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Djokovic beats Shapovalov to reach 3rd round in Shanghai

By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Novak Djokovic opened his title defense at the Shanghai Masters by beating Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the third round. Djokovic, who had a bye into the second round, improved his career record against the Canadian to 3-0 and has now won 22 straight sets in Asia — dating back to his title run in Shanghai last year and also including last week's Japan Open. "Because of the history that I had in this tournament and in general in the Asian swing and lots of success and lots of matches won in my career, I actually feel less pressure because I'm more confident that I can perform at my best," Djokovic said. Dominic Thiem kept his momentum going as well after winning last week's China Open, beating Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (3), 6-3. Thiem had lost in the second round in Shanghai the last four years in a row. Sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas also advanced, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3) for the Greek's first win in six attempts over his Canadian opponent. The pair have met three times this season, with the other three matches on the ITF Junior Circuit. "Great. Very nice," said Tsitsipas, when asked how it felt to finally beat the 19th-ranked Auger-Aliassime. "I did things differently this time, but I prefer not to say what I did differently." Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev also advanced to the Round of 16 with a 7-6 (13), 7-6 (3) win over French qualifier Jeremy Chardy. Zverev, who served 21 aces, saved three set points in the first-set tiebreaker. He won that tiebreaker on his sixth set point. "It was a great tiebreaker obviously," Zverev said. "We both served incredibly well and didn't hit a lot of second serves. ... Against Jeremy I always knew it was going to be tough especially on a surface like that, which is lightning fast. I think it's the fastest surface on tour." His biggest problem in the second tiebreaker came when he lost his grip on his racket when hitting a forehand and watched it sail into the fourth row of the crowd. However, it landed in an empty seat and was quickly passed back down to the apologetic German. Chardy has now lost 11 consecutive matches against top 10 opponents dating back to when he defeated then fourth-ranked Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the 2018 Miami Masters. The 16th-seeded John Isner was the only one of three Americans to advance, beating Lucas Pouille of France 7-5, 6-3. Taylor Fritz fell to seventh-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-2, 6-4, and Reilly Opelka lost to eighth-seeded Robert Bautista Agut of Spain 6-4, 7-5......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 9th, 2019

Like a lion, Nadal beats Schwartzman to reach US Open semi

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal kept pulling away in his U.S. Open quarterfinal, then getting reeled back in by Diego Schwartzman. In the first set, Nadal led 4-0 before Schwartzman got to 4-all. In the second, Nadal went up 5-1 before Schwartzman made it 5-all. Took more than two hours just for those two sets. Eventually, both were claimed by Nadal. And so, ultimately, was the match and a berth in a 33rd Grand Slam semifinal for Nadal, who prevented Schwartzman from reaching his first by winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 after 12:30 a.m. Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "Like a lion in the ... jungle. He's big. He's a fighter. He knows how to play the important moments, every single time," Schwartzman said. "I've played him eight times and every important moment, he played better than me." No wonder Nadal is 8-0 against the guy. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both out of the bracket, but Nadal is still around, meaning at least one member of the Big Three is in the semis at a 62nd consecutive major tournament. That trio has combined to win the last 11 Slam trophies — and Nadal is going to be heavily favored to make that 12. None of the other men left has played in a major final, let alone won one. Nadal, though, is closing in on a fourth championship at the U.S. Open and his 19th at all majors, which would move him within only one of Federer's record for men. On Friday, Nadal will play No. 24 Matteo Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome who is Italy's first male semifinalist in New York since 1977. Berrettini barely got there, edging No. 13 Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday. The other men's semifinal will be No. 5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia vs. 78th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. In the women's semifinals Thursday, Serena Williams meets No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, and No. 13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland takes on No. 15 Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Dimitrov won a five-setter Tuesday night against Federer, who was hampered by an issue with his upper back. Medvedev won his quarterfinal in four sets against Stan Wawrinka, who had built a big lead in the fourth round against Djokovic when the defending champion stopped because of pain in his left shoulder. A year ago, it was Nadal whose body broke down: He retired from his semifinal against runner-up Juan Martin del Potro because of a bad knee. This time, on a muggy night with the humidity above 50%, the left-hander raised some concern by having a trainer come out to rub a cream into that forearm during a changeover early in the third set. At the next changeover, Nadal flexed his right forearm and was visited again by the trainer, took a salt pill and guzzled some drinks, then shook that arm between points in the following game. Afterward, Nadal said he had dealt with cramps late in the second set and early in the third. "And then I took some salt, that's all, and then it was over. The body is in good shape, I think. Not big problems," Nadal said. "Just, of course, a little tired. Long day." Still, Nadal managed to play his best when it mattered the most against the 20th-seeded Schwartzman, an Argentine serenaded by loud choruses of "Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé!" by an audience that included former San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili. Nadal came up with a service break in the last game of each of the opening two sets, then the last one he would need made it 4-2 in the third and he broke yet again to end it. "I don't know how," Schwartzman said, "but this guy is improving every time." Now Nadal becomes Berrettini's problem. Berrettini describes his mental coach as a big help and a best friend. They've been speaking on the phone before and after every match. And they certainly had plenty to chat about when it came to this latest victory. Berrettini double-faulted away his initial match point and then needed four more to finally put away Monfils after nearly four hours. "He told me, 'I need to thank you, because I thought that everyone is born once and dies once. But during that match, I was born and died 15 or 16 times,'" Berrettini said about his conversation with the mental coach he's worked with for several years. "I collapsed and got back up. I collapsed and got back up. That match point. Those other chances. I was down then I came back. It's a great source of pride for me." In truth, the denouement was hardly a thing of beauty, with both men, clearly spent, fighting themselves and the tension of the moment as much as the guy on the other side of the net. Monfils finished with 17 double-faults but managed to avoid any throughout the entire, exhausting fifth set until he served at 6-5 — and then he had three in that game, plus another two in the deciding tiebreaker, often doubling over between points to rest and catch his breath. "A very bad day for me, serving," Monfils said. Berrettini acknowledged the obvious afterward, too, saying he felt "a little bit tight." You think? It all was a bit of a whir. "Right now, I don't remember any points, just the (last) match point, you know?" he said. "I remember also the double-fault; I have to be honest.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Murray loses to De Minaur in 2nd round in Zhuhai

