Advertisements


Federer gracious in praise of Sunday opponent at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As befitting his status as a 17-time Grand Slam champion and as an astute judge of the sport, Roger Federer's reply to a simple question about his next opponent was handled with the same aplomb as one of his stylish groundstrokes. The player in question was Kei Nishikori, who plays Federer in a fourth-round night match Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. 'I'm a big fan of his game,' Federer said. 'He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or cross-court. He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind. I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop.' Federer said he'll need another strong service game if he's going to give Nishikori some trouble. In Federer's win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday, he didn't face a break point and he won points on 95 percent of the first serves he got into play — 39 of 41, and all 16 in the third and final set. 'This one's going to be completely different to Tomas ... there's going to be more rallies, even though the surface remains fast. I said it at the beginning of the week, it's not easy to control the ball. Today again, when you serve well, it pays dividends. I hope I can keep that up against Kei.' Asked if Nishikori should be considered the favorite because of the No. 5 seeding (Federer is 17th after a six-month left knee injury layoff) Federer replied, smiling: 'Yeah, sure, he's the favorite. Maybe. I don't know.' Nishikori said he watched some of the Federer-Berdych match and was impressed. 'Roger, it's a big challenge for me,' Nishikori said. 'I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. Happy to see him back 100 percent.' Here are some other featured matches Sunday: ___ NO PRESSURE: Top-seeded Andy Murray plays Mischa Zverev in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, is heavily favored. The 50th-ranked Zverev, the older brother of 19-year-old rising star Alexander Zverev — who lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round — says Murray could go either way while pondering his ranking advantage. 'I don't know if it's more pressure on him or maybe it's a relief,' Mischa Zverev said. 'If someone like Novak (Djokovic) is out of the tournament, I feel like the whole rhythm of the tournament changes a little bit, so we'll see what's going to happen.' Zverev hopes to possibly rile the often volatile Murray. 'If he plays his best tennis, obviously I don't think I have a lot of chances, but it'll depend on the day,' he said. 'Let's see if I can annoy him a little bit. If I'm serving well and not missing any volleys, maybe I can do some damage.' ____ KERBER IN CONTROL?: Defending champion Angelique Kerber plays American CoCo Vandeweghe in the match following Federer-Nishikori on Rod Laver. Kerber holds a 2-0 career edge, although the last time the two played — in Wuhan, China in 2015 — Vandeweghe retired from the match with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-1, 3-1. 'CoCo is a tough opponent ... she's serving well,' Kerber said. 'I have to move good ... bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.' ___ IN BRIEF: Venus Williams, who is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam main draw — a record for the Open era — plays Mona Barthel in an afternoon match. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his quest for titles in consecutive Grand Slams — and his fourth major overall — when he plays Andreas Seppi. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza plays Sorana Cirstea. ___ Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this story. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 21st, 2017Related News

Hawks hold on for victory versus Bulls

ATLANTA (AP) Dennis Schroder scored 23 points, Paul Millsap added 14 and the Atlanta Hawks held back a late scare to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-93 on Friday night. The Bulls put up little resistance all night until their reserves went on a 33-4 run in the fourth quarter to pull within five on Bobby Portis' dunk with 1:08 remaining. Chicago trailed by 22 at the end of the first, by 29 at the end of the second and 30 at the end of the third. Atlanta's lead was tenuous enough that Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer brought back Schroder and Millsap, who had rested the entire fourth quarter, for the last 2 minutes. Dwight Howard and Thabo Sefolosha combined by 24 points for Atlanta, which has won 10 of 12. Jimmy Butler finished with 19 points for the Bulls, who looked uninspired most of the night. They have dropped five of seven. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2017Related News

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

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

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2017Related News

Supplemental evidence vs grupo ni Sta. Isabel, isusumite na sa DoJ

ISUSUMITE na ngayong araw ng PNP- Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) ang kanilang supplemental evidence sa Department of Justice (DoJ) na lalong magdidiin kina SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel at sa kanyang grupo na responsable sa pagkidnap at pagpatay sa Koreanong negosyante na si Jee Ick Joo. Sunabi ni PSupt. Dennis Wagas, legal officer ng PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) [&'].....»»

