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Azarenka, Ivanovic into Generali Ladies quarters

Azarenka, Ivanovic into Generali Ladies quarters

LINZ, Austria (AP) Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies.

Azarenka beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 6-1, and Ivanovic defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-4, 6-3.

Azarenka dominated play from the baseline and hit 20 winners.

``My game was more fluent than in the first round,'' Azarenka said. ``My timing was better and I was less nervous. But I have to improve my serving as I had a couple of double-faults.''

Azarenka, who has dropped only four games in two matches, will next play Petra Martic after the Croat defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. Martic hit seven aces to reach her 10th career quarterfinal. Mayr-Achleitner won just five of 29 points in the deciding set.

The second-seeded Ivanovic had to dig deep against Petkovic, who has dropped to 192nd because of an injured right ankle. The German had been down an early break in the second set but rallied to make it 3-3 before losing.

``It was very tough. She is such a good player and it's good to see her back,'' Ivanovic said. ``I am getting more consistent now. It's all about confidence.''

Ivanovic, the 2008 and 2010 champion who has at least reached the quarterfinals all five times at the event, will take on Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian defeated Mallory Burdette of the United States 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Burdette twice came back from a break down in the decider but missed two break-point chances at 6-5 to force a tiebreaker.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands reached her first quarterfinal of the season by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-3.

The 201st-ranked American is climbing back up the rankings after recent hip, back and left foot injuries. She will face next face Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Begu, who lost in qualifying but replaced Anna Tatishvili of Georgia in the main draw, beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6 (7).

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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