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Krajinovic upsets Isner to face Sock in Paris Masters final

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Qualifier Filip Krajinovic reached the Paris Masters final after upsetting John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5) on Saturday. Isner was also playing for a berth in the elite eight-man ATP Finals, and that ended, too. Krajinovic slid onto his back and sobbed, his arms raised, after sealing victory on his first match point. The Serb then knelt and kissed the court. "When I served for the match my hand was shaking," Krajinovic said. "It was tough to control the emotions. Best day in my life but the tournament is not over yet." He will play for his first career title against another American, Jack Sock, who comfortably beat Julien Benneteau of France 7-5, 6-2. Sock has never won a Masters title and can qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in London if he does so here. Sock dropped his serve twice but broke Benneteau five times. Sock will go for his third title of the year and fourth of his career. Benneteau is retiring. "I was able to ... play my game, swing big," Sock said. "I'm going to have to bring my A game tomorrow. ... Everyone knows (Krajinovic) is a very talented player and he's showcasing that." Isner didn't hide his disappointment. "I had an opportunity here to do some things (ATP Finals) I've never done before," Isner said. He was a runner-up in Paris last year and again fell short of an elusive first Masters title. "This one is going to sting because I knew I was the highest-ranked player in the semifinals," he said. Krajinovic is the lowest-ranked in a Masters final since 2003, when 191st-ranked Andrei Pavel made it in Paris. The 77th-ranked Krajinovic had won only 17 matches in his whole career — thwarted by injuries — before this tournament. He is also the first qualifier to reach a Masters final since Jerzy Janowicz in 2012, also in Paris. However, he was helped by not having to play his quarterfinal because top-ranked Rafael Nadal pulled out with a right knee injury. Nadal has not said whether he will be fit enough to play in the Finals, starting on Nov. 12. Serving for the first set, Krajinovic held to love. Isner dominated the second-set tiebreaker and leveled the match with an ace. Isner forged a break point at the start of the third set, but missed it with a wasteful forehand. Then he spurned another chance on Krajinovic's serve at 30-40 in the ninth game. "I missed the ball by a few inches," Isner said. "With how well I was serving today, that was essentially a match point." In a tense decisive tiebreaker, Isner led 3-0 but Krajinovic went 5-4 up. Isner's 31st ace tied it but a superb return to Isner's feet on the next point gave Krajinovic match point on his serve. Reaching the final is particularly sweet for a top-10 junior whose promising career was held back by an extra bone in his right wrist that needed treatment, following on from a right shoulder operation in 2011. "I really had big injuries. But I stayed calm," he said. "I knew that one day everything will come back." He hasn't forgotten the support from countryman Novak Djokovic during his injury layoffs. "We are very close friends," Krajinovic said. "He was helping me right after the injuries. He gave me a coach." Nor has he forgotten the sponsors who dropped him when he was down. "I break top hundred a couple years ago and then all of a sudden I have an extra bone in my wrist," he said. "It was mentally really tough because, you know, getting older and older all sponsors said no to me." A whipped forehand winner into an open side of the court was enough for victory, prompting wild celebrations from Krajinovic's coach, Petar Popovic, who was topless as he shook his fists in delight. "We started four months ago and it's going unbelievable," Krajinovic said. "I knew him since I was 10.".....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 5th, 2017

Nadal a straight-sets winner to begin Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-seeded Rafael Nadal didn't show any side effects from a right knee injury that sidelined him at the end of last season, beating Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round match. Nadal, who won the French Open and U.S. Open last year, lost in last year's final here to Roger Federer. The Spanish lefthander has only lost in the first round at two Grand Slam singles tournaments — to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013, and to Fernando Verdasco in Melbourne in 2016. Nadal will play Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday. Mayer beat Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3 earlier Monday. In other matches: Caroline Wozniacki was an easy 6-2, 6-3 winner over Michaela Buzarnescu in a first-round match at Melbourne Park. At No. 2, Wozniacki is playing here at her highest seeding since appearing as the top-seeded player at the 2012 Australian Open when she lost in the quarterfinals. Wozniacki, seeded 19th in Melbourne last year, is still looking to win her first Grand Slam singles title. Add Jack Sock's name to the list of Americans departing Monday from the Australian Open. On the same day the U.S. lost eight women's players, including 2017 finalist Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Sock was defeated by Japan's Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round. Sock, who's never advanced beyond the third round at the Australian Open, was the highest-ranked American man at No. 8 and had his highest seeding at a major. The American, who retired from a match against Sugita at the Hopman Cup to start the season, had 52 unforced errors compared to just 30 winners in the match. Sock is coming off a career-best season in which he won his first Masters title in Paris and qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time. He lost his first match of the new season last week in New Zealand, however, and was criticized afterward in the local media for appearing not to give his full effort in the match. Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the second round at the Australian Open for the seventh time with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over qualifier Dennis Novak. Last year at Melbourne Park, Dimitrov equaled his best Grand Slam result, reaching the semifinals before losing to Rafael Nadal in five sets. He also lost a Wimbledon semifinal in 2014 to Novak Djokovic. Dimitrov has never lost to a qualifier in seven matches at a Grand Slam tournament, and has dropped only one set. American actor and comedian Will Ferrell watched the Rod Laver Arena match......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Best in history Ronaldo put to test by Messi in clasico

