Monday, March 18, 2013

Nadal, Sharapova earn Indian Wells titles

Rafael Nadal showed no signs of rust at Indian Wells.
2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Seven-month layoff? What seven-month layoff?
   Rafael Nadal improved to 17-1 this year, the best start of his career, with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday in the final of the BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells.
   It was Nadal's third Indian Wells title, record-breaking 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy, 14th straight match victory and 600th match win of his career.
   Nadal had been tied with Roger Federer for the most Masters crowns. Federer, with 891 match wins, is the only other active player to reach 600.
   In the women's final, third-ranked Maria Sharapova outslugged No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 for her second Indian Wells crown.
   Nadal, ranked fifth, returned to the tour last month after sitting out since Wimbledon because of a knee injury and a short bout with a virus. He beat second-ranked Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells and No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals.
Maria Sharapova ripped 33 winners to two for Caroline
Wozniacki. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   "A lot of things happened the last seven months, [so] to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing," Nadal, who also won the Indian Wells title in 2007 and 2009, told reporters. "Beating three top 10 players and winning a title like this is just something unbelievable for me. I'm very, very happy and very emotional."
   Nadal, 26, overcame a 4-6, 1-3 deficit in the final on an 89-degree Fahrenheit (31-degree Celsius) day.
   "I think Rafa deserved to win," said the seventh-ranked del Potro, who was coming off three-set victories over third-ranked Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and No. 1 Novak Djokovic in 95-degree Fahrenheit (35-degree Celsius) heat each day. "The last hour of the match, he played so solid and put me so far (from) the baseline and made winners. But I think I (had) a good tournament anyway."
   Sharapova cracked 33 winners to two for Wozniacki in their 81-minute match.
   "The scoreline looks a lot easier than I think the match actually was," said Sharapova, who also captured the Indian Wells title in 2006. "I think it was a tough match, a tough battle, and there were a lot of games that went to deuce and a lot of long games. They could have easily swung the other way, especially some opportunities she had in that second set. I always felt like I was always a foot ahead, especially with the breaks. I was able to serve well today, and that helped me."
   Sacramento State def. Weber State 5-2 in Ogden, Utah. No. 1 singles: Marek Marksoo (SS) def. Jakub Gewert 6-2, 6-3. Records: Sac State 7-9 overall, 4-0 Big Sky Conference; Weber State 4-7, 2-2.
   Idaho State def. Sacramento State 4-3 in Pocatello, Idaho. No. 1 singles: Marek Marksoo (SS) def. Christian Marian 6-4, 7-5. Records: Idaho State 5-2 overall, 4-0 Big Sky Conference; Sac State 7-10, 4-1.
   No. 15 Cal def. No. 52 San Diego State 6-1 in San Diego. No. 1 singles: No. 8 Anett Schutting (C) def. Julia Wais 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Records: Cal 8-5, San Diego State 7-4.
   Nevada def. Sacramento State 4-3 in Sacramento. No. 1 singles: Rebeca Delgado (SS) def. Michelle Okhremchuk 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Records: Nevada 5-4, Sac State 5-8.
   Cal State Northridge 4, UC Davis 3 in Northridge. No. 1 singles: Megan Heneghan  (UCD) def. Maria Pistalu 7-6 (1), 6-3. Records: Cal State Northridge 8-3 overall, 3-2 Big West Conference; UC Davis 6-9, 2-2.

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