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Unseeded Opelka upsets Tsitsipas to earn spot in National Bank Open final –



There’ll be some familiar matchups at the final day of the National Bank Open Sunday.

No. 1-seed Daniil Medvedev will take on American qualifier Reilly Opelka in the men’s tournament in Toronto, while Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic faces Italy’s Camila Giorgi on the women’s side in Montreal.

Both duos have met before.

Medvedev, the world No. 2, has faced Opelka four times on the ATP Tour, with each match going to three sets. The Russian has won three of the contests, including the last meeting in the round of 32 at this year’s French Open.

Medvedev secured his spot in the final with a 6-2, 6-2 win over American John Isner in the semifinal. The 25-year-old hit 11 aces and won 4-of-7 break points in the speedy 54-minute match.

Medvedev said the six-foot-10 Isner wasn’t dishing out the same booming serve he’s known for on Saturday.

“I need to be honest _ I think something was bothering him,” he told reporters after the match. “I knew that I need to do the match from my side. I felt like I could return so that’s what I was trying to do in the rally, I was just trying to keep pressure on him all the time.

“I was serving pretty big also, so I’m just happy with my level of the game and happy with the result, that’s for sure.”

Medvedev reached the final at the tournament in 2019, when the event was known as the Rogers Cup. He lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.

The Russian said he’s worked hard over the past two years to get better.

“I don’t want to say that I’ve become a 10-times better tennis player, playing better forehand or backhand,” he said. “If you try to stay on the same place, you’re going to regress. I heard it from many champions and from many people in life, business people or whatever.

“I try to improve every day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes I get crazy on the courts, sometimes not. But that’s what life is about. It’s about emotions, it’s about every day trying to learn new things.”

Opelka upset No. 3-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in a marathon two-hour, 32-minute match to collect a spot in Sunday’s match.

Opelka saved the lone break point he faced, hit 17 aces and won 77 per cent of his first serve points in the 6(2)-7, 7-6(4), 6-4 win.

“I really was clutch with not only my serve but my volleys in the big moments,” he said

Midway through the 54-minute-long first set, the American hit a no-look, backwards shot between his legs from well below the baseline, only to see Tsitsipas return it across the court, just out of his reach.

“That was my only option from there,” Opelka said with a grin. “It’s kind of somewhat a highlight but tweeners are so common now, I always say they’re so mainstream, they’re not even cool anymore because everyone hits them.”

The first tiebreak saw the Greek go up 2-1 when Opelka, ranked 32nd in the world, came up to the net and sent a shot well out of bounds. The momentum seemed to swing, then, with Tsitsipas ultimately taking the tiebreak on an ace.

It was more of the same in the second set, with the six-foot-11 Opelka’s serve reaching speeds of up to 227 kilometres per hour, but Tsitsipas continued to adapt and respond.

The American went up 6-4 in the second tiebreak when Tsitsipas double faulted. Tsitsipas repeatedly threw his racket in frustration as Opelka finally took the tiebreak. He received a warning for racket abuse.

There were no signs of frustration, though, coming into the third set. Again, the duo each held fast to their serve and attempted to force their opponent into a misstep.

Tsitsipas got his first chance at a break point midway through the third set. Opelka responded with a massive serve that broke a string and forced him to switch rackets. The new tool provided him no trouble, as he got the point back with a quick drop shot and eventually took the game to knot the set at 3-3.

A pair of double faults saw Tsitsipas face a break point in the next game. He sailed a return high and wide, giving Opelka the first break of the match.

The Greek then took a ball out of his pocket and smashed it into the stands in frustration, and was handed a point penalty in response.

“I think he felt that I was serving well, I was earning points in a lot of different ways on my serve,” Opelka said. “Maybe it was just a fluke game, but I like to think it was pressure that I put on him with holding so easily the whole match.”

Opelka sealed the victory with one last blast of a serve that Tsitsipas simply couldn’t corral.

“It was played on the details and he prevailed,” Tsitsipas said of the loss. “It just didn’t go my way when it had to. And it’s alright. I feel like there’s hope for next time.”

At the women’s tournament in Montreal, Pliskova calmly clinched her spot in the final with a 6-3, 6-4 win over the top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus on Saturday.

She celebrated her first-set win with a muted fist pump, and when Sabalenka broke her in the second set, the No. 4 seed from the Czech Republic didn’t show any signs of being flustered.

“I’m quite calm. Of course I have some nerves and emotions but I try not to show it that much,” the 29-year-old said.

“There is a lot of things happening on the court but I think the main thing is just to have a goal and follow that goal.”

Sabalenka struggled with consistency throughout the match, registering five double faults and saving just 4-of-7 break points. She threw her racket to the ground in frustration early in the second set.

Meanwhile, Pliskova remained collected, and used her strong serve to keep her out of trouble. In the second set, the world No. 6 saved a break point with an ace, then preserved the hold with two other serves that Sabalenka simply couldn’t control.

“I think I was super solid today,” she said. “Just did everything I was supposed to do to win this match.”

