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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: abscbn abscbnJan 15th, 2018

Halep secures top ranking, Nadal vs Kyrgios in Beijing final

em>By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press /em> Simona Halep will take over the top ranking after reaching the China Open final on Saturday, and Rafael Nadal will play Nick Kyrgios for the men's title. Halep beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4, ensuring that when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday she will be the first women's No. 1 from Romania. Halep could have reached No. 1 earlier but was upset in the French Open final by Ostapenko in their first career meeting. 'Of course it's the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it,' Halep said in Beijing. 'And I have a few more dreams in my career. I tell you one, only one. To win a Grand Slam.' Halep only had to reach the final this week — and not lose to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the final — to knock Garbine Muguruza from the top spot. Muguruza retired during her opening match on Monday because of a cold. Top-seeded Nadal defeated third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinals, his tour-leading 60th match win. Dimitrov's only victory against the Spaniard in 10 matches came last year in the China Open quarterfinals. On Saturday, his backhand cross-court winner secured the second set, on a second set point, on Nadal's serve in the 10th game. But Nadal took immediate control of the third set, racing to 4-0. Kyrgios didn't drop his serve in ousting second-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 7-5 in the other semi. The Australian had an impressive 70 percent first-serve percentage and posted 11 aces to none for Zverev, who is normally known for his serving prowess. Nadal and Kyrgios are tied at two matches apiece in their head-to-head, but the Australian won their latest outing in August in straight sets in the Cincinnati quarterfinals. Nadal is one of three players, along with Roger Federer and Zverev, to win five titles this year. He won the China Open 12 years ago. 'It's very important for me to continue with the positive feelings after winning the U.S. Open,' Nadal said. 'To be back here and be in the final with that very tough draw I had since the beginning is a great effort.' Looking for her second title of the year after winning in Madrid, Halep will play Caroline Garcia of France in the Beijing final. Garcia beat Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 in the second semifinal. Ostapenko entered the semis without dropping a set. But Halep dominated the first set, breaking Ostapenko's serve in the first game at love. She cemented her lead with another break in the seventh game for 5-2 to serve out the set. In the second, Halep surrendered a 3-2 lead with a service break in the sixth game, but went on to break serve again in the ninth. At 40-0 in the final game, Halep won with a clean forehand winner down the line. Garcia, who saved a match point against Svitolina, is on a 10-match winning streak. Garcia lost in straight sets to Halep in the Montreal quarterfinals in their last meeting. 'That's the kind of match I want to play, against the top players,' Garcia said of Sunday's final against Halep. 'She's a very tricky player.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2017

Nadal and Djokovic to renew rivalry in Italian Open semis

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open semifinals — and three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova also reached the last four Friday. Nadal, who holds a record seven titles at the Foro Italico, overcame a poor first set and a partisan crowd to beat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Then, four-time Rome winner Djokovic rallied past Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Nadal and Djokovic have played each other 50 times but their last meeting came more than a year ago, when Nadal won in the Madrid Open semifinals. "Tomorrow is going to be the ultimate challenge on clay," Djokovic said. "Beating Rafa is a really difficult thing to do on this surface. But, I've done it before." Djokovic leads Nadal 26-24 overall, but Nadal holds a 15-7 advantage on clay. Nadal can replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he lifts the Rome trophy for the first time since 2013. Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon, where he will bid for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title. Djokovic, who is returning from a persistent right elbow injury, hadn't reached a semifinal since before Wimbledon last year. "This is what I was looking forward to," Djokovic said. "This is what I was hoping to achieve." In the other half of the draw, defending champion Alexander Zverev extended his winning streak to 12 matches with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over ninth-seeded David Goffin. He'll meet Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic, who beat 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3. Sharapova required more than three hours to eliminate last year's French Open winner, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-5; and defending champion Elina Svitolina defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 for her sixth straight victory over the former No. 1 player. Svitolina will next face 26th-ranked Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who beat Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. Sharapova's semifinal opponent will be Simona Halep, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia that ensures she will keep the No. 1 ranking for another week. Djokovic has now won 12 straight matches over Nishikori and the Japanese player didn't help his cause when he landed an easy overhead into the net early in the third set. Still, it remained tight with long rallies until the end. "It was a fantastic match," Djokovic said. "We went toe to toe until the last point." Fans were decidedly behind Fognini, Italy's top player, and Nadal was under pressure when Fognini won five straight games to cancel out a 4-1 deficit and win the opening set. "He played aggressive, a great level of tennis, creating a lot of winners and taking balls earlier," Nadal said. "I felt the pressure a little bit and played a couple of bad games." But Fognini couldn't keep up with Nadal's consistency and heavy topspin on the red clay court and eventually was physically worn down. "I tried to play more with my forehand and when I play aggressive with my forehand the backhand becomes better," said Nadal, who sat out earlier this season with right knee and hip injuries. "It's important to be able to change the tactics of the match." Fognini had tape applied under his left knee while trailing 3-2 in the third set due to a physical problem that has bothered him for weeks. "The first set lasted more than an hour," Fognini said. "It's him that causes the problem." While the result meant it was now 42 years since an Italian man last won the tournament — Adriano Panatta in 1976 — Fognini was still applauded as he walked off of the court. Nadal joined in the applause for Fognini......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2018

