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China faces 1-year ban over doping

MOSCOW – China is facing a one-year ban from weightlifting over repeated doping cases in a move which threatens to stop some of the world’s top athletes from.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 27th, 2016

China faces 1-year ban from weightlifting over doping

JAMES ELLINGWORTH, AP Sports Writer br /> MOSCOW (AP) — China is facing a one-year ban from weightlifting over repeated doping cases in a move which threatens to stop some of the world's top athletes from competing internationally. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2016

Kerr keeps Warriors winning with yoga, creative approach

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Anderson Varejao lowered his 6-foot-11 frame into a runner's lunge and raised one arm high into the air to add a twist, demonstrating after a recent shootaround the new yoga pose he just learned. Then, he took it up a notch and attempted an airplane balancing pose on one leg with his arms spread wide. The Golden State Warriors have become yogis. Coach Steve Kerr is committed to changing things up, and he gave Golden State a day off from the practice floor one day last week so the players could practice yoga instead. In the middle of a prolonged stretch at home with a more regular routine, the schedule allowed for some improvising. 'I really liked it,' Varejao said. 'I'm going to do more.' Doubt you'll see Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doing downward-facing dog again soon — though Green might be talked into another try eventually. 'I'm bad,' Green said. 'Yoga isn't for everybody. I think it's a great thing, I just don't think my body is made for all of those different positions. I did well at a few of them. It's hard, it's tough. My body really isn't cut out for yoga.' The very next night after the group class, during warmups for a home game with the Pistons, player development coach Bruce Fraser pulled his foot to his opposite inner thigh for an impromptu tree pose. He laughed as an amused Shaun Livingston watched from the baseline. Andre Iguodala is an experienced yogi who can really cat-cow and is considered top on the team, often taking classes. Center Zaza Pachulia also can forward fold with the best of them. They took prominent positions in the class led by Lisa Goodwin, Golden State's director of corporate communications and also a yoga teacher, at a Berkeley studio — a first for Kerr taking the team away from team headquarters for a yoga session. No surprise, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry can bring it on the mat, too. 'We've had some optional yoga sessions at our facility. This is the first time we took everybody and made it mandatory,' Kerr said. 'It was good.' The temperature was about 92 degrees for the hour-long power vinyasa class, so it was steamy. Everybody was drenched in sweat by the end for final resting pose, or savasana. 'My muscles felt good,' forward James Michael McAdoo said, rubbing his stomach where his core got a workout. 'It was fun. It was hot in there, like working in a sauna. I told our strength and conditioning coach, 'You got to step up your game. Lisa embarrassed us.'' 'It's awful, it's pitiful,' Thompson said of his own yoga ability. 'It's something I worked on and it's something I actually enjoy. More than just being physically challenging, it's an incredible mental workout. It tests your pain tolerance and your ability to push yourself mentally. That's why I like it. It was really good. I think it helped a lot of us — everybody, even the coaches.' Along with the experienced yoga veterans, there were some first-timers. A few found it extremely tough. 'I'm not the most flexible,' acknowledged player development coach Chris DeMarco. Assistant coach Mike Brown described his debut as 'terrible.' 'For me, it was really hard, but it was fun,' he said, later adding, 'I nearly passed out.' Ron Adams, another assistant who focuses on preparing Golden State's defense, happened to work out in the hottest corner of the room for his first time practicing in that high temperature. 'It's such a cleansing exercise,' he said. The Warriors aren't the only ones doing it. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has scheduled yoga time for the Pistons, saying: 'It's got its value, no question about it. Would I consider doing it with them? Probably not.' Kerr goes whenever he can fit it in, typically taking an hour-long class during the lunch hour on game days when the schedule — and his body — allows. It's a time he can focus on taking some deep breaths, literally, away from the pressure-packed NBA workload and just be just another yoga student for 60 minutes out of his day. This weekend marks one year since Kerr formally returned to the bench last Jan. 22 against Indiana after a lengthy leave of absence to deal with complications from a pair of back surgeries. Current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the way during a record 24-0 start and went 39-4 before Kerr's comeback on the way to winning Coach of the Year after an NBA record 73-9 finish. While the 51-year-old Kerr still has some discouraging, physically challenging moments dealing with pain and headaches, he considers himself fortunate to be on the sideline doing what he loves. 'I guess normal is a good way to say it. He seems like his old self,' Curry said. 'You know he's been through a lot just physically trying to recover from the surgeries he's had. I can't imagine the frustration, how long it took and things he had to do and all the doctors he's met with. His whole story is crazy. We're obviously happy to have him back but not only that, you see him with energy and his presence like he wants. It's been good to see.' Whether Kerr will take his team back to yoga any time soon, time will tell. The Warriors are at the season's midway point and the 'dog days' of January as Kerr has put it. Golden State was home for all but a night from Dec. 26 until leaving for Houston on Thursday for Friday's game against the Rockets, with just a quick bus ride to Sacramento as the lone road trip in a 10-game stretch during that span. Because there was so much time to practice, the yoga day was a nice change of scenery. 'Just to get away and go do something else,' Green said. 'We're still together doing something productive. But, it's not for me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The stark reality of an Australian Open third round without Novak Djokovic — for the first time in 11 years — hits home on Saturday when the remaining players in his half of the draw, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic among them, attempt to advance to the second week of the tournament. Djokovic was beaten on Thursday in five sets by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, the earliest that the Serbian star has left Melbourne Park in singles since his first appearance here in 2006 when he was beaten by American Paul Goldstein in the first round. 'What Novak did here is just amazing, six victories here, six titles ... so it is not possible to be every time in that situation, no?' Nadal said after his second-round win. 'So then today was probably an accident, that's all. We are athletes. We know when we are going on court we can lose and we can win. It probably was a combination that Denis played a great match and Novak didn't play his best. When this combination happens, then you are in trouble. Everything can happen. And (it) happened.' Istomin, meanwhile, plays on. He's up against 30th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta on Show Court 2 on Friday. Here's a look at some of the key matchups Saturday: ___ RAFA'S TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Nadal plays 19-year-old Alexander Zverev in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. The young German was voted the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and has mostly lived up to the hype, seeded 24th here. 'He is one of the best players in the world, without a doubt ... and one of the next Grand Slam winners,' Nadal said. 'He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1 if he's able to keep improving the way that he's doing.' Nadal has been playing well since his return to the circuit after two lengthy injury spells last year, the 14-time major winner looking almost flawless in his straight sets win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. Still, he's expecting to have his hands full with Zverev: 'I know I have a very tough match ... I know I need to play my best if I want to have a chance.' ___ A SERENA BREATHER?: Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams had two fairly tough matches through the first two rounds, facing Belinda Bencic, a former No. 7-ranked player now sitting at 59, and Lucie Safarova, ranked No. 61 but who Williams beat in the 2015 French Open final. Williams won both matches in straight sets. Her third-round match is against fellow American Nicole Gibbs, who Williams beat in straight sets at Stanford in 2012 in their only previous meeting. Williams said she feels she's better for the experience of having had tough opposition in the first two rounds. 'When I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,' Williams said. 'It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it.' ___ CONTRASTING STYLES: Third-seeded Milos Raonic plays Gilles Simon on Hisense Arena and the Canadian holds a 3-1 edge in career meetings. Their only Grand Slam match came in the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, when Raonic won in five sets, including 7-5 in the fifth. 'I know a lot about his game. I've watched him play a lot,' Raonic said. 'He's going to be there really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots.' Which means Raonic, with one of the best serves in the game, will try to get points over quickly. 'I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.' ___ KONTA vs WOZNIACKI: Last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who made it to the final four here in 2011, meet for the first time in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Both have been playing well, Konta coming off a win in the Sydney International last week, and Wozniacki having dropped just seven games in her first two matches at Melbourne Park. 'She had a good last year,' Wozniacki said. 'But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China. Wenger is facing regular questions about the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate negotiations. Argentine striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua last month in a deal worth $40 million over two years. 'The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,' Wenger said Thursday. 'You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.' Wenger said players that want the best compensation for playing in the best quality league need not look to Asia. 'I think that combination is the best in England at the moment, so I don't see why the players should leave the English Premier League,' Wenger said. Wenger, whose team is fourth in the standings, has made only one signing in the January transfer window, picking up defender Cohen Bramall from non-league club Hednesford. Arsenal has also decided to keep captain Per Mertesacker for another season. Wenger announced Thursday that the club has taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of the 32-year-old German, who has not played this season because of a knee injury sustained during a friendly in July. Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team because Shkodran Mustafi, an offseason signing from Valencia, has built a strong partrnership with vice captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger's defense .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

