CBS preempts tennis climax for NCAA tipoff

CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Children rush to hunt for Easter eggs in Roxborough on Sunday. Epic Church hosted egg hunts every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to noon at Gorgas Park. Around 25,000 plastic eggs were used.
CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Children rush to hunt for Easter eggs in Roxborough on Sunday. Epic Church hosted egg hunts every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to noon at Gorgas Park. Around 25,000 plastic eggs were used.
Posted: April 01, 2013

AS A DRAMATIC men's final at the Sony Open neared its conclusion in a winner-take-all tiebreaker, Andy Murray waged a 28-shot exchange with David Ferrer, who was left so exhausted by the rally he crumpled to the court.

CBS viewers missed it. They also missed seeing Murray accept the trophy after he erased a championship point Sunday and rallied past Ferrer, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), in Key Biscayne, Fla.

An 11:30 a.m. start turned out not to be early enough for CBS. The network cut away when the final went to the tiebreaker, switching to the tipoff of the NCAA tournament game between Michigan and Florida.

"It's obviously a shame that people didn't get to see the end of what I think was a pretty exciting match," Murray said. "But that's the way it goes sometimes."

Tennis Channel televised the end of the match, and CBS later showed a replay of match point.

"We stayed with tennis as long as we could," a CBS spokeswoman said.

The final was filled with grinding baseline rallies, including at least a dozen of more than 20 strokes and one lasting 34. At 2 hours, 45 minutes, the match was the longest of the men's tournament, and the end ran a few minutes past the scheduled start of Michigan-Florida.

Sony Open tournament director Adam Barrett said CBS officials had a commitment to show basketball.

"They stayed with our match for as long as possible, forgoing their pre-NCAA tournament coverage and delaying the start of the Michigan-Florida tipoff in an attempt to complete its broadcast of the match," Barrett said in a statement. "Although we wish the match could have been shown in its entirety, we understand that these situations do arise."

Coincidentally, the Sony Open's contract with CBS expires this year. The tournament does not yet have a signed TV deal for 2014.

While the basketball game turned out to be lopsided, with Michigan winning 79-59, the tennis couldn't have been closer. Murray became the first Key Biscayne men's champion to save a championship point.

Track and Field * 

Usain Bolt opened his season with a 150-meter win on a track at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Bolt cruised to victory in 14.42 seconds, falling short of the world record of 14.35 he set in 2009.

Asafa Powell withdrew from Monday's Stawell Gift handicap race in Australia because of a nagging hamstring injury.

Sport Stops * 

D.A. Points came back from a 3-hour rain delay and made four pars for a 6-under-66 and a one-shot victory in the Houston Open that sent him to the Masters along with Henrik Stenson, who came in second. Points made the Masters field as a PGA Tour winner, Stenson for getting into the top 50 in the world. Marcel Siem, of Germany, won the Hassan Trophy in Morocco but just missed the Masters cut at No. 51. Fredrik Jacobson, of Sweden, and Richard Sterne, of South Africa, got in by being in the top 50.

Pete Weber tied Earl Anthony by winning his 10th major Professional Bowlers Association title with a 224-179 win over Australian Jason Belmonte in the Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis.

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