Del Potro stays hot, tops Nadal at Shanghai
Tennis: Rafael Nadal lost his first match since reclaiming the No. 1 ranking this week, falling to a resurgent Juan Martin del Potro 6-2, 6-4 in the Shanghai Masters semifinals on Saturday.
The fifth-ranked del Potro will try to win his first Masters title today against top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other semifinal, 6-2, 7-5.
Del Potro hadn’t beaten Nadal since the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open where the Argentine went on to win his only Grand Slam title.
But del Potro is playing fully fit and confident – he’s coming off a win last week at the Japan Open that returned him to the top five in the rankings for the first time in three years.
He completely overpowered Nadal with his deep, punishing groundstrokes and fended off all six break points he faced.
Nadal’s serve, on the other hand, was under threat for the entire match. After not dropping serve in 28 games this week, the Spaniard was broken twice to start the match as del Potro raced out to 4-0 lead.
• Top-seeded Kerber, Ivanovic reach final in Linz: Two-time champion Ana Ivanovic defeated Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 6-4 to set up a final against top-seeded Angelique Kerber, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Carla Suarez Navarro, at the Generali Ladies in Linz, Austria.
Bradley wins split decision over Marquez
Boxing: Timothy Bradley did just enough to win once again, beating Juan Manuel Marquez by split decision at Las Vegas to keep his piece of the welterweight title.
Bradley thwarted Marquez’s attempt to win his fifth world title by coming on in the second half of the fight to win. It was the third straight close decision win for Bradley, who was a hotly disputed winner over Manny Pacquiao two fights ago.
The pro-Marquez crowd booed loudly and Bradley egged them on afterward. He won 116-112 on one card and 115-113 on another, while a third judge had Marquez winning 115-113.
• Cruz comes up short: Gay boxer Orlando Cruz lost his bid for a piece of the featherweight title, getting stopped in the seventh round by veteran Orlando Salido.
Cruz, the first openly gay active fighter, was outclassed much of the fight by Salido, who landed the heavier punches throughout before knocking Cruz down with a right hand to the head in the seventh round. Cruz was on his knees and couldn’t get up as he was counted out at 1:05 of the round.
Canucks beaten by Price, Canadiens
NHL: Carey Price made 39 saves in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Vancouver.
Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Josh Gorges also scored for Montreal, and Raphael Diaz added two assists.
Henrik Sedin replied for Vancouver, which got 34 saves from Roberto Luongo. He also stopped Pacioretty on a third-period penalty shot.
• Crosby leads Penguins past Lightning: Sidney Crosby had three goals and an assist and Matt Niskanen scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 18.6 seconds left, lifting the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa, Fla.
Thompson takes lead at LPGA Malaysia
Golf: Lexi Thompson moved into position for her second LPGA Tour title, shooting a 5-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Malaysia.
The 18-year-old American, the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic winner, had five birdies in her bogey-free round to reach 17-under 196 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. She opened with rounds of 67 and 63.
South Korea’s Ilhee Lee was second after a 70. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and China’s Shanshan Feng were third at 11 under.
• Koepka round away from a Tour card: On a day of low scoring, Brooks Koepka kept up his end of the bargain and stayed in the lead at the Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif.
In his first regular PGA Tour event, Koepka had a 4-under 67 to take a two-shot lead over George McNeill and Jason Kokrak into the final round at CordeValle.
A win would mean more than just a trip to the Masters. Koepka would earn a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
• Cochran leads at SAS: Russ Cochran shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship at Cary, N.C.
Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett, along with defending champion Bernhard Langer and David Frost, were tied for second. They each shot their second straight 67.
Olynyk leads Celtics to first preseason win
Miscellany: Rookie Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga had 15 points and six rebounds and the Boston Celtics got their first preseason win under new coach Brad Stevens, beating New York 111-81 at Manchester, N.H., as the Knicks rested Carmelo Anthony and four other veterans.
The Celtics, winless in their first three games, scored the first 10 points and never trailed. • Van Lierde wins Ironman world championship: Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, running down the leaders and bursting into the lead with less than 10 miles to go.
Van Lierde finished the 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride and marathon run in 8 hours, 12 minutes, 29 seconds to become the second Belgian winner.
• Kitten’s Dumplings wins Queen Elizabeth II: Kitten’s Dumplings rallied from last place and edged favorite Alterite by a neck in the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
• Canada beats U.S. in women’s hockey exhibition: Hayley Wickenheiser set up two goals and goalie Shannon Szabados held off a late rally to help Canada beat the United States 3-2 at Burlington, Vt., in the opening game of the pre-Olympic tour.
The game at Gutterson Fieldhouse was the first of at least seven scheduled meetings between the two powers leading up the Winter Games in Sochi in February.