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Shanghai semis: Federer-Murray, Djokovic-Berdych

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Shanghai semis: Federer-Murray, Djokovic-Berdych

SHANGHAI (AP) Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych - the top four seeded players - reached the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters.

Federer beat Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-4 Friday and will next play Murray, the two-time defending champion. Murray improved his Shanghai record to 11-0 by defeating a tenacious Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Djokovic easily won his quarterfinal, downing Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-3. He'll face Berdych, who outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the day's first match. Berdych has beaten Djokovic only once in 10 matches.

This is the first time in the four years of the Shanghai Masters the top four seeded players made it to the semifinals. That has happened in four other tournaments this year: Australian Open; Doha, Qatar; Estoril, Portugal; and Umag, Croatia.

Murray defeated Federer in their last match - the London Olympics final - and has a 9-8 record against the top-ranked Swiss. Murray also took Federer in the 2010 Shanghai final.

``I assume he's very confident right now and probably playing with a little bit less pressure,'' Federer said. ``Then again, that can go either way. It's been a long year for all of us.''

Federer played solidly, saving five of seven break-point opportunities he handed Cilic. He was broken in the fourth game of the first set and when serving for the match at 5-3 in the second.

Haas was the first player this week to break Djokovic's serve, with both breaks coming in the second set. The first break was in the second game and the other when Djokovic was serving for the match at 5-2.

``(I was) a little bit more up and down with the service games,'' said Djokovic, who won the China Open last week. ``But generally when I needed to, I played well. Played very solid from the baseline.''

Stepanek dominated the first set and never gave Murray an opportunity to break serve. Murray rebounded in the second set, breaking serve to go ahead 4-2. Stepanek had two opportunities to retrieve the service break on Murray's serve in the seventh game, but Murray kept his lead.

In the third set, the 41st-ranked Stepanek had a point on serve for a 3-1 lead, but Murray broke back. He won 20 of the last 25 points.

``I just managed to turn it around in time,'' Murray said. ``I played actually very well I thought the last 10, 15 minutes of the match.''

Tsonga was undone by two mistakes - a shaky service game that he lost at love in the eighth game of the first set and a double-fault at 4-4 in the second-set tiebreaker.

``I was feeling quite well on the court,'' Berdych said. ``I think the biggest difference between me and Jo was I was able to take the small chances during the first and especially the second set.''

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NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

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USA TODAY Sports

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

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USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

 

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