Mourinho would not be drawn on an exact prognosis, but suggested Costa will miss the April 18 clash with third-placed United, which is followed eight days later by a trip to second-placed Arsenal. “It’s too early,” Mourinho said. “He has to go home, he has to wait 48 hours. He has to do all the scans again. “He will be out for sure a couple of weeks, but we have seven weeks until the end of the season. “Seven weeks and eight matches. For sure, in half of it he has to be with us.” The Blues responded from conceding a Charlie Adam goal from his own half and losing Costa to beat Stoke and move seven points clear in the title race. Stoke midfielder Adam’s 65-yard strike soared over Thibaut Courtois to cancel out Eden Hazard’s penalty opener before Loic Remy struck the winner after Costa had come and gone. Mourinho insisted his half-time introduction was not a risk, as Costa was fit to be included. Costa was not considered fit enough to start the 2-1 win over Stoke which sent Chelsea seven points clear. The striker was introduced at half-time but lasted just 11 minutes as his fragile hamstrings forced his withdrawal, with scans to determine the full extent of his injury to take place early next week. Press Association Jose Mourinho expects to be without Diego Costa for up to a month of Chelsea’s Premier League title run in – and the crucial contests with Manchester United and Arsenal. “I don’t say a gamble because we did every test, we did every scan,” the Blues boss added. “The player trained two days 100 per cent with the team, the medical department was convinced that he was ready. “The player was convinced he was ready, not for 90 minutes, but he was ready to play and to help the team. “Sometimes as a manager I have to risk things. Medical departments have to do the same, if they want to be top medical departments like our department is. “The safe medical department cannot work with me. People with fear, afraid to risk, cannot work with me. “My medical department is fantastic, they do fantastically well for us. “Today between them and the player and myself, things didn’t happen the best way, but I’m happy with that, because it’s football.” Mourinho’s side lead second-placed Arsenal by seven points, with United a further point behind in third, while holders Manchester City are nine points behind in fourth ahead of Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace. The Gunners moved to within four points with a comprehensive defeat of Liverpool, but Mourinho insisted Chelsea’s focus is on themselves. “Pressure (is) because we need to win six matches and we know that,” Mourinho said. “We’re not doing our countdown based on the points the second, the third, the fourth lose. “Our countdown must be made of our victories. At lunchtime (we needed) six victories and one draw, at dinner time five victories and one draw.” Mourinho described Adam’s effort as “probably the best goal of the season in the Premier League” and absolved Courtois of blame. The goalkeeper’s positioning was fine, according to Mourinho, who instead lamented an earlier foul on Hazard and Chelsea’s failure to press for the ball. “I didn’t enjoy, but it’s a goal every top player in the world would love to score,” Mourinho said. “It’s a fantastic goal, but we made a mistake. It’s a clear foul on Hazard, but we cannot stop waiting for the referee to give (it). “He (Courtois) was in the correct position, (but) when you lose possession of the ball you have to immediately react and to adapt your position. The goalkeeper has to adapt his position, the players have to press the ball. “Our reaction was to look for the referee and to wait for a foul.” Stoke boss Mark Hughes praised the audacity of Adam, but rued missing out on the Potters’ first Stamford Bridge point in 21 years. “It was an outrageous attempt and thankfully it’s gone in,” Hughes said. “At the time I wasn’t quite sure what he was attempting, but it became very clear. “Fantastic vision and technical ability to beat a goalkeeper of Courtois’ quality from that distance.” Stoke are 10th after a third straight loss, which came after an “uncharacteristic” Asmir Begovic error, when the goalkeeper rolled the ball out poorly, leading to Remy’s winner. “On the day he had a fantastic performance,” Hughes added. “That was his one mistake, and Chelsea had the ability and talent to capitalise on it. “When they get in a winning position, it’s usually very difficult to stop them.”