George helps Pacers rally past Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Paul George scored 24 points, Jeff Teague had 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers used a big second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 106-100 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Indiana trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half, and then outscored Sacramento 65-40 in the final two quarters to win for the seventh time in eight games. Reserve Al Jefferson had 20 points in 17 minutes for the Pacers, and Myles Turner had 16 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Sacramento, which lost Rudy Gay to a torn left Achilles tendon in the third quarter. It was Cousins' fifth career triple-double. The Kings closed out a 1-6 homestand and have dropped 8-of-10 overall. Gay, Sacramento's second-leading scorer, fell to the floor while driving to the basket and was carried off the court. Gay, who had 21 points, will be evaluated Thursday. George made a jumper and Teague connected on two foul shots to give Indiana a 99-98 lead with 1:56 left. George then hit another jumper and Thaddeus Young's block on Cousins set up a key dunk by Turner in the final seconds. Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo and Kosta Koufos each had 11 points for the Kings. Collison also had nine assists and four steals. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em>Shot 41 percent from the field in the first half and were out-rebounded 24-11. Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring) was not in uniform and has not played since De. 28. em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>Reserves Omri Casspi (strained tendon) and Ty Lawson (ankle sprain) were unavailable. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em> Face the struggling Lakers on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in Los Angeles. em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>Visit Memphis on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for the start of a season-high eight-game road trip. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Derrick Rose powers short-handed Knicks past Celtics