Pliskova will face Italy’s Camila Giorgi on Sunday.

Giorgi, ranked 71st in the world, downed American qualifier Jessica Pegula 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the second semifinal on Saturday, hitting four aces and saving 7-of-10 break points en route to the victory.

Pliskova and Giorgi previously met at the Tokyo Olympics, where Giorgi took a straight-sets win in the round of 16.

The lone Canadian left in this year’s National Bank Open is Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski who, alongside doubles partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil, punched a ticket to the final with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Russian Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in semifinal action.

On Sunday, they’ll face Croatia’s Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia. The two teams met in the final of the Silicon Valley Classic, where Jurak and Klepac won 6-1, 7-5.

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What Tiger Woods told the USA team to spur a Ryder Cup rout on the final day – Yahoo Canada Sports



A text message from Tiger Woods ahead of the final day of the Ryder Cup helped motivate the American side and avoid any potential upset. 

Woods, who is still rehabbing after a car accident in February, reached out to the Americans and captain Steve Stricker throughout the week. Stricker said early in the competition that the 15-time major winner had been “in my ear a lot and I call him pretty regularly.”

The night before the final rounds, with the Americans having a commanding 11-5 lead, Woods sent a final piece of motivation. Via the Golf Channel:

According to various sources inside the U.S. team room, Woods spent the week dropping Stricker text messages and on the eve of Sunday’s singles session he sent the American side the kind of message that Stricker would not – step on their necks.

Xander Shauffele said he and Patrick Cantlay would not reveal the details of the text, but did say they “referred to it a few times today, and we knew what we needed to do.”

That they did, winning by a record-setting margin of 19-9. It’s the most points scored by any Ryder Cup team on either side since 1979 and for the first time in the competition’s history the U.S. didn’t lose any of the five sessions. On the final day the U.S. team won 8 1/2 of the 12 available points. 

“He’s part of our Ryder Cup team,” Stricker said of Woods, via Golf. “He’s part of what we do. He’s been part of so many of these teams. So to bounce ideas off of him, all of us, players alike, I know some of the players went over to see him.

“But I think it’s just not a good time for him to be here physically because of where he’s at in his rehabilitation and tough course to walk, right. Everybody is going to see it, from tee-to-green, it’s difficult. So probably won’t show up. But he’s getting better and his focus and mine is on making a comeback to play again. We don’t want to get in the way of that because we would all love to see him come back and play.”

Woods shared in the jubilation from home with a tweet after the victory was official. 

Competitors in the golf community have provided small updates on Woods’ recovery, saying the rehab was going well and he was “getting after it.” Woods suffered serious leg injuries in a rollover crash in February. He said in his first interview in May that the process was “more painful than anything I have ever experienced.” 

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Player Grades: Evan Bouchard leads pre-season slaughter of big, belligerent & bewildered Calgary Flames – Edmonton Journal



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The Calgary Flames came out for their first pre-season game of the 2021-22 season with a big, heavy and nasty line-up, ready to party like it was 2014, the height of the NHL’s heavy hockey era.


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Edmonton came out with a bunch of swift and smart puck-moving d-men and forwards and proceeded to stomp the hell out of Calgary, beating them 4-0, and giving up next to nothing in their own end.

Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund and company shredded the Flames with swift decisions and laser passes.

The game was never close.

Calgary outhit the Oilers 29 to nine. The Oilers outshot the Flames 49 to 15. Yes, the Flames hit the most in this game. But they never knew what hit them.

Ryan McLeod, 7. How did he not score? Had all kinds of amazing chances. His unit forechecked well all game. But McLeod failed to cash in on a delicious power play rebound in the second.  Also just missed on a tip shot on the rush. In the third he almost slammed home a wrap-around attempt. He had nine shot attempts, five on goal.


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Tyler Benson, 7.  How did he not score? Cooper Marody set him up with a wide open net in the third and Benson ripped a great shot only to be foiled by an even better save. Took an early penalty on an over-aggressive screen. He won battles, passed the puck well, and did not hurt his cause to make the Oilers, though Brendan Perlini made more of a statement.


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Cooper Marody, 6. Pretty quiet, though he combined well with his teammates, especially setting up Benson in the third.

Brendan Perlini, 8. All kinds of chances. Had a power forward kind of game. He got off a wicked slot shot off some fine work by Turris and Bouchard in the second. A bit later, he stole the puck at the blueline from lumbering Calgary d-man Erik Gudbranson, kicked the puck to his forehand, and moved in on a breakaway to fire a hard shot, then slammed in the rebound for Edmonton’s fourth goal. He got set up early in the third by Turris for another near breakaway and almost scored, drawing a penalty.


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Devin Shore 5. Not that noticeable this game. Won a couple of board battles in the first, leading to a dangerous Turris backhander. He played a team low 11:28.

Kyle Turris, 7. He looked good on the power play and good moving the puck.