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has made his claim. Now he has to live up to it. Ronaldo will face Lionel Messi on Saturday for the first time since the Portugal forward declared himself “the best player in the history” of soccer after equaling the Argentine’s five Ballon d’Or awards this month. Basking in the spotlight of a glitzy ceremony under the Eiffel Tower, Ronaldo felt confident enough to put himself at the pinnacle of the sport, ahead of Messi and other greats like Pele and Diego Maradona. “You will go and say that I have a big head, but when you’re at the top, it’s normal that you’re criticized,” he told France Football. “I am the best player in history, in both good and bad times.” Personalities aside, Ronaldo has a tough case to make. He and Messi both have four Champions League titles, but Messi’s eight Spanish league titles double Ronaldo’s tally for Madrid and Manchester United. Messi also has the edge in their head-to-head duels. Messi has outscored Ronaldo 19-17 since Ronaldo joined Madrid in 2009. Prior to that, Messi scored in a 2-0 win over Ronaldo’s Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final. The Barcelona-led Messi has also had a clear advantage over Ronaldo’s Madrid. Messi has helped Barcelona beat Ronaldo’s side 13 times, to eight wins for Madrid and seven draws. Overall, Messi holds the “clasico” record with 24 goals in 36 matches. Ronaldo is one goal shy of matching Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano’s 18 goals against Barcelona. The camera-shy Messi insisted again on Monday when he was recognized for leading the Spanish league in goals last campaign that he put more value on team titles than individual honors. “Titles are our goal,” Messi said. “If individual statistics are there also, that’s even better, but they are not the objective.” Ronaldo has no doubt closed the gap with Messi after he led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles in the last two seasons. But for Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, this past decade is still set to bear Messi’s mark. “If it wasn’t for (Ronaldo), Messi would have won twice as much,” Torres said Wednesday. “What Ronaldo has done in the age of Messi says a lot about him.” Ronaldo will need to be at his best on Saturday because anything other than a victory will deal a huge blow to Madrid’s title defense before the season reaches its midway point. Madrid enters the match in fourth place and trailing Barcelona by 11 with a match in hand. Atletico Madrid and Valencia are in second and third. “Given the situation we are in we are obligated to win,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. Messi had one of his most memorable performances at Madrid last season when he scored his second of two brilliant goals in stoppage time to silence the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid got revenge with wins of 3-1 and 2-0 in the Spanish Super Cup in August, when Barcelona was reeling from the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, however, quickly rallied his team and the Catalan club has not lost since, a run of 24 matches. With Neymar gone, Valverde has succeeded in tightening up Barcelona’s defense. “It would be important to win for everything that would represent, since the match is so special, and we are playing at their ground,” Messi said. “There would still be a long way to go for the league title, but a victory would be a nice before the Christmas break.” Here are some other potential keys to the “clasico.” ___ SUAREZ Striker Luis Suarez has rediscovered his scoring touch at just the right time for Barcelona. After only scoring three times in the first 11 matches, Suarez has six goals in his last five league games. They will need him even more with backup forwards Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu injured. ___ BENZEMA Karim Benzema has only scored two goals in 11 league appearances for Madrid this season. The drop in production has contributed to Madrid’s stumbles, leading many fans to lament the exit of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea. ___ ALBA Jordi Alba has flourished going forward into the hole that Neymar used to occupy. The Spain left back is a favorite of Messi to weave together short-passing combinations that unlock packed defenses. His matchup against Madrid right back Dani Carvajal should be key. ___ BALE Gareth Bale is playing for his future. Recurrent injuries have cost the Wales winger his spot in Madrid’s starting lineup, with coach Zinedine Zidane preferring the playmaking — and sturdier legs — of Francisco “Isco” Alarcon. Bale returned after his latest injury layoff to help Madrid win the Club World Cup, but as a second-half substitute. He is likely to have that role against Barcelona and will need to make the most of the minutes he gets. ___ VERMAELEN Thomas Vermaelen was considered a lost cause. That was until defenders Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano got injured, giving the Belgian another chance to find his spot in Barcelona’s rotation. Vermaelen has played six consecutive matches, a personal record for him at Barcelona. Injuries limited him to 11 league appearances in two seasons before he was loaned out to Roma last year. Now that he is back, the former Arsenal player will be critical to Barcelona’s chances of stopping Ronaldo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

Real Madrid to face PSG in last 16 of the Champions League

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Two-time defending champion Real Madrid will face Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League. The match, which will pit Cristiano Ronaldo against Neymar, was possible because Madrid finished as a runner-up in its group. Barcelona will play Chelsea, Manchester City will face Basel, Manchester United will take on Sevilla and Porto will play Liverpool. Also, it was: Juventus vs. Tottenham; Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas; and Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma. The first legs will be played from Feb. 13-21, with the return matches from March 6-14. The final will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26. Champions League Draw List First Leg (Feb. 13-21): Juventus (Italy) vs. Tottenham (England) Basel (Switzerland) vs. Manchester City (England) Porto (Portugal) vs. Liverpool (England) Sevilla (Spain) vs. Manchester United (England) Real Madrid (Spain) vs. Paris Saint-Germain (France) Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) vs. Roma (Italy) Chelsea (England) vs. Barcelona (Spain) Bayern Munich (Germany) vs. Besiktas (Turkey) ___ Second Leg (March 6-14): Tottenham (England) vs. Juventus (Italy) Manchester City (England) vs. Basel (Switzerland) Liverpool (England) vs. Porto (Portugal) Manchester United (England) vs. Sevilla (Spain) Paris Saint-Germain (France) vs. Real Madrid (Spain) Roma (Italy) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) Barcelona (Spain) vs. Chelsea (England) Besiktas (Turkey) vs. Bayern Munich (Germany).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2017

