Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 5th 2017 Contents A32 sports
guardian.co.tt Sunday, March 5, 2017
Nadal plays Querrey
for Mexican Open title
ACAPULCO, Mexico---Rafael Na-
dal routed Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-2
Friday night to advance to the
Mexican Open final against Sam
Seeking his first title this sea-
son and 70th overall, Nadal ran his
Mexican Open winning streak to 14
matches. He won the event in 2005
and 2013, when it was played on clay.
Nadal will face the American
Querrey, a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 winner over
Australian Nick Kyrgios.
The sixth-ranked Spaniard, play-
ing his first tournament since losing
to Roger Federer in the Australian
Open final, last won a hardcourt title
in January 2014 in Doha.
"You need to have a great day to
get a result like this against Cil-
ic," Nadal said. "Anytime you play
against someone like Cilic you ex-
pect to suffer in a tight match, but
it was not like that. I believe that
he had his chances, but I played a
In the late game, the 40th-ranked
Querrey continued an inspired week
in which he defeated No. 11 David
Goffin, No. 9 Dominic Thiem and
now No. 17 Kyrgios, who upset
second-ranked Novak Djokovic on
Querrey ended Thiem's sev-
en-match winning streak.
"It does not get any easier to-
morrow, it will be the toughest
test," Querrey said. "I played great
today, but I need to play even better
tomorrow to beat Nadal"
The American will try to win
his ninth title, and first since Del-
ray Beach in 2016. Querrey is 0-4
In the women's semifinal, sec-
ond-seed Kristina Mladenovic of
France beat American Christina
McHale 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. Ukraine's
Lesiia Tsurenko led top-seeded
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 5-0
when Lucic-Baroni retired because
of a stomach virus. (AP)
Murray wins first title
of the year in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates---Andy
Murray captured his first title of
the year and became the first Brit-
ish man to win the Dubai Tennis
Championships in its 25-year his-
tory when he defeated Fernando
Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 yesterday.
This was Murray's seventh final
in his last eight tournaments, and
14th in his last 16 dating to last May
The only two tournaments he failed
to make the final in that period were
the 2016 U.S. Open and 2017 Austral-
"It's been a great run. Can't com-
plain about much," Murray said.
"Giving yourself a lot of matches
gives you confidence to go into those
big events (Grand Slams)."
Dubai was the first tournament
Murray's played since he lost in the
Australian Open fourth round. Since
that defeat he's been recuperating
from a bout with shingles.
"After the break that I have had, to
get five matches in, six if you include
the doubles, in six days is a really pos-
itive thing physically," he said.
The top-ranked Murray, who was
a Dubai finalist in 2012, improved his
career record to 13-1 over Verdasco.
The first three games were service
breaks as the players attempted to find
their range in the final.
Verdasco had the service break until
the Spaniard was broken by Murray in
the sixth and then the eighth games
to take the first set.
Murray broke Verdasco's serve
twice in the second set, in the third
game with a forehand winner, and
in the seventh on a third break point.
The 35th-ranked Verdasco, a former
top-10 player, has never beaten a No.
1-ranked player in 12 career attempts.
"He pushes you," Verdasco said. "At
the same time, I didn't really feel, of
course, as comfortable or hitting the
ball as clean as days before."
Murray became the fourth player
this year to win a title having saved
match points en route to the title. He
faced a career high seven match points
in defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber in
the quarterfinals. (AP)
Rory McIlroy feeling better
MEXICO CITY---Sore ribs or sore
stomach, it doesn't seem to mat-
ter to Rory McIlroy.
After being gone for seven weeks,
he took a two-shot lead into the
weekend at the Mexico Champion-
ship with a chance to return to No. 1
in the world.
McIlroy holed out from 156 yards
for eagle on the 14th hole, part of a
three-hole stretch Friday when he
seized control at Chapultepec Golf
Club. McIlroy missed putts inside 6
feet on his last three holes---one for
par, two for birdie---and still shot a
He got 14 hours of sleep to help
overcome a stomach virus and said
he was feeling a little better.
