Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

No. 117 stupefies Djokovic

MELBOURNE, Australia — It was possible to see trouble ahead for Novak Djokovic based on all the dents in his armor from 2016. But it would have taken a creative mind to see the latest knockout blow coming from 117th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

When Istomin was asked how he would have responded if someone had suggested such a thing a couple of weeks ago, he answered, "I would have said, 'Are you crazy or what?' "

Istomin, 30, coached by his mother (Klaudiya Istomina, a top Uzbek player in the 1980s), almost did not make it here at all. His career was nearly derailed in 2001 when a truck smashed into a car carrying him to a tournament in Tashkent. His right leg was shattered; it needed to be stitched and pinned together. He played no tennis for two years. He is at this major only after earning his wild card by saving four match points in the semis of a wild-card playoff in December.

Djokovic — the two-time defending champion and second seed — is clearly not the same suffocating, pressure-proof force of personality that he has been at other triumphant phases of his career. Istomin became the latest big-hitting veteran to reap the benefits, though he still had to come up with what looked like the match of his life, delivering first serves and chutzpah when he needed them most to prevail 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

This was Djokovic's earliest defeat at a major since he lost to Marat Safin in Round 2 of Wimbledon in 2008. "All the credit to Denis for playing amazing. He deserves to win," Djokovic said.

Today, American Coco Vandeweghe was the first player into the round of 16, beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Defending champ Angelique Kerber beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-0, 6-4.

Commentator out over Venus remark: ESPN's Doug Adler was dropped from event coverage and apologized for how he spoke about Venus Williams' Round 2 play, saying he was describing her aggressive style as "guerrilla" tactics, not comparing her to a "gorilla."

Comments

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: ToyotaCare 250 qualifying4 p.m.FS1Monster Energy Cup: Toyota Owners 400 qualifying5:30 p.m.FS1Xfinity: ToyotaCare 2507 p.m.FS1BaseballRoyals at Tigers1 p.m.MLBTwins at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMIndians at Orioles7 p.m.MLBMarlins at ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Updated: 6 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

TAMPA — The second period was not even four minutes old Wednesday night when Devils right wing Patrick Maroon skated all alone toward Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was a moment that could turn a game and even a series.A goal and the score would be tie...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Former UCF and Lakewood High standout Shaquem Griffin understandably has been focused on the NFL draft next week in Arlington, Tex., where he is projected as a potential second-day pick.But the Lightning's playoff run  hasn't escaped his attenti...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

The 2018 NFL schedule won't be released until 8 p.m. tonight, but the Bucs' eight home games were posted early — and presumably accidentally — on the team's site, showing what would be a daunting start to the upcoming season.Multiple outl...
Published: 04/19/18
Bay area has ‘hit show’ again, thanks to USF

Bay area has ‘hit show’ again, thanks to USF

For the first time since its season commenced, the USF baseball team enters a weekend as the Bulls' feature sports attraction.Basketball ended last month, and spring football ended last Saturday, meaning would-be baseball fans no longer have reason t...
Published: 04/19/18
The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Mallex Smith has style.Effervescent personality. Pop culture hipness. Sense of fashion with accoutrements.Now the Rays are going to find out if he has game.More specifically, enough game to be a front-line outfielder, even an i...
Published: 04/19/18