Sports in Brief | Federer again falls to Nadal on clay

Posted: April 23, 2007

Roger Federer seems no closer to figuring out how to beat Rafael Nadal on clay.

The top-ranked Swiss star lost his fifth straight match to Nadal on clay yesterday in Monaco at the Monte Carlo Masters, 6-4, 6-4, and the second-ranked Spaniard extended his winning streak on the surface to 67 matches.

Nadal won the title at Monte Carlo for the third straight year. The two-time defending French Open champion is 14-0 in clay-court finals, and 4-0 against Federer.

With Serena Williams sidelined, her Fed Cup 18-year-old teammate, Vania King, won in singles to clinch the U.S. team's match against Belgium in Delray Beach, Fla.

King won raves for her rendition of the national anthem on Saturday. She then substituted yesterday for Williams and beat Kirsten Flipkens, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

That gave the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five match. Serena and Venus Williams won in singles Saturday.

Serena Williams withdrew an hour before she was to face Flipkens, citing slight inflammation in the right knee.

The Americans will play Russia in the semifinals on July 14-15 at a U.S. site to be determined. Russia advanced by beating Spain, 5-0.

Cycling

Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia overcame a flat tire with the help of teammates and held on for his biggest victory, winning the Tour de Georgia by 12 seconds over Christian Vande Velde of the United States, in Atlanta.

Running

Ryan Hall ran the fastest time for an American making his first appearance in a marathon, finishing seventh in the London Marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds.

Hall was in the lead group until the final 11/2 miles. Only then did his inexperience show, as he missed out on a four-man sprint finish won by Martin Lel of Kenya in 2:07:41. Hall finished 18 seconds behind marathon world-record holder Paul Tergat and 30 seconds behind two-time world champion Jaouad Gharib.

Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco finished second in his marathon debut in 2:07:44, and last year's champion, Felix Limo of Kenya, was third in 2:07:47. Hall beat the previous American debut-best of 2:09:41 set by Alberto Salazar (1980) and equaled by Alan Culpepper (2002).

Zhou Chunxiu became China's first winner when she took the women's title in the London Marathon.

Soccer

The top-ranked United States got a tough draw for this year's women's World Cup, being placed in Group B with Sweden, North Korea and Nigeria.

Sweden was runner-up at the 2003 World Cup and is ranked No. 4 by world governing body FIFA. North Korea is ranked No. 5, Asia's top team.

The United States, one of the four seeded teams this year, has won the World Cup twice - the inaugural tournament in 1991 and again in '99. Norway won in 1995, and Germany is the defending champion.

The Americans, who were knocked out in the semifinals by Germany in 2003, will open against North Korea on Sept. 11 in Chengdu, China.

Sailing

American entry BMW Oracle Racing had its third straight win as the Louis Vuitton Cup racing series resumed after five of the previous six days had been delayed due to a lack of wind off Valencia, Spain.

Italian boat Luna Rossa, like BMW, remained undefeated, with a win over United Internet Team Germany.

Noteworthy

Beat Mandli of Switzerland, riding Ideo du Thot, jumped all 12 obstacles perfectly in their final ride to win the Rolex Equestrian World Cup title in Las Vegas.

New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan's ex-wife, Jean, held a posh garage sale Saturday at her $3.6 million Montclair, N.J., mansion, the latest turn in a battle of wills as she fights to get the $6.5 million she says Strahan still owes her after their 2005 divorce.

British-bred On the Acorn, ridden by Victor Espinoza, beat favorite Sweet Return by 11/2 lengths in the $250,000 San Juan Capistrano Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

Villanova sotball coach Maria DiBernardi picked up her 600th win yesterday as the Wildcats beat Providence, 1-0.

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