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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Nadal overcomes Murray to seal Ferrer final

Posted: 16 Apr 2011 07:52 PM PDT

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after defeating Andy Murray of Britain during their semi-final at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco on April 16, 2011. — Reuters pic

MONACO, April 17 — Clay king Rafa Nadal shook off a dogged Andy Murray 6-4 2-6 6-1 yesterday to set up a Monte Carlo Masters final against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

World number one Nadal, who lost to Ferrer in the Australian Open quarter-finals, broke for 3-1 in the first set when shaggy-haired Murray sent a booming shot long but the Briton hit back in the seventh game only to lose the set's final act.

Determined third seed Murray refused to lie down and a superb crosscourt backhand gave him the fourth game of the second set after nearly 20 minutes of slugging before breaks of serve were exchanged three times and the Scot took the set.

Nadal though raced to a 4-0 lead in the third as Murray tired and needed treatment on an arm injury before succumbing.

Fourth seed Ferrer roared back from a shaky start to cruise through with a 6-3 6-2 win over Roger Federer's quarter-final conqueror Juergen Melzer.

Melzer broke early for 2-1 as Ferrer struggled with his serve but the Austrian then lost his serve twice, with a double fault effectively sealing his fate in the first set before he was broken twice in the second.

The Monte Carlo Country Club will host a second successive all-Spanish final fiesta today after Nadal set a men's open era record with a sixth title in a row at the same event by beating Fernando Verdasco here last year. — Reuters

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Valencia win at Almeria to tighten grip on third

Posted: 16 Apr 2011 07:34 PM PDT

MADRID, April 17 — Valencia improved their chances of securing third place and automatic qualification for next season's Champions League when they won 3-0 at bottom club Almeria in La Liga yesterday.

Second-half goals from in-form striker Roberto Soldado, defender Marius Stankevicius and substitute Jordi Alba sealed victory for Unai Emery's side and lifted them to 63 points.

With six matches left, Valencia are nine points ahead of fourth-placed Villarreal who host Real Zaragoza on Monday.

Almeria remain rooted to the foot of the standings, four points behind Hercules ahead of their game at Levante today, and seven behind Zaragoza and Malaga.

Sevilla's bid for a berth in next season's Europa League suffered a setback when they lost 1-0 at relegation-threatened Getafe.

The defeat gives Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Espanyol a chance to climb above the Andalusians, who have 46 points, when they play today.

Bilbao (45 points) are at struggling Osasuna, while Espanyol (44) host Atletico (45) in the late kickoff.

Getafe's Miku netted the only goal in the 76th minute at the Coliseum stadium on the outskirts of Madrid, firing home after the Sevilla defence failed to deal with a looping pass to the Venezuelan striker.

With only nine points separating ninth from 19th in a congested bottom half of the table, Getafe climbed to 12th on 37 points ahead of Sunday's games.

Malaga's Julio Baptista struck twice on his return from injury to help secure a 3-0 win at home to Real Mallorca that lifted them out of the relegation places into 17th.

The build-up to this weekend's matches has been dominated by the clash between leaders Barcelona and second-placed Real Madrid at the Bernabeu later yesterday.

It is the first of four "Clasicos" between the arch rivals in three competitions in 18 days.

Barca have an eight-point advantage and can take a giant stride towards securing a third straight title with a win.

The sides also meet in Wednesday's King's Cup final and the two-legged Champions League semi-final on April 27 and May 3. — Reuters

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