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Serena Williams asked about ‘love’ in CRINGEWORTHY post-match moment after taking down Russian teen Potapova (VIDEO) – RT

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Serena Williams overcame a wobbly start to defeat Russian teen Anastasia Potapova and move into the Australian Open fourth round, afterwards being asked what “love” meant to her in a cringey post-match exchange.

Still chasing a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title, Williams was forced to save two set points in the first set against the young Russian in Melbourne on Friday before prevailing in a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory.

The result moved the American 10th seed into a mouth-watering meeting on Saturday with Aryna Sabalenka, the in-form Belarusian seventh seed who breezed past America’s Ann Li in straight sets in her third-round match.

Williams is looking to extend her record title haul at the Australian Open, where she has a staggering seven championships to her name.

After seeing off 19-year-old former Wimbledon Junior champion Potapova, Williams admitted to her shaky start but said she was relieved to battle through.

“It definitely feels good to be in the fourth round and it’s so good to get through that match,” the American said.

“I felt like I came out not off to the starting blocks like I would have wanted to and like I have been since I’ve been playing here. But it’s about surviving and playing better every round.”     

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the stage was set for one enamored journalist to ask the US tennis icon a particularly gushing – if somewhat cringey – question about love.

“We know what ‘love’ means on the scoreboard, but what other ways does the word ‘love’ have a connection to tennis, for you and for others?” the journalist asked.

Despite being asked about ‘love’ away from the scoreboard, a straight-faced Williams proceeded to rattle off a series of scorelines which she most enjoys, rather than revealing the deeper passions which the journalist was perhaps hoping to stir  

“I love 6-0, as long as I have six, and as long as I have 40, I love 40-0,” said Williams.

“As long as I don’t have love, I’m doing good at tennis, on the court, so to say.” 

Williams will have felt the love from the sidelines in Melbourne on Friday as husband Alexis Ohanian watched on while wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Unstoppable queen” – a garment Williams herself has been seen in at the tournament.

The match with Potapova was one of milestones for Williams as she collected her 90th win at the Australian Open.

Williams was even seen laughing during the second set before a point had even finished, showing she was enjoying herself on court at the age of 39. 

While fans were in attendance in Melbourne on Friday, they will not be allowed through the gates for the next five days after the state of Victoria announced a “circuit-breaker” lockdown to suppress a coronavirus outbreak.   

“It’s going to be a rough few days for I think everyone. But we’ll hopefully get through it,” Williams said of the situation.

“It’s not ideal. It’s been really fun to have the crowd back, especially here. It’s been really cool.

“But, you know what, at the end of the day we have to do what’s best. Hopefully it will be all right.”

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Canucks tie it late, beat Canadiens in shootout – TSN

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VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat scored in the shootout Monday, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canucks captain was the lone player to beat Carey Price in the shootout, sending a wrist shot past the Canadiens goalie and into the top-left corner of the net.

The Habs (11-6-7) nearly took two points in regulation after getting a power-play tally from Jeff Petry early in the first period.

Vancouver’s Adam Gaudette forced extra time, scoring with 40.5 seconds left on the game clock. Horvat registered an assist on the goal.

Price had 28 saves for the Canadiens and Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for the Canucks (12-15-2).

The result extends Vancouver’s win streak to three games.

Brock Boeser nearly eked out a win for the Canucks in extra time but Price stretched out the length of his crease to make a glove save and force the shootout.

Gaudette’s goal 19:19 into the third ensured overtime on Monday.

He ripped a shot from the left face-off dot, ringing it off the post and in to knot the score with his third goal of the season.

Vancouver pulled Demko with 1:20 left on the clock in a bid to net the equalizer, and nearly took its second too-many-men penalty of the night in the process. Horvat jumped over the boards before the officials noticed the errant forward.

A sloppy line change proved costly for the Canucks early in Monday’s game.

Vancouver was called for too-many men, giving Montreal a power play and Petry capitalized, using a screen by Corey Perry in front of the net to sneak a long shot past Demko and open the scoring 4:37 in.

The Habs were 1-for-2 with the man advantage. Vancouver failed to convert on three power plays, despite getting a minute and 25 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey midway through the first period.

Tyler Toffoli nearly gave Montreal a two-goal lead early in the second, firing a pair of slap shots at Demko.

The Canucks goalie stopped both, but a rebound on the second attempt popped up as he fell back into the net and landed in the corner of the crease, dangerously close to the goal line. Defenceman Tyler Myers swept it out of harm’s way.

Gaudette had two prime chances to even the score for Vancouver in the second.

A wraparound shot from teammate J.T. Miller pinged off Gaudette’s shin and just wide of the post around the eight minute mark. About two minutes later, the Canucks forward blasted a slap shot from the slot, only to see it swallowed up by Price. Gaudette responded by looking skyward.