Both were to be launched next month for the tour in July 2021.“Everyone’s priorities are in doing everything they can to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are no exception,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement on Monday. “We ask our passionate rugby supporters to please bear with us during this difficult time.”The eight-match tour is going ahead as scheduled despite clashing with the postponed Tokyo Olympics.The tests are on July 24 — the day after the games open — July 31, and Aug. 7.___ The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year’s games.Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.This year’s games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. But it would also clash with European soccer and North American sports leagues. Regular tour events in Kenya, India, Malaysia, China, Spain, Portugal and Denmark have already been postponed or canceled.European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley says “we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation.” ___The governing body of swimming welcomed the new Tokyo Olympic dates without giving any detail of how to reschedule its own world championships in Japan next year.FINA’s biennial worlds were planned for July 16-Aug. 1, 2021, in Fukuoka. That slot is now taken by the Tokyo Olympics. ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The Magic announced Monday that Iwundu donated to teammate Jonathan Isaac’s effort to feed children in Orlando who are in need. Isaac also revealed the donation on his social media platforms.Isaac announced last week that he is teaming up with J.U.M.P. Ministries Global Church to provide hot breakfasts and lunches to schoolchildren on weekdays for the duration of the pandemic. Isaac also is helping families obtain nonperishable food items once a week, things like oatmeal, cereal and instant rice.___The International Tennis Federation is offering interactive online courses and making videos and other content to help coaches available for free during the coronavirus pandemic.There are ITF Academy classes in English, Spanish and French, covering topics such as strategy and tactics, tennis parents and ethics in coaching. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Orlando Magic forward Wes Iwundu not only decided to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, he chose to help out a teammate as well. March 30, 2020 Atlanta United President Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus.Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame.MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back.Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.“We’re fortunate that we had just started our season,” he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. “We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs.” The National Guard is using parking lots and back fields to check members of the public at the complex the Nationals share with the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, Florida.Rizzo also said on a conference call with reporters Monday that Nationals Park in Washington “is completely closed.”The GM said none of the World Series champions’ players has shown any symptoms of COVID-19, so none has been tested for the illness.___Augusta National is donating $2 million, split evenly to Augusta University to expand testing for the new coronavirus and to a local relief agency to help those affected financially by the pandemic. The gift is in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), the longtime charitable arm for the home of the Masters.Chairman Fred Ridley says the $1 million to Augusta University will help with telemedicine pre-screening, triple the number of drive-through testing lanes on campus and allow for more supplies and personnel to increase testing from 100 to 1,000 or more tests daily.The gift to the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund goes directly to support relief efforts to those most vulnerable.“It is our hope these gifts will help address the many challenges brought about by the coronavirus throughout the city of Augusta and the greater region,” Ridley said. “We believe Augusta National has an important responsibility to support and protect the community who has so generously and consistently supported us for many years.”___ The CFL has postponed the start of training camps due to the coronavirus pandemic.League commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the pandemic has made it unsafe for players and coaches to gather as scheduled.The league has not given an indication of when camps might open.Postponing training camps increases the likelihood of the CFL delaying the start of its 2020 regular season.___ MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game.___General manager Brian MacLellan says no Washington Capitals players have tested positive for COVID-19 or shown any symptoms after using the same locker room as NBA players who later tested positive.MacLellan says the team hasn’t had any sickness complaints from players related to the coronavirus pandemic that suspended the NHL season. The Capitals followed the NBA’s Utah Jazz in the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden in New York in early March. Two Jazz players tested positive.MacLellan said on a conference call Monday that “we’re pretty much daily checking in with players to see if they’re exhibiting any” symptoms. The Arizona Diamondbacks are donating an additional $500,000 to help people and organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the organization’s total contributions to more than $1 million.The franchise donated $550,000 last week and said that money was given to numerous nonprofit organizations that worked in food distribution and also helped support the children of health care workers. The new donation will help those causes in addition to more providing support for the medical and health care fields.