Australian Open: A lookahead to Sunday, recap of Saturday

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A quick glance at the Australian Open: LOOKAHEAD TO SUNDAY Local hope Nick Kyrgios and third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov meet for the second time this year, this time with more on the line. Kyrgios beat Dimitrov in three sets in the Brisbane International semifinals two weeks ago, then went on to take the title. Dimitrov had beaten the Australian in their two previous meetings, including in straight sets on hard courts at Cincinnati last year. Kyrgios defeated Jo Wilfried-Tsonga in the third round and was mostly well-behaved, a far cry from some of the antics he has pulled in the past, including a suspension in October 2016 for not trying during a match in Shanghai, and a heavily-criticized on-court exchange with Stan Wawrinka in 2015. Kyrgios said he's doing nothing special to change his image: "It's not something I wake up and I'm like, 'Look, today I'm going to try to change the perception'. Nothing has changed. I've always been emotional." Dimitrov said he won't get caught up in the moment, or the expected parochial crowd cheering on Kyrgios' attempt to become the first Australian man since 1976 (Mark Edmondson) to win the Australian title. "I've played against the local, so to speak, all that," Dimitrov said. "That's part of the game." Kyrgios pulled out of his doubles pairing with Matt Reid on Friday to save himself for the Dimitrov match. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal plays Diego Schwartman in another fourth-round match. In women's fourth-round matches, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki plays Magdalena Rybarikova. Wozniacki needed to win the last six games of her second-round match against Jana Fett to stay in the tournament, and says she's playing with "house money." Another fourth-round match has fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina playing Denisa Allertova, a Czech qualifier who has not dropped a set in any of her main-draw matches. __ By AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa. ___ SUNDAY FORECAST Partly cloudy, high of 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) SATURDAY'S WEATHER Mostly sunny, high of 24 C (75 F) SATURDAY'S RESULTS Men's Third Round: No. 2 Roger Federer beat No. 29 Richard Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4; Chung Hyeon beat No. 4 Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0; No. 5 Dominic Thiem beat No. 26 Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-2, 7-5; No. 14 Novak Djokovic beat No. 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; No. 19 Tomas Berdych beat No. 12 Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-3, 6-2; No. 25 Fabio Fognini beat Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Women's Third Round: No. 1 Simona Halep beat Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-4, 15-13; No. 6 Karolina Pliskova beat No. 29 Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5; No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. No. 17 Madison Keys beat Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-4; Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2; No. 20 Barbora Strycova beat Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-2; No. 21 Angelique Kerber beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3; Hsieh Su-wei beat No. 26 Agniezska Radwanska 6-2, 7-5. STAT OF THE DAY 2:22: time in hours and minutes of the third set of the Halep-Davis match (3 hours, 45 minutes for the match). QUOTE OF THE DAY "I'm almost dead" — Halep after her win. _____ More AP coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Kerber crushes Sharapova in ex-champs showdown at Open

MELBOURNE, Australia – Angelique Kerber crushed Maria Sharapova in straight sets in a battle of former champions at the Australian Open on Saturday, January 20. The 2016 winner from Germany and 21st seed roared past the unseeded Russian 2008 champion 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes to reach the last 16. "I was ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Nadal reaches 3rd round in straight sets

MELBOURNE, Australia – Rafael Nadal looked on point as he powered into the Australian Open 3rd round with a straight sets victory on Wednesday, January 17, a workout he deemed "very important" on his return from a knee injury. Spain's world No.1 only dropped serve once in a dominant performance as ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 17th, 2018

Federer deflects attention to Nadal, Djokovic in Australia

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer prefers to think of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic as the favorites for the Australian Open title, despite entering as defending champion and coming off a worry-free preparation. "I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament," Federer said Sunday on the eve of the year's first Grand Slam tournament, "It should not be the case. "That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career." The 19-time major winner can afford to relax slightly longer, given the half of the draw that he shares with Djokovic doesn't start until day two. Top-ranked Nadal will get under way Monday night against Victor Estrella Burgos on Rod Laver Arena, where he lost the final in five sets to Federer last year. All four singles finalists were 30 or older here last year in what became a tournament for the ages, and three of them are back. Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus Williams in the final to capture an Open era-record 23rd major here last year but decided against defending her title because she didn't have enough time to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September. Venus Williams is seeded fifth and is second match scheduled on center court to get her 77th major under way with a challenging opener against Belinda Bencic. She's 4-0 in career head-to-heads against 20-year-old Bencic — who reached a career-high No. 7 ranking in 2016 and who helped Federer win the Hopman Cup title for Switzerland earlier this month — but is coming off an abbreviated preparation that included a loss in the second round to eventual champion Angelique Kerber at the Sydney International last week. At 37, Venus Williams among the top contenders at Melbourne Park. Others in action on Monday include seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who meets Francesca Schiavone in a match featuring current vs. former French Open champions, No. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who opens against Mihaela Buzarnescu, and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens against Zhang Shuai. Simona Halep is the No. 1 seed in the women's draw, and one of six women who can hold the No. 1 ranking at the end of the Australian Open. Halep, who has had back-to-back first-round exits on her last two trips to Melbourne Park, opens on day two against Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava. Only two men can hold the top ranking in the first week of February — Nadal or Federer — regardless of what No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov or No. 4 Alexander Zverev or anybody else does in Melbourne. Federer returns in contrasting circumstances to his appearance in 2017, when he was coming off a six-month break for an injured left knee and had low expectations about ending a Grand Slam title drought that dated to Wimbledon in 2012. "This year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win," a match, Federer told his pre-tournament news conference Sunday. "It was more of a 'let's see what happens' kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year." Six-time Australian Open winner Djokovic has been sidelined for six months with an injured right elbow, returning with a remodeled service motion, and 2014 champion Wawrinka has also been out of the game since Wimbledon after surgery on his knee. Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Open titles last year, has also had a limited preparation restricted to couple of exhibition matches last week as he recovers from a sore knee. None of that makes them any less of a threat to Federer. "Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favorites, too," Federer said. "If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That's what happened for me last year — all ended up way better than I thought it would, as you know.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2018

