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France's Chardy bounces del Potro from Aussie Open

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France's Chardy bounces del Potro from Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Still smiling an hour later, France's Jeremy Chardy said he had just played ``the most beautiful match'' of his career.

The 25-year-old Frenchman staged the biggest upset so far at the Australian Open, beating No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro in a five-setter that lasted nearly four hours Saturday.

``I feel so much emotion,'' Chardy said after the 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 3-6, 6-3 win. ``It's a great moment for me. Everyone dreams of this.''

Chardy, who lost in the first round last year, frustrated del Potro with a tricky slice and a mix of drop shots, volleys and an inside-out forehand. One fast-paced rally in the third set sent the 6-foot-6 Argentine sprinting into the stands and hurdling a barricade.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, was seen as a potential challenger to the Big Three: No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Andy Murray. In his first two matches, del Potro had dropped only 13 games - the fewest among all men in the draw.

But it was Chardy who dominated with 78 winners, including 44 on his forehand side. The big-hitting Del Potro had only 12 forehand winners in five sets.

``The match was really tough,'' said del Potro, who rallied from two sets down to level the match but dropped his serve in the crucial eighth game of the final set. ``In the end when he had the chance to break me, he did. I think that was key,'' said del Potro.

``Jeremy played so strong for four hours,'' del Potro added. ``He serves well. He made a lot of winners with the forehand, very good slices.''

Chardy reached the fourth round of a major once before - five years ago at Roland Garros.

``I played some tennis I never would have thought I was capable of playing,'' the No. 36-ranked Chardy said. ``Five sets, to be here in a Grand Slam. It's the most beautiful match of my career.''

He's one of four French players to reach the fourth round, matching the country's record at Melbourne Park.

Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 9 Richard Gasquet also won their third-round matches Saturday, while No. 14 Gilles Simon was playing Gael Monfils later Saturday for a spot in the next round.

Asked if a Frenchman could possibly win the Australian Open, Chardy smiled broadly.

``Maybe me!'' he said.

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IN PRAISE OF GUSSIE: Serena Williams paid tribute to Gussie Moran, the trailblazing tennis star who scandalized Wimbledon in 1949 by wearing a tennis skirt above her knees and lace-trimmed underwear.

Moran died at age 89 on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Williams, the 15-time Grand Slam winner, who has a flair for on-court fashion, said it was women like Moran who paved the way for how female athletes can dress today.

``When you look at the history of tennis, especially Wimbledon, you see these women wear these long gowns,'' said No. 3-seeded Williams, gesturing toward her feet. ``I don't know how they could have possibly played in that.''

As a 25-year-old seeded seventh at Wimbledon in 1949, Moran made jaws drop and flashbulbs pop when she showed up for her first match minus the knee-length skirt considered proper for women at the time. She lost the match, but her striking fashion statement appeared on magazine covers around the world. The British press dubbed her ``Gorgeous Gussie.''

Once ranked as high as fourth in the United States, Moran never achieved great fame for her tennis.

Perhaps in a sign of how far tennis fashion has developed, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus said she had never heard of Moran. And Williams said she knew ``the name Gussie'' but needed a reminder about her legacy.

``Someone always has to be first. I think that obviously she made a way for not only tennis players but just women in general in sport,'' Williams said. ``Like you don't have to wear a dress to your ankles to be a female athlete playing sports.

``I think being a trailblazer is honorable.''

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BACK PAIN: In one of those ``I'll have what she's having'' moments, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka quipped she wished she had a back problem.

At times during her third-round match, Azarenka looked like the underdog as the relatively unknown 23-year-old American Jamie Hampton pounded forehands and had the crowd on center court cheering, ``C'mon, Jamie!''

Azarenka overcame the scare to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Playing with her lower back heavily taped, Hampton said she began feeling pain late in the first set. She took a medical timeout before serving out the second set.

``I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I have two herniated disks in my lower back,'' she said after the match. ``It's something I deal with day to day, and, yeah, it was hurting.''

The problem was diagnosed after last year's French Open when she hurt her back in the first round and had to withdraw, she said. After the problem started acting up Saturday, Hampton said she felt pain when she served, when she went low for the ball, ``and then just moving in general.''

During an on-court interview after the match, Azarenka said the level of play stunned her.

``She took a medical timeout but she rips winners all over the place and I was like, `Can I have a back problem?' I'm feeling great, but I'm missing every shot.''

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Associated Press Writer Justin Bergman contributed to this report.

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Derrius Guice posts picture and message from White House visit with Donald Trump

Derrius Guice posts picture and message from White House visit with Donald Trump

Redskins third-year running back Derrius Guice first gained national fame during his breakout college career at Louisiana State University from 2015 to 2017. In three seasons at LSU he rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns. Even more remarkably, as a sophomore Guice ran for nearly 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns as part of a backfield timeshare with Leonard Fournette. 

Understandably Guice always vocally supports his college, and this year, during LSU's incredible run to the college football championship, the Redskins young running back loudly rooted on his Tigers. When LSU beat Alabama in November, Guice razzed many of his Redskins teammates that played in college for the Crimson Tide. Often. Loudly. 

