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Date-Krumm, 42, wins again at Australian Open

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Date-Krumm, 42, wins again at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Kimiko Date-Krumm is still winning in the Grand Slam arena at age 42, much to the dismay of her former peers.

Asked what her 1990s-era rivals such as Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini say when they see her, Date-Krumm said: ``Everybody say to me, `You are crazy.' First word is always, `You are crazy.''

Date-Krumm advanced to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Shahar Peer.

Graf, who beat Date-Krumm in the 1994 Australian Open semifinals before going on to win the title, is now married to four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi and has two children.

``Of course, she say to me, `You should stop now and make the baby,''' Date-Krumm said of the advice she gets from the 43-year-old former German ace.

Date-Krumm doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. At 42 years, 111 days, she is the second-oldest woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam after Renee Richards, who was 45 years, 8 days old when she reached the third round of the U.S. Open in 1979. Date-Krumm upset No. 12-seeded Nadia Petrova in the first round.

The Japanese veteran joked she could be playing for five more years, but added, it's ``not easy. I need new body.''

For a woman who says she's still playing tennis for fun, she certainly didn't look like she was enjoying herself against Peer in the stifling heat on Thursday.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Date-Krumm dug herself into a 0-40 hole and started muttering to herself in Japanese and glaring at Peer's singing supporters in the stands. ``I felt so heavy (in) my body and I couldn't move,'' she said.

However, after winning the match two games later, she threw her head back, kissed her racket and smiled at the hundreds of Japanese fans cheering in the stands.

She survived to play another round. And if that isn't enough, she's still in contention in the doubles draw, too.

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BIG FINISH: On Tuesday, Serena Williams was concerned she wouldn't be able to play her second-round match at the Australian Open because of a minor ankle injury.

She not only played - and won - the match against Spanish teenager Garbine Muguruza on Thursday, she also hit one of her fastest serves ever.

Serving for the match at 5-0 in the second set, Williams smacked an ace down the center of the service box that registered 128.6 mph (207 km/h).

``I did not expect that,'' she said after the match. ``I was like, `OK, I'm going to hit a big one, 200 (km/h). It went 207. I was like, `Wow.'''

``I think it's my fastest that went in,'' she added.

Williams is tied for the most aces at the tournament so far with Hungary's Timea Babos at 15, though Babos, a first-round loser, only played one match.

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FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT: Ice towels, ice vests and ambulances were on hand for players on a scorching Day 4 at the Australian Open.

Temperatures nearly reached 106 degrees in the afternoon.

An on-site meteorologist was monitoring the weather minute-by-minute to decide whether to delay matches or close the retractable roofs on the two main show courts as part of the so-called Extreme Heat Policy, tournament organizers said.

The roof remained open for Victoria Azarenka's second-round match on Rod Laver Arena early in the day, which she won in 55 minutes.

``Even at 11 a.m. you could really feel it,'' she said. ``I wasn't sure if we were playing with closed roof or open roof. Right before the match I saw it was closed. I thought, `Wow, good. It wouldn't be so hot. It wasn't a problem.'''

Not so. The roof was open - it is an outdoor tournament, after all.

As part of the tournament's tradition, high heat entitles the women to an extra 10-minute break between the second and third sets.

Fans, meanwhile, were advised to ``slip, slop, slap.'' That's Australian code for: ``Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen and Slap on a hat.''

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.

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Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

When the Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the organization hoped their investment in the passer would result in Washington finding its franchise quarterback of the future.

Whether Haskins becomes that franchise quarterback is still up for debate, as the signal-caller had an up-and-down rookie season. But the Ohio State product seemed to improve by the week and ended the season playing his best football, giving fans hope for the future.

Kurt Warner, a Super Bowl-champion quarterback who had to wait several years before getting his first NFL shot, believes Haskins can eventually develop into that franchise QB for the Burgundy and Gold.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback joined the Redskins Talk podcast on Tuesday, and spoke highly of the 22-year-old's ability.

"The skillset, without question, is there," Warner said. "We saw that in college, we saw that in moments last year."

Warner explained that one of the things he looks for in young passers is their week-to-week improvement. That's something Haskins did very well towards the end of the 2019 season.

"To me, that's what greatness is all about," Warner said. "It's not about coming into the league and being a finished product. It's about working and getting better all the time."

In his final two games, Haskins threw for 394 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions on 72 percent completion rate. He was on his way to the best game of his brief career in Week 16 against the Giants before an ankle injury ended his afternoon in the third quarter.