Moments later, Montreal’s Joel Armia picked the puck off Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes in the neutral zone and got a breakaway. Demko got just enough of the ensuing shot to send it careening wide of the net.

The Canucks and Canadiens will battle again in Vancouver on Wednesday.

NOTES: Vancouver defenceman Jordie Benn was injured early in the third period and did not return. … Demko was named the NHL’s second start of the week earlier on Monday. He posted a 3-0-0 record last week with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage. … Montreal equipment manager Pierre Gervais worked his 3,000th game. An announcement of the feat elicited stick taps from both teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.

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What made Rheal Cormier one of Canada’s greatest baseball players – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – Early in the 2000 season, Rheal Cormier and the Boston Red Sox were visiting Jason Dickson and the Anaheim Angels, as they were known then, bringing the New Brunswick pitchers together for the first time.

“The bullpens are stacked (at Angel Stadium), one on top of the other, and that’s where we struck up a conversation through the fence,” recalls Dickson. “I’ll never forget meeting him that first time. I’m the one that probably should have went up to him and introduced myself. I was too nervous to, but he didn’t hesitate to come up and congratulate me on being in the big leagues, ask how my family was doing, ask if I talk to people at home, get into a discussion around New Brunswick and senior baseball and fishing and hunting and all those things that make you a Maritimer. It was just like talking to one of the guys at home.”

Their shared roots made them a rarity in the majors, not only as Canadians, but as two of the three New Brunswick natives at the time enjoying success at the sport’s highest level, along with slugger Matt Stairs of Fredericton.

Cormier, from Cap-Pele, was five years older than Dickson, from Chatham, so the two didn’t cross paths on their way up to the majors. By the time they did meet, Cormier was establishing himself as one of the steadier left-handed relievers in the majors after Tommy John surgery ended his days as a starter, while Dickson was trying to return after a year lost to shoulder surgery.

“You’d hear the stories about Rheal, just like blue-collar work ethic, chopping wood, doing his thing — very grounded with who he was. Just unassuming, kind and generous,” says Dickson, who is now Baseball Canada’s president. “The last time I saw him was at Senior Nationals in Miramichi — I was there for Baseball Canada, and Rheal kind of snuck in late to the game. He wanted to see some people, but no big entry, no big whatever. I gave him a hug, asked him how he was doing, and that was so him, so unassuming. The guys he played with often talked about how hard he worked, didn’t take anything for granted, and I think that sums him up.”

Those are some of the lasting memories of Cormier, who passed away Monday after fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 53.

Quietly, Cormier enjoyed one of the greatest careers by a Canadian in MLB history, with his 683 games second only to Paul Quantrill’s 841 among Canuck hurlers. In 2012, he was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cormier posted a 4.03 ERA over 1,221.2 innings while producing 12.8 WAR as calculated by FanGraphs, logging a career-best 186 frames during his first full season in the majors with the 1992 St. Louis Cardinals, who chose him in the sixth round of the 1988 draft.

Trades to Boston in 1995 and then Montreal in 1996 allowed him to log 159.2 innings over 33 games for the 1996 Expos team that went 88-74 and finished second in the National League East. But his elbow blew the next year, Tommy John surgery followed and in 1999 he rejoined the Red Sox, where he transitioned to the bullpen and posted a 3.69 ERA in 63.1 innings.

During the ’99 playoffs, he logged 7.2 innings over six appearances without allowing a run.

After the 2000 season, Cormier joined the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he logged a 3.62 ERA over 363 games until a 2006 deadline deal sent him to the Cincinnati Reds, where his performance dipped. In May 2007, the Reds released him after just six appearances, though he joined Atlanta on a minor-league deal afterwards, and finished his professional career with five games for triple-A Richmond.

And though his MLB days were done, Cormier did pitch for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a full-circle achievement after being on the 1988 team at the Seoul Games when baseball was a demonstration sport. Cormier also represented Canada at the 1987 Pan Am Games and Intercontinental Cup, and 2006 World Baseball Classic.

“Rheal probably doesn’t get as much credit as he should,” says Dickson. “I always go to the different websites and pull up Rheal’s stats to show people, and they’re shocked to see how long he played and how well he did it. That’s just him, just kind of flying under the radar.”

Cormier is survived by his wife, Lucienne, and two children, Justin and Morgan.

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Gushue Falls to 2-1: Smith Makes Shot of the Tournament – VOCM

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It was a classic matchup at the Tim Hortons Brier last night between defending champ Brad Gushue and former champ Kevin Koe.

They were tied in the eighth end but Koe eventually put it away 9-7 to remain undefeated.

Gushue, whose next match comes tonight against Saskatchewan, falls to 2-1.

Greg Smith, representing NL, dropped to 0-4 after an 11-4 loss to Nova Scotia.

Down 7-1 and nothing to lose, Smith made the shot of the tournament in what TSN is calling the “Rock Around the Clock.” Smith plays tonight against winless PEI.

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