Nationals

Djokovic loses to Tomic in Hopman Cup

Djokovic loses to Tomic in Hopman Cup

PERTH, Australia (AP) Top-ranked Novak Djokovic lost to Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4 at the Hopman Cup on Wednesday before Ana Ivanovic evened the Australia-Serbia tie by overwhelming teenager Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-3.

Barty made a positive start, but once Ivanovic made the first break to lead 4-2 she took almost total control to ensure the tie would be decided in the mixed doubles.

Tomic put Djokovic under pressure right from the start, holding five break points in the opening game. Djokovic survived that threat and held a break point of his own to lead 5-3 but netted a backhand. Tomic then broke serve in the next game with a crosscourt forehand winner and served out the set.

He kept up the pressure in the second set. He failed to convert a break point to lead 4-3, but won his sixth break point at 5-4 and then served for the match.

``I played a very, very good match and I'm just happy after the training the last few months, that it's all coming good and the training's paying off,'' Tomic said. ``Hard work does pay off. I'm still improving but I feel this today was a very good sign. I've got to continue playing like this.''

Playing in front of more than 13,000 in the sold-out arena, Tomic admitted to feeling nervous.

``Very difficult to play the first few games,'' he said. ``It's very hard playing against a player like Novak and come out relaxed. But I'm happy the way I came out. I was serving really good and the whole match was on my side because my serve was working really well.''

Djokovic was gracious in defeat.

``He played really well. He deserved to win,'' Djokovic said. ``I knew I was coming here to Australia really late and it still takes time for me to get used to it.

``But I'm not taking anything from his win. He played terrific. He's in great form. I was always on the back foot and he was the better player.''

Earlier, Italy came from behind to beat Germany 2-1.

Francesca Schiavone rallied to defeat Tatjana Malek 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and level the tie for Italy after Tommy Haas resisted a solid challenge and defeated Andreas Seppi 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7). Italy then won the doubles 6-4, 7-5.

On Thursday, the United States team of John Isner and Venus Williams plays the Spanish pairing of Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues for a place in Saturday's final. Australia also faces Italy.

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Brewers’ unlikely run continues to shrink wild-card gap with Nationals

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Brewers’ unlikely run continues to shrink wild-card gap with Nationals

The Brewers. They are surging instead of sliding, partying in St. Louis over the weekend after winning two of three against the division-leading Cardinals thanks to a ninth-inning grand slam by Ryan Braun on Sunday.

They have won nine of 10 and six of seven since MVP candidate Christian Yelich broke his kneecap, ending his season. Things are tight because of their run. Just two weeks remain in the regular season.

So, here’s where things stand overall: 

  • Chicago is 1 ½ games behind the Nationals for the top wild-card spot.
  • Milwaukee is 2 ½ games behind the Nationals and just a game behind the Cubs. Those three teams mark a breaking point in the standings.
  • The Mets are four games behind the Cubs for the second wild-card spot and 5 ½ behind the Nationals.
  • Philadelphia is six games behind the Nationals and 4 ½ games behind Chicago after back-to-back losses to end the weekend.

 

Fivethirtyeight.com puts the Nationals chances of making the postseason at 93 percent.

 

Coming up Monday:

San Diego at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m., Richards (5-4, 3.66 ERA) vs. Davies (9-7, 3.77)

Washington at St. Louis, 7:45 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. D. Hudson (15-7, 3.38)

Cincinnati at Chicago, 8:05 p.m., Gausman (3-8, 5.83) vs. Hamels (7-7, 3.89)

New York Mets at Colorado, Matz (10-8, 3,84) vs. Senzatela (9-10, 6.87)

 

Philadelphia is off.

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Case Keenum isn't the Redskins problem, and Dwayne Haskins won't fix it either

Case Keenum isn't the Redskins problem, and Dwayne Haskins won't fix it either

The Redskins have lots of problems, but Case Keenum isn't one of them. Through two games this season, Keenum has thrown for 600 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. 

He hasn't been great, and he's missed some big opportunities, but Keenum isn't even close to the main reason why the Redskins are 0-2. Not even close. 

"I think he handled it really well. He might’ve miss a few throws here or there," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said of Keenum after the Cowboys loss. "He’s not taking many sacks, he’s getting out of the pocket, he’s making plays, and I love his competitiveness. I think that will rub off on the entire football team if it hasn’t already. Guys like to play for him and play with him.”

The Washington defense surrendered at least 30 points in consecutive losses to the Eagles and the Cowboys to start the 2019 campaign. The defense has given up at least 400 yards in both losses. The defensive front, the presumed strength of the Redskins team, has piled up a whopping two sacks through two games. Two. 

Offensively, the Redskins haven't been great, or even very good. Keep in mind, however, the expectations for Washington's offense weren't particularly high. Gruden has frequently talked how his team is built to "win ugly" and that the head coach is fine with low-scoring victories. 

Well, Keenum has delivered enough for those type of wins. The defense just isn't holding up their end of the bargain. In two games the Redskins have averaged 24 points with zero turnovers. That's more than enough to win ugly. 

And the truth is Keenum deserves almost all of the credit for the Redskins offensive production. The run game has been abysmal thus far. Through the first two losses, no running back has gained even 30 yards, and the Redskins collectively have less than 100 yards rushing. 

Whatever offense there has been has come from Keenum. He's missed a few big plays - a potential TD throw to Terry McLaurin in the second half of the Eagles loss and a blatant miss of a wide-open Paul Richardson against the Cowboys really stand out. But he's also made plenty of good throws and engineered some good drives. 

Keenum has also proved quite level-headed. He came to Washington knowing he had to compete for the starting job. His whole career he's been overlooked, and that has molded him into a veteran presence with a clear head. 

"Sometimes you must grind it out. It’s not always going to look pretty either, but I trust all those guys in that locker room and know that they’re going to fight no matter what," Keenum said.

Since this is Washington, there are always fans calling for the backup quarterback. In this case there is genuine excitement for Dwayne Haskins, the rookie 15th overall pick and Keenum's backup. Haskins has All Pro potential but hasn't hit the field yet. And frankly he shouldn't. Keenum has done plenty to keep a stranglehold on the starting job.

That said, late in both games this season the Redskins have been playing in situations where the result was mostly out of hand. Could Gruden give Haskins a drive to get him some real game action? Sure, but that would create a laundry list of postgame questions that Gruden probably wants to avoid. Plus, there are senior Redskins officials that are truly committed to Haskins spending the year on the bench to really learn the game. A random fourth quarter drive won't change that tremendously, in either direction. 

For now, it's Keenum, and it's the right call. He's been pretty good, and he's done enough for Washington to be in games.

"None of us expect to be average. We all want to score 100 points," Keenum said after the loss to Dallas. 

Of course the quarterback doesn't want to be average, but before the season started, the Redskins would have taken average from their QB. The plan was for low-scoring football that Washington wins with defense. 

Keenum has been better than average, the defense just hasn't shown up.

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