Ferrer takes on Janowicz for Paris Masters title


Ferrer takes on Janowicz for Paris Masters title

PARIS (AP) At the start of the year, Jerzy Janowicz couldn't afford to travel to the Australian Open. Now he's in line for a major payday, with only David Ferrer standing in the way of his first career title.

Janowicz beat Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to become the first qualifier in eight years to reach the Paris Masters final. Ferrer, the only seed in the semifinals at No. 4, outlasted Michael Llodra 7-5, 6-3.

Ferrer is seeking his tour-best seventh title of the year, which would give him one more than Roger Federer. But the Spaniard is facing a player with nothing to lose.

``It's going to be a very difficult match because my opponent is playing very, very good,'' Ferrer said. ``It's very important for me and for my career.''

The 69th-ranked Janowicz, who was playing in Futures tournaments at the start of the year, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber (ranked 19), Marin Cilic (15), Andy Murray (3) and Janko Tipsarevic (9) before topping the 20th-ranked Simon to extend his surprising run in the high-profile tournament.

Ten months ago, the 21-year-old Janowicz didn't have enough money and sponsorship to even get to Melbourne.

``I was a little bit angry because I had ranking to go to play qualifications of Australian Open, Grand Slam, one of the most important tournaments in tennis,'' Janowicz said.

``But this gave me some kind of extra motivation. I just said to myself, `Next year I will try to avoid that kind of situation.'''

Money is unlikely to be a problem for a while. The winner of Sunday's match collects almost $615,000 while the lose takes home a little more than $300,000.

The superstitious Janowicz has taken the unusual step of telling his parents to stay away.

``I told them it's better not to change the winning style,'' Janowicz said. ``Before (this) match I'm taking painkillers, so tomorrow I will do the same. I'm using an old bag which is completely broken and dirty, so for sure I will use this bag tomorrow. And for sure my parents will watch my match from TV.''

After hugging Simon at the net, Janowicz let out a scream and dropped to the floor with his head in his hands after becoming the first player in 12 years to reach the final in his Masters debut.

``I didn't know what I was supposed to think, and I had a thousand different kind of feelings,'' Janowicz said. ``When I had match point today I felt a little bit strange.''

Janowicz, who had previously reached only one career quarterfinal, in Moscow last month, is already a star back home in Poland.

``The street next to my house actually is completely blocked. There is like about nine or 10 cars, TVs. There is no way to get to my house right now,'' he said. ``So I think after this final I have a chance to find some really good sponsors and I will not have to worry about the money.''

Poland President Bronislaw Komorowski is also a new admirer. Asked if he had been contacted by Komorowski, a smiling Janowicz said, ``I don't know if I can answer this question, but probably, yes.''

Janowicz is expected to break into the top 30 next week after beginning the year ranked 221st.

Jarkko Nieminen of Finland is the only qualifier to win a tournament this year, in Sydney in January.

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 qualifier Radek Stepanek in the Paris Masters final in 2004.

Ferrer, meanwhile, saved 10 break points in the first set - seven of those in his first two service games.

Llodra had not lost his serve before in the tournament, but was broken three times by Ferrer - the first time in the 12th game.

Looking to become the first player outside the top 100 to reach a Masters final since Andrei Pavel here in 2003, Llodra started to tire late in the first set. He dumped a poor volley into the net to put himself set point down and Ferrer clinched it with a backhand pass down the line.

``I played a very high level of tennis in the first set, it was very frustrating,'' Llodra said.

Ferrer broke Llodra again with a passing shot and held for 3-0 lead in the second set. During the changeover, Llodra grimaced as a trainer rubbed his lower back for several minutes. Ferrer, who lost his previous three Masters finals, sealed the win when he returned Llodra's drop shot with a cross-court winner.

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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

The Redskins’ contract with wide receiver Paul Richardson is very team friendly in the first year but it increases over the years to the point where he needs to be a very productive receiver in order to justify staying on the roster.

The big picture of the deal is $40 million over five years. A total of $12.5 million is fully guaranteed at signing, which is comprised of a $10 million signing bonus, his $1.5 million 2018 salary, and $1 million of his $5 million 2019 salary.

More money will become guaranteed if Richardson is on the roster as of five days after the start of the league years in 2019 and 2020. The remaining $4 million of his 2019 salary and $3.5 million of his $6 million 2020 salary become guaranteed on those dates.


Richardson will get salaries of $7.5 million in 2021 and 2022. Each year of the contract he can earn $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses ($31,250 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster).

It all adds up to the following salary cap numbers:

2018: $4 million
2019: $7.5 million
2020: $8.5 million
2021: $10 million
2022: $10 million

The average annual value of the contract is $8 million, which is tied for 24th among NFL receivers.

The first window the Redskins have to terminate Richardson’s contract without taking a negative cap hit would be in 2020 as long as they do it prior to the fifth day of the league year when the partial salary guarantee kicks in. They would take a $6 million deal cap hit but they would save a net of $2.5 million.

The last two years, when the cap numbers are at their highest, the Redskins could easily move on, saving $6 million in cap space in 2021 and $8 million in 2022.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


John Carlson gets the better of John Klingberg in duel of top defensemen


John Carlson gets the better of John Klingberg in duel of top defensemen

One week ago, the hockey world was captivated by the matchup of Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, two players battling for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer. Tuesday's matchup between the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars once again pitted two competitors locked in a point battle together in John Carlson and John Klingberg.

Carlson and Klingberg entered Tuesday's games with 59 points each, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. In a 4-3 win for Washington, both defensemen delivered phenomenal performances as each recorded two points, two assists for Klingberg and a goal and an assist for Carlson.

Tuesday's game was the latest example this season of Carlson rising to the occasion. He has been at his best when he has been needed the most such as when he was averaging 27:46 of ice time a night while Matt Niskanen was out injured.


Carlson's ability to deliver has not gone unnoticed by his teammates.

"John's having just a whale of a year, obviously," Niskanen said. "Monster year. Production, been carrying the load all year. He's been just a stalwart back there for us. He leads the way."

"The numbers don't lie, he's been having an unreal season," T.J. Oshie said. "Definitely on the points side of things, but maybe some parts that don't get talked about, the defensive side of things. He rarely loses a battle. It's very encouraging, it gets the bench going when he plays like that."

After the game, Carlson tried to downplay the notion that he elevated his game in response to playing against Klingberg.

"No," Carlson said when asked if he was motivated by the points race. "I think the guys do a good job of pumping that up in the locker room. I just want to go out there and win. I think we played a good game tonight so that's most important."

But while his words were subdued, his play was anything but.

Despite both players getting two points, Carlson got the better of his counterpart by scoring the game-winning goal in the third period, a one-timer slap shot to beat goalie Kari Lehtnonen, to lead Washington to the win.


Carlson may say he was not motivated by Klingberg, but his play certainly seemed to suggest otherwise.

"I think they both know, they know the stats," Barry Trotz said. "They know who they're lined up [against]. They're proud athletes. You're in a business where there's a lot of alpha males. That's what it is."

Of course, Carlson may not need a matchup with Klingberg to motivate him.

In the final year of his contract, Carlson has picked a good time to set new career highs in goals, assist and points. With a cap hit of just under $4 million, the 28-year-old blueliner will be due a significant raise in the offseason. That price tag continues to climb with every good performance as Carlson continues to cement himself among the league's top defensemen.

"Obviously he's very motivated," Trotz said. "He's in the last year of his contract. He'll be motivated. He's putting out points. He's gotten better and better. He's more poised every year. When he's intense and detailed in his game, he's a top defenseman in the league and he shows it."