Category Archives: Sports

Djokovic in 10th French Open quarters in row

Djokovic moved into the round of eight with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 45th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, saving the only break point he faced and compiling 31 winners to only 12 unforced errors.

The top-seeded Djokovic is bidding for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title and his second trophy at Roland Garros, where he won the championship in 2016.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set through four matches this year. But he also has not faced a seeded player yet.

His quarterfinal opponent will be No. 5 Alexander Zverev or No. 9 Fabio Fognini.

His 6-3 6-2 6-2 defeat of the 45th-ranked German means Djokovic is the first man to reach 10 successive quarter-finals at Roland Garros — a feat even Rafael Nadal has not achieved. Struff was bidding to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final and provided some early resistance in drizzly conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Djokovic had an early chance to break in the second game but Struff won a fierce baseline rally to avert the danger.

It felt like only a matter of time before Djokovic moved up a gear though, and in the seventh game he brought up two more break points with a stunning backhand passing shot.

He duly converted with a smash after softening up Struff with a series of punishing groundstrokes into the corners.

After holding serve to take the opening set, Djokovic rolled through the next two in cruise control, making only 11 unforced errors in the one hour 33 minute workout. Djokovic is bidding to become only the second man to hold all four Grand Slams simultaneously twice, having first achieved the feat three years ago when he won his only French Open title.

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Jaguars reach deal with Terrelle Pryor

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed eighth-year veteran WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., the club announced today. To make room on the roster, the Jaguars waived Lyndon Johnson.

Pryor Sr., 6-4, 228, has 115 career receptions for 1,563 yards and 11 total TDs in 51 NFL games during stints with Oakland, Seattle, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, the New York Jets and Buffalo. Last season he played in two games for Buffalo and six contests for the New York Jets, making a combined 16 receptions for 252 yards and two TDs.

The Jets released Pryor on Oct. 20 after he tore his groin. He signed with the Bills 10 days later and said he’d felt “underused” in six games with the Jets to begin the season. In 2016, the Jeannette, Pa. native played in all 16 games in Cleveland and totaled 77 receptions for 1,007 yards and five total TDs (four receiving, one rushing).

Pryor Sr. was originally selected in the third round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft by Oakland, where he played three seasons primarily at quarterback. He started 10 games at quarterback for the Raiders while appearing in five others over three seasons.

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The addition of Pryor will help a position that coach Doug Marrone feels is “low on numbers.”

Marqise Lee continues to rehab from a torn ACL sustained last preseason and isn’t expected back on the field before training camp. The Jaguars have also been without Dede Westbrook for various parts of OTAs, leaving just eight available receivers.

“Then I am challenged to create schedules that we don’t hurt someone’s opportunity to make the team because he is taking all these reps,” Marrone said. “Then I have to look at, ‘OK, we are missing a couple of guys here. I still have to train the whole team to get better. How do I do that even though these other players aren’t getting reps?’ That is a challenge.”

The Jaguars are likely to keep five receivers and seem comfortable with Lee, Westbrook, DJ Chark, Chris Conley and Keelan Cole. That could change if Pryor impresses during the rest of the offseason program and training camp.

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D’Antoni breaks off contract talks with Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni may be planning to only coach one more season with the team.

D’Antoni is entering the final year of his contract next season, and it was believed that he and the Rockets were on the verge of working out a long-term extension. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that D’Antoni has broken off negotiations with the team and plans to coach out the final year of his deal in 2019-20.

“We could not come to terms on an extension,” D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen. “I have my contract still. I’m looking forward to the year and having a great season.”

D’Antoni, 68, has spent three seasons with the Rockets, guiding them to the best three-year win-loss stretch in history of 173-73.

But the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in each of the past two playoffs, falling in six games in the second round this season.

Owner Tilman Fertitta called that defeat “unacceptable”. In the wake of that disappointment, the Rockets had already told three assistant coaches and additional staffers they would not be brought back next season.

