Ravens

Williams loses to Stephens; Federer advances

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Williams loses to Stephens; Federer advances

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Serena Williams was only thinking out loud when she muttered that this Australian Open had been ``the worst two weeks.''

Not long after a courtside microphone picked up those comments during her quarterfinal with 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, things got a whole lot worse.

Stephens outplayed Williams, whose movement and serves had been slowed by a back injury, and beat the 15-time Grand Slam champion 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. It was Williams' first loss since Aug. 17, and her first defeat at a Grand Slam tournament since last year's French Open.

Four-time Australian Open winner Roger Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, looked for a while like he might join Williams on the sidelines. But Federer eked out a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3 win over 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a match that lasted 3 hours, 34 minutes.

Federer, who broke Tsonga in the fourth game of the deciding set, converted his fifth match point while serving after Tsonga saved four match points in the previous game. Federer, who advanced to the semifinals for the 10th consecutive year at Melbourne Park, will play U.S. Open champion Andy Murray on Friday.

``I thought he played very aggressive,'' Federer said of Tsonga. ``I love those four-set or five-set thrillers and I was part of one tonight.''

Murray advanced earlier Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy. The other men's semifinal has defending champion Novak Djokovic playing David Ferrer on Thursday

Williams' downer of a Grand Slam Down Under started badly when she turned her right ankle in her opening match at Melbourne Park.

``I've had a tough two weeks between the ankle ... and my back, which started hurting,'' Williams said. ``A lot of stuff.''

While Williams packed for home - she and sister Venus have also lost in doubles - Stephens advanced to a semifinal Thursday against defending champion Victoria Azarenka.

The top-seeded Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1 in the early quarterfinal at Rod Laver Arena. Maria Sharapova, who has lost only nine games in five matches, plays Li Na in the other semifinal Thursday.

Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set and things got progressively worse. She yelled at herself on several occasions, and smashed a racket into the court, earning a $1,500 fine from tournament officials.

``I was running to the net for a drop shot,'' Williams said, describing the lead up to her injury. ``As I went to hit it, it was on the backhand. I even screamed on the court. I totally locked up after that.''

She reiterated after the match that her injuries had made this Australian Open difficult for her.

``Absolutely, I'm almost relieved that it's over because there's only so much I felt I could do,'' she said. ``I've been thrown a lot of (curve) balls these two weeks.''

Stephens has been, too, but has coped well, and the magnitude of her accomplishment only hit her while she was warming down after the match.

``I was stretching, and I was like, `I'm in the semis of a Grand Slam.' I was like, `Whoa. It wasn't as hard as I thought,''' she said. ``To be in the semis of a Grand Slam is definitely a good accomplishment. A lot of hard work.''

The No. 29-seeded Stephens hadn't been given much of a chance of beating Williams, who lost only four matches in 2012 and was in contention to regain the No. 1 ranking at the age of 31.

Williams' latest winning streak included a straight-set win over Stephens at the Brisbane International this month.

Stephens wasn't even sure that she could beat Williams until she woke up Wednesday.

``When I got up, I was like, `Look, Dude, like, you can do this.' Like, `Go out and play and do your best,'' she said.

Williams walked around the net to congratulate Stephens, who then clapped her hand on her racket and waved to the crowd, a look of disbelief on her face.

Stephens has said she had a photo of Williams in her room when she was a child, and had long admired the Williams sisters.

``This is so crazy. Oh my goodness,'' Stephens said, wiping away tears in her post-match TV interview. ``I think I'll put a poster of myself (up) now.''

Azarenka, with her most famous fan sitting in the crowd wearing a shirt reminding her to keep calm, overcame some early jitters to beat Kuznetsova.

After dropping serve in a long fourth game that went to deuce 10 times, Azarenka recovered to dominate the rest of the match against Kuznetsova, a two-time major winner who was floating dangerously in the draw with a No. 75 ranking as she recovers from a knee injury.

Azarenka's American rapper friend, Redfoo, returned from a concert in Malaysia to attend Wednesday's quarterfinal match.

Wearing a red sleeveless T-shirt that read ``Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles,'' the name of his next single, Redfoo stood, clapped and yelled ``Come on, Vika!'' during the tight first set.