His game looked better than ever.
McIlroy was at 9-under 133, two
shots ahead of Phil Mickelson (68),
Justin Thomas (66) and Ross Fisher
Mickelson will play in the final
group on the weekend for the first
time since his runner-up finish to
Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in the
British Open. And he got there with-
out his longtime caddie, Jim "Bones"
Mackay, who fell ill on fourth hole of
the second round and turned the bag
over to Mickelson's younger brother,
Thomas, who won the opening two
events of the year in Hawaii, had seven
birdies and three bogeys over his last
McIlroy is playing for the first time
since losing a playoff Jan. 15 in South
Africa. He was diagnosed with a hair-
line fracture of his rib the next day
and missed four tournaments on his
schedule to make sure it healed prop-
erly. There seems to be little debate
He showed that blend of power
and balance in the thin air of Mex-
ico City and struck his irons close
for so much of the day. His longest
birdie putt was 12 feet, and McIlroy
had reason to lament the ones that
got away. He missed four putts from
6 feet or closer.
The only bad hole for McIlroy was
at No. 12 where he put his wedge into
a bunker, barely got it out of the sand
onto the collar and two-putted from
20 feet for bogey. And then he found
He hit his tee shot to 12 feet on the
par-3 13th. From 156 yards out to a
soft green, he tried to take a little off
a 9-iron and leaned when he saw it
going a little too far left of the flag.
It bounced out of the rough and
rolled into the cup for an eagle. He
came up just short of the green on
the par-5 15th, setting up a simple
up-and-down for another birdie to
seize control. (AP)
shoots 67 for lead
SINGAPORE---Michelle Wie shot
a 5-under 67 yesterday to lead
the HSBC Women's Champions
tournament by two strokes after
the third round.
The American followed up her pre-
vious rounds of 66 and 69 to reach
14-under 202 and lead an LPGA
event after 54 holes for the first time
since she won the 2014 U.S. Open.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko birdied the
three-way tie for second. She was
joined by last year's British Open
champion Ariya Jutanugarn (69)
and the big-hitting Park Sung-Hyun
Rio Olympic gold medalist Inbee
Park shot a 71 to finish three shots
behind Wie and tied with the de-
fending champion Ha Na Jang (68).
Plagued by injuries and a loss of
form, Wie needed a sponsor's invi-
tation just to get a start in the $1.5
million tournament. But she's been
in vintage touch since arriving in
Wie took just 32 shots to reach the
turn. Despite making her first bogey
in 35 holes on the tricky par-3 15th,
she made her sixth birdie of the day
on the next hole and put herself in
great position to end a three-year
"There definitely is some but-
terflies out there, but it's exciting
getting that feeling again and being
in this position," Wie said.
Ko is in a slight drought, by her
lofty standards. The 19-year-old,
who has not won an LPGA title since
July, birdied the last hole with a long
putt from the fringe.
"It's always nice to come off with
a birdie," Ko said. "I started off real-
ly hot today. I didn't really continue
the momentum after the 10th hole,
but I tried to hang in there. I made a
clumsy bogey on 17, but it was nice
to bounce back with the birdie on
Inbee Park, playing only her sec-
ond tournament in six months be-
cause of a thumb injury, led by a shot
She had early bogey to lose her
place at the top of the leaderboard
and never got going.
"My ball striking was consistent,
but I just could not hole like one putt
out there," she said.
"But I'm not far back, and obvi-
ously at this golf course, if you can
drop some putts, there are a few
birdies out there. I'm just going to
go out there tomorrow and just play
aggressively and hopefully the putts
can drop." (AP)
Michelle Wie of the United States tees off on the 2nd hole during the HSBC
Women's Champions golf tournament held at Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong
course yesterday, in Singapore. AP PHOTO
Andy Murray of Great Britain returns the ball to Fernando Verdasco of
Spain during the final match of the Dubai Tennis Championships, in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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