Ferrer beats Janowicz to win Paris Masters title


Ferrer beats Janowicz to win Paris Masters title

PARIS (AP) With none of his usual rivals standing in the way, David Ferrer finally won a Masters final on his fourth attempt.

Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz came up short on his first try, but not before leaving the impression that he could earn another chance very soon.

The fourth-seeded Ferrer beat Janowicz 6-4, 6-3 Sunday in the Paris Masters final for the biggest win of his career and ATP tour-leading seventh title of the year. He had lost twice to Rafael Nadal and once to Andy Murray in his previous Masters finals - but didn't have to face a Grand Slam winner this time.

That didn't make the victory any less special.

As soon as he clinched the win, the normally unflappable Spaniard collapsed to the court, lying face down as he screamed in jubilation. He then sprinted over to hug his coach and girlfriend in the stands.

``I feel the pressure more than him, because I played three times in a Masters final,'' Ferrer said. ``He's a young player. It was the first final for him, without pressure. ``

Ferrer converted his first match point when Janowicz's two-handed backhand was wide. Ferrer's seven tournament titles this season is one more than Roger Federer, who did not defend his title in Paris.

The tournament was thrown wide open when both Novak Djokovic and Murray went out in the early rounds, leaving Ferrer as the highest-ranked player in the draw.

``I was very nervous because it was my chance to win a first Masters title, but somehow I knew it was my turn,'' Ferrer said. ``To me this is a dream to win here. If I won it's because I have a great team.''

Janowicz, who beat five top-20 players on the way to the final, had celebrated each of his unlikely wins wildly to become an overnight crowd favorite. But the breakthrough week finally seemed to have taken a toll.

``I was actually exhausted, almost,'' he said. ``During the last three nights I didn't sleep much. ... Also I didn't have an appetite, so I didn't eat too good.

``Today my serve and my strokes were not that accurate and not that fast,'' he added. ``At the beginning of the match my hand was really heavy, and (that) is a sign of tiredness already. But David played today really good tennis.''

The 30-year-old Ferrer says he is in the best form of his career, but still thinks he is some way from matching the game's top players.

``Maybe I won more titles than Federer, but Federer won the important titles. Federer or Djokovic or Andy Murray, not me,'' he said. ``I will try to improve my game.''

The 69th-ranked Janowicz made an improbable run to the final thanks largely to his massive serve, but his main weapon wasn't as effective in the final.

Janowicz, who had previously reached only one career quarterfinal - in Moscow last month - is projected to climb to 26th in the rankings.

He was playing in his first final and looking to become the first qualifier to win a Masters title since Albert Portas won in Hamburg 11 years ago. The last qualifier to reach the final in Paris was Radek Stepanek in 2004.

The last player to reach the final in his Masters debut was Harel Levy of Israel in 2000. He lost to Marat Safin in Toronto. Safin also beat Stepanek in the Paris final.

Janowicz, who has struggled to find sponsorship, plans to take three weeks off and enjoy his winnings of $301,000.

``For sure some party, for sure some rest, and in few weeks I will already start to prepare myself for the new season,'' he said. ``Beginning of this year my goal was to be top 100 and suddenly I am top 30 in the world, so of course I would like to be as high as possible. ... I would love to be top 10 one day.''

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs


Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

Andre Burakovsky will be sidelined for the remainder of Washington's first-round series vs. Columbus, but he isn’t necessarily out for the remainder of the playoffs, Coach Barry Trotz said on Friday.

Burakovsky suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in Game 2 and has not been on the ice since.

Trotz said the 23-year-old top-six winger needs “minor” surgery.

That procedure, however, will not preclude Burakovsky from returning to the Caps’ lineup in subsequent rounds, should Washington advance.

“That's why I said minor surgery,” Trotz added, asked if Burky might return at a later date.

This latest surgery is the second for Burakovsky this season. In late October, he had a procedure to repair a broken left thumb and missed the next 20 games.

Since his departure in Game 2, Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson have taken turns replacing Burakovsky on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.


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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks remarked after Game 2 and following practice on Thursday that he was partly to blame for Bradley Beal's modest scoring output through two games in the team's playoff series against the Raptors. They weren't just throwaway lines, a coach trying to make his star player feel better for struggling in the playoffs.

No, Brooks truly meant what he said and followed up those comments with an apology face-to-face. Brooks met with Beal and John Wall in between Games 2 and 3 to see how they can get Beal going and reiterated that some of it all was on the coach.

"He apologized to me, which was weird because he's somebody who always holds me accountable for stuff," Beal said after Friday's shootaround. "I guess he figured I wasn't shooting the ball enough and he thought it was his fault. I don't know."

Beal, who is averaging 14.0 points in two games and scored only nine in Game 2, came away from the meeting with a good understanding of what he needs to do to get back on track. After apologizing, Brooks laid out a strategy in hopes that he, Wall and Beal can all be on the same page moving forward.

They need to get their All-Star shooting guard back to form on the offensive end.

"He just basically challenged me. He challenged me to be more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end," Beal said.

What has made Beal's scoring troubles through two games particularly surprising is how well he played against the Raptors during the regular season. He averaged 28.8 points in four games against Toronto and all were without Wall.

Beal shot 50 percent against the Raptors both from the field and from three. So far this series he's shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range.

Asked whether there is anything he can draw from the regular season to apply to the playoffs, Beal said it's not as easy as it may seem.

"Those games are different. The matchups are different to an extent. It's totally different in the playoffs because you have more time to prep and prepare and gameplan for us," he said. 

"I think the biggest thing is them being physical. They are real physical with me. Whenever I'm standing around on offense or moving around, they are grabbing me. I just need to be physical back with them. Keep moving off the ball and especially if Kyle [Lowry] is guarding me. Tire him out as much as possible. Continue to be aggressive."

Coaches use all sorts of leadership tactics to motivate players. Perhaps an apology will do the trick.