Nikolay Davydenko won the first big tournament of his career Sunday, running down just about every ball and using a consistent serve to beat U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, 6-3, 6-4, to win the ATP World Tour Finals at London.
Davydenko was coming off his semifinal victory over top-ranked Roger Federer and dominated his service games against Del Potro, losing only five points on serve in the first set and eight in the second.
“Maybe I had good concentration. I was surprised,” said Davydenko, who has reached four Grand Slam tournament semifinals but never made a final. “I was coming in from first point [with] 100% concentration. It was, I think, important for this match today.”
Del Potro had three chances to break Davydenko, but the Russian saved them all to complete a sweep of all three of this year’s Grand Slam champions at the season-ending tournament.
“He’s very fast. He plays like PlayStation,” Del Potro said. “He runs to everywhere. It’s very difficult to make winners.”
Davydenko lost in the final of last year’s season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world, falling to Novak Djokovic in Shanghai.
In the doubles final, Bob and Mike Bryan beat Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram, 7-6 (3), 6-3, to win their third season-ending title and earn the year-end No. 1 ranking for the fifth time.
Virginia fires Groh
Virginia fired Al Groh after nine seasons as coach at his alma mater, ending a tenure marked by his inability to beat rival Virginia Tech.
Groh’s dismissal came less than 24 hours after the Cavaliers (3-9, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost, 42-13, at home to the No. 11 Hokies, finishing their worst season since they were 2-9 in 1982. It also was their eighth loss to the Hokies in Groh’s nine tries.
Marshall Coach Mark Snyder resigned, a day after the Thundering Herd lost, 52-21, to Texas El Paso to finish the regular season at 6-6.
Snyder was 21-37 in five seasons.
As expected, Louisiana State assistant coach Larry Porter, who has built a reputation for being one of the nation’s best recruiters, was hired as coach to rebuild Memphis’ program.
Americans fare poorly
Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic won the World Cup slalom at Aspen, Colo., in which no Americans qualified for the second run.
Zahrobska finished the two runs in 1 minute 43.45 seconds. Marlies Schild of Austria was the runner-up, 0.58 of a second back. Kathrin Zettel of Austria was third, one day after finishing second in a giant slalom.
Two-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn skied off-course in the first run.
Canada’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis won the season-opening super-giant slalom at Lake Louise, Canada, for the second World Cup victory of his career.
Osborne-Paradis finished in 1 minute 32.93 seconds. He also won a downhill event last season in Norway.
Austria’s Benjamin Raich finished second, 0.24 of a second behind Osborne-Paradis. Austria’s Michael Walchhofer was third.
Ted Ligety was the top American, finishing eighth in 1:33.87.
UCLA advances in NCAAs
UCLA’s men’s soccer team defeated UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, at Drake Stadium in the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Bruins advance to play Wake Forest in the quarterfinals at a time and site to be announced.
Fernando Monge and Ryan Hollingshead scored for UCLA in the first half.
Damon Duval kicked a 33-yard field goal with no time left -- after getting a second chance because of a Saskatchewan penalty -- in the Grey Cup to give the Montreal Alouettes a 28-27 victory over the Roughriders for the Canadian Football League championship at Calgary.