Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Venus flashes her old form

NEW YORK — For years, a first-round victory by Venus Williams at a major tournament would hardly merit a mention.

Yet Williams — at age 33, two years removed from being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that saps energy, hampered much of this season by a bad lower back and her ranking down to 60th, — entered the U.S. Open having won a total of three matches over the past five Grand Slams. Plus, she was facing 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last month and beat Williams on a hard court this month.

Looking very much like the player she used to be, Williams smacked serves at up to 120 mph, returned superbly, covered the court well enough to hit a handful of swinging volley winners and beat Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 Monday to reach the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Flipkens, for one, was not surprised to see Williams play that way.

"If Venus is there — if she's fit, if she's focused — she's a top-10 player," Flipkens said. "Everybody who knows a little bit of the game of tennis can see that. (Monday), she was like a top-10 player."

Williams, who topped the WTA rankings in 2002, hasn't cracked the top 10 since she was No. 9 in March 2011. She hasn't been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon later that year.

"I stay positive because I know I can play great tennis. Sometimes you just have to go through more than what you want to go through," the American said after winning the first four games and the last four against Belgium's Flipkens. "Sometimes you have to have losses."

Later, Venus' younger sister Serena Williams cruised to a dominant 6-0, 6-1 victory over Francesca Schiavone, who midway through the second set wandered behind the baseline, found a ball boy and hugged him. Rafael Nadal, a 12-time major champion, earned a straightforward straight-set victory over 21-year-old American Ryan Harrison.

Flipkens was the first seeded woman to lose at the year's last Grand Slam. Sloane Stephens, seeded 15th, very nearly joined her, dropping the opening set then trailing 4-2 in the third and 3-1 in the closing tiebreaker before coming back to edge 110th-ranked Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Comments
The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

TAMPA — If the Tampa Bay Lightning can overcome a 2-game deficit to the Washington Capitals and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final, then Deborah Schmeltzer can definitely drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge through a driving rainsto...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

WASHINGTON — There's nothing more delicious in sports than Game 7.Unless your team is playing in it. Then there's nothing more nerve-racking.Most sports fans watch a big game with a nice cold drink. But if your team is playing in a Game 7, the ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the country out...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Let's do it one more time, shall we?Game 7 it will be.If it matches Game 6, it will be extraordinary.RELATED: More Lightning coverageThe Lightning could not close the door on the Washington Capitals. The Caps, who apparently really don't want to lose...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON – The Lightning let one get away Monday night. And it might cost it a chance at the Stanley Cup.So now there will be a Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference. Maybe this is how it should be. Maybe this is how it's supposed to be.Eit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning loses 3-0 to Capitals, forcing Game 7 Wednesday in Tampa

Lightning loses 3-0 to Capitals, forcing Game 7 Wednesday in Tampa

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is seen behind the bench during the first period against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Monday, May 21, 2018 in Washington D.C.Tampa Bay Lightning cen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Caps D Dmitry Orlov has one of the most wicked slap shots in hockey. When he stepped into one in the first period, Lightning D Ryan McDonagh threw his body in front of it and blocked it with his shoulder — just inches from his face. McDonagh sh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports on TV/radio Tuesday, May 22

Sports on TV/radio Tuesday, May 22

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMIndians at Cubs7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Mets7 p.m.FSFRockies at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, conference tourneysSEC: Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt10:30 a.m.SECACC: Pitt vs. Georgia Tech11 a.m.Fox SunSEC:...
Updated: 4 hours ago
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 4 hours ago