Djokovic wins again at ATP finals, reaches semis


Djokovic wins again at ATP finals, reaches semis

LONDON (AP) Novak Djokovic stayed perfect at the ATP finals, beating Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (6) Friday and qualifying for the semifinals of the season-ending event.

Djokovic is 3-0 in Group A and will play Sunday for a spot in Monday's final. The other semifinalist from the group will be decided later Friday when Andy Murray takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the O2 Arena.

Murray, who won the U.S. Open and the OIympic gold medal, needs only to take a set against Tsonga to ensure his passage.

After reclaiming the No. 1 ranking at the beginning of the week, Djokovic had little trouble against Berdych. He broke his Czech opponent twice in the first set and once in the second, though he was broken right back on the third occasion to force the tiebreaker.

The ATP event is the last tournament of the season, featuring the top eight players in the world.

In Group B, six-time champion Roger Federer has already qualified for the semifinals and will face Juan Martin del Potro in his final group match on Saturday. David Ferrer is also in the group and can still qualify for the semifinals, but Janko Tipsarevic has been eliminated.

Berdych had his opportunities to win the second set, leading 5-1 and 6-3 in the tiebreaker, but he wasted all three of his set points as Djokovic won five straight to close out the match.

``I had some chances in the tiebreak,'' said Berdych, who was eliminated from the tournament with a 1-2 record. ``If I would be able to make it, try to push him for the third set, then maybe get another chance. But this would be just if. It didn't happen.''

Djokovic lost in the second round of the Paris Masters last week, and said he felt down physically there.

But against Berdych, the top-ranked Serb was running all over the court, retrieving ball after ball and making his opponent work hard on nearly every point.

Berdych has only beaten Djokovic once in 12 tries, and that came two years ago on grass in the Wimbledon semifinals. On hard courts, Djokovic is now 10-0 against the hard-hitting Czech.

Despite bowing out from the ATP finals, Berdych still has more tennis to play this season. He will lead the Czech Republic against Spain next week in the Davis Cup final.

``It's another week, another event, another big thing. So I will try to get ready for that again,'' Berdych said. ``I hope that the best moment is still to come.''

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of www.hockeydb.com.


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”