ZHUHAI, China (AP) — Andy Murray's singles comeback hit another roadblock as he lost 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Alex de Minaur of Australia in the second round of the Zhuhai Championships on Thursday. Murray won his first tour-level match since having hip surgery in January when he beat Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday but couldn't follow that up despite winning the first set, as he only converted two of his nine break points. Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas also exited the tournament as he was forced to retire before the third set against Adrian Mannarino of France. He had called for a trainer twice during the match. Andreas Seppi of Italy advanced after saving five match points in the deciding tiebreaker before beating local favorite Zhang Zhizhen 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (8). Also, Croatia's Borna Coric, who beat Wu Di of China 6-3, 6-3. In another marathon match at the Chengdu Open, unseeded Belarusian Egor Gerasimov upset top-seeded John Isner 6-7 (11), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) to reach the quarterfinals. Gerasimov will face Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who dispatched America's Bradley Klahn 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3). In another upset, Portugal's Joao Sousa ousted second-seeded Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4. He will play Lloyd Harris, who beat Serbia's Dujan Lajovic 6-3, 6-3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2019

Host China stung by World Cup exit: A long way to go

    SHANGHAI, China – The knives were out in China on Thursday, September 5, after the basketball World Cup host failed to reach the second round, triggering criticism normally reserved for the country's woeful football squad. Chinese basketball boss Yao Ming, an NBA Hall of Famer, was reduced to a 7-foot-5 of ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Hello, World Cup: A record field set for FIBA s main event

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — The biggest basketball World Cup is about to begin. Many of the world’s top players — and a couple of the world’s top national teams — are not in China for the FIBA World Cup, a 32-team extravaganza that begins Saturday. At stake over the next 16 days: The world championship, along with seven of the 11 remaining available berths in next summer’s Tokyo Olympics. And several teams figure they can be the one to thwart the United States’ bid for an unprecedented third straight crown. “We’re here to go for gold,” said Sasha Djordjevic, the coach of Serbia — a team that some consider the tournament’s gold-medal favorite. “Every game that we play will be the biggest game for us.” The first eight games of the tournament are Saturday, and things will move quite rapidly. The eight-game-a-day pace continues through Sept. 9, with quarterfinal games on Sept. 10 and 11, semifinals on Sept. 13 with the event capped by the gold- and bronze-medal games in Beijing on Sept. 15. All told, 92 games will be played in eight cities. “We have nothing to lose,” said Japan guard Yuta Watanabe, whose team will face the U.S. in the group stage. FIBA changed much about the tournament for this edition. The event was moved back a year; the last World Cup was in 2014, and it was bumped to 2019 this time around to avoid going against the FIFA World Cup for men’s soccer in the same years. The field was expanded from 24 to 32 and qualifying rules were vastly altered largely to keep NBA and other pro-league players from helping their countries reach the event. For some nations, that became a huge problem. European champion Slovenia, the world’s seventh-ranked team, is not in the World Cup. Same goes for world No. 9-ranked Croatia, which lost eight of its 12 qualifying games. Yet for other nations, the changes sparked opportunity — Nigeria, Venezuela, Italy and Japan all qualified for the first time since 2006, and Poland made the field for the first time since 1967. “The World Cup is an unbelievable competition,” said Canada coach Nick Nurse, who doubles as coach of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors. “Great teams and coaches and scouting and work and preparation that will make anyone better for going through that. So I’m extremely honored and excited and humbled to be here.” Most of the top Americans aren’t in the World Cup, a few because of injuries, other candidates cited schedule concerns. Of the 35 leading scorers from this past NBA season who would have been eligible to play for the U.S. team, only two — Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz — are wearing the red, white and blue in China. “I’m more concerned with who is here than who isn’t,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. For the international teams, though, there’s minimal concern about big-name absences. Greece is led by NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Serbia is led by All-NBA center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and France features third-team All-NBA center Rudy Gobert. And the host Chinese are hoping to make a splash as well. “It’s a rare opportunity for all of us,” former NBA player Yi Jianlian, now the Chinese captain, said in Beijing earlier this week. “You can feel the special duty when you see the national flag on your chest.” Some other things to know as the World Cup begins: FORMAT Teams were drawn into eight groups of four for the opening round, with the two top teams from each group making the round of 16 and the others going into classification games to determine 17th through 32nd place. Games are four 10-minute quarters, so regulation is eight minutes shorter than an NBA game. The 3-point line is a bit closer than in the NBA, especially from the top of the arc — that’s 22 feet, 2 inches in FIBA play, or 19 inches closer than the NBA stripe. The top two teams from the Americas, top two from Europe and top regional finisher form Asia, Africa and Oceania will clinch spots to join Japan in the 2020 Olympics; the last four spots in the 12-team field for the Tokyo Games will come down to qualifying next July. BEST GROUP The so-called “group of death” would be Group H, with Australia (which just beat the U.S. in a friendly to snap a 78-game winning streak by the Americans), Lithuania and Canada. All three of those teams are likely good enough to advance, yet only two will get to the round of 16 with a shot at the quarterfinals. Senegal rounds out that group. U.S. RECORD The Americans have won 19 consecutive World Cup (formerly known as the world championship) games, and are 14-0 in games in China when using a roster composed of NBA players (8-0 in the 2008 Olympics and 6-0 in other games there in 2006 and 2008). Mason Plumlee is the only player on this year’s U.S. World Cup team that was on the gold-medal-winning roster at this event in 2014. REFRESHER COURSE Seven of the eight quarterfinalists from the 2014 World Cup are in this year’s field. The U.S. beat Lithuania and Serbia beat France in the semifinals, and the Americans rolled to a 129-92 win in the gold-medal game behind 26 points from Kyrie Irving. France rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Lithuania for bronze 95-93. GLOBAL GAME FIBA, basketball’s global organizing body, says the tournament will be televised in at least 176 countries and territories......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

