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Unbreakable Sakkari beats Pliskova to make first US Open semi, faces Raducanu – WTA Tennis



World No.18 Maria Sakkari advanced to her second major semifinal of the season and first in New York, defeating No.4 Karolina Pliskova, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the US Open. The 26-year-old is the first Greek woman to reach the US Open singles semifinals. She will face Britain’s Emma Raducanu on Thursday for a spot in her first major final.

“I want to dedicate this win to Greece because we struggled a lot last month with some fire damages,” Sakkari said. “So for me winning for Greece, making Greek people proud and happy, especially in difficult times, it makes me even more happy because you know how much I love my country.”

Sakkari’s win over Pliskova is her third straight win over a Top 10 seed, after defeating No.6 seed Bianca Andreescu in a record-setting Round of 16 win and No.10 seed Petra Kvitova in the Round of 16. She is now an impressive 4-0 vs Top 5 opponents in 2021; she previously defeated Naomi Osaka and Sofia Kenin twice.

Having spent 3 hours and 30 minutes to hold off Andreescu in the latest finish of a US Open women’s singles match, the big question coming into Wednesday night’s quarterfinal was how well Sakkari could physically recover.

Sakkari answered the question quickly, with a remarkable serving display that never gave the Czech a chance of a foothold in the match. Sakkari broke Pliskova just once in each set, but never faced a break point in the match as she served her way to a dominant straight-sets win. Sakkari’s run through New York continues to build on her career-best season, which includes a Roland Garros semifinal and Miami Open semifinal.

Read: How Maria Sakkari unleashed her power and rediscovered her identity in Miami

Stat of the Match: Sakkari lost just two points on her first serve for the entire match (23 of 25). In total, Sakkari lost just eight points on serve for the match, while breaking Pliskova early in each set to keep Pliskova at bay. During one stretch through the first set and early games of the second, Sakkari won 22 consecutive service points.

Sakkari finished the match with 22 winners to just 12 unforced errors. Pliskova, who struggled to find her forehand rhythm over the night, hit 14 winners to 20 unforced errors.

Turning Point: Despite Sakkari’s domination on serve, Pliskova earned one late chance to turn the match around. With Sakkari serving for the match at 6-4, 5-4, Pliskova saved two points from 40-15 to get to deuce for the first time of the night. But with an opportunity to break open a protracted rally with her forehand, Pliskova netted a forehand down the line to give Sakkari a third match point. 

This time, Sakkari closed out her dominant win, booking her spot in the semifinals after 81 minutes.

Sakkari on her second Slam semifinal: “After reaching my first Grand Slam semifinal at the French, I felt like I can do it again. It was not luck because I beat all these good players.

“Now I think I had one of the toughest draws, to be deadly honest. I think Sloane had a tougher draw than me. But Kostyuk, Siniakova, Kvitova, Andreescu, Pliskova, all these players are players I don’t want to play in the first rounds. Going deep, you won’t have it easy. I had to play really well to be here. That gives me a lot of confidence because I beat some very, very good players to reach the semifinals this time. I’m actually feeling really well. I don’t want to jinx it.

“My tennis looks in a great place right now. Mentally I’m pretty calm. I don’t want to get too excited for this win today because I have to play tomorrow. If I had a day off, it would be different.”

Next up: Sakkari will face British teenager Raducanu, who has yet to drop a set en route to being the first qualifier in the Open Era to make a US Open women’s semifinal. 

“She’s a new player on tour so I don’t know much about her,” Sakkari said. “Obviously she’s having the tournament of her life. She deserves to be here. She has won all these matches.

“But I wouldn’t call myself the favorite. I think we all have equal chances of winning the semifinals and then winning the title. I would give 25% to each starting tomorrow, then 50 to the two finalists. We are all for a reason here. We’re all playing well. It was not like we had five walkovers. I’m excited to play a second semifinal this year.”

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Sick Jon Rahm withdraws from Fortinet Championship's Wednesday pro-am – Golf Channel



World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew from the Fortinet Championship’s Wednesday pro-am because of a stomach illness. 

Rahm was supposed to tee off at 8:40 a.m. PST and moved his press conference to 2 p.m. But he then canceled his pre-tournament presser altogether and the Tour announced he would not appear at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course at all on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Spaniard is scheduled to tee off at 7:44 a.m. local time in Round 1. 

Full-field tee times from the Fortinet Championship

After competing this week in Napa Valley at the PGA Tour’s season opener, Rahm is expected to travel to Whistling Straights, Wisconsin, for next week’s Ryder Cup. 

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Oilers Rookie Notebook: Dylan Holloway’s wrist injury a tough blow –



EDMONTON — The first blow came even before Edmonton Oilers rookie camp had opened, with prized prospect Dylan Holloway going under the knife Tuesday to repair a broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist.

What made it even more disappointing was, after busting the bone in the NCAA playoffs with the University of Wisconsin, Holloway had surgery after Wisconsin’s season ended in late March in Chicago that was designed to have him ready to play hockey this fall. But that surgery failed.

Holloway, Edmonton’s first-round pick in 2020 (14th overall) lunched with Holland during a Calgary world junior camp in August, and the Oilers GM didn’t like what he heard.

