#1 n unbelievable challenge. WHAT TO WATCH FOR What Ca von lebaobei123 24.05.2019 04:52

ROME - Canadas Milos Raonic defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals. Raonic, the No. 8 seed from Thornhill, Ont., won five of the last six points in the first-set tiebreaker. He picked up a break in the second set en route to his first career victory over the 11th-seeded Frenchman. Tsonga outlasted Raonic in a marathon match at the London Olympics in 2012 and beat him again last year at Indian Wells. Raonic hit seven aces and saved five break point chances on the red clay courts at the Foro Italico. Hell make his fourth Masters 1000 Series quarterfinal appearance of the season Friday against Jeremy Chardy of France. Chardy, who upset Roger Federer of Switzerland in the second round, advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Croatias Ivan Dodig. Raonic has yet to reach a semifinal this year. Also Thursday, Rafael Nadal was pushed to three sets for the second consecutive match before ultimately prevailing to set up a quarterfinal against Andy Murray. The top-ranked Nadal dropped behind a set and a break against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, then won 11 of the final 12 games to win 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1 on another windy day at the Foro Italico. "Get used to (it)," Nadal said of his recent struggles. "With the years thats the normal thing. Everybody suffers. Thats part of the sport." At 27, Nadal believed his best days were probably behind him. "At this age, (Bjorn) Borg was doing other things," said Nadal, a 13-time Grand Slam winner. "Its not possible to win for 10 years with easy scores and easy matches. At the same time, Im sure I can do much better than I am doing." Nadal was looking forward to facing Murray for the first time in more than two years. "I play against one of the top players in the world after two tough days," Nadal said. "If I play well Im going to have my chances, if not Im going to spend the weekend (at home) in Mallorca." Murray eliminated Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6 (1), 6-4 to celebrate his 27th birthday. In an upset, the seemingly ageless Tommy Haas beat third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. On the womens side, Maria Sharapovas 12-match winning streak — which included titles in Stuttgart and Madrid — ended with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Ana Ivanovic. Showing no signs of trouble from the left thigh injury that forced her to withdraw from Madrid, defending champion Serena Williams cruised past fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-2. Pushed for three hours by Gilles Simon to nearly midnight a day earlier, Nadal didnt generate the usual depth with his groundstrokes, and began to take control only when Youzhny started committing more unforced errors. "The conditions were very impossible," said Nadal, a seven-time Rome champion. "You always have to find the positive thing. I was able to play with the right motivation even if the feeling was not perfect." Nadal consistently ran around his backhand, a shot that also caused him concern in recent losses to David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, respectively. Of Nadals 29 winners, only two of them came with his backhand. Haas, the oldest player in the draw at 36, used his expertise to give Wawrinka trouble with heavy topspin. Haas last beat a top-10 player more than a year ago in Miami, where he took out then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic. "These things dont happen too often anymore, so when I take them Im really proud of them," the German said. He has been winning this week in Rome for the first time since he lost the 2002 final to Andre Agassi. Wawrinka cited a back injury that occurred in colder conditions during his opening win. "I couldnt move too well," he said. "Its really nothing serious. Its just painful and I need some rest — maybe a few days." Wawrinka has made a great start by winning the Australian Open and the Monte Carlo Masters but another early exit in last weeks Madrid Open leaves his form in question with the French Open starting in 10 days. Haas quarterfinal opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov, who at 22 is the youngest player in the top 20. Dimitrov rallied past sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2. Fifth-seeded David Ferrer beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 6-3 and will meet either Novak Djokovic or Philipp Kohlschreiber, who were playing late. In womens play, second-seeded Li Na defeated Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-1 and will next meet Sara Errani of Italy, who kept the crowd content by beating Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 7-6 (3). Also, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska eliminated Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-1, and will play 2007 and 2008 Rome champion Jelena Jankovic, who got by Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-3. (SportsNetwork.com) - All of a sudden, its become crisis time in Kansas City. Coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs were riding high on a five-game win streak - including a defeat of the defending Super Bowl champions - as they reached late November, but the arrival of the holiday season has meant particularly bad tidings when it comes to a would-be AFC playoff list. First came an embarrassing loss to previously winless Oakland on a primetime Thursday night, which was followed up by