em>By Ken Powtak, Associated Press /em> BOSTON (AP) — Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games. Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1-for-8 on three-point attempts. Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed three-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off. strong>TIP-INS /strong> Knicks: Porzingis was out with a sore left Achilles and Noah was sidelined by a sore left ankle. Porzingis missed his fourth straight game, but did shoot before the game. Noah played in their last game. Both big men are expected to undergo MRIs on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). F Lance Thomas was also out (fractured left orbital bone). Celtics: G Avery Bradley was a late scratch with a sore right Achilles after warming up. He played in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) win, but had missed the previous four games after straining the same Achilles. strong>SPECIAL MOMENT /strong> The fans gave a loud ovation to 11-year-old Stephen Register of Needham, Massachusetts, late in the opening quarter when he was shown on the Jumbotron. On Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), as part of a Make-A-Wish memory, the team signed him to an honorary one-day contract and he practiced with Celtics players Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, received a personalized team jersey, and participated in a press conference with players asking him questions. He was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>Host Washington on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for their third game in four days. The Wizards won the only other matchup -- 119-112 in Washington on Nov. 17 (Nov. 18, PHL time). em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Host Portland on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the first of two meetings between the teams this season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Mavericks edge Bulls, win third straight

em>By Jay Cohen, Associated Press /em> CHICAGO (AP) -- Wesley Matthews made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 12 seconds left, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 99-98 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the triple. Chicago had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired. Butler finished with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who had won two in a row. Robin Lopez scored 21, and Wade had 17 on 8-for-21 shooting. Wade's fadeaway jumper gave the Bulls a 94-90 lead with about 3.5 minutes left, but they were unable to close out Dallas. Chicago has dropped four in a row against the Mavericks, including a 107-82 loss in their first meeting of the season. Chicago played without forward Taj Gibson, sidelined by left ankle soreness. Paul Zipser, a second-round pick in last year's draft, started in Gibson's spot and finished with five points and three rebounds in his 13th game of the season. Gibson, averaging 12 points and 7.3 rebounds, could return Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Atlanta. He had played in every game this season. Dallas put together a 15-4 run spanning halftime to open a 64-51 lead on Barnes' turnaround jumper with 8:38 left in the third. But Chicago kept chipping away at the deficit, and Lopez's three-point play off a pass from Butler trimmed the Mavericks' lead to 76-74 heading into the fourth. Williams had 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Dallas, and reserve J.J. Barea scored 12 points. Matthews went 3-for-5 from three-point range and finished with 11 points. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>C Andrew Bogut missed his third straight game with a right hamstring strain. em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em>Butler received his Olympic championship ring during a pregame ceremony. He helped the U.S. win gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer. F Doug McDermott, who scored a career-high 31 points in Chicago's 108-104 victory at Memphis on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time), finished with seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Visit Miami on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The Mavericks have lost nine of their last 10 regular-season games against the Heat. em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em>Visit Atlanta on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). The Bulls have dropped five in a row against the Hawks, including a 115-107 defeat at Atlanta on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Tony Allen has season-high 22 as Grizzlies down Rockets

em>By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press /em> HOUSTON (AP) -- Tony Allen scored a season-high 22 points, Mike Conley added 17 and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit for a 110-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Memphis led by two late in the fourth quarter before scoring the next five points, capped by a three-pointer by Troy Daniels, to make it 110-103 with 26 seconds left. A dunk by James Harden came next, but Houston missed two shots after that to allow the Grizzlies to hold on for their fourth straight victory. Harden had 27 points and nine assists for the Rockets, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Memphis was up by one in the fourth when Conley tossed a ball from about halfcourt as he fell into the front row of seats to Allen for a dunk. Conley hit a three-pointer a few seconds later to push the lead to 101-95 with about five minutes left. The Grizzlies scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with five from Zach Randolph, to go on top for the first time in the second half, 92-85. Houston got going after that, scoring the next seven points to tie it with about eight minutes left. The Rockets led by 15 after an alley-oop dunk by Montrezl Harrell with about nine minutes left third quarter. The Grizzlies then used a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 71-64 with about three minutes later. Houston hadn't scored a basket in almost four minutes when Harrell made a jumper with about five minutes left. Consecutive three-pointers by Eric Gordon helped leave Houston ahead 79-68. It didn't take long for Memphis to start another run as Gasol hit a 3-pointer after that to start a 15-5 spurt that got the Grizzlies within 84-83 with about a minute left in the third. Daniels had two three’s in that stretch and Randolph added one. Sam Dekker made a free throw for Houston near the end of the quarter to leave Houston ahead 85-83 entering the fourth. Houston made just 2-of-14 three-pointers in the third quarter and shot just 25 percent overall in the period, while the Grizzlies made 5-of-10 three’s and shot 65 percent to close the gap. Houston led 64-51 at halftime. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Grizzlies: /strong> /em> Allen fouled out with 3:35 remaining. Randolph finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Daniels scored 13 points. em> strong>Rockets: /strong> /em> Gordon returned after missing two games with a toe injury and had 13 points. Harrell scored 10 points for his ninth double-digit scoring game in the last 13. Coach Mike D'Antoni received a technical foul early in the second quarter. Houston has scored 100 points or more in 28 straight games. strong>NO LOVE /strong> Memphis forward Chandler Parsons did not get a warm welcome in his return to Houston, getting booed loudly every time he touched the ball. Parsons was drafted by the Rockets in 2011 and played three seasons in Houston before leaving for Dallas. He spent two seasons there before joining the Grizzlies this season. He finished with five points, two rebounds and two steals. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Grizzlies: /strong> /em> Host Chicago on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). em> strong>Rockets: /strong> /em> Visit Brooklyn on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Packers confident facing Cowboys without injured Nelson