Federer, Djokovic, Halep win rain-delayed matches, reach QFs

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep made quick work of their rain-delayed matches Friday afternoon and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open, facing the daunting challenge of playing a few hours later in extremely humid conditions. Several days of rain turned the quarterfinals into an endurance test. Six men's and three women's singles matches were held over from Thursday because of rain. Federer — the top player left in the men's bracket after No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew to get some rest — needed only 72 minutes to beat Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-6 (6), leaving him on course for yet another Cincinnati title. He's won a record seven despite missing the tournament the last two years because of injury. Then, it was off for a little rest before an evening match against fellow Swiss player Stan Wawrinka, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Marton Fucsovics. "Waiting around all day and hardly seeing any tennis obviously is never fun for the tournament and the fans," Federer said. "So we're happy that the tournament is back underway. Today I tried to really focus on just the one match, not thinking that there is possibly going to be two." Djokovic's match against Grigor Dimitrov was suspended at the start of the third set on Thursday night. He finished off the defending champion 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, maintaining his hopes of a first Cincinnati title. Dimitrov didn't drop a set last year while winning his first Masters title in Cincinnati. He also won his first two matches this week in straight sets, a streak that was broken by Djokovic on Thursday night before the rains came and the match was suspended with Djokovic up 2-1. "I wish it didn't rain, for sure, last night," Dimitrov said. "I just thought that even though I lost that second set, I was feeling well on the court. "Today is a completely different day. The conditions are a little bit different. So yeah, everything came into play." With each win, Djokovic gets closer to the chance he covets — another appearance in the title match. He's never won at Cincinnati, going 0-5 in title matches. It's the only ATP Masters 1000 event that has eluded him. Djokovic acknowledges he would especially enjoy winning the title, which would make him the only player to win all nine ATP Masters events. Also Friday, Juan Martin del Potro and Nick Kyrgios split two tiebreakers before Del Potro prevailed in the third set for a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-2 win. Del Potro will face David Goffin, who upset Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 to reach the Cincinnati quarterfinals for the first time in three tries. On the women's side, No. 1 Simona Halep beat Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. Halep has faced the most challenges from the rain, with one match suspended overnight Wednesday in the third set and then her third-round match held over for a day as well. Barty, who lost to Halep in last week's Rogers Cup semifinals in Montreal, committed 32 unforced errors to Halep's 17. Halep is seeking her first Cincinnati championship after losing in the finals last year and 2015. ___ AP freelance writer Mark Schmetzer in Cincinnati contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2018

Federer wins, Serena loses in Cincy tourney

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Roger Federer made a successful return to the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. The day wasn't so great for Serena Williams. Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Peter Gojowczyk, and Williams was eliminated by eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Federer and Williams were making their first appearance at the tournament since they each won the title in 2015. Williams opened with a straight-set victory against Daria Gavrilova. After a first-round bye, Federer extended his Cincinnati winning streak to 11 matches since losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2013 quarterfinals. "It doesn't feel like I have been away for so long here from Cincinnati," Federer said. "I guess the wheel keeps turning. It's not like I missed two years of tennis. It was a great pleasure to be back." The second-seeded Federer, refreshed from a month off after losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, became the tournament favorite when Nadal withdrew on Sunday night. Williams also was knocked out in her last tournament at San Jose two weeks ago after reaching the Wimbledon final. Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. "You know, this is a long comeback," she said. "I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I'm getting there, and I'm going to just continue to work hard, and hopefully, I'll start winning more matches." Karolina Pliskova and Nick Kyrgios also advanced Tuesday in early tournament action. Pliskova moved into the second round by snapping a seven-match losing streak against Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-3, 6-3 win. "It means a lot because it was against her, and, like, you know, I never beat her," Pliskova said. "We played so many times. I think I always played her at her best level the matches before, so it was always tough." Kyrgios, a finalist last year in Cincinnati, overcame physical problems to fight off qualifier Denis Kudla for a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (9) victory. "This year has been tough," Kyrgios said. "I started the year very well. Then, obviously, I hurt my elbow. Then I had an ongoing hip injury. We have been definitely thinking about the options with my hip. You know, there is only so much you can do before you have to, you know, I guess, get surgery or something like that. You know, right now I'm just managing it." No. 11 seed David Goffin advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Leonardo Mayer became the first player to reach the third round on the men's side with a 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille. Denis Shapovalov also reached the third round with an upset, knocking off 14th-seeded Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 7-5. Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung won the last five games to beat Jack Sock 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Sock has lost eight straight matches since winning in Rome on May 13. Two-time Cincinnati semifinalist Milos Raonic advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Dusan Lajovic. Robin Haase also made it to the second round, defeating Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina was tested by wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova before reaching the third round with a gritty 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 win. Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia also reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-5 win over wild card Victoria Azarenka, but 12th-seeded Daria Kasatkina suffered a first-round upset at the hands of qualifier Petra Martic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Elise Mertens scored a 6-4, 6-2 first-round win over Magdalena Rybarikova. Ashleigh Barty stopped wild card Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-5. Maria Sakkari upset Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 6-3, 7-6 (8). Ekaterina Makarova cruised past qualifier Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2018

Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Toronto final

TORONTO (AP) — Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest player to beat four straight top-10 players in an event since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990, outlasting Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7) on Saturday to reach the Rogers Cup final. Tsitsipas, who will be 20 on Sunday, will face the winner of the late match between top-ranked Rafael Nadal and Karen Khachanov. "Playing in a Masters 1000 final is the best thing that can happen on your birthday," Tsitsipas said. "I cannot believe it." Tsitsipas beat the fourth-seeded Anderson after topping seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem, ninth-seeded Novak Djokovic and second-seeded defending champion Alexander Zverev to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. Tsitsipas fired an ace at 7-7 before converting his third match point of the deciding tiebreaker when Anderson's return sailed long. The South African had a match point of his own at 7-6, but Tsitsipas came through with a brilliant backhand crosscourt winner to pull even. The 32-year-old Anderson reached the Wimbledon final last month. He also lost his only other match against Tsitsipas, falling this year on clay in Portugal. Tsitsipas is attempting to become the first player since Albert Portas at Hamburg in 2001 to win his first ATP World Tour title at a Masters 1000 event. Ranked 27th, Tsitsipas would jump 12th with a victory Sunday and to 15th with a loss when the new rankings are released Monday. Nadal beat Tsitsipas in April in the Barcelona Open final......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

