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Nadal Keeps Laboring, but He Keeps Winning

Christophe Ena/Associated Press
Rafael Nadal struggled at times against Ivan Ljubicic, but was able to defeat him in straight sets on Monday.
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: May 30, 2011

PARIS — It has often looked like work this year for Rafael Nadal at his favorite playground. He needed five sets in the first round of the FrenchOpen to disarm the unconventional weapons of the towering John Isner, and although Nadal has yet to lose another set on his well-worn path to the quarterfinals, there has been grinding and grumbling in unusual quantities.

 It is as if Nadal is facing two opponents: the one across the net and the one who surely keeps crossing his mind’s eye. Novak Djokovic is one victory away from supplantingNadal as No. 1.
Nadal has already lost to Djokovic four times this year, twice on clay, and if he is dissatisfied with his level of play here, it is because he suspects what level will be required if he and Djokovic, 41-0 this year, play in the French Open final on Sunday. 
Lesser opponents can sense the doubts, too, including Ivan Ljubicic, an outspoken Croatian veteran with a huge serve whowas stamping his feet at his own errors in the first set Monday, believing he was on the verge of generating a genuine threat after erasing an early break.  
“First set, I had chances,” Ljubicic said. “I felt like he felt the pressure.” 

PARIS - A menudo se veía como el trabajo de este año para Rafael Nadal en su plaza favorita. Necesitaba cinco sets en la primera ronda del Abierto de Franciapara desarmar a las armas no convencionales de la torre John Isner, y aunque Nadal aún no ha perdido otra serie en su camino trillado de los cuartos de final, se ha rectificado y quejas en el inusual cantidades.

  Es como si Nadal se enfrenta a dos adversarios: el uno a través de la red y el que sin duda sigue atravesando el ojo de su mente. Novak Djokovic es una victoria de suplantación deNadal como N º 1.
Nadal ya ha perdido a Djokovic en cuatro ocasiones este año, dos veces en arcilla, y si no está satisfecho con su nivel de juego aquí, es porque sospecha que nivel va a ser necesario si él y Djokovic, 41-0 este año, el juego en final del Abierto de Francia el domingo.
Menores oponentes pueden sentir las dudas, también, incluyendo Ivan Ljubicic, un veterano franco croata con ungran servicio que estaba golpeando con los pies en sus propios errores en el primer set lunes, creyendo que estaba a punto de generar una amenaza real después de borrar una ruptura temprana.
"En primer set, tuve oportunidades ", dijo Ljubicic. "Me sentía como se sentía la presión."

Reyes Goes on Leave, and Mets Slug 15 Hits

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
Justin Turner tags out the Pirates'Ronny Cedeno attampting to steal second base to end the seventh inning.
By KEN BELSON
Published: May 30, 2011
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
Carlos Beltran, left, and Daniel Murphy scored on a double by Josh Thole that broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning.
Now the Mets, already missing David Wright and Ike Davis, will have to make do without Reyes as well. On Monday, Reyes left the teamafter the death of his grandmother, and he may be gone as long as a week on bereavement leave.
With Reyes gone, Manager Terry Collins juggled his lineup for Monday night’s opener of a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He moved Ruben Tejada to shortstop from second base, inserted Willie Harris at third base and moved Justin Turner to second base from third. Daniel Murphy hit cleanupbecause Jason Bay, who is hitting .241, was given the day off.
Nevertheless, the Mets found a way to beat the Pirates, 7-3, despite hitting poorly with runners in scoring position. After compiling a season-high 17 hits on Sunday, the Mets added 15 on Monday, including three each by Murphy, Tejada and Angel Pagan.
“These guys have rallied around each other,” Collins said. “They’ve hung in...
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