Serena vs. Sharapova set for prime time on Day 1 of US Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova is, not surprisingly, getting primetime billing at the U.S. Open. The two tennis stars' 22nd career meeting — and first at Flushing Meadows — will be the opening act in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the night session on Monday as the year's last Grand Slam tournament gets started. "Of course I'm going to watch it. I know you all are going to watch it. I think everyone in New York is going to watch it," defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka said Friday. "Yeah, I mean, for me, I'm not that surprised that that happened, because, like, at every Grand Slam, there is always some sort of drama. You know what I mean? Like a first round. Like, 'Oh, my God!'" The U.S. Tennis Association announced the show-court schedules for both Day 1 and Day 2. That includes 15-year-old Coco Gauff in action at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Tuesday. The first match in the main stadium Monday will be French Open champion Ash Barty against Zarina Diyas, followed by defending men's champion and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic against Roberto Carballes Baena. Then at night, Williams-Sharapova will be followed by 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer against qualifier Sumit Nagal. Williams owns 23 major singles trophies, while Sharapova has five. Both have been ranked No. 1. They've met at every other major tournament at least once, including in a final at each, but never before at the U.S. Open. Williams has won 18 matches in a row against Sharapova, and leads their overall series 19-2. In Louis Armstrong Stadium on Monday, the day slate includes Williams' older sister, two-time U.S. Open champion Venus, 2016 runner-up Karolina Pliskova and No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev, while the night program features three-time major champ Stan Wawrinka and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys. Tuesday's participants in Ashe include Osaka and two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem during the afternoon, with 18-time major title winner Rafael Nadal and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in action at night. In addition to Gauff's first-round match against Anastasia Potapova, Day 2 in Armstrong will include two-time major champion Simona Halep and Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the afternoon, along with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and the combustible Nick Kyrgios against American Steve Johnson at night. ___ RULES RECAP In an effort to avoid the sort of confusion that reigned over last year's U.S. Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, the U.S. Tennis Association wants to make the sport's rules — and chair umpires' rulings — clearer to on-site spectators and TV viewers. So when a player is warned by an official about a code violation — getting coaching during a match, say, or destroying a racket — that will be displayed on the scoreboard. "It's not a constant marker there," U.S. Open chief umpire Jake Garner said Friday. "It's just when the violation occurs, it will show up on the board at the moment it's given." The USTA decided against allowing match officials speak to the media after a contest involving controversy or questions, but Garner or tournament referee Soeren Friemel — both are new appointees — might be made available. Two other rules tweaks this year: The excessive heat rule will allow for 10-minute breaks for all men's or women's matches, whether or not they already were in progress when the weather reached a point of being dangerous to players; women can now only have one bathroom or change-of-clothing break per three-set match, not two. ___ TOKYO'S TEAM? Host Japan might not get to field its dream mixed doubles team for tennis at the next year's Summer Olympics. That's because Kei Nishikori thinks playing with Naomi Osaka might just be too much tennis in Tokyo. The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up is planning to play singles and men's doubles at the 2020 Games and for now isn't thinking about adding mixed doubles to his plans. "Very hot, very humid, playing singles and two doubles — I don't know if I can," Nishikori said at Flushing Meadows on Friday. A Nishikori-Osaka duo not only would be expected to contend for a medal in Tokyo — it would be among the most popular pairings in Olympic tennis history. Osaka, who moved from Japan to the United States when she was 3, is the No. 1 ranked women's player and the reigning champion at both the U.S. Open and Australian Open. Nishikori, who also left Japan to live in the United States, is No. 7 in the current ATP rankings. At last year's U.S. Open, he and Osaka became the first Japanese male and female players to reach the semifinals of the same Grand Slam tournament. They're also friends who have played video games together. But what about Olympic tennis together? "I haven't thought too much yet, honestly," Nishikori said. "I don't know. I will talk to Naomi later." ___ AP Sports Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2019

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get 1st titles in Cincy

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Two unexpected champions embraced their first Rookwood championship trophies, concluding a week that brought more questions than clarity to the upcoming U.S. Open. Who's going to be healthy on the women's side? Will stumbles in the men's bracket at the Western & Southern Open carry over to New York? And are Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev capable of carrying their newfound momentum into a Grand Slam event? After winning the biggest tournament title of their careers, they were already getting asked about how it might transfer to the bigger stage. Keys rallied late in both sets and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) Sunday for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career. After flameouts in her last three tournaments and a tough draw for the week, she couldn't imagine the outcome. Back on the court to receive the trophy , she told the crowd: "If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face!" Yet there she was, back in the Top 10 on a surprising upswing heading to New York. She'll move up to the No. 10 ranking after a gritty showing that was typical of her week. She broke Kuznetsova to pull even in both sets at 5-5 and then pulled them out with a steady serve. Keys hadn't made it past the second round in her last three tournaments, including Wimbledon. Now she's got a good feeling with her favorite Grand Slam event at hand. "It's definitely a great building block," Keys said. "I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season." At 34, Kuznetsova was the oldest finalist in the Western & Southern Open's history. She beat three top-10 players in a tournament — Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty — for the first time in her 19-year career. The 153rd-ranked player got a late start on the season as she completed a seven-month recovery from a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together and got her best result in two years. "Honestly, I didn't expect to be so good at this tournament," she said. After what happened in Cincinnati during the week, nobody knows what to expect in the women's bracket in New York. Serena Williams dropped out of Cincinnati because of back spasms that also forced her to withdraw from the final in Toronto. Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S. Open champion, withdrew from her semifinal match on Friday with discomfort in her left knee that left her worried about her condition heading to New York. There's some intrigue on the men's side, too. The bracket in Cincinnati was billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray back together for the first time since January. None of them made it to the final. Nadal won the Rogers Cup last Sunday and withdrew from the Western & Southern, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. Seven-time champion Federer was knocked out in the quarterfinals, and Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the semifinals with the crowd cheering him on. The Russian thanked the crowd for its support after beat David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4 for his first Masters 1000 title Sunday. It was his third straight final, but the first time he'd won. Medvedev lost to Nadal on Montreal a week earlier, then went on to reach his sixth final of this season, most on the ATP tour. He's won twice. "To finally lift the trophy this week is an amazing feeling," Medvedev said. At age 23, he became the youngest Cincinnati champion since Murray at age 21 in 2008. "Congratulations," Goffin told him, "and I think you're ready for New York.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

Barty upset in Cincy semifinals, misses top spot for US Open

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Ashleigh Barty's chance to move back to No. 1 was only one victory away. At the end of an up-and-down week, she didn't have another comeback left. Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, adding to the tournament's week of upsets and injuries. The women's bracket has a lot questions with New York just around the corner. No. 1 isn't one of them. Barty's seven-week run atop the field ended when Naomi Osaka edged ahead of her in the latest ranking. A victory Saturday would have moved Barty back ahead for the U.S. Open. Instead, she dropped the opening set for the third straight match and this time, there was no digging out. "A week that we battled through," Barty said. "I think at times I played some good stuff. At times, I played some pretty awful stuff." Which will it be for Barty at the Open? And will Osaka be in good enough shape to defend her title? Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry. She still plans to play in New York, but it's unclear whether the knee will be a problem. And then there's Serena Williams, who retired in the finals at Toronto last Sunday because of back spasms. She also withdrew from Cincinnati before her first match, but stuck around to cheer sister Venus until her loss in the quarterfinals. For Barty, it was another instance of a slow start leaving her trying to dig out. This time, a resurgent Kuznetsova gave her no openings, knocking off a top-five player for the second time this week to reach her first final of the season. "Sveta was unreal today," Barty said. It's been awhile since her play has been described that way. The 153rd-ranked player is recovering from seven-month layoff because of a knee injury. Playing in her ninth event of the season, she got her game together, winning her first Premier-level semifinal since 2017 at Madrid. "Well, sometimes in life it's like this," Kuznetsova said. "It's like really small things change everything. Definitely it's different momentum I have now." She'll face Madison Keys , who beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4 with the help of 14 aces. Keys ended her streak of failing to make it past the second round of her last three tournaments, reaching the final in Cincinnati for the first time. In the men's bracket, David Goffin reached his first Masters 1000 final by beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 . Goffin also is on an upswing after falling to No. 33 in the ATP rankings on June 10, his lowest since September 2014. "Of course, it was a tough period there," Goffin said. "I was coming back from injuries. I had some trouble with my confidence. I couldn't find my rhythm, my game. So it's great now. I'm feeling great. I'm back at my best tennis." Defending champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled for an evening match against Daniil Medvedev. The men's bracket also took several notable hits throughout the week. Originally billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray together for the first time since January — it quickly lost its luster. Nadal dropped out after winning the Rogers Cup, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. And Federer, the seven-time champion, failed to reach the weekend, losing in the quarterfinals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

