- Associated Press - Monday, March 21, 2011


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) | Novak Djokovic beat top-ranked Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday, keeping the Serbian undefeated this year.

Djokovic improved to 18-0, including victories at the Australian Open and in Dubai last month. He will move into the No. 2 spot when the ATP Tour rankings are released Monday, having bumped Roger Federer down to third after he lost to Djokovic in the semifinals. Nadal will remain No. 1 with a 14-3 record.

After Nadal’s forehand hit the net on match point, Djokovic threw his head back and let out a prolonged yell while pumping both arms.

Earlier, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki defeated 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to win the title a year after the Dane lost in the final.

Djokovic became just the third player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament twice, having last done it at Montreal in 2007. That year, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final here, then won in 2008.

Nadal had beaten Djokovic in all five of their previous finals meetings, and he broke him twice to win the first set.

Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 in the second set, then survived a five-deuce game on his serve to take the set, winning when Nadal’s backhand went wide.

He broke an error-prone Nadal twice in the first three games of the third set to take a 4-0 lead. Djokovic served out the match at 40-love to keep Nadal without a title since October.

Wozniacki won her WTA Tour-leading 19th match of the year and her second title while appearing in the final for her third consecutive tournament.

Wozniacki won on her second match point when Bartoli’s backhand sailed beyond the baseline. Bartoli was playing in her first final since 2009, and she fell to 2-6 in matches against the No. 1 player.

The victory allowed Wozniacki to improve her results for the fifth straight year in the desert. She lost in the first round in her 2007 debut, reached the fourth round in 2008, the quarterfinals in 2009 and was runner-up to Jelena Jankovic a year ago.

She earned $700,000, and was already assured of remaining No. 1 through the upcoming two-week tournament in Miami. Bartoli is projected to be No. 10 when the rankings are released Monday, her first time back in the Top 10 since June 2008.

“If every single match I could play like that throughout the years, I would be pretty happy,” Bartoli said. “Even though I came up a bit short at the end and she was better than me, I think it was really a great fight.”


BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) | Kyle Busch can’t be beat at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch beat Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson off pit road after the final stops Sunday, then held them off over the closing 60 laps to win the Sprint Cup Series race at the Tennessee bullring. It gave Busch a sweep of the weekend [-] he also won the second-tier Nationwide Series race on Saturday [-] and his fifth consecutive victory at Bristol dating back to a three-race sweep in August.

He’s now won five Cup races at Bristol, which ties him with older-brother Kurt in NASCAR’s top series, and has 11 victories spanning the three national series.

Busch, who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, dedicated the win to the manufacturer and its employees in Japan still trying to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Edwards settled for second and lamented not pushing Busch harder after the final restart with 37 laps remaining. Busch, Edwards and Johnson pulled away from the field, and Edwards had several opportunities to move Busch’s No. 18 Toyota out of the way.

But Edwards, in a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, figured he’d have plenty of chances closer to the finish, so he tried for a clean pass as he and Busch raced side by side for several laps. Busch eventually pulled away, and Edwards never had another shot.

“I thought we’d be better matched with him, but he took off, and I just couldn’t get back to him to race,” Edwards said. “My gut told me there was going to be another caution. If I had known that was the only shot I had, I might have raced a little harder.”

There were no tire issues despite heavy concern when Goodyear’s product struggled through Friday’s full day of on-track action. The supplier called for almost 1,300 new right-side tires to be shipped into Bristol from North Carolina overnight, and they were distributed to teams before Saturday’s final two practice sessions.

But teams were only given one set of the new tires to use on Saturday, and everyone was scrambling to adapt to the effect the new tires had on their car.

NASCAR called a competition caution at lap 50 on Sunday to check the new tires. With no noticeable issues, the ace continued with little discussion of the entire flap.


1. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500 laps, 132.6 rating, 47 points.

2. (1) Carl Edwards, Ford, 500, 120.1, 43.

3. (6) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, 135.6, 43.

4. (11) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 500, 95.2, 40.

5. (4) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500, 107.2, 40.

6. (15) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 500, 115.1, 39.

7. (20) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 500, 107.7, 37.

8. (2) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500, 97.3, 36.

9. (10) Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 500, 105.6, 35.

10. (21) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500, 98.2, 35.

(Start position in parentheses)


PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) | Gary Woodland made only one par on the back nine Sunday at the Transitions Championship, and it gave him his first PGA Tour victory and a trip to the Masters.

Woodland surged into the lead with three straight birdies, and fell out of it with back-to-back bogeys. Tied for the lead on the final hole at Innisbrook, the big-hitter from Kansas holed a 10-foot par putt to finish off a 4-under 67.

That proved to be the difference moments later when Webb Simpson also went long on the 18th and his chip down the slope went 20 feet by the hole. Simpson missed the putt to shoot 69 and finished one shot behind.

Woodland, who played college basketball at Washburn until he transferred to Kansas to play golf, became the first player to earn his inaugural PGA Tour title at Innisbrook.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

The win gives Woodland an invitation to Augusta National, where his awesome power and soft putting touch could make for an interesting marriage at the Masters. A late-bloomer, Woodland missed the second half of his rookie season two years ago with shoulder surgery, but began to show his potential when he lost in a playoff at the Bob Hope Classic.

Woodland finished at 15-under 269 and earned $990,000, moving up to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings.

“One thing that helped me was putting, and today it saved me,” said Woodland, who took only 10 putts on the back nine and 23 for the final round. “Luckily, it won me a golf tournament.”

Scott Stallings, a PGA Tour rookie who missed every cut on the West Coast Swing to fall to the bottom of the status ladder, kept his poise and stayed in the game until the 16th, the toughest driving hole on the Copperhead course with trees to the left and water to the right. Stallings went right into the lake and made double bogey.

Even so, he shot a 70 and finished alone in third, which gets him in the Houston Open in two weeks.

Brandt Snedeker finished alone in fourth.

Justin Rose, a two-time winner last year who started the final round with a one-shot lead, was tied for the lead until making four straight bogeys through the 10th hole to fall out of contention. He wound up five shots behind.

Nick Watney, coming off a World Golf Championship title at Doral last week, played with Woodland and fell out of the mix quickly by failing to make putts. Watney didn’t make a birdie and closed with a 72 and tied for 13th, the first time Watney has been out of the top 10 all year. That means his two-month bet with caddie Chad Reynolds is over, and both can now get a haircut.


Gary Woodland (500), $990,000;[R]67-68-67-67;—;269;-15

Webb Simpson (300), $594,000;[R]67-67-67-69;—;270;-14

Scott Stallings (190), $374,000;[R]66-70-66-70;—;272;-12

Brandt Snedeker (135), $264,000;[R]72-64-67-70;—;273;-11

Marc Turnesa (90), $180,125;[R]68-67-73-66;—;274;-10

Martin Laird (90), $180,125;[R]66-70-68-70;—;274;-10

Roland Thatcher (90), $180,125;[R]68-67-69-70;—;274;-10

Chris Couch (90), $180,125;[R]69-64-70-71;—;274;-10

Justin Rose (90), $180,125;[R]70-65-65-74;—;274;-10

Brendon de Jonge (90), $180,125;[R]69-66-66-73;—;274;-10



Click to Read More

Click to Hide