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Fitter Fish advances; King, Stephens reach semi's at Citi Open

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Fitter Fish advances; King, Stephens reach semi's at Citi Open

Mardy Fishs gimpy right ankle could use a night off, ideally, a week, maybe more. Thats just not happening, not now anyway. Not in the middle of a tournament as the top seed, not with a string of events on deck leading to the mother of all hard court events, the U.S. Open.The 30-year-old did the next best thing in his second-round match: He briskly disposed his overmatched opponent in 60 minutes,defeating Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-1 at the Citi Open on Thursday.Fishs injured wheel, originally dinged up two weeks ago during a tournament in Atlanta and then tweaked while diving for a ball in his opening match in Washington, will simply have to tough it out. If the worlds 15th ranked player reaches the final, he will end up playing four straight days. Thats a tough thing because the ankle needs rest and Im not going to give it rest, said Fish, a six-time champion on tour still seeking his first crown this year.Dominant serving propelled No. 8 seed Sam Querrey into the third round where the American will face third-seeded Kevin Anderson, also a straight-set winner. Xavier Malisse, Fishs next opponent and a 2010 semifinalist, dispatched No. 6 Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2.In the womens draw, laser-focused and No. 4 seed Vania King defeated seventh-seeded Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in an All-American quarterfinal. 19-year-old andNo. 3 seed Sloane Stephens reached her second career semifinal with a6-4, 6-4 Stadium court victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.The irony for Fish, who won two matches this week in Washington for the first time since 2006, is that after a largely inactive summer he needs the work, physical and mental. Diagnosed with heart arrhythmia, Fish underwent a procedure in May and remained off the tour for over two months. Since then he reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, but the ankle injury in Atlanta forced a withdrawal during his first match, his last event before his current one.Fitness level, really, the confidence that I feel like I can play in any weather against anyone and come out on top, Fish said as to what hes hoping to build toward this week.Despite practicing under the stifling afternoon sun, the native Minnesotan said he naively brushed aside the heat and humidity, as his blistering serve and formidable ground strokes later did against Berankis. Sure, dealing with the elements on a single day is a minor achievement, but a necessary building block as Fish grinds out this week, then another, then another.I think were on the right track, but every match helps with that, Fish said, who finished with 10 aces in his latest result. You cant train hard enough for the matches. You play harder, you try harder in the real matches. It only comes with match play.The womens matchup between American quarterfinalists was the epitome of contrasting, well, everything. The gritty King comes out of the Chris Evert School of stoic on-court demeanor while Vandeweghe hooted and hollered at herself and officials throughout. That vocal edge only added toVandeweghe's 6-foot-1 Amazonian presence, especially compared to the petite 5-foot-5 speedster who ultimately tracked down enough missiles. In the end, precision and poise downed power and peevishness. Shes much bigger, much stronger than I am. She has a lot more power than I do, said King, a two-time grand slam doubles champion with a power of her own.(Coco) doesnt have the wheels like I do.Vandeweghe entered the match having dominated her previous two opponents this week, losing only five games over her last three sets. Against King she dropped that many before finally getting on the scoreboard. With Vandeweghes first serve iffy early,King broke it twice for a 5-0 lead. Though her opponent began using her passion for good during the second set triumph and rallying back from an early break in the third, King countered with a decisive break of her own at 4-all.Its just whether I can negate her power enough and move her serve consistently enough. At the end of the day in the third set I was able to do that, King said of her game plan against Vandeweghe. The 23-year-old California native knows a similar approach is required for Fridays semifinals against another big, strong player,top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenko, a straight-sets winner over Kai-Chen Chang. King, aiming for her first singles title since 2006, has three straight victories over Pavlyuchenkova, including a triumph at this years Australian Open.The other semifinal pits the rising Stephens against Magdalena Rybariova.After defeating Florent Serra, Anderson will next face Querrey, his doubles partner this week. Coming off a championship effort in Los Angeles last week, Querrey won all 22 points on his first serve in a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Benjamin Becker.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.