Rafael Nadal dropped serve three times and had to sweep five straight games to win the Mercedes Cup with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on Sunday in Stuttgart, Germany.
The top-seeded Spaniard hadn’t previously dropped serve in the tournament, but had to rally from 5-2 down in the second set to claim his sixth title this year and his 93rd win in 94 matches on clay.
“I had a little luck, but I’m very happy I played well here,” Nadal said. “After losing the Wimbledon final to (Roger) Federer, it was hard to have a good tournament.”
Nadal is 23-5 in career finals, the highest winning percentage in the Open era.
•Radek Stepanek upset second-seeded James Blake 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-2 to win the ATP Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles.
It was the second career title for Stepanek, who entered the match with a 13-15 record this season.
Blake was trying for his 10th career title and first since winning in Sydney earlier this year. Stepanek broke Blake twice in the final set, including the last game of the match.
•Anna Chakvetadze won the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Akiko Morigami in Mason, Ohio.
•Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis won his first ATP title by beating unseeded Werner Eschauer 6-1, 7-6 (1) at Amersfoort, Netherlands, to become the first Belgian to win the Dutch Open in nearly 50 years.
•Hungarian teenager Agnes Szavay won her first singles title by routing second-seeded Martina Mueller 6-0, 6-1 at the Palermo International in Palermo, Sicily.
Steelers sign top pick
Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, the No. 15 pick in the NFL draft, agreed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $15 million and guarantees him $8,053,000 in bonus money.
Timmons became only the third first-round pick in the April draft to reach terms and the first in the upper half of the draft. Previously, the only first-rounders under contract were 49ers offensive tackle Joe Starkey (No. 28) and Bears tight end Greg Olsen (No. 31).
The deal was reached less than 24 hours before the Steelers become the first NFL team to open training camp with its full squad and fulfilled first-year coach Mike Tomlin’s goal of having every player signed by the afternoon reporting deadline today.
Evers wins Bassmaster
Edwin Evers had a final day catch of 23 pounds, 10 ounces for a tournament total of 65 pounds, 7 ounces to win the $100,000 Bassmaster Elite Empire Chase on Lake Erie and the Niagara River in Buffalo, N.Y.
•Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won the AVP Crocs Tour beach volleyball tournament, beating Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, 21-16, 19-21, 15-9 in Long Beach, Calif.
•Argentina won the FIFA Under-20 Soccer World Cup for the sixth time, rallying to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 on Mauro Zarate’s goal in the 86th minute in Toronto.
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