MADRID - Roger Federer remains curious but calm before his first experience on the blue clay courts of the Madrid Masters, with the third seed reserving judgement on controversial surface which has tennis in temporary turmoil.
"It's been cool and rainy so far here; it will be interesting to see how it plays in hot and nice weather. There is still some waiting to do and matches are quite a bit it different that practises," the 2009 Madrid champion said on Sunday.
"I've played on it for two days, but not on centre court." Federer is competing for the first time since a Miami third-round loss in late March which was followed by a pre-programmed pause for holidays and rest.
"It feels a bit different than regular clay, maybe it's the visual aspect," he said of the surface introduced by Madrid event boss Ion Tiriac.
LONDON - Australia's women's water polo team charged into Olympic gold medal contention after defeating the USA 6-5 in the final of the London test event. Since capturing gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Australia finished fourth at the 2004 Athens Games and picked up bronze in Beijing four years ago.
The performance of the Stingers on Sunday against the Beijing silver medallists demonstrated they were a legitimate shot of taking out the Olympic competition. Australia and the USA have played off for medals at the past three Olympics and the latest edition of the rivalry was always going to be a tight affair.
Australian goalkeeper Alicia McCormack had an outstanding game while Nicola Zagame top-scored for the winning team with two goals.
SEVILLE, Spain - Italian Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari won the Spanish Open on Sunday, turning a four-stroke deficit into a three-shot win in stunning fashion.
Overnight leader Simon Dyson of England slumped to a 76 despite opening the final round with two birdies, while Molinari had a tournament-best round of 65.
Seven birdies in the first 14 holes and then four closing pars were enough to see the 29-year-old home at eight under par.
Joint-second were Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal and Alejandro Canizares, while Dyson fell all the way to joint 12th, seven off the pace, along with the best-placed Australian Richard Green (76-72-71-68). "I knew I was playing well.
I just needed some putts to drop," said Molinari, who moves back into the world's top 30.
LONDON - Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth called on his players to respond to the pre-Olympic wake-up call dished out by Germany at the London test event. The 2008 Beijing gold medallists backed up their 3-2 win over Australia's men's hockey team in the preliminary round by routing the world champions 5-2 in the final.
Charlesworth said the Germans deserved to be considered the sport's benchmark following his team's tame showing in freezing conditions at Olympic Park. Australia dominated the opening stages on Sunday but the disciplined German side weathered the storm and became stronger as the match wore on.
"I am glad this has happened because we needed it," Charlesworth said. "There were many things we have to improve and it is a good reminder for us. "Maybe it is a bit like the person who is told by the doctor that he has to change his lifestyle because they are being unhealthy."
ESTORIL, Portugal - Top seed Juan Martin del Potro retained his title at the Estoril Open on Sunday after inflicting a 6-4 6-2 defeat on second seed Richard Gasquet. The Argentine world No.12 became the third man in the tournament's history to win the clay title in successive years, following in the footsteps of Thomas Muster (1995-1996) and Albert Montanes (2009-2010).
It was also Del Potro's second title of the ATP season after his victory in Marseille in February, and his 11th of a career which includes a US Open success in 2009. The loss left Gasquet still looking for his first trophy since triumphing in Nice in May, 2010. The final was played in sunny conditions after wind and rain affected the early days of the event at the Estadio Nacional.
WELLINGTON - Queensland State of Origin centre Dane Nielsen will leave the Melbourne Storm at the end of the season to join the Warriors after signing a three-year NRL deal. The 26-year old, who appeared twice for Queensland last year, said he was intent on performing well for the Storm before his move to Auckland.
"I've got this year to worry about first but then I'll be looking forward to coming to a new city and a new club and doing all I can to help on the field and off it," he said. Nielsen said the stock of young talent at the Warriors was a factor in his decision, as was their style of play. Warriors recruitment and development manager Dean Bell said the club was happy to land a quality centre.
DUNDEE, Scotland - Scottish champions Celtic crashed to a surprise 1-0 defeat against Europe-bound Dundee United as Scott Robertson's header sealed the points at Tannadice on Sunday. Confirmed champions several weeks ago, Neil Lennon's men were caught out by a United side who needed a positive result to seal qualification for next season's Europa League.
Midfielder Robertson decided the game when he met a Paul Dixon cross to bullet a header past Hoops keeper Fraser Forster midway through the first half. A much-changed Celtic side struggled to find the momentum to recover and Anthony Stokes wasted their best chance seconds before the interval when he miscued a close-range effort. Celtic thought they should have had a penalty late in the game when Emilio Izaguirre's cross hit the hand of United substitute Keith Watson, but referee Iain Brines correctly waved away their appeals.
BRUSSELS - Boosted by South American players, Anderlecht won a record 31st Belgian league title on Sunday after holding closest challengers FC Brugge to a 1-1 draw. Beyond Matthias Suarez and Lucas Biglia of Argentina and Brazil's Kanu, Anderlecht also relied on steady US midfielder Sacha Kljestan to dominate the league for most of the season and win the playoffs with two games to spare.
Under the league's complicated rules, the points of all clubs were halved at the end of the regular season and the top six clubs entered a playoff competition. Last year's champions Racing Genk finished third. On Sunday, Anderlecht had to wait until the fourth minute of injury time, when Guillaume Gillet converted a penalty, to cancel out a 70th minute strike by Maxime Lestienne.