“We are fortunate to not only be in a position to continue to give back, but to be in touch regularly with those in the medical field who can help distribute these funds in a meaningful way,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said in a statement. “Whether it is personal protective equipment, critical resources to support health care personnel or technology to provide virtual visits for those currently receiving care, we believe this money can make an immediate impact.”___Soccer agent Jorge Mendes is donating more than 150,000 masks to a Portuguese hospital with the help of José Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and other players. “Stay safe and stay together — apart!” Smart wrote.Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Five days later, Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, triggering rolling shutdowns of sports around the world.Smart tested positive on March 19. He had been in isolation since then and was being monitoring by Celtics medical staff. His teammates, coaches and staff members were also tested, but those tests have come back negative.___The British and Irish Lions and SA Rugby have delayed the ticket ballots in Europe and South Africa and the release of the supporters’ tour packages because of the coronavirus outbreak. Associated Press Four NHL players have tested positive for the new coronavirus: two on the Ottawa Senators and two on the Colorado Avalanche. NHL chief medical officer Winne Meeuwisse said last week he was “thankful” the numbers have been low.___The Irish Open has become the latest European Tour golf event to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The tournament was scheduled for May 28-31. There will now be no play on the tour until June at the earliest. The next possible tournament is the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7.The Irish Open is one of the high-profile events that make up the tour’s Rolex Series and had prize money of $7 million this year. It was due to be hosted by Graeme McDowell at the Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny. FINA says knowing the Olympic dates “is very helpful to federations and athletes everywhere.”The governing body of track quickly committed to pushing back its world championships to 2022. But FINA has the added complication of the 2022 Commonwealth Games because many top swimmers compete in both events.___The governing body of triathlon says it wanted the rescheduled Olympics to be held earlier in the year to avoid the summer heat but has accepted the new dates.World Triathlon president Marisol Casado says “even though we would have preferred to move the games to earlier dates, where the impact of the heat was a bit lower, we agreed that these dates are the best solution.” The Latest: Magic forward Wes Iwundu donates to feed kids The federation is also making its “Advanced Coaches Manual” ebook available for free instead of its usual price tag of 14.99 British pounds (about $18.50). That comes in 13 languages.___Golf Canada has postponed three regional qualifying tournaments for the RBC Canadian Open because of the new coronavirus.The tournaments were scheduled for May. There is no word on when they may be rescheduled. The RBC Canadian Open is still scheduled to start June 8 at St. George’s Country Club in Toronto.___ The governing body of track and field says it supports the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics and is working with organizers in Eugene, Oregon, to move its world championships to 2022.World Athletics says “everyone needs to be flexible and compromise.”The 2021 track worlds were scheduled to be next year from Aug. 6-15.World Athletics says it will consult with the organizers of the Commonwealth Games and the European Athletics Championships. Those are other major track events scheduled to take place in 2022.___ The Pac-12 Conference has extended its suspension of organized team activities through May 31 because of the new coronavirus.Virtual group activities, including film study, are allowed up to two hours per week in football and four hours per week in other sports. Coaches are allowed to recommend written, self-directed workout plans, and videos on workout plans are allowed to show proper form and technique.___Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart says he has been cleared by medical officials after testing positive for the new coronavirus earlier this month.In a message posted late Sunday on Twitter, Smart says he was informed of the news Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Health. He thanked everyone for their support. All sports federations involved in the Olympics signed off on the new dates.Casado says “I am absolutely confident that we will have magnificent games in Tokyo next summer, with the help and support of all of us involved in the preparations for hosting the event.”The International Olympic Committee previously moved the marathons and race walking events to Japan’s northern city of Sapporo and scheduled most of them to start early in the morning to avoid the heat in Tokyo.Triathlon has remained in the capital even though it includes running.___ Mendes has raised the funds for the masks with the help of 25 people, most of them footballers. The donation will be made to the Hospital Santo António in Porto.Among the players involved were Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Nélson Semedo, Pepe and Renato Sanches.Ronaldo and Mendes had already funded other donations, including three intensive care units for coronavirus patients at hospitals in Portugal. They said they had also offered ventilators to officials in Madeira. ___Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says the team has completely left its spring training facility, which is now being used for coronavirus testing.
