Serena Williams kept the No. 1, and added No. 50.
Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open Sunday to retain her No. 1 ranking and collect her 50th career title, while Rafael Nadal eased by Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 for his fifth title since returning from a knee injury.
The second-ranked Sharapova would have overtaken the top ranking with a win, but Williams stormed out to an early lead as Sharapova struggled with her serve.
Despite Sharapova briefly recovering her poise in the second set, Williams’ form never dipped as she eased to the title.
“It feels good,” Williams said about winning her 50th title. “I don’t know how many more I can win. Who knows if I will ever win another title? I just want to live the dream. Hopefully, I can keep it going.
“When you first start out everything is so exciting. Now I expect to win.”
Williams improved her record against Sharapova to 13-2, with her only two losses coming in 2004.
The 31-year-old Williams, playing in her first red clay final since 2002, dominated Sharapova from the start as the Russian never managed to steady her erratic serve.
“I started the match really slow and against an opponent like her you can’t give her that,” said Sharapova, who had won her previous seven red-clay finals. “I wasn’t reacting well. I wasn’t moving well. Not only the double faults I made, I didn’t have a lot of great first serves in. She was really stepping up.”
Sharapova committed five double faults in her first three service games, dropping the first two as Williams eased to a one-set lead. Her shaky serve let Williams gear up and land several winning shots before closing out the first set with a floating return that clipped the line.
Sharapova earned and converted her first break point to open the second set, opening up a 3-1 advantage.
But the former No. 1-ranked player’s serve again betrayed her as she hit another double fault to cede back her break after Williams had set up three break points with her precise groundstrokes.
Williams closed out the final after Sharapova recorded her eighth and final double fault before hitting the ball long to give up her fifth service game.
Last year, Williams won here on the experimental blue clay surface that was removed after complaints from players that it was too slick.
Williams said the move back to red clay meant the tournament was a good warm-up for the French Open starting at the end of the month.
“This court is definitely different,” she said. “It plays like Roland Garros and that is a plus. So I think it is great preparation.”
Cheered on by the home crowd at the Caja Magica, the fifth-ranked Nadal cruised to his 55th career title and extended his head-to-head record with Wawrinka to 9-0.
Nadal flopped on his back and screamed in joy when his Swiss opponent’s final volley fell long to end the match in one hour and 12 minutes.
It was Nadal’s seventh straight final since recovering from a nagging case of tendinitis in his left knee that sidelined him for seven months.
“I’m very happy and maybe this victory is even more special considering how complicated this year has been,” said Nadal. “This tournament couldn’t have gone better for me.
“I think this was my best match of the tournament. This was perhaps the match where I was the most aggressive.”
Nadal imposed his ground game from the start. He worked his opponent around the court with his left-handed shots, and punished him with passing shots when he tried to come forward.
The local favorite set the tone in the first game by breaking Wawrinka with a vicious flick to land the ball on the sideline.
Nadal, who had won here in 2005 and 2010, roared out to a 4-0 lead in 20 minutes.
The 15th-ranked Wawrinka recovered in the second set and managed to get Nadal’s service game to deuce. But Nadal returned two line-drive shots by Wawrinka at the net before he fired the third try long. Nadal then drove in an ace to end Wawrinka’s challenge.
“Nadal showed again that he is the best on clay,” said Wawrinka, who also congratulated Nadal’s coaching staff for helping him back from his layoff.
“Since he has come back he has shown that it is really tough to beat him.”
Serena Williams kept the No. 1, and added No. 50.
Demons in close district race
The Duncan baseball team is in a close race to finish in the top four in District 2-5A and earn a trip to regionals.
Duncan is 7-3 in district and in third place. First-place Carl Albert has lost just one district game. The Titans split with second-place Chickasha, which also split with Duncan.
Gayanich to play for Panhandle State
Velma-Alma senior Jaz Gayanich signed Wednesday to play basketball for Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.
Gayanich said Panhandle coach Jerry Olsen was upfront about his program and ideas, compared to other coaches Gayanich visited. Gayanich already knows what role he’s expected to play.
Those who knew John Humphrey respected him
Duncan resident Rod Battles got to know John Humphrey pretty well.
Battles first played Duncan High School baseball for Humphrey in 1965. He later returned to DHS, when Humphrey hired him as an assistant, and later head baseball coach. After both men retired, they became fishing buddies. Humphrey joined Battles and others for annual trips to Lake Texhoma.
Comets stay calm under pressure
Lately, Velma-Alma baseball has made a habit of having some exciting finishes.
In its home tournament, the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament, last weekend, it won four of five games. All of those victories came by less than five runs and two of them were by only one run.
Course challenges Lady Demons
The Duncan girls golf team took sixth at the longest course it has played this year.
KickingBird Golf Course is 5,300 yards. Add the windy conditions at the tournament hosted by Edmond Santa Fe and it made for a challenging day.
Demon boys see Guthrie tennis action
Some younger Duncan boys tennis players got experience at a tournament hosted by Guthrie Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
The Demons had to adjust their lineup, though, after Cameron McCasland, who was to play No. 1 doubles with Alan Hruby, got sick. Sam Moffit was moved from No. 1 singles to take McCasland’s place
Demons take two from Del City
The Duncan baseball team swept a doubleheader at Del City Tuesday.
The Demons won the first game 13-0. Dylan Zawicki got his fourth win of the season. Duncan got two-run singles from Mason Hightower, Hunter Phillips and Collin Klingensmith. Scott Cooper and Zawicki each had one RBI.
Bronchos survive Fletcher
Coach Jeff Jones realized he made a mistake after Tuesday’s 8-7 win at home versus Fletcher.
He saw that his freshman pitcher, Dylan Jones, was struggling but he still hoped that the Bronchos could finish off the win with him on the mound. Jones had only given up one run in six full innings. Why shouldn’t the coach stick with him?
Girls tennis tops at Guthrie
The Duncan girls tennis team won a tournament hosted by Guthrie in Oklahoma City Tuesday.
The tournament was moved from Monday because of weather. It didn’t affect the Demons, as they reached the finals in all four divisions and won three.
Soccer teams do well despite losses to Antlers
Although the Duncan soccer teams didn’t score a goal against Deer Creek Tuesday at home, the coaches liked how the teams played against a tough opponent.
The boys particularly made it tough on the Antlers in a 2-0 loss. Duncan kept Deer Creek off balance had plenty of opportunities to scores, but couldn’t finish shots.
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