Sports Briefs: 04-26-21

  • Rafael Nadal holds the trophy after winning the final Godo tennis tournament against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, April 25, 2021. Nadal won by 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Nadal outlasts Tsitsipas to win Barcelona Open for 12th time

BARCELONA, Spain — Knowing he is still far from his best, Rafael Nadal just kept grinding it out.

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He found a way Sunday to overcome lost opportunities in the Barcelona Open final and escape defeat while facing a red-hot opponent. Nadal won his first title of the year, squandering a couple of match points and then saving one on his way to beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-5.

Nadal secured his record 12th title at the clay-court tournament by converting on his third match point to cap a satisfying victory. It had been a lackluster start to the season for the third-ranked Nadal after he didn’t play much last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s the work of every day,” Nadal said. “It’s about accepting the challenge, it’s about being humble to accept that sometimes you are not playing that well. And you need to fight for it and you need to try to find a solution every day and that’s what I did.”

Keselowski claims sixth win at Talladega with overtime pass

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brad Keselowski made exactly the right final move this time, winning again at Talladega Superspeedway and demonstrating a painful lesson well learned.

Keselowski’s overtime victory made him the ninth driver to win through 10 NASCAR Cup races this season and avenged an embarrassing Team Penske gaffe in the season-opening Daytona 500. He and teammate Joey Logano triggered a last-lap crash as Keselowski tried to pass Logano for the victory.

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“Daytona, that’s a big one. Oh man, it stings still,” Keselowski said. “But this is a good one. We’ll take it. Beggars can’t be choosers. I certainly learned some lessons from that race and I tried to apply them, and it all came together there at the end.

“Michael McDowell gave me a good push like he did at Daytona, and I was a little bit smarter with how I handled it.”

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