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Sports Log

Nadal sweeps past Djokovic to end skid

April 23, 2012
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Tennis
Rafael Nadal finally managed to beat Novak Djokovic in a final, thrashing the top-ranked Serb, 6-3, 6-1, Sunday to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the eighth consecutive year and end a run of seven straight defeats to his rival in title matches. Nadal was hardly troubled by Djokovic in this one and broke the Serb’s serve five times in a one-sided affair on clay to win his 42d straight match at Monte Carlo. It was his first title since last year’s French Open and the 47th of his career. Nadal now leads their head-to-head series, 17-14, but it was his first win against Djokovic since an early match at the 2010 ATP Finals in London. The Serb had beaten Nadal in three consecutive Grand Slam finals.

Serena, US rout Ukraine in Fed Cup

Serena Williams defeated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 6-2, to send the United States back into the Fed Cup World Group by clinching a series victory over Ukraine in Kharkiv. Williams’s win gave the US team a 3-0 lead, clinching the match. Christina McHale beat Elina Svitolina, 7-5, 6-3, to secure a sweep of the singles matches and Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens completed a 5-0 rout with a 6-4, 6-1 win over twins Lyudmyla and Nadiya Kichenok in doubles. Williams was making her first Fed Cup appearance on foreign soil in more than a decade to become eligible for the US team at the London Olympics. In other Fed Cup play, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic won their reverse singles matches to beat Russia, 3-2, in Moscow and put Serbia into the Fed Cup final for the first time. Serbia will face defending champion Czech Republic in the final in November. Petra Kvitova beat Francesca Schiavone, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), to clinch the host Czechs’ 4-1 win over Italy.

Vettel wins in Bahrain; protests quieted

Auto racing
Bahrain got exactly the type of incident-free Formula One race it wanted, and Sebastian Vettel got exactly the result he needed to help his bid for a third straight championship title. On a day when F1 could again focus more on racing than politics, the Bahrain Grand Prix was held without a hitch as Vettel completed a wire-to-wire win in a race that was unaffected by the ongoing anti-government protests that escalated last week. Vettel held off a charging Kimi Raikkonen to secure his first win of the year. With layers of security checkpoints around the Bahrain International Circuit, there was no sign of protesters anywhere near the track during the race.

Minnesota set to hire VCU AD Teague

Colleges
Virginia Commonwealth athletic director Norwood Teague has been named the lone finalist for the job at the University of Minnesota. Teague, who took over at VCU in 2006, helped turn the tiny university into a household name during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Minnesota has not been to the Rose Bowl in 50 years and the men’s basketball team hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2007. Teague is scheduled to visit Monday for interviews with school president Eric Kaler and the search committee in the final steps of a two-month search . . . Southeast Missouri’s Kenton Parmley went hitless against Tennessee Tech in Cape Girardeau, Mo., ending his hitting streak at 47 games - tied for the third-longest in NCAA Division 1 history. The senior shortstop has still reached base safely in 57 straight games after being hit by a pitch . . . Georgia’s Kat Ding defended her NCAA women’s gymnastics championship on the uneven bars and added another title on the floor exercise in Duluth, Ga. Alabama, which won the team championship Saturday, added an individual title when Geralen Stack-Eaton won the balance beam.

Pontius’s hat trick boosts D.C. United

Miscellany
Chris Pontius scored his first career hat trick to lead D.C. United to a 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls in Washington. Nick De Leon also scored to help United stretch their unbeaten run to six matches. Thierry Henry scored for the Red Bulls, who suffered their first loss in five matches . . . Olympic champion Henry Cejudo returned to competition to try to win a gold medal with his mother in the stands in London. It didn’t work out as the 2008 gold medalist fell to top-seeded Nick Simmons, 3-0, 5-9, 5-2, in the semifinals of the US Olympic wrestling trials and immediately removed his shoes after the loss - symbolic of a wrestler retiring - and flung them into the crowd in Iowa City . . . Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers defeated Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena, 21-17, 21-18, in an all-American final in the season-opening beach volleyball World Tour event in Brasilia, Brazil . . . Americans Timothy Wang and Lily Zhang claimed the last two singles spots in the Olympics with victories on the final day of the North American table tennis qualifier in Cary, N.C. . . . American boat Puma took a slim lead as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet headed for Miami on the 4,800-nautical mile sixth leg of the nine-stage event. US skipper Ken Read of Newport, R.I., was just ahead of overall leader Telefonica of Spain. In the overall standings, Telefonica has 149 points and leads Groupama (133), Camper (124), and fourth-place Puma (117), with Abu Dhabi and Team Sanya completing the fleet.

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