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Czech Republic keeps Fed Cup by beating Serbia

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Czech Republic keeps Fed Cup by beating Serbia

PRAGUE (AP) The Czech Republic won its second straight Fed Cup on Sunday when Lucie Safarova routed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-1, prompting a burst of on-court dancing by the Czech players.

Safarova won the second reverse singles for an unassailable 3-1 lead in the final of the best-of-five series. Jankovic, a former No. 1 player, was slowed by a back injury and was in tears afterward.

The winning point came on Safarova's forehand on her second match point on the hard court at O2 Arena. As the Czech players danced, the ecstatic, sell-out crowd celebrated with the wave.

``It's hard to describe how I feel. I played an unbelievable game,'' Safarova said. ``I desperately wanted to win and I'm really delighted. It's fantastic to win at home, in Prague. I played one of the best matches of my career.''

The Czechs are the third country in a row to successfully defend the Fed Cup title. Russia won the top prize in women's team tennis in 2007-08 and Italy 2009-10.

The Czechs took a 2-0 lead after the opening singles Saturday, but Ana Ivanovic made it 2-1 Sunday by beating Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5. It was the first loss for Kvitova after 11 straight Fed Cup singles wins.

The 17th-ranked Safarova saved two break points before racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set, and broke Jankovic twice in the second to open a 5-1 advantage. Jankovic was treated between sets for a back injury.

``I'm really very sorry for my team that I wasn't able to be at 100 percent today,'' Jankovic said, unable to hold back tears. ``I tried my best on the court but it wasn't good enough. I wasn't able to move properly. Throughout the match, it was getting worse and worse.''

The Czechs won their first title last year since Czechoslovakia's split in 1993. Czechoslovakia won five times, including three straight from 1983-85.

Despite the loss, Serbia has enjoyed its best Fed Cup season as an independent nation. It recorded its first victories in the World Group with away wins over Belgium and Russia to reach its first final.

In the first reverse singles, Ivanovic beat Kvitova, who recovered just in time from the bronchitis that forced her to withdraw from last week's WTA Championships.

The Czech player struggled with her serve and was broken in the fifth game of the opening set. Ivanovic dominated with her strong returning and broke serve again in the ninth game, converting her seventh set point with a drop shot at the net.

Kvitova came back in the second set with her only break of serve in the ninth game but was unable to hold serve in the final game.

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Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Two days after losing Reuben Foster for the year, the Redskins made a move to at least provide reinforcements to a weakened linebacker group.

On Wednesday, Washington announced that they have signed Jon Bostic, a six-year veteran. The 'Skins also officially placed Foster on injured reserve.

Bostic was a 2013 second-round pick of the Bears out of Florida. He's since bounced around to New England, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, where he started 14 times for the Steelers in 2018 and posted 73 tackles. He's been traded twice in his career and missed all of 2016 with a foot injury. 

So, what does the move accomplish for the Redskins?

Well, Bostic — or any other free agent signing at this point — isn't going to have close to the level of talent and potential that Foster had. However, getting another option at linebacker was necessary for the Burgundy and Gold, and the 28-year-old has played in 30 contests over the past two years, so he's relatively established. 

Yes, he's far from a gamechanger, considering he has just one interception and 5.5 sacks as a pro. But he's regarded as a solid run defender and tackler and should at least push Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton. His presence also could alleviate some of the pressure that would've been on rookie Cole Holcomb. 

Signing a defender who's been with five franchises in six years isn't exactly inspiring, but Bostic has experience as a starter and could give the Redskins useful snaps on first and second down at a minimum. Now it's on him to take advantage of the opportunity he's been given.

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Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

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Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

You may not know the exact dates of the Redskins' two matchups with the Giants this season, which will take place Sep. 29 and Dec. 22 in 2019. But Landon Collins sure does.

"I'm gonna circle it for the next six years," the 'Skins new safety told ESPN in a recent interview. 

No, Collins isn't circling those dates from now until 2024 because he wants to be very organized and ensure he doesn't have any scheduling conflicts. He's doing it because he's dying to get revenge on his former team, who let him leave as a free agent in part because of their "culture change," according to him.

"All we wanted to do was win, and we spoke up because we had to get them to listen to us," Collins told ESPN, referring to himself and other now ex-Giants like Odell Beckham and Damon Harrison. "I think we were too vocal, and that platform was bigger than the Giants... If it's not good media, they don't want that kind of media."

In addition to the organization wanting to go in a different direction culture-wise, New York didn't want to pay the amount of money the Redskins ended up paying for Collins because he wasn't an ideal fit in their defense. The 25-year-old pushes back against the idea that he's strictly a "box safety," though, as do current and former players.

Interestingly enough, Collins isn't the only member of the Redskins' secondary who's in D.C. thanks to a decision by Dave Gettleman. Gettleman was also the same guy who decided the Panthers needed to move on from Josh Norman in April 2016.

Collins, for one, doesn't sound like he'll miss Gettleman at all. The defender didn't love how the GM consistently failed to make an effort to connect personally with his players. 

"I don't know him, he don't know me, that's kind of how it just kind of was," he explained.

All that, however, doesn't matter anymore. Collins is going to be the foundation of the Redskins' defense for quite some time, and that's a challenge he's ready to accept.

"I'm on a team that loves me and wanted me here," he said.

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