Source: Remate RemateCategory: NewsJan 20th, 2017Related News

TNT to launch NBA coverage featuring ex-players

NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season. The 'Players Only' schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 (Feb.28 to March 28, PHL time) and includes match-ups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 (March 21, PHL time) and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later. Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other. Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters. Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Andy's ankle, Federer's biggest test highlight Friday action

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — One big question ahead of the start of the third round Friday at the Australian Open is the state of Andy Murray's injured right ankle. And nearly as important, how Roger Federer will perform in his first major test — against Tomas Berdych — since returning from a six-month injury layoff. The top-seeded Murray tumbled to the court at Rod Laver Arena, clutching his ankle and cringing in pain during the third set of his second-round match against No. 156-ranked Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. 'It just a little bit stiff just now,' he said after the match. 'I don't think I've done too much damage.' Murray held a practice session on Court 17 on Thursday afternoon and appeared to be moving freely. He is scheduled to play No. 31-seeded Sam Querrey in a Hisense Arena afternoon match. Something that may have made Murray's ankle feel better later in the day was news that Novak Djokovic was upset in the second round by Denis Istomin. On opposite sides of the draw, they couldn't have met until the final, but Murray has lost five finals at Melbourne Park — four of them to Djokovic. Here is a look at some of the other featured matches Friday: ___ FEDERER'S BIG TEST: Undoubtedly No. 10 Tomas Berdych will be 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer's biggest challenge since returning from his left knee layoff. Federer, a four-time Australian champion, was tested from time to time in wins over qualifiers in his opening two matches. The good news is that he holds a 16-6 career edge over Berdych, including all three times they've met previously at Melbourne Park. Federer is 5-0 in their most recent meetings. 'I did feel like I actually played him quite well in recent times, thanks for reminding me,' Federer said. 'I just got to play on my terms and really be focused on my own service games to make sure I don't have any lapses there. I know I've got to lift my game a little bit.' The pair will play the final night match on Rod Laver Arena. ___ BEATING THE TWINS?: Top-ranked Angelique Kerber beat Karolina Pliskova in the U.S. Open final, and will have a chance to beat the Czech player's twin sister, Kristyna, in the next major when the pair meet in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. Kerber has never played the 58th-ranked Kristyna. Asked if it was 'weird' to play twins, Kerber seemed perplexed by the question. 'I don't know if it's weird. I mean, the one is right and the other one is left-handed.' For the record, Kerber and Kristyna are both left handed. ___ And briefly: No. 4 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 29 Viktor Troicki: U.S. Open champion and 2014 Australian winner Wawrinka beat Troicki in the second round at the Brisbane International two weeks ago, his seventh consecutive win over the Serbian player. Advantage Stan. _ No. 7 Garbine Muguruza vs. No. 32 Anastasija Sevastova: 2016 French Open champion Muguruza lost to Sevastova in the second round at the U.S. Open last year in straight sets, but returned the favor at Tokyo a few weeks later. _ No. 13 Venus Williams vs. Duan Yingying: Duan beat former top 20 player Vavara Lepchenko in the second round. She and Williams have never played, and both players said they know little about the other. Duan said she had never even seen Williams play. 'I don't really watch that much tennis, so I think my coach will do the job to try to tell me what I need to do on the court,' Duan said through a translator. _ No. 5 Kei Nishikori vs. Lukas Lacko: Nishikori is looking to advance to the fourth round for the sixth year in a row. He's made it to the quarterfinals the past two years. Lacko, a qualifier, has played nine sets in two rounds, including a five-setter in his first-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. _ Eugenie Bouchard vs. CoCo Vandeweghe: After a poor second half of 2015 and most of 2016, Bouchard is playing with more confidence. The 22-year-old Canadian, who made the semifinals here and the French Open in 2014 before reaching the final at Wimbledon, beat Vandeweghe the only time they've met at Indian Wells in 2015. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Pistons dominate Hawks behind 42-18 start

