Other Sports

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.

D.C. City Council votes to legalize sports betting

sports-betting-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

D.C. City Council votes to legalize sports betting

WASHINGTON (AP) -- City lawmakers in Washington have voted to legalize sports betting, making the nation's capital the first U.S. jurisdiction without casinos to authorize sports books.

The D.C. Council voted 11-2 on Tuesday to authorize betting on professional sports at the city's stadiums and arenas, private businesses like restaurants and liquor stores, and within the city limits on a mobile app.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser supports the bill, which needs her signature to become law. It would also need to survive a review by Congress, but with Democrats taking over the House in January, the law from the Democratic-dominated city is almost certainly safe. Supporters hope bets could be taken in the city within months, although there is no firm timetable.

In May, the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned sports betting in most U.S. states. Since then, several states have authorized betting on sports. The closest place to Washington with legal sports betting is a casino in Charles Town, West Virginia. Sports gambling is also legal in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Because Washington lacks casinos, the D.C. Lottery would oversee sports betting, an arrangement that makes the nation's capital an outlier. Athens, Greece-based Intralot is the city's current lottery vendor. The lottery would sell licenses to sports books at arenas and stadiums for $250,000 over five years, and retailers would be able to purchase a two-year license for $5,000. There is no cap on the number of licenses.

Casino industry groups had a measured reaction to the bill's passage, saying that handing over control of sports gambling to the lottery could stifle competition.

"While the vote today is progress, we remain deeply concerned about giving the lottery a virtual monopoly in the mobile market," Sara Slane, a vice president at the American Gaming Association, said in a statement. "Predictably, this will result in less investment and innovation, to the detriment of consumers and the ability of a nascent legal marketplace to compete with the accessibility and convenience offered by many established illegal wagering operations."

Operators would be taxed at 10 percent of revenue, and city officials have estimated that legal sports gambling will bring in $92 million over four years. Critics said that figure was overly optimistic, particularly if neighboring Maryland, which has several casinos including the massive MGM National Harbor just over the city line, legalizes sports betting.

Quick Links

How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

A week after it felt borderline irresponsible to talk about the Redskins' 2018 playoff chances, it now feels completely necessary. 

Sure, you can make a pretty easy argument that this team doesn't look like a postseason team. But the fact of the matter is they're in a position to possibly become one in a handful of days.

And who's going to have a lot of say in whether the 'Skins do advance beyond Week 17? Kirk Cousins, because DUH.

Thanks to Dallas' Week 15 loss, Washington isn't out of the division hunt yet. However, their far more likely path to the playoffs is via the wild card, a spot that Cousins and the Vikings currently occupy.

To take that spot, the 'Skins really need to win out (they could still take the sixth seed by finishing 8-8, but that would take a lot more help). That means, first and foremost, Josh Johnson has to lead the Burgundy and Gold to victories over the Titans and the Eagles, which would have them finish the year at 9-7.

If that happens, the Redskins will then only require one Minnesota loss in the next two weeks to steal the second wild card. The Vikings square off with the Lions and Bears to wrap up their schedule, with the former happening in Detroit and the latter taking place in Minneapolis. 

The Eagles are also a factor in all of this, but Jay Gruden's squad could make them less of one by beating them in the 2018 finale.

Earlier this season, when everything was going right for the Redskins, it looked like a January showdown between Cousins' former franchise and his current one could happen. Now, though, the two squads are vying for the same position. 

So, it's really simple, 'Skins supporters — root for your guys to win two more and root against Cousins as well. This time around, No. 8 coming up short down the stretch would really benefit Washington.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS