Nadal fends off Federer for title
at World Tennis Championships
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal started 2011 with a win over rival Roger Federer, beating the Swiss 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) Saturday to retain his title at the World Tennis Championships exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Both players held serve throughout the match in the tuneup for the Australian Open this month. Federer had the early momentum in the first tiebreaker, hitting a couple of blistering forehand winners to go up 3-0. But Nadal won the next five points and clinched the set when the Swiss hit a forehand long.
In the second tiebreaker, Nadal went up 3-1 with a drop volley, and Federer sent his return long on the next point. The Spaniard then set up match point with a crosscourt forehand winner and converted it when Federer hit a forehand long.
Also: Third-ranked Kim Clijsters beat top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 at the 84 World Tennis Invitation exhibition in Hua Hin, Thailand.
Clijsters also beat Wozniacki in the final of the season-ending WTA Tour Championships in October and in the 2009 U.S. Open final.
Former No. 1 Justine Henin of Belgium and Lleyton Hewitt made winning comebacks from injuries, with Hewitt’s effort lifting Australia over Belgium 2-1 at the Hopman Cup team tournament in Perth, Australia.
Henin beat Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-4 in her first singles match since hurting her elbow at Wimbledon in June. Hewitt beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-3 in his first singles match since injuring his right hand in September.
Hewitt teamed with Molik to beat Henin and Bemelmans 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) in the mixed-doubles decider of the Group A match at the annual tuneup for the Australian Open.
Spring Style edges Harmonious
for victory in Frankel Stakes
Spring Style won the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares by a nose over Harmonious at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Spring Style ran 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1 minute, 51.08 seconds, the slowest running of the race in 18 years. Spring Style paid $15.80 and $3.60.
Harmonious returned $2.10 as the shortest priced favorite ever in the race, at 3-10 odds. Go Forth North was another 1¼ lengths back in third.
Also: Edward P. Evans, one of thoroughbred racing’s leading owners and breeders, died in New York after a brief illness. He was 68.
Evans died Friday night at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, his personal secretary, Catherine Moraetis, said. She said the cause of death was acute myeloid leukemia.
Evans owned Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, Va., and his horses won more than 100 stakes races during his 30-plus years as an owner.
Quality Road was among Evans’ best horses, earning more than $2.2 million, with victories that included the Woodward Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap in 2010. Other horses bred by Evans included 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Gygistar and Tap Dance.
The NBA levied fines against Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce.
Van Gundy was fined $35,000 for his comments about the officiating in Orlando’s 112-103 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Pierce was fined $15,000 for throwing an object into the stands. The league said the incident occurred in the first quarter of Boston’s 95-83 victory at the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
St. Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus gashed his left leg on the scorer’s table after colliding with two players, and he missed most of the second half of a 67-61 home loss to Bowling Green.
Majerus left the bench when the wound began to bleed profusely with 14:11 to go, and he spent the remainder of the game getting treatment in the trainer’s room. The 62-year-old coach is on blood thinner medication.
Manchester United and Manchester City won to stay tied on points atop England’s Premier League.
Wayne Rooney scored to help United to a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, and Adam Johnson gave Manchester City a 1-0 home win over Blackpool.
Arsenal stayed just two points back with a 3-0 win at Birmingham.
David Beckham could be on his way back to England’s Premier League — for a little while.
Tottenham, where Beckham trained as a schoolboy before signing with Manchester United, wants to sign the former England captain on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy until the Major League Soccer season starts in March.
The Dakar Rally roared out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a ceremonial parade of hundreds of vehicles departing from its famed Obelisk.
The 16-day trek will take drivers 5,903 miles across northern Argentina, through the Andes, the Atacama Desert of Chile and back to the Argentine capital.