MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens advanced to the Hobart International semifinals Thursday with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win over fellow American and qualifier Lauren Davis.
Stephens will play Elena Vesnina of Russia in one of Friday's semifinals. Vesnina played better in windy conditions Thursday to beat wild-card Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-3, 6-2.
``I had to be smart and in the wind you have to use it like a weapon,'' Vesnina said.
Ninth-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-3 and will play the winner of Thursday's night quarterfinal between Monica Niculescu of Romania and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
The 22-year-old Barthel said she's ``improved a lot'' as she begins her second season on the WTA Tour.
``I feel like I learned so much last year, playing all these tournaments and playing against the top players,'' Barthel said. ``My serve has got better and I feel like my groundstrokes are better ... but maybe a little more confidence this year.''
The final is scheduled for Saturday at the Domain Tennis Centre.
The NFL owners voted Tuesday evening to approve a rule proposal that will allow for both offensive and defensive pass interference, as well as non-calls, to be able to be subject to review.
The new rule change was passed for 2019 season and will be on a trial basis. Coaches will be able to challenge those specific calls in the first 28 minutes of each half.
The change was passed with a 31-1 vote in Phoenix Tuesday evening at the Annual League Meeting. The only team to vote against the provision was the Cincinnati Bengals.
Coaches will still have two challenge flags.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, who has been the one of the rule change's main advocates since the 2018 NFC Championship Game, was thrilled after the ruling was announced.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS
When a new player signs or is traded to a team, a lot of hype and speculation come along with it. While discussions about how they'll fit in with a certain scheme and debates over whether the contract was worth it always take center stage, there's another hot-button question that fans, journalists and more like to explore: "What number will they wear?"
After the Redskins signed free agent safety Landon Collins to a six-year deal this offseason, trying to determine what number he would wear became an important discussion point, and on Tuesday the answer was finally revealed by the team's twitter account.
Collins will rock No. 20 for the Redskins, according to a post by the team today. A great deal of the hoopla behind what number the safety would pick revolved around his history with the late Sean Taylor. Collins has always looked up to the Redskins great and wore No. 21 with the New York Giants to honor one of his role models. He even became overwhelmed with emotion when receiving a signed Taylor Jersey from owner Dan Synder following his signing.
So, it seemed that if anyone was going to be the first player to dawn No. 21 in the Burgundy and Gold since Taylor it would be Collins. However, Tuesday put that theory to rest. To some, including former Redskins Clinton Portis, this was the right decision.
No. 20 will be the third different number Collins has worn since the beginning of his collegiate career, as he was No. 26 at Alabama. With Adrian Peterson re-signing with Washington, it seems as if the running back will be keeping the number he wore in 2018. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix wore No. 20 for the Redskins last season, but the safety is now with the Chicago Bears.
The post also included the number new quarterback Case Keenum will wear, which will be No. 8. This will be the fourth different number of his NFL career, as he had worn No. 7, No. 17 and No. 4 during his previous stops.
Kevin Hogan was the last Redskins quarterback to wear No. 8. But before him, it was of course Kirk Cousins, who then went to Minnesota to take over Keenum's starting job. I guess it really is a small world after all.
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