Serena dismantles Svitolina to reach US Open final

first_imgRelatedPosts Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Thiem claims his first Grand Slam title after thrilling fightback in US Open Serena pulls out of Italian Open A rampaging Serena Williams moved to the brink of a record equaling 24th career Grand Slam title on Thursday storming past Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 to book her spot in the US Open final. Since returning to action after the birth of her first child Williams has come agonisingly close to matching Margaret Court’s mark three times and will have a chance on Saturday to do so in front of an adoring home crowd for a second successive year. In 2018 Williams was left in tears following a chaotic and controversial loss to Naomi Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium. She has also lost two Wimbledon finals since her return. Now all that stands between the 37-year-old and her Holy Grail is Canadian Bianca Andreescu or Swiss Belinda Bencic, who will meet in the other semi-final later on Thursday. The semi-final offered a classic matchup of styles with Williams and her prodigious power up against Svitolina, one of the best counter punches in the women’s game. Williams did not have her “A” game in warm conditions but the former-world number one knew exactly what was needed particularly on the big points. The fifth seeded Ukrainian had no shortage of chances but could not convert any of six break opportunities. A ruthless Williams, however, bombarded Svitolina with punishing forehands and six aces to register her 101st US Open win, which tied her with Chris Evert for the most at Flushing Meadows. Reuters/NAN.Tags: Elina SvitolinaSerena WilliamsUS Openlast_img read more

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Messi effect edges Catalans through

first_imgBarcelona were forced to dig deep to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals on away goals with a narrow 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in their quarter-final second-leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday.With Lionel Messi at less than full fitness and consigned to the bench for over an hour, the Catalans appeared blunt up front, and were run ragged at the back by the ferocity of PSG’s counterattacking approach.And it was one such sequence that saw the Ligue 1 side break the deadlock minutes into the second-half, as Javier Pastore cleverly finished from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s through pass to round off a magnificent break.But Messi’s arrival in the latter stages of the second half swung the tie on its’ head, and with 71 minutes on the clock, a driving run from the Argentine was critical in setting up Pedro for a superbly-taken equaliser.The Blaugrana would hold on in the remaining minutes to ensure their progression, joining Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and eternal rivals Real Madrid in the hat for the last four draw.Cesc Fabregas was the man chosen to replace Messi in the home side’s front three, while for the visitors, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Motta and Maxwell all started against their former club, with David Beckham benched. Xavi could have got the ball rolling as early as the third minute when his 20-yard free-kick was curled agonisingly wide of the top corner, with Salvatore Sirigu beaten.The pace of the match seemed to be picking up where the first leg’s emphatic finish left off, and Gerard Pique had to be alert to harry Exequiel Lavezzi off the ball from a dangerous run through on goal.Lavezzi was proving himself to be a menace on the break, but his finishing let him down more than once. The Argentine drilled over the bar after wriggling free at the top of the box, before firing straight at Victor Valdes with the goal at his mercy.Pedro forced Sirigu into a safety-first parry at the near post, missing the rebound to boot, but by far, the better chances belonged to PSG who, at times, had Barca on the ropes.With half an hour gone, Ibrahimovic did excellently to stand a cross up at the far post, where Lucas connected with a header, but Valdes was there to tip over, and the keeper also stood tall to thwart Alex from the resulting corner. But the tempo of the game would settle as half-time approached, as Barca began to regain some semblance of solidarity at the back, though their efforts in the final third remained nullified.However, with one scintillating counterattack five minutes into the second half, PSG carved the Catalans completely apart. Lucas and Ibrahimovic were both involved, with the latter slipping in Pastore for a delicate finish.Pastore could have had another just before the hour mark when he strode into the area to meet Ibrahimovic’s low cross, but this time, he scuffed his shot.Messi had already been put through his paces since the opening goal, and with 28 minutes remaining, he made his appearance off the bench, replacing the disappointing Fabregas.And the Argentine was barely on the pitch for 10 minutes before making his presence felt, accelerating straight through the midfield and finding David Villa, who teed up Pedro to rifle home an exquisite equaliser from 18 yards. Iniesta came close to putting the finishing touches on the tie with a mazy run through the defence with minutes remaining, but he could not place his angled finish anywhere but the side netting.But despite a few nervy moments for Barca in the closing stages from set-pieces, time was simply not on PSG’s side, and the Catalans held on to triumph.last_img read more

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Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr react to Knicks firing coach David Fizdale

first_img“As we know in this business it’s extremely fragile,” Kerr said. “Your job is dependent on a lot of things when you’re a coach in this league. No. 1, probably, the talent you coach, but just as important, the strength of the organization and the group around you. It takes a really strong organization to help coaches and help players get through difficult times.”I’m very blessed to have that group around me here. I know not every coach does. It’s a tough league.”Steve Kerr on David Fizdale’s firing and the occasional what if, on days like today, as in: What if he took the Knicks job instead of the Warriors one? “That would’ve been me three years ago.” pic.twitter.com/W7Rrc3TTcF— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 6, 2019Fizdale — who has been replaced by assistant Mike Miller on an interim basis — was appointed in 2018 and leaves the Knicks with a 21-83 overall record. “I don’t know where the decision was made to fire coach Fizdale, but if it came from the top, it’s a case of mistaken identity,” Popovich said (via The New York Post). “He’s a fine, talented young coach with a great pedigree, and it’s ridiculous to think you’re gonna bring in a young guy and after being there a minute-and-a-half, you expect him to fix everything that’s been wrong there for a long time.”That’s pretty unfair. It’s an old analogy. He got thrown under the bus. He’ll come out of it because he’s a great coach.”MORE: Knicks’ top six candidates to replace FizdaleThe Knicks wanted to hire Kerr in 2014, but he opted for the Warriors. Three championships later, Kerr is pleased with the decision he made five years ago.”If I had gone to New York, that would’ve been me like three years ago. I’m well aware of that,” Kerr told reporters as he reacted to Fizdale’s departure. “That’s just the way it goes. I think I made the right choice.”Kerr’s Warriors (5-19) are the second-worst team in the NBA this season ahead of only the Knicks (4-18). Golden State lost Kevin Durant in free agency and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to significant injuries, so Kerr understands how quickly a coaching job can change. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr are glad they don’t work for the Knicks.New York fired David Fizdale on Friday following an embarrassing 129-92 loss to the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, pushing the team’s losing streak to eight straight games. Responding to Fizdale’s departure, Popovich slammed the Knicks.last_img read more

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