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Djokovic, Ivanovic win; Serbia in Hopman Cup final

Djokovic, Ivanovic win; Serbia in Hopman Cup final

PERTH, Australia (AP) Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic led Serbia into the Hopman Cup final, winning their singles matches Friday over Germany.

Djokovic beat Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-0, while Ivanovic lost only 15 points in defeating Tatjana Malek 6-0, 6-1.

The Serbs will face Spain in Saturday's final.

``It's been a great performance from beginning to the end,'' Djokovic said. ``I was really focused from the start and I just felt drastically better than in the first few days.''

Djokovic took a 4-0 lead in the first set but was broken by Haas in the fifth game. The German held his serve for the only time in the match in the next game. Haas had three break points when trailing 2-0 in the second set but he couldn't convert.

``Right now I believe I am where I need to be,'' Djokovic said. ``Still not 100 percent, physically also, but I'm getting there. We're still working on some things in particular that will make me feel 100 percent for Melbourne in 10 days.''

In mixed doubles, Haas withdrew, citing a toe injury.

In the women's match, Ivanovic didn't face a break point against Malek, who had been brought in to replace the injured Andrea Petkovic after the first of the round robin matches.

``I didn't do much wrong,'' Ivanovic said. ``I really put my head down to work hard for this match and from the first moment I stepped on the court I really put a lot of pressure on her. I was really dominating and striking the ball well.''

Earlier, South Africa beat France 2-1 when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to retire in the deciding mixed doubles match with a left hamstring injury Neither team had a chance of advancing to the final.

Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa beat Mathilde Johansson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 before Tsonga defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), including winning the final five points of the first-set tiebreaker. During the singles match, Tsonga injured his leg while stretching for a shot.

Tsonga also withdrew from next week's Sydney International. His retirement was a precaution to ensure he doesn't worsen the problem before the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on Jan. 14th.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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