Del Potro, Fognini advances to Mifel Open final

LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) — Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina advanced to the Mifel Open final Friday night, beating third-seeded Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-3, 7-6 (6). Del Potro will face second-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over British left-hander Cameron Norrie in the first semifinal. Del Potro won for the third straight night in the hard-court event after a rest break following a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. The 2009 U.S. champion has 22 career victories, winning this year on hard courts at Indian Wells and Acapulco. Fognini, ranked 15th in the world, is seeking his third victory of the year after winning clay-court tournaments in Bastad and Sao Paolo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2018

Murray gets past Edmund in all-British matchup at Citi Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Showing signs of returning to his old form, right down to the return winner on the last point, Andy Murray moved into the third round at the Citi Open by beating No. 4 seed Kyle Edmund 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4 on Wednesday for just his third victory since having hip surgery. Murray is a three-time major champion and former No. 1 who was sidelined for 11 months because of his right hip. He missed the second half of 2017, had an operation in January, then returned to the tour briefly in June. One of his three matches that month was a loss on a grass court to Edmund, the Australian Open semifinalist who has supplanted Murray as Britain's highest-ranked man. There is still work to be done by Murray, of course. He is ranked 832nd, has played only five matches in the past 12 months, and needed three sets for each of his victories in Washington's hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open. After a wayward second set against Edmund, Murray collected himself in the third, all the while barking at himself after miscues, as he is wont to do. He got the measure of Edmund's serves late, earning two break points at 4-3. Another arrived at 5-4, thanks to a defensive lob that drew a long overhead from Edmund, followed by a double-fault. That brought match point, and Murray pounded a cross-court winner of an 83 mph second serve, then let out a loud yell. Earlier Wednesday, reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens continued her tendency for all-or-nothing showings at tournaments, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round to 91st-ranked Andrea Petkovic. Stephens was seeded No. 2 at a tournament she won in 2015 for her first WTA title. Now she'll want to get her game going in the right direction before she begins the defense of her first Grand Slam title on Aug. 27. "Hopefully," Stephens said, "some things connect in the next couple of weeks." Her best results this season were a runner-up finish at the French Open and a title at the Miami Open. But take away those tournaments, and the American is 10-11 in 2018, including first-round exits at Wimbledon last month and the Australian Open in January. Against Petkovic, Stephens put only 59 percent of her first serves in play and was broken four times. Stephens' loss leaves the Citi Open women's draw without either of its top two seeds; No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki withdrew Tuesday because of a leg injury. In men's action, 13th-seeded Frances Tiafoe picked up his first victory at his hometown ATP tournament, beating 120th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2, 6-4 with the help of 10 aces. Tiafoe, a 20-year-old who grew up in nearby Hyatsville, Maryland, called his performance "nice, quick, efficient." He showed up to his postmatch news conference wearing a red T-shirt with the words, "Rep your city," after needing just 75 minutes to win in front of a crowd that included his parents, brother and "couple aunts, couple uncles." Tiafoe entered the day 0-2 at the Citi Open. In other action, another local player, Denis Kudla of Arlington, Virginia, eliminated No. 12 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-2, 6-3; No. 14 Jeremy Chardy was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Marius Copil; No. 9 Denis Shapovalov defeated Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; and No. 10 Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Jared Donaldson 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. No. 15 Mischa Zverev of Germany moved into the third round by defeating Tim Smyczek of the U.S. 6-2, 7-6 (7). Zverev's next match could be against his younger brother, No. 1 seed and defending champion Alexander. It would be their first main-draw meeting on the ATP tour. Alexander Zverev was scheduled to resume his match against Malek Jaziri later Wednesday; it was suspended because of rain Tuesday night after Zverev took the first set 6-2. No. 5 seed Nick Kyrgios withdrew because of an injured left hip......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2018

Anderson tops Isner 26-24 at Wimbledon; other SF suspended

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — To say that Kevin Anderson won this interminable Wimbledon semifinal, and that John Isner lost it, didn't really seem fair. To Anderson, anyway. They had played on and on, through 6 1/2 hours of ho-hum hold after ho-hum hold, during the second-longest match in the history of a tournament that began in 1877, all the way until the never-ending serving marathon did, finally, end at 26-24 in the fifth set Friday, with Anderson claiming the most important of the 569 points — the last. So when Anderson left Centre Court, well aware that his 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 victory earned him the chance to win his first Grand Slam title at age 32, the South African said: "At the end, you feel like this is a draw between the two of us." He continued: "John's such a great guy, and I really feel for him, because if I'd been on the opposite side, I don't know how you can take that, playing for so long and coming up short." Only one match at Wimbledon ever lasted longer: Isner's 2010 first-round victory over Nicolas Mahut, the longest match in tennis history. It went more than 11 hours over three days and finished 70-68 in the fifth on Court 18, which now bears a plaque commemorating it. Friday's contest lasted so long, the day's second semifinal didn't finish. Novak Djokovic was leading Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) in a compelling showdown filled with entertaining points that was suspended as soon as the third set concluded at just past 11 p.m., the curfew at the All England Club. Some people in the stands booed the decision to halt the match after a fantastic tiebreaker in which Nadal wasted three set points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. Djokovic cashed in on his second when Nadal's backhand found the net after an 18-stroke exchange. Because Nadal and Djokovic didn't begin playing until after 8 p.m., the retractable roof above the main stadium was shut between the matches and the arena's artificial lights were turned on. Now they'll come back Saturday to figure out who will face Anderson in the final, resuming at 1 p.m. local time, under the roof. The women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will then follow. That creates an unusual situation: Instead of a standard 2 p.m. start, Williams and Kerber won't know exactly when their match will begin. Anderson will certainly appreciate the chance to put his feet up ahead of Sunday's final, while Nadal and Djokovic — who have a combined 29 Grand Slam titles between them, five at Wimbledon — push each other some more. Anderson's fifth set alone lasted nearly 3 hours as his semifinal became a test of endurance more than skill. "He stayed the course incredibly well," said the No. 9 seed Isner, a 33-year-old American playing in his first major semifinal. "Just disappointed to lose. I was pretty close to making a Grand Slam final and it didn't happen." Anderson finally earned the must-have, go-ahead service break with the help of a point in which the right-hander tumbled to his backside, scrambled back to his feet and hit a shot lefty. "That definitely brings a smile to my face," said Anderson, the runner-up to Nadal at last year's U.S. Open. "At that stage, you're just trying to fight in every single moment, and I was like, 'Just get up!'" The No. 8 seed Anderson eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11 fifth set in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Between that and the energy-sapper against Isner, it's hard to imagine how Anderson will have much left for his second Slam final. Wimbledon doesn't use tiebreakers in the fifth set for men, or third set for women, so there's nothing to prevent a match from continuing ad infinitum. Both Isner and Anderson said they'd like to see that change. At one point in the fifth set, a spectator shouted, "Come on, guys! We want to see Rafa!" The 6-foot-8 Anderson and 6-10 Isner go way back, to their college days, Isner at Georgia, Anderson at Illinois. In the pros, Isner had won eight of 11 previous matchups. But this one was as close as can be. There wasn't a whole lot of intrigue, or momentum shifts. The serving, though, was something else. Isner pounded his at up to 142 mph; Anderson reached 136 mph. They combined for 102 aces: 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson. "The effort they both put in and the performance and the guts, the way they competed — a lot to be proud of," said Justin Gimelstob, one of Isner's coaches. Both failed to seize early opportunities. Isner wasted a set point in the opener. Anderson served for the third at 5-3, got broken, and then had a pair of set points in that tiebreaker, double-faulting one away. By the latter stages, with break chances so rare, murmurs would spread through the Centre Court stands whenever a game's returner got to love-15 or love-30. Could we be about to see the sixth and last break of a match that would end up with 90 holds? Repeatedly, the answer was, of course, "No," even when Anderson held break points at 7-all, 10-all and 17-all. The 10-all game ended with Isner hitting a forehand passing winner on the run to hold, then letting his momentum carry him directly to his sideline chair, where he plopped himself down. By the end, he was looking exhausted, leaning over to rest a hand on a knee between points. "I feel pretty terrible," Isner said afterward. "My left heel is killing me and I have an awful blister on my right foot." He never got a break point in the fifth set. Anderson finally came through on his sixth for a 25-24 lead, when Isner wearily put a backhand into the net. Then Anderson served out the victory, with Isner sailing a forehand wide on match point. Soon, they were meeting for an embrace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2018

