Penetta tops Vinci to win the first all Italian U.S. Open


Penetta tops Vinci to win the first all Italian U.S. Open

ROME (AP) -- In Brindisi, Flavia Pennetta's hometown, there were shouts of joy.

In nearby Taranto, Roberta Vinci's hometown, there was appreciative applause amid mild disappointment.

Big video screens were set up in both cities of the Puglia region to watch the first all-Italian U.S. Open women's final.

With Italian Premier Matteo Renzi in attendance in New York, Pennetta beat Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Saturday. Then Pennetta announced she will retire after this season.

"The fresher player won," Italy Fed Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti said, referring to how Vinci was stretched to three sets by top-ranked Serena Williams a day earlier.

"The important thing is what's best for her," Barazzutti told The Associated Press. "You've got to respect her decision. We'll all try to convince her to continue but I think that after this victory her mind is made up.

"Flavia has been talking about retiring for a while now. She's done so much in her career."

There has been speculation that Pennetta could replace Barazzutti as Fed Cup captain.

"If they get rid of me she can have the job," he said.

In Brindisi, one big screen was set up in the main piazza, and another two at the local tennis club where Pennetta learned to play.

Pennetta's parents watched the match at home, and were caught off guard by their daughter's retirement announcement.

"We'll try to make her change her mind," Pennetta's father, Oronzo, said, according to the ANSA news agency. "That announcement made us freeze for a moment. We're happy for this extraordinary achievement but disappointed for the retirement."

The title will move Pennetta up to a career-high No. 8 in the rankings.

"She said she was going to retire but only if she dropped to 50th in the rankings," Oronzo added. "Not after a victory of these dimensions."

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.


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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising.