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Serena Williams captures record 102nd US Open win

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NEW YORK — Making quick work of an opponent for a change, Serena Williams wrapped up her 102nd career U.S. Open match win to break a tie with Chris Evert for the most in the professional era.

Then Williams headed back out to the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands Tuesday night, her dog in tow. Williams had a match to watch — her older sister’s, which did not work out as well.

Serena Williams, who turns 39 this month, defeated Kristie Ahn 7-5, 6-3. But Venus Williams, who is 40, lost in the U.S. Open’s first round for the first time in 22 appearances, beaten 6-3, 7-5 by No. 20 Karolina Muchova.

It is the fourth time in the past five Grand Slam tournaments that Venus exited in her opening match.

“I just ran out of time today,” Venus said.

Venus, who won two of her seven major singles championships in New York, was trying to become only the third woman in her 40s to win a U.S. Open singles match.

“We would have never thought we would still be out here, to be honest,” Serena said.

“I love my job. At the end of the day, I love what I do. I’ve always said, ‘You can’t do it forever,’” she said after delivering 13 aces and dropping only six points on her serve.

“One of these days,” Serena said, “it’s going to end.”

She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the professional era, which began in 1968; only Margaret Court collected more, with 24.

Six of Serena’s trophies came at the U.S. Open, and she also was the runner-up four times, including each of the past two years.

Entering Tuesday, Serena had been 3-2 since tennis matches resumed after a hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic — and all five went three sets.

So Tuesday’s match was a welcome change.

“It’s been years — since the ’90s — since I won a match in straight sets,” Serena joked.

“I’ve been playing a ton of tight matches,” she said. “I felt like, all right, I just wanted to be ‘Serena-focused’ from the first point to the last point, no matter what happens.”

Her career mark at the hard-court event is 102-13, a winning percentage of .887.

“In a weird way, I feel like every time I come here, I’m being told I broke another record,” Serena said.

“It’s cool. I don’t think I appreciate it enough, which is unfortunate,” she said. “But I’m in the middle of a Grand Slam, so it’s not the time to be focused for me on records when I’m thinking about winning a tournament.”

NEW PLAYERS ASSOCIATION

The man who joined Novak Djokovic in trying to start a new association to represent male tennis players, Vasek Pospisil, said there’s been “a lot of misleading information in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish” in setting up the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are among those who have said they’re not in favour of the proposal to set up something outside of the ATP Tour.

As things stand, tennis players do not have a union, the way athletes in the major North American team sports do.

“The structure within the ATP leaves the players completely, like, powerless,” Pospisil said. “Our voices are just not heard. That’s all we’re trying to do here.”

Pospisil reached the U.S. Open’s second round on Tuesday by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3) and will face 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic in an all-Canadian matchup next.

PELLA SPEAKS

One of the two players dropped from the Western & Southern Open draw last month after their fitness trainer tested positive for the coronavirus spoke out Tuesday about what he called unfair treatment.

Guido Pella, an Argentine seeded 29th at Flushing Meadows, lost his first-round match at the U.S. Open to American wild-card entry J.J. Wolf 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Pella said he tested negative nine times for COVID-19 but still was quarantined and withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open — along with Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, who also lost Tuesday — after they had contact with the trainer. Seven players were allowed to remain in the U.S. Open after they had contact with another player, Benoit Paire, who tested positive.

“I suffered one of the worst injustices,” Pella said. “We were not treated equally.”

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Foles leads incredible comeback, Falcons collapse again in Bears win – TSN

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ATLANTA — No matter how bad things might have seemed a week ago, the Atlanta Falcons somehow managed to make it even worse.

Yep, another epic fourth-quarter collapse.

This one could spell the end for embattled coach Dan Quinn, who already carried the burden of the biggest squandered lead in Super Bowl history.

The Falcons surrendered a 16-point advantage in the final 6 1/2 minutes to the Chicago Bears, who got three touchdown passes from backup quarterback Nick Foles and pulled out a 30-26 win on Sunday.

It would have seemed downright improbable — if it hadn’t happened for the second week in a row.

Atlanta (0-3) became the first team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games in which it led by 15 or more points in the final period, according to STATS.

“These last two weeks have been nothing short of crushing,” said Quinn, the sixth-year coach who desperately needed a strong start to the season after two straight losing campaigns.

A week ago, Atlanta became a national laughingstock after failing to pounce on an onside kick, allowing the Dallas Cowboys to finish off their comeback from a 39-24 deficit to win 40-39 on a field goal as time expired.

“It doesn’t get no worse than this,” defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. said. “We probably found the two worst ways you can lose a football game.”

