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second game of those sets, a

  • PARIS -- Canadas Eugenie Bouchard played like someone who belonged in the final four of a Grand Slam on Thursday. Cheap Texans Jerseys . She gave Maria Sharapova a stiff challenge at the French Open before the Russian veteran pulled away late for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory, derailing Bouchards attempt to become the first Canadian to reach a major singles final in the Open era. As painful as the defeat was for the 20-year-old from Westmount, Que., it will go down as another valuable learning experience on the heels of her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at this years Australian Open. A look of dejection was etched on her face as she left the court after the nearly 2 1/2-hour long match. It was clear Bouchard wasnt just happy to be on the big stage. She wanted the victory and was crushed when it didnt happen. "She was actually very, very disappointed," Canadian Fed Cup team captain Sylvain Bruneau said on a conference call. "She was not speaking much and I think it shows how much she believes in herself. Sometimes those tough losses are painful but sometimes theyre good. "Sometimes you learn from it and they hurt a little bit and the next time youre in this position, you do a couple things differently and the outcome is different." Sharapova, the No. 7 seed, lost the first set for the third straight match, but again managed to turn things around. "It was a tough battle, it was what I expected," said Bouchard. "I didnt play as well as I had earlier in the tournament. Its always disappointing to be a bit off. I needed to be aggressive and go for my shots." Sharapova won eight of the last 10 games, and has now won 19 straight three-set matches on clay. "I would love to win those matches in two sets, but I always feel like I put in the work to be ready to play whatever it takes," she said. "If it takes three hours to win the match in three sets, I will be ready for that." Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam by winning the title at Roland Garros in 2012, but lost to Serena Williams in last years final. Bouchard, the No. 18 seed, was playing at the French Open for the only second time. Last year, she lost to Sharapova in the second round. "Im always disappointed with a loss," Bouchard said. "I expect a lot from myself. You know, I felt like I was close today and just came up a bit short. That happens sometimes. I feel like I played a lot of good matches the past two weeks, three weeks even, and so its sad to see it come to an end. "But it just motivates me ... I was still so close. That just gives me extra motivation to work hard in practice and get ready for the next one and have that belief that I can do it." Fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania defeated 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the other semifinal. The final is scheduled for Saturday. Sharapova struggled a bit with her serve, double-faulting nine times and getting broken four times. But she made up for it with solid groundstrokes, either going for winners or waiting out errors from Bouchard. Bouchard took the early lead with her first break in the third game of the match, smacking a forehand winner to give herself a 2-1 edge. She quickly made it 3-1 by completing a run of winning 12 of 17 points. The pair traded breaks early in the second set, and then again later. But Sharapova managed to stay ahead and broke Bouchard for the third time in the set to even the match at one set apiece. "I dont feel that I played my best tennis, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis, and I didnt feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win," Sharapova said. The Russian served first in the third set, and made her move in the fourth game, converting her third break point to take a 3-1 lead that she held onto until the end. "I constructed the points well but I didnt finish them as well as I could," Bouchard said. "In the third set, I didnt feel tired, but she does put so much pressure on you. She elevated her game later in the match, I tried to do my thing and I had a couple of chances but I didnt take my opportunities. "Maybe I let off a bit on my shots in the second and third sets." Bouchard, who lost to eventual champion Li Na at the Australian Open in January, saved four match points before Sharapova won it with a forehand that Bouchard missed on the other end. Bouchard and Carling Bassett-Seguso, who lost in the US Open semifinal in 1984, are the only Canadian singles players who have made the final four at a Grand Slam in the Open era. "The semis of a Grand Slam are always exciting," Bouchard said. "I felt good on the court. I enjoyed it on the big stage. I tried to compete (and gave it) my best. I love playing tennis so I enjoyed being out there. I actually felt better on court than I did in Australia." Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title 10 years ago at Wimbledon. She followed that with major titles at the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. But since she recovered from having right shoulder surgery in 2008, she has vastly improved her clay-court game and has won six of her last eight titles on the red surface. This year, Sharapova has already won clay-court titles in Stuttgart and Rome, and her six wins so far at Roland Garros give her an 18-1 record on the dirt this season. And like against Bouchard, its been tough to beat her in three sets on the surface. The last time Sharapova lost a three-set match on clay was at Roland Garros in 2010, when Justine Henin beat her in the third round. The loss ended a 10-match winning streak on clay for Bouchard, who came to Paris after winning a warmup event in Germany. Sharapova owns a 3-0 career record against the Canadian. She also beat the former Wimbledon junior champion last year in Miami. In the late semifinal, Halep played aggressive tennis from the outset. She finished the first set with 12 winners and seven unforced errors, while Petkovic had only three winners and 14 unforced errors. The second set was much closer as Petkovic played with more consistency, but the 22-year-old Romanian was able to close it out in the tiebreaker with a forehand winner. Both Halep and Petkovic were playing in a major semifinal for the first time. Jermaine Kelly Stitched Jersey . The agreement comes a little more than one week after the video game manufacturer agreed to a $40 million settlement in a similar but separate case, bringing the total payout planned for athletes to $60 million, said Steve Berman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, and the NCAA. Black Texans Jerseys . Manager Alex Ferguson says the injury was sustained while the player tried to hit a volley toward the end of training on Tuesday.TORONTO – What a difference three and a half weeks makes. At about this point last month the Maple Leafs were embarrassed, disillusioned, and broken after the second serious drubbing in a matter of days. “It can’t get worse than that can it?” Phil Kessel wondered a day after his team was pumped for nine goals at the ACC. Completely unforeseeable then, the Leafs have emerged almost unscathed from that point, now pushing Tampa, Detroit and Montreal for a share of the Atlantic Division lead. They won for the ninth time in 11 games Sunday night (9-1-1) – fifth straight – edging past the defending champs in a shootout on the second end of a back-to-back. “I think we’ve definitely come a long way,” Cody Franson said after the 4-3 win over L.A., the 13th for Toronto in 20 home games. “We’ve paid attention to the details that make us successful and we’re becoming more consistent with it.” They’ve won in all kinds of ways since that low-point, but the Leafs have mostly relied on the league’s hottest offence, solid special teams and, of late, very fine goaltending. It’s not always been pretty or consistent in the manner conducive to long-term success, but this group has managed to stack chips in an unforeseen way since they were booed off the ice in mid-November. On this night Toronto built up a two-goal lead, fell back in a middle frame owned by the Kings, lost control of the lead and then rebounded to win on the strength of a power-play goal and perfect shootout effort by James Reimer. They did this just one night after outplaying the equally hot Red Wings in a game that showcased the kind of structure they’ve strived to play with more consistently. “I think it shows we’re growing as a team,” said Stephane Robidas, credited with 12 hits against the Kings. “We always talk about playing the right way and we want to do it for 60 minutes. And obviously playing two games in two nights you’d need to play the right way, you just can’t show up.” L.A.’s size presented a whole whack of challenges for the Leafs and they dominated the possession battle as such. But the home side stuck with it even after Marian Gaborik pushed the Kings ahead early in the third frame, tying the score on a James van Riemsdyk power-play goal. What’s maybe most impressive about this stretch for the Leafs is how little they’ve really gotten from van Riemsdyk and some of their top players. Power-play theatrics aside, the Leafs top line of Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has done little in the past month. Not only is the trio not producing offence at even-strength, but they continue to spend shift after shift in the defensive zone. The line held less than 30 per cent possession on Sunday and has been under 40 per cent for the past three-plus weeks. Instead it’s those like Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri who continue to make contributions in their place. That trio not only produced two of the three goals on this night, but held L.A.’s top line of Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown off the board entirely. “I think this is probably the best our team’s been playing,” said Kadri. “These aren’t easy games to come out and play, especially off back-to-backs.” The Leafs have beaten a slew of quality teams during this hot streak, topping the Lightning, Canucks, Wings (three times) and now the Kings. They’ve outscored the opposition 44-25 in that span, the goaltending picking up steam along the way. Reimer, who made 33 saves Sunday, and Jonathan Bernier have combined to post a .957 save percentage in the past five games. “We’d like to keep this ball rolling in our direction and not