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Sister act: 1st WTA meeting of identical twins ends in upset

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The first meeting of identical twins in WTA Tour history ended with an upset as Kristyna Pliskova overcame a ranking gap of more than 100 places to beat Karolina at the grass-court Birmingham Classic on Wednesday. Kristyna, ranked No. 112, won 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7) against her No. 3-ranked sister from the Czech Republic. It was their first match against each other in the main draw of a WTA event, and the 10th meeting of sisters on the tour. Kristyna won their first-ever meeting, at the Malta ITF junior tournament as 14 year olds, and has edged ahead 6-5 in their head-to-head record in competitive matches. The match was decided by a third-set tiebreaker in which both of the 27-year-old sisters made untimely double faults. Karolina fell behind 6-5 with a double fault, but Kristyna replied with one of her own to make it. At 7-7, Karolina once again double faulted to give Kristyna another match point and this time the left-handed player didn't waste it to wrap up the match in just under two hours. Ashleigh Barty won her first match since capturing her first grand slam at the French Open, beating Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4. Barty said she does not feel any extra pressure with her new status. "For me, nothing changes," the Australian said. "It was an incredible fortnight of tennis that we had without a doubt and some of the best memories of my career will come from those two weeks. But I'm still the same person. I'm still the same Ash Barty and I try and prepare the same way. "I feel like, if anything, it's taken the pressure off. I can just go out and enjoy it." Barty could face Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, after the American marked her debut at the tournament with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich. It is only the second time in 20 years that Williams has played a Wimbledon warm-up event. Jelena Ostapenko won back-to-back matches for only the second time this season, knocking out home favorite Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Numbers preview: Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Boston Celtics (4)