Del Potro to undergo surgery for fractured kneecap

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Juan Martin del Potro's team says the Argentine player will undergo surgery for a fractured kneecap. The injury forced the 12th-ranked Del Potro to withdraw from the Queen's Club grass-court event on Wednesday. Del Potro beat Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-4 in the first round, but finished the match with pain and swelling in his right knee after slipping near the net in the second set. Team Delpo said in a statement Thursday that tests performed in London confirmed the fracture and that Del Potro will have the surgery in the coming days. Del Potro had also fractured his right kneecap last year when he played against Borna Coric at the Shanghai Masters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Nishikori wins 2-day five-setter, Djokovic easily advances

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — When it comes to the deciding set, count on Kei Nishikori. The Japanese player won his eighth consecutive five-set match on Monday to defeat Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-5 over two days and set up a quarterfinal match against defending champion Rafael Nadal at the French Open. In a match ridden with unforced errors that featured 15 breaks of serve but also some beautiful shots, Nishikori prevailed after a nearly four-hour battle. Their fourth-round match had been suspended by darkness on Sunday, with Nishikori leading two sets to one. Nishikori extended his impressive record in five-set matches to 23-6, including a 6-1 mark at the clay-court Grand Slam. He also holds the best percentage of wins in deciding sets (132-45) — either in best-of-five or best-of-three matches — since the Open Era began in 1968. In damp conditions, Paire's all-risk tennis was working when they came back on court. The Frenchman saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker and served for the match at 5-3, but he was finally made to rue his awful mistakes. "He was serving for the match, and I just tried to play one point at a time," Nishikori said. Paire hit 15 double-faults and 79 unforced errors. "Never easy to finish a match," Paire said. "It was tough emotionally. I'm very sad to lose this match but glad for what I did this week." Nishikori will play in a third quarterfinal match in Paris but faces a tall order in the next round. Nadal has won 10 of their 12 previous matches, including all three matches on clay. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic had an easier time against 45th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, becoming the first man to reach the French Open quarterfinals 10 years in a row with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory. His quarterfinal opponent will be No. 5 Alexander Zverev or No. 9 Fabio Fognini. In the women's draw, Sofia Kenin and Katerina Siniakova could not follow up their upsets of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. Kenin lost to eighth-seeded Ash Barty 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, while 14th-seeded Madison Keys advanced to last eight for the second straight year with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Siniakova. Keys and Barty will face off in the quarterfinals. "It's going to be a tough one," said Keys, a semifinalist in Paris last year. "I feel like clay actually suits her game really well with her kick serve and slice.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2019

Defending champion Kvitova through to 3rd round in Madrid

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Defending champion Petra Kvitova defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 7-6 (5) to reach the third round of the Madrid Open on Monday. The second-seeded Kvitova outlasted Mladenovic by winning the last three points in the tiebreaker to close out the match in nearly two hours. "I'm glad I won the tiebreak. That is my kind of issue sometimes, but overall it was pretty tight," said Kvitova, who is seeking her fourth Madrid Open title. "I fought hard in the end." She was in control until losing her serve midway through the second set, letting the French qualifier back into the match. "Those two games when I was down 5-4 and 6-5 was very intense on my serve and I'm glad I didn't give her the chance, which was my strength, I think," Kvitova said. Kvitova had seven aces at the "Magic Box" center court en route to her eighth straight win in Madrid. She is the most successful women's player in the tournament with 28 wins and six losses. Her other titles in the Spanish capital came in 2011 and 2015. Mladenovic was the runner-up in Madrid in 2017. Kvitova will next face wild card Sorana Cirstea or former No. 4 Caroline Garcia. In other second round matches, seventh-seeded Kiki Bertens defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3 to stay on track to make it to her second straight final in Madrid, while eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens got past Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Ashleigh Barty needed three sets to beat Danielle Collins. On the men's side, Marin Cilic beat Martin Klizan 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (0), while Karen Khachanov edged Jaume Munar 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Gael Monfils defeated Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-1, and Richard Gasquet ousted Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to set up a second-round matchup against Roger Federer, who is making his return to clay-court tournaments after two seasons. Three Americans advanced to the second round: Frances Tiafoe beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets, Taylor Fritz got past Grigor Dimitrov in two tiebreakers, and Reilly Opelka defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (5), 6-4. Fritz will face top-seeded Novak Djokovic on Tuesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal held back time, for one match at least, when he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 14-time major winner is on a comeback after an extended injury layoff, yet he finished stronger in the 4-hour, 6-minute match on Rod Laver Arena as Zverev tightened up with cramping and nerves. 'I enjoyed a lot this great battle. I was losing the last couple of times in the fifth set and I said to myself, 'today's the day',' said ninth-seeded Nadal, who had lost eight of the previous nine times he'd trailed 2-1 in a best-of-five set match. His 30-year-old legs, conditioned by 236 Grand Slam matches, carried him all the way. 'Well, fighting — and running a lot,' Nadal said, when asked to explain the difference. 'I think you know, everybody knows how good Alexander is — he's the future of our sport and the present, too.' Serena Williams has done it more easily, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set to stay on course in her bid for a record 23rd Grand slam title. Williams beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 and didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. The six-time Australian Open champion next faces No. 16 Barbora Strycova. 'I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just doing the best I can,' Williams said. 'Obviously I'm here for one reason.' Milos Raonic is here pursuing his first major title, aiming to improve on his runs to the semifinals in Australia and the final at Wimbledon last year. He reached the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 25 Gilles Simon and will next play No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Nadal, who had two months off with an injured left wrist at the end of 2016, will get another veteran next after U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4. In another gripping five-setter, but on an outside court, wild-card entry Denis Istomin followed his upset win over defending champion Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Zverev's creative shot-making gave the 19-year-old German a confident start. He had won his previous three matches against top-10 players, and has been widely touted as a future Grand Slam champion. But Nadal, the champion here in 2009, didn't let him get too far in front. In an exchange of breaks in the fifth set, Nadal broke to open, then dropped his own serve, before breaking Zverev again. Nadal finished with 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Zverev — hitting harder and trying more to find the lines — had 58 winners and 74 unforced errors. In early women's matches, Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but had a mid-match fade, needing three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here.' She'll now take on last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of their fourth-round encounter here last year. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut here in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist next plays No. 116-ranked Brady, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Federer joins Murray in 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer showed against 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were warmups. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded a lowly-by-his-standards 17th after spending six months on the sidelines last season, only needed 90 minutes to beat Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round on Friday night. This was against a rival who played the Wimbledon final in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals or better in Australia the previous six years. And he'd beaten Federer in six of their previous 22 matches. Federer hit some vintage backhand winners, one that earned a hearty applause from the great Rod Laver — sitting in the crowd at the stadium named in his honor — in the second set. He had 40 winners and won 95 percent of points when he got his first serve into play. He didn't face a breakpoint. 'Crazy how quick I got out of the blocks — I did surprise myself,' Federer said of his almost flawless performance against Berdych. 'I did feel like I struggled a bit in the first two rounds.' He next plays fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for a sixth straight year at Melbourne Park. Federer leads that matchup 4-2, winning the last three. The winner of that has a potential quarterfinal against top-ranked Andy Murray, who showed no signs of trouble with his sore ankle as he advanced to the Round of 16 for the ninth straight year with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 31 Sam Querrey. It was Querrey who ended then No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic's impressive Grand Slam run in the third round at Wimbledon last year. At that time, Djokovic had won four straight major titles — Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2015 and Australian Open and French Open in 2016. Murray, who replaced Djokovic at No. 1 last November, said he was surprised at the six-time Australian Open champion's second-round loss to Denis Istomin the previous night. But the five-time Australian Open runner-up didn't think it changed anything for him, unless he reached the final. 'I wasn't scheduled to play Novak today, so my job's to concentrate on Sam and to go into that match with a clear head and a good game plan and try to play well,' said Murray, who lost to Djokovic in four of the five finals he has contested in Melbourne. 'I did that. 'Obviously, if you're to get to the final, then it has an effect.' Murray injured his right ankle in the second round, and said he was hesitant at first but warmed into the match against Querrey. 'I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement,' Murray said. 'I was moving well at the end — it was very positive.' Murray next plays Mischa Zverev. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams routed Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour to progress to the fourth round for the 10th time since her Australian Open debut in 1998. 'It's good (but) it's never enough,' she said, looking ahead to her fourth-round match against Mona Barthel. 'I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for.' The last two Americans in the men's draw lost within an hour of each other. After Querrey's exit, No. 23-seeded Jack Sock lost 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There are no more Australians in the men's draw, either, after Daniel Evans beat Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka had 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over Viktor Troicki to move into a fourth-round match against Andreas Seppi. In the last match of day five, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza closed out with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Anastasia Sevastova. Top-ranked Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, 6-0, 6-4 against Kristyna Pliskova. She next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard. Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova held off former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 ½ hours. Australian Open organizers were briefed by Victoria state police over an incident in downtown Melbourne where a man deliberately drove into a street crowded with pedestrians, killing three people and injuring 20. Police said the incident, about three kilometers (two miles) from Melbourne Park, had no links to terrorism. 'Be assured there is no threat to the precinct,' Australian Open organizers said in a statement. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Roma beats Sampdoria 4-0 to reach Italian Cup quarterfinals

ROME (AP) — Roma is on course to face city rival Lazio in the Italian Cup semifinals after easing past Sampdoria 4-0 in the round of 16 on Thursday. It next faces second-division Cesena, which has already seen off two Serie A sides in Empoli and Sassuolo, while Lazio visits Inter Milan in its quarterfinal. Roma survived an early scare as Luis Muriel hit the post in the third minute for Sampdoria. The home side also hit the woodwork, with Leandro Paredes' volley crashing off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing just the wrong side of the line in the 25th. Roma broke the deadlock six minutes from time with an absolute stunner from Radja Nainggolan, who volleyed a poor clearance into the top right corner from 25 yards. On the bench, Francesco Totti swung his scarf around his head in celebration. Stephan El Shaarawy missed a couple of chances at the end of the first half but he set up Roma's second shortly after the restart with a deft chipped pass for Edin Dzeko. Dzeko returned the favor on the hour mark with a 40-yard pass, which El Shaarawy controlled before lobbing Sampdoria goalkeeper Christian Puggioni. Samp had the ball in the net but Patrik Schick's effort was ruled out for offside, and Nainggolan headed in Diego Perotti's cross in the 89th for his first double for Roma. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Raonic continues streak by reaching 3rd round in Australia

