Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Azarenka stops Stosur on rain-plagued day

NEW YORK — In one of the few matches completed at the rain-delayed U.S. Open on Tuesday, Victoria Azarenka ousted defending champion Samantha Stosur 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) to reach the semifinals for the first time.

She will play the winner of the match between Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli, which was pushed to today with Bartoli leading 4-0 in the first set.

All action was ended shortly after 9:30, tabling — among other things — Andy Roddick's retirement. Roddick had just won the first point of the first-set tiebreak against Juan Martin del Potro when showers, which had allowed the completion of only one women's and one men's match all day, closed in again.

David Ferrer completed a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 fourth-round victory over Richard Gasquet, but the Novak Djokovic-Stanislas Wawrinka and Janko Tipsarevic-Philipp Kohlschreiber matches, both moved from their originally scheduled courts in an attempt to accommodate Roddick-del Potro in the night session, had barely begun.

The Roddick match was halted after Roddick went ahead 1-0 in a first-set tiebreaker. The 2003 champion at Flushing Meadows announced last week the U.S. Open will be last tournament of his career.

Ferrer joined Rafael Nadal as the second Spanish player to make the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams in one year. Nadal, not here in 2012 because of a knee injury, did it in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Ferrer was leading 4-3 when the rain came. When the match resumed, the players traded games before Ferrer broke serve, winning the fifth match point.

Azarenka, the top seed, was asked what went through her mind as the high-tension, high-quality match stretched into a third-set tiebreaker.

"You don't want to know what I kept telling myself," Azarenka deadpanned. "I would have to beep that, I think."

She went on to offer a cleaned-up version of what her thoughts had been — "Don't be a chicken" — while ensuring that she will retain the No. 1 ranking no matter what happens the rest of this week.

"Definitely I don't want to stop. I really want it bad," Azarenka said of possibly adding a second Grand Slam trophy to the one she earned in January at the Australian Open. "I'm going to do absolutely everything I have, you know, to give it all here."

Stosur never had taken a set off Azarenka in six previous tour meetings, including one match in qualifying. That changed in the second set. But in the end, Azarenka improved to 11-0 in three-setters this season, while Stosur, of Tampa, fell to 9-7.

"I think I'm capable of beating her one day," the seventh-seeded Stosur said. "Just would have liked it to have been today."

Said Azarenka: "She made me play my best tennis. She kept hitting the lines, making those first serves. I kept saying, 'Miss, miss,' but she didn't."

Serving at 5-all in the third, Azarenka faced a break point and responded with a 92 mph ace, her only one of the match.

Asked about that, Azarenka responded: "When did I hit an ace? Did I hit one today, actually?"

Comments
Something to consider before watching the new Tonya Harding movie

Something to consider before watching the new Tonya Harding movie

The three most compelling sports stories of our lifetime:The incredible rise and destructive fall of Tiger Woods. The life and times of O.J. Simpson.And Tonya vs. Nancy.The rivalry between 1990s figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was so ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
AAC drought persists for Bulls as Knights showdown nears

AAC drought persists for Bulls as Knights showdown nears

Aside from the occasional foray into March Madness (or at least the NIT), USF men's basketball typically has hovered between the mediocre and miserable.But this winter, the Bulls are flirting with the historic.Though roughly 40 percent of the season ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
O.J. Simpson won’t move to Florida after all, lawyer says

O.J. Simpson won’t move to Florida after all, lawyer says

LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson is not planning to move from Nevada to Florida like he told state parole officials before he was released in October from Nevada state prison, his Las Vegas lawyer said Thursday. The 70-year-old former football hero, acquitt...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

TAMPA — Being handed the Guy Toph trophy — which has been awarded to Hillsborough County's top football player every year since 1939 — is a pretty big deal.Winners love smiling for photo after photo while holding up the big, old, go...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Buccaneers on Hard Knocks: Moments that are even funnier, weirder and sadder now

The Buccaneers on Hard Knocks: Moments that are even funnier, weirder and sadder now

We’re now five months removed from the Buccaneers’ appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks. We went back and rewatched the series and found it to be even more entertaining the second time. Here are some of the highlights:1. Ready for launch...
Updated: 3 hours ago
New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

Berkeley Prep's Renaldo Garcia still is the same coach. He still bellows instructions from the sidelines. His players still are methodical on offense, efficient on defense.The only difference is Garcia now wears navy and Columbia blue instead of gree...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Life is good for Jonathan Marchessault.The former Lightning forward is thriving for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which recently signed the undrafted forward to a six-year, $30 million deal. Marchessault's wife is expecting their third child, a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether that player is currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.Center Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch in the Li...
Updated: 5 hours ago
USF announces 3-game football series with Louisville

USF announces 3-game football series with Louisville

USF announced Thursday it has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — Coach Charlie Strong's former team — starting in 2022, giving the Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.USF visits Papa J...
Updated: 5 hours ago
This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

When Robert Owens’s father was 75, he gave his son some advice. "He said, ‘You know, son, the sad part is when you get old they just put you on a shelf and you become irrelevant. Fight to stay relevant. Fight to stay in the game, otherwise they will ...
Updated: 6 hours ago