Djokovic beats Melzer in China Open quarterfinals

Djokovic beats Melzer in China Open quarterfinals

BEIJING (AP) Top-seeded Novak Djokovic eased past Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the semifinal of the China Open.

Playing in his first event since losing the U.S. Open final to Andy Murray, the Serb served 12 aces and saved both break points.

He delighted fans after the 53-minute match when he signed a television camera by writing his name in Chinese characters.

Djokovic will play unseeded Florian Mayer of Germany on Saturday. Mayer celebrated his 29th birthday Friday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chinese wild card Zhang Ze.

The second-ranked Djokovic has yet to play a seeded player this week. Nevertheless, he struggled in his opening match before winning in three sets against German qualifier Michael Berrer.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy


NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.


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In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Why the change?

The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.

The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.

Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.

Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.

And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.