nadal endures tiebreakers to reach quarters
MASON, Ohio — Rafael Nadal wanted to play a lot of tennis at the Western & Southern Open, though maybe not all in one day.
Nadal survived a three-set, three-tiebreaker match against Fernando Verdasco on Thursday, advancing with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (11-9) victory that kept him on the court for 3 hours, 38 minutes. Then he played a doubles match that went 1:10.
How'd he feel? "Fantastic," he said.
Feeling good, back in the quarterfinals, along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The top three players in the men's bracket advanced. Djokovic beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 in a ragged match. Federer knocked off Tampa resident James Blake 6-4, 6-1. Nadal's next match will be against Tampa resident and seventh seed Mardy Fish, who beat Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-5.
"If you want to play someone like Rafa, you hope that he plays a match that's four hours long before you play him," Fish said.
No. 4 Andy Murray also advanced with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Alex Bogomolov Jr.
Samantha Stosur, another Tampa resident, beat fifth-seeded Li Na 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva advanced to the quarters with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Petra Martic. Daniela Hantuchova upset eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
NBA announces preseason games
The NBA says its exhibition schedule will start Oct. 9, provided a new collective bargaining agreement with the players can be reached in time.
The preseason would start with five games Oct. 9 and run through Oct. 28. The regular-season opener is scheduled for Nov. 1.
A preseason that starts on time — or happens at all — seems unlikely given the gap between the sides more than a month and a half into the lockout.
Barbosa signs with Brazil squad: Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa signed with Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo in his native Brazil. The deal includes a clause that allows him to return to the NBA when the lockout ends. Barbosa, 28, averaged 13.3 points, 2.1 assists and 24.1 minutes with Toronto last season.
youth baseball: Palma Ceia earned a spot in the U.S. title game at the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Mich., by defeating Rosenberg, Texas, 8-5. … Palma Ceia advanced to the semifinals at the Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash., with a 12-2 victory over Layritz, the Canadian representative. It next faces Bridge City, Texas. … Reliever Haden Erbe got out of a bases-loaded jam with nobody out in the sixth and Lafayette, La., held on for a 2-0 victory over Warner Robins, Ga., on the first day of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. (scores, schedule, For the Record, this page)
Gymnastics: Jordan Wieber took the women's all-around lead at the U.S. championships in St. Paul, Minn. The 16-year-old scored 59.85 points, putting her 1.85 ahead of Aly Raisman going into Saturday's finals. Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson made a promising return in her first appearance at nationals since she won it in 2008. She posted the third-highest score on balance beam.
WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES: Megan Romano of St. Petersburg was on the silver medal-winning U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team in Shenzhen, China. China won in a Games-record 3 minutes, 59.15 seconds. The United States was one second behind.