Wozniacki advances, Bartoli upset at Kremlin Cup

Wozniacki advances, Bartoli upset at Kremlin Cup

MOSCOW (AP) Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday by beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 6-3.

Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden upset second-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.

The third-seeded Wozniacki won five consecutive games in the first set and broke Radwanska twice in the second to take a 5-2 lead. She lost four match points trying to serve out the match and Radwanska broke to stay in the contest. But the Pole sent a forehand wide in the next game to hand Wozniacki the victory. The Dane is looking for her second title of the year and 20th of her career.

She will play defending champion Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who advanced to the final eight with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

Arvidsson broke Bartoli three times and dropped serve twice in the first set. The Frenchwoman had six double-faults in the second set.

Arvidsson, who won her second career title in Memphis this year, will face either seventh-seeded Maria Kirilenko or Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.

``I am very happy to win this match to reach the quarterfinals,'' Arvidsson said. ``Marion is a great competitor, a top-10 player, and I knew I would have to be at my best. My strategy was to focus on the way I wanted to play and move her around the court.''

The result means the 10th-ranked Bartoli can't overtake No. 9 Samantha Stosur and will remain the second alternate at the season-ending WTA Championships next week in Istanbul.

``Of course it would have been better for me to come to Istanbul as the first substitute, but it's always very rewarding for me to get a chance to go there,'' Bartoli said. ``Today my body just refused to execute what my mind was telling it to do. The surface here is very slow and it didn't fit my play well.''

Klara Zakopalova advanced to the final eight by defeating eighth-seeded Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-4 in all-Czech match, while Valeria Solovieva of Russia moved into the second round by downing Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2.

In first-round action, Kirilenko topped fellow Russian Elena Vesnina 7-5, 6-1.

In men's second-round play, Malek Jaziri of Tunisia upset the third-seeded 2010 champion Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Tatsuma Ito of Japan defeated Russian qualifier Konstantin Kravchuk7-6 (7), 2-6, 6-3, while Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic rallied past fifth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

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Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice


Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice

Ravens football is back and so is Joe Cool.

The team’s first training camp practice took place Thursday afternoon, and Joe Flacco’s teammates – from offensive to defensive players – mentioned how laser focused the 10-year veteran is.

"Joe always has a lot of personality,” running back Alex Collins said via SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown.

“He is a good guy. He’s a real funny guy, but definitely coming into this year, he has a lot of fire behind him. And it does a lot motivating us especially early when we first reported back. Just seeing him work hard and just seeing him get better every day. He’s definitely got a lot of fire behind him this year.”

Flacco is entering the final year of his contract with a lot on the line following a disappointing start to the 2017 season. But a huge factor that is different for the 33-year old coming into this preseason opposed to last is his health.

“Most definitely,” Collins said on whether he can tell if Flacco is healthier this year. “He’s a lot faster as well, by the way, guys.”

And when it comes to the “Is Joe Flacco elite” debate, linebacker C.J. Mosley knows the consensus within the Under Armour Performance Center.

“I think every year [Joe Flacco] comes in with his mindset that he wants to be great,” Mosley said.

“Mainly because everybody outside of this building does not think he is elite and inside the building, everybody does think that way. Since Joe has been here, you know he is one of those players that never gets rattled. You never see his emotions too high, too low. He’s been our quarterback that kinda stays in the middle to make sure everything goes smooth. That’s kinda how he has been this offseason too. He’s come in looking strong, body looking good.”

Flacco’s health is up to speed as well as his mentality. Flacco organized private workouts with his wide receivers and tight ends at a local park across from the Ravens’ facility last week. This is the first time he has done so since 2011. When asked if he initiated the session, Michael Crabtree gave all the credit to his new quarterback.

“No, that’s all Flac [Flacco], man,” Crabtree said. “That’s the leader. We’re just the wideouts. [We] do whatever he says. If we’ve got something we bring to the table, then we make it work.”



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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?


10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

Right or wrong, fans blamed Shawn Lauvao for much of the Redskins struggles on the offensive line last season. Pro Football Focus backs up the fans, as Lauvao landed a -19.1 grade, among the worst in the NFL at the guard spot. 

It's worth pointing out that Lauvao was playing hurt during much of his nine starts before getting shut down for the season just before Thanksgiving. In fact, injuries have probably been the biggest issue for Lauvao in his four seasons with the Redskins. 

In four seasons in Washington, Lauvao has never played a full 16-game slate. Last year he played just nine games, and in 2015 he only played three games. 

That points to what may be the bigger issue for the Redskins: offensive line depth. Last season was wild with the grotesque number of injuries Washington sustained up front. It seems almost impossible for the team to have that many injuries again.

Still, the Redskins lost Arie Kouandjio for the year in the offseason. Kouandjio played better last year than Lauvao, and having both men in Richmond would have provided real competition. 

And that might be the biggest question: Neither Lauvao or Kouandjio represent a difference maker at left guard, yet the team did little to address the position. 

All offseason, the Washington brass walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The organization believes strongly in the players they already have, and outside of signing Paul Richardson and re-signing Zach Brown, the team had a quiet offseason. The Redskins struggled to run the ball the last few years, and still, the team did not look to upgrade at LG. 

It's important to note that the Redskins have two All-Pro caliber offensive linemen in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses is a plus at the right tackle spot too. The team likes Chase Roullier at center too, and they tried to add depth in drafting Geron Christian in the third round and bringing back swing tackle backup Ty Nsekhe as a restricted free agent. 

Left guard will be a question, and it's hard not to think that it will be the weakest position on the O-line. Should that submarine the group? It shouldn't. What if Lauvao gets hurt?  Then things get quite tricky.

For the Redskins, however, the expectation might be that the line needs to perform as a unit, and with talent like Williams and Scherff, that should cover up any weaknesses.

Time, and health will tell if that plan works. 



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