Once Again, It’s Fed­erer and Nadal

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air -

Roger Fed­erer will get an­other chance to beat Rafael Nadal on clay when the world’s top two play­ers meet for the sec­ond straight year to­day in the Monte Carlo Masters fi­nal.

Both play­ers reached the fi­nal with­out drop­ping a set. Fed­erer downed Juan Car­los Fer­rero, 6-3, 6-4, yes­ter­day, and Nadal fol­lowed by beat­ing To­mas Berdych, 6-0, 7-5.

Fed­erer has lost four straight times to the sec­ond-ranked Nadal on clay, in­clud­ing fi­nals last year at Monte Carlo, the Rome Masters and the French Open.

Fed­erer, who also lost to Nadal on clay in the 2005 French Open semi­fi­nals, snapped a four-match los­ing streak against Nadal by beat­ing him in two other fi­nals: Wim­ble­don and the Masters Cup in Shang­hai.

Nadal leads Fed­erer 4-3 in fi­nals and 6-3 over­all. . . .

In Del­ray Beach, Fla., Venus Wil­liams ral­lied to win, and sis­ter Ser­ena com­pleted a sib­ling sweep, leav­ing the U.S. Fed Cup team on the verge of beat­ing Bel­gium.

Play­ing Fed Cup for the first time since 2003, Ser­ena beat Caro­line Maes, 6-1, 6-4, to give the Amer­i­cans a 2-0 lead in the be­stof-five open­ing-round match.

Venus strug­gled early with gusty con­di­tions and fell be­hind 5-3 be­fore win­ning 11 con­sec­u­tive points, then beat Kirsten Flip­kens, 7-5, 6-2.

Sin­gles matchups will be re­versed to­day, fol­lowed by dou­bles, and Ser­ena can clinch a U.S. vic­tory by beat­ing Flip­kens. The win­ning team will face the Rus­si­aS­pain win­ner in the semi­fi­nals fol- low­ing Wim­ble­don in July.

Rus­sia led Spain, 2-0, in Moscow. France and Italy, both play­ing at home, took 2-0 leads over Ja­pan and China, re­spec­tively. . . .

Kim Cli­jsters, 23, will not play at the U.S. Open, mak­ing Wim­ble­don the last Grand Slam tour­na­ment of her ca­reer. The Bel­gian, who al­ready has pulled out of the French Open, has bat­tled in­juries for much of her ca­reer. K HOCKEY: NHL scor­ing cham­pion Sid­ney Crosby played the fi­nal 21⁄ weeks of the sea­son and the

2 play­offs with a bro­ken left foot, an in­jury the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins star didn’t dis­close un­til yes­ter­day. Crosby re­vealed the in­jury when he ex­plained why he won’t play for Team Canada in the world cham­pi­onships in Moscow. K COL­LEGE FOOT­BALL: Quar­ter­back Jor­dan Steffy threw for 182 yards and a touch­down dur­ing Mary­land’s fi­nal scrim­mage of spring prac­tice. Steffy, a ju­nior, went 13 for 22, in­clud­ing a three­yard touch­down pass to se­nior Ja­son Goode.

The Ter­rap­ins will prac­tice Tues­day and Thurs­day be­fore clos­ing out spring work­outs with the Red-White spring game at 3:30 p.m. Satur­day in Byrd Sta­dium. . . .

The Blue team, com­posed of Navy’s start­ing of­fense and sec­ond-string de­fense, won the an­nual Blue-Gold spring game, 10-7. Ju­nior Jarod Bryant com­pleted 9 of 15 passes for 135 yards, in­clud­ing a 40-yard touch­down pass to se­nior Zerbin Singleton sec­onds be­fore half­time for the Blue team. Ju­nior full­back Eric Ket­tani rushed for 72 yards for the Gold team. — From News Ser­vices

and Staff Re­ports

BY LIONEL CIRONNEAU — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rafael Nadal, the mas­ter on clay, serves dur­ing a win over To­mas Berdych. Nadal will play top-ranked Roger Fed­erer in to­day’s fi­nal in Monte Carlo.

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