em>By Chris Nelsen, Associated Press /em> AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Reggie Jackson scored 26 points to lead the balanced Detroit Pistons to a 118-95 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Each of Detroit's starters scored in double figures, and the Pistons shot 49.5 percent from the field. Tobias Harris had 19 points, Reggie Bullock finished with 15 and Andre Drummond added 13 points and 17 rebounds. Detroit raced out to a 42-18 first-quarter lead and never trailed. Paul Millsap had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who had won nine of 10. Dennis Schroder added 13 points and six assists. The Pistons scored the first seven points of the game on their way to a big first quarter. Detroit went 16-for-26 from the field, including a 6-for-7 start from three-point range, in the opening period. Detroit continued to dominate in the second quarter, building a 54-24 advantage on Marcus Morris' free throw with 7:35 left. Atlanta cut the deficit to 20 later in the period, but trailed 69-45 at halftime. Morris finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>F/C Tiago Splitter (right calf strain) and F/C Mike Muscala (left ankle sprain) did not play. Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) margin of defeat was the Hawks' largest since a 128-84 loss at Toronto on Dec. 3 (Dec. 4, PHL time). G Tim Hardaway Jr. played college basketball at Michigan and his dad, Tim Hardaway, is a Pistons assistant. Hardaway Jr. finished with 10 points. em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>F Jon Leuer (right knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left rotator cuff strain) did not play. Detroit's 42 points in the first quarter was its highest total for any quarter this season. The Pistons returned to the Palace after they went 2/3 on a five-game West Coast trip. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>Host Chicago on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>Host Washington on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 18th, 2017Related News

Williams, Safarova in French Open final rematch at Melbourne

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — On paper, Serena Williams' second-round match on Thursday against Lucie Safarova should be no contest. The six-time Australian Open champion in search of her record 23rd Grand Slam singles title has beaten the Czech player all nine times they've met, including the 2015 French Open final. But Safarova, ranked 61st, saved nine match points in the second set of her first-round match here against Yanina Wickmayer before advancing 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. So Williams may need to be patient, or ruthless, in the match which opens night play at Rod Laver Arena. After her win Tuesday, Safarova wasn't aware of the extent of her feat. 'I stopped counting after a few (match points), I was like, just another one,' she said. 'But I was like, 'I'm just going to go for it and if she closes the match, well OK, but I'm just going to play my game.' It was exciting.' Safarova is expecting a fast start from Williams. 'Serena's always a tough opponent,' Safarova said. 'She hasn't played many matches so that could be maybe a little bit to my advantage, but she always comes out strong. I have nothing to lose so I'll be ready.' ___ Here is a look at some other matches in the bottom half of the draw on Thursday, the fourth day of the Australian Open: CONCERN FROM RAONIC: Milos Raonic takes on Gilles Muller, who is coming off his first career tournament victory at the Sydney International last week. Muller broke down at the trophy presentations in Sydney, relieved that he finally achieved a win. Raonic lost to Muller in Valencia, Spain in 2012, although that was before Raonic developed into the third-ranked player in the world. Raonic also had to retire from a second-round match at Wimbledon in 2011 while leading 3-2 in the first set due to a right hip injury. 'I have struggled with him,' Raonic said. 'He had a great, phenomenal week last week. For him it was something very special, and obviously it was pretty special to see, as well, that final and his reaction to it.' They play an afternoon match on Margaret Court Arena. ___ MUTUAL RESPECT: Johanna Konta beat Naomi Osaka in straight sets in their only previous meeting in the semifinals of qualifying at the U.S. Open in 2015. The pair, who meet again Thursday — the opening match of the day at Rod Laver — made positive impressions on each other during that match in New York. 'I remember playing her, and she had a real good serve and a really good return,' Osaka said of last year's semifinalist. 'I think it's really awesome like how she rose so high and quickly. She's a really good player.' Konta returned the favor: 'She's improved a lot. I know she plays a big game. She has big shots. I'm definitely prepared to go in for a battle.' ___ DOMINATING DJOKOVIC: Six-time champion Novak Djokovic has beaten his second-round opponent, Dennis Istoman, all five times they have met. Two of those matches have come at the Australian Open, although it wasn't until the third round. Istoman has won only one set in those five career matches. Among other matches Thursday, 2009 champion Rafael Nadal plays 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis and No. 3-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 18th, 2017Related News