The Associated Press br /> The Green Bay Packers were better prepared to play without Jordy Nelson after the star receiver was ruled out of the NFL divisional playoff against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. br /> Nelson had an NFL-high 14 touchdown catches in the regular season as quarterback Aaron Rodgers' top target in the Packers' prolific passing attack. But he suffered broken ribs in a tackle as the Packers beat the New York Giants 38-13 in the wild-card round last weekend, and still wasn't right on Friday. br /> The offense struggled to hit big plays in 2015 while Nelson was sidelined for the entire season with a knee injury, but Green Bay proved last week that it can win without him, scoring all their points after he left. br /> With Rodgers, the league's best quarterback over the past two months, connecting regularly even on desperation passes, the Packers have won seven straight games. br /> And in Nelson's absence, Rodgers still has Randall Cobb, who caught three touchdown passes against the Giants, Davante Adams emerging as a playmaker, and Jared Cook as an athletic target at tight end. The Packers should do their share of scoring against a Dallas defense that ranked 26th against the pass. br /> Then again, sensational Cowboys rookies Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, operating behind the best offensive line in the NFL and complemented by Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, also should supply points. br /> Elliott and Precott are the third rookie running back-quarterback starting tandem in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era. Of note, the other two pairs lost their playoff debuts. br /> The Cowboys and Packers share an NFL postseason history that dates back five decades. Dallas holds a 4-3 edge, but since they beat the Packers three years in a row in the 1990s, they haven't been back to the NFC Championship game in 21 years. br /> All four home teams this weekend are tipped to win, especially the New England Patriots, who are 15 1/2-point favorites over the visiting Houston Texans, just the sixth time in 50 years that a team has been favored by at least 15 points in a playoff game. br /> New England has won its past four meetings with Houston at Gillette Stadium by a combined 150-49, but the Patriots say they aren't taking anything for granted against the NFL's top-ranked defense. But how does Houston, which lost 27-0 in September to a Patriots team without Tom Brady, go about beating a team that the odds-makers say is one of the most unbeatable in playoff history? br /> Running back LeGarrette Blount has taken a lot of pressure off Brady's arm this season, rushing for a New England single-season record 18 touchdowns and career-high 1,161 yards. And the defense has been creating turnovers at a high rate during their ongoing seven-game win streak. br /> That walking boot being worn by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after Pittsburgh's win against Miami last weekend is very worrisome to the Steelers. But Roethlisberger tends to always show up in the playoffs, and he's expected to perform against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday. br /> The Steelers eased past the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2, but that was in Pittsburgh. Kansas City is better now than it was back then, although so are the Steelers. br /> If the Chiefs can get pressure on Big Ben and somewhat control Antonio Brown, the league's most dangerous receiver (and non-quarterback), and running back Le'Veon Bell, it can use its relatively conservative offense to its advantage. But will coach Andy Reid turn the reins loose a bit when the Chiefs have the ball? br /> The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 23 years. br /> Then again, the Atlanta Falcons are the only team among the eight left who have not won a Super Bowl. br /> Facing the Seattle Seahawks at home on Saturday is one of those prove-it games for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and wideout Julio Jones. Which opponent to better prove that your offense, and an improving defense, are capable of a long postseason run than against the big kid on the NFC block? br /> The Seahawks bring superior experience, coaching, and swagger. br /> Seattle is as accomplished as any NFC playoff team, and many of the key contributors to its recent success remain on the scene: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin. And now that Thomas Rawls seems healthy, there's a running game to complement Wilson, Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham. br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Wizards move over .500 as Wall lifts team over Bulls

