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Nadal, Sharapova Earn Titles

Indian Wells, Calif. — Rafael Nadal rallied from a set and 1-3 down in the second to beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open final yesterday, giving the Spaniard his third title in four tournaments since returning from a seven-month injury layoff.

Nadal improved to a career-best 17-1 on the year, including 14 straight match wins. He’s won three titles — two on clay while runner-up in another on his favorite surface — since returning from a left knee injury.

Indian Wells is his first hard-court title since Tokyo in October 2010, having lost in six previous finals on the surface. He won his 600th career match and will move to No. 4 in the rankings released Monday.

Nadal broke a tie with Roger Federer with his record 22nd career ATP Tour Masters 1000 title.

Earlier in the day, Maria Sharapova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to win her first title of the year in a final between two former top-ranked players.

Sharapova dictated from the opening game, when she broke Wozniacki at love with groundstrokes that had the Dane running from side to side. Sharapova faced just two break points on her serve in the nearly 1½-hour match.

It was Sharapova’s second career title at Indian Wells, where she first won in 2006. Wozniacki won here in 2011. The women met in a final for the first time; their six other matches came in earlier rounds.

The Russian is projected to rise one spot in the WTA Tour rankings to No. 2 today, dropping Victoria Azarenka to third. Wozniacki will move up one spot to No. 9.

Skiing

Neureuther Wins Final World Cup Slalom

Lenzerheide, Switzerland — Felix Neureuther of Germany edged overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher in a men’s season-ending slalom race yesterday.

Neureuther hung on to his opening-leg lead to finish 0.36 seconds ahead of Austrian Hirscher in a two-run time of 1 minute, 52.20 seconds.

Hirscher already won the season-long slalom standings and ensured he finished on the podium in all nine World Cup races in the discipline. He also won the world championships gold medal.

Ivica Kostelic, the 2011 overall World Cup champion from Croatia, was third, trailing Neureuther by 0.51.

Neureuther, who limped off the course after crashing out in Saturday’s giant slalom, got his second slalom victory this season.

The podium placings were the same yesterday as when Neureuther won in January at Wengen, Switzerland.

Maze Ends Season
With GS Win

Lenzerheide, Switzerland — Tina Maze rebounded from her heartbreaking World Cup slalom title defeat to Mikaela Shiffrin by ending her historic season with a giant slalom victory yesterday.

Maze performed her trademark celebration cartwheel in the finish area after first-run leader Tessa Worley of France fell 0.35 seconds behind her winning two-run time of 2 minutes, 16.67 seconds. Lara Gut of Switzerland was third, 1.38 back.

The Slovenian racer’s 11th World Cup victory this season extended her record overall points total, after two big disappointments here.

On Saturday, Maze’s first-run slalom lead couldn’t withstand American teenager’s Shiffrin astonishing second run to victory.

Golf

Streelman Finally
A PGA Tour Winner

Palm Harbor, Fla. — Kevin Streelman finally won on the PGA Tour with a game that looked as if he had done this many times before.

Streelman didn’t make a bogey over the final 37 holes on the tough Copperhead course at Innisbrook. He didn’t miss a shot over the last 11 holes yesterday on his way to a 4-under 67. That gave him a two-shot win over Boo Weekley in the Tampa Bay Championship.

Streelman won in his 153rd start on the PGA Tour. The win puts him into the Masters for the second time in his career.

Weekley closed with a tournament-best 63 some three hours before Streelman finished.

Lewis Rallies to Take LPGA Founders Cup

Phoenix — Stacy Lewis won the LPGA Founders Cup yesterday to jump to No. 1 in the world, taking advantage of Ai Miyazato’s collapse on the 16th hole.

A day after Lewis was penalized two strokes for her caddie’s blunder on the short par 4, the American took a two-stroke lead with a birdie on the hole after Miyazato made a double bogey following an errant approach shot that left her with an unplayable lie in a desert bush.

Coming off a victory two weeks ago in Singapore, Lewis won for the seventh time in her LPGA Tour career to end Yani Tseng’s 109-week run at No. 1.

Lewis closed with an 8-under 64 in perfect conditions at Desert Ridge to finish with a tournament-record 23-under 265 total on the cactus-lined Wildfire layout.

Miyazato was second, three strokes back after a 71. The Japanese star took a four-stroke lead over Lewis and Jee Young Lee into the final round when Lewis was penalized after play Saturday when it was ruled that caddie Travis Wilson tested the sand before Lewis played out of a bunker on No. 16.