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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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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

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USA TODAY Sports

2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Looking for a stat to describe the rough season the Redskins receivers had in 2018? Well, there's tons to choose from.

The team's wideouts had the second-fewest catches of 20-plus yards in the league. Antonio Brown had more grabs, yards and touchdowns than Washington's top three targets combined. Josh Doctson led the squad in receiving yards — with a measly 532.

You could easily find plenty more, but those three are all you need to realize that DK Metcalf should absolutely be on the franchise's mind when it comes to their first-round pick this April.

While Metcalf's numbers at Ole Miss won't overly impress you, his athleticism and potential explosiveness as a pro absolutely does. That's why it's no surprise the WR met with the Redskins while at the Combine, as Jay Gruden and Co. are well aware that they must become more dangerous on the outside.

As with any prospect, there are questions with Metcalf. He only had 67 catches in 21 games in school, and while he shredded most of the drills in Indianapolis, his short area agility numbers were worse than Tom Brady. That's not great.

Regardless, he'd instantly become the offense's scariest athlete, and you have to like his chances of at least contributing splash plays early while he learns the nuances of the NFL.

The 'Skins don't just need improvement out wide, however. Jordan Reed was largely ineffective despite playing for much of 2018, Vernon Davis is 35 years old and Jeremy Sprinkle isn't much of a threat in the air at tight end.

Perhaps TJ Hockenson could be their answer. NFL.com says the Iowa product "is an ascending talent with a chance to become one of the best all-around tight ends in the game." 

One problem the Burgundy and Gold have encountered in recent years is Reed and Davis don't help much as blockers, while Sprinkle won't worry a defense with his hands. Taking Hockenson at pick No. 15 would mean Gruden could finally have a guy who excels in both areas.

It remains to be seen whether Metcalf or Hockenson will last until the Redskins' choice, as they could continue to rise up boards as the draft draws closer. If both or either is there, however, they need to be heavily considered. 

While the offense may have to be run-oriented again in 2019, it still needs more weapons for whoever is under center. They won't be able to grind out 13-play scoring drives every time they need a TD, and grabbing Metcalf or Hockenson would go a long way in introducing a new element to the group.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.

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How Tom Wilson's first game back from suspension against Minnesota sparked the Caps

How Tom Wilson's first game back from suspension against Minnesota sparked the Caps

WASHINGTON – Capitals forward Tom Wilson did not miss a beat. 
 
That’s what happens when a player sits the first 14 games of a season because of an NHL-mandated suspension for a hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in a preseason game. 
 
With his suspension reduced from 20 games to 16, Wilson was suddenly eligible to play Nov. 13 when Washington played a game against the Minnesota Wild. Wilson scored a goal in the first period – and ironically was penalized on the same play for running into the goalie. He later had a fight with Wild forward Marcus Foligno. He also helped the penalty kill strop five of six chances. That pretty much summed it up. 
 
Wilson sees Minnesota again tonight when the Capitals host the Wild at Capital One Arena (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). That first game in St. Paul sparked a turnaround for the Capitals, who were lethargic early in the season as they tried to stay emotionally engaged after last spring’s dramatic championship run through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
 
Wilson’s return against the Wild had a visceral effect. The players had a jump not seen often in a 7-6-3 start to the season that included back-to-back home losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes. 
 
The Capitals won 5-2 that night against the Wild and went on an 8-2-0 run in Wilson’s first 10 games. He had eight goals and seven assists in those games before sustaining a concussion during a fight in a Dec. 4 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights. 
 
Wilson missed three more games and has only played 55 total. But he’s had a major impact on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and either center Evgeny Kuznetsov or Nicklas Backstrom. Wilson has 21 goals and 16 assists. Those are both career highs. His 37 points are also a career best. And that’s all in 23 fewer games than the 78 he played last season. There are eight games left for Wilson to top 40 points for the first time. 

Djoos returns

The lower-body injury to Michal Kempny sustained Wednesday means Christian Djoos is back in the lineup. He will be on the top pair with John Carlson. Djoos is playing just his second game since Feb. 23. The Capitals will be experimenting here down the stretch thinking Kempny will be out for a while. It’s a good opportunity for Djoos, who has played with Carlson before. Washington will not recall a defensemen from AHL Hershey for now. They will stick with six unless another player is needed during the remaining three games of this four-game homestand.

50

Alex Ovechkin couldn’t find the back of the net in Wednesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, but he is still just two goals shy of 50 for his career. That would be his eighth 50-goal season. Ovechkin finished last year with 49. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have had more (nine each). Ovechkin always torches Minnesota with 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in just 15 career games. That’s his highest goals-per-game average against any franchise.

Holtby goes

No surprise here as the Capitals don’t have any more back-to-back games and will ride Holtby down the stretch until they possibly clinch the Metropolitan Division. They lead by three points over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins and have eight games to go. Holtby is 8-2-0 in his career against Minnesota with one shutout and a .922 save percentage. 

Going streaking

The Capitals have won eight games in a row against Minnesota, led by former Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. Expect a good push from the Wild, however, who are still in the playoff chase in the Western Conference. At 34-31-9, they have 77 points and are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second and final wild card spot. 

Expected lineup

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana – Evgeny Kuznetsov – T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Andre Burakovsky – Nic Dowd – Travis Boyd
Christian Djoos – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik – Nick Jensen
Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley
Scratches: Chandler Stephenson, Dmitrij Jaskin
Injured: Michal Kempny

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