Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2014 Contents A54
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 11, 2014
MADRID---Top-ranked Rafael Nadal is
back in a clay court final at the Madrid
Open, where Japan s Kei Nishikori denied
an all-Spanish meeting by converting his
tenth match point in a grueling victory
over David Ferrer yesterday.
Nadal, the defending champion, reached
his first clay final since winning in Rio de
Janeiro in February with a 6-4, 6-4 win
against countryman Roberto Bautista Agut.
Ferrer saved nine match points before
Nishikori ultimately overcame his late nerves
for a 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3 victory that propelled
him into his first Masters series final.
Earlier, Maria Sharapova held her nerve
to reach her second consecutive women s
final, where she will play Simona Halep of
After Nishikori won the first set, Ferrer
delivered an ace to save his first match point
in the tenth game, then broke Nishikori on
the fifth try one game later. Ferrer took it
to a third set after saving two break points.
Despite needing treatment on his right
thigh before the start of the deciding set,
Nishikori s powerful groundstrokes over-
whelmed Ferrer for a key break in the sixth
game. There was a dramatic ninth game
that lasted nearly 20 minutes.
Nishikori smashed error after error with
victory in his grasp as the local fans backed
Ferrer, who ultimately hit long for the 12th-
ranked Nishikori to earn his 14th straight
win, including a perfect 10-0 on clay this
Bautista Agut, playing in his first career
Masters series semi-final, couldn t match
the experience of Nadal, who continues to
improve after coming to the Magic Box cen-
ter having lost at consecutive clay tourna-
ments for the first time in a decade.
Nadal took advantage of Bautista Agut s
timid start to break right away for a lead he
would never surrender.
Nadal s concentration dipped temporarily
in the second set as Bautista Agut clawed
to within 4-3 before Nadal overcame his 21
errors by pulling away to reach his 90th
"Psychologically speaking about Monte
Carlo and Barcelona, whenever I had nerves,
I was not ready and I was a little bit down,"
said Nadal, bidding to be the first repeat
winner from his sixth final appearance.
"I am mentally more stable and more
confident things will go well. This is great
news going into tomorrow s match and for
Maria Sharapova was cruising against
Agnieszka Radwanska before allowing the
third-seeded Pole to break back in the second
set. But the eighth-ranked Russian recovered
to secure a 6-1, 6-4 win after Halep rallied
in the hot conditions to dispatch 2011 cham-
pion Petra Kvitova 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2.
Sharapova has lost just three times on
clay since the 2011 French Open, with all
of those losses coming against two-time
defending champion Serena Williams. But
Williams withdrew on Friday with a left
Kvitova looked on course for victory before
unforced errors and the rising temperatures
took their toll.
The Czech was 2-0 up in the second set
and rolling against Halep, who was visibly
frustrated after a late call went against her
during the first-set tiebreaker.
But Kvitova hit 66 unforced errors and
that inconsistency caught up with her as
Halep recovered, with the now composed
Romanian hitting 22 winners and breaking
Kvitova four times over the last two sets.
"I just started to play more angles, more
higher the ball, and just fighting for every
point," Halep said.
Kvitova struggled in the final set, looking
sapped of energy by the end of a match that
lasted more than 2 1/2 hours.
"Tomorrow (today) I expect a very tough
match. Maria is a champion and she knows
how to manage the finals," said the fifth-
ranked Halep, who reached her first Masters
Sharapova hit 28 winners to four for Rad-
wanska, who netted a forehand on match
point to be broken for a seventh time.
"She s having a great year so it s going to
be an extremely difficult match," Sharapova
Nadal to play Nishikori
in Madrid final
BELFAST---Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory in a
wet second stage of the Giro d Italia yesterday, as
Michael Matthews took the overall leader s pink
jersey from Orica-GreenEdge teammate Svein Tuft.
Kittel timed his move to perfection, with 200
metres remaining, to edge out Nacer Bouhanni and
Giacomo Nizzolo in a bunch sprint at the end of
the 218-kilometre (135-mile) leg, which started and
ended in Belfast.
The German cyclist clocked more than five hours
to claim his first Giro stage win on the day before
his 26th birthday.
"Honestly, it was not so easy today to stay in
front with the team, I lost them a few times," Kittel
"I was really overwhelmed by all the people on
the roads, it was really a big party despite the weather.
I m super happy and proud about this win, it s really
something to have a win in each of the three Grand
Matthews finished three seconds ahead of his
Orica teammates and was hoping to still be wearing
the maglia rosa when the Giro moves into Italy.
"I didn t expect it, it s truly an honour to be
wearing this jersey," Matthews said. "We had a great
team time trial yesterday and we decided to give it
to Svein for his birthday. To take it today is truly
"I ll try to keep it as long as I can, hopefully until
at least stage six or seven. There s a few guys who
are close to me. It s truly a massive thing for the
team and for me as well."
