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Strong US Open gives pandemic-battered Tennis Canada reason to cheer – TSN



“The Canadians are coming,” analyst Patrick McEnroe noted during ESPN’s coverage of Denis Shapovalov’s win on Sunday night. 

The Canadians, it appears, are already here. With ‘here’ being the top tier of the tennis world. Last year, of course, Bianca Andreescu authored the watershed moment winning Canada’s first singles Grand Slam at the US Open. She breached the gates in New York and this year, with Andreescu sidelined due to injury, the men are storming through.  ​

Shapovalov beat David Goffin in four sets on Sunday to advance to his first major quarterfinal and become the first Canadian man to reach the final eight in New York in singles. 

“Honestly, it’s incredible,” the 21-year-old said. “The first time I heard about it was on court. It literally gave me goosebumps. I’m just so proud to represent such a great country.”

Shapovalov proud of historic moment, excited for opportunity to make deeper US Open run

For the first time ever, a Canadian male singles player has reached the quarter-finals of the US Open as Denis Shapovalov got past David Goffin to make history. He spoke with Mark Masters about how proud he is of the achievement, his game plan against Goffin and how the draw has opened up with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic out of the picture.

On Monday, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil can join Shapovalov. Pospisil faces No. 21 seed Alex de Minaur at 11 am ET on TSN1. Auger-Aliassime aims to upset No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem in a match that won’t start before 2 pm ET on TSN3

This is the first time three Canadian men have reached the fourth round at the same major. 

“I’ve been following Denis and Felix, obviously, closely this week,” said the 30-year-old Pospisil, who has played a mentorship role for his young compatriots. “I see them both every day. I hang out with Felix a lot playing games and in the arcade room at the hotel so it’s really cool to see. I really love those guys. Felix is just one of the nicest guys on tour, honestly. So, super thrilled to see they’re doing well and it’s cool to be part of history for tennis in Canada. It’s an amazing time for our sport and our country and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

While Andreescu’s run inspired a legion of new fans, this year’s second week hat trick in singles is helping raise the spirits of a pandemic-battered Tennis Canada. 

“It’s a lot of pride for Canadian tennis, a lot of pride for Tennis Canada as well,” said head coach of the men’s program Guillaume Marx, who works with Auger-Aliassime. “It’s a tough year for everybody, but especially for Tennis Canada. I’m thinking of all the people that have been putting in a lot of effort lately. I’m thinking of all the people who are involved.”

With the big tour events in Toronto and Montreal cancelled this summer, Tennis Canada is going to lose a little less than $17 million this year, according to president and CEO Michael Downey. 

“We unfortunately laid off 40 per cent of our staff and pretty well cut everything we do in tennis development from April on other than supporting some of the next-generation players that are at the National Training Centre in Montreal,” said Downey. “We’re not doing much because we couldn’t afford to be doing it and that’s a very difficult situation for us. And it’s not going to get easier because we don’t really know what ’21 looks like.”

Tennis Canada is modelling scenarios in which the next Rogers Cup is held as usual with fans, with less fans than usual and with no fans at all. They are also selling return-to-tennis kits to try and raise some money. 

Downey says Tennis Canada usually gets around $1 million in federal government funding through Sport Canada and Own The Podium, which is less than other national sport organizations. They usually don’t need more because the Rogers Cup brings in so much. Now, Tennis Canada is hoping that Ottawa will provide a lifeline and Downey believes Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil have helped in the lobbying efforts.  

“It’s actually, to a certain degree, the best advertisement, because one way or another Tennis Canada has helped these players,” Downey said. 

Tennis is an individual sport and every player takes their own journey. Coached by his mom and supported by a private benefactor, Shapovalov wasn’t part of the Tennis Canada program growing up. 

“I had to do it on my own with my family,” said Shapovalov, who was born in Israel, but moved to Canada at a young age. “I’m just thankful that, at that time, Canada gave my parents a home to live in and a place to grow up and be raised in.”

“We can’t take credit for it,” Downey noted. “At the end of the day, Milos [Raonic] goes out and hits his own balls and so does Bianca and Denis and Felix, but one way or another we were there providing coaching or providing competitive structure and this is a great advertisement as we try to get the federal government to support us, because the program that helped develop these players is in jeopardy.”

Everywhere you look there are positive signs for Canadian tennis on the court. Raonic, who lost in the second round of the US Open to Pospisil,  reached the championship match at the Western & Southern Open, a Masters 1000 event, right before the Grand Slam.  

Montreal’s Leylah Annie Fernandez, who just turned 18 on Sunday, celebrated her first Grand Slam main draw match win in the first round of the US Open and will break into the top 100 for the first time next week. 

Ottawa’s Gaby Dabrowski and her American partner Alison Riske will play a quarterfinal doubles match at 11 am ET Monday on TSN2. And Shapovalov is also alive in the US Open doubles draw alongside partner Rohan Bopanna of India. They will play in the quarterfinals on Monday in a match that won’t start before 3 pm ET and can be watched on TSN2. 

