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Federer gracious in praise of Sunday opponent at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As befitting his status as a 17-time Grand Slam champion and as an astute judge of the sport, Roger Federer's reply to a simple question about his next opponent was handled with the same aplomb as one of his stylish groundstrokes. The player in question was Kei Nishikori, who plays Federer in a fourth-round night match Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. 'I'm a big fan of his game,' Federer said. 'He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or cross-court. He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind. I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop.' Federer said he'll need another strong service game if he's going to give Nishikori some trouble. In Federer's win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday, he didn't face a break point and he won points on 95 percent of the first serves he got into play — 39 of 41, and all 16 in the third and final set. 'This one's going to be completely different to Tomas ... there's going to be more rallies, even though the surface remains fast. I said it at the beginning of the week, it's not easy to control the ball. Today again, when you serve well, it pays dividends. I hope I can keep that up against Kei.' Asked if Nishikori should be considered the favorite because of the No. 5 seeding (Federer is 17th after a six-month left knee injury layoff) Federer replied, smiling: 'Yeah, sure, he's the favorite. Maybe. I don't know.' Nishikori said he watched some of the Federer-Berdych match and was impressed. 'Roger, it's a big challenge for me,' Nishikori said. 'I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. Happy to see him back 100 percent.' Here are some other featured matches Sunday: ___ NO PRESSURE: Top-seeded Andy Murray plays Mischa Zverev in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, is heavily favored. The 50th-ranked Zverev, the older brother of 19-year-old rising star Alexander Zverev — who lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round — says Murray could go either way while pondering his ranking advantage. 'I don't know if it's more pressure on him or maybe it's a relief,' Mischa Zverev said. 'If someone like Novak (Djokovic) is out of the tournament, I feel like the whole rhythm of the tournament changes a little bit, so we'll see what's going to happen.' Zverev hopes to possibly rile the often volatile Murray. 'If he plays his best tennis, obviously I don't think I have a lot of chances, but it'll depend on the day,' he said. 'Let's see if I can annoy him a little bit. If I'm serving well and not missing any volleys, maybe I can do some damage.' ____ KERBER IN CONTROL?: Defending champion Angelique Kerber plays American CoCo Vandeweghe in the match following Federer-Nishikori on Rod Laver. Kerber holds a 2-0 career edge, although the last time the two played — in Wuhan, China in 2015 — Vandeweghe retired from the match with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-1, 3-1. 'CoCo is a tough opponent ... she's serving well,' Kerber said. 'I have to move good ... bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.' ___ IN BRIEF: Venus Williams, who is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam main draw — a record for the Open era — plays Mona Barthel in an afternoon match. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his quest for titles in consecutive Grand Slams — and his fourth major overall — when he plays Andreas Seppi. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza plays Sorana Cirstea. ___ Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this story. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

All-Stars LeBron, Irving lead Cavs past Suns

em>By Tom Withers, Associated Press /em> CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season. Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms. Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games. Already thin on their front line with Love out, the Cavs lost forward Tristan Thompson in the second quarter with a dislocated left index finger. However, Thompson returned after halftime. And Cleveland's offense was in a much better rhythm from the start after a trip that wasn't always pleasing to the eye. While trying to integrate newly acquired Kyle Korver into their rotation on the road, the Cavs got into some bad habits as they forced passes to one of the league's best shooters. A couple of practices seem to have helped as Korver made a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter of his home debut to help Cleveland open a 21-point lead. The Suns made a brief run in the third and got within 12 before Shumpert hit a pair of three’s and Jones hit one from long range. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em> Chandler has at least 15 rebounds in six straight games, matching the club record set by Jim Fox in 1969. Phoenix coach Earl Watson has known Korver for years. When he joined the Jazz in 2010, Watson leased Korver's condominium in Utah. 'We go back. I sent him a lot of money every month,' Watson said with a smile. 'I'm glad I don't do that anymore.' On a serious note, Watson said Korver is a perfect addition for Cleveland, especially while J.R. Smith recovers from thumb surgery. 'He's a deadly knock-down shooter. He knows how to win,' Watson said. 'They're looking more long term instead of immediate. You get into the playoffs and you need a big three to stretch the floor. He's obviously the best shooter on their team. It's an impressive move.' em> strong>Cavaliers: /strong> /em>James, who missed his 46th career triple-double by one rebound, will be making his 13th consecutive All-Star Game appearance next month. He said the honor never gets old. 'Just means I've been doing something right in this league,' he said. 'Means I'm consistent and taking pride in my individual ability to go out and produce for the team every night, and whatever team I've been on in my career. It's always great to see my name up there with the best guys in the league, so it's a pretty cool thing.' Smith has had the hard cast removed from his right hand. He's expected back in late March. Jones made his first start since April 2, 2015. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em> At the New York Knicks on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Phoenix won the first meeting this season in overtime. em> strong>Cavaliers: /strong> /em>Host the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in a matchup between two of the NBA's best teams. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Warriors break ground on San Francisco arena with fanfare

