NEW YORK (AP) — Daniil Medvedev predicted he would need to play “11 out of 10” to get past defending champion and top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz at the U.S. Open.
How did Medvedev rate his performance against Alcaraz in the semifinals Friday night?
“I played 12 out of 10,” Medvedev declared after eliminating Alcaraz 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to set up a rematch in the final against Novak Djokovic, a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) winner over unseeded American Ben Shelton earlier Friday.
The No. 3-seeded Medvedev won his lone major championship at Flushing Meadows in 2021 by defeating 23-time Slam winner Djokovic in that year’s title match. That prevented Djokovic from completing what would have been the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969.
Even before the start of these two weeks, folks had been anticipating a Djokovic vs. Alcaraz showdown on the last day of the event. Theirs is an inter-generational rivalry — Djokovic is 36; Alcaraz 20 — that has fascinated the tennis world in recent months.
A meeting in New York on Sunday would have been a rematch of the final of the Cincinnati Masters last month, won by Djokovic, and of the final at Wimbledon in July, won by Alcaraz, and of a semifinal at the French Open in June, won by Djokovic.
But it was not to be.
Medvedev stood in the way.
“These kind of matches can happen,” Alcaraz said.
Alcaraz — who will relinquish the No. 1 ranking to Djokovic no matter what happens on Sunday — had been trying to become the first man to claim consecutive championships in New York since Roger Federer won five in a row from 2004-08.
Alcaraz spoke days earlier about his growth over the past 12 months and how much more mature he’s become.
“After this match, I’m going to change my mind,” Alcaraz said. “I’m not mature enough.”
So instead, it will be Medvedev, a 27-year-old from Russia, who will be appearing in his third U.S. Open final in five years and his fifth major title match in all.
He lost to Rafael Nadal in New York in 2019 and at the Australian Open in 2022, and to Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2021.
“The challenge is that you play a guy that won 23 Grand Slams, and I have only one,” Medvedev said, looking ahead to taking on Djokovic. “When I beat him here, I managed to play better than myself, so I need to do it again. There is no other way.”
Medvedev had lost to Alcaraz twice this season, including in the Wimbledon semifinals. Those head-to-head results left Medvedev concerned.
“Before the match, for sure, a lot of doubts,” he said.
But he was up to the task. Was he ever.
He stood way back to return serves and would conjure up passing shots “from his house,” Alcaraz observed with a smile, also noting that Medvedev hit his forehand harder than usual.
Told about that last part, Medvedev said: “I’m happy that I managed to get in his head.”
One key moment: From 3-all in the opening tiebreaker, Medvedev grabbed the next four points and that set.
“I totally (lost) my mind,” Alcaraz said.
When Medvedev went up 3-0 in the second set, Alcaraz went to the sideline and thought about smacking his racket against a couple of plastic bottles on the floor near his seat, but held back.
“It was tough,” Alcaraz said, “for me to stay calm.”
There were moments of brilliance from both men, displays of athleticism, instincts and shotmaking that brought fans out of their seats.
Also often jumping up from his spot in a corner guest box at Arthur Ashe Stadium was Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion who is Alcaraz’s coach. Ferrero was looking nervous throughout the second set as the match appeared to be getting away from his guy, keeping up a constant patter of instructions and exhortations in Spanish.
It all helped, if only briefly. Alcaraz really got going in the third set, and his net-charging tactics — including plenty of serve-and-volleying — were effective. He won 54 of 70 points that he finished at the net.
Medvedev served about as well as ever. He saved eight of the nine break points he faced and then often got the better of the match’s shortest points, winning 101 of the 174 exchanges that lasted four strokes or fewer.
“Against someone like Carlos, you have to serve well,” Medvedev said. “You have no other choice.”
The final twist came with Alcaraz serving down 3-2 in the fourth set. It was a lengthy game that lasted nearly 15 minutes, filled with a ton of impressive returning by the lanky Medvedev, whose long arms seem to get his racket to everything.
When one Medvedev return landed out, Alcaraz looked up and put his hands together, as if to say, “Thank you!”
But Alcaraz missed one volley, and then couldn’t quite deliver as he reached to try to get to a dipping, angled backhand return.
“That game was amazing,” Medvedev would say later.
It gave Medvedev the lead and an edge he would not relinquish, even if he did need to put aside a pair of double-faults while serving for the victory as some spectators called out to distract him.
“That’s not so nice. But I’m happy it didn’t help them,” Medvedev said. “They can go to sleep now.”
Alcaraz was asked how long he’ll stew over this setback.
“Days? Weeks? I don’t know,” he responded. “I don’t think I’m going to think about this loss for a long time.”
Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook
In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.
This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.
Licensing and Regulation
The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.
Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.
Odds and Betting Markets
The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.
Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.
Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.
Security and Payment Options
Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.
Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.
As LeBron James enters Year 21, the theme of Lakers media day was passing the torch and sharing the load
The budding relationship between fifth-year forward Rui Hachimura and four-time MVP LeBron James has been one of the stories of the offseason for the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers. Stories of the two working out together have become commonplace. “I call him my Daniel-san and I’m Mr. Miyagi,” James joked at Lakers’ media day Monday. It was an appropriate comparison not just between James and Hachimura, but the legend and his entire team.
Now that Udonis Haslem has called it a career and Andre Iguodala is seemingly headed in that direction, James is officially the NBA’s oldest active player. He proved that he is still a superstar on the court last season, but aside from Anthony Davis and Taurean Prince, all of his Laker teammates are at least a decade his junior. In a perfect world, the days of James pushing for 30-point triple-doubles on a nightly basis are now over. He has a group of young teammates eager to learn from his example and lift him up when he needs it.
