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Djokovic too classy for Nadal

Doha — Novak Djokovic won his first title of 2016 on Saturday, playing “perfect” tennis to thrash arch-rival Rafael Nadal in straight sets during a breathtaking performance in the Qatar Open final. The near faultless world No. 1 cruised to victory 6-1, 6-2 in a match lasting just one hour, 13 minutes. The win not only secured the 60th career title for the Serb but also means he is leading for the first time in his head-to-head battle with Nadal, winning 24 of the 47 matches they have now played against each other. “I played pretty much perfect tennis today from the very beginning I managed to get every shot the way I wanted,” said Djokovic afterwards. He added that he was playing the best tennis of his career: “It did feel as close …

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Roland So’s nephew rises at 27th Andrada Cup

At just 10 years old, Brent Nathan Concepcion-So is showing a lot of promise and the future looks pretty bright for this aspiring netter. Brent, who hails from Xavier School in Greenhills, San Juan City, has shown he has the tools to be a future netter. And from the looks of it, glimpses of that may finally be taking place. Brent was a virtual unknown and silent entry in the 10-under age group of the 27th Andrada Cup Tennis Championships held at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center. But all that could soon change with his conquest in the age group, a three-set win over Mica Ella Emana (4-5, 5-3 and 5-2). In an exclusive interview with MB Online, Brent details what was going on in his mind during the crucial stage …

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Djokovic, Nadal to meet for 47th time, play 24th final

Doha — Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet for the 47th time and play their 24th final against each other after both won their Qatar Open semi-finals on Friday. World number one Djokovic progressed through to Saturday’s final after overcoming Tomas Berdych in a bruising encounter, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3). Earlier Nadal also won in two sets but in a more straightforward fashion, beating Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko 6-3, 6-4 in little over an hour. “I guess it’s a pretty important match tomorrow, let’s see what happens,’’ said Djokovic. “It’s a final so you fight for the trophy,’’ he added. “And knowing that across the net you have the player that you played against the most ever in your career adds more importance to that final.’’ Saturday’s final will reignite one of the greatest rivalries of modern …

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Spieth fires 64, surges ahead

Los Angeles — World number one Jordan Spieth chipped in for an eagle and grabbed seven birdies in a nine-under par 64 on Friday to surge four strokes clear of the field after two rounds of the US PGA Tournament of Champions. After another lovely day on the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii, Masters and US Open champion Spieth had a 16-under par total of 130 and a four-shot lead over first-round leader Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner and Argentinian Fabian Gomez. Reed had four birdies in a four-under 69 for 134, while Kisner climbed up the leaderboard with an eight-under 65 that included an eagle and six birdies and Gomez carded a bogey-free 66 that featured seven birdies. New Zealand’s Danny Lee was alone in fifth after a 68 for 135. Spieth said …

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Tiamson, Eala win

Unseeded Gabriel Tiamson completed a dream week with a stunning win over top seed Chris Justine Prulla to rule the centerpiece event while 10-year-old Alex Eala continued her amazing streak in the 27th Andrada Cup Age Group Tennis Championships yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center. Given a slim chance to beat his fancied rival, Tiamson surprised everybody with his all-around performance – rock-solid from the baseline and fearless at the net – to claim the 18-under title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Prulla. Tiamson was so dominant that he won all his matches without dropping a set, beating Nolan Gagalac, 6-3, 6-2; No. 3 Jeremiah Macias III, 6-4, 6-4; and No. 2 Matt Steve Palasan, 6-1, 6-2. Equally ruthless was Eala. The 10-year-old rising star from Colegio de San Agustin displayed her …

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Reed fires 65, leads Spieth by 1

Kapalua, Hawaii — The first round of the new year on the PGA Tour was not an encore for Jordan Spieth – or defending champion Patrick Reed. Spieth had said earlier in the week that an encore means the show is over, and it sure didn't look that way at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He opened with seven birdies and no bogeys for a 7-under 66 that left him one shot behind when Reed finished strong and made a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a 65. Brandt Snedeker, still battling a head cold, J.B. Holmes and Danny Lee were all at 67, while Fabian Gomez of Argentina was another shot behind. Jason Day, who has a chance to replace Spieth at No. 1 in the world this week, has …

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Martin, Eala shine in Andrada netfest

Jake Martin and Alex Eala came through with another solid performance yesterday and ruled their respective divisions in the 27th Andrada Cup Age Group Tennis Championships at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center. The second-seeded Martin avoided a second-set meltdown and beat top pick Manuel Balce, 6-2, 6-4, to clinch the boys’ 16-under crown in the event held in honor of Philippine Sports Commissioner and former tennis chief Salvador “Buddy” Andrada. Martin was ahead 5-0 in the second frame when Balce scored four straight points, but the 15-year-old former national team member from Xavier School recovered in the 10th game to prevail. Eala, meanwhile, dominated top seed Rafaela Villanueva, 6-1, 6-1, to snare the girls’ 16-under crown. She earlier defeated Gabby Zoleta, 6-1, 6-3, in the semifinals. The 10-year-old wunderkind from Colegio San Agustin, is …

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Huey, partner lose in India

Fil-American Treat Huey and British Aljaz Bedene started their partnership on the wrong foot as they suffered an early exit in the Chennai Open in India last Wednesday. After an impressive start, the two started to make silly mistakes and absorbed a 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 defeat to third seed Oliver Marach of Austria and Fabrice Martin of France in the opening round of the tournament sanctioned by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Huey is aiming to break the elite Top 20 following a significant improvement in his ranking in 2015. The longtime Philippine team and Davis Cup member is currently ranked at No. 33 after winning three titles last year. Huey is also scheduled to compete in the ASB Classic over the weekend in Auckland, New Zealand with Belarusian Max Mirnyi, who will …

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Djokovic beats foe in 51 mins

Doha— Novak Djokovic took just 51 minutes to win his first game of 2016, easily beating Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-2 in the opening game of the Qatar Open on Monday. The world number one was rarely troubled by the German and barely raised a sweat, cruising into the second round with an ominous display for rivals looking for any early-season weaknesses from Djokovic after his dominant 2015. “It was a very good start,” Djokovic told reporters afterwards.

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Tennis hope aims for a strong 2016

Saying he has slowly regained his sharpness and confidence, former top junior player Jeson Patrombon intends to increase his number of tournaments this year to attain his goal – winning his first International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles title. Patrombon, 22, competed only in 18 tournaments last year. And though he failed to win a big one, Patrombon remains in high spirits and looks forward to competing in 30 to 35 ITF-sanctioned events. His only title came in November, 2014 when he teamed up with Indonesian David Susanto to win the Cambodia F1 Futures doubles crown. The farthest he had gone in singles was also at the Indonesia F3 Futures last April when he reached the quarterfinals. Despite his tribulations, the 22-year-old Iligan City native managed to improve his ITF ranking from No. 1953 …

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