em>By Ian Quillen, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) -- John Wall scored 26 points, including a game-winning baseline jumper with 5.9 seconds left, and added 14 assists as the Washington Wizards moved above .500 with a 101-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (19-18). He also set the screen that freed up Wall for his jumper to seal a 10th straight home win. Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal each added 19 points for the Wizards, who completed their biggest comeback victory of the season after trailing by 18 in the second quarter. Washington is above .500 for the first time in more than a year. A season ago, the Wizards were 6-5 after a victory on Nov. 24, 2015. Denzel Valentine set career-highs by scoring 19 points and making five three-pointers for the short-handed Bulls, who despite seeing their lead slip away in the third quarter led by as many as seven in the fourth. Rajon Rondo added 12 points in his first game since Dec. 30 (Dec. 31, PHL time). Chicago was without leading scorers Jimmy Butler (ill) and Dwyane Wade (resting). Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic also sat out with an illness. After both teams led during the final stages, Wall hit a pull-up from near the foul line that tied it at 99 with 47.4 seconds to play. Chicago's Michael Carter-Williams missed a contested shot on the other end with about 30 seconds left. Wall got the ball after Otto Porter's rebound, took Carter-Williams into Gortat's screen on the right wing and hit a 16-footer over Robin Lopez's late-arriving outstretched arm. After a timeout, Doug McDermott missed a long three-pointer for the Bulls, and Wall grabbed the rebound with a second to go. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em>Shot 8-of-10 on three-pointers in the first half. Valentine surpassed his previous career-high of nine points when his third three-pointer gave him 11 with 2:22 to go before halftime. em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em> Entered tied for the longest active home winning streak with San Antonio, which hosted Milwaukee later in the evening. Committed 13 turnovers before halftime. Morris fouled out with 3:58 to play after picking up his fifth and sixth fouls 25 seconds apart. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Bulls: /strong> /em> Try to even their season series with the New York Knicks at 1-all when they visit Madison Square Garden on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).  em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em>Complete their eighth set of back-to-back games Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Boston. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council. It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help fund promised raises for FIFA's 211 member federations. With 80 matches instead of 64, FIFA forecasts the equivalent of $1 billion extra income at current rates from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to $5.5 billion revenue forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams. FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get. UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favored to be played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States. American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid. Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The 'absolute quality' of play, defined by high-ranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion. Instead, Infantino wants to create fervor and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments. FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan — with an opening playoff round sending 16 'one-and-done' teams home early — was unpopular. Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams. FIFA said it could guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests. North America is the strong favorite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022. South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Pistons outlast Trail Blazers in double OT

em>By Erik Garcia Gundersen, Associated Press /em> PORTLAND, Ore. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a three-pointer with 9.4 seconds left and the Detroit Pistons outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 125-124 in double-overtime Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) in a game postponed a day because of a winter storm. Reggie Jackson led Detroit with 31 points, Andre Drummond had 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Caldwell-Pope finished with 26. The Pistons have won two straight for the first time since Dec. 2 (Dec. 3, PHL time). CJ McCollum had 35 points for Portland in the game with 14 lead changes and 11 ties. He has scored 20 points or more in seven straight games and is averaging 33.8 points in the last five. Allen Crabbe added a career-high 30 points, and Damian Lillard had 20. McCollum's three-pointer with 8.3 seconds left tied it and 106, setting up overtime. Portland led by three in the first overtime, but the Pistons countered with a 6-0 run. McCollum answered once more, hitting a three-pointer with 16.7 seconds left to force a second extra period. The Pistons overcame a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a four-point lead, after back-to-back baskets from Marcus Morris with 2:31 left. Crabbe brought Portland closer with 48.1 seconds left to cut the Detroit lead to 104-103. Jackson came right back with a step-back jumper to put Detroit up 106-103 with 24 seconds left, only to be answered by McCollum. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em> Due to the postponement, the Pistons decided to kill time Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) at Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Portland. 'Guys were playing pool. Most of them were over there,' coach Stan Van Gundy said. 'There was a lot of other staff there too. I wanted to go over there and not be as anti-social as I usually am.' Backup center Aron Baynes made his return to the floor after missing two games with a left ankle sprain. However, the Pistons did not get out of the game unscathed. Starting power forward Jon Leuer left Sunday's game after just six minutes with a sore right knee. em> strong>Trail Blazers: /strong> /em> Coach Terry Stotts said he likes the progress he's seen from Lillard in his return from a left ankle injury that kept him out two weeks. 'For not playing for two weeks and not really having a practice per se, I thought it was pretty good,' Stotts said. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em> At Sacramento on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). em> strong>Trail Blazers: /strong> /em> At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

