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Querrey lifts US to victory in Davis Cup

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Querrey lifts US to victory in Davis Cup

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The United States was in trouble when Sam Querrey began his Davis Cup match against Thiago Alves on Sunday.

A few booming serves later, the Americans were headed for the quarterfinals.

Querrey beat Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) to give the U.S. a dramatic 3-2 victory over Brazil, stepping up after teammate John Isner lost to Thomaz Bellucci to send the countries to the deciding fifth match.

``I was very happy with the way I battled through (the match),'' Querrey said. ``I fought through the tough points and got breaks in the second, third and fourth sets. I was just happy to get through it.''

Also advancing Sunday to the quarterfinals were: Canada (over Spain), Italy (over Croatia), Kazakhstan (over Austria) and the Czech Republic (over Switzerland). Clinching spots on Saturday were: France (over Israel), Serbia (over Belgium) and Argentina (over Germany).

The U.S. will host Serbia in the next round in Boise, Idaho, from April 5-7. The other three matchups for the quarterfinals are France-Argentina, Canada-Italy and Czech Republic-Kazakhstan.

Canada is in the Davis Cup quarterfinals for the first time. It defeated a five-time champion Spanish team that was missing Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro because of injuries and fatigue.

No. 15-ranked Milos Raonic beat No. 82 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening reverse singles in Vancouver, British Columbia, to give Canada an insurmountable 3-1 lead.

It was the first time since 2000 that a U.S. team needed to win the fifth match to advance, and the 25-year-old Querrey started fast, breaking Alves in the second game. But Alves, ranked No. 141, responded with breaks of his own in the third and ninth games to take the opening set.

Querrey responded with a consistent array of cross-court winners to control play the rest of the way.

While Isner, the highest-ranked singles player in the tie at No. 16, bemoaned his play, Querrey expressed satisfaction with a straight-set win over Bellucci on Friday and the four-setter against Alves on Sunday.

U.S. team captain Jim Courier had special praise for the 20th-ranked Querrey.

``Sam faced some adversity at the end and played a great tiebreaker to get past not closing it out on serve,'' Courier said. ``Those are learning moments for a player, things you can draw on later on in your career. Today is a good day for Sam and our team in a lot of ways.''

Querrey was especially effective with his serve. He finished with 26 aces, compared to one for Alves, often clocking 120 mph or faster. When Alves was able to return a serve, it often was with little pace, enabling Querrey to eventually hit winners.

``I fight for all the match, all the match,'' the 30-year-old Alves said. ``My ranking is 145, something like this. I play two guys under 20 in the world. I think I play great tennis here.''

Isner got off to a fast start in the first match of the day, then went on to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-3 loss to the 25th-ranked Bellucci.

The left-handed Brazilian overcame Isner's powerful serve with a strong display of groundstrokes that kept the 6-foot-9 American off balance. He played his best tennis in the second part of the match, breaking Isner in the 10th game of the fourth set and then the eighth game of the fifth set.

A dejected Isner said he needed to improve both his mental frame and his play on the court.

``This hurts a lot. I could have won this match,'' he said. ``I just couldn't quite win the big points. It's almost like I wanted it too badly. Confidence-wise, I'm not even close to where I want to be.

``You can't sugarcoat it with me. My five-set record is atrocious, it's simple as that. It falls on me.''

The United States now has nearly three months to get ready for Serbia, which features the world's No. 1 ranked player in Novak Djokovic. Courier said the U.S. team welcomes the challenge of taking on the talented Serbs.

``We wanted to face Serbia. They're one of the great Davis Cup nations right now,'' Courier said. ``If you want to lift this trophy, you need to beat the best teams and that certainly is one of them. We look forward to the challenge.''

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nassir Little

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nassir Little

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nassir Little

School: North Carolina
Position: Forward
Age: 19
Height: 6-6
Weight: 220
Wingspan: 7-1
Max vertical: 38.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.8 FG% (3.6/7.6), 26.9 3PT% (0.4/1.4), 77.0 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, Justise Winslow

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 11th, NBADraft.net 11th, Bleacher Report 16th, Sports Illustrated 11th, Ringer 14th

5 things to know:

*Little came to UNC as their top-ranked recruit and the sixth-ranked player in his class, but didn't live up to those expectations in his one year in Chapel Hill. There is a debate about whether he will be better suited for the NBA, given his athleticism and playing style. The team who drafts him could come away with a steal if the latter proves true.

*He is more known for his defense at this point. Little is an aggressive and physical perimeter defender who could develop into a Marcus Smart-like pest. Though he didn't force a ton of turnovers in college, Little clearly gave opposing teams problems with his energy and length. 

*There are questions about whether Little will ever be more than a dunker on the offensive end. He is excellent in transition and cutting to the rim, but he didn't do much creating off the dribble in college and needs to work on his outside shooting. He shot just 26.9 percent from three at UNC.

*Little had a strong combine with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a 38.5-inch vertical leap. Those numbers helped his reputation as one of the most athletic wings in this year's class.

*Both of Little's parents were in the U.S. military. He had a 4.2 GPA in high school and was named Academic All-ACC.

Fit with Wizards: Little fits with the Wizards given he is a small forward and they currently have an opening there. He would also give them something they need in terms of style as a physical wing defender. Little is the type of player who could help them improve their horrid three-point defense.

But Little's raw skillset suggests he may take some time to develop offensively and it brings into question how high his ceiling will ultimately prove to be. The Wizards may be able to find someone with the ninth pick who can both contribute sooner than Little and offer a clearer road to potential stardom.

That said, if Little's game is indeed more designed for the NBA than in college, he could impress in pre-draft workouts and end up rising up the board.

Best highlight video:
https://youtu.be/oGIQDUttG8I

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Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Redskins officials fear that linebacker Reuben Foster has torn the ACL in his left knee, sources tell NBC Sports Washington.

Additionally, there is concern about a more significant injury that could include the artery in his left leg, sources said. 

Foster went down on his first snap in a non-contact drill during OTAs on Monday after stepping on the leg of guard Tyler Catalina. Immediately, Foster fell to the ground, and it was obvious he was in intense pain. He was audibly screaming and crying while writhing in pain on the field. 

Moments later, the Redskins medical staff rushed out to Foster, and within a matter of minutes, his leg was placed into a stabilizing device. He was then helped onto a cart and wheeled off the practice field. 

After practice, Jay Gruden said the team was unsure of Foster's prognosis but did say, "I’m just very disappointed in what happened in his first rep as a Redskin. He runs through the gap and gets injured."

The Redskins took a major public relations hit by signing Foster last fall, and the team's belief was that his play on the field would be worth the controversy that enveloped his signing. Foster won't be playing in 2019, but remains under contract for 2020, and Washington will have the option to keep him in 2021. 

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