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Murray is title winner in Madrid

October 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Fourth-ranked Andy Murray defeated Gilles Simon, 6-4, 7-6 (6), Sunday to win the Madrid Masters in Spain.

The U.S. Open finalist became the first tennis player from Great Britain to win four titles in a season. He will be the first Brit in the Open era since Fred Perry in 1936 to finish the year at No. 4.

"Gilles was hitting much better from behind the baseline, but I got a lot of free points from my serve," Murray said. "That was probably the key to my win today."

Murray, who was born in Scotland, never faced a break point and converted one in the fifth game to take the first set when Simon hit wide.

Murray saved two set points in the tiebreaker before closing out the match when Simon hit into the net for his 30th unforced error. Simon had won five consecutive three-set matches.

"I couldn't move like I'm used to and Andy knew it, so he tried to kill me by making me run," said Simon, barely able to walk the step up to the microphone. "Often I missed two easy shots, one after another. That's why I lost today; I couldn't focus on every point. It was too much effort. . . . "

The 16th-ranked Simon is within reach of qualifying for next month's Masters Cup in Shanghai. He is ninth in the race to qualify for the season-ending tournament, six points behind Juan Martin del Potro for final qualifying spot.

Venus Williams won the Zurich Open in Switzerland for her second singles title this season.

Williams defeated Flavia Pennetta, 7-6 (1), 6-2, to win the tournament she had last won in 1999 and to seal her place at the season-ending WTA Tour Championship Nov. 4-9 at Doha, Qatar.

"It is great to come here and play my best tennis of the week in the final against someone who is playing as well as she is," Williams said.

Pennetta had upset top-ranked Jelena Jankovic in the second round.

Williams is expected to climb one place to No. 8 when the new WTA rankings are published today.



Report: George has foot amputated

North Carolina Asheville's Kenny George, at 7 feet 7 the nation's tallest college basketball player, will not play this season amid reports that part of his right foot was amputated.

George needed surgery after contracting a staph infection, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported. said the 22-year-old player had surgery three weeks ago and is expected to remain in an Iowa hospital for at least another month.

When reached by phone by the Associated Press, Coach Eddie Biedenbach wouldn't confirm the reports, saying he was respecting George's wish for privacy.

Biedenbach said that George, a senior, first felt discomfort in his foot in August after attending a basketball camp in Las Vegas. When George returned to his native Chicago, a doctor recommended immediate surgery. George has undergone several operations since.



Brazil beats Spain in World Cup final

Brazil won a record fourth title in the Futsal World Cup, defeating two-time defending champion Spain, 4-3, in a shootout after the teams played to a 2-2 tie in regulation and overtime at Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil won the first three futsal world titles since FIFA began organizing the indoor soccer event in 1989. Spain, playing in its fourth consecutive final, and Brazil are the only nations to have won the World Cup in futsal, which is played in two 20-minute periods on a surface about the size of a basketball court.

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