Saturday, March 16, 2013

Del Potro tops Murray in battle of U.S. Open champs

Andy Murray played in his first tournament since losing to
Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in late January.
2012 Photo by Paul Bauman
   In the past eight years, only two men besides Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won a Grand Slam singles title.
   Those two players, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, met Friday in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Del Potro scored a mild upset with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1 victory, only his second in seven matches against Murray.
   Del Potro, 24, of Argentina and Murray, 25, of Great Britain won the U.S. Open in 2009 and last year, respectively, for their only Grand Slam crowns. Del Potro, who underwent surgery on his right (playing) wrist in 2010 and was sidelined for eight months, has played in one Grand Slam final and Murray in six.
   Del Potro, seeded seventh, was more match tough for Friday's encounter. He improved to 15-3 this year, including the title at Rotterdam last month. Murray, seeded third, was playing in his first tournament since losing to Djokovic in the Australian Open final in late January.
    "He played like someone that's won a lot of matches recently," Murray told reporters. "Especially in the second and third set when the important moments came, he played well."
   Murray would have replaced Federer at No. 2 in the world by reaching the final. Instead, Del Potro will face the top-ranked Djokovic in today's second semifinal at approximately 2 p.m. PDT (ESPN News),. Djokovic, who owns a 22-match winning streak, leads the head-to-head series 8-2.
   In today's first semifinal at noon (ESPN News), fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain will meet sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. It will be a rematch of the 2010 Wimbledon final, won by Nadal in straight sets. He seeks his third Indian Wells title after triumphing in 2007 and 2009.
   Second-seeded Maria Sharapova will take on eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday for the women's title in a matchup of former Indian Wells champions.
   Sharapova, the 2006 titlist, beat another Maria from Russia, the 13th-seeded Kirilenko, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final for the second straight year. Wozniacki, the 2011 winner from Denmark, outlasted fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sharapova is 4-2 lifetime against Wozniacki, although the series is tied 2-2 on hardcourts.
   Former Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked men's doubles team in the world, will play unseeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Jerzy Janowicz of Poland for the title today at 4 p.m. or later (Tennis Channel).
   The Bryans, from the nearby Los Angeles area, seek their first Indian Wells title in their 15th straight appearance there and third final.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Huey and the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Janowicz, playing in their first tournament together, saved two match points in a 7-5, 1-6, 12-10 match tiebreak victory over unseeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil in the semifinals.
   No. 23 UC Irvine def. UC Davis 4-0 in Irvine. No. 1 singles: No. 101 Kristina Smith (UCI) def. Megan Heneghan 6-2, 6-3. Records: UC Irvine 13-3 overall, 4-0 Big West Conference. UC Davis 5-8, 1-1.
   Sacramento State def. Weber State 7-0 in Ogden, Utah. No. 1 singles: Rebeca Delgado (SS) def. Kristi Elmer 6-3, 6-3. Records: Sac State 4-7 overall, 4-0 Big Sky Conference. Weber State 5-10, 1-3.
   Sacramento State def. Idaho State 7-0 in Pocatello, Idaho. No. 1 singles: Rebeca Delgado (SS) def. Kasey Bacon 6-2, 6-3. Records: Sac State 5-7 overall, 5-0 Big Sky Conference. Idaho State 1-8, 1-3.

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