Sharapova wins in Strasbourg
Maria Sharapova won her 22nd career title after a two-month layoff with a right elbow injury, defeating Kristina Barrois, 7-5, 6-1, yesterday in the Strasbourg International final in Strasbourg, France.
The title was only Sharapova's second on clay and a boost on the eve of the French Open, where she's reached one semifinal and three quarterfinals.
Sharapova lost her first match in two months last week in Madrid, then accepted a late wild card to be the top seed in Strasbourg, where she rolled all the way to her second title of the season.
The 13th-ranked Sharapova trailed 5-3 in the first set against Barrois, then adjusted after a chat with her coach Michael Joyce during a changeover and won seven straight games.
Sharapova broke the German, a first-time finalist, twice more in the second set and closed it with a backhand winner.
Sharapova had shoulder surgery in October 2008 and dropped outside the top 10 for the first time in five years. She dropped as far as No. 126 before rebounding to close last year at No. 14.
GASQUET RALLIES TO SIXTH CAREER TITLE
Richard Gasquet of France edged Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), yesterday in the final of the Nice Open at Nice, France, for his sixth career title and first since 2007.
Aiming for his second title on home soil, Gasquet trailed 4-1 in the third set and asked the trainer twice to massage his legs.
The unseeded Gasquet broke to trail 4-3 on a wide backhand from the second-seeded Verdasco.
In the next game, just after Gasquet had a double-fault, Verdasco antagonized the booing French by raising his arms in the air as if asking for more jeers. Verdasco broke Gasquet for 5-3 but failed to serve out the match. Gasquet finally overtook Verdasco in the tiebreaker.
A former top-10 player, the 68th-ranked Gasquet was looking to get back to his best form after he was suspended last year for testing positive for cocaine.
Verdasco was trying to win his sixth career title and third this year.
In the French Open, Gasquet will meet Andy Murray in the first round.
DULGHERU REPEATS AS CHAMPION
Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania has successfully defended her Warsaw Open title, beating Zheng Jie of China, 6-3, 6-4, yesterday in the final at Warsaw, Poland.
Last year, Dulgheru qualified for her first WTA Tour main draw in Warsaw and became the first player ranked outside the top 200 to win a premier title. This year, she returned ranked 37th but unseeded and beat three seeded players en route to earning her second career title yesterday.
The 20-year-old Dulgheru said, "I just play my best tennis here."
WORLD TEAM CUP
ARGENTINA DEFEATS U.S. IN FINAL, 2-1
Argentina won the World Team Cup for the fourth time by beating the United States, 2-1, yesterday on clay in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Juan Monaco picked up the South Americans' first point in the singles by beating Sam Querrey, 1-6 6-2 6-3, before Horacio Zeballos secured the trophy with a 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 7-5 defeat of Robby Ginepri.
Zeballos' victory gave Argentina, which last won the event in 2007, an unassailable 2-0 lead, but American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan saved a measure of pride by beating Diego Veronelli and Eduardo Schwank, 6-1 6-2, in the doubles.