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Nadal and Sharapova win Indian Wells titles

Monday - 3/18/2013, 1:12pm  ET

Maria Sharapova, of Russia, makes a return against Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Sunday, March 17, 2013, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) -- Rafael Nadal continued his successful comeback with his third title in four tournaments, and Maria Sharapova broke through, too.

Nadal rallied to beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and win the BNP Paribas Open after Sharapova claimed her first title of the year, 6-2, 6-2 over Caroline Wozniacki in the women's final on Sunday.

Nadal improved to a career-best 17-1 on the year, including 14 straight match wins since returning in early February after a seven-month layoff because of a left knee injury.

He's won three titles -- two on clay while runner-up in another on his favorite surface -- and now his first on hard courts since Tokyo in October 2010. He had lost six previous finals on the surface.

"That's makes emotional week for me," he said. "Very important victory for me, winning against the best players of the world on a surface that is good for them."

Sharapova, runner-up here last year, won her first Indian Wells title since 2006. She and Nadal each earned $1 million.

"It's nice to hold up that trophy after so many years," she said.

The victories moved up both players in this week's rankings. Nadal is No. 4 and Sharapova is No. 2 behind Serena Williams.

"Number 1 is a great number," Sharapova said. "But I think at this point in my career, titles and Grand Slams are just a bigger priority."

Nadal won his 600th career match and broke a tie with Roger Federer for most career ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles with his 22nd.

Nadal defeated Federer in straight sets in the quarterfinals, then took out Tomas Berdych in two sets in the semis. Against Del Potro, Nadal rolled to an early lead in a match that was marked by several momentum swings.

Nadal served three love games in the third set, capping his last one with a 123-mph ace that gave him a 5-3 lead.

Del Potro came from love-40 down and fought off three match points to hold at 5-4. But Nadal served out the match, dropping just one point in the final game of the 2
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