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Davydenko, Monfils reach quarterfinals in Qatar

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Davydenko, Monfils reach quarterfinals in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) Nikolay Davydenko reached the Qatar Open quarterfinals by beating fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Once ranked as high as No. 3, Davydenko has struggled in recent years because of injuries. But the Russian combined a consistent first serve with aggressive play to unnerve the 25th-ranked Youzhny.

Gael Monfils defeated third-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Davydenko broke his opponent to take a 6-5 lead in the first set and won when Youzhny hit a forehand into the net. Davydenko kept the momentum going into the second set, forcing Youzhny to save a break point in the first and third games. At 2-2, Davydenko won three straight games to take control.

``Tough match,'' said Davydenko, who won the tournament in Doha three years ago. ``Maybe we didn't start well with so many mistakes. I know against Russians when you play in second round, it's not easy.''

The 44th-ranked Davydenko said he was targeting a place in the top 20 this year after failing to win a tournament in 2012.

``If I really concentrate and (practice) and play, I want to see results,'' he said.

Monfils, who has fallen to 77th in the rankings after knee troubles forced him to cut short his 2012 season, used his powerful serve to take the lead. But in the second set, the Frenchman appeared to get frazzled by a new rule that requires players to serve in 25 seconds.

Monfils repeatedly argued with the umpire after a warning that he was taking too long, and Kohlschreiber soon took a 5-1 lead in the set.

In the third set, Monfils had four of his 10 aces and Kohlschreiber started making more unforced errors. The German also missed three early chances to break Monfils.

``I was very pleased with my game,'' said Monfils, who beat Rafael Nadal last year to reach the Qatar Open final. ``I didn't know what to expect. I am 100 percent.''

Nadal is sidelined because of a virus, and he's not expected to play until February.

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Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice is a very positive person. Unfortunately, he's playing for a team right now that's shrouded in negativity.

The Redskins have played 10 games this season, and they've walked off the field as losers in nine of those contests. They've gotten rid of their head coach, and many are wondering how many other major changes will come.

And when it comes to the fans, many — if not most — are furious with the direction of the franchise. Guice is noticing that, too.

"It just sucks when I score, or someone else scores, and our team posts a picture to Instagram or Twitter and everything under it is just, 'Fire this, fire that, we suck," Guice told JP Finlay in a 1-on-1 interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. "That doesn't help anything."

The running back understands that frustration. However, he wants those who are angry to know one thing: While this current roster is obviously responsible for the 2019 issues, they aren't responsible for the two-decade-long slump that's affected the organization.

"I'm new here," Guice said. "I understand some of these fans have been here 20-30 years, but like, there's a lot of guys on this team that are new. Y'all can't bring all that negativity to us like we've been here 20 years. I don't think that's fair to us players."

That's what makes this situation so difficult for those on the field and those who watch those on the field. Fans have been on this unsatisfying ride for far too long, yet most of the players hopped on a stop or two ago. 

So people who post those hateful comments or send those angry DMs are doing so because they've seen a handful of free agency and draft classes bust, and because they've seen numerous coaches come in and fail, and they've been lied to repeatedly about how "close" the Redskins are. They aren't necessarily trying to take it out on Guice or Dwayne Haskins or Landon Collins, it just appears that way.

Guice, for one, is trying his best to improve how he handles that side of being an athlete. He's also choosing to focus on those who've stayed on his side through what's been a trying first couple of seasons in the league.

For all the negativity he encounters, he's grateful for those who remain positive like him.

"A guy that's been there two years and has only played two real games, there's a lot of fans that have still never left my side since I got drafted," Guice said. "That's something I always have to cherish."

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Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

When you win a championship the way the Nationals did, other teams are going to try and capture that magic in any way they can. 

Of course, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg are at risk of leaving town and free agency, but now the Davey Martinez will have to make changes to his coaching staff as well. 

According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies hired Washington's assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon as their new hitting coach under manager Joe Girardi. 

Working with hitting coach Kevin Long, Dillon helped the Nationals lead the national league in on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average and OPS. 

The Phillies struggled at the plate in 2019, ranking 22nd in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage and 17th in OPS. Despite acquiring Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and JT Realmuto last offseason, Philadelphia boasted an anemic offense under former hitting coach John Mallee. 

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