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the Eastern Conference in the regular season, finishing with both the league's best record and it's best point differential. But the playoffs are different than the regular season, and after sweeping a hobbled opponent in the first round, the Bucks now face a team with much more postseason experience. The Boston Celtics were supposed to be where the Bucks are, holding the No. 1 seed and favored to reach The Finals. They also swept through the first round, but with a little more drama than Milwaukee went through. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Milwaukee has the MVP favorite and has built a successful system around him. Boston has a group that reached Game 7 of the conference finals last year and a star that hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history. Both teams have shown that they can get it done on both ends of the floor. Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milwaukee Bucks (60-22, 4-0) First round: Beat Detroit in four games. Pace: 101.3 (5) OffRtg: 120.2 (1) DefRtg: 96.8 (3) NetRtg: +23.5 (1) Bucks postseason notes - General: 1. Won a playoff series for the first time since 2001. That had been the league's longest active drought. 2. Outscored the Pistons by 23.5 points per 100 possessions, the sixth best mark for any team in any series in the 23 years for which we have play-by-play data (338 total series). None of the four games were within five points in the last five minutes. 3. Outscored the Pistons by 52.5 points per 100 possessions in the third quarter, the best mark for any team in any quarter in the first round. 4. Rank 15th in time of possession, controlling the ball for just 19.8 minutes per game. Bucks postseason notes - Offense: 1. Were the most improved offensive team in the first round, scoring 6.7 more points per 100 possessions than they did in the regular season (when they ranked fourth offensively). The 120.2 per 100 they scored were also 11.6 more than Detroit allowed in the regular season, and that was the biggest jump in defensive efficiency. 2. Rank seventh in the playoffs in ball movement (314 passes per 24 minutes of possessions) and second in player movement (11.5 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession). 3. Have averaged 26 transition possessions per game, most in the postseason. 4. Have shot 40.2 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, second best in the postseason. Bucks postseason notes - Defense: 1. The Pistons averaged 56.8 drives per game, fourth most in the first round. But they shot just 35 percent and drew fouls just 4.0 percent of the time on drives. Those were both the lowest marks in the first round. 2. Detroit shot 45 percent in the restricted area and 42 percent in the paint overall. Both were the worst marks in the first round. 3. Allowed Detroit to score 117.5 points per 100 possessions in the second quarter, but just 89.7 per 100 otherwise. Bucks postseason notes - Lineups: 1. Starting lineup - Bledsoe, Brown, Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Lopez - outscored the Pistons by 39.5 points per 100 possessions, the third best mark among lineups that have played at least 35 minutes in the playoffs. 2. The Bucks have outscored their opponents by 38.7 per 100 with Brook Lopez on the floor. That is the best on-court NetRtg mark among players that have averaged at least 15 minutes in three postseason games or more. 3. The Bucks have allowed just 84.7 points per 100 possessions with George Hill on the floor. That is the lowest on-court DefRtg mark among players that have averaged at least 15 minutes in three postseason games or more. Bucks postseason notes - Individuals: 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the postseason in both fast break points per game (7.3) and ranks second in points in the paint per game (15.5). 2. Antetokounmpo has taken 23.9 percent of his shots from three-point range, up from 16.3 percent in the regular season. That's the second biggest increase among players with at least 500 field goal attempts in the regular season and at least 50 in the playoffs. 3. Antetokounmpo has a free throw rate of 61 attempts per 100 shots from the field, highest among players with at least 50 postseason field goal attempts. He has shot 63 percent from the line, the worst mark among players who have averaged at least six free throw attempts per game. 4. Antetokounmpo has grabbed 18.6 percent of available rebounds while he's been on the floor. That's the fourth highest rate among 125 players who have averaged at least 15 minutes in three playoff games or more. 5. Sterling Brown had two first-round games with six or more assists. He's recorded six or more assists just once in 112 career regular-season games. 6. Eric Bledsoe has shot 20-for-24 (83 percent) in the restricted area, the second best mark among players with at least 20 restricted-area attempts in the playoffs. Antetokounmpo (29-for-39) has the third best mark. 7. Bledsoe eight blocks, two steals and just four personal fouls. That ratio of steals + blocks per personal foul (2.5) is the highest among players who have played at least 50 minutes in the postseason. Pat Connaughton (2.3) has the second highest ratio and is one of two players that have played at least 50 minutes and have more blocks than personal fouls. 8. The other is Brook Lopez, who has averaged a postseason-high 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents have shot 42 percent at the rim when Lopez has been there to protect it. That's the second best rim protection mark among players who have defended at least five shots at the rim per game. Antetokounmpo (21 percent) has the best mark among players who have defended at least four per game. 9. Khris Middleton has shot 8-for-12 on pull-up three-pointers, the best mark among players who have attempted at least 10. He's shot just 3-for-12 on catch-and-shoot threes. Boston Celtics (49-33, 4-0) First round: Beat Indiana in four games. Pace: 95.8 (11) OffRtg: 103.7 (12) DefRtg: 95.8 (1) NetRtg: +7.8 (5) Celtics postseason notes - General: 1. Three of their wins over Indiana were within five points in the last five minutes. 2. Trailed at halftime in three of the four games. Were outscored by 5.2 points per 100 possessions in the first half and outscored the Pacers by 21.2 in the second half. Celtics postseason notes - Offense: 1. Worst first-round offense (103.7 points scored per 100 possessions) among teams that have advanced to the conference semifinals. 2. Scored just 96.3 points per 100 possessions in their two home games, but 110.9 in two games in Indiana. 3. Rank eighth in the playoffs in ball movement (313 passes per 24 minutes of possessions) and 13th in player movement (10.7 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession). 4. Rank 14th in field goal percentage in the paint (48.5 percent), but third in effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (54.0 percent). Celtics postseason notes - Defense: 1. Were the most improved defensive team in the first round, allowing 11.2 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in the regular season (when they ranked sixth defensively). The 95.8 per 100 they allowed were also 13.5 fewer than Indiana scored in the regular season, and that was the biggest drop-off in offensive efficiency. Had the best defensive game of the playoffs thus far (74 points allowed on 96 possessions). 2. Indiana averaged 11.8 roll man possessions, most in the postseason. But they scored just 0.89 points per possession on them, down from 1.03 in the regular season. 3. Held Indiana to just 0.52 points per possession, the postseason's lowest mark, on isolations. Celtics postseason notes - Lineups: 1. Lineup of Irving, Brown, Tatum, Horford and Baynes is one of five (and the only one among teams that haven't been eliminated) that have scored less than a point per possession in 35 minutes or more. It has been the best defensive rebounding lineup in that group. 2. The Celtics have scored just 87.7 points per 100 possessions with Baynes on the floor. That is the fourth lowest on-court OffRtg mark among players (and lowest among those that have advanced) that have averaged at least 15 minutes in three postseason games or more. They've scored 115.7 points per 100 possessions in 96 minutes with Horford on the floor without Baynes. 3. The Celtics have allowed just 84.8 points per 100 possessions with Terry Rozier on the floor. That is the second lowest on-court DefRtg mark among players that have averaged at least 15 minutes in three postseason games or more. Celtics postseason notes - Individuals: 1. Jaylen Brown has an effective field goal percentage of 69.0 percent, the fifth best mark among players with at least 25 postseason field goal attempts and up from 52.5 percent in the regular season. 2. Gordon Hayward has averaged 31.1 minutes per game off the bench, most among reserves in the playoffs. 3. Hayward was a perfect 4-for-4 on shots with the game within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter against Indiana. He also has the most free throw attempts in the postseason (11) without a miss. 4. Hayward leads the postseason with 1.8 secondary assists per game. 5. Al Horford has averaged 10.3 rebounds per game, up from 6.7 in the regular season. That's the biggest jump among 163 players who have played in at least three playoff games after playing in at least 40 regular season games. Jaylen Brown (from 4.2 to 6.8) has seen the fourth biggest jump. 6. Kyrie Irving has averaged 6.0 isolation possessions per game, third most in the playoffs. The 1.08 points per possession he's scored on those ranks second among players who have averaged at least three isolation possessions per game. 7. Irving has shot just 39 percent in the paint and has taken only 31 percent of his shots in the paint. Those marks are down from 55 percent and 42 percent in the regular season. 8. Marcus Morris has taken only eight percent (3-of-41) of his shots in the restricted area. That's the fifth lowest rate among 111 players with at least 25 shots in the playoffs and down from 21 percent in the regular season. 9. Jayson Tatum has scored just 0.45 points per possession (shooting 4-for-18) on isolations, the second worst mark among players who have averaged at least three isolation possessions per game. He's shot 25-for-39 (64 percent otherwise). Regular season matchup Bucks won, 2-1 (1-0 in Milwaukee) Nov. 1 (Nov. 2, PHL time) @ Boston - Celtics 117, Bucks 113 Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) @ Boston - Bucks 120, Celtics 107 Feb. 21 (Feb. 22, PHL time) @ Milwaukee - Bucks 98, Celtics 97 Pace: 101.0 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes Milwaukee OffRtg: 109.5 (10th vs. Boston) Boston OffRtg: 105.6 (13th vs. Milwaukee) Matchup notes: 1. Aron Baynes played in the Celtics' win and missed their two losses. Jaylen Brown missed the first game, both Al Horford and Marcus Morris missed the second game (which Semi Ojeleye started at center), and Gordon Hayward missed the third game. Horford and Baynes played less than a minute together against the Bucks. (They were a minus-4 in 57 minutes together in last year's first round series.) 2. Nikola Mirotic was only with the Bucks for the third meeting, but played two games against Boston with the Pelicans and scored 25 points (shooting 6-for-11 from three-point range) against the Celtics on Nov. 26 (Nov. 27, PHL time). 3. The Bucks outscored the Celtics, 62-22, in the paint in the Nov. 1 (Nov. 2 PHL time) game. But the Celtics won with a franchise-record 24 three-pointers. 4. The Feb. 21 (Feb. 22, PHL time) game was one of just five games this season in which the Bucks scored less than point per possession, and the only one of those five games that they won. 5. The Bucks won the second quarter in all three games, scoring 139 points per 100 possessions. They lost the third quarter in all three, scoring just 92 per 100. 6. The Celtics outscored the Bucks by 23 points in 69 minutes with Al Horford on the floor and were outscored by 33 points in 75 minutes with Horford off the floor. The bigger difference was on defense, where they were 25.3 points per 100 possessions better with Horford on the floor. 7. The Bucks' regular starting lineup - Bledsoe, Brogdon, Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Lopez - was outscored by 21 points in its 36 minutes, registering more turnovers (17) than assists (15) and shooting just 4-for-20 from three-point range. 8. The 31.0 points Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged were the most for any Eastern Conference player that played at least two games against Boston. He had 46 points in the restricted area. No other player in the season series had more than 16. 9. Antetokounmpo recorded assists on just 13.7 percent of his possessions. That was his fifth lowest mark against any opponent this season. 10. Kyrie Irving shot 8-for-29 between the restricted area and the three-point line. Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart combined to shoot 2-for-22 from three-point range. 11. Bledsoe is one of three players who defended Irving for more than 100 possessions this season. Irving shot more than usual and the Celtics scored more efficiently than usual on those possessions where Bledsoe was the defender. 12. Horford was the primary defender on Antetokounmpo in the two games that Horford played, but Ojeleye defended Antetokounmpo for almost as many total possessions (40) as Horford (41) over the regular season series. The Celtics were more successful defensively on the possessions with Horford defending Antetokounmpo. The opposite was true in last year's playoff series. John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2019

