Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

Czech stuns hurt Serena in semifinals

NEW YORK — Serena Williams was upset in the U.S. Open semifinals for the second year in a row, beaten 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) by 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Thursday.

Williams, who clutched her left leg between points in the second set, double-faulted to end it. Williams confirmed in her postmatch interview that she had been dealing with an injured left knee since the second or third round and it curtailed her movement. She was adamant that fatigue was not a factor, having gone three sets against Simona Halep in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

"I definitely wasn't tired," she said. "It wasn't a five-hour match.

"Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less, then maybe I would have had a chance. So I think I wasn't at 100 percent, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win."

The loss prevents Williams, 34, from earning her seventh championship at Flushing Meadows and 23rd major title overall, which would both have been Open era (from 1968) records.

It also means Williams' 3½-year reign at No. 1 in the WTA rankings ends. She will be overtaken Monday by No. 2 Angelique Kerber, who advanced to the final by beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the second semifinal.

A year ago, Williams' bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam ended when she lost in the U.S. Open semifinals to unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy.

It was the 33rd major semi­final of Williams' career and the first for Pliskova, who beat Williams' sister Venus in the fourth round. Pliskova is the fourth woman to beat both Williams siblings during the same Grand Slam tournament.

"Obviously, the match with Venus helped me … not only with the game but also with the crowd," Pliskova said. "Was my first match on center court."

And to think: Pliskova, 24, had never been past the third round in 17 previous appearances at majors. But Thursday, she looked the part of an up-and-comer with the strokes and demeanor to go far.

But watching Williams miss shot after shot — 31 unforced errors in all — one couldn't help but wonder why.

"She was not moving at all today," Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said. "There was no match."

Still, Pliskova surely had a lot to do with Williams' woes. Pliskova's power is of the sort that Williams so rarely is forced to confront, much like the difficulties Williams' game presents others.

Pliskova faces Kerber on Saturday in a rematch of the final at Cincinnati nearly three weeks earlier. Kerber would have taken over the No. 1 ranking had she won that day, but Pliskova captured a breakthrough title and has ridden that momentum since.

Kerber had never made a major final at the start of this year. Then she won the Australian Open title, beating Williams in the title match. She followed that up with a run to the Wimbledon final, where she lost to Williams.

Comments
A sports story that we all can love

A sports story that we all can love

When we think of sports — hard-nosed, competitive sports — what words immediately come to mind? Tenacity. Grit. Guts. Perseverance. Courage. Intensity. Determination. You get the idea. Sports are usually cutthroat, give no quarter, sho...
Updated: 1 minute ago
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays. The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last ...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Published: 06/17/18

Tarponsí Castillo, North squad notch FSL All-Star Game victory

TAMPA — The Tarpons' Diego Castillo led the North squad to a 5-0 victory in the 57th Florida State League All-Star Game on his home field Saturday night.The game MVP went 2-for-4 with two doubles and started the scoring for the North in the sec...
Published: 06/17/18

Captainís Corner: Trout bite at its best

The trout bite has been the best Iíve seen all year. Fish up to 26 inches have been common recently. Fish are sitting on the flatsí deeper edges, where the water is deeper and cooler, and moves a little more swiftly. Live sardines and hard plastic ba...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Published: 06/16/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Published: 06/16/18