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Nadal, Serena secure Italian Open titles

Mon., May 20, 2013

Spain's Rafael Nadal improved to 20-10 over Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the latest match between two of tennis’ premier stars. (Associated Press)
Spain's Rafael Nadal improved to 20-10 over Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the latest match between two of tennis’ premier stars. (Associated Press)

Tennis: After all these years, Rafael Nadal still knows how to dominate Roger Federer.

In the 30th meeting between the tennis greats, Nadal controlled the final from the start and won 6-1, 6-3 Sunday for his seventh Italian Open title in Rome.

“Rafa was just too good today,” Federer said.

Nadal improved to 20-10 in his career against Federer, and showed once again that he’ll be the player to beat when the French Open starts Sunday. It was the fifth-ranked Spaniard’s sixth title since returning earlier this year from a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury.

“I’m playing much better than I dreamed of a few months ago,” Nadal said. “I’m doing the right things to play well.”

In the women’s final, top-ranked Serena Williams won her fourth straight title of the year in impressive fashion, defeating third-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3. Williams will go to Paris on a career-best 24-match winning run.

“I moved better than I did all week,” Williams said. “Hopefully I can stay like this. I feel really good.”

At 31, Williams is back at the top of her game after missing 11 months in 2010 and 2011 with a right foot injury and a pulmonary embolism.

In the women’s doubles final, Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Peng Shuai of China upset the top-ranked Italian pair of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 4-6, 6-3, 10-8. In the men’s final, top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States beat the sixth-ranked Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 6-2, 6-3.

Bozeman native wins Tour of California

Cycling: Tejay van Garderen stayed out of trouble to seal his first professional stage race title, winning the Tour of California in front of BMC Racing Team’s home fans.

The American cruised through the smooth and scenic final stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, Calif., without incident to edge Australian Michael Rogers for the overall title by 1:47. Colombian Janier Acevedo was third.

Van Garderen, from Bozeman, completed the eight-day, 727.8-mile race that has evolved into North America’s most prominent cycling event in 29 hours and 43 minutes. He held the overall lead the final three days.

• Visconti wins snowy 15th Giro stage: A superb solo ride up the grueling Col du Galibier (France) gave Giovanni Visconti the win in a weather-affected 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia, while favorite Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead.

Atrocious weather conditions once again altered the race course and heavy snow fell at the finish as Visconti won in a time of 4 hours, 40 minutes, 52 seconds, beating Carlos Betancur and Przemyslaw Niemiec by 42 seconds.

Nibali, who finished third and second in his two previous Giro d’Italia races, maintained his 1:26 lead over Cadel Evans.

Sweden holds off Swiss for world title

Hockey: Sweden is the first host team to win the world hockey championships in 27 years, beating Switzerland 5-1 in Stockholm for its ninth title.

Vancouver Canucks star Henrik Sedin had two goals and an assist, and Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves to help Sweden become the first team to win the title on home ice since the Soviet Union in 1986. Switzerland earned its first medal in 60 years.

In the third-place game, the United States beat Finland 3-2 in a shootout for its first medal in nine years. Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk scored consecutive goals in the shootout for the U.S., and Nashville’s Craig Smith and Colorado’s Paul Stastny had first-period goals.

Phoenix’s Lauri Korpikoski scored twice in the third period for Finland.

• Blades best Mooseheads at Memorial Cup: The Saskatoon Blades routed the Halifax Mooseheads 5-2 in round robin action at the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament in Saskatoon, Sask.

Both the Blades and Mooseheads own 1-1 records through round robin play at the tournament.

Gray regains lead with third win of season

Auto racing: Johnny Gray raced to his third win of the season, and sixth of his career, at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan.

Gray beat Robert Hight with a time of 4.067 seconds at 314.90 mph to regain the Funny Car points lead.

Shawn Langdon won the Top Fuel division with a run of 3.750 at 324.20 mph, and Jeg Coughlin topped the Pro Stock field in 6.680 at 206.20 MPH.

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