Flanagan upsets Keitany, ends US drought at NYC Marathon

NEW YORK (AP) — Shalane Flanagan thought about the seven years building to this race, possibly her last. She thought about the running star striding next to her. She thought about her family. She thought about Meb. With one hellacious holler at the finish, it all poured out. Flanagan dethroned Mary Keitany on Sunday and became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon since 1977, potentially ending her decorated career with her first major marathon victory. Flanagan's breakthrough came in the last career race for American great Meb Keflezighi. The 2009 New York winner collapsed at the finish line, his 42-year-old body pushed to its limit in his 26th marathon. Keflezighi finished 11th, about five minutes behind 24-year-old winner Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya. This may have been Flanagan's final race, too, although the four-time Olympian wasn't ready to commit. But she likes the idea of her and Keflezighi going out together. "I was thinking of Meb, and I was thinking of how I wanted to make him proud," Flanagan said. Her win came five days after the bike path terror attack in lower Manhattan killed eight and raised questions about security for Sunday. That hit home for Flanagan, a Massachusetts native who completed the 2013 Boston Marathon shortly before a bomb went off at the finish line, killing three and wounding more than 260 others. "It's been a tough week for New Yorkers, and a tough week for our nation," Flanagan said. "I thought of, 'What a better gift than to make Americans smile today?'" Flanagan ended a dominant stretch in New York by Keitany, a Kenyan runner who had won here three straight years. Flanagan stalked Keitany most of the way, hovering behind her during an unusually slow first 20 miles by the lead women. Flanagan, Keitany and third-place finisher Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia broke from the pack in the 21st mile, and with about three miles left, Flanagan hit the jets. She finished in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds, about a minute faster than Keitany. Flanagan cried and yelled as she approached the finish line without another runner in sight. "It's indescribable," the 36-year-old said. "It's a moment I'm trying to soak up and savor." The last American woman to win New York was Miki Gorman, who took consecutive titles in 1976-77. "Way too long," Flanagan said. Flanagan knows about long waits. She finished second here in her debut marathon in 2010 but hadn't run New York since. It was also her first marathon since finishing sixth at the Rio Games. She fractured her lower back last winter and missed the Boston Marathon in the spring. She was "heartbroken" to miss her hometown race, but the injury set her up to take aim at Keitany in New York. Flanagan had called Keitany "the alpha racer" and said she was ready to "suffer dearly" while keeping pace with the unpredictable Kenyan. As she went stride-for-stride with Keitany in the middle miles, Flanagan wasn't sure what she'd have for the final stretch. "There's always creeping doubts of whether I was going to have enough to beat the best in the world," she said. Keitany never found her top gear Sunday, though, and finished with her slowest New York time since a third-place result in 2010. Keitany said she had a problem of a personal nature Saturday afternoon that affected her Sunday, but she would not disclose the issue. Flanagan held a stern look on the course until getting emotional near the finish in Central Park. On the podium, she put her hands over face and began to cry again when she was announced the winner. She turned to hug Keitany before accepting her medal. "This is the moment I've dreamed of since I was a little girl," Flanagan said. She's determined to pass on that dream, too. She and husband Steven Edwards — a former track and field star — have been fostering two teenage daughters who are also aspiring runners. Flanagan's parents were also marathoners, and her mom, Cheryl Treworgy, once held the world record. "This means a lot to me, to my family," Flanagan said. "And hopefully inspires the next generation of American women to just be patient." Kamworor beat countryman Wilson Kipsang by three seconds, winning with a time of 2:10:53. Kamworor separated from the pack late and seemed like he would cruise to his first major marathon victory, but Kipsang sneaked up on him at the very end. Kamworor was surprised to see the 2014 New York winner behind him on a large video board located near the finish line. "I look at the camera, I saw someone was coming, which was Wilson," Kamworor said. "And I had to believe in myself because I was holding out for the finish." Kamworor kissed the pavement right after crossing the finish, then turned to embrace Kipsang. Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa finished third. A few minutes later, the Central Park crowd gave perhaps its loudest cheers of the day to Keflezighi. He waved and blew kisses to the grandstands through the home stretch, then had to be carried away after crumbling at the finish line. "It was a beautiful victory lap, you could say," Keflezighi said. The race went off as planned a few days after New York's biggest terror attack since 9/11. Police had promised an unprecedented effort to secure the course, a plan including hundreds of extra uniformed patrol and plainclothes officers, roving teams of counterterrorism commandos armed with heavy weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and rooftop snipers. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was expecting 2 million fans to line the streets. The only interruption came when firetrucks had to cross the course to address an emergency that organizers said was unrelated to the race. The course was briefly closed around Mile 18 to let the trucks through, but that was well after the elite runners had finished. Beverly Ramos competed with a Puerto Rican flag headband two months after her home island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Like many in Puerto Rico, Ramos was without power after the storm. Still, she decided to continue training near San Juan, seeking out safe places to run amid the wreckage. "You have to stay strong no matter what," Ramos said. "A lot of runners encouraged me to continue and to push." The wheelchair events were a Swiss sweep. Manuela Schar finally upended four-time defending champion Tatyana McFadden to win the women's race, while countryman Marcel Hug repeated as the men's champ. Schar had been runner-up the last three years but beat her nemesis McFadden by nearly three minutes. Hug has won New York three times. Comedian Kevin Hart made his marathon debut at New York. Forget about chasing gold — the actor and fitness nut was mostly worried about avoiding humiliation. "I don't want to see a bunch of memes of me looking weird out here," Hart said shortly before starting.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Nadal quits Paris with knee injury to cast doubt on London

PARIS, France – Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Paris Masters before his quarter-final with a knee injury on Friday, November 3, which could also rule the 16-time Grand Slam champion out of the season-ending World Tour Finals. World number one Nadal, who has suffered from knee and wrist injuries throughout ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 4th, 2017

