49ers

Sampras drops SAP Open exhibition to Monfils

Sampras drops SAP Open exhibition to Monfils

Feb. 7, 2011
TENNIS PAGE

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) After one long point, Pete Sampras sat in a chair to catch his breath, while Gael Monfils dropped to the ground to do a push-up, followed by a sprint and then a sit-up.That was just one piece of evidence of the 15-year age difference between the two competitors in the exhibition match that highlighted the opening night of the SAP Open on Monday.Monfils was faster on the court, showing the ability to track down drop shots and other volleys Sampras thought would be winners. Monfils had more power on his serve as evidenced by three straight 130-plus mph aces at one point. And Monfils got the better of the 14-time Grand Slam winner, beating Sampras 7-6 (4), 6-4."I felt I played a little better than I did last year and held my own," Sampras said. "Physically, that's the most I've served and volleyed in the last seven years. Not easy. Gael is a great mover, returns well and made me work really hard on my service game. All in all, I'm very happy with the way I played. I had a few chances in the first set that I let slip away. He's the real deal."This exhibition marked Monfils debut at the San Jose tournament. He can only hope that opening his first trip here with a victory over Sampras will work out as well as it did last year for Fernando Verdasco, who followed up his exhibition victory over Sampras with a tournament win.In first-round matches played Monday, James Blake beat qualifier Jesse Levine 7-5, 6-1, in his first match since October. In other matches, Michael Russell beat Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-2, Tim Smyczek defeated Robert Farah 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, Denis Istomin beat Roman Borvanov 6-3, 7-5, and Donald Young knocked off Dustin Brown 7-6 (2), 6-4.Monfils thoroughly enjoyed the lighthearted affair, playing to the crowd of 4,911 whenever he got the chance. At one point, Monfils grabbed a camera from a photographer and snapped a shot of Sampras. Then between games, Monfils fetched his cell phone from his bag and had a ball boy take a photo of him with Sampras.Monfils later filmed Sampras' postmatch interview with his phone, recording praise like this: "I've played a lot of good movers in my day. He's one of the best I've ever played."Monfils, who was just 4 years old when Sampras won his first major title at the U.S. Open in 1990,"To play against you, Pete, is a dream," he said after the match.Sampras played an exhibition here for the fourth straight year. Afterward, he said he'd like to play someone closer to his own age next year, like John McEnroe or Andre Agassi.Sampras will square off with his old rival Agassi later this month in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden and he took the opportunity to hype up that match."I always beat him in New York," he said. "I will say that."Sampras is also finally starting to embrace the technology that has taken over the sport in recent years, switching from the old Wilson racket he used during his career to the more powerful Babolat that is so popular with today's players."I need a little bit more pop," he said. "I need it if I'm going to play some tennis."Blake had not played since losing to Lukasz Kubot in the first round in Vienna last October because of shoulder and knee injuries. Blake, a 10-time winner on tour who was once ranked as high as fourth in the world, has fallen to 170th in the latest rankings.Blake has previously overcame a broken neck and a case of shingles in 2004 to make it into the top 5 of the rankings two years later. Now he's looking for another comeback at age 31.He got off to a shaky start against a player ranked 293rd in the world, failing to take advantage of early break point opportunities and falling behind 5-4 in the first set after losing serve on the only break point he faced in the match.Blake responded by breaking Levine right back to extend the set, starting a stretch where he won nine of the final 10 games in the match. He won the first set when Levine hit a forehand into the net, then dominated the second set. Blake lost just 11 points in the seven games, winning 80 percent of the points on his own serve."It's going to take a little while because I hadn't played a match in four months," Blake said. "It will take a couple of matches. This was a good step to get through this one. I was happy that once I got broken I didn't hang my head or start panicking or freaking out or anything. I got back on my horse and broke him back."I thought it might take a little while to get back to playing my best in the big time," he said. "Hopefully this is a good step and it will keep getting better."Blake will next play the winner of Tuesday's first-round match between fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse and Milos Raonic.

