Nadal’s Clay Winning Streak Sits at 71 Matches in a Row
Two-time defending champion Rafael Nadal beat fifth-seeded David Ferrer, 7-5, 6-1, yesterday in Barcelona for his 71st straight win on clay and a place in the Open Seat Godo final against Guillermo Cañas.
Nadal exploited Ferrer’s second serve for 10 winners in the opening set of the all-Spanish semifinal. He broke Ferrer’s serve three times in the second set.
The 12th-seeded Cañas beat Agustin Calleri, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, in an all-Argentine match to advance to his second straight final. He lost to Novak Djokovic at the Sony Ericsson Open earlier this month.
“The first set was really tough,” Nadal said. “The key to win this match was to find the rhythm in my forehand. David is very quick and one of the best players in the world. It was a very complicated match today.”
The 21-year-old Nadal can tie Mats Wilander’s 23-year-old record of three straight championships at the Barcelona tournament. He also would equal Roy Emerson and Manuel Orantes’s record of three titles in Barcelona. K AUTO RACING: Bobby Labonte pushed teammate Tony Stewart to the lead, then won with a dramatic pass in the last 200 yards in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Labonte, a Nextel Cup star, came away with his 10th Busch win and first since 1998, beating Stewart, a two-time Cup champion, to the finish line by less than a car-length in the race that came down to a green-white-checker finish because of a late caution. K CRICKET: In Bridgetown, Barbados, Australia won an unprecedented third straight World Cup with a 53-run win over Sri Lanka in a rain-shortened final. K GYMNASTICS: Courtney Kupets of Gaithersburg scored 9.90 points or better in three of four events to lead Georgia to its third straight NCAA women’s gymnastics title Friday night in Salt Lake City.
Kupets, a sophomore who won her second straight all-around title the day before, capped the Gym Dogs’ stellar floor exercise with a 9.950 that allowed Georgia to pull ahead of host Utah and Florida entering the final rotation.
The Gym Dogs had only the vault to go and clinched it with another solid round.
Kupets got a 9.90 and Tiffany Tolnay sealed it with a 9.925 on the final vault.
Katie Heenan (South Riding) scored a 9.95 on the vault for Georgia.
Utah, helped by a 9.95 from Ashley Postell (Burke) in the floor exercise, was second for the second year in a row.
— From News Services
Rafael Nadal of Spain has a chance to match Mats Wilander’s mark of three straight titles in Barcelona with a win in the final against Guillermo Cañas.