AC Milan beats Torino to set up Cup meeting with Juventus

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan came back from a goal down to beat Torino 2-1 on Thursday and set up a meeting with Juventus in the Italian Cup quarterfinals. After Andrea Belotti put Torino ahead, Juraj Kucka and Giacomo Bonaventura responded for Milan in a three-minute span of the second half. 'We were slow in the first half. In the second we accelerated and the pace of the match slowed down, enabling our quality to emerge,' Bonaventura said. Milan has beaten Juventus twice this season, once in Serie A and more recently on penalties in the Italian Super Cup last month, while Juventus defeated Milan in last season's Italian Cup final. Juventus eliminated Atalanta 3-2 on Wednesday. It was a tale of two halves at San Siro Stadium. Torino dominated the opening period and Belotti finished off a swift counterattack, beating Milan's 17-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, with one touch. It was a measure of revenge for Belotti, who had a penalty saved in stoppage time of a 3-2 loss on the Serie A opening weekend in August. Shortly after the hour mark, Kucka equalized by redirecting in a cross near the far post and then Bonaventura connected on a volley from the center of the area to beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Hart was playing with his head in a bandage by that point, having taken a boot to the face from Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula. Donnarumma restored order with Belotti by denying the Italy forward of a potential equalizer with his boot in the 69th, and Torino ended with 10 men when Antonio Barreca picked up his second yellow. Lapadula dribbled past Hart in added time but had his shot cleared off the line by Torino defender Emiliano Moretti. On Monday, Milan visits Torino in Serie A. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Radamel Falcao scores again as Monaco advances in French Cup

MONACO (AP) — Radamel Falcao scored his seventh goal in the past five games as Monaco beat second-division Ajaccio 2-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Cup on Friday. The Colombia striker made a sharp run to the near post to turn in an excellent cross from 18-year-old French winger Kylian Mbappe in the 19th minute. The 30-year-old Falcao has netted 16 times in all competitions this season, continuing his strong return to form following a career-threatening knee injury. It was while playing in the early rounds of the French Cup three years ago that Falcao sustained the injury, ruling him out of the 2014 World Cup. He is thriving now after two complicated seasons on loan in the English Premier League at Manchester United and Chelsea, where his scoring deserted him as he tried to recover the strength and mobility that once made him among the world's most feared strikers. Falcao, with a header, and Mbappe, with a curling shot, hit the crossbar within quick succession early in the second half. Ajaccio punished Monaco for those misses when veteran midfielder Johan Cavalli equalized from the penalty spot in the 65th. But the lead lasted little more than one minute as substitute striker Valere Germain headed in from a free kick. Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is in action on Saturday when it hosts another Corsican side, Bastia. French League leader Nice, Marseille and Lyon all play on Sunday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Copa America guests Japan, Qatar still in contention

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Copa America guest teams Japan and Qatar are still in contention as the last round of group stage matches begins, and some of their South American opponents aren't too pleased. Qatar and Japan, who met in the Asian Cup final in February, are in third place in their groups. The top two in each of the three groups qualifies for the quarterfinals but only the two best third-place finishers advance. If winless Argentina is prematurely eliminated, Group B rival Qatar could be responsible after being given entry to the Copa America to help preparations for the 2022 World Cup. Asian champion Qatar has so far drawn with Paraguay 2-2 and lost to Colombia 1-0. "We have come to compete, not to take pictures, even if we admire the players of the teams we are facing," Qatar's Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said on Saturday. "Our main goal is to evaluate ourselves in a tournament of this caliber, so demanding." Sanchez's team on Sunday has the chance to upset Lionel Messi's Argentina, which has only one point from two games. "It would be beautiful to qualify no matter if it is against a monster like Argentina," said Sanchez, whose contract was extended until 2022 after winning the Asian Cup. "It will be a great step, even though we know they are also trying to advance to the next stage." The Qataris have already been invited to return to next year's Copa, which is being hosted by Colombia and Argentina. Australia will be another guest side. Japan has brought an under-23 team to Brazil that is being groomed for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Japan was thrashed by Chile 4-0 but held favorite Uruguay to 2-2 after leading twice. On Monday the young Japanese can eliminate Ecuador to advance and, depending on other results, possibly face host Brazil in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel is particularly upset with Japan's decision to bring its Olympic team. "I do not agree that a guest like Japan gives due importance to its participation by coming with players that are mostly under 23," Dudamel said Saturday after Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 and qualified to the quarterfinals of Copa America. "I raise my voice and say Copa America needs to be only for South American teams," he added. "We have not seen South American teams be invited to the African Cup of Nations, tournaments in Europe... We have to respect the hierarchy that we have historically built." There is nothing unusual about guest teams being invited to the Copa America. Mexico, Costa Rica, United States, Jamaica, Honduras, Panama, Canada and Japan have all contested past editions. Mexico had the best result among those, reaching the final in 1993 and in 2001. Still, Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo said he doesn't like the idea of teams outside of the Americas being given slots. "Playing among all American teams, that is logic," Berizzo said after drawing Qatar. "We should think of a Copa America with Central and North Americas integrated. I never saw any European cup with South American teams. I strongly believe that Copa America needs to be played by American teams." Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said business was the main reason to invite teams to the Copa America. "We are few countries in South America to organize a tournament with 10 teams, even more so with four phases like in a World Cup," Tabarez said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News20 hr. 46 min. ago