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There have also been reports the Rockets are open to a massive roster overhaul that could even include parting sith stars such as Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden and point guard Chris Paul.

If the Rockets blow up their roster and D’Antoni walks away after next season, the Warriors can take credit for bringing down another franchise with championship aspirations.

Speaking to the media Thursday, Fertitta indicated he doesn’t expect the suspension of talks to hamper the team throughout next season.

“I’m gonna tell you what I think from an owner’s perspective, OK? I don’t know what ‘lame duck’ means because he’s under contract,” Fertitta said. “I think his agent did me a favor, OK, because if for some reason we had a horrible year and we thought we needed to make a coaching change, we just got through paying off one of the other coaches, I believe. So I hope we win a championship and Mike comes and puts a gun to my head.”

Morey agreed, saying, “If we could have worked out a deal with Mike, we would have. It happens all the time in sports.”

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Royals seek second straight win over Rangers

The Kansas City Royals routinely have found themselves under the thumb of the Texas Rangers since the start of the 2016 season.

After losing 19 of 24 such encounters prior to this series, the Royals will bid to win the first two contests of the four-game set on Friday when the clubs reconvene in Arlington, Texas.

Adalberto Mondesi homered to highlight his fifth three-hit performance of the season in Kansas City’s 4-2 win over Texas on Thursday. The 23-year-old has 20 hits, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last 15 games.

“Lately I’ve been swinging so hard, so right now, I’m just focused on putting the ball in play,” Mondesi said. “… I’ve been working on that every day.”

Jorge Soler homered for the second time in as many days and fourth in nine outings when he belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Soler’s homer extended his career-high total this season to 14. Soler and Mondesi will look to continue their strong play at the plate versus Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado (1-2, 2.28 ERA), who acquitted himself well in his last outing.

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Jurado allowed two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels.

The 23-year-old Jurado struggled in his lone career encounter with Kansas City, permitting two runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of a no-decision on May 14.

Jurado will have two special people in the crowd as his parents are making their first trek from Panama to the United States.

“It’s a cool story,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “They’ve never been to the United States, get to see him pitch (on Friday).”

Duffy will attempt to rebound after seeing his three-start winning streak come to an end in his last outing. He yielded four runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings of a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Sunday. The 30-year-old Duffy improved to 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight career starts versus Texas on May 14 despite surrendering four runs on seven hits in five innings of an 11-5 win.

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Federer cruise to French win

Roger Federer eased into the third round of the French Open with an emphatic defeat of Oscar Otte.

The third seed was a class apart as he followed up a straight-sets win over Lorenzo Sonego by seeing off the 144-ranked Otte 6-4 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday. Federer said he is relishing being an “outsider” in his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, yet he looked anything but that on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The 20-time grand slam champion saved all four break points that Otte earned as he coasted through in an hour and 36 minutes, serving superbly and hitting 35 winners in a commanding performance.

Federer peppered Otte – playing in the second round of a major for the first time – with glorious groundstrokes as he set up a meeting with Casper Ruud. Otte gave a good account of himself in a first set that had no break points until the clinical Federer fizzed a glorious return winner past the German, who then made a couple of errors to go a set down. It was a similar story in the second set, with the Swiss master claiming the only break again to lead 5-3 before saving two break points as he made hard work of going two sets up.

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Otte continued to struggle with his first serve and was unable to win another two break points as Federer frustrated him in a final set that he won with just the one break.

 Federer, who completed a career Grand Slam by winning the clay-court major in 2009, saved all four break points he faced and needed just a little more than 90 minutes to advance. He is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.

He next plays 20-year-old Casper Ruud, whose father was in the field when Federer made his debut in Paris in 1999.

“I know probably more about his dad,” Federer said, “than about him.”

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been watching Roger on TV,” said Ruud, who knocked off 29th-seeded Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. “To be honest, I’ve been a little bit more of a Rafa fan and Rafa guy.” Federer’s friend and Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion and runner-up in 2017, also moved on with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Cristian Garin.