Tennis Canada hopes strong US Open results help spark government support

Canadian players are off to a great start in New York and Tennis Canada president and CEO Michael Downey is hoping the federal government is taking notice. The cancellation of the Rogers Cup events this summer means Tennis Canada will lose close to $17 million this year despite cutting 40 per cent of its staff. Downey is hoping Ottawa will provide additional financial support to his organization

The pandemic is unpredictable and there are plenty of organizations in various sectors that are worthy of government help. Downey says the government has been receptive so far, but how things shake out is hard to tell. For now, at least, Canada’s tennis community has reason to cheer and dream of a bright future. 

After Auger-Aliassime was forced to retire from their first-round match a couple years ago at the US Open, Shapovalov comforted his friend by telling him they’d meet again one day at the tournament in the championship match. 

“It’s definitely a potential [scenario] that it could happen this year,” Shapovalov said on Sunday night before adding, “it’s still very far away. There’s so many great players in the draw for both of us. It’s going to be extremely difficult to get that far. But I’m sure at some point in our careers we’re going to be playing finals against each other, hopefully. Yeah, I mean, that would just be amazing. To grow up with a really close friend, a guy that you’ve been battling against for years from juniors, to go through futures, challengers, everything together, all the way to the top of the grand slam major finals, it would be a movie.”

We may not be at the climax of the movie yet, but the characters are certainly being developed and the plot is advancing.  

“Next week there will be three Canadians in the top 20 [in the ATP rankings] and it’s awesome,” Marx said, referring to Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime and Raonic. “It’s one of the best periods in one of the most bizarre [times] … I hope everybody in Canada that loves tennis is appreciating it.”

Auger-Aliassime embracing underdog role in battle with ‘ultra physical’ Thiem

Dominic Thiem is hoping his edge in experience will be a big advantage on Monday when he faces 20-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open. Coach Guillaume Marx is encouraging Auger-Aliassime to embrace the underdog role against the No. 2 seed. “Thiem’s 27 and he can play, but Felix can do something as well, something with his youth.” Marx is expecting an “ultra physical” match against the Australian Open finalist.

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



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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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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 –



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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UFC 253 results: Matches to make for ‘Adesanya vs Costa’ main card winners – MMA Mania



UFC 253 went down last night (Sat., Sept 26, 2020) inside Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the main event of the event, Israel Adesanya retained his Middleweight title after defeating Paulo Costa, knocking him out in round two (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Jan Blachowicz became UFC’s newest Light Heavyweight champion after he flattened Dominick Reyes with some accurate striking, also in round two (video replay).

Winner: Israel Adesanya

Who He Should Fight Next: Jared Cannonier

After “The Last Stylebender” took out Paulo Costa, he took the opportunity to call for his next fight, a rarity when you’re the champion. Indeed, Adesanya stated that if Jared Cannonier gets through Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020, also on “Fight Island,” he will gladly grant him the next title shot. Should “Gorilla” come up short, there is no telling if Israel would grant Whittaker a rematch. If the champ wants it, there really is no reason not to give it to him.

Winner: Jan Blachowicz

Who He Should Fight Next: Thiago Santos vs Glover Teixeira winner

Jon Jones teased that he could very well could take a quick trip back to 205 pounds in order to reclaim his title after vacating it earlier this year, which gave Jan and Dominick Reyes to become new champion. But I highly doubt UFC would go for that, as Jones is preparing for his move to Heavyweight. That being said, the winner of Teixeira vs Santos — which is set to go down on Nov 7, 2020 — should get first crack at dethroning Blachowicz. Santos already has a knockout win over him, so a rematch would be highly-intriguing. A fight against Teixeira offers up a great battle, as both men posses dangerous knockout power.

Winner: Brandon Royval

Who He Should Fight Next: Alexandre Pantoja

Royval stated after the fight that he hesitated to call out a high-ranked foe, but he is simply being too hard on himself, as he had a great win over Kai Kara France. A fight against Pantoja seems fitting at the moment since the No.5 ranked fighter is coming off a tough loss to Askar Askarov. Prior to that, he was making huge strides toward a shot at the title. Pantoja has the experience edge that could let us know just where Royval fits in the division, though his first two wins over Tim Elliott and Askarov already gave us a pretty good idea.

Winner: Ketlen Vieira

Who She Should Face Next: Raquel Pennington

A match up between Vieira and Pennington seems like a fitting one since both ladies got back in the win column in their previous outing. Vieira defeated Sijara Eubanks in Abu Dhabi, while “Rocky” took out Marion Reneau. Prior to that, Vieira was defeated by Irene Aldana, and Pennington by Holm, two ladies who will collide next week on “Fight Island.” The title shot in the women’s Bantamweight division is there for the taking and a few impressive wins for anyone in the Top 5 can get them there sooner, rather than later.

Winner: Hakeem Dawodu

Who He Should Fight Next: Bryce Mitchell vs Andre Fili winner

Dawodu picked up a huge win over Zubaira Tukhugov in Abu Dhabi, bringing his win streak to five in a row. Up next for “Mean” should be a fight against the winner of Mitchell vs Fili. Dawodu has done enough to possibly sneak into the Top 15, especially after his most recent win. But if he doesn’t get there, then perhaps a win over Mitchell or Fili will do the trick. Fili is one of the most seasoned veterans at 145 pounds, though he is also in search of a spot in the Top 15. Mitchell, meanwhile, just got there and he’ll fight like hell to stay there.

For complete UFC 253 results and coverage click here.

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