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Oct 22, 2012 9:38pm
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WINSTONSALEM, N. Reggie Wayne Jersey .C. —Defending champion
John Isner and top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had straight-sets victories
Thursday night to set up a semifinal match in the Winston-Salem Open.
Second-seeded Tomas Berdych and seventh-seeded Sam Querrey also won their
quarterfinal matches at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in the final hard-court
tournament before the U.S. Open. Isner had 21 aces in beating David Goffin 7-6
(7-5), 6-3, while the sixth-ranked Tsonga needed only 53 minutes to dispatch
sixth-seeded Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-2. Berdych, ranked seventh in the world,
rallied to beat Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, and Querrey topped fourth-seeded
Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3). Isner, born in nearby Greensboro, N.C.,
had 12 aces in the first set against Goffin, who saved four break points in the
set to force the tiebreaker. But Isner had four aces in the tiebreaker, and got
a key break on the seventh point to get the advantage. Isner then broke Goffins
serve in the fifth game of the second set, and closed out the set and match with
another service break. “I was pressing a little bit in that first set,” said
Isner, 2-1 against Tsonga, including a Davis Cup victory last April. “I was
waiting for him to lose the set or make a mistake on a big point rather than me
going after the ball. But I was happy with the way I played in the tiebreaker,
and I played much better in the second set.” Tsonga, the highest-ranked player
in the field at No. 6, had little trouble dealing with Granollers, breaking his
first two serve attempts in the opening set, and adding two more service breaks
in the second. “I played well,” Tsonga said. “I was into the match from the
beginning and played good tennis. I dont know if he played his best tennis, I
think he was a bit injured. But I played good tennis.” While Berdychs run of
games held on serve ended at 29 with a pair of breaks in the first set, he had
10 aces and broke Darcis serve seven times. That included a run of six
consecutive breaks over the second and third sets, and Berdych won the last nine
games to advance to the semifinals for the third time this season. “He was
playing really smart, so I needed to change something,” Berdych said. “I stepped
a little bit closer to the baseline, and started to hit the ball a little
faster. It changed the whole rhythm.” Querrey had 20 aces against Dolgopolov,
who also had his serve broken twice in the first set. But the Ukrainian got a
key service break in the second set to even the match, and kept Querrey
scrambling in the third set. However, Querrey got two break points in the
tiebreaker to go up 5-1, and closed out the match with an overhead winner for
his first win in three tries against Dolgopolov. “It seemed that things just
changed dramatically in the tiebreaker,” said Querrey, the winner in Los Angeles
last month. “It feels good to get the win today, but the matches are going to
get tougher. I just going to have to play better if I want to keep winning.” Pat Angerer Jersey . Foster had 180 yards on
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Houston lost eight of its last 10 games following a promising 4-2 start to the
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. —The Phoenix Coyotes avoided a sweep with a gutty performance in Los
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third in her heat in two minutes, 08.76 seconds. It was almost three-tenths
faster than her heats earlier in the day, and she struggled to catch her breath
as she spoke with reporters.In what was one of the worst-kept secrets around the
league, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes agreed on a blockbuster
trade at the NHL Draft. Numbers Game looks at the deal sending Jordan Staal to
Carolina for Brandon Sutter, a pick and a prospect. The Hurricanes Get: C
Jordan Staal. Staal, 23, scored a career-high 50 points in 62 games last season,
but that only tells the story of his offensive ascension, not how he did the
heavy lifting for the Penguins, starting more of his shifts in the defensive
zone and facing the highest quality of competition (per the advanced stats on
www.behindthenet.ca), which helped free up other Penguins to focus on the
offensive side of the game. By moving to Carolina, however, Staal joins his
brother Eric and will move into a more offensive role in his own right, as its
expected that Jordan Staal will stay at centre while Eric Staal moves to the
wing on the No. 1 line. While Jordan Staal has been stuck behind Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins centre depth chart, injuries to those star
performers have allowed Staal to play in more offensive situations over the past
couple seasons and he has produced 36 goals and 80 in 104 games over the last
two seasons. Of course, that means Staal has missed 60 games over the last two
seasons, with a variety of injuries, but if he stays healthy, he should go for a
career-high in points next season. Going into the final year of his contract,
which comes at a $4-million cap hit, Staal will be an unrestricted free agent
next summer, but considering that Carolina was Staals preferred destination, it
seems highly likely that a long-term extension will be worked out. That Carolina
was Staals first choice also contributed to Pittsburgh getting a more
significant package in return from Pittsburgh. The Penguins Get: C
Brandon Sutter, D Brian Dumoulin and the 8th overall pick. Sutter is a terrific
player for the Penguins to get as the centrepiece of the package coming to
Pittsburgh. The 23-year-old is turning into one of the games best defensive
forwards, playing against a high level of competition and starting oonly
34.dddddddddddd8% of his shifts in the offensive zone (per www.behindthenet.ca),
an indication that he is ideally suited for the third-line checking centre role
that Staal had outgrown. Not only is Sutter a good fit in the lineup, but hes
under contract for two more seasons, at a cap hit of $2.067M per, at which point
he will be a restricted free agent, so the Penguins have greater financial
control over Sutter. Just wrapping up a successful three-year college career,
Brian Dumoulin had 28 points and a plus-27 rating in 44 games for National
Champion Boston College. The 20-year-old is big and strong, capable of handling
the physical work in the defensive zone. He might require some time in the AHL,
but could also push for a spot in Pittsburgh very soon. With the eighth pick
that the Penguins acquired, the Penguins selected Derrick Pouliot from Portland
of the Western Hockey League, where he is teammates with Joe Morrow, a
first-round pick by the Penguins last year. In the regular season and playoffs
combined, Pouliot put up 76 points in 94 games, and hes highly-regarded as an
offensive defenceman. There is no need to rush the process with Pouliot, but hes
a nice asset to consider a few years down the line. Ultimately, Pittsburgh had
to decide whether they wanted to go into the 2011-2012 season with Staal on the
roster and risk losing him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent next
summer. Considering the Penguins have expectations of competing for the Stanley
Cup, its highly unlikely that they could have played three quarters of the
season with Staal and then dealt him away before the trade deadline in order to
recoup some value, so when Staal turned down the Penguins 10-year contract
offer, that paved the way for this trade to be done. Its never easy to trade a
two-way player of Staals quality but, under the circumstances, the Penguins did
a fine job, getting significant long-term value for a player with one year
remaining on his contract. Scott Cullen can be reached at
Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.
’ ’ ’ 

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