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Olympics-Curling-Britain edge Canada, Italy make winning start in mixed doubles

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Reigning world champions Britain earned a notable victory over fellow favourites Canada in a tough contest at the National Aquatics Centre on Thursday to continue their winning start to the curling mixed doubles competition.

Having beaten Sweden in the opener on Wednesday, Britons Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds faced another stern test against the Canadians but prevailed 6-4 after their opponents were unable to make final stone advantage count in the last end.

“I think it was a step up from yesterday,” Dodds said. “If anyone said at the start of the competition we’re going to be 2-0 up playing Sweden and Canada — two great oppositions — I think anyone in this field would say they’d take that.”

Canada’s John Morris, who won the inaugural mixed doubles gold in Pyeongchang, and Rachel Homan will have the opportunity to get their title defence back on track when they take on Norway in their second preliminary match later on Thursday.

Italy’s Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner began their round-robin campaign with a win as they pulled off a hard-fought 8-4 victory against the United States and will face Switzerland in the second session.

The United States, who beat Australia in their opening match, had the chance to level the contest 6-6 in the eighth end but Vicky Persinger’s toss went wide. They will look to rectify the result against Norway later.

“We played a lot better in the second half of that game, which I think is mentally reassuring for Chris and I, so we’re just going to bring that half to the next game… it’s nice that it’s back-to-back for us,” Persinger said.

Australia will have to wait to register their first victory on Olympic curling ice after a second straight narrow defeat as they went down 6-5 against hosts China.

Tahli Gill’s stunning three-point shot levelled the scores to give Australia a fighting chance and she had the opportunity to throw for victory but missed the shot by the narrowest of margins.

Sweden bounced back from their opening loss to Britain, scoring two points in both the seventh and eighth ends in a 7-4 comeback win over Czech Republic before they take on China in the evening session.

 

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma; editing by Richard Pullin)

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2022 NBA Draft: Toronto Raptors select Christian Koloko with 33rd pick in 2022 NBA Draft – RaptorsHQ

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The Toronto Raptors selected Christian Koloko with the 33rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

The Raptors only had the one pick tonight; they traded their first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Thaddeus Young at last season’s trade deadline. There were several strong candidates remaining at 33, but Koloko seems like a strong fit for the Raptors.

For one, he’s big — like, an actual big. He’s 7’1”! The Raptors leaned into length last year, but this is a whole ‘other story: he’s got a 7’5.25” wingspan!

By all accounts, Koloko is an athletic shot blocker, rim-runner and dunker; he can shoot a little, but not from range (yet); he’s a high-energy player.

That all sounds appealing! Well, OK, maybe not the “can’t shoot from distance part,” but hey, that’s what the NBA G League is for!

Koloko played three seasons in Arizona, and averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and an insane 2.8 blocks in 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats last season. He also shot the ball well from the floor and the line (63.5% and 73.5%, respectively) but again, nothing from deep.

He’s also from Doula, Cameroon — Pascal Siakam’s hometown! Also like Siakam, he picked up hoops later in life, so he’s still raw — a real unfinished product.

Size, quickness, shot-blocking, energy. What more can you want? (Oh, yeah. Shooting.) Well, we can’t have it all, right?

Our draft expert JD Quirante will have a full breakdown of Koloko’s game and fit with the Raptors tomorrow.

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Colorado Avalanche Looking to Close Out Stanley Cup Final – VOCM

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The biggest game of Alex Newhook’s young career is taking place tonight as the Colorado Avalanche look to win the Stanley Cup.

The Avalanche won game four against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night, securing a 3-1 series lead against the defending two-time Stanley Cup champions.

A win tonight would give the Avalanche their first cup since 2001, and bring the cup back to Newfoundland and Labrador with St. John’s native Newhook.

The game gets underway tonight at 9:30 island time.

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Andreescu advances to Bad Homburg final after Halep withdraws – WTA Tennis

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The unseeded Bianca Andreescu reached her sixth career final, and first off hard courts, at the Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Voelkers after a neck injury forced No.4 seed Simona Halep to withdraw ahead of their semifinal.

This week marked the first time in the Canadian’s career that she had won consecutive main-draw matches on grass. The 2019 US Open champion is playing her sixth tournament of the season following a six-month hiatus to look after her mental health, and notched her third Top 20 win of 2022 with a quarterfinal upset of No.1 seed Daria Kasatkina.

“It’s Bibi on the beat”: How making music helps Bianca Andreescu stay grounded

Saturday’s final will be Andreescu’s first since Miami 2021, where she was forced to retire against Ashleigh Barty. She will face either No.9 seed Alizé Cornet or Caroline Garcia as she bids to win her fourth career title.

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