Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Sports in brief

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tennis

Djokovic tops murray again

MADRID — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated No. 2 Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the Madrid Open final Sunday, 10 years after their rivalry started in the round of 16 of the tournament in Spain.

"Ten years (later) we are the two best players in the world, which at that time maybe it seemed like something that will be very challenging for us to achieve," said Djokovic (right), 28, who beat Murray, 28, in three sets in that 2006 meeting. "But we both thrived to be at the top."

The loss will drop Murray to No. 3 in the world rankings today. He will be surpassed by Roger Federer.

The thrilling last game ended when Murray sent a forehand into the net, giving Djokovic his 15th straight win against top-10 opponents, a streak in which he has lost only two of 35 sets.

"That's why he's No. 1 just now," Murray said. "He fought very hard in that game and served well when he was a bit nervous. At the end he came up with some big serves and got himself some free points."

Djokovic has won 12 of the past 13 matches against Murray since 2014 and is 23-9 overall against him.

More tennis: Serena and Venus Williams, the winningest doubles team in Olympic history, entered the doubles draw at this week's Italian Open to kick off their preparations for this summer's Games. It will be the first time the sisters have played doubles together since the 2014 U.S. Open. They have three Olympic gold medals in doubles, from 2000, '08 and '12. Each has also won singles gold, Venus in 2000 and Serena in '12.

soccer

Spanish title goes down to wire

The Spanish league title race will go down to the final round, with rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid still in contention.

Barcelona routed city rival Espanyol 5-0 to increase its lead going into next weekend, when another victory will secure the Catalan club its second consecutive title. Luis Suarez scored twice, with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Rafinha adding one goal each to keep host Barcelona one point in front of Real Madrid, which defeated Valencia 3-2 with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and one by Karim Benzema.

Atletico Madrid, which was trailing Barcelona for most of the season and was tied in points before this weekend, dropped out of contention after a surprising 2-1 loss to already-relegated Levante.

England: Manchester City tied host Arsenal 2-2 in the Premier League to throw into doubt its return to the Champions League next season. A top-four finish is no longer in City's hands with one week left in the season. Manchester United could grab City's Champions League qualification berth. Fourth-place Manchester City is two points clear of United, which has two games left — against West Ham and Bournemouth — to City's one. Despite losing 2-1 at home to Southampton, Tottenham is assured of a top-three finish and automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage.

ET CETERA

Boxing: Canelo Alvarez needed only one big right hand to turn a close fight into a smashing knockout. Struggling with Amir Khan's speed, Alvarez unleashed a long right hand that sent Khan backward on the canvas, where referee Kenny Bayless didn't even bother to count him out at 2:37 of the sixth round late Saturday in Las Vegas. After defending his WBC middleweight belt for the first time, Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 knockouts) then pointed out his rival in the division, Gennady Golovkin, sitting ringside, and spoke and postured as if he was willing to participate in a fight between the two this year. Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) has a WBC mandate in place as the mandatory challenger with whom Alvarez must negotiate a fight with this month or have his belt stripped and given to Golovkin, who holds the division's WBA and IBF belts.

hockey: Canada routed Hungary 7-1 at the World Championship for its second win of the tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia. Hungary has no NHL players on its roster and is in only its second World Championship since 1939.

horses: Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was expected to head to Baltimore today to prepare for the Preakness, where the undefeated colt could face up to 13 rivals in the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 21. Trainer Doug O'Neill told a track official at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., that Nyquist was "doing great" and "looking bright-eyed" the morning after his win.

Times wires

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