ATP WORLD TOUR
After his eight-year winning run in Monte Carlo was ended by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal is quickly refocusing on winning an eighth title at the Barcelona Open.
Going into another clay-court tournament that Nadal has dominated, the Spaniard said he still needs to improve following a lengthy injury layoff before he is able to beat the likes of Djokovic in a final.
“When you make it to the final in Monte Carlo you cannot think that you had a bad week,” Nadal said on Monday. “Now I’m in Barcelona and I want to enjoy it. I love playing here.”
“Against the world No. 1 you can win or lose, and this time I lost,” he said.
Nadal has reached five consecutive finals since returning in February from a knee injury — winning three and losing two. This time, he will not be the top-seeded player at Real Club de Tenis Barcelona. That honor goes to compatriot David Ferrer.
“I think I’m on the right track, but missing things after all that happened,” said Nadal, who opens against either Carlos Berlocq or Daniel Gimeno-Traver today. “They are both good players on clay.”
In first-round play on Monday, Ivan Dodig saved five of seven break points in beating Aljaz Bedene 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-2.
Andrey Kuznetsov took only 46 minutes to beat Igor Sijsling 6-1, 6-3, while Paolo Lorenzi defeated Guillaume Rufin 6-4, 6-2 after winning 80 percent of points on first serve. Ernests Gulbis topped Radek Stepanek 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
NASTASE TIRIAC TROPHY
Viktor Troicki advanced to the second round of the Nastase Tiriac Trophy by beating Marinko Matosevic of Australia 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 on Monday.
The eighth-seeded Serb broke once in each set and served eight aces, while Matosevic failed to convert any of his three breakpoint chances.
David Goffin defeated Romanian wild-card Adrian Ungur 6-3, 6-1 in 55 minutes. The Belgian could next face 2011 champion Florian Mayer.
Also in the first round, Germany’s Daniel Brands downed Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 4-2.
In the final round of qualifying, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Matthias Bachinger, Flavio Cipolla and Jaroslav Pospisil won to advance to the main draw.
The Taichung Warriors yesterday collapsed in the final at the 15th Taiwan Annual Cricket Cup in Chiayi City, but Chetan Sharma’s 50 scripted a near-unbelievable resurgence to snatch the trophy from the Taiwan Stars. Sharma’s 4-24 restricted the Stars to 130-6, but the reply was a disaster as the Warriors fell to 25-7 after six overs. However, Sharma undid all the work of opening bowlers Amir Sohail and Abrar Hussain (both 3-14) to guide them to a two-wicket win. The result reversed their group-stage encounter at the eight-team, two-day competition at the Yunsan baseball fields. In the semi-finals, Sohail took 4-21 as the Stars
Taiwanese swimmer Eddie Wang on Saturday broke the 200m short course butterfly world junior record at the opening meet of the International Swimming League season in Budapest, Hungary. The 18-year-old, who was representing the Cali Condors, a San Francisco-based professional swimming club, finished third in 1 minute, 50.79 seconds. Wang finished behind winner Tom Shields of the LA Current (1:50.43) and runner-up Chad le Clos of Energy Standard (1:50.48). Wang’s time broke the 2012 world junior record of 1:51.30 set by former Japanese national team captain Daiya Seto. It also broke his national record of 1:52.38, set at the 2018 FINA World Cup meeting
The All Blacks might have unearthed the next Jonah Lomu after 21-year-old Caleb Clarke yesterday proved to be a one-man demolition squad in the All Blacks’ 27-7 whipping of Australia in Auckland, New Zealand. Clarke, the son of former All Black Eroni Clarke, takes an uncomplicated approach to using his 1.84m, 107kg frame. “When you get the ball, just run. You don’t have to think about anything,” he said after his first Test start, after making his debut off the bench last week in the drawn first Bledisloe Cup Test. As the All Blacks lifted their aggression and accuracy in Auckland, much of
A team made up mostly of Guatemalans who live and work in Taiwan were on Sunday crowned winners of the women’s Copa America Taiwan soccer tournament after defeating a Paraguayan team in the final in New Taipei City. Guatemala defeated Paraguay 3-1 in a final that kept hundreds of spectators on the edge of their seats at Fu Jen Catholic University Stadium. The two teams attacked at will early in the match as both looked to take an early lead, but it was Paraguay who went in front after a cleverly worked free-kick was headed into the net. In the second half, Guatemala