RIO DE JANEIRO - Rafael Nadal showed no problem with his tender back in his second match since returning from the injury, defeating fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Rio Open on Thursday. The No. 1-ranked Nadal tweaked his back warming up for the Australian Open final, which he lost almost four weeks ago in a major upset against Stanislas Wawrinka. His first stop after the layoff is the clay in Rio as he tests the back and tries to stay healthy for the French Open in three months. A year ago he used the Latin American swing to test his recovery from an injured left knee. Nadal seemed to move freely against Montanes and wore a large, blue elastic bandage on his lower back as a precaution. "The back, well, its bothering me a little," Nadal said. "Right now its not hurting my game, but Im serving a little more gently than Im used to doing." Nadal said he pushed his recovery "a little bit" to play in Rio, after pulling out of the tournament the week before in Buenos Aires. "I am here and very happy being here," he said. "When you get an injury in the final of a Grand Slam, and you stop (playing/practicing) for 2 1/2 weeks, the comeback is not easy." Asked if nagging injuries might force an early retirement, the 27-year-old joked a bit before getting serious. "I cant predict the future, but my intention is to play many years," he said. In the other key mens match, third-seeded Fabio Fognini reached the last eight beating Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3. Second-seeded David Ferrer advanced on Wednesday. Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine advanced to his second quarterfinals of the year, beating Facundo Bagnis of Argentina 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (4). Dolgopolov said he hadnt considered leaving the tournament to return to his Kyiv birthplace, where more than 100 people have died in anti-government protests this week. Government snipers killed at least 70 on Thursday. "Its sad. I cant do much, but just support," he said. "Whoever is right doesnt matter now when people are dying." Dolgopolov, who lives in the wealthy European enclave of Monte Carlo, said he was lucky to have the chance to make money playing tennis. "Obviously I would like the people in the (Ukraine) to feel better. If I could, I would change that," he said. On the womens side of the combined ATP-WTA event, fifth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan and Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain set up a quarterfinal matchup after second-round wins. Nara defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-0, 7-6 (3), and was in sight of her first WTA semifinals. Dominguez Lino beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Nara said she likes the hot weather in Rio and is getting used to the clay. "Now I like the clay court," she said. "Last year, I didnt like it." Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania also made the last eight, as did Brazils Teliana Pereira. She is the first Brazilian woman in 23 years to crack the WTAs top 100. The last was Andrea Vieira. Brazils most famous womens player is Maria Bueno, who won seven Grand Slams singles titles, the last at the US Open in 1966. Stitched Red Wings Jerseys
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.com) - SirDominic Pointer posted career highs of 24 points and seven steals to lead No.VAL MARTELLO, Italy -- Nairo Quintana moved into the overall lead in the Giro dItalia after winning a tough and controversial 16th stage, in difficult weather conditions across the legendary Gavia and Stelvio climbs on Tuesday. Quintana, who is famed for his climbing skills, finished eight seconds ahead of Ryder Hesjedal. Pierre Rolland was third, 1:13 slower, on the 139-kilometre (86-mile) route from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello -- half of which was uphill. The 24-year-old Quintana -- one of the race favourites -- started the day 2 minutes and 40 seconds behind former leader Rigoberto Uran but beat his fellow Colombian by more than four minutes. Uran slipped to second, 1:41 behind Quintana, who showed he has recovered from a difficult opening two weeks, in which he suffered badly from a crash and also had to take antibiotics to fight a chest cold and fever. "It was raining a lot. We couldnt see any motorcycle. We all knew it was very dangerous," Quintana said. "We climbed the Stelvio together, and we all started to descend. There were four or five of us who pulled clear of the group. "I went at my rhythm. I gave everything today. I was climbing well in the end." Cadel Evans was third, 3:21 behind Quintana, and only five seconds ahead of Rolland, with other rivals also gaining time on the Australian. It was the first time both the Gavia and the Stelvio had been climbed on the same day and the stage was an exact copy of one of the legs in last years Giro, which had to be altered because of bad weather. There were fears the weather would again affect the stage this year and there was brief confusion as it was wrongly reported the route down the Stelvio had been neutralized with blizzards and rain making the technical descent even more treacherous. Some teams as well as the person responsible for the Giros official twitter acccount misinterpreted instructions to be careful on the descent, with riders slowing down at the top, wrongly understanding it to have been neutralized.dddddddddddd "The communication was badly interpreted by some teams," race director Mauro Vegni said. "The indications only highlighted the danger of several curves in a risky part of the descent. It was never said that the race was neutralized or that they shouldnt race." Several team directors continued to insist they had been told by the race radio to tell their cyclists the descent had been neutralized. That came after the cyclists had already dealt with heavy fog and snow on the Gavia. There was a group of 10 cyclists in the break which led up up the Stelvio and although, they had a lead of over two minutes, that started to come down on the climb. Dario Cataldo attacked 2km (1.2 mile) from the summit and went on to claim the Cima Coppi prize, awarded to the cyclist who crosses the highest point of the race first. He sped down the descent, as confusion appeared to reign in the peloton, with some cyclists sitting up and taking time to put on warmer clothing. Quintana went clear of Uran, and his chasing group was 1:20 behind Cataldo as the latter started the final climb up Val Martello, with the maglia rosa group more than two minutes further back. The Colombian and Rolland attacked with 18km (11 miles) remaining and caught Cataldo shortly afterward. Hesjedal caught up with the leading trio and Cataldo was then dropped as the leaders upped their pace. They continued to distance the overall leaders and Quintana accelerated with 7.5km (4.6 miles) to go, as the gradient ramped up to 14%. Rolland and Hesjedal managed to stay with Quintana, but had no response when the Movistar rider upped the pace yet again on an equally steep part just inside the final kilometre. ' ' '