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Dodgers defeat Mets 9-8

Trailing by three against an All-Star closer, Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t fazed one bit.

Bellinger hit a tying double and came around with the winning run as the Dodgers scored four times off Edwin Díaz in the ninth inning to rally past the New York Mets 9-8 on Wednesday night.

“One through nine we are really good. We were just going up and down the lineup,” Bellinger said. “Down three against Díaz is never easy, but once we hit the home runs it was just a matter of getting guys on base.”

Joc Pederson and Max Muncy opened the bottom of the ninth with consecutive homers off Díaz (1-3), who was pitching for the fourth time in five days. Justin Turner followed with a double and scored on Bellinger’s double to right-center.

“Díaz is a good closer but we match up well,” Muncy said. “He is a fastball pitcher and this team likes to hit fastballs. We got a couple things going and we went from there.” Trailing by three against an All-Star closer, Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t fazed one bit.

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Bellinger hit a tying double and came around with the winning run as the Dodgers scored four times off Edwin Díaz in the ninth inning to rally past the New York Mets 9-8 on Wednesday night.

“One through nine we are really good. We were just going up and down the lineup,” Bellinger said. “Down three against Díaz is never easy, but once we hit the home runs it was just a matter of getting guys on base.”

Joc Pederson and Max Muncy opened the bottom of the ninth with consecutive homers off Díaz (1-3), who was pitching for the fourth time in five days. Justin Turner followed with a double and scored on Bellinger’s double to right-center.

“Díaz is a good closer but we match up well,” Muncy said. “He is a fastball pitcher and this team likes to hit fastballs. We got a couple things going and we went from there.”

Seager, Turner and Beaty each had three hits for the NL-leading Dodgers, who have won 11 of 14. New York missed a chance to move back over .500 for the first time since May 2.

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Nadal cruises into third round of French Open

Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of French Open as he defeated Yannick Maden 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round match on Wednesday.

Chasing his 12th Roland Garros title, the world number two kept the momentum going from his first round match and outclassed Maden in the second round match that lasted for an hour and 43 minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

The Spaniard, playing on his familiar territory of clay, was in an impeccable form on the court, making attacking moves from the very start of the match forcing Maden to play out of his comfort zone.

The eleven-time Roland Garros champion was in control throughout the first two sets and he wasted a break twice in the third set before sealing the deal to enter the last 32. This was the 88th Roland Garros victory for Nadal in 90 matches in Paris, becoming only the fourth player with that many encounters at singles Major after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi.

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The 32-year-old lost just seven points on serve in the opening set, facing no break points and he forced errors from his German opponent in game two to get a perfect start. Another forehand mistake from Maden cost him his serve in the fourth game and Nadal closed the opener with a hold at 15 in game seven for a 6-1.

Yannick was able to grab only three return points in the second set and he was not able to match Nadal’s pace.

The German suffered breaks in game one and five allowing Nadal to close the set with a service winner at 5-2, moving a set away from the victory after an hour and 19 minutes. Yannick was able to find some rhythm in the third set as he was able to display power in his gameplay. He was able to break Nadal twice in a row at 2-3 and 3-4, leveling the score at 4-4 before the Spaniard claimed eight of the last 11 points to take the set 6-4 and move into the third round.

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Broncos give CB Harris raise

The Denver Broncos have agreed to give cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. a pay raise for the 2019 season, bumping his salary from $8.9 million to $12.05 million. The news was first reported by KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis. Harris is still scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

Harris (5-10, 199 pounds) entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas with the Broncos in 2011. He quickly emerged as one of the best slot cornerbacks in the NFL and was a key member of the team’s Super Bowl-winning squad in 2015.

Harris is entering the final season of what was originally a five-year, $42.5 million contract. Before receiving a pay raise, Harris’ contract paid him an average of $8.5 million per year, well below the market value for one of the best CBs in the league.