Finished with a hug: Nadal edges del Potro in 5 at Wimbledon

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — When the 4 hours, 48 minutes of diving across the grass and leaping into the stands, of slipping and sliding, of so many moments of great tension — and, above all, great tennis — were done, when Rafael Nadal had sealed his Wimbledon quarterfinal victory, the man he edged, Juan Martin del Potro, was face-down at a Centre Court baseline. "I wanted to stay there," del Potro said afterward, "all night long." He did hold that pose, a mixture of full-on despair and utter exhaustion, for a bit, which felt appropriate. So, too, did what happened next after Nadal won 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday and earned a trip to the semifinals at the All England Club for the first time since 2011: He went over to give del Potro a lengthy hug. Then they walked to the sideline together, arms draped across each other's shoulders. "Emotional match for both of us," said Nadal, who is ranked No. 1 and seeded No. 2 and won two of his 17 major championships at Wimbledon. "And for the fans, too." Now Nadal will face longtime rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday. It will be their 52nd career meeting; Djokovic leads 26-25. Djokovic, a 12-time major champ whose resume includes three trophies at the All England Club, advanced earlier Wednesday with a four-set victory over Kei Nishikori that didn't require nearly as much energy or effort as what followed on Centre Court. And Nadal rued failing to take control against del Potro much earlier. Nadal could have gone up two sets to none after leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker. But he blew those three set points, the last with a double-fault he later called "a big mistake." Nadal wasted a fourth chance at 7-6, before letting 2009 U.S. Open champion del Potro grab three points in a row for that set. After del Potro also took the third, repeatedly taking points with his thunderclap of a forehand, Nadal knew he needed to make some adjustments. The most important was pushing forward: The Spaniard went to the net a total of 23 times over the first three sets, and upped that to 24 over the last two, winning the point on 19 of those. At 1-all in the fifth, del Potro jumped to his right, rolling along the turf and losing his racket, for a volley winner, and then celebrated by raising both arms. Later in that 14-point, four-deuce game, Nadal chased a ball to no avail, sprinting so hard he was carried all the way over to the seats. He stepped on the short wall and landed in the lap of a female spectator. Soon, Nadal gained the upper hand, shaking off a hard fall onto his back on one point by whipping a cross-court backhand winner on the next to break for a 3-2 lead. That never really felt like much of a cushion, though. In the next game, Nadal staved off two break points, the first when he used his never-give-up-on-a-ball defense to stretch a point and del Potro pushed a forehand way long. Del Potro put both hands on his head. "Against Rafa," del Potro said, "you must go for winners all the time." Then, at 4-3, they played an epic 18-point game that featured six deuces and another trio of break points for del Potro, none of which he managed to convert. Soon enough, del Potro was down on his belly after one last slip, as Nadal finished off the victory with a volley. "Rafa is a fighter," del Potro said. "Also, he has a fantastic game.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