Trevor Sochocki | Daily TrojanHeads up · Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin looks to captain the Trojans to victory against Washington on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.Two weeks ago, the men’s basketball team may have looked forward to Saturday’s matchup against Washington, hoping to use the game to build momentum heading into the postseason. With the Trojans stumbling to the finish line, however, their date with the Huskies is no longer an opportunity, but a mandatory assignment.Once a foregone conclusion, USC’s spot in the NCAA tournament is now in jeopardy. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his latest projections on Thursday, listing the Trojans as one of the last four teams into March Madness. The tipping point came last weekend, when USC squandered a double-digit lead to lose at Arizona State. The Trojans may need the victory over Washington — possibly more at the Pac-12 tournament next week — to secure a berth in the Big Dance.Shelby Mast, who runs the website Bracket W.A.G. and works as USA Today’s bracketologist, weighed in on the Trojans postseason prospects.“[The loss] affected them quite a bit,” she said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “They better not lose [to the Huskies].”Missing out on March Madness would spell disaster for head coach Andy Enfield and his squad. The program has made impressive strides since his arrival in 2013, making it into the tourney for the first time in his tenure last year. USC came into this season hoping to build on its first-round exit versus Providence in 2016, but it may not get the opportunity to do so if it fails to execute against Washington.But amid the noise surrounding the team’s postseason prospects, the Trojans are keeping their heads down.“We’ve all been playing basketball for a little while. We know the ins and outs, the politics behind everything,” junior guard Elijah Stewart told the Los Angeles Times. “We just know if you have a certain amount of wins, you don’t have to be concerned about the bubble. If we keep going and make strong strides in the Pac-12 tournament, I feel like we should be fine.”USC may have caught a break, too, as the Huskies’ projected first-round NBA draft pick, freshman guard Markelle Fultz, is expected to miss Saturday’s game with a knee injury. Fultz led his team with 20 points and six assists against the Trojans when they visited Seattle last month, and Washington (2-15 in Pac-12 play) faces a tall challenge without its star. The team is already in the midst of an ugly 11-game losing streak, which USC will look to extend this weekend.With the Trojans on the bubble for the NCAA tournament (and unlikely to earn an automatic bid by winning the Pac-12 championship), their postseason fate will ultimately be determined by the selection committee, and Enfield appealed to USC’s strength of schedule heading into the regular season’s final weekend.“That decision is not up to us or me,” Enfield said. “I really have no idea. I think a lot depends on teams around the country. We have a good RPI: UCLA’s ranked third [in the AP top 25], and we beat them. SMU’s ranked 14th, and we beat them. So we have some really good wins.”A strong victory over Washington would further strengthen the Trojans’ resume — and Enfield hopes his team can also add a few more wins next week in Las Vegas.
Katie Chin | Daily TrojanTrojan spirit · Freshman Kayla Richardson and the USC track team finished their season last weekend at the NCAA Championships. The men’s team came in 20th at the end of the four-day meet in Eugene, Ore., and the women’s squad boosted itself to third place with a strong final day.The USC track team finished its NCAA Championships on Saturday, as the six-month season culminated in last week’s meet against the nation’s elite programs at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The men’s squad finished 20th overall and second among Pac-12 schools — behind only ninth-place host Oregon. The Trojans clinched a third overall finish on the women’s side, sliding in behind the champion Ducks and runner-up Georgia.The men kicked off the NCAA Championships on Wednesday, and USC scored six points to end the first day of the meet tied for 14th in a field of 78 teams. Redshirt juniors Eric Sloan and Nick Ponzio finished sixth in the long jump and shot put, respectively. Freshman Michael Norman punched a ticket to the 400m dash finals alongside redshirt sophomore Marquís Morris, who qualified for Friday’s 110m hurdles finals.USC’s women began their quest for a national title on Thursday, and the Trojans matched their male counterparts identically on the scoreboard, ending the day in 14th place with six points. Unlike the previous day, however, USC scored thanks to one third-place finish from redshirt senior Brittany Mann, and eight Trojans also advanced to Saturday’s event finals.Norman and Morris returned to action on Friday, as they looked to score points in the men’s event finals. Norman took home fourth in the 400m dash with a personal-best time of 44.88 seconds. The performance earned USC five points and also marked the fifth-fastest time ever run by a Trojan in the 400m final. Norman also improved on his program freshman record and earned a seventh-place standing on USC’s all-time list.Morris scored three points after finishing sixth in the 110m hurdles finals, becoming the first USC runner to score in the event since 2014. The Trojans finished the NCAA Championships with a total of 14 points, which tied them with Penn State for 20th overall.Finally, USC ended the weekend with a bang on Saturday, as the women’s event finals lifted the team to a third-place finish. The Trojans’ 43 points overall were the program’s most since a 57-point showing more than a decade ago (2002).Freshman Anna Cockrell and senior Amalie Iuel headlined USC’s final day at Hayward Field, as the pair clinched a 2-3 finish in the 400m hurdles to score 14 key points. Cockrell clocked a season-best time of 55.36 seconds, moving up to third on the program’s all-time list. Cockrell also scored a point for the Trojans with an eighth-place finish in the 100m hurdles alongside redshirt sophomore Dior Hall, who came in seventh.Junior Kendall Ellis earned USC’s final top-three finish of the weekend, as she took third in the 400m dash final with a time of 51.06 seconds. Senior Cameron Pettigrew trailed in seventh place (52.52) to combine with Ellis for eight points. Redshirt sophomore Ky Westbrook and junior Deanna Hill rounded out the individual Trojan scoring with eighth and sixth-place finishes in the 100m and 200m dash, respectively.The championships’ pivotal moment came in the final event, however, as USC’s 4x400m relay team claimed second to boost the Trojans from sixth to third place overall, leapfrogging Florida and Kentucky. Pettigrew, Ieul, Hill and Ellis’ combined time of 3:23.35 beat the previous collegiate record of 3:23.75, but Oregon still finished 0.22 seconds ahead of USC to set the new record and clinch a national title. With only eight seniors graduating from a deep roster before the start of next season, the Trojans now set their sights on next spring, when they will look to build on their strong showing in Eugene.