Under Quinn, the Falcons also wasted a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl after the 2016 season and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots.

Quinn faced questions about his job security after the latest debacle. He insisted that he’s only focused on turning things around.

“I need to be the same guy on our best days and on our worst days,” Quinn said. “Anything past that does not help the team. All I can focus on is us finishing better. That’s where my focus needs to be.”

This time, it was Foles who guided the improbable comeback after relieving erratic Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter, pushing the Bears to 3-0 for the first time since 2013.

The former Super Bowl MVP won it with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller with 1:53 remaining.

“Pretty special,” said tight end Jimmy Graham, who had a pair of touchdown catches. “He was out there ad-libbing a bit for sure and checking and changing some plays. There’s one play he called, I’m like, ‘We got that?’ So it was pretty cool to see and pretty cool to be a part of.”

Foles had two apparent touchdown passes overturned by official reviews — and still managed to pull out the victory.

He tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Graham to make it 26-16 with 6:20 to go. The Falcons still appeared in good shape after the Bears failed on a 2-point attempt.

But Chicago got the ball back and moved quickly down the field. Foles connected with Allen Robinson on a short pass that turned into a 37-yard touchdown when Isaiah Oliver and Blidi Wreh-Wilson both missed tackles, allowing the receiver to scoot down the sideline.

After the Falcons went three-and-out on their third straight possession, Foles heaved one down the middle of the field with a rusher in his face. Miller hauled it in for the winning score.

The Falcons still had a shot, but Matt Ryan‘s pass was intercepted by Tashaun Gipson to seal it.

Foles finished 16 of 29 for 188 yards. Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was 13 of 22 for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice.

Brian Hill and Todd Gurley each ran for a touchdown and Ryan connected with Hayden Hurst on a short TD pass that helped stake the Falcons to their seemingly comfortable lead.

Of course, no lead is safe for the Falcons.

Especially with Foles recapturing some of the magic he had in guiding the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl title three seasons ago after replacing the injured Carson Wentz.

Foles spent one injury-plagued season in Jacksonville, then was acquired by the Bears to put some heat on the disappointing Trubisky.

Trubisky set up Chicago’s first touchdown with the second-longest run of his career, a 45-yarder after the Falcons abandoned the the entire middle of the field. He connected on Graham on a 2-yard scoring pass to pull the Bears within 16-10 at halftime.

But Foles got his chance after Trubisky threw an interception in the third quarter that led to a Falcons field goal, pushing the lead to 26-10.

“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” Trubisky said. “I just accepted the news. I had Nick’s back like he’s had mine. The situation sucked, but it was just the flow of the game and how it happened and coach made the decision that he felt was best for the team.”

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

Foles pushed the Bears down the field on his first possession, connecting with Robinson on a play that was initially ruled a 21-yard touchdown pass even though Darqueze Dennard came away with the ball. After reviewing the replay, the officials ruled that Robinson never had control and awarded an interception to Dennard.

With just under 11 minutes remaining, Foles delivered another apparent touchdown on fourth down, connecting over the middle to Miller on a 17-yard throw. But a replay showed the receiver trapped the ball against the turf, turning the ball over to the Falcons on downs.

Turns out, Foles was just getting warmed up.

INJURY REPORT

Bears: RB Tarik Cohen left the game in the second half with a knee injury. S Sherrick McManis was knocked out by an ailing hamstring.

Falcons: The Falcons played without six starters, including WR Julio Jones (hamstring). Also missing were LB Foye Oluokun (hamstring), OT Kaleb McGary (knee), DE Takk McKinley (groin), S Ricardo Allen (elbow) and CB A.J. Terrell (COVID-19 reserve list). The Falcons then lost WR Russell Gage (concussion) in the first half, and DT Grady Jarrett (hip) hobbled off in the second half.

UP NEXT

Bears: Return home to face the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.

Falcons: Head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in a Monday night game to finish off Week 4.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and find his work at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Jays lose to Orioles, setting up first-round date with Rays – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

In gambling parlance, the Jays believe they are live long shots based on a no-fear attitude and a potentially deep and explosive offence. As well, Montoyo is well-versed with the Rays, where he served as a third-base and bench coach under manager Kevin Cash.

“I think we’re a pretty scary team,” said Cavan Biggio, the Jays leadoff hitter. “We’ve seen what we can do with the bats. It’s hard to put us out of games, especially with the way we can score runs.

“We’re going in as the eight seed and I think not many teams are going to want to face us, just with the edge we play and the offence. It’s going to be exciting.”