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Third-seeded Milos Raonic ended one streak and continued another with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Thursday over Gilles Muller to reach the third round at the Australian Open. Raonic, who reached the semifinals here last year and the final at Wimbledon, had lost both previous matches to Muller — including one when he retired with an injured hip in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012. His win Thursday maintained Raonic's record of reaching the third round at least all seven years he has contested the Australian Open. The 33-year-old Muller entered the season's first major after capturing his first tour-level title in Sydney last week. Raonic was unable to defend his Brisbane title in the first week of the season, but is finding rhythm quickly in Melbourne — he fired 21 aces, hit 56 winners and only had 15 unforced errors against Muller. He left the court complaining of a sore throat, and will get a day off before his next match against No. 25 Gilles Simon. No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Raonic in the semifinals before winning the Brisbane International earlier this month, moved into the third round with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Chung Hye-on. Dimitrov will next play No. 18 Richard Gasquet. No. 32 Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Donald Young 7-5, 6-3, 6-0. David Ferrer, the former world No. 3 who has only missed the quarterfinals once in the previous six years at Melbourne Park, recovered to beat U.S. qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and set up a third-round match against fellow Spaniard and No. 13-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. No. 30 Pablo Carreno Busta had a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Kyle Edmund to move into a third-round match against either six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or Denis Istomin. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and No. 9 Johanna Konta carried their winning form from warmup tournaments into the third round of the season's first major. Brisbane International winner Pliskova beat Anna Blinkova 6-0, 6-2 in 59 minutes, and has dropped just four games en route to the third round. She was leading 6-0, 4-0 in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena before the 18-year-old Russian qualifier, ranked 189th, held serve and later held up her arm to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd. 'It's always good to be in the zone,' said fifth-seeded Pliskova. 'It can always be a bit better.' 'I'm feeling pretty good on the court, confident,' she said. 'Also, people are talking I have a good chance to win a Grand Slam, but we are just in third round, so let's see.' She will next play Jelena Ostapenko, who beat No. 31 Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-1. Sydney International winner Konta, who made a surprising run to the semifinals in her debut Australian Open last year, advanced 6-4, 6-2 over Naomi Osaka. Konta, voted the WTA Tour's most improved player of 2016 after moving from 48th to 10th in the rankings, will next play former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova held off Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (8) and will next play No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova, who was leading 6-2, 3-2 when Sara Errani retired because of a leg injury. No. 14 Elena Vesnina advanced to a third-round encounter against U.S. qualifier Jennifer Brady, who saved five match points before beating Heather Watson 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8. Andy Murray returned to the practice court for an afternoon hitting session under the scrutiny of coach Ivan Lendl, allaying concerns about his injured right ankle. Top-ranked Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, twisted his ankle and tumbled to the court during the third set of his otherwise routine second-round win on Wednesday night. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Federer's 17 majors stack up nicely against everyone else

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The 64 players contesting second-round matches at the Australian Open on Wednesday have won a total of 36 Grand Slam singles titles. One guy, however, has nearly half of them. Of the 17 titles captured by Roger Federer, who plays American qualifier Noah Rubin at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, four have been at Melbourne Park. Although he hasn't lifted the trophy here since 2010. Venus Williams, who will play Stefanie Voegele to open play on Rod Laver — has seven major titles. Others in action Wednesday are top-ranked Andy Murray and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (3 majors each), defending champion Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2 each) and Marin Cilic and Garbine Muguruza, who have each won one major. Novak Djokovic, who has 12 Grand Slam titles of his own and is on the other side of the Australian Open draw, was quick to praise Federer as the Swiss star prepared to return from a six-month injury layoff. 'With Roger, you can always see a top level and quality of tennis ... that's what he brings,' Djokovic said last weekend. 'He brings this aura of a champion on and off the court. The sport definitely missed him. He's one of the most important people that ever held the racket.' ____ Here's a closer look at some of the second-round matches Wednesday: BIRTHDAY GIRL: Kerber, who plays fellow German Carina Witthoeft, will celebrate her 29th birthday on Wednesday. She is aiming to become the first player to defend the Australian Open women's title since Victoria Azarenka won in 2012 and 2013. ___ GOOD LUCK ANDREY: Murray plays Russian qualifier and 156th-ranked Andrey Rublev in a night match at Rod Laver Arena. The lowest-ranked player to beat Murray at a Grand Slam tournament is No. 91 Arnaud Clement at the 2005 U.S. Open. Overall, Murray has a 10-1 record against qualifiers at Grand Slam events. Still, Murray will be wary of Rublev. 'I know a little bit about him,' Murray said after his first-round win over Illya Marchenko. 'I never hit with him or played against him, but I've seen him play before and he goes for it. He doesn't hold back. He hits a big ball.' Murray has lost the Australian Open final five times in seven years, and never won the title. He hopes to have another chance this year to atone for his past defeats. 'I have had a lot of tough losses here, for sure,' he said. 'I have played some of my best tennis on hard courts here. But I keep coming back to try. I'll keep doing that until I'm done.' ___ AND GOOD LUCK NOAH: Federer has not lost to a player ranked as low as No. 200 Noah since losing to 249th-ranked Sergio Bruguera at Barcelona in 2000. In terms of Grand Slam events, the lowest-ranked player Federer has lost to was No. 154 Mario Ancic at 2002 Wimbledon. ___ LONGEVITY IN MELBOURNE: Venus Williams' match against Voegele comes in her 17th appearance at the Australian Open. She has never won the title in Melbourne, but was runner-up in 2003, losing to her younger sister, Serena. And for the record, her seven Grand Slam singles titles came five times at Wimbledon and twice at the U.S. Open. ___ ONCE A YEAR: Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori plays France's Jeremy Chardy to open play on Hisense Arena, and their meeting has become an annual thing. Nishikori has a 4-2 edge in matches which they've contested once a year for the past six years. Nishikori is attempting to reach the third round at Melbourne Park for the seventh consecutive year. He lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the Brisbane International final two weeks ago. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Federer returns with a win, joins Murray in 2nd round