Angelique Kerber getting used to birthdays away from home

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Little did Angelique Kerber know when she turned 18 at home in Bremen, Germany, that the next decade of celebrating her birthday would be spent some 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) away at the Australian Open. Or for that matter, that her first Grand Slam victory would come at Melbourne Park in 2016. The now 29-year-old Kerber was planning a celebratory dinner on Wednesday night, precise location undecided, hours after she beat fellow German Carina Witthoeft 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2. She was serenaded off Rod Laver Arena to 'Happy Birthday' from the crowd. 'I just remember celebrating my 18th birthday at home, so that was a big party,' Kerber said. 'But the rest, I was always here. It's nice. I'm feeling at home, so it's great to be always in Australia for my birthday.' She wasn't always celebrating on Wednesday, visibly angry with herself at times during the match. 'I was making a lot of mistakes at the important moments,' Kerber said. 'The conditions were, like, also a little bit difficult, particularly with the sun from the one side.' She managed to keep her emotions in check in the first set, but became frustrated at times with Witthoeft's powerful and accurate forehand in the second. In the tiebreaker, she led 3-2 but double-faulted twice — once on either side of the change of ends — and Witthoeft won five straight points to level the match. She dropped her serve to open the third set, but recovered her composure and took a 4-1 lead, saving two break points in the fifth game. At the end of the match, Witthoeft went to the net and gave her fellow German a kiss on each cheek. Kerber next plays Kristyna Pliskova, who beat No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6 (8). Pliskova's twin sister, Karolina, lost the U.S. Open final to Kerber. Asked if was strange to be playing a twin sister, Kerber said: 'I don't know if it's weird. I mean, the one is right and the other one is left-handed. So this is the difference. 'But I played once against her (Kristyna), I think, few years ago, and I know that she has a great serve, as well ... I will look forward to playing against her.' But with Thursday an off-day, first things first. 'I think we will go for a nice dinner,' she said of her birthday night plans. 'I don't know yet where, but it will be nice. Maybe sit there with my team and friends and just relax a bit.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 18th, 2017Related News

Federer's 17 majors stack up nicely against everyone else

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

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 17th, 2017Related News

Danger matches Tuesday for Djokovic, Williams at Aussie Open

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

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2017Related News

Orcollo leads Pinoy advance

Five veteran cue players spearheaded by Dennis Orcollo bested their respective foes on Sunday to stay in the title hunt of the World Pool Series-Molinari Players 8-Ball Championships in New York City......»»

