In Brief | Nation and World Feb. 18


Nadal wins 1st title since return from injury

SAO PAULO — Rafael Nadal beat David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the Brazil Open final on Sunday, winning his first title since returning from a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee.

Nadal thrust his arms into the air and pumped his fist after a long ball by Nalbandian made him the champion of the indoor clay-court tournament for the second time. The Spaniard also won the event in 2005.

It was Nadal’s 51st singles title, and first since winning the French Open for the seventh time last June.

Bruno Soares of Brazil and Alexander Peya of Austria won the doubles title by beating Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Michal Mertinak of Slovakia 6-7 (5), 6-2, 10-7.

Azarenka beats Williams to win Qatar Open

DOHA, Qatar — Defending champion Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Sunday, earning her 16th title and ending a 10-match losing streak against the American.

Azarenka will give up the No. 1 ranking to the second-ranked Williams today but extended her current winning streak to 14 matches, which included her second Australian Open title. More importantly, she may have turned around what has been a one-sided rivalry against Williams. Azarenka had not beaten Williams since 2009 in Miami, and had a 1-11 record against the American going into Sunday’s final.

Azarenka broke to go up 2-1 when an erratic Williams hit one of her four double-faults in the first set, but the American ensured it was back on serve after eight games. Williams struggled with her first serve throughout the first set and hit 26 unforced errors, but still had a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. However, she hit a poor forehand into the net, and Azarenka then converted her first set point with a great return.

Raonic beats Haas for 3rd straight Sap Open title

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Milos Raonic won his third consecutive SAP Open on Sunday, beating Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3 for the title in the final year of the Bay Area tournament.

Raonic has never lost in 12 matches in this event and became the first player in the Open era that began in 1968 to win this tournament three straight times and first overall since Tony Trabert did it from 1953-55.

Del Potro beats Benneteau for ABN AMRO title

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Juan Martin del Potro beat Julien Benneteau 7-6 (2), 6-3 on Sunday to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

Benneteau managed what no other player at the tournament achieved — breaking del Potro’s serve twice in the first set — but struggled to hold his own serve against the big-hitting Argentine and crumbled in the second set.

The 2009 U.S. Open winner was the runner-up in Rotterdam last year.

Benneteau, who beat No. 2-ranked Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, is winless in eight ATP finals.

Agent cancels all future races for Pistorius

JOHANNESBURG — Oscar Pistorius’ track career was put on hold indefinitely Sunday because of his murder charge, reinforcing the possibility that the double-amputee Olympian and disabled sports icon might never run again competitively on his famous carbon fiber blades.

Pistorius’ agent was forced to cancel all future races, he said, so Pistorius could concentrate on defending himself against allegations he murdered his model girlfriend by shooting her several times in his upscale house on Valentine’s Day morning.

Jeter still expects to be ready for opening day

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter could start running on the field in the next couple days for the first time since ankle surgery and still expects to be ready for opening day.

The captain met with reporters on Sunday, which was the reporting day for New York’s position players.

The 38-year-old Jeter broke his left ankle lunging for a grounder in the AL championship series opener against Detroit on Oct. 13 and had surgery a week later.

By wire sources