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer shanked a few shots and was unsettled by how nervous he felt after six months on the sidelines, despite the familiar surroundings at the Australian Open. No other man on tour knows the way around a Grand Slam tournament better than Federer, who is playing in his 69th major and has won a record 17. He served 19 aces and had only one double-fault in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win Monday over fellow 35-year-old Jurgen Melzer, but dropped serve three times and experienced frustrating moments. 'I was feeling nervous once the match actually started,' said Federer, who hadn't played at tour level since Wimbledon after taking time off to let his injured left knee heal. 'In the warmup ... I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, 'Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.' 'I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm.' Federer had surgery on the knee after a semifinal exit at the last Australian Open and missed the French Open, ending his streak of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. He returned for Wimbledon, reached the semifinals, then didn't play again in 2016. In November, he fell out of the top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks. The 17th-seeded Federer wasn't the only highly-ranked player to find the going tough Monday. Stan Wawrinka, the U.S. Open champion, was pushed to five sets. So was No. 5-seeded Kei Nishikori. Angelique Kerber, defending champion and ranked No. 1 at a major for the first time, had some nervous moments in her 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko. Kerber won her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year, beating Serena Williams in the final after saving a match point in the first round. After wasting a match point before her serve was broken as Tsurenko rallied to win the second set, Kerber said her mind raced back 12 months. 'When I lost the second set, and I had match point, I was thinking about my match last year in the first round,' she said. 'First rounds are always tough.' In his first Grand Slam match with the elevated status of having a knighthood and the No. 1 ranking, Andy Murray berated himself when he made mistakes and frequently yelled during a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko. In other words, nothing much has changed. The five-time finalist comfortably navigated what he hoped was the first step to a drought-breaking Australian Open title. Murray has lost four of the last six finals in Melbourne to six-time champion Novak Djokovic. Gaining the top ranking and receiving the civic honors doesn't change anything for Murray, who said he faces 'the same pressure, same expectations. I've never won here — I'm going to try to change that this year.' Wawrinka, who made his Grand Slam breakthrough in Australia in 2014, narrowly scraped past 35th-ranked Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. In the ninth game of the fifth set, Wawrinka smashed a soft half-volley from Klizan straight back into the Slovakian's body, clipping the frame and just missing his midsection. He stepped over the net and ensured Klizan was OK, then held serve in that game and broke in the next game to finish it off. Nishikori beat Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2. Joining him in the second round are 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 19 John Isner, No. 23 Jack Sock, No. 27 Bernard Tomic, No. 29 Viktor Troicki and No. 31 Sam Querrey. Also, No. 14 Nick Kyrgios returned from his suspension for underperforming in Shanghai last year and raced through a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Gastao Elias. No. 16 Lucas Pouille was the highest-ranked of the three men's seeded players to lose. Five of the women's seeded players went out, including No. 4 Simona Halep, who lost 6-3, 6-1 to Shelby Rogers in the first match on Rod Laver Arena, and No. 15 Roberta Vinci, who lost to CoCo Vandeweghe. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams beat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (5), 7-5, and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her recent resurgence by routing Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4. Joining them in the next round will be French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 10 Carla Suarez, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 20 Zhang Shuai. Sixteen-year-old Destanee Aiava became the first player born in this millennium to play in the main draw of a major, but the milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Mona Barthel. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Danger matches Tuesday for Djokovic, Williams at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Not much room for error: six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic face tougher-than expected first-round matches on Tuesday. Both are chasing records at Melbourne Park, where Williams is hoping to set an Open-era record by winning her 23rd Grand Slam title and Djokovic is striving to be the first man to win the Australian title seven times. Williams, who lost to Angelique Kerber in last year's final, has drawn Belinda Bencic, who was seeded 12th here last year and who beat her in Toronto in 2015. Their career record is 1-1, with Williams having beaten Bencic on clay at Madrid in 2014. Bencic advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park last year. 'I think it will be good for us both,' Williams said. 'She's done well here before. It's never easy for me. I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all. If I can play the way I've been practicing, it will be fine.' Djokovic, meanwhile, faces veteran Fernando Verdasco, a man he's beaten nine times in 13 career meetings. Verdasco had an upset win over fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal last year in the first round. 'Fernando is a very complete player on any surface. In a given day, if things go right, he can beat really anybody on any surface,' Djokovic said. He's not overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on center court. I'm expecting a tough one, there's no doubt about it.' ___ BENCIC IS PUMPED: Bencic has a 9-2 record in first-round Grand Slam matches. Bencic found out about her first-round opponent when, she admitted, 'my Twitter was blowing up. I was like, What's going on? My first reaction was really happy. So I think I'm super pumped, like excited I get to play on the big court.' She thinks it's anything but back luck that she drew Williams: 'I think we're going to play on the big court. It's a big match ... it's what everyone's working for.' Williams has Bencic's record in first-round majors covered, and then some. She's 64-1 in Grand Slam first-round matches, her lone opening-round loss at a Grand Slam came at 2012 Roland Garros against Virginie Razzano. ______ RAFA READY: Rafael Nadal is coming off two lengthy injury layoffs last year, and his match on Rod Laver Arena against Florian Mayer will be the first between the pair since 2012, when Nadal won on clay at Rome. Mayer beat Nadal on hard courts at Shanghai in 2011. Nadal has reached the second round or better in all but one of his 12 previous trips to Melbourne Park — the one failure coming last year when he lost to Verdasco in the first round. Mayer is hoping to end a seven-match losing streak at the majors and record his first Grand Slam match win since he reached the round of 16 here in 2014. ___ CAN KONTA DO IT AGAIN?: Last year, Sydney-born Johanna Konta was a surprise semifinalist at Melbourne Park, and the British player is now in the top 10 and coming off a victory in the Sydney International last week, where she overwhelmed third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. She'll play Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium to open the day session on Margaret Court Arena. 'I played her (Flipkens) last year in Monterrey, she beat me there. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play her again. She's a great player. She's a Wimbledon semifinalist (2013). She's been around the tour for a long time. That's by no accident.' Konta has won only five of her 12 first-round Grand Slam matches. ___ RAONIC FAVORED: Last year's semifinalist and No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic plays Dustin Brown of Germany in the second match on Margaret Court. Brown has never won a match at Melbourne Park, and he's only beaten a top 10 player once in a Grand Slam. Advantage to the Canadian. They have played once before, when Raonic beat Brown in the first round at last year's U.S. Open. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

New look: Murray, Kerber start Australian Open as top seeds

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It's new and exciting for Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, entering a Grand Slam tournament with the No. 1 in front of their names. Both reached the top of the rankings for the first time near the end of 2016, ending long reigns by Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. And so they'll open their Australian Open campaigns on Rod Laver Arena on day one — both against Ukrainians. Murray, a five-time runner-up, opens his pursuit of a first Australian title against Illya Marchenko in the last day match on the main show court. Kerber opens the night session against Lesia Tsurenko. She'll be followed on court by Roger Federer, who is returning from six months on the sidelines. The 'one-round-at-a-time' cliche is well worn in tennis. For Kerber, though, it's pertinent. Seeded seventh last year, the left-handed German had to save a match point in the first round against Misaki Doi. Spurred on by that, she went on to beat Serena Williams in the final and claim her first Grand Slam title. She added a second major at the U.S. Open and ascended to the No 1 ranking. 'I think this point where I was match point down, that was the important point for my career,' Kerber said Sunday, speaking of her first-round escape against Doi. 'You never know (if) I lost the match, what would have happened.' It gave her the freedom to play without pressure, and that made all the difference. 'When I'm looking back, I was feeling that I got a second chance to stay in the tournament,' she said. 'I was playing since then without expectation ... just enjoying everything.' Kerber can hang on to the top ranking by reaching to the final here, but she's already feeling there's more to defend than her title. 'It's a new challenge for me, for sure,' she said. But, 'We are starting from zero here. I have to be ready from the first round again. 'I will try to not put too much expectation and pressure on myself. I mean, I will try to do it like last year — that was the way I had my success.' Record-chasing, six-time champions Djokovic and Williams, seeded No. 2 and anchoring the bottom half of the men's and women's draws, won't be in action until day two. Djokovic is aiming to be the first man to win seven Australian titles. Serena Williams is chasing an Open-era record 23rd major title. Newly-engaged Williams hasn't wanted to talk about the record, being a little bit superstitious. Williams is concentrating on her first-round match against Belinda Bencic, who was seeded 12th here last year and who beat her in Toronto in 2015. While Serena has to wait, the Williams family will be represented on Rod Laver Arena on Monday by her older sister, Venus. The 13th-seeded Venus Williams will play against Kateryna Kozlova following fourth-seeded Simona Halep's opener against Shelby Rogers. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza starts play on Margaret Court Arena against Marina Erakovic, and U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka opens the night session on the second show court. Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori gets things underway against Andrey Kuznetsov on Hisense Arena, where Nick Kyrgios will make his return to the tour against Gastao Elias. The 21-year-old Kyrgios finished 2016 under a ban in a season overshadowed by clashes with officials and fans and by the tanking at the Shanghai Masters which led to an eight-week suspension. The ban was reduced to three weeks when Kyrgios agreed to consult a sports psychologist, allowing to warmup for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup. That's where Federer made his return from six months out to give his injured left knee time to heal. The 17-time major winner didn't play after Wimbledon and his ranking slid to No. 17 by this week. That resulted in him getting a tougher draw than usual at the tournament he has won four times, and where he has reached the semifinals in 12 of the last 13 years. If results go with rankings, he'll play two qualifiers before a potential third-round match against No. 10 Tomas Berdych. Nishikori and Murray are also in his quarter. Federer will open against another 35-year-old veteran, former No. 8-ranked Jurgen Melzer. 'That's the part of the draw I care most about because of having not been playing,' Federer said. Wild-card entry Destanee Aiava, a 16-year-old Melbourne high school student, is set to become the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam when she meets German qualifier Mona Barthel on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Thomas takes 2-shot lead over Matsuyama in Kapalua