A look back at Roger Federer s record 8 Wimbledon titles

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer's paths to his record eight Wimbledon championships were each different, of course. Different opponents. Different degrees of difficulty. Same old Federer. A year ago, for example, he did not drop a set the entire way, becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to claim the title at the All England Club in that unblemished manner. In 2009, in contrast, Federer was pushed to the very limit, edging Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set of a final that remains the longest, by games, of any Grand Slam title match in tennis history. Here is a year-by-year look at Federer's trophy runs at Wimbledon: ___ No. 1: 2003 Final: Beat Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3). Grand Slam Title: 1 Age: 21 At Stake: Pegged for great success, Federer had yet to get past the quarterfinals of a major tournament. Close Call: Federer dropped only one set, to Mardy Fish in the third round, but the toughest moment came in the round of 16, when Federer needed treatment on his aching back while beating Feliciano Lopez. Key Quote: "There was pressure from all sides — also from myself. I wanted to do better in Slams." — Federer. ___ No. 2: 2004 Final: Beat Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 3 Age: 22 At Stake: His first attempt to defend a major championship. Close Call: After dropping the first set, then trailing by a break at 4-2 in the third, Federer used a rain delay to change strategy, opting to charge the net more. He made that switch on his own, because he'd been without a coach since firing his a little more than six months earlier. It worked: Federer won 24 of the next 28 points on his serve. Key Quote: "This is a very important phase in his career as well, that he could step back, not rely on somebody, get to know himself, get to know his own tennis and technique." — Federer's mother, Lynette. ___ No. 3: 2005 Final: Beat Roddick 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 5 Age: 23 At Stake: Trying to become the first man in 50 years to win his first five major finals. Close Call: None, really. Federer dropped merely one of 22 sets he played over the two weeks, a tiebreaker against 25th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer in the third round, but quickly recovered to win that match 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5. Key Quote: "It's hard for him, because I really played a fantastic match — one of the best of my life. Today it seemed liked I was playing flawless." — Federer. ___ No. 4: 2006 Final: Beat Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3. Grand Slam Title: 8 Age: 24 At Stake: Entering the championship match, Federer was 0-4 that season against Nadal — including a loss in the French Open final weeks earlier — and 55-0 against everyone else. Close Call: Once again, nothing to speak of, because Federer dropped just one set all tournament, this time in the final. Nadal did serve for the second set at 5-4, but missed three forehands and double-faulted to get broken there, before ceding the ensuing tiebreaker. Key Quote: "I'm very well aware of how important this match was for me. If I lose, obviously, it's a hard blow for me — he wins French, Wimbledon back-to-back. It's important for me to win a final against him, for a change, and beat him, for a change." — Federer. ___ No. 5: 2007 Final: Beat Nadal 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2. Grand Slam Title: 11 Age: 25 At Stake: Joining Borg as the only men in the last 100 years to win Wimbledon five years in a row. Close Call: After dropping just one set (in a quarterfinal against 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero) along an unusually short road to the final (fourth-round foe Tommy Haas withdrew with an injury), Federer got all he could handle against Nadal. Key Quote: "He's an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. I believe if he continues the way he's doing and stays away from injuries and has the motivation, he'll be the greatest player ever to play the game." — Borg. ___ No. 6: 2009 Final: Beat Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14. Grand Slam Title: 15 Age: 27 At Stake: Breaking Sampras' record for most major singles trophies won by a man and reasserting his supremacy at Wimbledon after losing a 9-7 fifth set to Nadal in the 2008 final. Close Call: What could be a closer call than that fifth set? Federer's only break of the day came in the match's 77th and last game. Also worth remembering is that 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Roddick led the second-set tiebreaker 6-2 but did not convert any of the four points that would have given him a two-set lead. Key Quote: "He's a legend. Now he's an icon." — Sampras. ___ No. 7: 2012 Final: Beat Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 17 Age: 30 At Stake: Tying the record held by Sampras and William Renshaw (who played in the 1800s) for most Wimbledon men's championships, plus ending a personal 2½-year Grand Slam drought. Close Call: Federer dropped the first two sets in the third round against 29th-seeded Julien Benneteau of France, then was two points away from losing a half-dozen times, but pulled out a 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1 comeback. Key Quote: "Oh, my God, it was brutal. The thing, when you're down two sets to love, is to stay calm, even though it's hard, because people are freaking out, people are worried for you." — Federer. ___ No. 8: 2017 Final: Beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 19 (he added No. 20 at this year's Australian Open) Age: 35 At Stake: Breaking the mark for most men's singles titles at the All England Club after coming up just short with losses to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 and 2015 finals. Close Call: Nothing whatsoever. The closest thing to a close call came in the semifinals, when 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych pushed Federer to tiebreakers in each of the first two sets. Cilic was hampered by foot blister in a final that was lopsided throughout. Key Quote: "Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament. Will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here." — Federer......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2018

Djokovic s next French Open foe was cleared of match-fixing

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — In his record 12th French Open quarterfinal, Novak Djokovic will face a man he knows well, even if the rest of the world does not. What a tale Marco Cecchinato (it's pronounced Cheh-key-NAH'-toe) can tell, though. He is a 25-year-old from Sicily who once was handed a match-fixing suspension that later was thrown out on appeal. His tour-level career record was 4-23 before this season. His Grand Slam record was 0-4 before last week. Yet here he is, earning the right to face Djokovic for a spot in the semifinals at Roland Garros by eliminating the No. 8-seeded David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 on Sunday. How surprising is this run? Cecchinato's ranking of No. 72 is the lowest in a decade for a man in the final eight at the French Open. Asked whether he could have envisioned, even as recently as April, that he would get this far at a major tournament, Cecchinato answered with one word, "No," before breaking into as wide a smile as can be. "For me," he continued, "this is the best moment of my life." Cecchinato and Djokovic, who meet Tuesday, have crossed paths often in Monte Carlo. Djokovic, a 12-time major champion, lives there; Cecchinato has worked on his game at an academy there. "I have known of him for many years," Djokovic said after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 30 Fernando Verdasco. "I know now his game and I practiced with him. I watched him play. For sure, he's playing the tennis of his life." Yes, Djokovic was thrilled to get back to a ninth consecutive quarterfinal in Paris after dealing with elbow trouble for more than a year and needing surgery in February. And in other men's action Sunday, No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev was relieved to win a third consecutive five-setter — after trailing 2-1 in sets each time — to get to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, where he will face No. 8 Dominic Thiem. But one of these is not like the others. At all. In July 2016, Cecchinato was one of three Italian players initially suspended by their national tennis federation for allegedly influencing the outcome of matches. He was banned for 18 months and fined 40,000 euros (about $45,000), accused of losing on purpose during a lower-tier Challenger event at Morocco in 2015. Cecchinato appealed, and the Italian Olympic Committee announced in December 2016 that the sanctions were dropped entirely. Asked Sunday whether he wanted to explain what happened, Cecchinato replied in Italian: "Right now, I want to enjoy this moment. That year was a tough time. I want to think about the present. Maybe we can talk about it after the tournament. Now I want to enjoy the fantastic moment that I am living. And I think that's good enough." Fact is, his French Open probably should have ended in the first round. Cecchinato dropped the opening two sets that day against someone named Marius Copil, a Romanian ranked 94th, and then was two points from losing, right then and there. But Cecchinato came all the way back, winning 10-8 in the fifth set. And so the journey began. Next came a straight-set win over 190th-ranked Marco Trungelliti. The "lucky loser" made the 10-hour, 650-mile drive with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and younger brother from his home in Barcelona to Paris once he realized there was a spot in the field available because someone else withdrew. That was followed by a four-set upset of 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, and then the surprising win over Goffin. "When he made me run, he was actually dictating the rallies," said Goffin, whose right elbow was looked at by a trainer during the match, "so it was hard for me to have the upper hand." Cecchinato certainly appeared to be appreciating every moment of his time on Court Suzanne Lenglen. He chatted with himself during changeovers — "I like to talk," he said later — and dropping down onto the red clay after one last backhand winner on match point. And what a beautiful, one-handed backhand that is. A reporter wanted to know whether he thinks that shot of his is more like Gustavo Kuerten's or Stan Wawrinka's, a pair of past French Open champions. "Honestly," came the reply, "I want to be like Cecchinato.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2018