76ers beat Nets for 10th win, match last season's total

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Embiid is no longer just trusting the process. Now he's talking about the playoffs. Embiid scored 20 points and the Philadelphia 76ers earned their 10th victory to match their total from all last season, beating the Brooklyn Nets 105-95 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The 76ers broke it open with a 17-2 surge in the fourth quarter to win the matchup between the NBA's two worst teams and improve to 10-25 in their first season with former lottery picks Embiid and Dario Saric. They were 10-72 in 2015-16, just off their own record for worst finish in the 82-game schedule. Embiid has looked at the standings and seen the 76ers are eight games back of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, and believes that should be a goal. 'I think we have a chance. We've been hot lately,' he said. 'We've won three out of four lately, so I look at it and I think we have a chance and we're really figuring things out. We're starting to learn how to win games.' Embiid did his damage without even reaching the 28-minute restriction he was limited to as he recovers from a series of foot injuries that delayed his NBA debut for two years. He left the court to chants of 'Trust the Process!' in a nod to what he and others reminded fans while the Sixers lost big during Sam Hinkie's rebuilding plan. Even as the victories come, coach Brett Brown said the building process remains most important. 'We are winning basketball games more frequently than we have been, but for us it's still, how are we doing what we do?' Brown said. 'Are we doing our job? Are we not skipping steps? Are we putting in good days? And we believe as simple as that might sound that they will add up.' Saric added 18 points, while Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas each had 15. Brook Lopez scored 26 points for the Nets (8-28), who have lost six in a row. The Nets led by 11 at halftime, but the Sixers scored the first 13 points of the third quarter to take their first lead at 59-57 on a jumper by Embiid. They opened the second half with a 30-9 spurt and went into the fourth ahead 78-73. 'I just didn't feel like that third quarter, it's like, 'Why isn't our energy the same?'' Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. Brooklyn recovered to take an 85-84 edge but it was all Sixers from there, closing their spurt with 13 straight points to make it 101-87 on Covington's 3-pointer. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>76ers: /strong> /em>Sergio Rodriguez returned after a three-game absence with a sprained left ankle, but T.J. McConnell remained the starter after recording a career-high 17 assists Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Boston. Brown stopped short of saying it would stay that way long-term or even that McConnell would play the starter's share of the minutes, but praised his play in Rodriguez's absence. McConnell missed his first seven shots but finished with six assists and eight rebounds. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em>The Nets fell to 7-2 against the 76ers at Barclays Center, their most wins against any team. Starting forward Trevor Booker left after just three minutes of the second half with a bruised left hip. The Nets originally ruled him out for the remainder of the game, but he returned with 4:36 to play. strong>NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN /strong> The 76ers spent their Saturday night in New York at the Broadway musical 'Hamilton,' the winner of 11 Tony Awards in 2016 that uses hip-hop music to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton and America's founding fathers. 'Team stuff like that, growing a culture, building a program off the floor, that stuff matters to us,' Brown said, 'and I think it's just one other example of just things you try to do with a team to just grow a program and grow a culture and it was a wonderful day.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>76ers: /strong> /em> Host New York on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the first meeting this season. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em> Host Atlanta on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Atkinson's first time coaching against the team where he was an assistant the previous four seasons. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Beal, Morris lead Wizards over Giannis-less Bucks

em>By Andrew Gruman, Associated Press /em> MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Bradley Beal scored 26 points and Markieff Morris added 20 points with 10 rebounds, leading the Washington Wizards over the Milwaukee Bucks 107-101 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Jabari Parker's basket brought the Bucks within 104-101 with 1:05 to play, but Washington grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed jumper by John Wall. Otto Porter then found Morris wide open under the hoop off an inbounds play for a basket with 37.9 seconds left. The Wizards began the second half on a 15-6 run to take a 64-63 lead on Kelly Oubre's dunk. Oubre had 10 of his 17 points in the third, helping Washington outscore the Bucks 33-21 in the quarter. Parker led Milwaukee with 28 points. Malcolm Brogdon finished with a career-high 22 points and Michael Beasley scored 18 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was ill and didn't play. Milwaukee hit 7 of 12 attempts from 3-point range in the first half and led 57-49 at the break. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em> Beal briefly went down after colliding with Porter in the second quarter. He limped off the court but stayed in the game following a timeout. em> strong>Bucks: /strong> /em>G Matthew Dellevadova returned after missing five games with a strained right hamstring. Milwaukee's eight steals in the first quarter were its most in any quarter since April 9, 2006. Beasley left the game with a left shin contusion with 1:24 left in the third quarter and did not return. strong>GIANNIS SITS /strong> Antetokounmpo reported to the BMO Harris Bradley Center earlier in the day, was evaluated by a team doctor and ruled out. 'He's just sick,' coach Jason Kidd said. 'Next guy up. We have plenty of guys, so it is the next one up.' Antetokounmpo, who practiced Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), had played in all 35 games for the Bucks this season and has missed just three over the last two seasons. The 22-year-old Antetokounmpo is averaging 24.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em>Washington hosts Chicago on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The Wizards have split a pair of games with the Bulls this season. em> strong>Bucks: /strong> /em>Milwaukee plays at San Antonio on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The Bucks have not beaten the Spurs since 2012 and have not won in San Antonio since 2008.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