“He was telling me that he couldn’t shoot, couldn’t take draws. He was getting frustrated,” Holland said. “We were five to six months down the road … and there was very little healing going on. Probably about 30 per cent. The decision was made: nothing was really happening, and we’d need to start the process all over again.”

Holloway is only 19, but can play in the American Hockey League. He was likely destined for Bakersfield this year, which is definitely where he will be assigned when he heals up sometime around the new year.


No Room At The Inn

The Oilers roster is pretty much set with veterans, with precious few (if any) spots for a youngster to worm his way into the NHL.

But two left shot defencemen who may have the best shot — along with left winger Tyler Benson — are both in town and ready to begin their North American transition in earnest. Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg are at the Rookie Camp prep’ing for main camp, where it isn’t a total reach that one might be able to stick around.

“They’re both going to be in North America,” said Holland, who had good news when doctors cleared Samorukov for full contact after a January shoulder injury suffered in Moscow. “He was playing very well in the KHL, but hasn’t played hockey since January. Two years of pro — one in Bakersfield, one in (the KHL) — and I’m also excited to see where Broberg is at, like everybody else.

“Do they force their way onto the Edmonton Oilers roster? Or do they have to go down to the American League and continue their development into NHL defencemen? That’s what we’re trying to find out, but they are both here (in North America) to stay.”

Samorukov, 22, played a season in Bakersfield then went home to CSKA Moscow last year, the club where he was raised as a player. Broberg, 20, spent two developmental seasons in Sweden’s top league with Skelleftea, while limping through the 2021 World Junior here in Edmonton.

“I had a knee injury and a shoulder injury at the World Juniors. It was difficult,” said the defenceman, who played through the pain. “It is an honour to play for your country, especially at the World Juniors.”

Broberg said he was about “80 percent” when he returned to Skelleftea, and by season’s end, his minutes were down. Samorukov injured his shoulder in a January battle drill during practice and lost the back half of his KHL season, but says the last two seasons have him ready to challenge for a spot on an NHL blue line.

“When I first came to the AHL two years ago, it was really good for me. Learning how to be a pro player,” he said. “Then, the season in the KHL, I established myself as a pro player. Now, we’re trying to knock in the door. To do our best.”

Remember, Samorukov first came over as a 17-year-old to play three junior seasons for the Guelph Storm. He had 45 points in 59 games in his 19-year-old season and then nicely quarterbacked the Russian powerplay at the World Juniors in Vancouver-Victoria. But the 197-pounmder has settled on a less offensive game as a pro.

“Of course when you come from junior you have a lot of points. You think you might be something special,” he smiled. “Then you realize you have some guys who can really get points. (You learn) what kind of game you have to play. I know who I am right now.”

Samorukov was part of the ask by Arizona when they were peddling goalie Darcy Kuemper, a package considered too rich by Holland. Now, we’ll begin to get a closer look at the 2017 third-rounder, who moves a nice puck and stands six-foot-three.

“This rookie camp offers him a good chance to get up and running,” said Bakersfield head coach Jay Woodcroft, “so he’s feeling confident heading into main camp next week.”

Tyler’s Time?

Is this finally the year that Tyler Benson cracks the Oilers roster? It had better be — he is waiver eligible now, at age 23 years of age with four pro seasons under his belt.

With left wingers Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Warren Foegele in town, it’s pretty clear that Benson will have to make the club as a fourth-line left-winger and try to move up from there. He’s in against Devin Shore and Brendan Perlini for that 4-LW spot, as a former candidate for exceptional status as a junior now finds himself in a utility role if he wants to get his NHL career off the ground.

“We came up with a plan to develop different areas of his game (in Bakersfield last season),” Woodcroft said. “For example, his board work. Introducing him to the penalty kill. Something he had minimal experience on, but something we felt provided a line of sight or a pathway to … make our parent club.

“Tyler was a point-per-game player last year and played on what I felt was the most dominant line in the Pacific Division of the AHL. He made plays,” his coach said. “The opportunity before him is obvious. He feels like he’s in top shape, mentally ready to go, and he’s excited about that opportunity.”

Edmonton’s recent first-round pick (22nd overall) Xavier Bourgault hit the gym hard this summer, putting on 10 lbs. He comes to camp at six feet tall and 172 pounds, so he has a ways to go.

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Blue Jays optimistic Jose Berrios won’t miss next start after abdominal scare –



Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jose Berrios is doing much better after leaving Tuesday’s game with an abdominal injury, manager Charlie Montoyo said Wednesday.

After the Blue Jays’ 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the team reported that Berrios left the game due to abdominal tightness on his left side and received post-game treatment.

Berrios threw seven innings of one run ball Tuesday, striking out six and allowing only four hits.

“He’s doing fine,” Montoyo said. “He’s doing a lot better than we thought, which is great news. Actually, you might get to see him playing catch in a little bit to see how he’s doing. He did all the tests. Everything looks good.”

The right-handed pitcher who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline is 11-8 on the season, with a 3.43 ERA in 173.1 innings pitched.

The Blue Jays wrap up their series with the Rays on Wednesday at 3:07 p.m. ET/ 12:07 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN Now.

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