“I think with this team we have the most depth,” new Lakers big man Christian Wood said Monday. “No team in the league has more depth than we have.” This was the goal of the Lakers’ offseason. Though they didn’t make any particularly splashy additions, six of the seven Lakers to play at least 200 postseason minutes are back this season. Joining them are Gabe Vincent, a starter on Miami’s finalist from a season ago, and Wood, one of the NBA’s most dynamic scoring big men. Rounding out the new-look bench are former first-round picks Taurean Prince (29), Cam Reddish (24) and Jaxson Hayes (23). That youth-oriented approach was no accident, as Lakers coach Darvin Ham explained Friday.
“Now that we have, top-to-bottom, what we feel is a highly balanced, skilled, athletic, younger team of guys that have logged a ton of NBA minutes, we can surround both he and AD with these players who are coming in eager to contribute, eager to show that they can impact winning,” Ham said. “That’s gonna allow us to be able to be more efficient with his game-to-game minutes.”
Managing James’ minutes was difficult last season. The Lakers lacked depth on a roster depleted by the Russell Westbrook trade, and when Davis was hurt, James needed to carry a remarkable burden just to keep the Lakers afloat. He averaged 24.1 shots and 34.6 points per game between Dec. 18 and Jan. 24, Davis’ longest extended absence of the season. Roughly one month later, he suffered the foot injury that hampered him for the rest of the season. It’s an outcome Davis is hoping to avoid this time around.
“It’s my goal every year to play 82,” Davis said. Though likely unobtainable, keeping Davis on the floor will be essential to the Lakers’ championship hopes this season. In fact, James might even argue that his co-star’s health is more important than his own. “He is the face [of the franchise],” James said at media day. For stretches last season, he was among the NBA’s best players. Between Nov. 13 and his own injury on Dec. 13, Davis averaged 32.4 points per game while doubling as the league’s best defensive player.
But for the Lakers to realize their considerable potential, he’ll have to sustain that dominance for longer stretches. The supporting players, who were so instrumental in lifting the Lakers from out of the top-10 in the West and into the Western Conference finals, will have to continue to benefit from James’ presence as Hachimura has. The Lakers went from cellar-dweller to contender last season when they morphed from an older, star-driven roster to a younger, balanced one, and whether that means Davis stepping into James’ role as the focal point of the team or the role players improving with another year in the system, the Lakers made it clear at media day that they plan to continue that transformation.
The Growing Popularity of Online Casino Apps in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide
Online casinos have surged in recent years, partly because the pandemic moved people from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to playing from the safety of their homes and partly because technological leaps have made online gaming more engaging and immersive.
In response to the rise in online casinos, companies have invested in bringing the experience to mobile apps. Apps provide players with an accessible way to enjoy their favorite casino games—plus, there are usually more features and gameplay is more convenient.
This guide explores the benefits of online casino apps, the legal considerations surrounding gambling in Canada, the different types of casino games available on apps and future trends in the industry. If you’re an online casino enthusiast looking to sample the best apps, try this list first to see if your favorite casino already has an app. Chances are, they do.
Why an app?
Smartphones have brought a level of convenience to life that is not always appreciated, especially as users become increasingly accustomed to having a tiny computer in their pocket. Ease of access to everything from email to real-time maps to e-reading devices allows for an unprecedented level of flexibility.
Online casinos are no exception. You can access a wide range of casino games while you’re waiting for a bus, relaxing at home on the couch, or during a lunch break. Apps, in comparison to online casino websites, provide a user-friendly interface that is specifically designed for your phone.
Online casino and gambling regulations
It is important to understand the legal considerations and gambling regulations in Canada, or from whichever country you are partaking in online gambling. Engaging with licensed casinos is the best way to protect yourself from potential harm associated with cybercrime, scams, or other unethical practices. Reading reviews from online casino comparison sites or verifying casino licenses is recommended before playing, especially with real money.
In Canada, the legality of online gambling varies across provinces. Some provinces have their own online gambling platforms, while others rely on offshore operators. As a general rule of thumb, online gambling is legal in Canada. The legal gambling age varies by province, so it’s best to check laws and regulations depending on your specific location.
Which types of games are available?
Most casino games have been adapted for mobile apps. Slot games are particularly popular because developers have been able to introduce vibrant graphics and exciting themes to the app experience. Table games such as blackjack, roulette and poker are also popular for those seeking a more strategic, reflective experience.
A lot of online casino apps also offer live dealer games, where players can interact with actual dealers and other players in real time. By leveraging a smartphone’s unique features, such as vibration, these types of games played on an app can feel even more immersive and authentic.
Future trends and advanced gameplay
The online casino app industry is continuously developing, with cutting-edge innovations and trends shaping the industry’s future. One emerging trend is the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. VR technology, while still not fully mimicking physical casinos, does create a more interactive gaming environment for players.
Another trend is the improvement of mobile payment options. By incorporating a variety of payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, making deposits and withdrawals in mobile casino apps is increasingly more simple and secure. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are being leveraged to enrich the gaming experience, with AI-powered chatbots providing personalized customer support.
In today’s age, apps are a normal part of our daily routine. Online casinos have successfully tapped into ever-evolving smartphone technology to create engaging and accessible entertainment options. It is as important as ever to choose reputable service providers and practice responsible gaming, but as the industry continues to innovate, more complex and engaging options are on the horizon.
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