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Wozniacki, Stosur, Ivanovic into Kremlin Cup semis

Wozniacki, Stosur, Ivanovic into Kremlin Cup semis

MOSCOW (AP) Ana Ivanovic will face Samantha Stosur in the semifinal of the Kremlin Cup after straight-set victories Friday.

Ivanovic beat Vesna Dolonc 6-4, 6-1, while the top-seeded Stosur defeated Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3.

Stosur won six consecutive games in the first set but trailed 3-1 in the second set. She recovered with a break in the sixth game and later served out the match at love.

The 2011 U.S. Open champion from Australia will play the 2008 French Open champion in the semifinal on Saturday.

Earlier, Caroline Wozniacki struggled to beat defending champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-1. Wozniacki, another former No. 1 player, won four consecutive games in the first set and later took advantage of an ailing Cibulkova, who was playing with her right hip bandaged. She took a medical timeout while trailing 2-1 in the third set.

``The difference at the end was that I just could keep my highest level up to the end and I managed to win most of the important points, especially at the beginning of the third set,'' Wozniacki said.

The 11th-ranked Wozniacki, who finished the last two seasons at No. 1 on the WTA rankings, still has a chance to overtake Marion Bartoli of France at No. 10 by the end of the season if she wins titles in Moscow and at the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

In her seventh semifinal this season, Wozniacki will face Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.

The 46th-ranked Arvidsson, who is looking for her second title this season, broke twice in each set to eliminate the only Russian left at the Kremlin Cup, seventh-seeded Maria Kirilenko, 6-3, 6-3.

``Maria is a tough player,'' Arvidsson said, ``you have to play at your best to beat her.''

In the men's tournament, second-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy advanced to the semifinals by beating Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-2, 6-1.

Seppi, who won his second career title in Belgrade in May, will play Malek Jaziri, who became the first Tunisian to reach an ATP semifinal when he beat Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 6-3.

``I hope I'm lucky enough to make my first ATP final,'' Jaziri said. ``But anyway, I'm already happy with my performance here.''

Also, Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic had 23 aces to beat French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vassellin 7-6 (4), 6-3.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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