Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

Serena, Azarenka come full circle

NEW YORK — Serena Williams will have something to prove when she clashes with Victoria Azarenka in today's U.S. Open final after losing two of her past three matches to the Grand Slam tournament's second seed.

Azarenka beat Williams, the Open's top seed, in Doha, Qatar, in February and in the Cincinnati hardcourt final last month. Her loss was in a Rome final on clay.

"In both matches (Azarenka) played really well," Williams said of her losses. "I let myself down at opportunities, and I didn't take them.

"When she plays me, she plays her best, by far. I have seen her play other players, and when I play her, I'm playing a totally different player. Obviously she brings her best game."

Williams, in her third straight U.S. Open final, is bidding for a fifth U.S. Open trophy. She beat Azarenka in last year's final.

Azarenka is aiming for her second major title this season after winning the Australian Open for the second straight year. She said she carries no bad memories of her U.S. Open loss last year, in a match she pushed to a third set and was two points from victory. Williams won the last four games.

"I feel like I'm a better player (than a year ago), I'm a more complete player," Azarenka said.

Through six matches at this Open, Williams has won every set, losing a total of 16 games. Only once in the past 25 years has a woman dropped fewer games through six full matches en route to a major final (Mary Pierce dropped 10 at the 1994 French Open, then lost the final.)

Azarenka has lost two sets and 40 games. Her serving has been particularly shaky: 31 double-faults, 10 aces, 20 breaks. Williams has been broken twice.

"Serena and I each other pretty well," Azarenka said. "I know her strengths; she knows my strengths. That's what it's all about, about those turning points, who wants it more, who's willing to go for it more."

Comments
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 6 hours ago
NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

Boring interviews have been a hallmark of sports for decades. The art of the non-answer was undoubtedly developed as a defense mechanism — and it was perfected by Derek Jeter during his tenure with the Yankees — but every now and again pl...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballMariners at White Sox2 p.m.MLBNationals at Giants (in progress)5 p.m.MLBTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCubs at Indians7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers7:30 p.m.FSFCollege baseballIndiana at Purdue7 p.m.ESP...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 7 hours ago
ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

ESPN: Antonio Callaway tested positive for marijuana at NFL combine

Former Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway's off-field struggles continue.ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday evening that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the NFL's scouting combine.Former Florida WR Antonio Callaway -- who some cons...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Game 1 of the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinals begins Saturday at Amalie Arena regardless of whether the Maple Leafs or Bruins win Wednesday's first-round series Game 7 to advance.Still in question is the start time.If the Bruins advanc...
Updated: 9 hours ago