France's Chardy bounces del Potro from Aussie Open


France's Chardy bounces del Potro from Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Still smiling an hour later, France's Jeremy Chardy said he had just played ``the most beautiful match'' of his career.

The 25-year-old Frenchman staged the biggest upset so far at the Australian Open, beating No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro in a five-setter that lasted nearly four hours Saturday.

``I feel so much emotion,'' Chardy said after the 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 3-6, 6-3 win. ``It's a great moment for me. Everyone dreams of this.''

Chardy, who lost in the first round last year, frustrated del Potro with a tricky slice and a mix of drop shots, volleys and an inside-out forehand. One fast-paced rally in the third set sent the 6-foot-6 Argentine sprinting into the stands and hurdling a barricade.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, was seen as a potential challenger to the Big Three: No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Andy Murray. In his first two matches, del Potro had dropped only 13 games - the fewest among all men in the draw.

But it was Chardy who dominated with 78 winners, including 44 on his forehand side. The big-hitting Del Potro had only 12 forehand winners in five sets.

``The match was really tough,'' said del Potro, who rallied from two sets down to level the match but dropped his serve in the crucial eighth game of the final set. ``In the end when he had the chance to break me, he did. I think that was key,'' said del Potro.

``Jeremy played so strong for four hours,'' del Potro added. ``He serves well. He made a lot of winners with the forehand, very good slices.''

Chardy reached the fourth round of a major once before - five years ago at Roland Garros.

``I played some tennis I never would have thought I was capable of playing,'' the No. 36-ranked Chardy said. ``Five sets, to be here in a Grand Slam. It's the most beautiful match of my career.''

He's one of four French players to reach the fourth round, matching the country's record at Melbourne Park.

Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 9 Richard Gasquet also won their third-round matches Saturday, while No. 14 Gilles Simon was playing Gael Monfils later Saturday for a spot in the next round.

Asked if a Frenchman could possibly win the Australian Open, Chardy smiled broadly.

``Maybe me!'' he said.


IN PRAISE OF GUSSIE: Serena Williams paid tribute to Gussie Moran, the trailblazing tennis star who scandalized Wimbledon in 1949 by wearing a tennis skirt above her knees and lace-trimmed underwear.

Moran died at age 89 on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Williams, the 15-time Grand Slam winner, who has a flair for on-court fashion, said it was women like Moran who paved the way for how female athletes can dress today.

``When you look at the history of tennis, especially Wimbledon, you see these women wear these long gowns,'' said No. 3-seeded Williams, gesturing toward her feet. ``I don't know how they could have possibly played in that.''

As a 25-year-old seeded seventh at Wimbledon in 1949, Moran made jaws drop and flashbulbs pop when she showed up for her first match minus the knee-length skirt considered proper for women at the time. She lost the match, but her striking fashion statement appeared on magazine covers around the world. The British press dubbed her ``Gorgeous Gussie.''

Once ranked as high as fourth in the United States, Moran never achieved great fame for her tennis.

Perhaps in a sign of how far tennis fashion has developed, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus said she had never heard of Moran. And Williams said she knew ``the name Gussie'' but needed a reminder about her legacy.

``Someone always has to be first. I think that obviously she made a way for not only tennis players but just women in general in sport,'' Williams said. ``Like you don't have to wear a dress to your ankles to be a female athlete playing sports.

``I think being a trailblazer is honorable.''


BACK PAIN: In one of those ``I'll have what she's having'' moments, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka quipped she wished she had a back problem.

At times during her third-round match, Azarenka looked like the underdog as the relatively unknown 23-year-old American Jamie Hampton pounded forehands and had the crowd on center court cheering, ``C'mon, Jamie!''

Azarenka overcame the scare to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Playing with her lower back heavily taped, Hampton said she began feeling pain late in the first set. She took a medical timeout before serving out the second set.

``I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I have two herniated disks in my lower back,'' she said after the match. ``It's something I deal with day to day, and, yeah, it was hurting.''

The problem was diagnosed after last year's French Open when she hurt her back in the first round and had to withdraw, she said. After the problem started acting up Saturday, Hampton said she felt pain when she served, when she went low for the ball, ``and then just moving in general.''

During an on-court interview after the match, Azarenka said the level of play stunned her.

``She took a medical timeout but she rips winners all over the place and I was like, `Can I have a back problem?' I'm feeling great, but I'm missing every shot.''


Associated Press Writer Justin Bergman contributed to this report.

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.