Underdogs have big day at African Cup

By Gerald Imray, Associated Press Underdogs had a big day at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt as Uganda won on its return to the tournament after 41 years and Madagascar held Guinea to a draw on its debut on Saturday. Burundi, another African Cup first-timer, pushed mighty Nigeria all the way. Uganda beat two-time champion Congo 2-0 in Cairo to start the second day of action. Both goals came through headers from set-pieces, with Patrick Kaddu scoring from a corner in the 14th minute and Emmanuel Okwi heading in a free kick early in the second half. That put Uganda top of Group A on goals scored ahead of Mohamed Salah and Egypt, who won the opening game against Zimbabwe on Friday. Uganda last played at the African Cup in the late 1970s. After winning on Saturday the players probably didn't mind that their long-awaited return came at a near empty Cairo International Stadium, an illustration of the African Cup's perennial problem with fan attendance when the home team isn't playing. In Alexandria, Nigeria needed Odion Ighalo's late winner four minutes after he came on as a substitute to deny Burundi on its debut. Ighalo pounced on his first chance. The forward slipped in behind the Burundi defense after a backheeled pass by Ola Aina and stroked a right foot shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner. Three-time champion Nigeria deserved the win on the second half evidence, but not on the first 45 minutes. Then, Burundi was the more adventurous team on the biggest day in its soccer history. Cedric Amissi controlled a long pass superbly but had his shot blocked by Nigeria keeper Daniel Akpeyi. Akpeyi struggled to keep out a powerful long-range free kick by Gael Bigirimana and Frederic Nsabiyumva hit the crossbar with a header. Nigeria, one of the favorites for the title alongside Egypt and Senegal, ultimately prevailed over the tenacious newcomers after some second-half substitutions injected life into the team. "It was a very difficult game," Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel said. "It was tough. We knew that they are a tough team. They can run and run and run." Nigeria tops Group B ahead of Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi. Madagascar also made its African Cup debut straight after in a double-header at Alexandria Stadium on the Mediterranean coast. Sory Kaba gave Guinea the lead after running onto a long pass, pushing the ball past goalkeeper Melvin Adrien, and swerving past him to score in an empty net. Madagascar responded twice in six minutes in the second half. Anicet Andrianantenaina headed in unmarked from a corner. Guinea's defense stood waiting for the offside flag when Carolus Andriamahitsinoro scored from nothing for 2-1. Guinea won a penalty, converted by Francois Kamano, to get a draw. Midfielder Naby Keita came on in the second half to make his return from injury and couldn't connect with a cross in injury time that would have won it for Guinea. Guinea coach Paul Put said his team gave away two "stupid goals." "I hope it's a lesson for the players," he said. Nigeria clicked in the second half against Burundi after Ahmed Musa and later Oghalo came off the bench to lift a team that had struggled in the buildup with a number of players struck down with illness. Coach Gernot Rohr said "half the team" had a fever this week and couldn't train properly. Nigeria also said winger Samuel Kalu was recovering and had been released from the hospital after he collapsed at training on Friday with dehydration. This African Cup has been switched from its regular January-February slot to June and July so it doesn't clash with any European leagues. But that's landed it in the middle of Egypt's sweltering summer. Organizers warned teams that temperatures will rise to 34-38 degrees Celsius (93-100 F) and games will allow for two water breaks during play, in the 30th and 75th minutes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Injured Sanchez leads Chile to Copa America quarterfinals

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Despite another ankle injury, Alexis Sanchez led Chile to the quarterfinals of the Copa America. Playing in pain after getting hurt in the first half, Sanchez scored a second-half winner to give Chile a 2-1 victory over Ecuador and a spot in the last eight of the South American competition on Friday. Sanchez stayed in the game after taking pain pills and scored in the 51st minute at the Arena Fonte Nova, securing the two-time defending champions a place in the knockout stage. "I twisted my ankle. I kept playing for the love I have for this national team," he said. "When I play for my country, I'm always playing happy." Sanchez found the far corner with a clever one-timer over Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez after a cross by Charles Aranguiz. It was the second goal of the tournament for the Chilean forward, who was coming off a difficult season with Manchester United and recovered from another ankle injury — on the right leg — just in time for the Copa America. "Fortunately it wasn't the same ankle he injured with Manchester United," said Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda, adding that team doctors considered the 30-year-old Sanchez could continue playing on Friday after undergoing ice treatment. "He is motivated when he is with the national team." It was Sanchez's 43rd goal with Chile, which is seeking its third straight Copa title a year after not making it to the World Cup in Russia. Jose Pedro Fuenzalida put Chile ahead with a strike in the eighth minute and Enner Valencia equalized for Ecuador from the penalty spot in the 26th. Ecuador played the final minutes with a man down after defender Gabriel Achilier was sent off for elbowing Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal. The victory gave Chile the lead in Group C with six points, two more than second-place Uruguay, which on Thursday drew 2-2 with Japan. The Japanese squad has one point and Ecuador stayed with zero. The top two teams in each of the three groups advance, along with the best two third-place finishers. The Chilean win guaranteed Uruguay will finish at least third in the group. In the last round on Monday, Chile faces Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while Ecuador takes on Japan at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Chile had opened with a 4-0 rout of Japan, while Ecuador lost by the same score to Uruguay......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

World Cup s top teams enter knockout stage on a roll

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press While it may be tempting to look ahead to the quarterfinals and a possible clash with France, the defending champion U.S. has thrived at the Women's World Cup by keeping its focus on the present. The Americans will face Spain in the round of 16 on Monday in Reims as the tournament enters the win-or-go-home phase. Games begin Saturday with Germany facing Nigeria in Grenoble followed by Norway's match against Australia. The U.S. had emphatic wins in the group stage, routing Thailand 13-0 in the opener before more clinical victories over Chile and Sweden. The team had three shutouts while also collecting a World Cup group-stage record 18 goals. Coach Jill Ellis said the three-time World Cup champions accomplished their early-round goals. "When you come out of the group stage, a lot of what we talk about is mentality and being healthy," she said. "I think they're in a really good place." The United States has performed largely as expected in France, though the team faced criticism after the game against Thailand for celebrating every goal. The Americans set World Cup records for most goals and margin of victory in the game. The team toned it down against Chile. Ellis made seven lineup changes to keep her team fresh and Carli Lloyd — the hat trick hero of the World Cup final four years ago in Canada — scored a pair of goals. Facing their toughest challenge of the group in ninth-ranked Sweden, the United States pounced early with Lindsey Horan's goal within the first three minutes and emerged with a 2-0 victory on Thursday night. Spain, ranked No. 13, finished second in its group to reach the knockout stage for the first time. If the top-ranked Americans can defeat La Roja, they could possibly face No. 4 France in Paris next Friday. They could potentially face No. 3 England in the semifinals before getting a shot at defending their title. The United States, France, England, Germany and the Netherlands all won their first three games in France. Like the Americans, Germany did not concede a goal. MAKING A STAND: France, vying to become the first country to simultaneously hold the men's and women's World Cup titles, faces Brazil in Le Havre on Sunday. They'll face determined Brazilian star Marta, who comes into the game with a World Cup record 17 goals but no title in a major tournament. She surpassed Germany's Miroslav Klose for the record on a penalty kick during the team's 1-0 victory over Italy on Tuesday. She celebrated by kissing her cleats, which in France have sported a blue and pink symbol for equality. She is currently without a shoe sponsor because she claims the men's contracts are unequal to the women's. "This record doesn't belong to me, it belongs to all of us," she said after the game. "I share it with anyone fighting for more equality." The World Cup in France comes at a time when female players worldwide are fighting for better playing conditions, treatment and pay. Ada Hegerberg, the first female Ballon d'Or winner, is not playing for Norway. She stepped away from the team over what she has characterized as the federation's lack of respect for the women's team. The U.S. women's team filed a lawsuit back home earlier this year that accuses its federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay to the men's team. GOLDEN BOOT: American Alex Morgan and Australian Sam Kerr both have five goals to lead the tournament field. Morgan matched a U.S. record by scoring five goals in the team's big win over Thailand. Kerr got four in Australia's final group match, a 4-1 victory over Jamaica. It was the most goals for an Australian — male or female — in a World Cup game, and the final goal ensured the Matildas finished second in their group to avoid France in the round of 16. "At the time I didn't know how important it is, but we knew every goal would count," she said, adding with a smile: "I actually wanted more after that, being my selfish self." EDGING CLOSER: Christine Sinclair scored her 182nd career goal for Canada in a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands on Thursday. She also became the second player to score in five straight World Cups, joining Marta. Sinclair is now just two goals away from matching the international record set by former U.S. forward Abby Wambach. Canada plays Sweden on Monday in Paris. The Swedes rested many players in their match against the United States, with an eye toward the next round. THE REST: Looking ahead, England faces Cameroon in Valenciennes on Sunday. Italy and China meet in Montpellier on Tuesday, followed by the Netherlands and Japan in Rennes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 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

