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Brazil upsets Bryan brothers, cuts US lead to 2-1

Brazil upsets Bryan brothers, cuts US lead to 2-1

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Brazil's doubles team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares upset the top-ranked Mike and Bob Bryan 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and kept the United States from clinching the first-round Davis Cup match.

The Bryan brothers have been the most successful doubles duo in Davis Cup history, with a record 20 wins and only two losses when playing together. But Melo and Soares beat the U.S. duo for the third time in four meetings overall.

``(The Brazilian team) came out with something to prove and played an extremely high level of doubles and made some great gets,'' U.S. team captain Jim Courier said. ``I'm sure (our) guys can play at a higher level. I'm not sure that those guys can. To their credit, they played great today and they deserved to win.''

The tone of the match may have been established in the first set when the Bryan brothers held a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. They lost the next couple points but won the next point for a 6-3 lead and a triple-set advantage.

But they failed to convert on any of the next three chances as the Brazilians gained momentum and won five consecutive points for the set win.

With neither side able to break the other's serve, the second set also went to a tiebreaker. Brazil looked as if it would jump to a 2-0 set lead when it had three set-point opportunities at 6-3.

But this time the Brazilians couldn't convert on any of their chances and when Melo and Soares hit consecutive shots into the net with a 7-7 score, the U.S. team evened the match at one set.

Brazil rebounded and went on to win the third and fifth sets to record a win that Soares called, ``this ranks number one for sure. It's very special.''

The Bryans entered the match with momentum, having captured their 13th Grand Slam title two weeks earlier by winning the Australian Open.

``There's no doubt on paper, they're a better team than us,'' Soares said. ``But we got a good record against them.

``To beat these guys you have to be 110 percent. Today we showed we were 110 percent, most important for five sets.''

The Bryans rallied in the fourth set. They broke Melo's serve in the sixth game with Bob Bryan's backhand volley winner giving them a 4-2 lead. They went on to hold their serve to close out the set at 6-3.

The Bryans lost a chance to gain a break, but couldn't convert two break points in the third game. In the eighth game with Brazil holding a 4-3 lead, things fell apart for the two Americans who lost Mike Bryan's serve at love.

In the ninth game with the score at 30-30, both Bryans hit shots that sailed long or wide, leaving the Brazilian team and its small but raucous crowd to erupt in celebration.

``Hats off to the Brazilians,'' Bob Bryan said. ``I thought they served well pretty much of the four hours. We're obviously disappointed. I feel we're capable of playing at a higher level.''

Attention turns to Sunday's two singles matches. John Isner will meet Thomaz Bellucci in the opener with Sam Querrey taking on Thiago Alves if the match is tied 2-2. Isner and Querrey were both straight-set winners in their Friday matches.

``(Isner and Querrey) are well-prepared. They come in with three sets under their belt from yesterday which is good for their confidence, not damaging to their physical fitness,'' Courier said.

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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