Nadal, Federer advance to Shanghai final for 38th encounter

em>By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press /em> SHANGHAI (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will face each for the 38th time after advancing Saturday to the Shanghai Masters final. Top-seeded Nadal defeated Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the first semifinal, and second-seeded Federer was stretched to three sets before posting a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. Nadal, who won a tour-best sixth title of the season at the China Open last week, improved his current winning streak to 16 matches. The Spaniard, who has 16 Grand Slam men's singles trophies, won the French and U.S. Open titles this season. Federer, looking for his sixth title this year, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year to increase his Grand Slam men's singles record to 19 titles. Nadal holds a 23-14 winning record over Federer, but Federer has won their last four meetings, including all three this season. Nadal has won 14 of 23 finals against Federer. 'I'm not sure what the stat is because most of them, half of them, maybe, were in finals and that's why the rivalry is so special,' Federer said. 'I enjoy playing against him even if the head-to-head is not in my favor. He's one of the guys who's made me a better player. I don't want to thank him for that, but it made me go back and rework my game.' Del Potro went for an MRI on Friday night after falling and hurting his left wrist but showed little sign of the injury bothering him against Federer. The Argentine said his wrist was hurting after the match. Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals to del Potro at the U.S. Open this year, looked shaky in the opener but found his form for the final two sets. He broke 16th-seeded del Potro on a fifth break point in a contentious sixth game of the second set. When Federer missed out on the fourth break point, the Swiss hit a ball in anger across the court. During the changeover after the seventh game, an annoyed del Potro asked why Federer wasn't given a warning for the outburst. 'Getting that break and then holding is always key ... especially with all the twists and turns in tennis,' Federer said. 'If you blink at the right time your back can be against the wall.' Nadal, who was a finalist here in 2009, has now beaten Cilic in five of their six matches. Nadal hadn't lost his serve in 32 service games but fourth-seeded Cilic broke him twice, in the sixth and 10th games of the second set. At 30-40 in the sixth game, Nadal netted a forehand volley to surrender his serve for the first time, and responded by twice angrily banging his racket on his leg, just above the knee. 'Is true, sometimes I get frustrated too,' Nadal said. Nadal failed to take advantage of his first match point when he made a forehand error at 40-30 in the 10th game, and went on to have his serve broken. Leading 6-3 in the second-set tiebreaker, Nadal prevailed on his second match point when Cilic netted a service return. Nadal said there were 'mistakes with my serve in the second, that's the only thing. For the rest, I am happy.' Nadal saved three set points on his own serve when 5-4 down. The Shanghai Masters wants to expand to a 10 or 11 day event, increase its draw size from 64 to 96, and raise prize money to more than $10 million, starting in 2019. The ATP board is expected to discuss Shanghai's request next month. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2017

Nadal and Federer win in straight sets at Shanghai Masters

SHANGHAI (AP) — Rafael Nadal lost only four points on serve Wednesday in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jared Donaldson in the second round of the Shanghai Masters. The top-ranked Spaniard and No. 2 Roger Federer both advanced by winning their opening matches in straight sets. 'It was a very quick match,' said Nadal, who won his sixth title of the year in Beijing last week. 'I was happy to have that early break in the sixth game. After that I played a great match, not many mistakes, played aggressively.' Federer defeated Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (4), 6-4, winning the match with his 14th ace on his second match point. 'I knew going in it was not going to be easy because he's had a great run the last few weeks, months,' Federer said. 'He was confident. He was shaking off misses, no problems. He was serving well, making the right decisions. 'He was confident and as an opponent you can feel that. I felt that today it was going to be dangerous down the stretch of every set.' Nadal and Federer are both in contention for the season-ending No. 1 ranking, although only Nadal can clinch that honor this week. Nadal will be guaranteed to retain the No. 1 ranking through the end of the season if he wins his first career Shanghai title and Federer loses before reaching the semifinals. Earlier, sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov saved three match points before finally defeating Ryan Harrison 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6). The 46th-ranked Harrison led 4-2 in the third set and then 6-3 in the tiebreaker. But Dimitrov won the final five points to get through. 'I just had to be there (on those match points),' Dimitrov said. 'At (my) match point, I just had to make my first serve because I knew he would go for it if not.' Also, U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson lost to Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2), while Gilles Simon, Alexander Zverev, Sam Querrey and John Isner all advanced. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Nadal saves 2 match points, advances at China Open

em>By Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press /em> BEIJING (AP) — Rafael Nadal needed to save two match points before advancing to the second round at the China Open. The top-ranked Spaniard, playing for the first time since winning the U.S. Open title last month, rallied to beat Lucas Pouille 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 Tuesday. Pouille held two match points while leading 6-4 in the second-set tiebreaker. But Nadal reeled off four straight points to take the set and turn the match around. 'Was a very tough first round, as I say the other day,' said Nadal, who lost to Pouille in five sets at the 2016 U.S. Open. 'He played well, I think. Very aggressive. He's serving well. For me was little bit difficult at the beginning. Then I started to play better, I think. 'But still, I didn't have the control of the match for almost all the time.' In the final set, Nadal broke Pouille's serve to take a 6-5 lead and then served out the match. Nadal is 57-9 this season and leads the tour with five ATP singles titles, including the French Open. He won the China Open title as a teenager in 2005 and has a 21-5 record in Beijing. He next plays Thursday against Karen Khachanov, who beat Chinese wild-card entry Wu Di. Earlier, Juan Martin del Potro advanced by beating Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (4), 6-4. 'It was enough to win. I play good in important moments of the match, that's the tiebreaks and the last game of the second set,' said the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who returned to professional tennis last year after wrist surgery. Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, sixth-seeded John Isner, eighth-seeded Nick Kyrgios and Leonardo Mayer also advanced. In the women's tournament, Maria Sharapova rallied to defeat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. 'She definitely picked it up in the second. But I felt like although she won that second set, I was really motivated to start the third,' Sharapova said. 'I was questioning how I would feel physically, but I felt really good going into the third set.' The former top-ranked Russian will next face second-seeded Simona Halep on Wednesday. 'We know each other's games very well. That's no secret. They've always been very challenging, tough, competitive, emotional,' Sharapova said. 'Any time you're able to face an opponent that's done something and well, it's great to see where you are and where your level is.' Halep advanced after Magdalena Rybarikova retired from their match while trailing 6-1, 2-1. Other winners include Karolina Pliskova, Elena Vesnina, Petra Kvitova, Daria Gavrilova, Sorana Cirstea, Darla Kasatkina and Barbora Strycova.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2017

