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Rafael Nadal wins Brazil Open, beating David Nalbandian 6-2 6-3 in the final

Back to winning ways! Nadal cruises past Nalbandian to seal first title since comeback

before he was sidelined by tendon trouble in his left knee after
an early exit from Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Victory: Rafael Nadal won his first title since his injury return in Sao Paulo

Rafael Nadal

Nadal made his long-awaited comeback at last week's clay-court event in Vina Del Mar but surprisingly missed out on the title after losing in three sets to Argentinian Horacio Zeballos the final.

The Spaniard struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning but was still able to break Nalbandian's serve twice to take the first set, then rallied from 3-0 down in the second to win six straight games to close out the match.

Nalbandian was playing in a final for the first time since he was disqualified for kicking an advertisement board and injuring a line judge at Queen's Club last June. The former world No 3 hasn't won a title since 2010 in Washington.

Too good: Nadal cruised past David Nalbandian in the Brazil Open final

Too good: Nadal cruised past David Nalbandian in the Brazil Open final

Nadal, who was coming off two three-set matches, still looked far from his best and didn't seem to be moving well. The knee appeared to be bothering him again and he left many balls unchallenged throughout the match.

But with the support from the local fans and with former Brazil star striker Ronaldo and mixed martial arts champion Anderson Silva in the crowd, Nadal took control of the match in the second set to secure the victory.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn't bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to give his knee a good test. The Spaniard will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico in two weeks.

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Nadal had won four of his six career matches against Nalbandian, the last one a three-set victory in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells last year. Nalbandian's last victory over Nadal was in 2007 in the final of a Master Series tournament in Paris.

The 31-year-old Argentine made his season debut in singles at the Brazil Open. He was out of action for several months last season because of an abdominal injury.

Sao Paulo: Nadal signs autographs for the Brazilian fans

Sao Paulo: Nadal signs autographs for the Brazilian fans

DEL POTRO WINS FIRST TITLE OF YEAR IN ROTTERDAM

Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro clinched his first title of the year as he overcame Julien Benneteau 7-6 6-3 in the final of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Del Potro, beaten in last year's final by Roger Federer, lost his serve in the first set but Benneteau had no answer to his solid baseline performance which earned him the tiebreak 7-2.

After an early break in the second set Del Potro never looked back against 39th-ranked Benneteau, still seeking a first title having lost all eight finals he has contested.

Juan Martin Del Potro

'It was so important to win the tie-break as I missed several opportunities through mistakes I made to clinch the first set sooner,” Del Potro told reporters.

Del Potro became only the second Argentine after Guillermo Vilas to triumph at the tournament.

'I had a great week and really enjoyed the tennis I played from the first round on,” added Del Potro.
Benneteau said he had fought with all his might to match the hitting and power of world number seven Del Potro.

'It was tough to stay in the first set as I was under pressure every game, as well on my own serve as his,' said the Frenchman, who beat Federer in the last eight.

Leicester 17 Bath 12: Mass brawl mars Tigers" win as THREE are sent off in five minutes

Leicester 17 Bath 12: Mass brawl mars Tigers' win as THREE are sent off in five minutes of mayhem

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UPDATED:

15:40 GMT, 1 December 2012

Three players were sent off in five minutes of mayhem as Leicester bounced back from last week's defeat at Wasps to beat Bath in the Aviva Premiership at Welford Road.

Bath duo Francois Louw and Matt Banahan and Leicester's Brett Deacon were all shown red cards for foul play between the 60th and 65th minutes.

The dismissals proved a turning point in the game because Bath, who had just lost Simon Taylor to the sin-bin, saw their 12-6 lead – gained through tries from Stephen Donald and Tom Biggs – eroded as the hosts scored 11 points in five minutes.

Aggro: Tempers fray as Tigers' Anthony Allen is treated in the foreground

Aggro: Tempers fray as Tigers' Anthony Allen is treated in the foreground

Adam Thompstone crossed for Leicester's try, with the rest of the Tigers' points coming from the boot of George Ford.

It was a much-needed win for Leicester after last week's defeat at Wasps, while Bath, who beat leaders Harlequins last week, will be kicking themselves for their indiscipline.

Both teams were boosted by the return of some of their internationals, Leicester able to recall props Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni, with Horacio Agulla, Paul James and Louw back for Bath.

It was an emotional return to Welford Road for Argentina back Agulla, who joined Bath last summer, and there was added spice to the match for Leicester fly-half George Ford, whose father Mike is the Bath defence coach.

Last season Ford got the better of his father, who was then at Newcastle, in a one-sided game, but Bath were a much tougher proposition and they led 5-0 at half-time thanks to a fine solo try from their New Zealand fly-half Donald.

Off you go: Francis Louw (left) is sent off by ref Tim Wigglesworth

Off you go: Francis Louw (left) is sent off by ref Tim Wigglesworth

They were good value for it, too, for they ran hard and were adventurous when attacking and defended resolutely in their own 22.

Leicester created chances but were far too wasteful and Ford turned down several kickable penalties after missing attempts in the ninth and 15th minutes.

Donald missed a long-range penalty in the third minute and then Bath threw everything but the kitchen sink at Leicester, whose defence was rock solid.

But Bath drew first blood in the 13th minute after a fine break by full-back Nick Abendanon. From the ruck, Donald threw a couple of dummies before running straight over full-back Mathew Tait for a terrific try, which he failed to convert.

Ford missed penalties either side of the Bath try before putting Leicester in a great attacking position with a fine touch kick, but they wasted the chance with the referee penalising them for crossing when surging to the line from the line-out.

They passed up another chance to score from a line-out two minutes later and their lack of precision told again when they had a try chalked off for a forward pass.

It came after a brilliant counter-attack which twice involved Tait and winger Thompstone down the left, and when Leicester switched the attack to the right lock Graham Kitchener put Niall Morris over with a long floated pass only to see the video referee adjudge it to have gone forward.

Up above: Graham Kitchener claims the ball in a lineout at Welford Road

Up above: Graham Kitchener claims the ball in a lineout at Welford Road

After last week's defeat at Wasps, Leicester boss Richard Cockerill slammed his side, saying not one player deserved to wear the shirt. He demanded an improvement and, while there was commitment in spades, Leicester paid the price for poor basic skills, another chance going begging in the 34th minute when Anthony Allen threw a long pass to Thompstone that ended up in touch.

Whatever the Leicester coaches said at the break had an effect because they started the second half at a gallop and, when they won a penalty 40 metres out, Ford made no mistake.

Bath found themselves down to 14 men when number eight Taylor was sin-binned for obstruction on Tait in the 50th minute, and five minutes later Ford put Leicester ahead for the first time at 6-5 with a tremendous penalty from 46 metres.

The lead, however, lasted just two minutes because Bath hit back with their second try, winger Biggs cantering over after great work by Donald and Banahan.

Donald added the conversion to put Bath 12-6 ahead but there was another twist moments later when Bath flanker Louw was sent off for use of the elbow.

Leicester took advantage immediately, Thompstone scoring after Leicester had driven to the line from a line-out. Ford missed the conversion.

Worse followed when Michael Claassens conceded a needless penalty, pushing Allen in the back during a Leicester counter-attack and allowing Ford to kick an easy penalty.

And then Banahan was also sent off for a high tackle on Allen. Allen was left prostrate on the ground for several minutes while the medics attended to him before being carried off on a stretcher. Leicester flanker Deacon was also sent off after the incident for appearing to throw a punch.

The madness continued when Donald was sin-binned for also appearing to throw a punch, before Ford put Leicester 17-12 up with his fourth penalty 12 minutes from time.