Roger Federer says Laver Cup will be a tough competition

KAREL JANICEK, Associated Press   PRAGUE (AP) — The new Laver Cup team tennis tournament is supposed to be a 'tough' contest, not an exhibition, according to Roger Federer. The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The inaugural edition is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague. The following year, it moves to the United States. 'The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup,' Federer said Monday. To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge. Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will do the same for the opponents. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams. No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition 'is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates.' The teams won't be named until after the U.S. Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available. What is for certain, organizers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team. With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat. 'On paper, we look as the big favorites,' Federer said. 'We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from.' The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Federer was clear about his choice of his possible partner for the doubles. 'I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special,' Federer said. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports1 hr. 20 min. ago Related News

Wozniacki wins Dubai opener after Doha final

BY SANDRA HARWITT, Associated Press   DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an all-American matchup, Alison Riske upset 11th-seeded Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round at the Dubai Championships on Monday. The unseeded Riske, making her Dubai debut, has won four of their last five outings. 'I have no idea of that stat, but I'll happily take it,' Riske said, smiling. 'It's in my favor.' Riske and Vandeweghe, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, were winning teammates on the U.S. Fed Cup team that defeated Germany 4-0 in the first round two weekends ago. They arrived in Dubai straight from Maui on Wednesday. Vandeweghe seemed to have difficulty getting her firepower going, which is the cornerstone of her game. In the second set, four of the last five games were service breaks before Riske served out the match at love. 'She was having a little difficulty with her first serves,' Riske said. 'But she was starting to get back in rhythm in the second set there.' Caroline Wozniacki won her first-round match over Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-2, 7-5. The 10th-seeded Wozniacki reached the Doha final last week before losing to Karolina Pliskova. Wozniacki surrendered her serve twice in the match - in the first game of the first set and the third game of the second set - but otherwise was in control of the court. 'I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning,' said Wozniacki, who won the Dubai title in 2011. 'It's much different conditions here. The ball is flying. The court is faster than in Doha.' American teen Cici Bellis, playing her first official match of 2017, upset 17th seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-1, 7-5. Monica Puig, the Olympic gold medalist from Puerto Rico, needed more than two hours to get past Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports1 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