another national television misstep, this time to the Denver Broncos last Sunday. The result: Kansas City has dropped from first to third in the AFC West and now finds itself among a gaggle of conference teams - six, to be precise - with 7-5 records and postseason dreams. We didnt finish the third quarter (of the season) the way that we wanted to. Weve got to go back to it and get that part fixed, Reid said. Weve stalled the last two weeks, so weve got to get this thing turned around and get us straightened up. The Chiefs were in a 14-point hole against the Raiders before ultimately dropping a four-point decision, then were down, 17-0, to the Broncos last week. The offense generated just 120 yards in the opening 30 minutes in the Oakland game and only 59 in that same timeframe against Denver. Running back Jamaal Charles carried 10 times for 35 yards and caught four passes for 24 yards last week, while quarterback Alex Smith was intercepted for the first time since Week 5. Our defense was out on the field the majority of that first half. Couldnt help them out, Smith said. To start off the game with those three-and-outs like that, youre just not helping the team, and not getting into any rhythm hurt us. Kansas City matched up reasonably well with Denvers prolific passing attack thanks to an aerial defense thats the best in the league with an average of 196.8 yards allowed, but the Chiefs had few answers when the Broncos switched gears and pounded them for 214 yards on the ground. In fact, the team has allowed 4.93 yards per run, worst in the league. This weeks opponent, Arizona, throws the ball on more than 60 percent of its snaps and averages a league-worst 3.08 yards per attempt. The Cardinals ran just 11 times last week against Atlanta. Its disappointing, Kansas City defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. But we have a couple more games to play. Its not like (the Denver game) was the last one. We still have some stuff to fix. Well come out this next game and play better. Arizona is trying to brandish the same confidence amid a raft of injuries. Quarterback Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a knee injury during a Week 10 victory over St. Louis, and his replacement, Drew Stanton, has lost two of three starts as the Cardinals have tumbled from 9-1 and a clear No. 1 seed in the NFC to 9-3 with just a one-game division lead. Safety Tyrann Mathieu will miss significant time, too, after fracturing his left thumb. He was part of a ball-hawking defense that had forced eight turnovers in a three-game stretch against Philadelphia, Dallas and St.dddddddddddd Louis, but that same unit has generated only two takeaways in the last three games. Its a sense of urgency, because we have to play lights-out football, cornerback Patrick Peterson said. We have all the confidence in the world in (Stanton), but we are still playing with a backup quarterback and that changes the dynamics of everything. As a defense, we have to do what got us here, which was taking the ball away, and as an offense, protecting the ball. Stanton has thrown three touchdown passes and five interceptions since becoming the starter, though he was without No. 1 receiver Larry Fitzgerald for the losses to Seattle and Atlanta. Arizona now leads the Seahawks by one game in the NFC West. When you stink, you stink. You point out how you stunk and get it corrected, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. I dont throw chairs and holler and do all that stuff thats non-productive. Thats not teaching. You have to teach in order to get things corrected. Theres two pictures - the two-game losing streak and being 9-3. We have to get back to the things that got us to this point. The next one is huge to maintain where were at. The sky has not fallen yet. Were still No. 1, and we need to stay there this week. Fitzgerald is labeled probable to face the Chiefs and help Arizona try to maintain an unbeaten record at its University of Phoenix home. The Cardinals have lost just once there in their last 11 games. Weve played well at home, and this is a great opponent, Arians said. Jamaal Charles is playing as well as any running back has in a while. Hes always an unbelievable challenge. WHAT TO WATCH FOR What Can Brown Do? Rookie wide receiver John Brown has been a home-field phenomenon for the Cardinals in 2014, making 25 of his 39 receptions and scoring all five of his touchdowns there. Considering that Arizonas leading rusher, Andre Ellington, is listed as doubtful with a lingering hip injury, its likely that the third- round pick from tiny Pittsburg State will become a go-to as Stanton continues to seek offensive comfort. Go Wide, Young Man Its a pretty remarkable stat that a quality team like the Chiefs - even after 12 games - has still not generated a single touchdown catch from a wide receiver. Indeed, Smiths 15 TD throws have been divvied up among tight ends (eight) and running backs (seven), though Dwayne Bowe leads the team with 46 catches. Arizona is just 27th in the league is pass defense, so the drought could soon end. OVERALL ANALYSIS His teammates have said all the right things and his coach still insists that teaching is the way to end the recent doldrums, but the reality is that the Cardinals with Stanton at the helm are simply different than theyd been with Palmer. Hes got to play nearly mistake-free to win football games, and against a near-elite team like Kansas City, thats a tough task to complete. In fact, it says here that he wont. 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