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Mystics fall to Sky in season finale

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Mystics fall to Sky in season finale

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Courtney Vandersloot scored 20 points to help the Chicago Sky beat Washington 77-58 on Saturday night, handing the last-place Mystics their 13th straight loss. Epiphanny Prince added 12 points for the Sky (14-20), who had a season-low 23 points in the first half and a season-high 54 in the second half. Swin Cash and Sonja Petrovic added 10 points each. "We wanted to see the third quarter as a new start and forget that first quarter," Vandersloot said. Sky center Carolyn Swords agreed, adding the team wasn't worried after the poor first half. "I think we knew that everything going on was in our control and if we just focused on one pass at a time we'd be in good shape," Swords said. Veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro was scoreless with two assists in about 11 minutes in the final game of her 15-year career. Penicheiro, the league's all-time leader in assists and No. 2 in steals, spent 12 season with Sacramento and two with Los Angeles before joining Chicago this season. "I only played here this year, but the way the fans embraced my retirement made me feel really humble," Penicheiro said. "Everyone worked really hard to make it all right, and to see me off in a good way. It was an amazing ceremony. I was trying not to cry. .. I don't think it has truly hit me yet. It feels like this has been a dream and not really happening." Chicago was without Olympic center Sylvia Fowles (strained calf). Monique Currie scored 15 points and Jasmine Thomas had 12 for the Mystics (5-29), who finished one game worse than last season. Washington's .147 winning percent was the second-worst in franchise history, only better than the .100 (3-27) in its inaugural season in 1998. "Our biggest lesson is how to overcome adversity," Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said. "I think they were a courageous group with big hearts. They persevered through injuries and tough losses." The Mystics, who last won Aug. 19 in overtime at home against Chicago, were without leading scorer Crystal Langhorne (foot). Currie scored 11 points in the first half to help the Mystics take a 28-23 lead at the break. "I felt like we always fought hard," Currie said. "We may not have fought smart all the time, but we continued to work individually and hope that we take this time off to ourselves and get better as a team."

The 10 craziest, most entertaining tennis meltdowns of Nick Kyrgios' career

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The 10 craziest, most entertaining tennis meltdowns of Nick Kyrgios' career

Nick Kyrgios is known for his abilities on a tennis court, and no we are not talking about his tennis abilities. 

Kyrgios has the best tennis meltdowns that we have ever seen. Better than John McEnroe, Mikhail Youzhny, Serena Williams, Marcos Baghdatis, whomever you think about when discussing tennis blowups. 

To make Kyrgios more special he has memorable outbursts on a fairly regular basis. So many that narrowing down his meltdowns to a top 10 list is a fairly difficult task. 

This year he is making his return to Washington D.C.'s Citi Open and with the short fuse that Kyrgios brings, every match he plays in becomes a must-watch. 

From time to time, the 24-year-old has destroyed a racket or two... or three in his short career. He's argued with officials. Argued with fans. Argued with pretty much anyone that could disturb him on a tennis court. His racket tosses are unconventional and he always finds a new way to make headlines.

Needless to say, he is controversial for a sport that has a prim and proper history. His attitude is further amplified when he gives up in the middle of games and sets. He randomly turns into a trick shot artist. He doesn't have a coach and openly admits he does not take his profession seriously. It's a shame, really, because he is truly one of the best athletes on the ATP Tour and when he hones in for a big match he plays like a top-10 player. 

In May, before the French Open, he made another stir off the court by calling out two of the best in the sport. He said Novak Djokovic's celebrations are "cringeworthy" and Rafael Nadal has "super salty" double standards. Then he hit a ball right at Nadal in an entertaining Second Round match at Wimbledon.

Here's a non-inclusive list of Kyrgios' top 10 meltdowns/ blowups. And here's to hoping that we'll get another one worthy to go on this list at the 2019 Citi Open.

#10 - Racket toss out of the stadium - 2019 Queens Club Championships

Frustrated, but not enough to destroy a racket, Kyrgios decides to just toss this one out of the court area. He was upset that the umpires "rigged" the match against him and decided to go through the motions in the final points. For multiple transgressions in the tournament, he was fined $17,500.

#9 - Meltdown Down Under - 2017 Australian Open

Playing Andres Seppi this is one of the iconic meltdowns of Kyrgios' career. This match is when many first heard of the young Aussie. A slew of expletives led to code violations, mostly at himself. And in true self-destruction fashion, delivered a half-hearted racket smash

#8 - Umpire coaches up Kyrgios - 2018 U.S. Open

Only this would happen to Kyrgios. In the middle of a Second Round match at the U.S. Open, chair umpire Mohamed Layhani stepped down to give Kyrgios what appears to be a pep talk after dropping the first set and going down in the second to Pierre-Hugues Herbert. "I want to help you" and "you're great for tennis" were overheard on the video. The umpire would later be suspended for his actions, but it worked and Kyrgios won the final three sets. 