FA Cup: Arsenal advances impressed by 5th-tier Sutton's grit

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   SUTTON, England (AP) — Relief for Arsenal, pride for Sutton United. On the plastic patch at tiny Gander Green Lane stadium, the gulf in class between teams separated by 105 places in the English soccer pyramid but pitted against each other in the FA Cup was not always apparent. Arsenal wasn't simply allowed to stroll into the quarterfinals by its fifth-tier hosts playing the biggest game in their 118-year history. Arsenal took 26 minutes to break through the dogged resistance, and then winning only 2-0 on Monday. 'If you are 2-0 down you don't want to get really hurt,' Sutton manager Paul Doswell said. 'The players should feel very proud. The problem in sport is when you have lost, you feel disappointed but they put this club on a worldwide map.' If global viewers tuned in for a cup giant-killing they didn't get it, but neither did they witness a rough humiliation for the south London side. Apart from picking the ball out of his net twice, Sutton goalkeeper Ross Worner, a part-time picture framer for a sports memorabilia company who supports Arsenal, had few saves to make. Worner was beaten only by Lucas Perez, a 20 million-euro signing last year, and Theo Walcott, who turned the ball in from Nacho Monreal's cross 10 minutes into the second half for his 100th Arsenal goal. Far from being in awe of a side of millionaire international players who arrived with personal bodyguards, Sutton constantly harried in the pursuit of a goal, and seized on misplaced passes by Arsenal players on an unfamiliar surface in front of 5,000 mostly standing fans. Defeat would have been unthinkable for Arsene Wenger following a 5-1 loss at Bayern Munich in the Champions League which cast fresh doubt on the Arsenal manager's future. 'It was not an easy game at all — every little mistake we made, technically they took advantage of,' Wenger said. 'I don't really enjoy tonight because we absolutely had to do the job and it is tricky. It is important for the confidence of the players.' Having avoided embarrassment, the 12-time FA Cup winners will face another fifth-tier side in the last eight. There won't be another tricky trip into unfamiliar territory, with 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium staging Lincoln City next month. But Wenger is now more than aware just what a challenge a team from the National League can pose. 'That was astonishing,' Wenger reflected on a night when his players had to squeeze into a cramped, sparse brown-walled concrete dressing room. 'They never stopped going until the end, and compared to 20 years ago these teams are fit now and can play at the pace of the Premier League.' Sutton, placed 17th in the National League, was mobbed by its fans who invaded the field, having completed the game with its dignity more than intact. 'They kept going,' Wenger said. 'We were never really in a position where we could really afford to have a little breather.' Far from sitting camped inside its own half to frustrate Arsenal, Sutton ensured goalkeeper David Ospina would have to remain constantly alert. Only the crossbar denied Roarie Deacon, a former Arsenal youth team player, and captain Jamie Collins, a part-time construction worker, angled his header from a corner just too high. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Sutton's tenacity was Wenger bringing top-scorer Alexis Sanchez on in the second half. 'When I looked at my lads at 70 minutes and Sanchez has come on, it was a wonderful thing,' Doswell said, 'but I knew how tired they were. It was quite a cruel thing to do.' And yet even with Sanchez on the pitch, the Chilean Copa America winner could not net a 21st goal of the season. 'We could not afford a light team selection,' Wenger said, 'and that is why I came with basically all the players who were available because we couldn't afford to go out.' What Sutton can now afford is significant upgrades to its stadium, mostly to assist youth teams. This record-breaking journey deep into the FA Cup has earned the club, where many staff including the manager are volunteers, more than 1 million pounds ($1 million). The only blot on the night was police having to intervene to stop brawling fans on the field at fulltime, and Sutton reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eating a pie on the bench in a stunt that appeared to be linked to a betting company. 'Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23-stone,' Doswell said. 'He's made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it. I don't think it shows us in the best light.' ___ Rob Harris is at and .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 29 min. ago Related News

Kings cut ties with Cousins, giving Pelicans dominant duo

em>By Josh Dubow, Associated Press /em> Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac headed into All-Star weekend convinced it was finally time to part ways with ultra-talented center DeMarcus Cousins. Befitting a franchise that appears headed to a 11th straight season without a playoff berth, the Kings even seemed to botch that. Sacramento dealt Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to New Orleans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer. When asked Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) why he didn't wait for a better offer closer to Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) trade deadline, Divac gave a curious response that raised more questions than it answered. 'Most likely we would get less because I had a better deal two days ago,' Divac said. 'I don't want to go into details. I don't want to discuss the process.' Cousins will now team with another former Kentucky big man who has developed into an NBA All-Star in New Orleans' Anthony Davis. Cousins is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds this season and can become a free agent in 2018 unless the Pelicans can sign him to an All-Star caliber extension. The Kings have not won more than 33 games in a season since drafting Cousins fifth overall in 2010 and grew tired of his antics that included frequent run-ins with coaches, media members and officials. He leads the NBA with 17 technical fouls this season, leading to a one-game suspension earlier this month. He will be suspended again after his next technical foul and every two beyond that for the rest of the regular season. Divac frequently mentioned culture and character when explaining the thought behind the deal, saying the franchise needed a change despite being only 1.5 games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 'I really love DeMarcus,' Divac said. 'I think he's a great kid. It just wasn't a fit right now with what we're trying to do. I wish him all the best. I hope this will have a positive effect on his career.' The deal to pair Cousins with Davis sends a message that the Pelicans are more concerned with making a 25-game push for the playoffs this spring then where they'll be drafting next offseason. Pelicans general manager Dell Demps previous' attempts to provide Davis a requisite supporting cast has been under increasing scrutiny as losses have mounted — New Orleans is 23-34, 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West with 25 games left. When the deal was made official Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Demps thanked Pelicans owner Tom Benson and top executives Mickey Loomis and Dennis Lauscha for their 'continued support and providing the resources for us to be successful.' 'This is an exciting time for Pelicans fans as we continue our quest for long-term success,' Demps said. The Kings, who are a game ahead of the Pelicans in the standings, will now enter rebuilding mode without Cousins. They could deal other veterans for prospects or picks before Thursday's deadline but even the rebuilding plan has issues. The Kings could be forced to swap first-round picks with Philadelphia this year and also owe the 76ers an unprotected 2019 pick as part of a trade in July 15 made to create salary cap room to sign Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos and Marco Belinelli. Only Koufos is still in Sacramento. This trade does increase Sacramento's chances at two first-round picks this year because they only have to give up their top pick to Chicago if it falls outside the top 10. The pick from New Orleans is top-three protected. 'We feel very strong about this draft this year,' Divac said. 'It's very strong, stronger than the past few years. It's time to start fresh.' The Kings also get the 23-year-old Hield, who won the Wooden Award at Oklahoma last year before being drafted sixth overall by the Pelicans. Hield has struggled as a rookie, averaging 8.6 points per game in 20.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range. 'He's talented guy,' Divac said. 'His work ethic is exactly what we want here.' Evans, who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward, will be entering a second stint in Sacramento, where he was drafted in 2009 and went on to be Rookie of the Year. Galloway has been a solid reserve, providing scoring punch from the perimeter. Casspi has been playing about 19 minutes a game for the Kings this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds. ___ em>AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans and freelancer Antonio Harvey in Sacramento, California, contributed to this report /em> .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports4 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

