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Feb. 6, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

Nadal logs victory in first singles match

VINA DEL MAR, Chile, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal won in his first singles appearance since June, rolling to a second-round victory Wednesday at the VTR Open in Chile.

The top-seeded Spanish superstar breezed to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis on the clay courts of Vina del Mar, swatting four aces en route to the win.

Nadal made his long-anticipated return to tennis after sitting out seven months with a knee injury. The current world No. 5 chose to make his reappearance in South America, where he hasn't competed since 2005 as an 18-year-old.

His next opponent will be the winner of a second-round test between fellow Spaniards Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Albert Montanes.

Also Wednesday, defending Vina del Mar champion and No. 3 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina succumbed to Frenchman Guillaume Rufin in an upset, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

In other second-round action, eighth-seeded Carlos Berlocq advanced with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

The wrap-up of first-round play saw No. 5 seed Albert Ramos, sixth-seeded Paolo Lorenzi and Gimeno-Traver record victories.


Americans lose World Cup qualifying opener

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Boniek Garcia seized on a defensive lapse Wednesday to score in the 79th minute and bring Honduras a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over the United States.

The Americans faltered in the first game of the final round of qualifying in the North America-Central America region. Six nations will play a 10-game, round-robin tournament throughout 2013 with the top three finishers earning a spot for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The fourth-place finisher will then meet the winner of the Oceania division in a two-game playoff to determine the final World Cup berth.

Clint Dempsey put the Americans in front in the 36th minute, but Juan Carlos Garcia scored on an overhead kick before halftime.

The decisive goal came when Garcia slipped behind defender Geoff Cameron and then put the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and Jamaica make up the remainder of the final group of would-be qualifiers. The United States will host Costa Rica March 22 and then faces the always difficult trip to Mexico four days later.


Lakers' Gasol has torn plantar fascia

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has a partial tear of the plantar fascia of his right foot, a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed Wednesday.

The Lakers said it wouldn't be known how long the high-scoring front court man will be out of action until he is examined further Thursday by team doctor Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Dr. Kenneth Jung.

Gasol sustained the injury during Tuesday's win over Brooklyn when he landed on the foot of the Nets' Brook Lopez.

A plantar fascia tear typically can be healed with rehab work within 6-to-8 weeks or in 10-12 weeks if surgery is needed, CBS Sports reported.

The 32-year-old was averaging 13.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 36 games for the Lakers this season.


Pacers win for third time in as many days

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Roy Hibbert was one of four Indiana players to reach at least 15 points Wednesday while dominating the second half in an 88-69 victory over Philadelphia.

It was the third game in as many days for the Pacers and they won them all. Indiana is the only team in the NBA this season forced to play on three consecutive days.

Hibbert scored 18 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while George Hill, Paul George and David West all had 15 points. Indiana led by three at halftime and then held the 76ers to 35 points over the final two quarters.

It was Indiana's fifth straight win overall. The Pacers wound up having to play three straight days because a game against Chicago postponed by weather earlier this season was moved to last Monday.

Philadelphia slipped to 4-2 on an eight-game homestand and learned Wednesday that guard Jason Richardson would undergo season-ending knee surgery. Thaddeus Young will also be out for three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 17 points. It was the 76ers' smallest point production of the season.

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