Del Potro in doubt for Wimbledon after injury at Queen s

LONDON (AP) — Juan Martin del Potro could be in doubt for Wimbledon after withdrawing from the Queen's Club grass-court event because of a right knee injury on Wednesday. The 12th-ranked 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 eighth game of the second set. The Argentine player underwent tests after the match, with organizers later confirming his withdrawal. Wimbledon starts on July 1. Milos Raonic, the sixth seed, returned from a back injury to fire down 24 aces in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Marco Cecchinato. Rain washed out the entire day's play on Tuesday and more showers Wednesday have prevented two first-round singles matches — Feliz Auger-Aliassime vs. Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios vs. Roberto Carbales Baena — from starting yet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Argentina overcomes late 3-goal deficit, knocks out Scotland

PARIS (AP) — Florencia Bonsegundo converted a penalty kick in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time on her second attempt, and Argentina overcame a three-goal deficit in the final 30 minutes for a 3-3 draw against Scotland on Wednesday night that eliminated the Scots from the Women's World Cup. Scotland built a 3-0 lead on goals by Kim Little in the 19th minute, Jenny Beattie in the 49th and Erin Cuthbert in the 69th, but Argentina became the first team at a Women's World Cup to get a point after trailing by three goals. Milagros Menéndez scored on a counterattack in the 74th minute and Bonsegundo's long-range shot five minutes later hit the crossbar, bounced down and had enough backspin to go off the fingertips of goalkeeper Lee Alexander and across the line. Sophie Howard had just entered the game when she slid into a leg of Aldana Cometti, who was streaking into the penalty area. After a lengthy video review, North Korean referee Ri Hyang-ok awarded the penalty kick. Alexander dived to stop the kick by Bonsegundo, who could not get the rebound in. But another video review showed Alexander came off her line before the kick. Given the second chance, Bonsegundo kicked the ball to the right of the keeper, who dived left. Scotland, which had been on the verge of winning a Women's World Cup match for the first time, could not muster a threat in the remaining stoppage time and finished last in Group D at with two losses and a draw. Argentina finished with two points after opening with a 0-0 draw against Japan — its first World Cup point — and losing to England 1-0. Four of the six third-place teams advance, and Brazil (six points) and China (four points) are assured of two of those spots. Nigeria finished third with three points. Argentina would advance if both the Cameroon-New Zealand and Thailand-Chile matches on Thursday finish in draws. Argentina was eliminated in the group stage of its first two World Cup appearances......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

England beats Japan 2-0 to clinch top spot in Group D

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press NICE, France (AP) — For the first time since Bryan Robson, Peter Shilton and Glenn Hoddle, an England team finished a World Cup group stage with a 3-0 record. Ellen White scored both goals, and the Lionesses roared into the round of 16 with a 2-0 victory over Japan on Wednesday night to win the group. Phil Neville's England squad will play a third-place team on Sunday and with a victory would advance to a quarterfinal against Norway or Australia. The victory over Japan came after Neville made eight changes to the starting lineup. "Since Phil's come in he's changed different combinations of the squad and I think that's why this squad is so competitive and so great," White said. "We can change the squad and show that we can play together and we've got so many different combinations and styles and talented players and that's really important going into a tournament that's really long. "We can use all 23 players so that's exciting and it's just great to have such talented players that can perform on the biggest stage." Japan finished second with a 1-1-1 record and will play the Netherlands or Canada in the round of 16. The 30-year-old White scored in the 14th minute when she chipped the ball past goalkeeper Saki Kumagai after being sent clear by Georgia Stanway. White's third goal on the tournament came in the 84th minute following a through-ball by Karen Carney. White scored in the opening win over Scotland, then was dropped to the bench against Argentina. "We've just got to give him a headache," White said with a laugh, describing all the players pushing to start. "For us it's just about trying to perform and play well and he's got the hard job to do." Neville is likely to stick with his rotation policy for Sunday's match although he admitted he might not make as many changes. "It depends on what team we're playing," he said. "There are certain players who are our experts in certain games. We need to know which team we're playing, then decide how they play, how we're going to beat them and see the players which fit the profile the best. "That's what rotation is about. It's not about throwing 23 players into a hat and pulling out 11. We strategically plan each rotation. Sometimes if you make more than five, you suffer in the rhythm and the flow and I think we did that tonight." Trailing by a goal, Japan almost scored when substitute Yuika Sugasawa volleyed narrowly past the left post. "We managed to get through to the knockout stage, and the things we should do have been defined in our past matches," Japan coach Asako Takakura said. "We need to be very prepared for the next round.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Brazil and Argentina eclipsed at start of Copa America