Despite the heavy rain, thousands of people lined
the route which took in picturesque rock formation,
the Giant s Causeway, as it wound down the coast.
Two Garmin-Sharp cyclists withdrew from the
race following a crash in Friday s opening team time
trial. Dan Martin will have surgery later Saturday
on a broken collarbone. Teammate Koldo Fernandez
finished the stage, but tests afterward revealed he
had also broken his clavicle.
Today s third stage is a 187-kilometre (116-mile)
cross-border leg from Armagh to Dublin. Monday
is a rest day before the race resumes in southern
Italy with a stage ending in Bari.
The Giro ends in Trieste on June 1. (AP)
to victory in
wet Giro stage
LONDON---New Zealand won the rugby
sevens world series for a 12th time in 15
seasons but a pool loss to England sent
the Kiwis on the hard road to defending
their season-ending London title yester-
Pool wins in the morning against
Argentina (40-10) and Wales (49-0) before
a sold-out Twickenham crowd of 75,000
ensured New Zealand reached the knockout
stage on Sunday, and secured the world
series a fourth straight time with an unas-
sailable points lead over South Africa.
The Kiwis have won a series-leading
four tournaments this season, twice as
many as next-best South Africa and Fiji,
and they have yet to lose before the semi-
That record will be on the line, as the
15-12 loss to England put New Zealand
into a quarterfinal against South Africa,
an unbeaten pool winner along with Eng-
land, Samoa and Australia, all previous
champions in London.
In the last pool game on a day of non-
stop showers, New Zealand scored first
through Gillies Kaka and led England 7-
5 at halftime after Tom Powell s riposte on
the left wing from a tap penalty.
Mikkelson was set to score the winning
try with a minute to go, but it was called
back for a forward pass by the touch judge,
who was proved wrong by TV replays.
Instead, England worked the ball to in front
of the New Zealand posts, and a penalty
gave captain Mitchell the winning kick.
England will play France in the quar-
terfinals, Australia will meet Kenya, and
Samoa, in its first quarterfinal in four tour-
naments, faces Fiji.
South Africa accounted for Portugal,
France and Scotland. The latter reached
the semifinals last weekend in Glasgow,
but failed to advance, as did Canada, the
Glasgow finalist, which lost to Samoa and
rallied to draw with Kenya 17-17, which
wasn t enough.
Australia came from 12-7 down at half-
time to win 24-12, keeping Fiji scoreless
in the second half. (AP)
New Zealand wins
another 7s world series
ton earned his fourth pole
position of the Formula One
season yesterday as Mercedes
was again in a class of its own
at the Spanish Grand Prix,
while four-time champion
Sebastian Vettel was left
stranded after another stall by
his faulty Red Bull.
Hamilton edged teammate---
and main rival---Nico Rosberg
with a late flying lap of one
minute, 25.232 seconds on the
sunny and dry Barcelona-
Catalunya circuit for his 35th
Rosberg, the overall leader,
came in second at 0.16 seconds
behind to set up another driving
duel. Hamilton has won the last
three races right in front of Ros-
berg, with the rest of the field
Vettel s car rolled to a halt
during Friday s first practice
session, and it failed him again
early in the third period of qual-
ifying. The struggling champion
will start Sunday s race back in
tenth on the grid.
As Vettel s troubles mounted,
new partner Daniel Ricciardo
finished with the third-fastest
time ahead of Williams Valtteri
Bottas and Romain Grosjean in
Fernando Alonso, last year s
winner here, could do no better
than seventh place, right behind
Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikko-
Hamilton had complained to
his team early in the day that
they had "made the car worse"
after minor changes to try and
improve on its already com-
manding performances from
Friday when the British driver
dominated both practice ses-
In 23 races held here at
Montmelo, 15 pole sitters have
gone on to the win the race,
while only two drivers have won
when starting from third place
Red Bull appeared to have
Vettel s car back in a good
enough condition to compete,
but his problems started when
he pulled out of the garage and
by the third curve his car came
to a halt.
Vettel said he hoped his gear-
box had not been damaged
because an unscheduled
replacement of a gearbox incurs
a penalty of five places on the
Toro Rosso s Jean-Eric Vergne
will start the race from the back
of the pack after he was docked
ten places for breaching safety
regulations on Friday when a
wheel flew off his car. He had
finished qualifying in 16th place.
Hamilton takes pole in Spain
...Vettel's car stalls
Maria Sharapova from Russia reacts after
defeating Agnieszka Radwanska from
Poland during a Madrid Open tennis
tournament match in Madrid, Spain,
yesterday. Sharpova won 6-1, 6-4.
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