Juan Martin del Potro Advances to Finals at the BNP Paribas Open

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the finals at the BNP Paribas Open

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in straight sets to advance to the finals against Roger Federer at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro breezed past No. 32 Raonic 6-2, 6-3 in 66 minutes for his 10th consecutive match victory and the 400th of his injury-plagued career.

“It was surprising to see him [Raonic] serving not too hard, and I broke his serve very quick in both sets,” del Potro said. “That gave me the control of the match.” 

del Potro has fought back from left wrist surgeries in 2014 and 2015 (twice) and another one on his right wrist in 2010 that nearly caused him to quit tennis. He is 16-3 this year with one title in Acapulco.

“I didn’t play him before his injuries, but his backhand was probably one of the things that was overlooked because the forehand was so hard,” Raonic said. “But the backhand, I remember when he won the U.S. Open, he could hit it crosscourt without any guys being able to have the freedom of running around or anything. He’s gotten that back quite a bit.”

del Potro previously appeared in the finals back in 2013, losing to Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 6–4.

Angel Cabrera & Angel Cabrera Jr. Win PNC Father-Son Challenge

It’s a special family honor for Angel Cabrera and his son…

The 48-year-old Argentine professional golfer and his 26-year-old son Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Angel Cabrera & Angel Cabrera Jr.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday.

The Cabreras went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead when Cabrera’s son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O’Meara and Shaun O’Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn’t even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

“This is certain my best week of the year,” said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. “To play alongside all the legends … as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.”

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O’Meara said Saturday that his “little man” hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, “In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I’m your Daddy!”

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Juan Martin del Potro Defeats Robin Haase at Paris Masters in Quest to Earns Spot at the ATP Finals

Juan Martin del Potro is one step closer to earning a spot in the big show…

The 29-year-old Argentinean tennis star  moved closer to securing the last spot for the season-ending ATP Finals by beating Robin Haase 7-5, 6-4 in the third round at the Paris Masters.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, who lost to Roger Federer on Sunday in the Swiss Indoors final, is in 10th place in the race to qualify for the tournament.

Only the top eight players will compete in London and there is one place left, to be taken in Paris.

“I would love to reach London once again. It could be a fantastic moment for me,” said del Potro, who was way back in 47th place in the race before the U.S. Open.

“I’m excited to keep improving for this kind of surprise. I love to surprise myself and that’s what I’m doing now.”

del Potro has a tough challenge next, against big-serving John Isner.

The ninth-seeded Isner, last year’s runner-up to Andy Murray, hit 25 aces as he beat sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (10), 5-7, 7-6 (3).

Garcia & Justin Rose Top Leaderboard with One Final Round to Go at The Masters

Sergio Garcia is one day away from snapping his title drought at a major tournament…

The world will be watching Sunday at Augusta National as the 37-year-old Spaniard tries to fend off Masters co-leader Justin Rose, chasers Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and his own demons to end his 0-for-73 streak in golf’s four most coveted events.

Sergio Garcia

It seems like a century ago that Garcia burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old, battling Tiger Woods shot for shot at the PGA Championship only to fall a stroke short.

He’s had other opportunities at the Masters, the Open Championship, the PGA and U.S. Open. Garcia has finished second in majors four times, placed in the top 10 22 times.

After coming up short in the 2012 Masters, Garcia famously told Spanish reporters he wasn’t good enough to win a major.

He gets the chance to erase his own words on the National’s hallowed grounds in a final round that will certainly not be a day of rest. He and Rose go off in the final group at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

“It was hard but it was fun.” Garcia said Saturday after posting a 2-under-par 70 for a 210 total. “It was fun to play well again, to go through a Saturday at the Masters with a chance at winning, and, you know, to be up there going into tomorrow.”

Garcia looks fit for a green jacket, shaping shots and escaping trouble. He made four birdies and played the back nine two shots under par to set the stage. He and Rose are the only players in the Masters field not to shoot a round over par through 54 holes.

The seemingly star-crossed Garcia even got some fortuitous bounces in Round 3, most notably on the 510-yard, par-5 13th hole. His approach shot wafted weakly over a Rae’s Creek tributary, slid down the hill and miraculously stopped short of the drink. He chipped off the steep bank within a foot, tapped in for birdie and again stands on the brink of a major breakthrough.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks throughout all three rounds,” Garcia said. “Thirteen was obviously was one of them. I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot. Obviously I hit a good drive that went into that little first cut of rough, and unfortunately ‑‑ I was hitting plenty of club, but it was one of those things that the ball just came out really soft.  I had enough club to carry on that line, and unfortunately it didn’t.