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Uruguay, Chile and Colombia impressed at the start of the Copa America, eclipsing hosts Brazil and embattled Argentina early in the South American tournament. In the first round of matches, the continent's top powerhouses showed signs of weakness, prompting early doubts about their title chances. Brazil was booed by its own fans after a slow start in the 3-0 win against Bolivia, while Lionel Messi's Argentina was dominated in a 2-0 loss to Colombia. Uruguay and Chile, meanwhile, comfortably won their matches 4-0, over Ecuador and Japan, respectively. Here's a look at how the top teams fared in their opening games in the Copa America in Brazil. TOP PERFORMANCES With Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez in form, Uruguay routed Ecuador in Belo Horizonte on Sunday. The first goal, by Nicolas Lodeiro, was one of the best of the tournament, with the midfielder controlling a pass from Suarez with his thigh before lobbing the ball over a defender and firing a shot into the net. The second, by Cavani, was also a beauty. The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored with an acrobatic volley from near the penalty spot after meeting a delivery into the area. Suarez later added the third goal before halftime, and the fourth was an own goal in the second half. Uruguay played well from the start at the Mineirao Stadium, though it was at a greater advantage after Ecuadorean Jose Quintero was sent off in the 24th minute. Two-time defending champion Chile also eased to victory over Japan, which has brought a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The veteran Chileans won Monday's match in Sao Paulo with two goals by Eduardo Vargas, one by Alexis Sanchez and another by Erick Pulgar. Colombia didn't have such an easy time against Argentina on Saturday in Salvador, but it showed its strength by closing out the match with two second-half goals by Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata. The first goal came thanks to a great long pass by James Rodriguez, who got the better of Lionel Messi in the opener at the Arena Fonte Nova. DISAPPOINTING FAVORITES Argentina, still trying to end its title drought, endured its first defeat in a Copa America opener since 1979. It was also its first defeat to Colombia in 12 years. Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria — the only remaining players from the teams that lost the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 — couldn't lead the team to the opening victory in Brazil. Now the Argentines need a good result against Paraguay on Wednesday in Belo Horizonte to avoid the risk of an early elimination. Without the injured Neymar, Brazil managed to get the victory against Bolivia on Friday but the team was jeered by the home fans at Morumbi Stadium after struggling in the first half. Philippe Coutinho, taking over Neymar's leading role, scored twice early in the second half, including from a penalty awarded by video review. Substitute Everton closed the scoring late in the game. LOW ATTENDANCE The first round of matches was marked by low attendances. The biggest crowd was at Brazil's opener, when nearly 50,000 fans made it to the Morumbi. It was a disappointing crowd, though, as organizers had announced that nearly 70,000 fans were expected. The average attendance for the first six matches was about 25,000, but a couple of games had less than 15,000 spectators — Uruguay vs. Ecuador and Venezuela vs. Peru. BIGGEST DRAMA The 2-2 draw between Paraguay and Qatar was the most exciting match of the first round, with the South Americans squandering a 2-0 lead late in the second half. BIGGEST SNOOZE The least exciting match was the scoreless draw between Peru and Venezuela in Porto Alegre, in front of only 13,370 fans. Peru had two goals disallowed by video review. ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report from Sao Paulo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

US wants win vs Swedes, even if it would mean tougher path

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press LE HAVRE, France (AP) — Victory is the goal for the United States in its group stage finale against Sweden, even though a loss might give the Americans an easier path through the knockout rounds of the Women's World Cup. "I think it's in our team's DNA to want to win and do really well," defender Abby Dahlkemper said Tuesday, two days ahead of the Group F finale. The defending champion U.S. and Sweden both enter with two wins and have clinched berths in the round of 16. The top-ranked Americans have the better goal difference and with a win or draw would play Spain in the round of 16 and could face No. 4 France in a quarterfinal at Paris' Parc des Princes and No. 3 England in the semifinals. The team that finishes second in the group meets the Netherlands or Canada in the round of 16, then could have a quarterfinal against No. 2 Germany, which would not have the backing of a large home crowd the way host nation France does every match. U.S. coach Jill Ellis says she can't convince her players not to tackle in practice, so asking them to hold back against Sweden is a losing cause. Ellis thinks it is dangerous to try to tailor results based on possible matchups. "We want to win every game, so I think that's where we're at and that's what we want to do," Ellis said. "I think if you get too much into manipulating or planning or overthinking something, I just don't think that that's a good message." The United States has played Sweden six times in the group stage at the World Cup, including a 0-0 draw four years ago in Canada. They met again in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics, where the Swedes — led by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage — bunkered in on defense and advanced on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. It was the earliest exit for the Americans at an Olympics. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo infamously called the Swedes "cowards." The only meeting since then was a 1-0 U.S. win in a 2017 friendly at Goteborg. After the U.S. opened with a record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand, Ellis changed seven starters in a 3-0 win over Chile. "If you want to go far in the tournament, you've got to have (fresh) legs," Ellis said, explaining her rotation. No. 9 Sweden started with a 2-0 victory over Chile and followed with a 5-1 win over Thailand. "It's going to be a completely different match, and it will be very important for us, naturally," Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said. "When you go into the second round we'll have more matches against teams like the U.S. rather than matches against the one with Chile. But we have to win the matches to get through it, it's all about how games develop and how players perform but it will be a different match and we will approach it differently tactically." No. 13 Spain made its World Cup debut four years ago and was eliminated in the group stage. "They're both talented," La Rioja defender Celia Jiménez said. "I think any team that qualifies for the World Cup, it's because they're good enough. The U.S. has a really powerful team, they play a direct game, they like to be dangerous, but at the same time I think Sweden is as well a really good team. They also tend to play direct, so they kind of are similar teams.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Lloyd, a World Cup starter again, scores 2 as US beats Chile