Instant Analysis: Cowboys hand 49ers worst loss in four-year history of Levi's

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AP

Instant Analysis: Cowboys hand 49ers worst loss in four-year history of Levi's

BOX SCORE

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ streak of consecutive close losses came to an end on Sunday.

No, the 49ers did not pick up their first victory of the season. Rather, the Dallas Cowboys blew out the hapless 49ers on Dwight Clark Day at Levi’s Stadium.

After their NFL-record streak of five straight defeats by three points or fewer, the 49ers were dealt an embarrassing 40-10 loss to drop their record under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan to 0-7.

It was the worst loss in the four-season history of Levi’s Stadium. The previous-worst defeat for the 49ers since the move from Candlestick Park was a 41-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints last season. The 49ers have lost 10 consecutive home games over the past two seasons.

The 49ers and Cleveland Browns, also 0-7, are the only winless teams remaining in the league.

The poor showing – and inability to slow down Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott – put a damper on a festive day for the 49ers, as Clark was recognized for his contributions to the dynasty of the 1980s.

Clark, whose leaping 6-yard touchdown catch in the NFC Championship game against the Cowboys, catapulted the 49ers to their first Super Bowl. Now 60, Clark is battling ALS. He delivered remarks to his former teammates and the crowd during a halftime ceremony.

But when the second half opened, Elliott had a 72-yard touchdown reception from Dak Prescott to give Dallas a 27-3 lead. Elliott had a big day against the 49ers, as he also rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 26 rushing attempts.

The Cowboys did not need much of an opening, but they took advantage of some critical 49ers miscues in the first quarter.

After the 49ers’ defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive with DeForest Buckner swatting down two passes at the line of scrimmage, rookie Trent Taylor gave it right back when he fumbled a punt.

The Cowboys took over and drove 20 yards on three plays with Elliott scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run.

On Dallas’ next possession, 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson surrendered 17 yards on a pass-interference penalty. Then, Robinson’s illegal contract penalty nullified a 15-yard loss for intentional grounding.

Elliott, again, wasted little time as he scored on a 25-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter.

BEATHARD’S FIRST START
Rookie C.J. Beathard was beat up in his first NFL start after taking over for struggling veteran Brian Hoyer last week.

Beathard, a third-round draft pick from Iowa, completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Beathard also rushed five times for 30 yards and touchdown.

But Beathard was under constant harassment, as he was also sacked five times for minus-48 yards and lost two fumbles.

INJURY REPORT
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster started as he made his first appearance since the opening game of the season, when he sustained a high right ankle sprain. But Foster exited in the third quarter with a ribs injury to his right side.

Foster recorded five tackles, including one for a loss, in his most extensive playing time of the season.

Right tackle Trent Brown left the game in the second half and was diagnosed with a concussion. Brown was pass through the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to be cleared for the 49ers’ game next Sunday at the Philadelphia Eagles.

THIS ‘N’ THAT

--Fullback Kyle Juszczyk (back) and pass-rusher Aaron Lynch (calf) were among the 49ers’ seven inactive players.

--Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who came into the game with a league-leading 8.5 sacks, moved to the other side of the line and beat left tackle Joe Staley for a sack-strip to thwart a 49ers scoring chance late in the first half.

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Marco Urena scored in the third minute of stoppage time and the San Jose Earthquakes secured a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

San Jose (13-14-7) needed a win for the final spot in the Western Conference after FC Dallas' 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. It's an unexpected run for the Earthquakes, who fired coach Dominic Kinnear midway through the season.

In the build-up to the winner, San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell sent a long ball that was chested by Victor Bernardez and headed to Quincy Amarikwa inside the 18-yard box. Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth pushed Amarikwa's shot wide but San Jose star Chris Wondolowski chased it down for a feed to an open Urena in front of goal.

The Earthquakes have won seven of their last nine home games — with every win coming by one goal.

Wondolowski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead in the 55th with an easy redirection of Danny Hoesen cross at the back post.

Minnesota (10-18-6), which has lost nine of its last 12 road games, tied it at 2 in the 81st on Francisco Calvo's header off the crossbar.