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hard hats on, Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant lifted their golden shovels filled with dirt in a ceremonial moment for the Warriors franchise as it broke ground on snazzy new San Francisco digs at long last. And keeping KD in a Golden State uniform to see it through is a key part of the grand plan. This project has already been 4.5 years in the making. 'Honestly, a relief to some extent,' owner and CEO Joe Lacob said. Kerr is campaigning for the Golden State name to stay put along with his superstar players. 'We are the Golden State Warriors and it's not up to me, but I don't want it to change,' Kerr said. 'It's a unique name. It's the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area's team, no matter whether we're playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco. The name Golden State Warriors, there's too much history, there's too much tradition to change.' Even if in a success-oriented business like the NBA, nobody knows who will still be around when 18,000-seat Chase Center is complete. Kerr has no idea if he will even still be on the sidelines then. 'If you're lucky enough in life, like I've been, you reach a point where you get to choose who you work with, you get to choose where you live and you get to choose where you work,' Kerr said. 'By those metrics, I want to stay here forever. I'm also an NBA coach and I'm well aware that this building is going to take about three years to build, so the chances of me standing on the sidelines for the Warriors are slim to hopeful. Maybe as, like, the coach of another team. 'So far, so good, so hopefully I'll still be here.' Next, Golden State will likely work to keep both two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Durant for the long haul by negotiating new deals this year. Kerr speaks to Durant daily and knows he is happy with his new Bay Area surroundings. 'We're going to win for a long time. ... We'll do whatever it takes to be champions again,' Lacob said of spending on players. He even publicly put KD on the spot: 'Kevin Durant came here without a new arena. Thank you, Kevin ... and also for agreeing to re-sign this summer. I have no idea how he's going to respond to that.' The Warriors did a little bit of everything to showcase how this will be far more than just a sports venue: The over-the-top groundbreaking featured a trio of songs by a gospel choir to kick off festivities, included a performance by the San Francisco Symphony and even acrobatic dancers dressed as construction workers for a grand finale of sorts that included beach balls dropping from an excavator before the equipment rigs moved in synchronization to the music in an extravagant routine featuring trampolines. Only boosting the mood was the California Supreme Court's decision earlier in the day to deny a petition by arena opponents seeking to overturn the Warriors' entitlements, further clearing the way for the project to move ahead — 'so we're totally good to go here,' Lacob noted. 'Wow, what a day!' said Warriors COO Rick Welts, noting the team will boast one of the world's premier 'gathering places' — for concerts and conventions, political events and more. 'Every city needs it. We need it. It will be great for San Francisco,' co-owner Peter Guber said. 'We now have proof, not just promises.' Curry got a break from public duties this time, a day after the Warriors pulled off a stunning 126-91 rout of LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers. Golden State hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee — among dozens of dignitaries in attendance — hollered, 'finally welcoming the Golden State Warriors home to San Francisco!' He rattled off the Warriors' star-studded roster and the energy around the franchise and its long-term mission. 'What's not to love?' he said. Lacob can't wait — and realizes how many people will miss the great vibe at the team's current home of Oracle Arena, an atmosphere the Warriors hope to replicate in many ways. Not only will the 11 acres include restaurants, cafes, businesses and other new additions to add vitality to the neighborhood, there will be a 51.5-acre bay-front park across from the arena. 'It is going to sing,' he said. 'It takes my breath away when we look at the renderings.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

PEP EXCLUSIVE. Mocha Uson to critics of her MTRCB appointment: "Mag-move on na kayo."

