Nadal’s quest for No. 1 delayed by Djokovic

Rafael Nadal’s move to No. 1 will have to wait a couple of more weeks.

Looking weary after two months of nonstop winning, the 22-year-old Spaniard got run around the court Saturday in Mason, Ohio, and he was ultimately, bounced from the Cincinnati Masters one step short of another title match. Instead, Novak Djokovic reached the final with a 6-1, 7-5 victory that delayed the inevitable.

The third-seeded Djokovic will play Andy Murray today for the title. Murray reached his first Masters series final by beating Ivo Karlovic, 6-4, 6-4.

By reaching the semifinals of the $2.6 million ATP Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Nadal piled up enough points to overtake Roger Federer as the world’s No. 1 player. Given the way points accrue — the last 52 weeks are counted — he will surpass Federer in the Aug. 18 rankings.

Federer has been No. 1 for a record 235 consecutive weeks. He and Nadal have been ranked 1-2 since July 25, 2005. Nadal will become the third Spaniard to hold the No. 1 spot, joining Carlos Moya (1999) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003).

Also: Seventh-seeded Dinara Safina beat Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Safina will face Dominika Cibulkova, who beat Marion Bartoli, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Jelena Jankovic, who has yet to reach a Grand Slam singles final, will become the 18th player to lead the WTA computer rankings when she rises to the top spot Aug. 11.

Currently No. 2, Jankovic will move ahead of fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who has led the rankings since June 9, the day after winning the French Open. Ivanovic beat Jankovic in the semifinals at Roland Garros with the No. 1 ranking at stake.


Zenyatta claims win in Hirsch Handicap

Zenyatta defeated Model by a length to win the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar, Calif.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and carrying high weight of 124 pounds, Zenyatta covered 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 41.48 seconds, a record on the synthetic Polytrack surface. The old mark of 1:41.57 was set by Well Armed in the San Diego Handicap on July 19.

In another development from Del Mar, the track will reduce purses by 3.5 percent, the first reduction in more than 30 years.

The cuts, which begin Aug. 13, will amount to about $10,000 per day, according to Michael Ernst, the seaside track’s chief operating officer.

The reductions were triggered by a downturn in on-track handle and a slowdown in account wagering business, Ernst said Friday.

Also: Deweycheatumnhowe was all business in winning the $1.5 million Hambletonian in East Rutherford, N.J.

The colt named for a comedy routine about a crooked law firm became the first unbeaten winner of the 3-year-old trotting classic.

The 2-5 favorite extended his winning streak to 15 with a half-length victory over Crazed. Make It Happen finished third in the field of 10.

Deweycheatumnhowe completed the mile in 1:52 on a good track for his 11th victory at the Meadowlands.

Ready Set withstood a charging Web Gem and a claim of foul to win the $750,000 West Virginia Derby in Chester, W. Va.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Ready Set covered the 1 1/8-mile course in 1 minute, 52.03 seconds.

Heavily favored Indian Blessing left five other 3-year-old fillies at the quarter pole and drew away to a 7-length victory in the $250,000 Test Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Darchinyan knocks out Kirilov, takes IBF title

Victor Darchinyan took the IBF junior bantamweight title from Dimitri Kirilov with a fifth-round knockout in a fight that Darchinyan dominated from start to finish in Tacoma, Wash.

A left hand by the 32-year-old Darchinyan (30-1-1, 24 knockouts) sent Kirilov (23-4-1) to the mat for the second time in the fifth round, and Kirilov was unable to get back to his feet. The bout ended at the 1:05 mark of the fifth.

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