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Djokovic, Federer in 1-2 title match at ATP finals

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Djokovic, Federer in 1-2 title match at ATP finals

LONDON (AP) As usual, Roger Federer is looking to add to one of his many records. And as many expected, Novak Djokovic will be trying to stop him.

The top two players in the world advanced to the championship match at the ATP finals on Sunday, each looking beatable early before turning things around.

Federer, a six-time champion at the season-ending event, advanced by beating U.S. Open champion Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 6-2. The top-ranked Djokovic defeated Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

``I knew that if I lose today it's the end of the season, so I gave everything I had and couldn't be more happy,'' Federer said on court after the match.

The ATP finals is the last tournament of the season, and Federer will face Djokovic in the final match on Monday at the O2 Arena.

Federer found himself in a hole early against Murray, losing his serve in the opening game. But Murray, who lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final but beat him in the Olympic final, couldn't hang on. The 17-time Grand Slam champion broke back to even the score at 4-4, then recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the tiebreaker to win the opening set and take control.

In the second set, Federer lost only two points on serve and broke Murray twice.

``Once he gets ahead, he's incredibly hard to stop,'' said Murray, who leads Federer 10-9 in head-to-head play. ``He tends to play better and better when he gets up. I feel like I gave him that advantage the beginning of the second set.''

In the early match, the top-ranked Djokovic started playing his best tennis as soon as he appeared on his way to an early offseason vacation.

Djokovic was broken late in the first set and again early in the second, but he found his stroke and quickly rebounded.

``Well, I had a little, let's say, crisis in today's match from 4-all, first set to 2-all in the second, where I didn't feel so good on the court, struggling to find my momentum and my rhythm,'' Djokovic said. ``So you try to be positive and push myself to fight for every point and believe I can come back. That was the case.''

Del Potro took the lead late in the first set, breaking Djokovic for a 5-4 lead before serving out the set at love.

The tall Argentine, who defeated Djokovic to win the Olympic bronze medal at Wimbledon this year, then went up a break early in the second set. But Djokovic broke right back to 2-2 and then took Del Potro's serve again to take a 5-3 lead.

``He's so good,'' Del Potro said. ``Of course, he's the No. 1. In these kinds of matches, they make the difference between them and the rest of the players.''

In the third set, Djokovic decisively won 12 of 13 points over a three-game stretch to take a 3-1 lead. He broke again three games later and held at love to advance.

``I believed that I could come back,'' said Djokovic, who treated the media to chocolates during his post-match news conference to thank them for their work throughout the year. ``I believed that I could turn this match around in my favor, and I've done so.''

The victory was Djokovic's 74th of the season, tying him with David Ferrer for the most this year. It was also his seventh win in nine matches against Del Potro.

Djokovic won the ATP finals in 2008 and reached the semifinals in 2009 - the first year the tournament was played at the O2 Arena in London.

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Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

LANDOVER, MD — Here is my instant analysis of the Redskins’ 15-13 preseason win over the New York Jets.

— Alex Smith started the game and so did most of the other players who are expected to start Week 1. Rob Kelley was at running back, Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson lined up at receiver, and the offensive line was intact — with the exception of Geron Christian playing left tackle. Vernon Davis was the tight end. 

— Smith moved the team efficiently on the first drive, completing four of six passes for 48 yards. He converted one third-and-9 by finding Doctson in a big soft spot in the Jets’ zone for 11 yards. On third-and-goal at the 4, he threw a pass a little behind Trey Quinn; it was catchable but not easy and Quinn couldn’t handle it. A field goal made it 3-0. After that 11-play, 71-yard drive, Smith and most of the rest of the offensive starters left the game. 

— Ten of the 11 regular defenders started the game, the exception being Matt Ioannidis. In his first series in a Redskins uniform, Daron Payne stopped the drive with a sack on third down. After that three-and-out, they weren’t as effective against Sam Darnold on their second possession. The rookie was sharp leading a 12-play, 42-yard field goal drive. 

— The first time Samaje Perine touched the ball, he ran for 30 yards off left tackle, following a nice block from J.P. Holtz, a tight end who was lined up at fullback. Since they released the only fullback on the roster last week, TE as FB is likely to be the plan. Perine then left the game with an ankle injury. He did not return. 

— There were some special teams gaffes in the first half. Dustin Hopkins hit the right upright on a 35-yard field goal try but it went through. On the ensuing kickoff, though, the kick went out of bounds. Later on, Byron Marshall put the ball on the ground on a kickoff return but replay showed it that he was down. So there was one costly miscue and two near-misses. 

— The Redskins backup defensive unit was back on its heels in a second-quarter drive with most of the Jets’ offensive starters in. They ended the drive when Danny Johnson make a good tackle to force a third and one. The Jets went for it and Darnold’s pass was tipped by Deshazor Everett and intercepted by Troy Apke. Tim Settle dominated in the middle, usually matched up against former Redskins center Spencer Long. 

— It was bad news, then good news for rookie WR Cam Sims in the second quarter. First he had a pass in his hands for a first down in the red zone but the ball popped out without him being touched and the pass was picked off. On the Redskins’ next possession he made a nice catch between two defenders for a 27-yard gain on third-and-10. Later in the drive he made a leaping catch in the end zone, but a penalty negated the TD. He has been inconsistent in practice in Richmond and is carrying over. 

— The Redskins had some red zone woes in the first half. The had three shots from there and settled for field goals every time. They also had the situation where Sims had the pass in his hands in the red zone before it popped out for an interception. 

— Long shot Martez Carter got his name on the board with a runs of nine and then 30 yards, showing blazing speed around the corner on both runs. He remains a long shot but speed like that will get you some attention. 

— Third QB Kevin Hogan was able to lead a scoring drive on his first possession but it was done mostly via Carter’s runs and the first application of the new helmet rule in a Redskins’ game this preseason, a flag that went against the Jets. The next two possessions he went two for three for seven yards and the Redskins went three and out both times. 

— The Jets kicked a late field goal to take a 13-12 lead. Hogan had a chance to bring them back and got them into Jets territory. Then Cam Sims made a 20-yard grab to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt. Hopkins hit it as time ran out to give the home team a 15-13 lead. 

— The win doesn’t mean anything but it’s always more fun to win than to lose. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

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USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

Sean Doolittle has gotten his wish - the Washington Nationals will now have a bullpen cart for the remainder of the 2018 season. 

In a release on Thursday, the Nationals announced that they will unveil a the WGL Energy Bullpen Cart on their upcoming Friday night game against the Miami Marlins. The cart will be at all remaining home games at Nationals Park.

Both the Nationals’ pitchers and opponents will be able to utilize the cart to enter a game as a reliever. The cart will transport the relief pitcher from the bullpen to their dugout instead of the traditional long trout out to the mound. 

Players are not required to use the vehicle if they do not want to. 

Earlier this season, Doolittle was the first National ever to use the bullpen cart at Chase Field, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Afterward, he noted that although he had less time, he was not out of breath and “loved it.”

In addition to the Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals are the third active team to have a bullpen cart. Per the release, this is the first season that the bullpen cart has been used in MLB since 1995.

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