Ballroom, pool contingents deliver AIMAG silvers for PHI

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan—Dance instructors German Enriquez and Maria Danella Renee Publico secured a silver medal together with cue master Rubilen Amit on the penultimate day of competitions Tuesday in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. Enriquez and Publico scored 30 points in the Viennese waltz event in dancesport while Amit lost her gold-medal encounter with China’s Chen Siming, 7-5, in women’s 10-ball pool singles. Japan’s Tomomi and Takeshi Yamamoto ruled the event with 32.291 points and Macau’s Vong Weng Lam and Tam Ka Pan copped the bronze (28.167pts). Bowlers Krizziah Lyn Tabora, Liza Del Rosario, Marian Lara Posadas and Marie Alexis Sy were also guaranteed of a silver after beating China in the women’s team of four semifinals over at the Bowling Center. They rolled 780 points to overcome the 737 pinfalls of China’s quartet of Yang Liyan, Zhang Yuhong, Zhang Chunli and Peng Rui. The PH women’s bowling team faces South Korea’s Jung Dawun, Kim Moonjeong, Baek Seungja and Hong Hae Ni in the finals on Wednesday. International masters Paulo Bersamina and Jan Emmanuel Garcia likewise are preparing for a gold-medal face-off against China’s Wei Yu and Xu Yinglun in the men’s rapid team under-23. They downed Maksat Atabayev and Yusup Atabayev of host Turkmenistan in the semifinals. Amit immediately grabbed the lead after three sets but Chen, a former 10-ball world champion like the Filipino cue artist, managed to gain control on the seventh frame. Chen gave up two more frames but couldn’t be denied when the Chinese got a fantastic break in the 12th and final set to finish off Amit. Overall, the Philippines is running 18th among 65 countries with two gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze medals. More medals are expected from bowling, chess and dancesport prior to the closing ceremony late Wednesday. Woman grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and woman Fide master Shania Mae Mendoza will bring home a bronze medal after failing to hurdle Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik and Dinara Saduakassova in the semifinals of women’s rapid team under-23. Ana Leonila Nualla and Sean Mischa Aranar missed out on a medal after placing fourth in the waltz finale and winding up fifth in the tango. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2017

Federer, Nadal happy to play doubles, Borg to decide

em>By Karel Janicek, Associated Press /em> PRAGUE (AP) — With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup team tennis tournament, expectations are running high about the chance of seeing the two as doubles partners. The three-day competition at the O2 Arena in Prague starts Friday, pitting a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. No ATP rankings points will be awarded. Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych are also on the European team to face Sam Querrey, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams. It will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Bjorn Bjorg captains Europe while John McEnroe does the same for the opponents. Federer and Nadal were clear about their choice of a possible partner. 'I've played a lot against Rafa on so many occasions, in big matches,' Federer said at Prague's picturesque Old Town Square. 'I think in nine Grand Slam finals. Finally, to have him on my side it's a joy. We talked about playing doubles a long, long time ago. It never happened. Of course, I would love to share the side of the net this time around. We have to see how practice goes and then at the end Bjorn will take the ultimate decision.' Nadal concurred. 'Of course, I would love (to play with Federer),' Nadal said. 'It will be amazing if that happens. We've talked about that years ago to play in some tournament together. It didn't happen yet. We're looking forward to playing here, hopefully. Let's see if the captain allows us to play.' Borg has yet to decide how to form pairs for doubles, but suggested 'there's a very good chance' for Federer and Nadal. 'He's the captain, he's the boss here now,' Nadal said. 'I am just here to try my best, every time the captain wants me on court, I am just here to try to help the team to win the Laver Cup.' Federer warned a victory was not a given even though the two are currently ranked No. 1 (Nadal) and No. 2 (Federer). 'There's a lot of expectations and everybody thinks we're going to win and play together then we bomb out,' Federer said. 'So, we better make sure we focus on just playing good doubles and if it works together at the same time, that'd be great. 'I'm sure that the crowd would go absolutely crazy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2017

Hot Squads Face Off with Reeling Clubs in PBA Doubleheader

Rain Or Shine will battle Phoenix, while TNT will collide with Blackwater in a PBA Philippine Cup twinbill on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The E-Painters and the Fuel Masters play first 4:30 p.m., while the KaTropa battle the Elite in the main game at 7 p.m. Phoenix and Blackwater have […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated News2 hr. 25 min. ago

Bitcoin bombs, cryptocoins crash on regulation fears

PARIS, France – Bitcoin, the best known of hundreds of 'virtual' coins, slumped on Tuesday, January 16, to a 6-week low below $12,000 as analysts blamed a rush by various jurisdictions to regulate the sector. The final weeks of last year were marked by bitcoin mania as the unit topped $20,000, but ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated News11 hr. 51 min. ago

NCAA men s football crown on the line as Arellano and CSB meet in do-or-die match

It all comes down to one final match for Arellano University and College of Saint Benilde, as the two sides face off in a winner-take-all match for the NCAA Season 93 men's football title, Wednesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.  Match one in this best-of-three series went to the Chiefs, with Jumbel Guinabang finishing with a brace that included a go-ahead goal with just three minutes left in the thirty-minute extension period. Once again, match two was as close and as competitive, with Arellano and CSB all knotted up at one goal apiece at the end of regulation.  This time around however, there would be no tie-breaking goal in extra time, forcing a penalty shootout.  The Blazers ended up getting better of the Chiefs in the penalties to extend the series to this third and final matchup.  Arellano is a win away from getting their second NCAA men's football title in three years.  CSB is a win away from ending a seven-season drought.  After all is said and done, who will get to hoist the crown?  Kickoff time is at 6:00 PM.  Follow @abscbnsports and @honasantino for updates......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News12 hr. 25 min. ago

