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Tearful Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer in Madrid semifinal

It's an emotional victory for the Spaniard after the death of Seve Ballesteros

May 07, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Top-ranked Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Roger Federer during ta semifinal of the Madrid Open on Saturday.
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Roger Federer during ta semifinal… (Dani Pozo / AFP / Getty Images )

Rafael Nadal wiped away tears shed for Seve Ballesteros after reaching the Madrid Open final, saying his win over Roger Federer was too inconsequential to dedicate to the golf great he describes as a Spanish sporting pioneer.

Before his semifinal match against Federer, the top-ranked Nadal watched the video screen showing images of Ballesteros' career. Nadal's eyes welled up and he brushed away tears before the start of the match.

Nadal, sporting a black ribbon on his bright yellow shirt in memory of Ballesteros, went on to win, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, to reach his third straight Madrid final and improve to 11-2 against Federer on clay. He will face the surging Novak Djokovic after the Serb rallied to beat unseeded Thomaz Bellucci, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, for his 31st consecutive victory this year and 33rd overall.

Earlier, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ended Julia Goerges' 10-match winning streak, 6-4, 6-2, to reach the women's final against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Kvitova ousted sixth-seeded Li Na, 6-3, 6-1, breaking the Chinese player six times.

ETC: Byrd leads by one at Quail Hollow

Jonathan Byrd birdied five of six holes to start the back nine as he shot a five-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. Byrd, going for his third win on the PGA Tour in the last seven months, is at 15-under 201.

Pat Perez held onto his two-shot second-round lead until the 13th hole. He birdied the par-three 17th to finish with a 70 for the day and get into the final group. Stewart Cink (68) and Lucas Glover (69) were three shots off the lead.

Mark Calcavecchia gave away nearly all of his big lead in the Regions Tradition, setting up a tight final round at Shoal Creek. Calcavecchia shot a one-under 71 after a sparkling start in the Champions Tour major at Birmingham, Ala., faltering with a double bogey and two bogeys on the final eight holes. He finished at 12-under 212 for a one-stroke lead over Jay Haas, who shot a 68.

Arizona basketball Coach Sean Miller was scheduled to meet with Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson in Las Vegas on Saturday about the Terrapins job, according to Miller's decision on whether to succeed Gary Williams is expected in the next 24 hours.

Canada advanced to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship after beating Norway, 3-2, in Kosice, Slovakia. The United States moved into position to do the same. The Americans came back from a goal down to beat France, 3-2. Canada leads Group F with a perfect 10 points. The team's last group game is against Sweden on Sunday. The U.S. team has seven points and plays Switzerland in its last qualifying game Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals as Real Madrid thrashed Sevilla, 6-2, to deny Barcelona a chance of clinching its third straight Spanish league title. … AC Milan ended five years of dominance by city rival Inter Milan, clinching its first Serie A title since 2004 with a 0-0 draw at Roma. Owned by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan ended a streak of five straight league titles by Inter, tied AC Milan with 18 titles and closed within nine of Juventus. … Jean Tigana has quit as Bordeaux coach after his 16-year-old daughter was verbally abused in the stands watching the team lose 4-0 to Sochaux in the French league.

Freddie Roach, the five-time trainer of the year who has supervised Manny Pacquiao's rise to superstardom, has agreed to take on a prominent role in coaching U.S. Olympic boxers. Roach will open his Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood to U.S. boxers, and will work closest with the most elite Olympic qualifiers who have the best chance to claim a medal at the 2012 Summer Games in London. The U.S. hasn't won a gold medal since 2004.

— Lance Pugmire

Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield beat Denmark's Brian Nielsen in his longshot quest for one more title shot. The 48-year-old Holyfield needed 10 rounds before winning on a technical knockout at Copenhagen.

Brittany Broben, 15, of Australia, diving in her first international senior meet, won the women's platform event at the USA Diving Grand Prix at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Broben defeated reigning Olympic platform gold medalist Chen Ruolin of China.

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