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd wasn't thrilled to open the Women's World Cup on the bench for the United States. She accepted the role, but made no secret she wanted to start. When the call came Sunday, Lloyd made it count with a pair of goals to lead the defending champions to a 3-0 victory over Chile. The win pushed the United States into the round of 16. Lloyd was the hero of the World Cup in Canada four years ago when she scored three goals in the final against Japan that gave the Americans their third World Cup title. But she was on the bench when the U.S. opened the tournament, even though she scored later as a substitute in the 13-0 victory over Thailand. "I know that my ability is there, I know this is my best version of me. I've just got to go out there and prove it," she said. "Whether that's coming off the bench and making an impact, whether that's starting and getting the opportunity, which I'm grateful for, I'm just trying to make the most of it. I want to win." Lloyd became the first player to score in six straight World Cup matches with her goal in the 11th minute. She added another on a header off a corner in the 35th for her 10th career World Cup goal, which moved her into third on the U.S. list behind Abby Wambach (14) and Michelle Akers (12). At 36, she became the oldest player to have a multi-goal game in the tournament. She nearly got another hat trick — which would have made her the first player with two in the World Cup — but her penalty kick in the 81st minute went wide left. "It's haunting me right now," Lloyd said. "Wasn't good enough." The score could have been worse for Chile without unshakable goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who finished with six saves and fended off a flurry of U.S. shots in the second half. Endler was named player of the match. "I love the balls coming towards me and being able to showcase my skills," she said through a translator. "Obviously it's difficult to maintain concentration. I think in the first half it was difficult for me to get into the game. I think the second half went better for me and in general for the team." The victory over Chile was more subdued than the U.S. team's record-breaking rout of Thailand. The Americans celebrated every goal even after the win was well in hand, and the display offended many who thought the champions should have shown more class. The controversy clouded the run-up to the match against Chile. Several of the American players reached out to their Thai counterparts following the match. Lloyd exchanged encouraging words and tweets with goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, and FIFA posted an interview with Thailand's coach thanking the U.S. players for being professional and playing well. After such a rout, Jill Ellis made sweeping changes to the starting lineup against Chile, including a new front line with Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory Pugh. Alex Morgan was moved to the bench along with Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath. Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out the match against Thailand because of a minor quad injury, returned and anchored a backline that included 20-year-old Tierna Davidson, who was making her World Cup debut. Davidson is the youngest player to start for the United States in a World Cup since Tiffany Roberts against Norway in 1995. Chile made just one lineup change, starting midfielder Claudia Soto in place of Yanara Aedo. Chile lost its opener to Sweden 2-0, but Endler was solid in that game, too, keeping the Swedes out of the goal until 83rd minute. The second goal got past the 6-footer in stoppage time. Julie Ertz scored in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick from Davidson that Endler got her hands on but couldn't stop. It was Ertz's first World Cup goal and came with her husband Zach Ertz, a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, looking on. Endler denied Lloyd another chance at the hat trick when she tipped the U.S. captain's shot over the net in the 72nd minute. Sweden also advanced out of Group F with a victory 5-1 victory over Thailand earlier Sunday in Nice. Japan, playing in Group D with England, also went through to the knockout stage because both the United States and Sweden won. Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the U.S. team's well-wishers before the sold-out game at Parc des Princes stadium. Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, referenced the team's lawsuit against U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination and seeking equitable pay. "As we cheer them on in the World Cup, we must support their fight off the field for equal pay. In 2019, it's past time we close the pay gap and ensure women get paid as much as men," Biden tweeted. U.S. soccer maintains the two teams have different pay structures because of separate collective bargaining agreements. But for now, the players are concentrating on France and bringing home a fourth World Cup championship. The United States plays Sweden on Thursday to wrap up the group stage. It is the first meeting between the two teams since Sweden ousted the Americans from the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics. Chile wraps up the group with a match against Thailand on Thursday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Lloyd s tiny golf clap delivers big message from US women

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd had just scored on an 18-yard volley to put the United States ahead 11 minutes in against Chile. After leaping, pumping a fist and hugging teammate Lindsey Horan, she raised both hands chin high and made four tiny pitter-patter claps, the type seen more frequently at Pebble Beach than Parc des Princes. A message? You bet. I made a gif of @CarliLloyd’s celebration golf clap after her first goal in #USACHI because I needed this to exist for every time someone tone polices a #USWNT celebration. #USWNT #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/Sw7rUA3ID2 — Phil (@ALazyJellyfish) June 16, 2019 Easy wins and lots of goals are par for the course when it comes to the U.S. women's soccer team. "I can't take credit for it. I'm not sure if Lindsey is taking credit for it," Lloyd said after a 3-0 victory Sunday night advanced the U.S. to the round of 16. "She had told me if we score, that's what we're going to do so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration But it was fun. I think it made a statement on the sideline there. It was cool." A record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand that opened the tournament for the Americans sparked a debate back home. Celebration had not been discussed this much since Kool & the Gang. Some cried poor sportsmanship. Others argued players shouldn't be asked to let up on soccer's biggest stage. All the harrumphing was heard across the Atlantic. "I guess we could have just passed it around the back for a million times, but that's boring. That's disrespectful to everyone: fans, ourselves" said 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired veteran famous for running to a corner flag and screaming "Born in the USA" into a television microphone after goal against Colombia in the 2011 World Cup. "The only thing you ask of an athlete really is to put it all out there and do the best you can. It's not in our DNA ever." Coach Jill Ellis speculated Lloyd's inspiration was her spouse, professional golfer Brian Hollins. "I'm guessing it was a shout-out to her husband," Ellis said. Horan said Emily Sonnett, a 25-year-old defender at her first World Cup, suggested responses. Trolling critics was the goal. "We decided to do something different today," Horan said with an impish smile. "Handshakes were part of it. Golf clap was part of it." Only the standout play of goalkeeper Christiane Endler lowered the Americans' offensive output from Wonder Woman levels to the mere mundane. The U.S. peppered Chile with 26 shots to one for the South Americans, raising the U.S. margin to 65-3 over two matches that seemed more training than tests. Alyssa Naeher, the Americans' new World Cup goalkeeper, was noticeable only when an unmarked Carla Guerrero redirected Claudia Soto's free kick past her midway through the first half. Guerrero was called offside. More Americans were in the tournament-high crowd of 45,594 that filled Parc des Princes than walked around Sunday in Paris, Kentucky, or Texas. Quite different from the stands 21 years and one day earlier, when Germany beat the U.S. men 2-0 on the very same field in the Americans' 1998 World Cup opener on goals by Andreas Möller and Jürgen Klinsmann. Fans clad in red, white and blue jammed the Metro hours before kickoff, streaming on the No. 9 line at Trocadero, Republique and Richelieu-Drouot and emerging on at Porte de Saint-Cloud on the sunny afternoon. "We're in France, and yet we felt like we had a home game," said Lloyd, at 36-year-old the oldest woman with a multi-goal World Cup match. Despite their second easy win, the Americans maintained there was no reason to chill: Thailand is ranked 34th in the world and Chile is 39th. The Americans need a win or draw against No. 9 Sweden on Thursday in order to win the group. A victory likely means a second-round matchup against No. 13 Spain or No. 16 China, which would put the U.S. on track for a quarterfinal matchup against fourth-ranked France in Paris. Ellis would not speculate whether her team would be better off finishing second and winding up in the other half of the bracket. "There's a lot of grass to navigate between now and potential matchups," she said. "This game is a crazy game, and you have to bring it every single match." No team has won consecutive Women's World Cups since the event began in 1991, a reason for sangfroid. "We're climbing up a mountain now," Lloyd said, "and it's only going to get harder.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Culver, Reddish top list of shooting guards in NBA draft