A 22-year-old Jamaican-American gymnast is shining brightly under the golden lights of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships.Toni-Ann Williams, who was born in Maryland but represents Jamaica as part of its national gymnastics team, last weekend won the NCAA All-America honors at the Gymnastics Championships held from April 20-21 at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.Williams, who is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley where she is a member of the Golden Bears gymnastics team, also earned second-team All-America honors for the all-around. The wins make her only the fifth gymnast in school history to be crowned an All-American, with California’s seventh total All-America honor and adds to her legacy as the most decorated gymnast in the history of the university.Williams, who competed this season coming off an Achilles injury for which she required surgery, topped her previous high of a 39.225, 20th-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Championships.Williams was the best at UCal on bars (9.8875), beam (9.8625) and floor (9.8625) that helped her school to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She also scored 9.8125 on vault. Her bars, beam and floor scores are Cal’s best individual totals at the championships in school history.“From a completely ruptured Achilles to NCAA All-American. This comeback year has been truly special. I can’t wait to be back next season for my 5th year,” she tweeted. Williams’ parents are both from Jamaica and she is a niece of Jamaican politician, Anthony Hylton. She has three sisters, Maya, Kristine and Zitafa. Her sister, Maya, is also a gymnast on the Jamaican National team.
SAFA in conjunction with Gun Free South Africa will be marching to Parliament to campaign for stricter gun control in the wake of Senzo Meyiwa’s death.SAFA officials Danny Jordaan and Norman Arendse, prominent human rights lawyer George Bizos and social justice activist Adele Kirsten all addressed the media at a press conference to announce a gun campaign to honour the late Meyiwa, who was gunned down by robbers in Vosloorus last month.Chairman of the SAFA Legal Committee Norman Arendse says he is privileged to be mandated to head the campaign for the handing in of unlicensed firearms.”We want everyone to rally behind the campaign. This is a matter that has to concern all of us. It’ll be given shape by a committee formed by the SAFA NEC,” said Arendse.”We are unable today to announce any plans … but there will be a march to Parliament to highlight this issue. We’re unable to announce the date of this march but it’ll probably be after the next [Bafana] match.”READ: ‘Meyiwa gun campaign needs amnesty’ Bizos said: “It usually takes a tragedy for people, a country, to say something needs to happen as a matter of urgency.”It’s not only about the death of the wonderful goalkeeper but also of the other 17 deaths that occurred [that day]. It’s a matter that needs to concern every one of us, every citizen. “It is not an easy piece of legislation to compile but I would suggest that the Minister of Police, Minister of Justice and the Presidency should consider the issues of gun amnesty.”Government needs to give serious attention to giving amnesty to those who hand over their illegal firearms. There are so many unlawful guns possessed in our country that it has to be brought to the attention of those in Government.”Can we arrange an amnesty where people can go hand in an unlicensed gun without questions? “If we know of a relative that has a gun that is unlawfully in their possession, don’t expect the person to surrender it without guarantee [of amnesty].”I would like to say what is not a solution. There is a consensus among some that the solution is to bring back the death penalty. [But] the constitutional court held unanimously that the death penalty is not a greater deterent.”I would appeal that we do not accept that the death penalty is a solution. Let us rather persuade families of people with illegal guns to give them up.”The campaign committee comprises people from a cross section of society and includes Adv Arendse, Adv Bizos, Jomo Sono, Kate O’Regan, Judge Yvonne Makgoro, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Thoko Mpumlwana (Gender Commission), Pregs Govender (SA Human Rights Commission) and Gun Free SA representative Kirsten, among others.