Source: Tempo TempoCategory: NewsJan 16th, 2017Related News

Schroder hits go-ahead triple, leads Hawks past Knicks

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Dennis Schroder gave the Hawks the lead and the New York Knicks had three chances to take it back. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, whom they hoped would be the backbone of a contending team, all failed from inside a few feet. 'When things are not going your way, sometimes they go all the way left,' Anthony said. 'That's a shot that I think I could hit in my sleep.' Schroder scored 28 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds left, to lead the Hawks to a 108-107 victory on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games to reach the midpoint of their schedule at 24-17. 'Guys got heart on this team,' said Millsap, who blocked Rose's shot on a drive to the basket before Anthony missed a fairly easy follow. 'Guys compete and when you compete good things happen.' Anthony scored 30 points for the Knicks, who changed their lineup but it wasn't quite good enough. They lost for the 11th time in 13 games. The Hawks rested Dwight Howard, while the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis again because of a sore left Achilles tendon. They gave undrafted rookie Ron Baker his first career start and moved Courtney Lee to the bench. Baker helped spark a 10-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of three-pointers, but Schroder kept the Hawks in it all the way while making 13-of-16 shots. 'We knew they were going to make their run,' Hardaway said. 'Their second group does a tremendous job raising the intensity on both ends of the floor. We just had to match that.' It was a much better effort for the Knicks than Sunday (Monday, PHL time), when they reached an embarrassing low by being outscored 27-8 in the third quarter of a 116-101 loss at Toronto. But as usual with the Knicks, the game was only a minor part of the chaos. Anthony responded to questions about a Fanragsports.com piece written by Charley Rosen, a Phil Jackson confidante, that said he had 'outlived his usefulness in New York' by saying that maybe he needed to have a conversation with Jackson if he felt that way. It's unclear if Jackson does, because he has barely spoken publicly this season and not at all to the New York media since preseason, though Rosen posted another piece Monday that his thoughts were his alone. Anthony said he hadn't heard from Jackson and didn't need to. 'My job is to go out there and play ball and I'm not concerned about that,' Anthony said. Anthony made buzzer-beaters to end the second and third quarters, but the Knicks needed one more. 'I was surprised he missed that one,' Millsap said. 'He's made a bunch of tough shots.' strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>The Hawks have won five in a row on the road, their longest streak since a 12-game run in the 2014-15 season. Hardaway, a former Knicks guard, had his ninth 20-point game of the season. em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>The Knicks were also without forward Lance Thomas because of a fractured left orbital bone. strong>MARTIN KING LUTHER JR. DAY STATS /strong> The Hawks improved to 17-9 on the holiday, with seven straight victories. The Knicks fell to 20-11 with a two-game winning streak snapped. strong>CARMELO CONCERNS /strong> Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to agree to any deal. Coach Jeff Hornacek, though only in his first season here, says Anthony, like all players, has to deal with trade speculation. 'I think he does a great job of dealing with it and handling that kind of stuff. But does it affect him? I am sure it does in some way,' Hornacek said. 'But hopefully like most players, the trade deadline comes and goes every year.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>Visit Detroit on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The teams have split two meetings, with the Pistons winning 121-85 in Atlanta on Dec. 2 (Dec. 3, PHL time). em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em> Visit Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The Knicks have lost four straight in the series and four in a row in Boston. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2017Related News

Uy vows to raise P1B fund for Filipino athletes

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential adviser for sports Dennis Uy promised to help raise P1-billion from his fellow businessmen from the private sector to augm.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2017Related News

92 minutes on court, lifetime of experience for Destanee

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Destanee Aiava's Australian Open lasted just 92 minutes Monday while making history as the first person born in the 2000s to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. She took away enough experience from her 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Mona Barthel to last a lifetime, she said, and received some advice from the biggest name in the women's game several days before she even stepped on court. And she fully expects to be back. 'This isn't the first and the last time I'm going to be here,' said Aiava, a 16-year-old Melbourne high school student who received a wild card to enter the season's first major. 'There's plenty more to come.' Last week, she had a short practice session with Serena Williams, the 22-time Grand Slam champion and the inspiration for Aiava's career. Aiava was 5 when she watched one of the Williams' matches on TV, and told her parents that tennis was going to be her career. Describing it then as 'one of the best days of my life,' Aiava explained Monday that Williams had imparted some good advice. 'She told me to dream big and you'll achieve big,' Aiava said. 'She's quite a nice person. It was a really good experience to get to hit with her.' Aiava played her match Monday before hundreds of vocal fans on Show Court 2 at Melbourne Park. 'It was pretty fun playing out there with all the crowd supporting me,' she said. 'Nothing really surprised me. I think I learned how to be more composed out there, and I didn't rush as much. Obviously it wasn't my day, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the year and what's out there for me.' What was out there for her shortly after her match ended was prize money of $37,500 as a first-round loser. 'I don't like to focus on that, or gloat,' said Aiava, who didn't plan to celebrate a loss. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2017Related News

