Nadal wins eighth Barcelona Open title

MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2013

Tennis: Despite the drizzle, Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open in Barcelona, Spain, for the eighth time Sunday, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year.

This latest victory, with next month’s French Open approaching, is a promising sign that Nadal is getting back to full strength from a knee injury that sidelined him since last summer.

After trailing 3-0 in the first set, Nadal found his form and broke his fellow Spaniard in three of his next four service games to take command.

He has made six straight finals since returning from his knee injury.

• Sharapova tops Li at Porsche GP: Maria Sharapova beat Li Na 6-4, 6-3 in Stuttgart, Germany, to successfully defend her WTA Porsche Grand Prix title in a final between the last two French Open champions.

This was her 29th career title and 16th consecutive win on clay.

• Schiavone ends drought at Grand Prix SAR: Sixth-seeded Francesca Schiavone won her first title in nearly a year, beating Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-1, 6-3 in the Grand Prix SAR final in Marrakech, Morocco.

Dynamo extend home unbeaten streak

Soccer: Giles Barnes scored an unassisted goal in the 56th minute and Houston extended its MLS record home unbeaten streak to 36 games with a 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids.

The Dynamo have not lost at home since falling to Columbus in June 2011.

Pedregon takes second Funny Car race of year

Auto racing: Cruz Pedregon became the first two-time Funny Car winner this year in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.

Bob Vandergriff Jr. won Top Fuel. Jason Line won Pro Stock and Hector Arana Jr. was victorious in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Froome secures victory at Tour of Romandie

Cycling: Chris Froome of Britain completed a start-to-finish victory in the Tour of Romandie in Geneva, enhancing his status as the Tour de France favorite.

Froome placed third in the closing time trial and extended his advantage over Slovakia’s Simon Spilak in the overall standings.

The Sky team leader won the six-day race by 54 seconds and had a total time of 19 hours, 24 minutes, 51 seconds.

Calgary uses OT to force Game 7 with Edmonton

Hockey: Brooks Macek scored at 6:59 of overtime, giving the Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 win over the visiting Oil Kings in Western Hockey League playoff action.

Macek’s second goal of the night sent the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final to a deciding Game 7 in Edmonton Tuesday.

The winner advances to meet the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL final beginning Friday in Portland.

Big Ten football moving to East-West alignment

Miscellany: The Big Ten presidents and chancellors approved a new East and West alignment for divisions and a nine-game conference-play schedule.

The new division alignments will begin in 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference, meaning “Legends” and “Leaders” will be a thing of the past. Teams will go from playing eight conference games to nine in 2016.

Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will be in the East division. The West will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

• Miami’s Larkin opts to enter draft: Miami guard Shane Larkin says he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft.

Larkin averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists this season for the Hurricanes.

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