No. 10 Bluejays prey on Providence on the road

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Creighton coach Greg McDermott will get a little extra time to relish his first victory over the Friars in Providence. The 10th-ranked Bluejays were preparing for an unexpected night in Rhode Island's capital on Saturday night after beating Providence 78-64. A snowstorm blanketed the area with up to a foot of snow, and Creighton wasn't optimistic about getting out on time. ''I haven't enjoyed my stays here very much in the past,'' said McDermott, who was 1-6 against the Friars and 0-3 in Providence. ''So I'm going to try to smile a little bit tonight.'' Justin Patton had 20 points and Maurice Watson Jr. scored 11 with 14 assists as the Bluejays (15-1, 3-1 Big East) won in Providence for the first time since 1970. Marcus Foster had 17 points and Khyri Thomas added 16 for Creighton. Emmitt Holt scored 17 points and Kalif Young had nine rebounds for Providence (11-6, 1-3). With a snowstorm dumping 6-12 inches on the area, the Dunkin' Donuts Center was unusually quiet for a visit from a Top 10 team. The early stumble didn't help. PC missed its first six shots before Holt's layup made it 10-2 with 4 minutes gone in the game. The Friars managed to stay within 10 points until there were about 8 minutes left, when Creighton went on a 15-1 run to put the game away. ''I appreciate everyone who came out,'' Providence coach Ed Cooley said. ''I don't think we ever gave the crowd enough down the stretch for them to get us over the hump like they have in the past.'' Providence had won its last five against Creighton, including the 2014 Big East title game. The Bluejays' only victory in Providence was in 1970, when the Friars played on campus. Creighton scored the first 10 points of the game and nursed the lead for most of the first half until two layups by Holt and a jumper by Isaiah Jackson tied it 27-all with 5 minutes before the break. It was 31-31 when the Bluejays scored eight straight points on two dunks by Patton and two layups by Thomas to help them take a 39-33 halftime lead. BIG PICTURE Creighton opened the season with 13 straight wins before losing to then-No. 1 Villanova on New Year's Eve. The Bluejays will have another big test against No. 18 Butler. The Friars had a tough start to Big East play, with games against ranked Xavier, Butler and Creighton among their first four (along with Georgetown). Next up is unranked DePaul. UNDER THE WEATHER I The announced attendance of 8,176 was 4,000 short of a sellout and probably inflated by several thousand no-shows. Both coaches noticed. ''The weather probably helped us a little today. There wasn't as many as we usually see here,'' McDermott said. ''It's one of the places we've never been able to get a win. We came in here with a really good team our first year in the Big East and got pounded.'' Creighton had planned to head back after the game but was making plans to stay. ''Our plane's here ready to go,'' McDermott said, ''but the pilots are putting on the brakes.'' UNDER THE WEATHER II Watson threw up at halftime of Wednesday's game against St. John's and was still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms late this week. But he played a team-high 36 minutes. ''I'm OK. We got a win. We've got a day off,'' he said. ''It's all in a day's work.'' INJURIES PC point guard Kyron Cartwright left the game with knee tendinitis with 5 minutes left in the first half and the Friars trailing by two points. They managed to tie the game twice before Creighton went on an 8-0 run. Cartwright, who averages 10 points and seven assists, finished with one point and no assists in 12 minutes. ''That's a big blow to your team,'' McDermott said. ''We certainly weren't playing a full-strength team.'' UP NEXT Creighton returns home to play No. 18 Butler on Wednesday. Providence visits DePaul on Tuesday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Wizards withstand Wiggins' 41 to tame Wolves

WASHINGTON (AP) John Wall a season-high 18 assists and scored 18 points to help the Washington Wizards beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-105 on Friday night for their ninth straight home victory. Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins had 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting after scoring eight points in a loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Bradley Beal had 22 points for Washington, and Marcin Gortat hit all nine of his field-goal attempts and scored 19 points. The Wizards have won 10 of 15 overall. Karl-Anthony Towns added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has dropped six of its last eight Gorgui Dieng added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Zach Lavine had eight points on 3-of-14 shooting. After Wiggins gave Minnesota its first lead since early in the fourth quarter, 101-99 with 2:50 left, Otto Porter Jr. tied it with a jumper, and Wall scored on two fast-break layups to make it 105-101 with 140 left. Wiggins' dunk pulled the Wolves within two, but Beal made a 3-pointer. Wiggins hit another jumper, and Gortat's layup gave Washington a five-point lead with 48 seconds left as Washington scored on five straight possessions. Nobody scored again until Wall hit two free throws with 8.3 seconds left. The Wizards opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to take an 89-85 lead. Minnesota trailed 66-52 early in the third, but Wiggins (16 points in the quarter) sparked a comeback that saw the Wolves hit 15 of 23 shots and score 37 points in the period to lead 85-80 entering the fourth. The Wizards shot 55 percent (22 of 40) in the first half, including 7 of 13 from 3-point range. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Top-ranked Kerber loses to Svitolina in quarterfinals