allow it to go in any other direction,” Carlyle said. Five Points 1. Top Line in Name Only Continuing one of the better all-around stretches of his NHL career, Kadri led Toronto forwards in ice-time Sunday, also out-pacing Bozak in that department for the seventh time in nine games while adding his 10th point in the past 10 games. He and linemates, Winnik and Santorelli, were the Leafs most productive at playing in the offensive zone, thereby forcing the Kings top trio, whom they were matched up with, to defend. “They’re able to play their game and they’re able to create chances and possitive possession time and positive zone time,” Carlyle said. Elite Texans Jerseys. “So I think those are the three things that you look at. If you’re playing in the other team’s zone it’s pretty hard for them to score on you.” On the opposite end of that spectrum were Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Bozak. They were the Leafs worst at possessing the puck and have been for the past month. 2. Unsustainable Only Kessel has more points at even-strength among Leafs than Santorelli, who celebrated his 29th birthday with his sixth goal of the year and an assist. Santorelli has an unlikely 18 even-strength points and is on pace for 60 points overall, a mark that would smash the career-high 41 points he managed as a Florida Panther in 2010-11. It’s unlikely though that he continues to produce offence at such a potent rate. The B.C. native entered the game against the Kings with an on-ice shooting percentage (which measures team shooting percentage when a player is on the ice) approaching 13 per cent, an inflated level that’s higher than the career mark of Sidney Crosby. Kadri thrived with such luck during the lockout campaign. He posted 44 points in 48 games on the strength of a league-best on-ice shooting percentage of nearly 15 per cent. That number tumbled to a more reasonable level of nine per cent last year and a dip in production followed; Kadri posted a respectable 50 points, not close though to the near point-per-game mark of that fortunate season. Likely offensive cool-down aside, Santorelli has nonetheless been a valuable find at $1.5 million for the Leafs. He was recently added to both the penalty kill and power-play units. 3. More Santorelli Daniel Winnik offered this assessment on Santorelli. “I think probably the most unique part of his game is his cutbacks,” Winnik said. “I don’t think I’ve played with a guy with quicker turn-backs than him.” That’s an area of the game – quickly changing directions along the boards – Santorelli targets daily after practice and during the offseason. 4. 48 Hours Sunday’s affair against the Kings completed the Leafs seventh back-to-back set of 18 this season. They improved to 5-1-1 in the second game of those sets, an impressive mark. Robidas, on the road to 1,000 NHL games, says two games in 48 hours should be no big deal. “You’ve just got to go out there and play,” he said. “We’ve done it in the past. You play in the minors [and] you play three games in three nights. For me it’s not an excuse.” The early 5 p.m. start time required some adjustments to routines, though, including the always important pre-game nap. “You address your schedule accordingly,” said Winnik beforehand. “Just push everything back two hours pretty much.” 5. Mumps Sidney Crosby’s positive mumps diagnosis dragged the issue into the NHL’s forefront, even pushing Carlyle to get his shot Sunday. “They dragged me in,” he said with a chuckle. “I was the last one. I thought that I had it 58 years ago so I didn’t think I’d need another one, but I guess there’s a new strain out...” Players have been offered the shot and advised to take precaution where possible. Crosby was the 13th NHL player diagnosed with the mumps this season, Rangers centre, Derrick Brassard joining that list later in the day. Stats-Pack 20 – Points combined in the past 10 games for Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli. 12 – Hits credited to Stephane Robidas on Sunday. 7 – Number of times in the past nine games that Kadri has gained more ice-time than Tyler Bozak. 5-1-1 – Leafs record on the second game of back-to-back sets. 6-2-1 – Leafs record vs. the Western Conference. 13-0-0 – Leafs record when scoring first. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3 Season: 20.7% PK: 2-2 Season: 83.6% Quote of the Night “Looking back at that that was definitely a time of a little bit of soul-searching. We knew that’s not going to be acceptable, especially on home ice. The way we lost that game was very disheartening, but we took it the right way and were able to learn from it and it turned out to be a good thing I guess.” - James van Riemsdyk, on the Leafs response to a 9-2 home loss last month. Up Next The Leafs host the Ducks on Tuesday night. Cheap Steelers Jerseys Cheap Cowboys Jerseys Cheap Raiders Jerseys Cheap Chiefs Jerseys Cheap Eagles Jerseys Cheap Redskins Jerseys Cheap Falcons Jerseys Cheap Ravens Jerseys Cheap Browns Jerseys Cheap Cardinals Jerseys Cheap Bills Jerseys Cheap Panthers Jerseys Cheap Bears Jerseys Cheap Bengals Jerseys Cheap Texans Jerseys Cheap Broncos Jerseys ' ' '
      September 7, 2018 9:11 PM MDT
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