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After general manager John Elway said during a pre-draft press conference that the team would talk about an extension, not necessarily give one, Harris asked to be paid at least $15 million a year or to be traded to a team that would pay him.

Denver had no intention of making Harris the league’s highest-paid cornerback, making a trade appear inevitable. Fortunately, the two sides were able to find a middle ground in negotiations. Harris is happy to have received an increase in salary and the Broncos are happy he won’t skip the 2019 season.

Because the cornerback did not receive an extension, Harris may be set to play his final season in Denver. Harris has earned four Pro Bowl selections in his career and he is the only player in the league with multiple interceptions in each of the last seven seasons. Harris has totaled 462 tackles and 19 interceptions over the last eight years.

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Barcelona to discuss Valverde’s future

No final decision has been made yet by Barcelona in regards to the future of the team’s coach Ernesto Valverde.

The Blaugrana have denied rumours alleging that the former Athletic Club tactician would be dismissed on Tuesday, as both the president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board contemplate the 55-year-old’s future.

Barcelona directors will meet and discuss on the matter in the coming days, but no official announcement is expected until next week.

In the event of Valverde’s departure, the club will consider their options for the team’s bench, with Roberto Martinez appearing as the favorite to replace the Catalans’ current coach.

Bartomeu is not eager to rush into any decision without a clear plan in place, following the team’s defeat in the Copa del Rey final at the hands of Valencia. According to Marca’s Luis F. Rojo, Valverde has a one-year extension option in his contract that would seem like the obvious solution given that Barca continue to impress on the pitch.

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But the relationship between the manager and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was “damaged” after the latter’s criticism of Barca’s UEFA Champions League exit last season and Valverde’s lack of input in the summer’s transfer dealings.

Valverde succeeded Luis Enrique as Barcelona manager in May 2017 and, on the face of it, could hardly be in a stronger position after a season in charge.

The Catalan giants looked nailed on for a first semi-final berth in three years when they beat the Serie A outfit 4-1 in the opening leg at home. 

But a 3-0 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico ended their Champions League dreams for another season.

Following that disappointment, Bartomeu hinted that Valverde’s job could be on the line, per TV3.

Per Rojo, those comments opened a “wound” between manager and president, and Valverde was then ignored in the transfer market as Paulinho was shipped out, Malcom brought in and no new left-back was signed. And a lack of progress in extending Valverde’s contract indicates all is not well in the Barcelona hierarchy. 

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Kevin Durant to miss game 1 of finals

Kevin Durant is officially out for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Monday.

Durant strained his calf in Game 5 of the Warriors’ second-round series with the Rockets and he has not played since. As of Monday afternoon, the Warriors were unsure of whether Durant would even make the trip to Toronto for games on Thursday and Sunday. 

In his absence, the defending champs closed out the Rockets in Games 5 and 6 before sweeping the Trail Blazers in the conference final. In the five games since Durant went down, Steph Curry has averaged better than 35 points per game after averaging just over 23 points per game in the 11 playoff games with Durant on the floor this postseason. 

Kerr also said it remains unclear if Durant will even travel with the team to Toronto as he continues to recover from a strained right calf. The Warriors leave for Toronto on Tuesday afternoon.

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“KD’s not playing Game 1,” Kerr said. “I think we already announced that. And we’ll see where it goes from here. This is where the fact that there’s a lot of days in between games during the Finals helps us, so we’ll see.”

While there is a two-day break between Game 1 on Thursday and Game 2 on Sunday, Kerr also confirmed Durant has not resumed on-court work with the rest of the team as his rehab continues.

“Not with the team,” said Kerr. “If he did anything on the court, it would’ve been pretty light. I know he’s been out kinda shooting some shots, but I haven’t talked to (director of sports medicine and performance) Rick (Celebrini) today, so I’m not exactly sure what he’s done today.”

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