Djokovic beats Nadal on clay to extend streak to 32 straight
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time in 10 tries, beating the top-ranked Spaniard 7-5, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open on Sunday and extend his unbeaten start to the season to 32 matches. The second-ranked Djokovic squandered a 4-0 lead in the first set but recovered to end Nadal's latest winning streak on clay at 37 matches and earn the Serb his third straight victory over Nadal in finals this season.
Djokovic's sixth title of 2011 allowed him to surpass Bjorn Borg's 31-match season-opening run in 1980. He trails only John McEnroe's 42-0 start in 1984. Djokovic's run of 34 straight wins since Serbia's Davis Cup triumph in December is the eighth best of all time.
Never miss a local story.
"Unbelievable," Djokovic said of his streak. "I stepped onto the court today believing I could win. I needed to be aggressive, and it was a great match."
"I came up against a great player obviously — he's having a monster year," Nadal said. "He was better, you have to accept that."
Earlier, Petra Kvitova won her third title of the season by beating Victoria Azarenka, 7-6 (3), 6-4, in the women's finals.
Henley 2nd amateur Nationwide winner
University of Georgia senior Russell Henley became the second amateur winner in Nationwide Tour history Sunday, shooting a 3-under 68 for a two-stroke victory in the Stadion Classic on the Bulldogs' home course in Athens, Ga.
"I can't even feel my arms," Henley said. "I was nervous all day. I don't know how long it will take to sink in. Eight months? Nine months? A couple days? I don't know. I've never done this before."
The three-time All-America selection finished at 12-under 272 on the University of Georgia Golf Course.
Daniel Summerhays is the only other amateur winner since the tour began in 1990, taking the 2007 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in between his junior and senior seasons at BYU.
"Everyone was asking me about making the cut this week, but I've been telling people I was playing to win," said Henley, the low amateur in the U.S. Open last year at Pebble Beach with a 16th-place tie. "You play a lot of golf tournaments that you don't win, but just because I'm an amateur doesn't mean I can't win."
Henley will remain an amateur through the Walker Cup in September. "They talk about how much money you can make playing pro golf, but I've never played golf to win money," said Henley, set to graduate Friday with a degree in Housing and Consumer Economics. "I love to play golf, and I love to compete, and there are a lot of amateur tournaments I want to play in."
■ Lucas Glover is a winner again for the first time since the 2009 U.S. Open, and this one felt just as difficult. Glover closed with three tough pars on the rugged finishing stretch at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., to close with a 3-under 69, then won the Wells Fargo Championship in a sudden-death playoff over former Clemson teammate Jonathan Byrd with another par on No. 18.
■ Tom Lehman won the Regions Tradition for his third victory in seven Champions Tour events this year, beating Peter Senior with a par on the second hole of a playoff in Birmingham, Ala.
Miller staying put at Arizona
Sean Miller was rumored to be a candidate for the head coaching job at North Carolina State and most recently was mentioned as a replacement for Gary Williams at Maryland.
Turns out, he's not going anywhere.
Miller signed an extension to remain at Arizona late Saturday night, quashing any speculation that he might be leaving the desert. Terms of the extension weren't disclosed.
■ Former Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel has taken a job on the Duke staff. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Sunday the former Blue Devils guard will be one of his assistant coaches.
Red Wings rally to stay alive vs. Sharks
Tomas Holmstrom broke a tie with 6:08 remaining, and the Detroit Red Wings had three third-period goals to avoid elimination with a 4-3 victory over the host San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. Danny Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson also scored in the final period to send the series back to Detroit for Game 6 on Tuesday night.
The last word
While Rafael Nadal holds a healthy advantage over Novak Djokovic in the world rankings, the Spaniard said it's only a matter of time before Djokovic takes over the No. 1 spot if he keeps playing as well as he is now. Said Nadal:
"The No. 1 ranking is not in danger — it's finished. Let's not lie to ourselves, that's the reality."