Nadal avoids a marathon with two quick catch-up wins

Rafael NadalMonte Carlo  - Rafael Nadal saved energy, earning two wins in a total of three hours to blast into his fifth straight semi-final at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday as the tournament got caught up after Thursday rain.

The top seed in the chase for five trophies on the trot at the European clay-season opener, by beating Nicolas Lapentti 6-3, 6-0 then notched his 25th win in a row at the venue 6-3, 6-3 in a quarter-final over Croatian Ivan Ljubicic.

"I played less than three hours, that's always important. I just went to the court and tried to play my best. The first match was not long and I was totally hundred percent in the second.

Murray ready to take his success on to clay

Murray ready to take his success on to clay Monte Carlo  - Andy Murray kick-starts his clay season at the weekend fresh off his third trophy of 2009 at Miami as he plays the Monte Carlo Masters.

"I want to do better than I did last year and try to reach the quarter-finals of one of the big tournaments," said the world number 4.

The Scot is planning a full schedule on the dirt, where he never got past a third round in 2008. He is scheduled for Monte Carlo starting Sunday, Rome and Madrid prior to Paris.

FIA and F1 teams agree cost-cutting package

FIA and F1 teams agree cost-cutting packageMonaco  - Formula One teams and the international motorsport federation FIA reached agreement Wednesday on cost-cutting measures for the sport from next year.

Their proposals at a meeting in Monaco will be put forward to the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday.

A joint statement from FIA and the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) gave no details of the proposed savings, saying full details will be released following Friday's meeting.

Monaco’s Prince finds new friend in Putin

London, Sep 22: Russian officials have sent a team of builders to Monaco to erect a three-bedroom “dacha” in Prince Albert’s garden, as a sign of the growing friendship between Moscow and the tiny principality on the Riviera.

The simple wooden building has the function of a pool house at Albert’s estate in the hills behind Monte Carlo and reflected the growing bonds with Moscow that have helped to turn Monaco, a glamorous tax haven, into the favourite playground of Russians.

Albert’s spokesman declined to comment but a former adviser saw the dacha as evidence of the warm friendship that has developed between the 50-year-old bachelor prince and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Sarkozy: Mediterranean Union like Franco-German reconciliation

Nicolas SarakozyMonaco - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday in the city stat