“But fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year, which is nice.  Because, you know, it gives you the possibility of getting a break like that, and then, you know, I still had to hit a great chip to make 4.  It wasn’t an easy chip.“

Ferrer Defeats Kei Nishikori to Claim His Fourth Mexico Open Title

David Ferrer is El Rey in Mexico…

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis player won his fourth Mexico Open title over the weekend, beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 7-5 in the hard-court event.

David Ferrer

It’s the third title for Ferrer in 2015. He previously won in Doha in January and in Rio de Janeiro earlier in February.

He won his previous Mexico titles — in 2010, 2011 and 2012 — on clay.

“Tonight I played my best match this week,” said Ferrer. “For sure. I played very aggressive, without mistakes. I’m very happy. To win here a fourth time is a dream.

“I tried to play my forehand to his forehand and with more energy. In important moments, he made more mistakes and I took my chances. I feel very confident with my tennis now. I’ve won three tournaments this year and we’ve only began the season.”

As champion, the 24-time ATP World Tour titlist received $343,000 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points.

Nishikori won in Memphis, Tennessee, two weeks ago for his eighth tour title. He lost to Marin Cilic last year in the U.S. Open final.

Soares & Partner Sania Mirza Claim Mixed Doubles Crown at the U.S. Open

Bruno Soares has returned to the winner’s circle at the U.S. Open

The 32-year-old Brazilian tennis player clinched his second mixed doubles title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Bruno Soares & Sania Mirza

Soares and his partner Sania Mirza overcame a few anxious moments in the match tie break to win the title.

The top seeded pair squandered five straight championship points before scoring a 6-1 2-6 11-9 win over Abigail Spears of the USA and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico in exactly 60 minutes.

Spears sent a backhand volley long after making it 9-9 from 4-9, as Soares and Mirza heaved a big sigh of relief.

It was first time that the two were playing together as a pair.

“Playing with him is a lot of fun. He did not play with me all these years not sure why?” gushed Mirza after the win and confirmed that the pairing will continue for the Australian Open.

Soares had previously won the Mixed Doubles title at the U.S. Open in 2012 with Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.

Soares and Makarova won the title after defeating fourth-seeded Květa Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in the final 6–7(8–10), 6–1, [12–10].

Estrella Burgos’ Historic Run at the U.S. Open Comes to an End

Victor Estrella Burgos’ historic appearance at the U.S. Open may have come to an end, but his presence has left a lasting impression

The 34-year-old Dominican tennis player, who after many years competing in the twilight world of the Challenger circuit became the country’s first-ever representative in a major at this year’s U.S. Open, lost to No. 5 seed Milos Raonic on Saturday in a hard-fought third round match that lasted two hours and 43 minutes.

Victor Estrella Burgos

Estrella Burgos, short and fast in the Michael Chang mold and owner of a cutting single-handed backhand slice and solid serve, out-aced the Canadian king of aces 8-7, but could not stop him closing it out in three tie-breaks, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3).

“It was difficult,” Raonic conceded. “He’s playing well. He’s playing with a lot of aspiration. It was a lot of fun, the atmosphere out there. But I believe I can play better. I believe I will.”

Estrella Burgos, who turned pro in 2002, had only earned $485,879 in his career prior to his first appearance at the U.S. Open. He came desperately close to extending the match into a fourth set, when serving for the third, but faltered at the key moment.

Estrella Burgos did not play in professional tournaments until he was 26 as he could not afford to travel. He also had to take an eight-month break from the sport after suffering a serious injury to his right elbow in 2012.

“It wasn’t until three years ago that I started to focus on my fitness,” he said. “I can play against anyone with top-quality tennis, but being in shape is the key to sticking on the tour for several more years.”

But Estrella Burgos was delighted just to be competing at the grand slam event in Flushing, New York, on the biggest stage he’s ever likely to stride in the game.

“It was really amazing,” said Estrella Burgos, who earlier this year became the first Dominican to reach the top 100 in the ATP rankings. “For me, it was the best week: third round of the US Open. I think I won, how much I don’t know, $110,000? But I have to pay the taxes.

“I lost today, but it was my best match [of the tournament]. I played at a very good level. The three sets were very close. I was serving for the set in the third set. I cannot close the set, but I’m not so … I’m not too sad.”

Raonic, not always known for his warmth, embraced Estrella Burgos at the net, relieved to get into the second week and perhaps happy, too, to see the back of an opponent who did not just “turn up” but gave him a serious fright.