Almost half of Djokovic’s grand slams have come in Melbourne, including his first in 2008.We take a look back at all of his Australian Open successes. Related News .@DjokerNole reunited with Norman once again.#AusOpen #AusOpenFinal pic.twitter.com/J6HBOr367d— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 20192008 – A maiden grand slam titleAged 20, this was Djokovic’s fourth main-draw appearance in Melbourne and his previous best had been the fourth round the year prior.But he produced a flying run to the final, beating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets in the last 16 and top seed Roger Federer in the semis.Djokovic, the third seed, was left with a surprise opponent in the final and he made the most of his chance, coming from a set down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.It was the first grand slam since the 2005 Australian Open not won by either Federer or Nadal.#OnThisDay in 2008.Novak Djokovic wins his first Australian Open.11 years later, he is one win away from the most titles in Australian Open history.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/Z6nH6ZMFNJ— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 20192011 – The beginning of complete Melbourne dominanceDjokovic had to wait three years for his second title in Melbourne, but it started a wonderful run of dominance.He was largely untouchable again on his way to the final, including wins over top-10 seeds Tomas Berdych and Federer.Djokovic crushed Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3 in the decider to win the first of an incredible three grand slams in 2011. 2012 – Coming through two epicsThis would be a major best remembered for two matches – Djokovic’s semi and final.He took almost five hours to get past Murray in the last four in a match that seemed certain to ruin his chances in the decider.Somehow, Djokovic came through that too, beating Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 in the longest Open Era grand slam final, which went for a gruelling five hours, 53 minutes.“That stays as probably the most epic match and special match I was part of, without a doubt” — @DjokerNole on the 2012 #AusOpen final vs #Nadal.Will tonight’s final, seven years later, dethrone the 2012 final in his memory bank? pic.twitter.com/dvV7PpeRLP— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 20192013 – Hat-trick completeDjokovic extended his winning streak at the Australian Open to 21 matches with a third straight title.He became the first man in the Open Era to win a hat-trick of titles in Melbourne.Djokovic took five hours to get past Stan Wawrinka – the man who would break his run the following year – in the fourth round before again beating Murray in a final. 2015 – Another Wawrinka marathon, another Murray finalFernando Verdasco and Milos Raonic were unable to stop Djokovic and, this time, Wawrinka failed too.Djokovic beat the Swiss star in a five-set semi-final before a familiar face stood between him and another title.Murray managed to split the first two sets, but Djokovic ran away with it from there 6-3 6-0 for a fifth crown.Our 2015 winner, Novak Djokovic, thanks his supporters. – http://t.co/ybCzOI7bZr— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 1, 20152016 – Record equaled after Simon scareIt was the fourth round that proved to be the biggest scare in Djokovic’s bid for a record-equaling sixth Australian Open title.But he got through another grueling five-setter, this time against French 14th seed Gilles Simon.Kei Nishikori, Federer and Murray were unable to stop him from there as Djokovic joined Roy Emerson on six Australian Open crowns. 2019 – Record claimed in flawless fashionFor a six-time champion and the world number one, this seemed like a quiet run by Djokovic. He dispatched of up-and-comers Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev, spent less than an hour on court with an exhausted Nishikori and was almost flawless against Lucas Pouille.Only Nadal stood between him and a record seventh Australian Open title in a repeat of their epic 2012 final.And Djokovic may have saved his best performance for the final, dismantling Nadal in just over two hours. 2008 2011 2012 2013 2015 2016 2019@DjokerNole #AOChampion | #AusOpen |#AusOpenFinal pic.twitter.com/ZEG2ok7TeW— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019 MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic secured a record seventh Australian Open title with his thrashing of Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final.The Serbian star moved on to 15 major crowns after dismantling Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena. Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic brushes aside Rafael Nadal to reign again
