Americans Flop from Fed Cup top tier
STUTTGART, Germany — The United States failed to win a match against Germany and was knocked from the top tier of the Fed Cup for the first time Sunday.
The Americans were blanked 5-0 in the playoff and will no longer be among the top eight nations in the World Group, a big letdown for a country that has won the Fed Cup a record 17 times.
Germany delivered the decisive blow when Andrea Petkovic beat Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3 in the first reverse singles, giving the Germans a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
"It's tough to be out of the World Group for the first time, but we just came up against a better team," U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez said. "We did the best we could, we fought for every point. … There were moments, small chances, but there weren't that many opportunities for us."
"I never won a clinching match before," said Petkovic, ranked 19th. "I am very relieved. It may have looked easy, but it wasn't a given."
Nadal ends finals skid
Rafael Nadal won his seventh straight Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco, beating David Ferrer 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Spanish final. It was his first title since October, ending a run of three consecutive defeats in finals. Nadal won for the 37th straight time at this claycourt event, where he has not lost since 2003. "To start the clay season like this is fantastic, but it's more fantastic to win Monte Carlo another time," he said.
Speedsters in Boston
Kenyan Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot returns for today's Boston Marathon a year after breaking the course record by 82 seconds with his run of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds.
The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 50s with a tailwind of 16 mph that could help put his mark in jeopardy.
Cheruiyot said he injured a tendon in his right side in a recent car accident. So countryman Geoffrey Mutai will be a threat. In the women's race, Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso is back to defend her title.
record: Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai ran a course-record 2:04:40 — fourth-fastest marathon time ever — to win in London. Compatriot Mary Keitany won the women's race in her first attempt at the 26.2-mile distance.
College baseball: Coach Jim Morris picked up his 800th win with the Hurricanes as Miami (24-12) beat host Maryland 5-2. Morris is 800-310-3 in 18 seasons at UM. He's 1,304-554-4 in 29 seasons as a Division I coach.
College golf: Andres Echavarria won a playoff to take medalist honors, leading the Florida men's team to its 15th SEC championship, by five strokes over Alabama in St. Simons Island, Ga.
College Gymnastics: Florida sophomore Marissa King won the vault as SEC athletes claimed three of four individual events at the NCAA women's championships in Cleveland. Alabama won the team title late Saturday.
Fishing: Sandman, skippered by Neil Orange of Miami, won $255,785 with 17 sailfish releases over three days at the $1 million Key West World Sailfish Championship.
BOWLING: Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., swept Chris Barnes in the two-game title match to win the inaugural Dick Weber PBA Playoffs in Indianapolis.
Horses: North Carolina investigators say a discarded cigarette may have sparked a trailer fire on I-95 near Rocky Mount that killed six thoroughbreds.
Soccer: Stoke beat Bolton 5-0 to reach the FA Cup final in England for the first time in the club's 148-year history. It plays Manchester City on May 14.