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber predicted that 2017 was going to have a different feel for her, considering her phenomenal breakout season last year. It certainly started differently, with the top-ranked German losing to sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the Brisbane International quarterfinals on Thursday. Kerber reached the final here last year and fine-tuned to precision for the Australian Open, where she beat Serena Williams to claim her first Grand Slam title. She went on to reach the finals at Wimbledon and the Olympics before collecting a second major title by winning the U.S. Open. She overhauled Williams for the top ranking and finished the year at No. 1. After a first-round bye, Kerber struggled with her serve and had nine double-faults in a three-set win over Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty in the second round. Against the No. 14-ranked Svitolina, the German left-hander cut her double-faults down to five, and had a break in the third set after winning the second. But she quickly surrendered the break and wasn't consistent enough, finishing with 48 unforced errors against 39 winners. 'Of course I'm disappointed that I lost here in the quarters (but) I think I'm happy about my start,' Kerber said. 'I'm not worried about my serve. I know I can improve it, but, I mean, that's the second match of the year, the first tournament. 'It was not a bad match. I think we both play on the really high level tonight ...so, yeah, next.' Svitolina was the only player to beat both No. 1-ranked women last year, beating Kerber in straight sets in Beijing and Williams at the Olympics. The 22-year-old Ukrainian has now closed the gap to 5-4 in career head-to-head meetings with Kerber. In the semifinals, she will meet U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, who advanced by beating eighth-seeded Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a semifinal match against Alize Cornet, who ousted second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 7-5. Defending men's champion Milos Raonic will face 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. The top-seeded Raonic, who had a first-round bye, had 12 aces in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman. Nadal, who is coming back from months off the tour with a left wrist injury, needed only 55 minutes to finish off a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mischa Zverev in a late match. 'After injuries and hard times, it's so special to be back on court,' the 30-year-old Nadal told the appreciative crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. 'It means everything to me. When you fight a lot to be back in action, the support of the people means a lot.' Nadal beat Raonic in an exhibition match last week in Abu Dhabi and has a 6-1 lead in career head-to-head meetings, but the Canadian was still looking forward to facing the Spaniard. 'It's a great task,' Raonic said. 'I feel like I'm doing a lot of things well and, hopefully, I can match up and play some good tennis.' Fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Australian wild-card entry Sam Groth 7-6 (5), 6-3 to move into a quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Mahut. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

105-year-old Frenchman sets cycling record

SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports Writer   SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike. He proved that prediction wrong again on Wednesday. In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category -- created especially for the tireless veteran -- by riding 22.547 kilometers (14.010 miles) in one hour. 'I'm now waiting for a rival,' he said. Marchand had ridden faster in the past on the boards of the Velodrome National, a state of the art venue used to host the elite of track cycling. But he had warned before his latest attempt that his current form was not as good. 'I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,' Marchand said after his effort. 'Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I'm not tired. I thought my legs would hurt, but they don't. My arms hurt, you have to hurt somewhere.' Three years ago at the same venue, Marchand covered 26.927 kilometers (16.731 miles) in one hour to better his own world record in the over-100s category. Still, impressed fans and chanted 'Robert, Robert' during the last minutes of his ride. Marchand received a standing ovation once he completed the last of his 92 laps and was then mobbed by dozens of cameramen and TV crews. 'He could have been faster but he made a big mistake. He has stopped eating meat over the past month after being shocked by recent reports on how animals are subjected to cruel treatment,' Marchand's physiologist, Veronique Billat, told The Associated Press. By way of comparison, the current overall world record for one hour is 54.526 kilometers (33.880 miles) set by British rider Bradley Wiggins in 2015. But Wiggins, who smashed the previous record using the world's leading track cycling equipment, is now retired. Marchand, who lives in a small flat in a Parisian suburb with a meager pension of about 900 euros ($940), keeps pedaling and stretching every day. As if time had no effect on him. 'He's got two essential qualities. A big heart that pumps a lot of blood, and he can reach high heart beat values that are exceptional for his age,' said Billat, a university professor. 'If he starts eating meat again and builds more muscle, he can better this mark.' Marchand, a former firefighter who was born in 1911 in the northern town of Amiens, has lived through two world wars. He led an eventful life that took him to Venezuela, where he worked as a truck driver near the end of the 1940s. He then moved to Canada and became a lumberjack for a while. Back in France in the 1960s, Marchand made a living through various jobs that left him with no time to practice sports. He finally took up his bike again when he was 68 years old and began a series of cycling feats. The diminutive Marchand — he is 1.52 meters (5-foot) tall and weighs 52 kilograms (115 pounds) — rode from Bordeaux to Paris, and Paris to Roubaix several times. He also cycled to Moscow from Paris in 1992 and set the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles). 'If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself,' Marchand's coach and good friend Gerard Mistler told the AP. According to Mistler, the secret behind Marchand's longevity relates to his healthy lifestyle: eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, no smoking, just the occasional glass of wine and exercising on a daily basis. 'He never pushed his limits, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m., there's no other secret,' Mistler said. 'If had been doping, he would not be there anymore.' To stay fit, Marchand rides every day on his home trainer and puts himself through outdoor training sessions on the road when the weather is good enough. 'One needs to keep his muscles working,' said Marchand, a faithful reader of communist newspaper L'Humanite. 'Reading a lot keeps his mind alert,' Mistler said. 'He does not watch much TV, apart from the Tour de France stages.' At 105, Marchand is not making plans for the future. His coach would not be surprised to see him back on the boards, though. 'Setting goals for himself is part of his personality,' Mistler said. 'If he tells me he wants to improve his record, I'll be game. Robert is a great example for all of us.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017