Stat that mattersDespite the high-flying passing games, the Alabama-LSU game still hinges on the running game on both sides. In the last eight meetings — including the 2011 meeting — the winning team has rushed 315 times for 1,475 yards, averaging 4.76 yards per carry. The losing team has 283 attempts for 654 yards, averaging 2.31 yards per carry. LSU had 25 carries for 12 yards last season. Look for both teams to try to get that running game established early. Alabama’s Najee Harris and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire are multi-purpose backs who will be involved in the passing game, too.LSU vs. Alabama predictionThere is so much NFL talent on the field on both sides, and the key for Burrow will be maintaining that 70 percent-or-better accuracy. Our guess is Tagovailoa plays, and Alabama is conservative in the first quarter. The shootout starts in the second, and Harris breaks off a big touchdown run before Alabama heads into halftime with a 17-10 lead. The teams play even in the second half, but Alabama — with Tagovailoa — stays one score ahead in the fourth quarter to retake the top spot in the AP Top 25 and Playoff rankings. The question is whether a rematch will be in the works later.Alabama 34, LSU 27 No. 1 LSU (8-0) travels to No. 2 Alabama (8-0) in a regular-season “Game of the Century” at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. The game will be televised nationally at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.It is the first No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchup in the regular season since the top-ranked Tigers beat the second-ranked Crimson Tide 9-6 in 2011. Saturday’s matchup comes just four days after the first College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled, and there are huge implications for that and the SEC West race. Get the latest NCAA odds & betting advice at Sportsbook ReviewLSU hasn’t beaten Alabama since that 2011 meeting, but the Tigers come into this one with a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Joe Burrow. The Tigers rank fourth in the nation with 46.8 points per game and have the talent to give the Crimson Tide a run. Alabama, however, ranks No. 2 in the FBS with 48.6 points per game. Heisman contender Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) will be a game-time decision, but this is the stage the Crimson Tide have thrived on through the Nick Saban dynasty.The winner will be the new No. 1 in the next set of Playoff rankings. The loser might have room to get into the final four as well, depending on the score. With that in mind, here’s everything you need for Saturday’s matchup between No.1 and No. 2:LSU vs. Alabama oddsSpread: Alabama -6.5Point total: 63.5Moneyline: LSU -110, Alabama-110Alabama is a 6.5-point favorite, according to odds at Sportsbook Review, but 40 percent of the wagering has come in favor of the Crimson Tide at this point.LSU vs. Alabama all-time seriesAlabama leads the all-time series between the two schools 53-25-5. The Crimson Tide have won the eight meetings, and that includes shutouts in 2016 and 2018. Alabama is 10-2 when both teams are ranked in the top 10.Three trends to know— Since the College Football Playoff era started in 2014, Alabama is 39-1 straight up as the home favorite. The Crimson Tide are 18-22 against the spread in the same situation, however.— Alabama is 15-8-1 against the spread after a bye under Saban since 2007.— LSU is 6-0 against the spread as an underdog since Ed Orgeron took over as the full-time head coach in 2017. The Tigers are 3-0 against the spread as a road underdog.MORE: Will Tagovailoa play vs. LSU? Injury timeline for Bama QBThree things to watchTua Tagovailoa’s ankleTagovailoa will be the focus leading up to the game, and if he plays the question will be whether he’s mobile enough to be a playmaker against an LSU secondary that features Grant Delpit and Derek Stingley Jr. yet still allows 217.5 passing yards per game. Against the Tigers last year, Tagovailoa had his third-lowest completion percentage (59.5) but ran for a season-high 49 rushing yards. He made the plays necessary to propel a 29-0 victory. If Tagovailoa can’t go, then the pressure falls on Mac Jones, who hit 81.8 percent of his passes with 235 yards and three touchdowns in his debut against Arkansas.Joe Burrow’s Heisman caseBurrow has been amazing in the offensive overhaul installed by former Saints passing coordinator Joe Brady. It will look different than last year, when Burrow hit 18 of 35 passes (51.4 percent) for 184 yards and an interception in that Alabama loss. The Crimson Tide have allowed 10 touchdown passes, but they also have 10 interceptions. The secondary is led by Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain Jr., and will be looking to add to that total.Big-play receiversThere are so many playmakers on the perimeter, but it comes down to the four receivers with at least 40 receptions this season. Will LSU’s tandem of Justin Jefferson (55 catches, 819 yards, nine touchdowns) and Ja’Marr Chase (43 catches, 749 yards, nine touchdowns) out-produce the Alabama tandem of Jerry Jeudy (52 catches, 682 yards, eight touchdowns) and DeVonta Smith (43 catches, 721 yards, nine touchdowns)? The tandem that has the better combined total at the end of the day will be on the winning side.MORE: Ranking every regular-season ‘Game of the Century’