#7 - Kyrgios and John McEnroe lose their minds - 2018 Laver Cup

This will give anybody a good laugh. It's almost unfair that it is only No. 7 on this list, but John McEnroe did most of the work in this blowup. Here, McEnroe was the coach of Kyrgios in the team tournament between Team Europe and Team World. 

#6 - Booed off the court - 2016 Shanghai Masters

This match had a little bit of everything, or nothing depending on how you looked at it. Eventually, he was booed off the court because of his lack of effort and he was honest about it in the postgame press conference. Kyrgios was suspended for eight weeks following this performance and fined $32,900.

#5 - Kyrgios insults Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend - 2015 Rogers Cup (NSFW)

Nowhere should this be considered the 'top.' But in 2015 Kyrgios got heated in a match against Stan Wawrinka and lashed out with a leud comment about Wawrinka's girlfriend. Kyrgios received a maximum $10,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 28-day ban from ATP competition. The ATP also levied a $25,000 fine on Kyrgios if he had another inccident over the next six months, which he did not.

#4 - "Why are you watching me on a Sunday night" - 2019 Miami Open

Chirpping at a character like Kyrgios is never a good idea. An unfortunate fan at the Miami Open found out the hard way and Kyrgios clapped back. After shouting at the tennis player (not seen in the video), Kyrgios went right after him with a "You got nothing else to do on a Sunday night?" Kyrgios won the argument as the fan was escorted out of the match. 

#3 - "There is music playing... while we are playing" - 2016 Australian Open

Kyrgios did not like music distracting him during a match against Tomas Berdych. While hilarious, there are no expletives or equipment damage in this freak-out. They would play through the music and Kyrgios would go on to lose. 

#2 - When throwing a racket isn't enough - 2019 Italian Open

Sometimes throwing a tennis racket to voice your displeasure is not enough. So, Kyrgios kicked his water bottle and threw one of his on-court chairs out into the middle of the court. That is to go along with his profanity-laden rant that went along with it. Kyrgios was defaulted, lost his accumulated prize money ($37,881 US), forfeited 45 ATP points and was fined $25,525.

#1 - Why smash a racket when you can smash three? - 2016 Western and Southern Open

The best tennis outbursts are the smashing of rackets. Playing in Cincinnati after dropping a set to Borna Ćorić, Kyrgios let loose on three rackets. The one he was playing with and two backups in his bag. 

BONUS:

If these displays of Nick Kyrgios are not enough for you, here's the lighter side of him during last year's Wimbledon. He recognized a reporter from a party he attended the night prior:

And... a pretty flawless interview with a kid.

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Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

WASHINGTON -- So, it’s settled: Max Scherzer will pitch Thursday.

The Nationals’ best pitcher played catch in right field Tuesday. He felt well a day after a full bullpen session. He, finally, is aligned to make his first start since July 6.

Why Thursday? Well, this is where things are more interesting. Davey Martinez and his staff mapped out Scherzer’s possible starts from Thursday to the end of the season to see how he lines up if he would pitch every fifth game (not every fifth day because of scheduled off-days). If he pitches Thursday, this is how the rest of his season would look:

July 25 vs. Colorado

July 30 vs. Atlanta

Aug. 5 at San Francisco

Aug. 11 at New York

Aug. 17 vs. Milwaukee

Aug. 22 at Pittsburgh

Aug. 28 vs. Baltimore

Sept. 5 vs. New York

Sept. 8 at Atlanta

Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta

Sept. 20 at Miami

Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia

Oct. 1 Wild-Card Game

Note three appearances against the first-place Braves. Consider a late-September start against Philadelphia. Then, of course, being on an extra day of rest should the wild-card game be necessary.

“You know Max,” Martinez said. “He wants to pitch today. He wants to pitch tomorrow. He wants to pitch Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”

Can things go wrong between now and then? Yes. A rainout could move Scherzer around. A recurrence of the mid-back strain which put him on the 10-day injured list July 13, retroactive to July 10, could happen. But, the Nationals took the time to map this out when considering whether Scherzer will pitch Thursday opposite Colorado or Friday against the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. 

One wrinkle in this projection: The final series of the season is at Nationals Park versus Cleveland. The Indians start play Tuesday just three games out of the division lead in the American League Central and two ahead for a wild-card spot. Which means Cleveland could be playing for everything (from the division title, to hosting the wild-card game, to just getting into the postseason) or nothing because it has clinched a spot. Scherzer would not be on schedule for that series.

More immediately, Monday’s rainout forced the Nationals to massage their rotation. Erick Fedde was moved from Monday’s start to the first game of Wednesday’s split day-night doubleheader. Anibal Sanchez will pitch Friday. Joe Ross is expected to fill the open spot Saturday. Patrick Corbin, Scherzer and Sanchez will line up to face Atlanta when it visits next week.

There was one other starting pitcher issue exposed Tuesday. Austin Voth (right biceps tendinitis) has stopped throwing. He will have an MRI this week and his future is to be determined. Not so for Scherzer. He's expected back Thursday, then Oct. 1, if necessary.

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