"What I saw with Dwayne this year, he did improve game by game," Warner said. "As he got more comfortable with the NFL, as he got more comfortable with the system, he played better and better and made them more competitive each and every time out."

The 2020 offseason is crucial for Haskins. It's his first full offseason in the NFL, and seems poised to make a jump in Year 2. 

Haskins dealt with a lot in 2019, rookie or not. Five weeks into the season, his head coach was fired. He wasn't named the starter until Week 9, only due to injury to Case Keenum. Entering his second season, Haskins has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and new position coach.

There's little carryover from a season ago. Very few organizations that constantly change in the NFL are successful. 

"For young quarterbacks or players in general, you want to be able to find something you’re comfortable with and grow in," Warner said. "Hopefully this is the only move they make during Dwayne's career and he can get comfortable in that offense and hopefully one day be playing in the Super Bowl as well."

Warner knows plenty about waiting to get his opportunity; he didn't get his first shot in the NFL until he was 28. But he was put into an offense nicknamed 'The Greatest Show on Turf" that featured plenty of weapons -- Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt -- which allowed the inexperienced Warner to thrive.

In his first season as the Rams starter, Warner threw for a league-high 41 touchdown passes on an 8.2 percent touchdown rate, with just 13 interceptions. His 109.2 quarterback rating was the NFL's best that season. The Rams went on to win the Super Bowl, defeating Tennessee.

"I think the other component is finding the right situation, the right system for you," Warner said. When I got back into the NFL with the Rams, I was 28 years old when I got my first start. I was able to have a lot of success early because I found myself in the right system. The offense did what I did well. It played to my strengths."

Washington doesn't have the weapons that Warner's Rams did, but the Redskins have several young assets -- Terry McLaurin, Derrius Guice and Steven Sims -- that have shown promise. Getting Haskins in the right system, one that caters to his strengths, will be crucial in the development of the young passer.

"I believe that is key for players, especially at the quarterback position. You've got to find a system," Warner said. "In this case in Washington, they need to build a system around what Dwayne Haskins does well. That's how you thrive. That's how you get to and win Super Bowls."

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'Still unbelievable': Ex-Redskins Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller reflect on Super Bowl journey

'Still unbelievable': Ex-Redskins Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller reflect on Super Bowl journey

Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller spent a combined six seasons with the Redskins, yet neither corner won a playoff game during their tenures there.

Therefore, you can excuse them if they're having a hard time expressing what it's like now being in the Super Bowl together with the Chiefs.

"It's still unbelievable," Breeland told JP Finlay at SB LIV's Media Night on Monday. "I can't even find the words to fathom how I feel about this opportunity."

In fact, the last time Breeland and Finlay chatted, the former was literally asking the latter where to purchase tickets for the NFL's biggest spectacle. He shouldn't have much trouble getting inside of the stadium this time around, though.

"I ended up not even going to that game," he said. "I told myself I wasn't going to the Super Bowl until I got a chance to play in it. Couple of years later, it came true."

Breeland's path to the Chiefs was quite bumpy. After playing for the Redskins for four years and departing after 2017, he inked a well-earned three-year deal with the Panthers. However, he cut his foot during a trip to the Dominican Republic, causing him to fail his physical with Carolina and voiding his contract.

Breeland eventually joined the Packers halfway through 2018, and then he signed with the Chiefs this past offseason. His compensation with Kansas City doesn't come close to what he could've had with Carolina, but a Super Bowl appearance plus his two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 2019 could help him cash in when free agency begins in a few months.

Fuller, meanwhile, took a much more direct route to the now-AFC champions. The Burgundy and Gold's 2016 draft selection was a part of the shocking Alex Smith trade and he's now concluding his second campaign with his second pro team.

The fact that the pair is reunited again and one win away from reaching the top of the sport isn't lost on Fuller, especially after some of the struggles they experienced with the Redskins. 

"It's been fun," he said. "After we won the AFC Championship game, me and [Breeland] were just kind of sitting on the bench looking at each other, knowing how far we came."

The key to K.C.'s rise, according to Breeland, has been their unity. The almost 28-year-old didn't directly call out Washington for lacking a similar closeness, but his comments don't exactly require much parsing to realize the comparison he's making.

So, while he and Fuller are obviously looking ahead to the 49ers, the following comment from Breeland's brief reflection on his past is telling about what the Redskins need to fix on their end.

"Throughout crunch time, everybody pulls together," Breeland explained. "I've been on different sidelines when things go bad, a lot of people start bickering and pull apart from each other. Those were the times that [this team] got closer and pulled together the most."

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