A Florida judge is refusing to take the lead prosecutor off of the case of confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz.In her ruling Thursday, the Broward County judge said Cruz does not have any right to choose the prosecutor in his case.Cruz’s public defenders had asked to remove State Attorney Michael Satz for refusing to consider anything other than the death penalty for Cruz and allegedly calling Cruz “evil” and worse than serial killer Ted Bundy.Cruz is accused of killing 17 people during the Valentine’s Day 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.Defense attorneys have said Cruz would plead guilty to killing 17 people at the Parkland high school in exchange for life in prison.He is set to go to trial on capital murder charges in January 2020 and could get the death penalty if convicted.Related content:Prosecutor: Nik Cruz “Worse than Bundy” and Refuses to Reconsider Death Penalty
The San Antonio Spurs pose for a photo after Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Miami Heat on Sunday, June 15, 2014, in San Antonio. The Spurs won the NBA championship 104-87. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan and Tony Parker won titles in their second seasons. Manu Ginobili was a champion as an NBA rookie.Success came so quickly and frequently for the Big Three, but San Antonio couldn’t keep it up after winning its last title in 2007. And just when the Spurs were on the verge of being back on top again last year, the Miami Heat practically snatched the rings right off their fingers.So when they finally celebrated again Sunday, players wrapping themselves in flags from around world in a reminder that the Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions, Parker had no trouble deciding where to rank this title.“That’s why I say it’s the sweetest one,” Parker said, “because it’s just unbelievable to win seven years ago, and to be so close last year, it was very cruel. But that’s the beauty of sport. Sometimes it’s tough. And sometimes it can be beautiful like today.”The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship, ending the Heat’s two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games.Painfully denied 12 months ago by the Heat, this victory party was worth the wait.“We got to this spot and we didn’t let it go,” Ginobili said.San Antonio erased an early 16-point deficit and routed Miami for the fourth time in the series, denying the Heat’s quest for a third straight championship. A year after the Spurs suffered their only loss in six finals appearances — a heartbreaking seven-game defeat — they turned the rematch into no match at all.“We had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that’s why they’re the champions in 2014,” said LeBron James, who led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds.Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who added this title to the ones they won in 1999, 2003, ’05 and ’07 by shooting a finals-record 52.8 percent in the series.“They played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. There’s no other way to say it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.A decade and a half after winning their first title, the Spurs remain the NBA’s model organization, a small-market team that simply wins big and hardly ever does it with a high draft pick. Instead, they found players overseas or in other organizations who would fit the Spurs’ way of doing things and mesh with Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, who have teamed for 117 postseason victories, the most by one trio.Players such as Leonard, acquired in a draft-night trade with Indiana after playing at San Diego State, and Patty Mills, an Australian national who scored 17 points off the bench.The Spurs won four titles in nine years, but had gone so long since the last one that Foreigner’s “Feels Like the First Time” was an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer.Duncan and Popovich have been here for all of them, and it was the fourth for Parker and Ginobili, who with Duncan are once again the reigning the Big Three in the NBA.Chris Bosh finished with 13 points and Dwyane Wade just 11 on 4-of-12 shooting for the Heat.The painful conclusion to last year’s NBA Finals served as the fuel for this one, powering the Spurs to a league-best 62-win season and a rematch with Miami — the first in the finals since Chicago beat Utah in 1997-98.Round 2 went to the Spurs, but both teams have challenges to navigate if there is to be a rubber match.San Antonio will face questions — as it has for years — about the age of its core, and whether Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich want to stick around. The Heat will brace for the potential free agency of James, Wade and Bosh, and will need younger, fresher pieces around the three All-Stars if they all stay.But this moment belongs to the Spurs.Playing a methodical style for many years made San Antonio respected, but never beloved despite its winning ways. The Spurs were TV ratings killers, casual viewers finding them not much fun to watch.But Popovich opened up the offense a few years ago, making the Spurs an easy-to-like, tough-to-beat group that thrives on ball movement and 3-point shooting.“You showed the world how beautiful this game is,” Commissioner Adam Silver told the Spurs during the postgame award ceremony.NOTES: It was the Spurs’ 12th win by 15 or more points, most ever in a postseason. The Spurs outscored opponents by 214 points in the postseason. … Miami had won 11 straight series, tied for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history.___Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney