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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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CFL to return in August

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The Canadian Football League (CFL), which saw its entire 2020 campaign wiped out by the COVID-19 outbreak, said on Monday its board of governors voted unanimously to kick off a shortened 14-game season in August.

The CFL, whose biggest source of revenue comes from ticket sales rather than TV deals like those enjoyed by larger U.S.-based leagues, also said fans will be able to return to the stands in line with provincial guidelines.

“This is an exciting day for Canadian football and for Canada itself,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a news release.

“I want to thank our fans, players, coaches, and partners for their incredible support and patience as we’ve worked together towards this day.”

The season will begin Aug. 5 while the Grey Cup championship game will be played Dec. 12 in Hamilton, Ontario.

The full schedule will be released on Tuesday along with each of the league’s nine team’s plan for distributing tickets to season ticket holders and, where government restrictions on stadium capacity allow, ticket sales to the general public.

After first delaying its 2020 season, the CFL decided to scrap it entirely following a last-ditch effort to secure financing from the Canadian government to stage a shortened campaign that would have been held entirely in Manitoba was turned down.

The CFL had previously said it would only move forward with a 2021 season if it could secure the government approvals for its plans to keep players and coaches safe and the green light to allow a “significant” number of fans to attend games.

“We are on track to receive all of the necessary health and safety approvals, thanks to our tireless medical advisers and staff, and the dedicated government officials who have been working with them,” said Ambrosie.

“And while the outlook for fans in the stands varies from province to province, we are confident that process is also on the right track.”

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Mixed Martial Arts-Door is open for YouTube’s Paul brothers in MMA

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Logan and Jake Paul would make great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, Bellator president Scott Coker has said as he targets exhibition matches featuring the YouTube personalities such as the former’s boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul went the distance, surviving eight rounds against unbeaten (50-0) five-division world boxing champion Mayweather in an exhibition on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.

USA Today reported the fight brought in one million pay per view buys with $50 million generated from sales in the United States.

It was only the second fight of Paul’s career, while his brother Jake has fought in three professional boxing matches, beating former MMA fighter Ben Askren in April.

Critics have labelled the bouts a sideshow due to the lack of sporting credibility of the duo, who made their names as social media personalities and have millions of subscribers on YouTube.

However, Coker told Reuters the brothers have impressive physiques and the door is open for them to move into MMA.

“I met with Logan Paul about two years ago and I’ve spoken to Jake Paul’s manager and Jake on a zoom call recently… The one thing I said was hey, if you want to do MMA we would love to promote you guys,” the 58-year-old said in a Zoom interview.

“These guys are young, athletic, strong and you saw the fight on Sunday night these guys they came and did their work.

“Mayweather couldn’t finish him and I know he tried, I heard he wanted to knock this kid out so bad,” he added.

“When I heard both had high school wrestling backgrounds in Ohio, which is a prominent wrestling state in the U.S., it really made me interested in pursuing them in some super fights in Mixed Martial Arts – and that door is continually open.”

HEADLINE FIGHT

Bellator, owned by Viacom, is gearing up for a busy month of events, starting with Bellator 260 on Friday with the headline fight between reigning welterweight world champion Douglas Lima and the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov.

However, super fights and exhibitions are where Coker is targeting a younger audience.

“My 14-year-old niece, I told her I was going to the Logan Paul fight and she thought that was the greatest thing,” he said.

“She asked me who he was fighting and I said Floyd Mayweather and she said ‘who’s that?’ – I thought wow, she doesn’t know boxing, she doesn’t know MMA, she’s just a 14-year-old girl on the internet doing what they do.”

As the sporting world gears up for the delayed Tokyo Olympics starting in July, Coker believes MMA will feature in future Games.

“When you think about mixed martial arts, what you’re talking about is boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, karate – those are all Olympic sports,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t mixed martial arts eventually get into the Olympics because six out of the seven disciplines MMA is known to use really is already there.

“There’d be a lot of details to work out but to me I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Wednesday, after the 2020 event Canada was to host was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The championships will return to Montreal from March 18-24, marking the 11th time Canada has staged the event.

“Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montreal,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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