamond League in Doha and in Eugene.

Bolt, meanwhile, was making his first appearance on the continent since his recent recovery from a hamstring injury.

The Jamaican surprised himself with a strong start but soon had trouble finding the required rhythm and later admitted his traditionally strong finish was absent.

Bolt, who will next compete in Oslo at the Bislett Games before returning to Jamaica on June 14, said he felt no twinge from his hamstring during the race but felt “a little sore” afterwards.

“I got a great start. I think the fact that I did threw me off a little,” said the Jamaican. “Normally the last 50 (metres) is the best part of my race, but it wasn’t there.”

Nadal wins it

PARIS – Rafael Nadal won a stunning heavyweight clash with world number one Novak Djokovic to reach his eighth French Open final today at Roland Garros.

The seven-time champion, 27, saw off Djokovic 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 9-7 in four hours and 37 minutes.

Nadal will play compatriot David Ferrer or France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday’s final.

Today’s first semi-final had been the focus of attention ever since the draw paired Djokovic and Nadal in the same half, and it did not disappoint. There was drama every step of the way.

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