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At Saint John, N.B., Phillips scored the only goal of the first period and it cam
January 14, 2014 07:49AM
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Cracking winners off his forehand in key moments, Juan Martin del Potro defeated top-ranked Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, handing the Serb his first loss in 21 matches dating to last October. Del Potro snapped his own four-match skid against Djokovic, who had beaten the Argentine in eight of 10 career meetings. "Im trying to hit hard with my forehands. When I have the chance to come to the net, I did all the time," he said. "I was just focusing to put in my first serve and move to my forehands, trying to make winners." Del Potros 133-mph ace closed out the nearly 3-hour match featuring nine breaks of serve in 96-degree heat. He raised both arms in celebration and Djokovic hugged him at the net. Del Potro, the second Argentine to reach the final here, will play Rafael Nadal for the title on Sunday. They each have three wins against each other on hard courts. "When you play the top guys, they are the favourites, but I will try to do my game like just like today and then see if Rafa give me a little chance to win," Del Potro said. No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova and No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki will play in the womens final. At times, the unseasonable heat seemed to have worn down Del Potro, who draped a white towel packed with ice around his shoulders on changeovers, his chest heaving from several long rallies. Del Potro was coming off a three-set win over Andy Murray in similarly hot conditions in Fridays quarterfinals. The heat -- nearly 20 degrees above the average of 78 -- also affected Djokovic, as did the shadows that eventually overtook the court as the afternoon wore on. He blew a 3-0 lead in the final set, and from there, Del Potro won six of the last seven games. Djokovic attributed Del Potros dramatic turnaround to "his fighting spirit and my lack of concentration. "I didnt deserve to win. Whenever I had chances, second, third set, I throw them away with some unforced errors. My movement was poor, and I congratulate my opponent," he said. It was Djokovics first loss since Oct. 31, when American Sam Querrey beat him indoors at the Paris Masters. The Serb had won 17 consecutive matches and two titles, including the Australian Open, to start the year. It was Djokovics second-longest winning streak of his career. Against Top-10 players, he had won 14 in a row since losing to Murray in last years U.S. Open final. "He deserved to win because he was more composed in the important moments and he played the right shots," Djokovic said about the seventh-ranked Del Potro. "He stepped into the court, where on the other side, I made a lot of unforced errors and was at back of the court too passive." Del Potro had 25 winners, 34 unforced errors and saved 7 of 11 break points. Nadal rallied to beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 in the other semi and reach his fourth ATP Tour final in as many events. Off to the best start of his career, Nadal improved to 16-1 -- including 13 wins in a row -- on the year, having won two clay-court titles and been runner-up in another since returning from a left knee injury that idled him for seven months. "Its very, very difficult to imagine something like this. But here we are today, and very happy about all what happened the last month, especially last three weeks," said Nadal, who beat No. 2 Roger Federer in straight sets in the quarterfinals. "I dont have nothing to lose after seven months. I did much more than what I dreamed." It was Nadals 12th straight win over Berdych, including seven consecutive on hard courts. "He looks strong again," Berdych said of Nadal, whose leg is taped just below his left knee. "He still play very aggressive, and what he was missing in his first matches when he come back after the injury was maybe a bit of confidence in his game, but definitely not today and not anymore." Berdych came in with 18 match wins -- second-most on tour this year -- and was trying to make the final of three tournaments in a row for the first time in his career. Berdych got broken at 5-all in the second set when he lost an easy smash in the sun, sending it wide. Trailing 6-5, the sixth-seeded Czech held three break points, but couldnt convert. Twice Nadal came up with big serves and then Berdych committed an unforced error. Berdychs netted forehand set up Nadals first match point, but the fifth-seeded Spaniard pulled a forehand wide for deuce. Berdych sent a backhand into the net for Nadals second match point, and he closed out the nearly 2-hour match in unseasonably hot temperatures when Berdych netted another backhand. "I was very nervous at the end of the match to close the match and was lucky that my serve worked amazing in the last game in important moments," he said. "Victories like today, like the other day, helps you a lot for the confidence and to remember all the things that you have to do in every moment." Nadal had 16 winners and 25 unforced errors but he saved 3 of 4 break points, getting broken in the eighth game on a double fault to give Berdych a 5-3 lead. Nadal then won the final three games of the match. "When it was 5-3 since that time I serve only one first serve and he serve only one second serve," Berdych said. "Actually, that was the difference." Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan won the mens doubles title for the first time in 14 tries, defeating Treat Huey of the Philippines and Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-3, 3-6, 10-6. The only Masters 1000 doubles titles the Bryans hadnt won were at Indian Wells and Shanghai. The victory extends their record for most doubles titles as a team to 86. It was their fourth title of the year, including the Australian Open. Los Angeles Lakers Jersey UK .S. Open champion Graeme McDowell qualified for the last 16 of the World Match Play Championship before they even hit a ball on Friday. Portland Trail Blazers Jersey UK . Charlie Rogers, manager of the Local Heroes sports bar, says business has taken a hit without hockey on one of the more than two dozen screens in the bar, but he expects that to change once the puck is dropped. http://www.nbashopofficial.co.uk/utah-jazz/ .C. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. San Antonio Spurs Jersey UK .I. - Matt Fraser scored twice and Niklas Svedberg made 32 saves to lift the Providence Bruins over the St. Sacramento Kings Jersey UK .J. -- Geno Smith had 34 seconds on the clock and the confidence of a seasoned veteran. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan cant find a way to shut down Zack Phillips. Phillips scored once and set up another as the Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the visiting Titan 7-2 on Sunday afternoon in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. The 19-year-old centreman has four goals and 11 points in six games this season against the provincial rival and the two points from today move him into a tie for sixth in league scoring with 27 goals and 70 points in 48 games. Stanislav Galiev scored twice for the Sea Dogs (39-14-2), who have won nine straight games, Charles Coyle had a goal and two assists, Spencer MacDonald and Jonathan Huberdeau each had a goal and an assist while Maxime Villemaire added a single goal. Nathan Beaulieu also chipped in with two assists. Etienne Salvail scored both goals for the Titan (27-24-5), who lost for the first time in three outings, while Christophe Lalancette assisted on each. Sebastien Auger stopped 22 shots for the win as Jacob Brennan allowed all seven goals against on 36 shots. Saint John went 1 for 5 on the power play while Acadie-Bathurt failed to score on either of their opportunities with the man advantage. Elsewhere in the QMJHL, it was: Moncton Gatineau; Rouyn-Noranda 7, Cape Breton 6; Shawinigan 4, Chicoutimi 1; Halifax Victoriaville. At Saint John, N.B., Phillips scored the only goal of the first period and it came by way of power play at 2:57. Salvail tied the game at 3:400 of the second but the Sea Dogs scored three straight goals.dddddddddddd Villemaire scored at 5:01, Huberdeau followed him up with a goal 45 seconds later and Galiev added another at 12:36. Salvail scored his second of the game at 18:57 to make it 4-2 Saint John after 40 minutes of play. Coyle scored 1:58 into the third period, Galiev added his second of the game at 13:34 and MacDonald scored the final goal for the Sea Dogs at 18:31 to secure a five-goal victory. --- Wildcats 4 Olympiques 3 (SO) At Gatineau, Que., Erik Robichaud scored the winner in a shootout and Scott Trask added a goal and an assist in regulation time as Moncton (26-24-5) slipped past the Olympiques (22-24-9) for their third win in a row. --- Huskies 7 Screaming Eagles 6 At Rouyn-Noranda, Que., Jean-Sebastien Dea scored two goals and added two assists as the Huskies (17-32-6) snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over Cape Breton (20-31-3), who have now dropped five in a row. --- Cataractes 4 Sagueneens 1 At Shawinigan, Que., Pierre-Olivier Morin scored twice and Gabriel Girard lowered his league-best goals-against-average to 2.25 as the Cataractes (37-12-6) downed Chicoutimi (29-18-9). --- Mooseheads 2 Tigres 1 (SO) At Victoriaville, Que., Alexandre Grenier scored the deciding goal in the shootout and Zachary Fucale made 32 saves, earning the games first star, as Halifax (30-18-6) edged the Tigres (35-16-4). 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