Elite, Fuel Masters face acid tests

MANILA, Philippines — Are Blackwater and Phoenix Petroleum for real?.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated News19 hr. 51 min. ago

Warriors show off firepower, Cavs show off flaws in Finals rematch

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- Tyronn Lue’s bathroom break came early in the fourth quarter. No, not literally. But the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers had used the familiar call of duty to describe the suddenness with which a game against the Golden State Warriors can turn. And sure enough, on Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena, it turned on Lue and his team. “They’re the only team,” Lue told reporters before tipoff, “where you can be looking at the game and it’s a two-point game. You go to the bathroom, come back, they’re up 15.” Lue’s “loo” moment, figuratively anyway, came after David West sank two free throws to put the Warriors up 95-93 with 9:07 to play. There it was – the two-point lead – in what had been 39 minutes of mostly entertaining, back-and-forth, you-loved-them-then-you’ll-love-them-again basketball between the familiar adversaries. Draymond Green extends the @warriors lead to 10 on @NBAonTNT! 4:47 to play in Q4 #DubNation pic.twitter.com/q2Drea9Jxy — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 Exactly three minutes and 23 seconds later, Draymond Green cut to the basket, took a pass from Shaun Livingston and dropped in a layup that made it 105-95. It was the biggest lead of the night to that point. Lue twice had called timeouts during the run in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Now there was only 5:44 left. The Warriors’ margin would grow to 14. And the Cavaliers, to stick with Lue’s imagery, were circling the bowl. That the defending champions can go into hyperdrive against anybody is a reminder, not a revelation. But there were some things revealed, discovered and learned in the second and final regular-season clash of the respective West and East favorites, including: Isaiah Thomas has a way to go. This was our most extended look yet at Cleveland’s new point guard, their Kyrie Irving replacement, in circumstances most like those he’ll face when the meat of the Cavs’ schedule – the postseason – rolls around. Thomas scored 19 points, matching his high from the four previous games he played. He was on the floor for 32 minutes, nearly eight minutes more than his previous high. Both Thomas, who missed the season’s first 11 weeks recovering from a hip injury left over from last spring in Boston, and the Cavaliers know a) he’s not sharp or in great shape yet, and b) neither he nor the team has gotten familiar enough with the other to achieve the best results. Yet Thomas took 21 shots Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), more than LeBron James (18), more than Dwyane Wade (14) and more than double any other Cleveland player. He made just eight, including just one of his seven 3-point attempts. Lue, though, said he had no problem with Thomas’ gunning, as long as they were good shots. Thomas sounded as if he was seeking out work where he could find it. Granted, it was his hip that kept him out but his elbow, wrist and shooting hand apparently profit from heavy usage now too. “I’ve got to get in shape,” he said later. “I’ve got to get my legs back. Especially when I get a little winded, my legs get even heavier. “The only thing that’s gonna help me is getting reps. Running up and down the floor. Getting my hip, getting my body accustomed to taking a beating. ... Getting in basketball shape.” Kevin Durant didn’t put much stock in Thomas’ play Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) as a sign of how he’ll help Cleveland come springtime. Durant went through a similar enough trial in 2014-15, when surgery in October to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot sidelined him into December, then finally scuttled his season after just 27 games. “Obviously IT is just getting back,” the Warriors forward said. “He hadn’t played in seven months – you’ve got to give him some time. I know exactly how that feels. Especially being thrown in in the middle of the season and starting and playing 30-plus minutes now ... I know it’s gonna take him a while to get into a comfortable groove here.” What we saw is what we’d get. Mostly. It looked at various points as if both coaches were trying lineups, testing young players, tinkering with substitution patterns or probing matchups with an eye on a possible re-re-rematch in June. Likewise, it would be understandable for Lue and Golden State’s Steve Kerr to hold back a few wrinkles, just to have something fresh to try the next time they face each other. ”We don’t hold too much back, to be honest with you,” Kerr said. “I think matchups can dictate some things that you do in the playoffs and sometimes you may make a few different play calls, whatever. But I don’t think there’s a conscious effort to hold anything back for fear of tipping the hand for later.” Kerr started rookie big Jordan Bell again, same as in the Christmas game in Oakland, for more mobility against Cleveland’s small lineup than center Zaza Pachulia would provide. The coach gave Kevon Looney, Nick Young and Patrick McCaw more tastes of the rivalry too. Lue, meanwhile, was asked if he had the Cavaliers target Steph Curry defensively to get him into foul trouble and generally make life difficult. That’s a tactic that has helped when most others have failed against the two-time MVP and it might come in handy down the road. “I can’t remember,” Lue said, pointedly declining to answer. Curry can dunk. And David West still can. It was a rare Curry-in-flight moment early in the second half when the Golden State guard, who usually does his damage from deep, threw down a two-handed dunk. It was his first of the season. Steph Curry throws down the two-handed jam on #PhantomCam! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/eHaHsw2yZV — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 “I think he was taking out some anger from the first half,” Kerr said. “Sometimes that will get him going. Steph loves to dunk more than anybody, you know that. Doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it jacks him up.” Said Durant, who fed Curry for the slam: “He surprised me on that one. Hopefully he’s feeling better tomorrow. I know it took a lot for him to get up there.” David West turns back the clock!#DubNation leads #AllForOne 103-95 with 6:16 to play in the 4th. 📺: @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/dj2iFuZGrr — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 West got his 37-year-old bones up there too, dunking off the dribble during his nine-minute, plus-nine stint in the fourth quarter. The veteran power forward had missed his three shots in the second.   “He was a little short on his jump shot to start the game,” Durant said. “But D. West is such a smart player, he makes adjustments, he doesn’t get discouraged. He made a huge play – his left-handed dunk kind of got us all going. That was definitely surprising when he turned that one over.” But seriously, Cleveland has issues. Besides losing for the eighth time in 10 games, the Cavaliers had their 13-game home winning streak broken in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) 118-108 loss. And when it was second unit vs. second unit to start the fourth quarter, the Warriors had little trouble switching on defense and crowding away the Cavs’ long-range game. Cleveland shot just 6-of-23 in the fourth quarter, and got outscored 61-44 in what Kerr considered one of his club’s most complete second halves.   The Cavaliers’ defensive leaks have been extensively criticized, and more IT as he gets his game back is not the best way to address those. Even more problematic is the offense now, which over the past few weeks has been grinding, with none of them having much fun with the ball or without. “This is an important time for us,” Wade said, “and we want to see how we respond coming out of this game. ... It’s not about just winning a ball game. It’s about building good habits as a team.” Given James’ record and reputation – seven consecutive trips to the Finals, most in spite of some in-season doldrums for his Heat or Cavs crews – there’s a lot of “In LeBron We Trust,” both inside and outside the Cleveland locker room. Until a rival in the Eastern Conference proves it can knock off the King, no one will believe it. But if the Cavaliers, after so many exposures to their Bay Area nemeses (9-17 in regular- and postseason meetings since the start of 2014-15), can’t come up with solutions, maybe NBA fans should want to see someone else get a crack at them. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 NewsJan 16th, 2018