PEP EXCLUSIVE. Mocha Uson to critics of her MTRCB appointment: "Mag-move on na kayo.".....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Guardiola sounds tetchy but City exit doesn't seem imminent

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Only six months into his Manchester City reign, Pep Guardiola has sounded tetchy and strained by the demands of English soccer. And the 45-year-old already seems to be counting down to his departure. Not just from City and the English Premier League but soccer completely. 'Manchester City is three years or maybe longer but I am still approaching at the end of my career like a manager,' Guardiola said in broken English in an interview with American network NBC taped in early December but only broadcast last week. 'I am pretty sure of that.' But the end is not imminent. Before City scrambles to start the search for a successor, Guardiola is clearly not planning an immediate escape from Manchester however chilly he is finding his first English winter. 'I will not be a trainer @ 60 or 65 years old,' Guardiola stated, looking ahead to the 2030s. And within City there is no sense Guardiola is taking his eye off the challenge of bringing the Premier League trophy back to the Etihad for the first time since 2014. Guardiola, who was particularly testy after Monday's league win over Burnley, is quickly discovering just how tough the competition is. City has opened the second half of the season in third place and is seven points behind leader Chelsea, which also has a game in hand, while Manchester United is only three points further back in sixth. Unlike in his previous jobs at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there's no guarantee of a trophy at the end of Guardiola's first season and the comments to NBC will create uncertainty, if unintended, about his commitment to City. It is curious for anyone to announce so early into any job that they are already thinking about their departure. Even more so when you have been pursued for so long by City, which installed former Barcelona executives to make the club more appealing to Guardiola. But when City managed to land Guardiola, the club knew it was hiring someone not interested in long-term projects. Guardiola won a trio of Spanish titles and two Champions League crowns with Barcelona between 2008 and 2012 before vacating the Camp Nou dugout. Three seasons at Bayern Munich, collecting another trio of domestic titles, were enough for Guardiola before taking up a new challenge in Manchester. Guardiola might be obsessive when in a job, but he is not addicted to soccer or the limelight. Between the Barcelona and Bayern jobs, he was content to take a year's sabbatical living in New York. And in the United States, Guardiola was fascinated by an apparent 'American culture' in the workplace. 'People are not staying in the same place for a long time,' he said. 'They move a lot and I believe in that.' Guardiola's soccer aura has faded in England, with City's four league losses more than any rival in the top six. The latest impediment in the title pursuit was inflicted by Liverpool as former Bundesliga rival Juergen Klopp got the better of Guardiola. In Guardiola's first taste of the packed festive program in English soccer, City was back in action inside 48 hours on Monday. The game against Burnley started badly with Fernandinho being sent off but 10-man City did manage to claim a 2-1 victory. Rather than celebrating, Guardiola gave curt post-match interviews where he sounded irritated with the line of questioning about City's disciplinary problems and the interview about his future. It was far from a meltdown as Guardiola has to operate within the constraints of Football Association rules that restrict how coaches can talk about referees. A frustrated Guardiola talked about 'special rules' in England, reflecting how he is still getting accustomed to how soccer laws are interpreted by Premier League referees, rather than criticizing their quality. 'I have to adapt,' Guardiola said. Perhaps, Guardiola has sensed the glee that seems to greet each setback in England and claims his coaching reputation is reliant on being fortunate to have Lionel Messi among his Barcelona talents. Far from being egotistical, Guardiola accepts he is 'not exceptional.' 'I was lucky to train outstanding players in a big club,' he said. 'If I would have trained lower teams than Barcelona and Bayern Munich I would not have won this amount of incredible titles I have won. For the people who believe Pep comes here and City's going to win. No.' And no, Guardiola isn't already packing his bags and heading for Manchester Airport. Guardiola was quoted across British media on Tuesday as telling NBC that 'the process of my goodbye has already started' — a comment that never featured in the broadcast interview. The headlines, though, will do little to dispel the notion that Guardiola's dedication to City is wavering. ___ Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Hero’s welcome as Oscar lands in China for 60-mn-euro move

