Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nadal withdraws from Sony Ericsson semifinal

   Rafael Nadal's drought at the Sony Ericsson Open continues.
   The second-seeded Nadal, a three-time runner-up in Key Biscayne, Fla., withdrew hours before his semifinal against fourth-seeded Andy Murray in Key Biscayne, Fla., on Friday because of a left knee injury.
   Murray, the 2009 winner, will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and 2007 titlist, for the crown Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT (CBS). Djokovic beat 21st-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-0, 7-6 (5).
   Nadal said his knee has bothered him since he lost to Roger Federer two weeks ago in the semifinals at Indian Wells. The injury worsened when Nadal needed 2 hours, 50 minutes to subdue Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday.
   “After the last match, I saw that the situation was to be complicated to play,” Nadal told reporters. “But, as always, I believe that things can improve. I did a lot of treatment, waiting. But I am not ready to compete. I am very sorry.”
   The Sony Ericsson Open is the biggest title Nadal, a 10-time Grand Slam singles champion and the 2008 Olympic singles gold medalist, has never won. But with the French Open beginning in less than two months, he doesn't want to take any chances. Nadal, who said he plans to begin his clay-court season as scheduled at the Monte Carlo Masters in mid-April, will seek a record seventh title at Roland Garros.
   Like Nadal, Maria Sharapova is 0-3 in Sony Ericsson finals. The No. 2 seed, who attended the tournament annually as a junior training in Bradenton, Fla., will meet fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for the title today at 9:30 a.m. (CBS). Sharapova is 7-1 against Radwanska, who also seeks her first Sony Ericsson crown.
   Capitals ousted -- Coco Vandeweghe and Yasmin Schnack, who will be teammates on the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July, were eliminated earlier this week in a $50,000 Challenger in Osprey, Fla.
   Vandeweghe, a singles qualifier, lost in the second round to third-seeded Alexandra Panova of Russia 6-3, 6-1. Vandeweghe and Irina Falconi received a wild card in doubles and reached the quarterfinals before falling to Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy 6-4, 7-6 (2) in an all-American encounter.
   Schnack, a resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, and Chi Chi Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., lost in the first round to second-seeded Nina Bratchikova of Russia and Darija Jurak of Croatia 6-2, 7-5.
   Colleges -- The sixth-ranked Stanford women (12-0, 5-0 Pacific-12 Conference) recorded their fourth consecutive shutout with a 7-0 victory over No. 27 Arizona State (10-4) at Stanford. At No. 1 singles, third-ranked Nicole Gibbs beat No. 9 Jacqueline Cako 6-2, 6-4.
   The No. 8 Stanford men (11-5) opened Pac-12 play with a 5-2 victory at Arizona (5-11).   
   The ninth-ranked Cal women (14-4, 6-0 Pac-12) extended their winning streak to eight matches with a 5-2 victory over No. 28 Arizona (12-5, 2-2) in Berkeley. Cal's Jana Juricova, the reigning NCAA singles champion, sat out for undisclosed reasons.
   The No. 12 Cal men (8-7) scored a 6-1 win over Utah (11-6) in a Pac-12 opener in Salt Lake City. It was the Bears' first match since March 11.
   UC Davis' men and women lost at Hawaii. The men (3-10) fell 6-1 to the Rainbow Warriors (4-9), and women (5-10) dropped a 4-3 decision to the No. 53 Raindow Wahine (9-6).

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