Federer joins Djokovic, Sharapova in 2nd round in Australia

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer picked up where he left off at the last Australian Open on a day when Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic ensured there were all kinds of successful comebacks. Defending champion Federer beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title here last year. He's been met on court after wins here previously by tennis greats Laver, John McEnroe and Jim Courier. On Tuesday night, he got something different. Comedian Will Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and, slipping into character as Ron Burgundy from the movie Anchorman, conducted the post-match interview. Six-time champion Djokovic and 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka stuck to business, returning from long injury layoffs with victories in their first matches since Wimbledon. Sharapova barely missed a beat in her first match in Melbourne since a failed doping test in 2016 resulted in a 15-month ban from tennis. One of just two former champions in the women's draw, Sharapova recovered from an early break in the second set and closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria with an ace at Margaret Court Arena. She celebrated by twirling, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd. "It's been a couple of years since I've been back here — obviously I wanted to enjoy the moment," the 2008 Australian Open champion and three-time runner-up said in an on-court TV interview. Former No. 1-ranked Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open winner, continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam to extend her streak to 10 consecutive wins. Her ranking slid into the 20s in 2017, but she's coming back into the kind of form that won her a title in Sydney last week and makes her a strong contender at Melbourne Park. "Something is going on with Australia and me," Kerber said. "I enjoy my stay, play my best tennis." Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young. Djokovic lost in the second round here last year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles. "Obviously I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have," Djokovic said. "I played perfect tennis, like I never stopped." Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2). No. 4-ranked 4-Alexander Zverev and No. 7 David Goffin advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist here in 2009, and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Lukas Lacko. No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the U.S. men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez. Two other U.S. contenders, No. 8 Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner, were out on opening day. Madison Keys also reversed a trend, becoming the only one of the four American women who contested the U.S. Open semifinals last September to reach the second round in Australia. Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated on Monday. No. 17-seeded Keys, the runner-up at the U.S. Open, had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang. No. 9 Johanna Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1 and will meet another American, Bernarda Pera in the second round. The U.S. women had four wins and 14 losses in round one. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep was in serious trouble twice — having to save set points at 5-2 down in the first set, and badly twisting her left ankle early in the second — before beating 17-year-old Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 7-6 (5), 6-1. Halep, who lost back-to-back first-round matches here in the previous two years, will next play Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist who beat Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-6 (5). "It's always really cool to go up against the best in the world," Bouchard said. "You use it as a measuring stick. I want to try to play my game and go out there and do some damage." Other seeded players advancing included Wimbledon champion Garbine Mugurza, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 16 Elena Vesnina, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic. Sharapova was banned for after testing positive for the drug meldonium here in 2016, when she reached the quarterfinals, and finished last year ranked No. 60. The five-time major winner will next play No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who beat her at the U.S. Open last year in her return to a Grand Slam to tournament. After returning in New York, Sharapova is confident she's prepared again for a major. "I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally last year with — there was a lot of firsts again for me, playing the first tournament, first Grand Slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely," she said. "But it felt pretty routine today.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Mark Allen sees off Brecel to make 1/4s

Mark Allen overcame Belgian Luca Brecel 6-3 in the opening round of the Dafabet Masters to set up a quarter-final showdown with either Ronnie O';Sullivan or Marco Fu - after making an e.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Referee takes retribution on player as PSG wins 1-0