AGB Nielsen NUTAM Ratings (January 21-27, 2017): Meant To Be defeats A Love To Last

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Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: Movies12 hr. 38 min. ago Related News

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Lots of points, lots of dunks, not a lot of All-Star defense

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It was the fourth quarter of the All-Star Game, and a few fans started yelling loudly enough for DeAndre Jordan to hear them from his spot on the Western Conference bench. Their cry: 'De-fense! De-fense!' Jordan's shout back: 'No, no, no!' The moment was both hilarious and fitting. Defense was in short supply on Sunday night during the NBA's showcase game, one where Anthony Davis smashed a 55-year-old record with 52 points and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182. And it prompted some questions afterward on whether the glorified exhibition really needs to see at least the appearance of defense return. 'All-Star is about offense and giving the crowd a show, but if they want to see a little more defense as fans and everything — I mean, nobody wants to go out here and get hurt,' said Davis, the game's MVP in his home arena. 'It's all about fun. ... I love it. I don't really care. I'll go out there and have fun. I didn't play any defense.' Few did. There were 33 steals in the game, sure, but most of those were the byproduct of bad passes than picked pockets. There were 16 fouls, mainly ones players were taking to stop the clock and allow substitutions; only four were of the shooting variety. Stephen Curry laid down on the court at one point while Giannis Antetokounmpo was driving in for what became one of his 12 dunks. 'I'm going to play hard no matter what,' Antetokounmpo said. 'That's the only thing I know how to do.' Davis took 39 shots, making 26, both of those now All-Star records. The game also established records for total points (384), most field goals (162), most assists (103), most assists by one team (West with 60), most points in one quarter (101, first) and so on. The East set a rather dubious record, establishing a new high score by a losing team for the third consecutive season. Put simply, it's not a real game, and real-game thinking doesn't apply. LeBron James made a shot from nearly half-court, something he would never try in a competitive situation. He loves defense. He wasn't missing it on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). 'I think the biggest thing coming out of the game is that everybody leaves injury-free,' James said. 'We gave the fans what they wanted to see and everyone left injury-free. Another successful All-Star weekend for myself and everyone.' West coach Steve Kerr said he and East coach Brad Stevens had jobs on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) akin to the person who played the role of the title character in 'Weekend at Bernie's,' that being a deceased man who gets dragged from place to place and propped up to somehow give others the illusion that he's still actually alive. Kerr's point: How All-Star games are played isn't up to the coaches, but rather it'll be the players who decide if they want defense back. 'It would be good to possibly incentivize the guys somehow,' Kerr said. 'I don't know if you can maybe get their charities involved or winner-take-all type thing, but I think it's possible to play a lot harder without taking a charge. We know what silly is out there, if you're undercutting guys, but it's almost gone too far the other way where there's just no resistance at all. I think there's a happy medium in there somewhere.' East guard Kyrie Irving expects that the game will change. Like many, he said avoiding injury in the All-Star Game is paramount and that's certainly understandable. But he also expressed a wish that the games had a bit more of a competitive aspect. 'I think going forward, the All-Star experience will probably get a little harder in terms of defense,' Irving said. Down the stretch, the East did apparently try to raise the defensive bar. Stevens said it was discussed in the fourth quarter, with hopes of putting the East in position to win the game. He almost sounded disappointed in how the flow went. 'We talked about trying to get back in it at the end and talked about how, obviously, the one way to do that is keep people in front of you,' Stevens said. 'But, no, it probably should have been a bigger emphasis in retrospect now.' .....»»