Reality will soon kick in for Estrella Burgos when he returns to the outer fringes of his sport, but he has had a taste of the big time and he likes it very much and intends to play the ATP World Tour in Europe, adding: “For sure I’m going to play the Australian Open. I want to try to mix it. I want to play more ATP than Challenger.”

Away from the tennis, Estrella Burgos has spent most of his time at his New York hotel with his family and having “a really good time” with “a lot of friends”.

He has not neglected his tennis, though, and prepared hard for longer matches. “I have so much confidence,” he said. “When I go on to the court, I don’t care if I play five sets, I am feeling OK. Today I was two sets down and in the third set thinking, OK, I want to make this game five sets.”

Cabrera Earns His First Non-Major Green Jacket at Greenbrier Classic

Angel Cabrera’s streak of disappointments in non-major events on the PGA Tour is officially over.

The 44-year-old Argentine won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday for his first victory in a tournament other than a major.

Angel Cabrera

Cabrera earned the victory by closing with his second straight 6-under 64 for a two-stroke to defeat a heavy-hearted George McNeill.

Cabrera, whose only other PGA Tour victories came in the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters, built a three-shot lead before making things interesting with a pair of late bogeys. He finished at 16-under 264 and now has another green jacket — that as Greenbrier Classic champion.

Cabrera had no top 10-finishes this season entering the tournament but had everything working Sunday, hammering drives and approach shots with precision and coming up with clutch putts, especially on the back nine.

“This was a great opportunity,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I wanted it. I needed to win a tournament. I felt under control today out there, and I didn’t want to let it get away from me.”

Webb Simpson had a 63 to finish third at 10 under.

Cabrera won $1.17 million and is projected to improve from 158th to 54th in the FedEx Cup standings. McNeill would move from 60th to 29th.

Nadal Crushes Andy Murray to Reach French Open Final

Rafael Nadal is one win away from his record-extending ninth French Open title.

The 28-year-old Spanish tennis star, already an eight-time champion with a 65-1 career record at Roland Garros, needs just one more victory on the red clay to make him the first man to win five in a row and give him his 14th Grand Slam title — a tie in second place with Pete Sampras.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal advanced to the final by soundly defeating Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Friday on Court Philippe Chatrier, the stadium Nadal calls his favorite place to play.

He jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, then broke early again in the second and third sets. Nadal had six break points in the entire match and converted each one.

Murray, meanwhile, didn’t even earn a single break point.

Nadal will next face Novak Djokovic, who defeated Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal.

Nadal has beaten Djokovic at the French Open in all five of their previous meetings, starting with a quarterfinal victory in 2006. They also met in the semifinals in 2007, ’08 and ’13, and in the final in 2012.

The second-seeded Djokovic, however, has beaten Nadal the past four times they have played, including on clay in the final in Rome last month.

“I’m going to try to be aggressive because that is the only way I can win against him,” Djokovic said. “I know that, of course, this is the court he’s most dominant on. He has only lost one time in his career. This is where he plays his best.”

The winner on Sunday also will be ranked No. 1 on Monday. Nadal is currently at the top but needs to extend his French Open winning streak to 35 matches to stay there.

Besides his eight titles at the French Open, Nadal has also won twice at Wimbledon, twice at the U.S. Open and once at the Australian Open. Sampras won 14 major titles in his career but never the French Open. The record holder is Roger Federer with 17 Grand Slam titles. He won his 14th in Paris in 2009, the only French Open in which Nadal lost a match.

Bautista Agut Upsets Juan Martin del Potro at the Australian Open

Roberto Bautista Agut has taken down a Grand Slam champion…

In an exciting five-set match, the 26-year-old Spanish professional tennis player outlasted No. 5 seed and former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the second round at the Australian Open, pulling off the biggest upset of the Grand Slam event so far.

Roberto Bautista Agut

The Argentinian del Potro led twice in sets, before Bautista Agut –ranked No. 62 in the world – fought back to seal a 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 victory under the lights in Melbourne.

It was Bautista Agut’s first win in seven matches against a top 10 player, and del Potro’s fourth second-round exit in eight years at the season’s first major.

The match lasted three hours and 53 minutes, and ended at 1:20 am Melbourne time on Friday after a long day of suspensions and delays in matches due to extreme heat and storms.

It’s a tough loss for del Potro, who won his 18th career singles title last week by beating Bernard Tomic in the final of the Sydney International, a key warm-up event for the Australian Open.

Bautista Agut next faces No. 27-ranked Benoit Paire in the third round.