Williams' loss was a boost for Azarenka, who lost all five head-to-heads against the American in 2012 and is 1-11 in their career meetings.

The 25-year-old Murray had his service broken for only the second time while serving for the match. But he broke back immediately to clinch a quarterfinal victory.

Murray discounted comments in the British media that he was upset with an almost full schedule of day matches while Federer was given featured cooler night slots on Rod Laver Arena.

``The scheduling for me is part and parcel of playing in really any tennis tournament,'' Murray said. ``It's tough to make the schedule perfect for every single player.''

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Why a Terrell Suggs return to Baltimore makes sense and what could prevent it from happening

Why a Terrell Suggs return to Baltimore makes sense and what could prevent it from happening

The Cardinals made a splash on Friday by waiving outside linebacker Terrell Suggs after just 13 games played in his Arizona career. 

The 37-year-old is now on waivers until Monday, where he’ll wait to see if he was claimed by one of the 31 other teams. Should he go unclaimed, he’ll be a free agent. 

Naturally, the immediate inclination was to assume a reunion was destined to happen between Suggs and the Ravens. Suggs is the all-time franchise leader in sacks (132.5) and games played (229), too.

But a reunion is more complicated than it might seem on the surface. 

This year, Suggs has 5.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits and 23 tackles. On the Ravens, those numbers would rank second, tied for third and 15th. But Suggs hasn’t registered a full sack since Oct. 20 and didn’t register a statistic in the team’s last game against the Steelers. 

Even still, with the need for proven pass-rushers across the league, Suggs is a desirable addition to any team looking to make a run.

Baltimore ranks 15th in sacks with 34, even with having played one more game than 30 other teams. The need is there for Suggs, who has already returned to the Ravens as a member of a different organization.

“It wasn’t circled, but when the schedule came out, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to downplay it as just another game,’” Suggs said in September. “But we all know that’d be (expletive). It’s kind of a unique situation, isn’t it?”

Suggs has shown the ability this season to be, at the very least, a situational pass-rusher and one that can contribute through the end of the season. Which, as the season winds down, makes his services valuable to teams looking to make a playoff push. 

He’ll be cheap too, as he wouldn’t cost a ton of money against the cap — and would fit into the Ravens plans moving forward. 

The problem, however, is where the Ravens are in the waiver wire order — dead last.

Teams like the Seahawks and Texans, whose pass rush ranks worse than the Ravens at the moment, and the 49ers, who just lost Dee Ford for a month, all could use pass-rushers to bolster their front seven.

That doesn’t include the possibility of a team in the AFC adding Suggs for two reasons: To add to their pass rush, while keeping Suggs away from Baltimore. 

Preventing the AFC’s top team from acquiring a late-season pass-rusher, one that would provide a significant boost to the organization, might be tempting as well. 

But for storylines, need on the field and fit with the organization, Suggs is a match to return to Baltimore.

It seems clear that Suggs and the Ravens would’ve preferred to be married to one another for the duration of Suggs’ career, and now there’s a chance to bring him back on board for another run at a title. 

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Report: Trent Williams' dogs killed neighbor's dog

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Report: Trent Williams' dogs killed neighbor's dog

Trent Williams is defending his dogs after neighbors of a home registered to him in Missouri City, Texas say the Redskins' lineman's dogs brutally killed their dog.

The neighbor's dog, Sandy, according to reports, died after being mauled and dragged under an iron fence on their own property. 

According to Williams, the attack began after Sandy instigated conflict with one of Williams' smaller pets. Williams felt his dogs did nothing wrong and said the animals were defending the smaller dog, who is fighting for its life after $5,000 in medical bills. 

Williams told FOX 26 Houston that the situation was "dogs doing what dogs do."

In comments to local television stations, Sandy's owner's described how they found their dog.

"I found my dog halfway ripped apart, head and one leg on the other side of the fence, two of those stakes ripped through the body and one leg just dangling," said Jerry Flowers.

"They drug her head through the fence," Linda Flowers said. "Half of her body was through the wrought iron fence."

Animal control and local police are no longer investigating the incident according to ABC 13. Williams was not cited for the incident.

Williams is on the non-football injury list for the Washington Redskins after ending his holdout halfway through the season.