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Nadal beats Almagro to win 8th Barcelona

– All those months of hard work and rehab are starting to pay off for Rafael Nadal. Yet he is still not sure what this means for the French Open.

Nadal won the Barcelona Open for the eighth time Sunday, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year.

And with French Open about a month down the road, this latest victory is a promising sign that Nadal is getting back to full strength from a knee injury that sidelined him since last summer

“I am very happy,” he said. “It has been an important week for me to win here again and a great source of joy after everything I have been through.”

He has made six straight finals since returning from his knee injury. This title, the 54th of his career, comes one week after his eight-year reign at Monte Carlo ended with a loss to top-ranked Novak Djokovic.


Pedregon captures 2nd Funny Car title

In Baytown, Texas, Cruz Pedregon became the first two-time Funny Car winner this year Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. The two-time Funny Car series champion beat Tim Wilkerson and moved into the series points lead ahead of Matt Hagan, who lost in hte first round.


Hawks center home for birth of child

Atlanta Hawks center Johan Petro returned to his home in Miami to be with his wife, who was scheduled to deliver their babySunday. The team hopes the 7-footer will return to Atlanta in time for Game 4 of the playoff series against the Indiana Pacers tonight.

NBA owner Jordan weds former model

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan married 35-year-old former model Yvette Prieto on Saturday in Palm Beach, Fla., in front of a few hundred of his family and closest friends.

Hurricanes’ Larkin to enter NBA draft

Miami guard Shane Larkin says he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft.


Gaines and Hyde top IPFW athletes

Basketball players Frank Gaines and Amanda Hyde were named the IPFW Athletes of the Year at the university’s annual Athletics Awards Banquet. Gaines, who averaged 19.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, was named to the All-Summit League first team. He was also named the Senior Athlete of the Year. Hyde, who averaged 18.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists, was chosen as the Summit League women’s basketball player of the year, in addition to being named to the all-conference first team. Volleyball player Tessa McGill was named the women’s Senior Athlete of the Year. Freshmen of the year were soccer player Corey Tom (men) and volleyball player Hailie Ripley.


Norman slams PGA for lax drug testing

Greg Norman says golf’s anti-doping procedures are “disgraceful” and blood testing must be instituted as soon as possible. Norman cited Vijay Singh Singh acknowledging in a magazine interview in January that he’d used deer antler spray, which contains a muscle-building hormone banned by the PGA Tour.


Around the NHL

The NHL holds its draft lottery today, and Florida has the best odds of winning. The draw will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the league’s amateur draft June 30. … Dallas hired Jim Nill to replace fired general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. … Colorado fired coach Joe Sacco as the team missed the postseason for the third straight year.


Villopoto captures 3rd straight title

In Salt Lake City, Ryan Villopoto won his third consecutive AMA Supercross championship securing the title by outdueling Ryan Dungey and Davi Millsaps to earn his series leading ninth win of the season in the 450SX class.


Beckham ejected during dicey game

David Beckham was ejected during a game in which players clashed at the finish and Paris Saint-Germain moved closer to clinching the French league title with a 1-0 victory at Evian.



In Marrakech, Morocco, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone won her first title in nearly a year,beating Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-1, 6-3 in the Grand Prix SAR final. … In Stuttgart, Germany, Maria Sharapova beat Li Na 6-4, 6-3 to successfully defend her WTA Porsche Grand Prix title in a final between the last two French Open champions.