Sports


Sporting comebacks of 2013




Posted on December 19, 2013


NEW YORK -- Great sporting comebacks of 2013:

Oracle Team USA’s comeback to win the America’s Cup. Few challenges have seemed as hopeless as that facing Larry Ellison’s Team USA when trailing Emirates Team New Zealand 8-1 in the best-of-17 series in San Francisco Bay in September.

The Jimmy Spithill-skippered Team USA kept its head, however, and after replacing its tactician with Olympic champion Ben Ainslie, displayed vastly improved tacking and teamwork to ride a huge wave of momentum into a winner-takes-all showdown.

Team USA duly crushed the Dean Barker-skippered Team New Zealand in the decider to retain the trophy it won three years before and reinvigorate a once-troubled regatta.

Rafael Nadal’s brilliant comeback season. Diagnosed with a tear in his patella tendon and inflammation in his left knee, Spaniard Nadal was unable to defend his Olympic title last year and missed the second half of 2012.

A stomach flu delayed his comeback further and saw him miss the year’s first grand slam at the Australian Open, but after a low-profile reentry at a tournament in Chile in February, Nadal won an astonishing 10 titles, including an eighth French Open crown and the US Open.

The Mallorcan also recaptured the world number one ranking from Novak Djokovic and though the 13-time grand slam champion was pummelled by the Serb in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, he finished the year with the top ranking for the third time in his career.

Adam Scott shrugs off British Open disappointment to win US Masters. Pundits had consigned Australia’s Adam Scott to a life on the psychiatrist’s couch after he blew the biggest chance to win his maiden major at the British Open at Lytham last year, when he gave up a four-stroke lead with four holes to play to gift Ernie Els the trophy.

Long regarded an unfulfilled talent, Scott shrugged off the meltdown and told his critics that the disappointment only confirmed that he had it in him to win majors.

When presented with his next chance at Augusta in April, Scott sunk a 25-foot birdie putt to force his way into a playoff with Argentine Angel Cabrera and closed out an emotional victory, the first by an Australian at Augusta, with a 15-foot putt on the second extra hole.

Miami Heat’s comeback to beat San Antonio in NBA finals. The reigning NBA champions trailed 3-2 in the best-of-seven finals series and were five points down and 20 seconds away from giving up their title during game six on their home court in June.

Officials had started roping off the court for the trophy presentation and spectators were leaving in their droves when the Heat’s Ray Allen made a three-pointer with five seconds on the clock to tie the game 95-95 and put it into overtime.

Fired by LeBron James, Heat closed out the game 103-100 to force the decider and returned to the court to seal back-to-back titles with a 95-88 win in game seven.

Borussia Dortmund sink Malaga in stoppage-time during Champions League quarterfinals. Trailing 2-1 in second half stoppage time in the second leg of their quarterfinal in April, Dortmund refused to lie down and die, despite the exit of hundreds of its fans from its home stadium.

Last-gasp goals from Marco Reus and Felipe Santana sent the Germans through in a stunning finish that sealed its first appearance in the European competition’s last four for 15 years.

The magic continued for Dortmund as it upset Real Madrid in the semifinal before its fairytale run was ended by fellow Germans Bayern Munich in the final.

New England Patriots win NFL overtime thriller against Broncos. The Patriots trailed the Denver Broncos, favorites to win the Super Bowl, 24-0 at halftime during the regular season game in November, but came to life in the second half courtesy of quarterback Tom Brady’s heroics.

Brady struck with 31 straight points to set up a dramatic overtime finish and allow Stephen Gostkowski to kick the 31-yard field goal for a thrilling 34-31 win. -- Reuters