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas, who as a skinny kid in Kentucky had to hit driver to reach a par 3 in junior golf, stood on the 14th tee at Kapalua trying to decide if 3-wood would be enough to drive the green on a par that was playing 287 yards up the hill. His caddie thought driver was the club, and Thomas took it from there. 'It needs to be something hot to run up there,' he said. 'And I just nuked it, and hit it low and just enough to scoot up the ridge.' The ball bounded onto the green to 20 feet, and Thomas made that for eagle . It was enough for him to take control Saturday at the SBS Tournament of Champions, ultimately leading to a third straight round of 6-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, who had a 66. Perhaps it's only fitting that those who will be in the final group. Thomas, who was at 18-under 201, is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. The 24-year-old from Japan has won four of his last tournaments dating to Oct. 16 at the Japan Open, a streak that includes seven-shot victories in Japan and at a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai. Thomas beat him by three at the CIMB Classic at Malaysia, and Matsuyama wasn't much of a threat that final round. He is now. 'If I'm near Hideki in the tournament, that's usually a pretty good thing on Sunday,' Thomas said. 'He's obviously a tremendous player and he's on an unbelievable run here the last five events. I actually had no idea I was the only one to beat him in the last five events, which is absurd, the fact he's won four of his last five. ... But there's a lot of great players out there. I just need to go take care of my job.' There might not be as many players to beat in this winners-only field after Thomas gave himself a little separation. Only five players were within five shots of the lead going into the final round, with Dustin Johnson seven shots back and world No. 1 Jason Day eight shots behind. Thomas was only mildly perturbed that his lead wasn't greater. Following his eagle on the 14th, he smashed another drive that caught the slope on the par-5 15th and rolled to the bottom of the hill, a 348-yard drive that left him only 180 yards to the elevated green. But his shot was a clunker coming out of the short rough, and while he hit a tough pitch to 6 feet, he read a fraction too much break in the putt and had to settle for par. 'I had 8-iron twice and made par,' he said of his week. On the short 16th, he pounded another drive within 60 yards of the pin, but his wedge came up well short and he missed from 15 feet. He also looked back to how he closed out the front nine, with a soft bogey on No. 7 and missed birdie chances of 10 feet on the par-3 eighth and a 3-footer on the par-5 ninth. 'I'm definitely not disappointed with today, but I left a lot out there,' Thomas said. Matsuyama made three birdies over his last five holes, starting with a chip-in on the 14th hole, to get into the final group as he goes for his fourth straight victory 'Justin doesn't have any weaknesses at all in his game,' Matsuyama said. 'He hits it long, has a marvelous short game, putts well, hits the ball well. We've got to go low tomorrow to be able to catch him.' Memorial winner William McGirt, one of 11 players playing the Plantation course at Kapalua for the first time, played bogey-free for a 66 and was four shots behind, along with Ryan Moore (71) and Jimmy Walker (70). Moore was tied for the lead until Thomas drove the 14th green for his eagle and Moore missed a 15-foot birdie putt. On the next hole, Moore's tee shot plugged into the steep face of a bunker and he had no choice but to pitch out sideways, leading to another bogey. Walker spent most of the gorgeous afternoon wincing over putts that kept burning the edges of the cup. 'Plenty of looks. Nothing went in,' Walker said. 'That's just kind of frustrating, especially the finish. I had a good look on 17, and then to not get that up-and-down on 18 is a bummer. ... I'm hitting the putts the way I feel like I need to hit them. They're just not going in.' Thomas has won twice in his three years on the PGA Tour, both in Malaysia. Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, had another double bogey, this one on his second hold. He ended with a three-putt par on the 18th for a 70 and was 10 shots behind. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Defending champ Djokovic rallies to reach Qatar Open final

SANDRA HARWITT, Associated Press br /> DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Defending champion Novak Djokovic survived five match points to Fernando Verdasco and another day of chilly and windy weather to reach the Qatar Open final on Friday. Djokovic prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 after the 42nd-ranked Verdasco, a crafty left-hander and former top-10 player, controlled the first two sets until the latter stages of the tiebreaker. Of the five match points Verdasco held in the second-set tiebreaker, four evaporated on his own mistakes. 'I would like to say tough luck for Fernando, he was clearly the better player for the bigger part of the match and he should have won,' Djokovic said on court. 'It was just unfortunate. 'It's definitely one of the most exciting matches I've played. I don't think I've saved five match points too many times.' The second-seeded Djokovic, who didn't lose a set en route to the semifinals, broke Verdasco's serve in the third game of the third set to finally establish what turned into a permanent lead in the 2-hour, 22-minute match. Djokovic, who only had one unforced error in the final set, sealed the match by breaking Verdasco's serve in the final game. Verdasco initially trailed 4-2 in the first set, then broke Djokovic at love in the seventh and ninth games to take the set. Verdasco last played Djokovic in the second round of last year's Qatar Open, where the Spaniard's loss was his 11th consecutive against a world No. 1 player. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 9-4. Top seed Andy Murray and third seed Tomas Berdych were playing the late semifinal. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017