Get ready for Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova in Paris

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — If the upcoming French Open showdown between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova provides any of the sort of animus and back-and-forth they manage to stir up away from the court, look out. During a news conference after both won Saturday to set up the longtime rivals' fourth-round matchup at Roland Garros, Williams criticized Sharapova's autobiography as "hearsay" and twice brought up the Russian's 15-month doping ban. Producing by far the best performance in her return to Grand Slam tennis — 16 months after her last major tournament and nine months after having a baby — Williams played cleanly and powerfully in a 6-3, 6-4 tour de force against 11th-seeded Julia Goerges that lasted a mere 75 minutes and lacked much in the way of theatrics. "There is still a ways to go, but it's moving in the right direction," said Williams, who made only three unforced errors in the first set, 12 in all. "And I think that as long as it's moving in the right direction, I know I will get there." Sharapova advanced with a similarly lopsided win, 6-2, 6-1 against 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova. Now comes the drama: Williams vs. Sharapova on Monday with a quarterfinal spot at stake. They have verbally clashed in the past, such as a 2013 public spat about their private lives. Williams, 36, owns 23 major singles titles. Sharapova, 31, has won five. Williams has won the French Open three times, Sharapova twice. They are the only active women with a career Grand Slam; they are two of six in history to accomplish that. Both have been ranked No. 1. But the head-to-head history is overwhelmingly in Williams' favor: She has won 19 of 21 meetings, including 18 in a row. "Quite frankly, she's probably a favorite in this match, for sure," Williams said with a chuckle. "She's been playing ... for over a year now. I just started. So I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go." The last time Sharapova beat Williams was in 2004. The last time they played was in the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinals, Sharapova's final appearance before her 15-month drug suspension. "Well, it's been a while," Sharapova said, "and I think a lot has happened in our lives for the both of us, in very different ways." Williams was asked about Sharapova's book, which was published last year. It contains quite a bit of material about the American, including a reference to Williams crying in the locker room after losing to Sharapova in the Wimbledon final 14 years ago. "As a fan, I wanted to read the book and I was really excited for it to come out and I was really happy for her. And then the book was a lot about me. I was surprised about that, to be honest," Williams said. "I was, like, 'Oh, OK, I didn't expect to be reading a book about me — that wasn't necessarily true.'" Insisting she doesn't "have any negative feelings" toward Sharapova, Williams said "the success of one female should be the inspiration to another." Seconds later, Williams made reference to Sharapova's "incident of drugs." There were plenty of other results involving top names at the French Open on Saturday. Other women moving into the fourth round included 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza, two-time runner-up Simona Halep, two-time major title winner Angelique Kerber and reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens. Men's winners included 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, No. 3 Marin Cilic, No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 6 Kevin Anderson and No. 9 John Isner. The story of Day 7, though, was what everyone can look forward to on Day 9: Williams vs. Sharapova. This is Williams' first Grand Slam tournament since January 2017, when she won the Australian Open while pregnant. The American made a brief foray on the tour earlier this season, but she played only four matches. She had some problems in her initial two outings in Paris, including in the second round, when she dropped the first set against 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty before — as Williams herself put it — "Serena came out." Against Goerges, the careless errors were largely absent. The missing energy was back. In front of a crowd that included former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, it took 15 minutes for Williams to gain the upper hand, sprinting to reach a drop shot and whip a cross-court forehand passing winner for a 3-1 lead. Williams yelled loudly and raised her fist. It was almost as if she'd never left the scene. "Any time you play against Serena, you know what you're up against. You know the challenge that is upon you," Sharapova said. "Despite the record that I have against her, I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best players.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Pondering lunch, Sascha Zverev saves match point in Paris