Australian Open quotes: Rafael Nadal says no plans to retire

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal isn't planning to give up tennis anytime soon. Johanna Konta won't take too seriously her dominating win in the Sydney International last Friday. And Sam Stosur, who has never done well at her home Grand Slam tournament, isn't getting too down on herself after her preparation — or lack of it— for Melbourne Park. Following are some thoughts and impressions from players who spoke on Sunday, the day before the start of the Australian Open: ___ RAFAEL NADAL The takeaway: Rafa is not about to call it quits anytime soon. Nadal, a 14-time major winner, is coming off two lengthy injury layoffs last year, including 2 ½ months off after pulling out of the French Open before the third round with left wrist injury and another rest at the end of the season. Just don't ask him if he's ready to pull out a rod and reel, or a 9-iron. 'If I don't believe that I can be competitive, and when I mean competitive, is fighting for the things that I fought for during the last 10 years, I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home,' Nadal said. 'I am being honest ... I am here because I believe ... I can fight for the things that really motivate me.' Given his history with injuries, Nadal was asked if he was playing pain free. 'What do you mean 'pain-free'?' he said. 'I am not injured, no. Pain-free is a long time ago.' ___ JOHANNA KONTA The Sydney-born British player, a surprise semifinalist at Melbourne Park last year, won the Sydney International final against Agnieszka Radwanska last Friday, a victory so dominating that the Polish player, ranked third in the world, said: 'I can't remember playing someone like this on that level, that consistent for the whole match. I couldn't really say that I did something wrong. She was just playing amazing tennis.' Konta said Sunday she's not reading too much into those plaudits. 'Obviously to have beaten a player like Aga, I'm definitely very pleased with the level I played,' Konta said. 'But we all know that it's not a given. It doesn't decide how you will do in the next event. I'm taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I'm looking to, again, work hard here and really try to do the best that I can here.' ___ SAMANTHA STOSUR Competing in her 15th Australian Open, the highest-ranked Australian woman in the draw has never made it past the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Her preparation for her home major wasn't helped with first-round losses at Brisbane and Sydney 'I can't change it, it is what it is,' Stosur said of her early exits. 'I'm not going into my first round freaking out that I haven't had more than two matches. Like I said, I've done everything else that I can. Obviously it would have been really nice to have played more. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in that situation from the first two weeks of the year.' The 18th-seeded Stosur has a tough first-round match against Heather Watson of Britain. ___ SIMONA HALEP The fourth-seeded Halep lost in the first round last year at Melbourne Park. This year she'll have the distinction of opening play on the main Rod Laver Arena on Monday, against American Shelby Rogers. 'I hope is going to be better this year ... it's special to open the tournament on the biggest stadium. I'm not thinking very much at that thing. I just have to go there. I know the opponent pretty well.' Halep beat Rogers in straight sets in the third round at the 2015 U.S. Open in their only previous meeting. ___ TOMMY HAAS The 38-year-old German veteran has said 2017 will be his last year on tour — he's taking over as tournament director at Indian Wells. Haas, who plays Benoit Paire of France in the first round, wants to go out with some dignity after a career of injuries. He has been ranked as high as No. 2, won 15 ATP Tour titles, reached the semifinals of the Australian Open three times and Wimbledon once, and won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. His career has been stalled by injuries since he had shoulder surgery two years ago and right foot surgery in the middle of last year. 'I think it's important to find that right time, or that moment for you when you feel it's over and it's time to do something else,' Haas said Sunday. 'For me it's very important just to be back on tour and back here at the Australian Open. It's been a while since I've played here and I'm excited to get the opportunity to go out on the court one more time and compete.' And to keep playing, hoping that his best is once again around the corner. 'When you are a dreamer, and a lot of us are, you obviously like to play at your best level again, maybe play against some of the top players somewhere on a big stage and play a great matches,' Haas said. 'Maybe get far in a tournament one more time.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 15th, 2017Related News