By Aaron Beard, Associated Press Jarrett Culver made himself a top-flight NBA prospect by pushing Texas Tech to within a win of its first national championship. Culver is regarded by many as the top shooting guard in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) draft, part of a rapid rise from solid freshman contributor to Associated Press All-American. He could be picked in the top five, joining Duke’s Cam Reddish as lottery picks to headline off-ball guards in the draft. Here’s a look at the top prospects: JARRETT CULVER, Texas Tech The sophomore can make a big impact at both ends on the court. STRENGTHS: Culver offers size (a nearly 6'7" measurement with shoes at the scouting combine) and the versatility to defend multiple positions for one of the nation’s toughest defensive units. After averaging 11.2 points as a freshman, Culver developed into the no-doubt first option and Big 12 player of the year while leading Texas Tech in scoring (18.5), rebounding (6.4) and assists (3.7). CONCERNS: Culver must improve his outside shooting after making 49-of-161 (.304) three-pointers in his first run in a leading role. That was down nearly eight percentage points from his freshman year and included a 4-for-26 showing (.154) in the last five games of the team’s run to the NCAA title game. He must also improve at the line after shooting 68.7% there over two college seasons. CAM REDDISH, Duke Reddish offers two-way potential, though an uneven freshman year has created some uncertainty about his development. STRENGTHS: Reddish has size (6'8", 208 pounds) to play shooting guard or small forward. He’s a solid athlete with the potential to be a good defender with a seven-foot wingspan. And he’s known for his shooting range, illustrated by his three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to win at Florida State. CONCERNS: Reddish arrived as a top-five recruit but it was a bit difficult to evaluate his college transition. He was a third option (13.5 points) as classmate Zion Williamson rocketed to stardom and classmate RJ Barrett became the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer. He didn’t shoot the ball as well as his reputation would suggest (35.6% overall, 33.3% on three-pointers) and was a surprise late scratch against Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 with a left knee injury. TYLER HERRO, Kentucky Kentucky’s latest one-and-done talent brings outside shooting and plenty of swagger as a first-round prospect. STRENGTHS: The 6'6" Herro can create space to get his shot and stretch defenses. He averaging 14.0 points with a team-best 60 three-pointers, including the go-ahead triple with 25.8 seconds left against Houston in the NCAA Sweet 16. He also hit 93.5% of his free throws, earning him late-game minutes in close games. And he’s got confidence to take any shot, notably telling an Arkansas player after making a key free throw: “I’m a bucket.” CONCERNS: He doesn’t have much length to disrupt ballhandlers (6'3" wingspan) and needs to add strength to his 192-pound frame. He could also improve his outside accuracy after making 35.5% on three's, which included him making 2-of-15 in the NCAA Tournament outside of the Houston winner. ROMEO LANGFORD, Indiana The Indiana freshman looks set to go midway through the first round. STRENGTHS: There’s no questioning his physical gifts. The 6'6" Langford measured well at the combine with a 6'11" wingspan that could serve him well on the defensive end. Langford averaged 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, and he was aggressive enough to rank among the Big Ten leaders at getting to the foul line (6.1 attempts per game). CONCERNS: What’s his range? Langford made 34-of-125 three-pointers while playing with a thumb injury on his shooting hand for much of the year. That was a 27.2% conversion rate with a shorter shot than he’ll see in the NBA — the lowest for any Hoosier with more than 100 attempted three's dating to at least 1992-93, according to Sports Reference LLC’s college basketball site. OTHERS TO WATCH — NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, Virginia Tech: The 6'5" sophomore averaged a team-best 16.2 points and looks likely to be picked in the middle of the first round, which would make him Virginia Tech’s second first-rounder in program history (joining Dell Curry from 1986). — KELDON JOHNSON, Kentucky: The 6'6", 216-pound one-and-done talent looks likely to be a first-round pick with his ability to attack the rim or hit from outside (38.1% on three's). — KEVIN PORTER JR., USC: The freshman played just 21 games due to injury and a team suspension, but is a first-round prospect with his athleticism and 6'6", 213-pound build. — MATISSE THYBULLE, Washington: The senior averaged 9.2 points for his career, but could go late in the first round with his stopper potential as a two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Rodriguez leads Colombia to win over Argentina

By Debora Rey, Associated Press SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — James Rodriguez got the best of Lionel Messi in the Copa America, leading Colombia to a 2-0 win over Argentina in their opening game in the South American tournament on Saturday. Rodriguez set up Roger Martinez's opening goal in the second half with a high, diagonal pass across the field, and substitute Duván Zapata scored late to seal the victory that allowed Colombia to end a 12-year winless streak against the Argentines. Messi had missed a chance to put Argentina in front, sending a close-range header off target as his team opened the tournament with a loss for the first time since 1979. "Our best player was the entire team," Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz said. "The next match will certainly be more difficult, this is only the beginning." Both Argentina and Colombia are trying to end title droughts, with the Argentines winless since the 1993 Copa America and the Colombians without a trophy since the 2001 edition. Argentina lost the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, where it lost both of the latter in penalty shootouts against Chile. Colombia's last win over Argentina was in South American qualifying for the World Cup in 2007. "It had been a long time (without beating Argentina)," Zapata said. "Everyone in Colombia is very happy, but there is still a long way to go in the Copa, we still have important matches ahead." Messi and Rodriguez had a mostly quiet match in Salvador, although Rodriguez provided the assist for Martinez's 71st-minute opener. The playmaker gained possession inside Colombia's own half before picking out Martinez with a long pass. The forward brought the ball down on the left flank before cutting into the penalty area and shooting into the far corner of the net. "We are disappointed because they scored a great goal when we were playing better," Messi said. "It will take some time to accept this defeat, but we have to take the positives from today and move on to try to win the next match. We still have plenty of chances." Argentina's first loss in a Copa America game in regulation time since 2007 was confirmed in the 86th minute. Five minutes after entering the match, Zapata converted from Jefferson Lerma's cross. Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Colombia veteran Radamel Falcao also couldn't do much to help their teams break through their opponents' defense in a tense opening match in Group B. "We improved in the second half and created chances," said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who complained of the bad field conditions at the Arena Fonte Nova. "We still have two matches left and if we win them we will certainly advance." Argentina will next play against Paraguay in Belo Horizonte, while Colombia will face Qatar in Sao Paulo. Paraguay and Qatar meet in the other Group B match on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier Saturday, Peru was held by 10-man Venezuela to a 0-0 draw in Group A, a result that left both teams two points behind host Brazil, which opened with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday in Sao Paulo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

France beats Norway 2-1 to remain undefeated in World Cup

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press NICE, France (AP) — France recovered from a terrible own goal to beat Norway 2-1 on Wednesday as the host nation remained undefeated at the Women's World Cup. Eugenie Le Sommer scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute after video review determined Ingrid Syrstad Engen had fouled Marion Torrent in the area. Valerie Gauvin, benched in France's opening 4-0 win over South Korea, broke the deadlock after halftime but Norway tied when Wendie Renard turned a cross into her own net. Renard, considered one of the best defenders in the world, appeared to be in tears as she raised her face to the sky in anguish. France moved three points ahead of Norway in Group A. Nigeria was also three points behind France, which is vying to become the first nation to hold both the men's and women's World Cup titles at the same time. Norway, which won the competition in 1995, is playing without Ada Hegerberg. The 2018 FIFA Ballon d'Or winner stepped down from the national team because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men's and women's teams......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019