Washington: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton yesterday surged ahead in the 2016 US presidential polls by posting emphatic wins in the crucial ‘Super Tuesday’ primaries as an epic face-off between the two front-runners seemed likely after the biggest day of the race for nominations.

Coming within striking distance of becoming the Republican nominee, Trump, notched up victories in seven states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Trump (69) emerged from the contests closer than ever to the nomination.

68-year-old Clinton, who is the Democratic Party front-runner, also clinched seven states in the 'Super Tuesday' primaries — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. She won big among African-American voters and reversed a 2008 primary loss in Virginia to President Barack Obama.

However, both Clinton and Trump were denied a clean sweep, which many poll pundits had predicted on Super Tuesday, the 2016 campaign’s biggest day of nominating contests. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz claimed the day's biggest prize — Texas - along with Oklahoma and Alaska. On the Democrat side, Clinton's main rival Bernie Sanders registered victories in four states — Colorado, Oklahoma, Minnesota and his home state of Vermont.