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

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

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Horford returns to Atlanta for first time with his new team

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — Al Horford knows this won't be just another game today. The four-time All-Star is returning to Philips Arena for the first time with a new team, and many are still adjusting to the fact that he no longer plays for the Atlanta Hawks. After nine seasons as a franchise cornerstone, Horford left for Boston as a free agent last summer, signing a four-year, $113 million contract. But a big part of the big center will always be in the Deep South. He hopes his impact with everyone in Atlanta was positive. 'I always tried to be a guy that plays hard and was committed to giving his all, on and off the court,' Horford said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). 'So that's something I'm really proud of.' Horford led Florida to back-to-back national championships before the Hawks drafted him No. 3 overall in 2007. He helped Atlanta make the playoffs each season he was with the franchise, but the team only got close to the NBA Finals once, in 2015. The Hawks won 60 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time. They were swept by Cleveland each of the last two years, and coach Mike Budenholzer has remade the roster. Kyle Korver now plays for Cleveland, Jeff Teague for Indiana and DeMarre Carroll for Toronto. The Hawks have rebuilt around Atlanta native Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star center, and point guard Dennis Schroder. The overhaul continues to be a work in process with just four players with double-digit scoring averages and the team lacks consistent perimeter shooting. 'It really has changed fast,' Horford said. 'That just shows us what the NBA business can be like sometimes. That's just the way it is. All you can do is embrace those times that you had here and accept these new challenges that we're in.' In his first game against the Hawks, Horford said he expects some mixed emotions, but hopes to settle down after a pregame video tribute. There's plenty at stake tonight with Boston third and Atlanta fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have won five of six and the Hawks seven in a row. Horford keeps up with some of his former teammates and wishes them well. 'It's a team that's gone through its ups and downs, but I feel like they've found a really good rhythm right now,' he said. 'They're playing really well. Dennis has impressed me a lot, the way that he's been playing and leading the team. Paul [Millsap] being as consistent as he is, and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] is really impressive off the bench.' Horford said many times over the years that he wanted to spend his entire career with the Hawks, but when they wouldn't match Boston's offer, his decision was easy. 'I think for me individually it was the right decision,' Horford said. 'It takes time to adjust to a new team, a new city and everything, but my teammates and coach have made my transition very easy.' Boston guard Isaiah Thomas credits Horford with helping him get off to the best start of his six-year career. Thomas is averaging 28.2 points, tied for fourth-best in the league. Horford is averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. 'He helps me out because he puts me in position,' Thomas said. 'He sets really good screens for me to get me open and he also is a hell of a passer, so when he gets the ball in situations where I'm on the opposite side, he usually finds me. I think that's what making me have a pretty good year as well.' Thomas said the Celtics intend to get Horford a win Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). 'He hasn't brought it up to us,' Thomas said. 'That's just the type of person he is. Everything is the same for him.' Horford likes to keep it that way. He's ready to put this game behind him. 'It's a little different, but I think probably tonight I'm sure it will be more surreal for me,' Horford said. 'Right now it's just a shoot-around and it feels very normal.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Dennis Trillo at Jennylyn Mercado, may “bubuuin” sa kanilang Northern Lights tour?

Dennis Trillo at Jennylyn Mercado, may “bubuuin” sa kanilang Northern Lights tour?.....»»

Source: Pinoyparazzi PinoyparazziCategory: NewsJan 13th, 2017Related News

PM Abe to name rescued Philippine Eagle as “Sakura”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Jan) &'8212; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will name the Philippine Eagle rescued from Talaingod in Davao del Norte last month as &'8220;Sakura&'8221; (cherry blossoms), Dennis Salvador, Executive Director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) told MindaNews on Thursday. A backgrounder from the PEF said the eagle that will be [&'].....»»

Source: Mindanews MindanewsCategory: NewsJan 12th, 2017Related News