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — A bizarre foul committed by the referee overshadowed Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win on Sunday at Nantes which moved the leaders 11 points clear at the top of the French league. In a highly unusual end to the game, referee Tony Chapron sent off Nantes center half Diego Carlos in the last minute — although the official was the culprit. Carlos was running behind Chapron near the halfway line and trying to catch up with play when he inadvertently clipped the referee's heels as their paths crossed. Chapron tumbled forward onto the turf and then, in what appeared to be a blatant act of retribution, swiped his right leg at Carlos. An irate Chapron got up and brandished a second yellow card for Carlos. "I know it's a difficult job to referee, but they must also have to ask questions of themselves," Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier said on Canal Plus television. "If we do that it goes before a (disciplinary) commission and we get 10 games (suspension)." There is little suspense in the league with PSG dropping only seven points from a possible 60. Defending champion Monaco is in second place, level on points with Lyon, but neither seemingly has the caliber to pressure PSG by going on a lengthy winning run. Even without playing its usual scintillating football, PSG was able to scrape past a lackluster Nantes side coached by Claudio Ranieri. He guided Leicester City to the 2015-16 English Premier League title in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history, but Nantes remains in fifth place and does not seem to have enough flair to go higher. Angel Di Maria scored in the 12th minute with the home defense slow to react. Kylian Mbappe left striker Edinson Cavani's probing pass go through his legs and the unmarked Di Maria toe-poked the ball into the left corner. It was his third league goal of the season and followed his brace last Sunday in the French Cup. PSG carved Nantes open with a swift counterattacking move late in the first half, but Di Maria blazed over an open goal after midfielder Adrien Rabiot set him up perfectly. Nantes striker Emiliano Sala thought he had equalized in the 60th when he headed powerfully home from a free-kick but it was harshly ruled out for offside. There was no VAR to validate the goal, even though television replays showed Sala was level with Cavani when he made his run into the area. Cavani needed just one more goal to move level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG's all-time leading scorer on 156. He could get the record at home to Dijon on Wednesday. ___ LYON STUMBLES Lyon wasted a chance to move up to second place after being held 1-1 at home by relegation-threatened Angers. Lyon equalizer through top scorer Nabil Fekir. But Angers was hanging on after having midfielder Flavien Tait sent off in the 84th minute. Third-place Lyon is one point ahead of Marseille in fourth. It was a precious point for Angers, moving it up to 18th — the relegation playoff spot. Lyon fell behind to striker Karl Toko Ekambi's penalty kick in the 14th minute. He jogged up casually with a staggered run-up, and stroked the ball to the left as goalkeeper Anthony Lopes guessed the wrong way. Toko Ekambi has 10 league goals and his performances have caught the eye. He has been linked with a move to the Premier League in this month's transfer window, which could damage Angers' chances of staying up. Two minutes after the break, Fekir opened up the defense with a superb piece of skill — dragging the ball back and then flicking it through the legs of a defender. The ball rolled toward forward Maxwell Cornet but Fekir sprinted alongside him and drilled it into the bottom corner. It was Fekir's 14th league goal of the season in a career-best tally. He is expected to make a big-money move to a top club in the summer. ___ MOVING CLEAR Saint-Etienne moved away from the relegation zone after beating fellow struggler Toulouse 2-0. Slovenia striker Robert Beric scored his first goal of the season from the penalty spot moments before halftime. Senegalese midfielder Assane Diousse got his first for the club when he sealed the win in the 86th minute. Saint-Etienne moved up to 14th place. Toulouse is 19th and the pressure is increasing on coach Pascal Dupraz......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Showdown set: Battle-tested Patriots vs. fresh-faced Jaguars

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Watch out, New England. Here comes Sacksonville. Tom Brady and the big game-tested Patriots square off against the sack-happy Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday in the AFC championship game in Foxborough, Massachusetts — with the winner headed to the Super Bowl. That's nothing new for New England, of course, which has been there three of the past six seasons. For fresh-faced Jacksonville, however, this is all rare territory. The Jaguars are playing in the conference title game for just the third time in franchise history, and first since losing to Tennessee during the 1999 season. Jacksonville is also one of four franchises to never play in the Super Bowl. "I'm sure there will still be tons of people that are going to disapprove or talk negative or hate or do whatever they want," quarterback Blake Bortles said. "But we get to keep playing. We get an opportunity to go play in Foxborough for another week, so I'm just honored to be able to do this and especially with this group of guys." And, it has all come full circle for Tom Coughlin, who was Jacksonville's coach the previous time the franchise got this far in the postseason. He went on to win two Super Bowls with the New York Giants — both against Bill Belichick's Patriots — but is now the Jaguars' executive vice president of football operations. He helped assemble a squad with coach Doug Marrone that has been powered by a tenacious defense that ranked second in the NFL during the regular season in sacks. After a few ho-hum games, Bortles, running back Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars offense showed it isn't too shabby, either, outslugging Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in a stunning 45-42 victory Sunday . "Obviously, with what they have on their side of the ball, it's a good team and we know they've got a good offense," Bortles said. "We knew we had to keep scoring." There's also this neat nugget: Jacksonville's first AFC championship game appearance came during the 1996 season — against New England, which went on to play in the Super Bowl under then-coach Bill Parcells and lost to the Brett Favre-led Green Bay Packers. "It's been an awesome year," Bortles said, "and we want to keep it going." The Patriots have made it to the AFC championship game for seven straight seasons, clinching this trip with a 35-14 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night . New England has advanced to the Super Bowl in three of the past six seasons. "The reality of the NFL is what we did this week will have nothing to do with what happens next week," Brady said. "We're going to have to go repeat it, so you've got to get right back to work, right back to the process of trying to figure out how to break down our opponent. "Everyone's got to feel good physically and mentally and go out there and try to cut it loose one more time in a huge game." The Patriots know how to do that, and they're masters of tuning out distractions. Despite a published report during the week that raised questions about the relationships between Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, New England was all business on the field against the Titans. "It's pretty incredible to be a part of that," Brady said. "I think the thing is that we don't really take it for granted around here. I know how hard it is to get to this game. We're very blessed to do it." Meanwhile, Philadelphia awaits the winner of the New Orleans-Minnesota game later Sunday to find out who it will face in the NFC title game. The Eagles used steady play by Nick Foles and a late goal-line stand to beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 on Saturday. "We'll be ready for next week," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Angelique Kerber wins 8th match in a row, into Sydney final

SYDNEY --- Angelique Kerber won her eighth consecutive match of the new season, coming from 3-1 down in the final set to beat qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3 to reach the Sydney International final on Friday. Kerber, a former No. 1 and the 2016 Australian Open champion, won all four singles at the Hopman Cup and now all four in Sydney en route to the final. She will face Ashleigh Barty, who beat Australian compatriot Daria Gavrilova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the other semifinal. In a match that included 11 breaks of serve, Barty needed just one in the third set. "It's nice getting a bit of confidence going into our biggest tournament for us," Barty said of next week's Australian...Keep on reading: Angelique Kerber wins 8th match in a row, into Sydney final.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018