King of clay

Rafael Nadal


Roger Federer

, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (10), in an exhibition yesterday on a half-grass, half-clay court in Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands, when the top-ranked Swiss player failed to reach a forehand that took a funny bounce across the green side.

"We're used to playing long, hard games with a lot of tension involved," Federer said. "So it's fun to play on this half-grass, half-clay surface."

Nadal came into the match with a record 72 straight wins on clay. Federer hasn't lost on grass in 4 years - a 48-match run that includes four straight Wimbledon titles.

"It was a long match, with many changes of pace and with little time to adapt," Nadal said. "My feet are suffering as a price of having to adapt to the grass."

Federer was leading 4-1 in the tiebreaker before Nadal rallied. After the Spaniard double-faulted while ahead 6-5, the players traded match points. Nadal then hit three of the final four winners from the clay side in front of a sellout crowd of about 7,000.

"It was a fun way to pass 2 1/2 hours," Nadal said.

In other tennis news:

* Australian Open champion Serena Williams pulled out of next week's German Open due to a groin injury. Former French Open winner Anastasia Myskina withdrew with a toe injury.

* Fourth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis struggled past rookie Matthias Bachinger, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals of the BMW Open in Munich, Germany.

Philly File

* Villanova football players signing free-agent contracts with NFL teams are center Christian Gaddis (Buffalo), defensive back Terrance Reaves (St. Louis) and safety Allyn Bacchus (Atlanta). Temple offensive tackle Elliot Seifert signed with Cincinnati.

Sport Stops

* Charles Wells, the longtime agent for track star Marion Jones, has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Prosecutors said Wells played a minor role in a scam that used a stable of track figures to cash and launder millions of dollars in forged or counterfeit checks over several years. Sprinter and former Olympian Tim Montgomery pleaded guilty in April to cashing some of the bogus checks on behalf of a ring of counterfeiters in New York. Montgomery, who fathered a child with Jones, could be sentenced to more than 3 years in prison.

* Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will drive for Foyt Racing and carry the No. 50 on his car in recognition of A.J. Foyt's 50 years at the race.

* Marathon recordholder Paula Radcliffe may miss the world championships in Japan this August because of a back injury that occurred during the 27 hours of labor it took to deliver her daughter Isla on Jan. 17.

* Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, reiterated his full confidence in the French laboratory that tested Floyd Landis' samples from the Tour de France. Pound defended the Chatenay-Malabry lab, which found that Landis recorded elevated levels of testosterone - including synthetic versions of the substance - when he won last year's Tour. *