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS

With the season done and the matchup set, general manager Ross Atkins and Montoyo will piece together the 28-man post-season roster that has to be submitted by 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

After Sunday’s game, Montoyo said he intends to announce his rotation following a scheduled workout day in St. Pete on Monday.

On the pitching side, matchups will likely enter the equation of greatest intrigue.

Montoyo has been deliberately evasive on his plans but it is expected that Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tajuan Walker will handle the starting duties in the first two games. That order could be flip-flopped, however, given that Ryu has often preferred five-days rest and was feeling sore the day after throwing a season-high 100 pitches in Thursday’s post-season clinching win over the Yankees.

The Jays don’t seem overly worried about the range of possibilities, however. And that includes a possible Game 3 (if necessary) combination of Robbie Ray and Matt Shoemaker.

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What’s at stake on final day of MLB regular season – Sportsnet.ca

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Four teams, two National League playoff spots.

And the AL Central champion.

Besides post-season seeding, that’s what remains to be decided on the last scheduled day of this bizarre baseball season. It could all come down to the wire at once in a wild rush, too, with every meaningful game Sunday starting just after 3 p.m. EDT.

“If you said that to me before the season started or on opening day, I would probably look right at you very honestly and say, `I would not be surprised if this season came down to the very last game.’ And that’s what we get,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Christian Yelich and the Brewers control their own fate. So do Yadier Molina and the Cardinals. The winner of their matchup Sunday in St. Louis punches a post-season ticket. Brett Anderson (4-3) pitches for Milwaukee against Austin Gomber (1-1).

San Francisco is still breathing, but needs help. Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies need even more.

One more chance to play in October as part of a playoff field expanded to 16 teams this year following a rocky regular season reduced to 60 games because of the coronavirus.

“It’s frustrating because you see the team that you have around you and you know we should be there — we should easily be there,” Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen said Saturday night after a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay left Philadelphia on the brink of elimination. “To be on the outside looking in right now, it can be frustrating at times.”

The Phillies (28-31) got a reprieve hours later, staying in the race when San Francisco lost to San Diego. They need a win Sunday over the Rays and losses by the Giants and Brewers to land their first playoff berth in nine years.

San Francisco (29-30) needs a victory over the visiting Padres and a Brewers loss. The Cardinals (29-28) make it with a win or a Giants loss. Milwaukee (29-30) is in with a win or losses by the Giants and Phillies.

“We just have to keep our head up and try to win,” San Francisco pitcher Johnny Cueto said.

Over in the American League, all eight teams are set. All that’s left to be determined is seeding — and first place in the Central.

Minnesota has a one-game lead and can lock up its second consecutive division crown — and the No. 2 seed in the AL — with a win at home against Cincinnati or a White Sox loss at home to the Cubs.

“I look at that 2019 banner a lot up there at the stadium, so it’d be nice to put another one up there,” Twins reliever Taylor Rogers said.

If the teams finish tied, Chicago wins the division because it holds the tiebreaker over the Twins.

“It would mean a lot for all of us that have been here for the last couple of years,” White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada said through a translator. “It would be a really good starting point for us for the next season because we would have that foundation there.”

AL East champion Tampa Bay has clinched the league’s top seed. Oakland won the AL West and will also play a best-of-three first-round series at home beginning Tuesday — possibly against rival Houston.

Even without winning the Central, Minnesota is assured of playing at home, where the Twins are a major league-best 24-6. Cleveland can earn home-field advantage with a win over last-place Pittsburgh and a White Sox loss.

The Yankees and Blue Jays are also in, but headed out on the road.

Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs clinched the NL Central crown Saturday night even while losing to the crosstown White Sox. So the third-seeded Cubs will open at home Wednesday just like the other National League division winners, top-seeded Los Angeles and No. 2 seed Atlanta.

“This one feels good,” Rizzo said.

San Diego will be the No. 4 seed. Cincinnati and surprising Miami have also secured spots, though their seeds are still to be determined.

Houston (29-30), Milwaukee (29-30) or Philadelphia (28-31) could become the first team in major league history to qualify for the post-season with a losing record.

The Astros, who close their season at Texas, have already clinched their fourth straight playoff appearance. That means first-year manager Dusty Baker will take his fifth different franchise to the post-season in that role.

And there’s also a possibility the regular season could extend to Monday.

If the Cardinals lose Sunday and San Francisco wins, St. Louis must head to Detroit for a doubleheader Monday to make up two games postponed by the Cardinals’ coronavirus outbreak this summer.

Makeup games to settle the playoff race. Certainly would be a fitting way to finish the 2020 season.

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