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Talented and pegged-for-success as Alexander Zverev might be, there he was in the French Open's main stadium Friday, on the precipice of a third-round defeat and yet another Grand Slam disappointment. A loss would have left the No. 2-seeded Zverev with an 0-8 record at major tournaments against men ranked in the top 50. A loss also would have left his resume still with merely one trip as far as the round of 16 at any Slam — and zero such runs at Roland Garros. In the fourth set, his opponent served for the victory. In the fifth, the circumstances were more dire: Zverev faced a match point. Both times, he proved steadier and sturdier than Damir Dzumhur, a Bosnian ranked 29th and seeded 26th, and Zverev eventually prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in 3 hours, 54 minutes. It gave the 21-year-old German his second consecutive five-set win; he trailed two sets to one in each. It also showed — not just to others but, perhaps more importantly, to Zverev himself — that he can handle such occasions, that he is capable of doing what's necessary when the sets and hours add up, and that he is perhaps finally ready to stride into the very last days at a major. He's the only active player outside of the "Big 4" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with three Masters titles. But Grand Slam success has been elusive. As for what sort of internal strife was happening in Zverev's head Friday? "None," Zverev said. "Mainly, I was thinking (about) what I was going to have for lunch." Well, then. He acknowledged drawing a dose of confidence from managing to win two five-setters in a row, "knowing that I'm fit enough to last as long as I want." In contrast, No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov was unable to pull off back-to-back five-set wins. The two-time major semifinalist fell to 0-7 against top-50 foes at the French Open with a 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 loss to 35th-ranked Fernando Verdasco. "I lost my nerves early on," Dimitrov said. "He played an absolutely stunning match. What can I say?" Verdasco's seventh career fourth-round match at Roland Garros — he's never won one — will come against 2016 champion Djokovic, who seemed to come alive after obliterating his racket in the second-set tiebreaker and wound up eliminating No. 13 Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-2. "Sometimes emotions get the worst out of you, you know," Djokovic said, "or the best out of you, whatever you want to call it." In Dzumhur's case, he was afflicted by jitters while on the verge of making it to a major's last 16 for the first time. Dzumhur served for the match leading 6-5 in the fourth set. But everything fell apart with this sequence: forehand into the net, forehand wide, drop shot into the net, backhand into the net. Just like that, he'd been broken at love. A later errant backhand ended the tiebreaker. "I was not mentally ready to win that match in the fourth set. And I just was rushing a little bit in that service game," Dzumhur said, before offering some credit to Zverev. "He was playing very smart in that moment. He let me do mistakes." Ahead 5-4 in the fifth, Dzumhur was one point from winning while Zverev served at 30-40. But Zverev — at 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), he is 9 inches (20 centimeters) taller than Dzumhur — came up with the goods, a 118 mph service winner. Dzumhur again helped Zverev, putting a pair of easy backhands into the net, then later said of the first of those: "That's the point that I will probably remember." Perhaps Zverev will, too. More likely, he won't fuss too much over the details, including that Dzumhur entered the French Open with a losing record this year. Instead, it's the outcome that matters. That didn't used to be the case, when Zverev was 12 and coached by Dad. His father taught Sascha, as Zverev is called by many, and brother Mischa — in third-round action Saturday — the importance at that age of process over results, preparing them for success not as juniors but as pros. And now? "I'm trying to win. That's all that matters. It doesn't matter how long it goes. It doesn't matter how much time I'll spend on court," Zverev said. "It doesn't matter if it goes 9-7 in the fifth or it goes 6-1, 6-1, 6-2." He seems more equipped for the former now than ever......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Sharapova has good inner feeling ahead of French Open return

  ROME, Italy – Former French Open champion Maria Sharapova said Thursday, May 17, she has a "good inner feeling" as she prepares for her Roland Garros return after a doping ban. Sharapova's straight sets win over Australian Daria Gavrilova booked her a quarter-final berth at the Italian Open which should ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 18th, 2018

Ricciardo sets pace in second practice for Azerbaijan GP

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull set the pace in the second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday as the Australian driver chases his second win in a row. Ricciardo, the winner in Baku last year, is coming off victory two weeks ago in China. He has not won more than one race in a season since 2014, and is publicly considering whether to move to Mercedes or Ferrari for next season in search of a car capable of winning the championship. "It's all we can ask for today. I'm pretty happy with how the car felt," Ricciardo said. "Even if we can't maybe qualify on the front row tomorrow, I think the race car will be strong." Kimi Raikkonen was second-fastest for Ferrari, 0.069 seconds off Ricciardo's time. His Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader, could manage only 11th after spinning. "I think I struggled probably a little bit more than the others, but I'm not too worried," Vettel said. "We can improve for tomorrow." Max Verstappen has been best known for collisions this season, and the Red Bull driver crashed again in the first practice but recovered to post the third-fastest time in the second session. However, he limped back to the pits at the end of the day with apparent engine issues. The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas — fastest in the first session — and defending champion Lewis Hamilton ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the second practice. They fought with Ferrari to get enough heat into their tires on the slippery and dusty Baku street circuit. Baku's long straight means teams run a low-downforce setup which can make it hard to negotiate the tight street corners on the rest of the lap. "Overall, we weren't quick enough today," Hamilton said. "Both Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be ahead of us at the moment. So we've got some work to do. I'm going to be knocking on the doors of all the engineers overnight, so that we can hopefully make the right changes." Fernando Alonso managed a rare sixth place for McLaren. While numerous cars strayed into the runoff areas on the low-grip track, Verstappen's was the only crash of the day. At Sauber, Marcus Ericsson's second session was cut short by a gearbox problem. In the first session, Bottas was narrowly ahead of Ricciardo, and Force India's Sergio Perez beat Hamilton into third. Dry conditions are expected for Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, though some drivers expect gusts of winds to cause trouble......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

Rafael Nadal reaches Barcelona Open semifinals

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal defeated Martin Klizan 6-0, 7-5 to extend his winning streak on clay and reach the Barcelona Open semifinals on Friday. Nadal started well but needed to save three set points to close out the match for his 17th straight victory on the surface. The top-ranked Spaniard has won 42 consecutive sets on clay. "It was a good start for me, a quick one, but then in the second set everything changed," said Nadal, who had to come back from a break down. "I feel a little bit luck today to be through in straight sets again." The 140th-ranked Klizan had eliminated Novak Djokovic in the second round. Nadal will next face David Goffin, who defeated Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2. The 10th-ranked Belgian Goffin had to come back from a set down in all of his three victories in Barcelona. In the other semifinal, Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain — who defeated second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 7-6 (4) — will play against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 63rd-ranked Greek who got past third-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-3, 6-2. Nadal needs to win his 11th Barcelona title to retain his No. 1 ranking......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018