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.
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.”
Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
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Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
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Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
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