In Brief | Golf & Tennis | 3-31-14


Djokovic beats Nadal to win 4th Key Biscayne title

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Novak Djokovic won his fourth Key Biscayne title, while Rafael Nadal failed again trying for his first.

Djokovic dominated from the start and closed out the victory by winning a remarkable exchange to beat Nadal 6-3, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Sony Open.

Nadal fell to 0-4 in finals at Key Biscayne, one of just three ATP Masters 1000 events he has yet to win. As for Djokovic, only six-time champion Andre Agassi has won the men’s event more.

Djokovic erased the only break point he faced, committed just 15 unforced errors and won a scrambling, 30-shot rally on the final point. He completed a March sweep after beating Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

Even so, Nadal will remain ranked No. 1 and Djokovic No. 2. Either Nadal or Djokovic is the reigning champion in all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.

Nadal and Djokovic have played 40 matches, the most of any men’s pairing in the Open era, and few have been so lopsided.

Nadal stood six feet behind the baseline to return and often remained on the defensive from there, with his shots lacking their normal depth. Djokovic was quick to step into the court and even won a point playing serve and volley.

Djokovic also had the superior serve, and his agility allowed him to chase down shots Nadal usually counts as winners.

Nadal’s lone break-point chance came in the opening game, and he failed to convert. Djokovic broke in the sixth game, hitting three consecutive winners before Nadal put a backhand in the net.

Djokovic broke again in the opening game of the second set by winning a 22-shot exchange, and he held serve the rest of the way. With Nadal’s loss, Spanish men fell to 0-7 in Key Biscayne finals.

Djokovic won all eight sets he played in the tournament, and twice advanced because of walkovers.

The clay-court season looms, and the result might be different when the rivalry resumes on Nadal’s favorite surface. He still leads the rivalry, 22-18.

Bowditch earns first PGA Tour win at Texas Open

SAN ANTONIO — Steven Bowditch held on to win the Texas Open in windy conditions Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory and a spot in the Masters.

The 30-year-old Australian bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 4-over 76 for a one-stroke victory.

“I’m over the moon. I really can’t believe it,” said Bowditch, who attempted suicide in 2006 and has fought depression throughout his career.

It was the highest closing score by a winner since Vijay Singh finished with a 4-over 76 in the 2004 PGA Championship, and the highest in a non-major since Fred Couples had a 5-over 77 in the 1983 Kemper Open.

Bowditch finished at 8-under 280 at TPC San Antonio and earned $1,116,000.

Bowditch, based in Dallas, entered the week 339th in the world and had only two top-10 finishes in eight years on the tour. He won once on the Australasian circuit and twice on the Web.Com Tour.

Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays tied for second. MacKenzie shot 70, and Summerhays had a 71.

Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer missed chances to get into the Masters through the top 50 in the world ranking. Hadley, the Puerto Rico Open winner, needed at least a sixth-place finish, but closed with an 80 to tie for 56th at 5 over. Palmer needed a top-three finish and had an 82 to also tie for 56th.

Nordqvist wins Kia Classic by 1 stroke

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Anna Nordqvist rallied to win the Kia Classic at Aviara for her second victory in her last four LPGA Tour starts.

Two strokes behind leaders Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas entering the round, Nordqvist closed with her second straight 5-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Salas.

Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand last month to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park. The 26-year-old Swede also won the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship in 2009.

Projected to jump from 16th to ninth in the world, Nordqvist finished at 13-under 275 and earned $255,000.

Salas birdied the 18th for a 70.

Lexi Thompson was third at 11 under after a 68.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major tournament of the year, is next week in Rancho Mirage.

By wire sources