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Federer opens with straight-set win at ATP finals

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Federer opens with straight-set win at ATP finals

LONDON (AP) Roger Federer opened his quest for a seventh season-ending tour title, looking like the man to beat again.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion won his record 40th match at the tournament, defeating Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-1 Tuesday in his opening Group B match.

Federer lost only eight points on his serve under the roof of the O2 Arena while converting four of his nine break points in the event that features the top eight players in the world.

``Obviously, come in knowing that I've played so well past years, I expect myself also to be at a solid level,'' said Federer, who also won his seventh Wimbledon title this year and won a silver medal at the London Olympics. ``I've had a good year. It's true, I feel like I'm striking the ball well after today. I hope it's a sign for more to come.''

A day after Andy Murray made his return to Britain for the first time since winning the U.S. Open, the crowd got into Tuesday's match, complete with cowbells ringing and constant chanting for Federer.

``I'm very, very honored, really, and very proud in some ways to be so well liked by so many fans around the world, just not in one particular place or one country,'' said Federer, who will next face David Ferrer on Thursday. ``It really seems to be everywhere I go I get a lot of fan support.''

The Swiss star didn't disappoint them, looking like he was right at home right from the start.

He held at love to open the match and broke Tipsarevic for a 2-0 lead that held the rest of the way. In the second set, Tipsarevic held serve to start, but couldn't win another game as Federer dazzled the fans with a couple of behind-the-back shots off Tipsarevic serves that had nipped the net.

``The problem was that he got an early break in both sets,'' Tipsarevic said. ``Everybody knows that when Roger starts leading, he is probably the best player in the world when he's a break up early in the set.''

Tipsarevic was playing for the first time since retiring with dizziness and fatigue during his quarterfinal match at the Paris Masters last week.

``I felt good in the first set,'' Tipsarevic said. ``Even though I lost it, I didn't lose the first set because I was feeling bad, whatever. But later on when we played these longer rallies, my serve started to suffer a little bit.''

Federer didn't play in Paris, pulling out to rest up for London.

``I still had some little things I had to work through the last couple of days. Really since yesterday, I feel fine,'' Federer said.

Federer twice won the season-ending tournament when it was in Houston in 2003-04, and then won two more in Shanghai in 2006-07. In London, he is the two-time defending champion.

The victory moved him out of tie with Ivan Lendl for the most wins at the tournament.

In the other Group B match, Ferrer beat Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

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Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WIZARDS NEED BEAL TO BE MUCH BETTER TO WIN

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3

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Can Tom Wilson be an X-factor for Caps after finding redemption in Game 3?

Can Tom Wilson be an X-factor for Caps after finding redemption in Game 3?

When Mike Babcock essentially dismissed any concern over the impact Tom Wilson could have on a series, Wilson responded. In the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017, the Caps' forward scored the overtime winner in Game 1 and saved the series in Game 3 with a sweep of the puck off the goal line followed by a goal of his own soon after.

If you dismissed Wilson after Game 1 and Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Barry Trotz believes you can expect a similar answer this year after how he played in Game 3.

"I think his game was really good and that will maybe give some trust and confidence in him going forward," Trotz said Wednesday on a conference call with the media.

Wilson's impact in the first round against Toronto was immediate. As a top-line winger this season, expectations for him were high heading into the playoffs. His start to the series, however, left a lot to be desired.

Through the first two games, Wilson did not record a single shot on goal. What's worse, he took a critical penalty in each game that allowed the Blue Jackets to tie the score on each resulting power play.

You can't compare Wilson's impact on the Caps to that of a player like Alex Ovechkin, but a top-line player has to have some sort of positive impact or, at the very least, not be a detriment to his team.

In Game 3, postseason Tom finally delivered.

Wilson recorded six shots on goal and scored Washington's first goal of the game, deflecting in a shot from Matt Niskanen.

"[Wilson's] taken a lot of criticism for his first two games and some of the penalties and the effect it's had on the game," Trotz said. "I think it's given him some confidence. He's a bright young man, he's a leader, he's an all-in guy."

The key now will be for Wilson to build on that confidence.

Columbus has a number of star players such as Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky. What they do not have, however, is the scoring depth to match the Caps. Getting key contributions from players like Wilson in addition to the top playmakers like Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will make it very hard for the Blue Jackets to keep up.

"[Wilson] had a big effect last year in the first round," Trotz said. "I think he can have a big effect in this series, in this first round."

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