So it should be no surprise to Redskins or Tigers fans that Guice accompanied LSU on their visit to the White House last week. He lives in the D.C. area and Tigers coach Ed Orgeron likes to include former players in many activities. 

On Friday Guice posted a picture from visit, but from one of most exclusive places in the world.

For a young man that dealt with tragic circumstances as a child and poverty throughout his young life, Guice's message is uplifting. In fact, if more people listened to what Guice was saying instead of an instant reaction to a picture, some things might be in a better spot. Right and left, executive and legislative, all could use to listen to Guice on this one. Not everything is about politics. 

So far in his Redskins career, Guice has dealt with multiple knee injuries, but when on the field he's been explosive. His season ended in early December but he's expected to be ready to go for offseason work. 

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A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

ST. LOUIS -- John Carlson did a valiant job trying to defend his title for the hardest shot, but Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber took home the prize with a blistering 106.5 MPH shot at the NHL Skills on Friday.

Alex Ovechkin won the Hardest Shot in 2018 and Carlson won it in 2019. He looked to be in good position to win it again after taking the lead with only one shooter left to go.

As Carlson skated up for his turn, the number to beat was 102.4 from Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson. Carlson shattered that with a shot of 104.5, beating his own winning shot from last year of 102.8.

The only problem? Weber was the last shooter.

"With Webs going behind him you kind of just expect him to go put up some big numbers," T.J. Oshie said. "But when John put up 104.5, you thought maybe there was a chance, but obviously Shea stepped up and took care of business."

Weber had Carlson beat on his very first shot. Weber smashed the puck for 105.9 MPH on his first attempt. As he was the last shooter, he had already won, but took his second shot anyway and beat his own mark, finishing with a 106.5 MPH shot.

While the Caps had won the event in each of the past two seasons, Weber had won it three straight times before Ovechkin took the title in 2018.

Even when Carlson took the lead, he still did not believe he would win knowing Weber still had to go.

"I think I knew all along we were all just a part of the show," Carlson said.

Braden Holtby also fell short in his attempt to win the Save Streak event. Frederik Anderson had the number to beat of seven when Holtby went between the pipes. He faced shooters from the Atlantic Division and made a run at seven when he stopped David Pastrnak’s shot. A goalie's round could not end on a save. As the captain, Pastrnak was the last shooter unless Holtby saved his shot. When Holtby stopped Pastrnak, that meant he would continue facing shots until he was beaten. With two straight saves, Holtby denied Shea Weber and Brady Tkachuk to get his streak up to five saves before he was finally beaten by Jack Eichel.

"I was just hoping Shea Weber wouldn't come down and take a slap shot on me,” Holtby told the NBCSN broadcast.

St. Louis Blues Jordan Binnington ended up winning the event, much to the delight of the home crowd. Andrei Vasilevskiy raised the save streak up to nine with Binnington as the last goalie to go. In dramatic fashion, Binnington went on to deny 10 straight shots to take the win.

Other highlights of the All-Star Skills:

Ryan O’Reilly’s football helmet

Next week is the Super Bowl Sunday and Ryan O’Reilly showed who he is cheering for in warmups as he came onto the ice wearing a Kansas City Chiefs' helmet.


Connor McDavid is not the fastest skater?

We all know who the fastest skater in the NHL is. It’s Connor McDavid. You might as well just declare the race over, right?

Not so fast. (See what I did there?)

Stunningly, McDavid did not win the event and was edged out by New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal who completed the event in 13.175 seconds, just 0.03 seconds away from the record.

The Justin Bieber mask

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl decided to have some fun during the save streak. Before his shot attempt on Binnington, he busted out a Justin Bieber mask and put it on before shooting.

No, he did not score. Yes, the mask was terrifying.


The women’s 3-on-3 game was awesome

If there is one complaint about the All-Star Skills and All-Star Game, is that it is not competitive enough. Players have fun with it, as they should, but they aren’t exactly going 100-percent like they would in an actual game. That was certainly not the case for the 3-on-3 women’s game between Canada and USA.

The women’s teams put on a great display of skill in what was an incredibly fun game to watch. Canada took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a goal from Rebecca Johnston. Melodie Daoust made it 2-0 in the second period and Hilary Knight finally put USA on the board putting them to within one.

But really it was the goalies who stole the show. With plenty of room to work, there were a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes. Both Alex Cavallini for the USA and Ann-Renee Desbiens for Canada were strong in net to keep it a three-goal game.

"It was pretty impressive," Oshie said. "The goalies stood on their head, but the girls were making some awesome plays, some great moves. It's always fun cheering on the Americans."

Desbiens had a drop the mic moment with a glove save just as time expired to maintain the 2-1 win for Canada.

Shooting Stars

You have to credit the NHL for trying. One of the new events featured players on a raised platform in the crowd shooting at targets on the ice. It was...different. The biggest issue with it was that the players could not hit most of the targets and the one that seemed the easiest to get was worth the most points. This one will need some tweaking if they want to bring it back again next year.

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