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Djokovic wins 17th straight match at Aussie Open

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Djokovic wins 17th straight match at Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Novak Djokovic repelled a challenge from Radek Stepanek to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open and still had plenty left over to unleash some stinging shots at Lance Armstrong after the doping-tainted cyclist's long-expected confession.

Djokovic broke the 34-year-old, 34th-ranked Stepanek late in each set of a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win Friday, extending his winning streak to 17 matches at the Australian Open.

In the next match on Rod Laver Arena, Maria Sharapova beat Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in an unexpectedly lopsided third-round result.

Williams could consider herself fortunate - Sharapova's opponents in her first two matches failed to win a game from the Russian star.

Three matches into this tournament, and Sharapova, who pumped her arms six or seven times after she served out with an ace, has lost just four games heading into her fourth-round match against unseeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

``I think when we both looked at the draw, it was a matchup we were both looking forward to,'' Sharapova said of Williams, a seven-time major winner. ``I was a really determined player out there because I knew the tennis that she's capable of producing and playing. She's a tremendous athlete and a great champion.''

Williams didn't feel like a great player on Friday.

``Definitely not my best today, but there's always other days to play better,'' she said. ``I just had a lot of errors (26) ... that never helps.''

At Djokovic's post-match news conference, the questions quickly turned from tennis to Armstrong's confessions about doping in cycling during his television interview with Oprah Winfrey in the U.S. Thursday night.

``I think it's a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this,'' said Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked man in tennis. ``He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story.''

Djokovic, who has five Grand Slam titles, said the doping program in tennis was sufficient to catch the cheats, though he conceded he hasn't had a blood test that could detect illegal oxygen-boosting agents for six months.

He will play No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat American Sam Querrey 7-6 (6), 7-5, 6-4 on Friday, in the fourth round.

Querrey's loss meant that for the second consecutive year, there will be no American men in the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Last year was the first time no U.S. man reached the fourth round at the Australian Open since 1973 - when no Americans traveled to the tournament.

During Friday's match, Djokovic was troubled at times against the wily Stepanek, who mixed up the tempo with a lot of serve-and-volley and some unorthodox shot-making.

``Absolutely it was great. Great match and great fun,'' Djokovic said. ``It's always tricky to play Radek. He's a talented player. Skillful player.''

Told about the statistics - Stepanek won 36 of the 67 points he played at the net - Djokovic wasn't surprised at all.

``He's skillful on the net and he was not giving me a lot of rhythm - he was changing up the pace on the ball,'' Djokovic said. ``Nowadays everything is based on the baseline. It's nice to see somebody coming to the net.''

Stepanek had Djokovic smiling and acknowledging his winners on some points, frustrated him on others with his constant, stay-in-the-point defense, and even had chair umpire Carlos Bernardes grinning with his over-the-shoulder winner to save one match point near the end.

In Friday's last third-round match, fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, clinching the 1-hour, 57-minute match with an ace.

Elsewhere, fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic beat Austria's Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and will next play South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who beat No. 22 Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Others advancing included Japan's Kei Nishikori, who will face Ferrer in the fourth round, and No. 8-ranked Janko Tipsarevic, who has a tough next round against No. 10 Nicolas Almagro , a 7-6 (3), 7-6 4), 6-1 winner over No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz.

In other women's matches, Angelique Kerber survived some nervous moments before fending off American teenager Madison Keys 6-2, 7-5 in their third-round match, then got to blow out the candles on a cake to celebrate her 25th birthday.

Local organizers brought a cake onto the court for Kerber immediately after the match and the crowd at Rod Laver Arena sang ``Happy Birthday.'' She blew out the candles and said thank you to the crowd and to the 17-year-old Keys.

Kerber will next play No. 19 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, who advanced after a tough 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 win over 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli. In the fourth round last year, Makarova beat Serena Williams and was the first of only four women to best the powerful American in 2012. Kerber was the last.

Fourth-seeded Angieszka Radwanska, meanwhile, won her 12th match in a row with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Britain's Heather Watson.

``I'm extremely happy to be playing my best tennis from the beginning of the year,'' said Radwanska, who won tournaments in Auckland and Sydney earlier this month.

Radwanska will now meet 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, who beat Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-3 in a matchup featuring two Serbians who were both formerly ranked No. 1.

Sixth-seeded Li Na advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 27 Sorana Cirstea of Romania and will next play No. 18 Julia Goerges, who prevented an all-China fourth-round encounter by beating Zheng Jie 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

On Saturday, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams play their third-round matches and the featured night match has second-seeded Roger Federer taking on resurgent Australian Bernard Tomic, who won his first ATP title last week in Sydney after a poor 2012.

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Ed Reed on Drew Brees' comments on kneeling during anthem: 'You’re a straight sucker'

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Ed Reed on Drew Brees' comments on kneeling during anthem: 'You’re a straight sucker'

Count Ed Reed among Drew Brees' many critics after Yahoo Finance shared a clip of an interview with the veteran passer in which he stated that he will never support a player kneeling for the national anthem.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said.

Reed, like many others, was not pleased to hear a main figure in the NFL carry that mindset during such an important time of civil unrest in America. Responding to Brees' comments, the Hall of Famer let the quarterback know exactly how he felt.

“Imma just get straight to it. I see Drew Brees do his part in trying to keep black folk down," Reed said. “You’re a straight sucker for that [expletive] Drew Brees...Drew Brees you’re a straight sucker, man. You’re a sucker for that, bro.”

Reed said his frustration stemmed from Brees not understanding what kneeling for the national anthem is truly about, and the fact that it is a peaceful protest. The act that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began was meant to bring attention to the racial injustice and police brutality in the country, not intentionally disrespect the flag.

Being angry about the looting going on across the country is one thing to Reed, but speaking out against players protesting in a peaceful manner is something he could not wrap his head around.

“Why you think all these young people out here protesting? Why you think they out here protesting?" Reed said. "The looting? I could see you speaking on the looting and saying that’s bad, you don’t support that. But why do you think all these young people are out here protesting?"

Reed ended his remarks by addressing those who may defend Brees or still support him in the future due to his play on the field. To the former Raven, wins are not an excuse to justify an action.

“For all my Saints fans, for all my New Orleans people who still like your [expletive] just because they want to win games. Ya’ll right with him, you understand?" Reed said “Drew Brees, you’re a sucker, you’re going to be a sucker. You understand? Punk, man.”

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

John Wall is getting some major help in reaching his fundraising goal to provide rent assistance to residents of Ward 8 amid the coronavirus, as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $200,000 to the cause.

Dorsey, who has the handle @Jack, tweeted his plans Wednesday evening. His donation is two-thirds of Wall's goal to raise $300,000.

It is a very generous donation and also a testament to the work Wall is doing to help others during this time. He picked a cause, used his platform to get the information out there and has caught the attention of someone with the money to help.

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Wall's intention is to help those in the D.C. area who have been affected most by the coronavirus and the toll it has taken on the economy. Wall said residents in need will receive rental assistance for as long as possible and necessary as the country works to eradicate the virus.

For more information, go to the website for Wall's foundation called '202 Assist.'

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