Hero’s welcome as Oscar lands in China for 60-mn-euro move.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

PH may move naval drills with US away from South China Sea - Lorenzana

PH may move naval drills with US away from South China Sea - Lorenzana.....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

China says it will shut down ivory trade by end of 2017

JOHANNESBURG — China says it plans to shut down its ivory trade by the end of 2017 in a move designed to curb the mass slaughter of African elephants......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 30th, 2016

Ronaldo's agent confirms $315 M offer from Chinese league

MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's agent says the Real Madrid star has been offered 'more than 100 million' euros per season to move to the Chinese Super League. But Ronaldo isn't going anywhere. Asked by Italy's Sky Sport about reports of a 300 million euro ($315 million) transfer offer to Madrid and a 100 million euro ($105 million) per season contract offer from an unspecified club, Jorge Mendes replied, 'It's normal. He's the best player in the world and the best of all time. More than 100.' Mendes adds, 'But Cristiano is happy at Real Madrid. China is a new market which could buy some players. But for Cristiano it's impossible. ... He's going to continue playing at Real Madrid. Money is not everything in life. Speaking at a soccer awards event in Dubai, Mendes did hint at a possible departure from Madrid for James Rodriguez but wouldn't say where the Colombia international might go: 'I'm not going to talk about squads. Let's see what happens.' On Thursday, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez signed to play for Shanghai Shenhua, becoming the latest in a procession of star players to join the Chinese Super League. Chinese clubs have spent heavily over the past year to attract mainly South American stars. Last week, Shenhua's city rival Shanghai SIPG sealed a deal with Oscar from Chelsea. Other stars to join Chinese clubs include the Brazilians Hulk, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2016

Trump names critics of China, regulation for economic posts

Trump names critics of China, regulation for economic posts.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2016

Final day loss costs Paragua

GM Wang Hao of China slammed the title door on GM Mark Paragua with a crushing 42-move win of a Sicilian to rule the Philippine Sports Commission-Puregold International Chess Challenge at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel Sunday night......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 19th, 2016

Ex-DFA chief hits gov't move to 'relinquish' arbitration victory vs. China - GMA News

Ex-DFA chief hits gov't move to 'relinquish' arbitration victory vs. China - GMA News.....»»

Category: newsSource:  googlenewsRelated NewsDec 19th, 2016

Paragua falls to undefeated Chinese GM in International Chess Challenge

MANILA, Philippines – GM Wang Hao of China foiled GM Mark Paragua's ambitious title bid with a 42-move victory of a Sicilian to top the Philippine Sports Com.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 19th, 2016

China sub seizes US naval probe

WASHINGTON—China “unlawfully” seized an unmanned US naval probe in international waters in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said Friday, a move sure to heighten tensions around Beijing’s military presence in the disputed area......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 17th, 2016

‘PH can’t stop China’

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. admitted Friday that the Philippines cannot do anything about China’s move to militarize a series of contested artificial islands in the South China Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 16th, 2016

Vietnam begins dredging on South China Sea reef

Vietnam has begun dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, satellite imagery shows, the latest move by the Communist state to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 9th, 2016

Opinion: President-Elect Donald Trump to Unravel the Strategic Rebalancing to Asia?

DURING HIS LAST trip to Southeast Asia as the President of the United States, President Barack Obama made an emphatic defense of his "strategic rebalancing policy," dismissing critics who doubted America's long-term role in the region. A significant compo.....»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsDec 6th, 2016

China lodges protest

China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after US President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the “petty” move......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 4th, 2016

Trump speaks with Taiwan s president, risking China tensions

NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2016