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Source: Hatawtabloid HatawtabloidCategory: MoviesFeb 20th, 2017Related News

Dodgers' Ryu ready for comeback after 2 injury-plagued years

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Fred Couples won the Chubb Classic on Sunday for his 12th PGA Tour Champions title and first since 2014, rallying to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez at TwinEagles. The 57-year-old Couples shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to finish at 16-under 200 on the Talon Course, three strokes ahead of second-round leader Jimenez. 'It's never easy to win a golf tournament,' Couples said. 'This is a good course. You have to hit a lot of good shots.' Also the 2010 event winner at The Quarry, Couples won for the first time since the 2014 Shaw Charity Classic in Alberta. The Hall of Famer, long hampered by back problems, won 15 times on the PGA Tour — his lone major coming in the 1992 Masters. 'I felt a little pressure, but I wasn't under gobs of pressure because you've just got to keep making birdies,' Couples said. 'Sometimes when you're trying to make pars it's hard to hit really, really quality shots to make pars.' Couples had three birdies on the front nine, and matched Jimenez's birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 17th. Jimenez, a stroke ahead of playing partners Couples and Kevin Sutherland entering the round, shot a 71. The 53-year-old Spaniard bogeyed the par-4 18th. 'He played very well, very solid, very nice,' Jimenez said about Couples Jerry Kelly closed with a 66 to tie for third at 11 under in his senior debut. The three-time PGA Tour winner turned 50 in November. 'We learned a few things,' Kelly said. 'You've got to go balls out all the time. I played a shot out of the rough to the right, smart like I should have, but that's not the way you play out here.' Jeff Sluman (68) and Canada's Rod Spittle (69) also were 11 under. Sutherland followed his second-round 63 with a 73 to drop into a tie for sixth at 10 under with Bernhard Langer (69), Scott McCarron (67) and Jerry Smith (69). Langer won in 2011 at The Quarry and 2013 and 2016 at TwinEagles. The 59-year-old German star won the season-opening event in Hawaii for his 30th tour victory. He has 29 rounds in a row under par. McCarron won last week in Boca Raton. Colin Montgomerie ran his under-par streak to 30, shooting a 71 to tie for 20th at 7 under. John Daly tied for 30th at 5 under, shooting 68-74-69. Couples opened with rounds of 68 and 65. He has broken 70 in all eight tour rounds this season, shooting 65-65 to finish second in Hawaii and 68-65-69 to tie for sixth in Boca Raton. 'I love playing golf, I really do. I like this tour,' Couples said. 'So to play on it is always fun, and when you're not playing on it, for me it's a struggle because I know my back's bad. So far this year I've felt way better than I did last year. I still hate to say it, I don't feel perfect out there, but right now my swing is good enough that when I'm a little stiff I can get around it. And three tournaments for some people is nothing. For me, it's a huge goal because I just don't last that long and I feel good.' .....»»

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