Colton Sceviour, 6. Fairly quiet game as well. He got blasted into the boards by Martin Pospisil of the Flames in the first. But he worked well on the forecheck on Edmonton’s third goal.

Derek Ryan, 8. He centred the Oil’s best line. Looked fast and pesky. Scored on a hard-working power play shift early in the second to give his team a 2-0 lead, taking a pass out from Bourgault and stuffing it in the net. He was part of a ferocious Edmonton cycle with Sceviour and Bouchard that led to Bourgault’s goal, with Ryan making the final pass. He led the Oilers on the dot with 10 wins and five losses, 67 per cent.


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Xavier Bourgault, 7. He flashed major skill and calm. He won a board battle on the power play to flip the puck out front on Ryan’s goal. A bit later, took a pass from Ryan and hammered in a sharp-angle one-timer shot for Edmonton’s third goal.


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James Hamblin, 6. A quiet game, save for one big play when he pounced on a bouncing puck early in the second, got a breakaway, and made a sharp move to his backhand to score the first goal of the game.


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Adam Cracknell, 5. Quiet game, though he almost scored late in the game off a Kemp point shot.

Raphael Lavoie, 5. Won a battle on the board in the first. Won some more battles on a great shift in the third. But his line never really got going other than few spurts.

Slater Koekkoek, 7. Solid game, just kept moving that puck over to Bouchard and good things happened. With the Oilers up 4-0 in the third in a nothing pre-season game, he blocked a blistering power play shot. Evidently he wants to make this team.

Evan Bouchard, 9. Wow! He utterly dominated the game. Of course, it was just a pre-season game. He nonetheless schooled the Flames, with his feints, dekes, spins, zips and bombs. If he can do that against tougher competition, the Oilers have their man to replace Adam Larsson in the Top 4. His skating was once questioned, but he showed strong edge work and acceleration, constantly shaking Flames forecheckers. He got nine shots on net, six of them hitting the mark, a number of them ripper slap shots.


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Philip Broberg, 6. Skated miles, not always to great effect, but was certainly active. Took a tough pass from partner Filip Berglund in his own zone in the first and got hammered by Milan Lucic with a hit. He let Brett Ritchie in behind him for a third period rush and shot. He and Berglund were also beat on a dangerous third period cross-seam pass in the third. Plenty of flash in his game, and he logged the second most amount of ice time, 22:22, but still finding his way in the North American pro game.

Filip Berglund, 7. He was good, really good. Smart and solid with the puck, good decisions all over the ice.He led the team with 23:30 time-on-ice. Some savvy defensive stops in the defensive slot and neutral zone to win pucks and get his team going in the right direction. Covered up for a Broberg on a mistimed pinch, tracking back fast to shut down the Flames attack.


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Phil Kemp, 6. Solid game. Got a good block in the first. Had some trouble moving the puck, but his clearance bounced to Hamblin on the first goal.

William Lagesson, 6. He kicked off the scoring sequence on Edmonton’s first goal with a sharp d-zone pass up the middle. In the third he broke down the wing to get off a good shot. He played just 15:28 on the third-pairing, but was solid in that time.

Stuart Skinner, 6. Not tested much but stopped everything that came his way in the first.

Ilya Konovalov, 6. Had little to do in the second when he came in, but did fire off a nice pass up the middle of the ice. He made best Edmonton save of the night on pass that sliced across the net-front to Matthew Phillips, but Konovalov stoned him.


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At the Cult

STAPLES: Massive opportunity here for Benson and Lagesson

LEAVINS: The Archibald conundrum

McCURDY: Day 3 of on-ice at Edmonton Oilers camp and the first cuts come down



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Tucker's NFL-record FG lifts Ravens to win over Lions – TSN



DETROIT (AP) — Justin Tucker ended the game as if he was starting it, backing up an extra step or two and kicking the football with every bit of force he had in his right foot.

Tucker set an NFL record with a 66-yard field goal, bouncing it through off the crossbar as time expired to lift the Baltimore Ravens to a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

“That one was more like a kickoff,” he said. “It’s like you’re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and hope it stays straight.”

The kick topped the 64-yard field goal Matt Prater made for Denver against Tennessee on Dec. 8, 2013. Prater’s attempt at a 68-yard kick for Arizona on Sunday fell short and was returned 109 yards for a touchdown by Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew, a former teammate in Detroit.

Lamar Jackson — and perhaps a break from the officials — made the record-breaking kick at Ford Field possible.

On fourth-and-19 from the Baltimore 16, he threw a 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins to get the Ravens across midfield with 7 seconds left. The superstar quarterback spiked the ball to stop the clock, and on the next snap, he threw it away after TV footage suggested the play clock expired.

“We’ll get an apology and it doesn’t mean anything,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell said.

Then Tucker — who made a 61-yard kick to beat the Lions in Baltimore’s previous visit to Detroit eight years ago — came out and made the record-breaking field goal.

“I love Detroit,” said Tucker, who is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. “I’m thinking about getting a place here.”

Referee Scott Novak told a pool reporter that he had not seen a replay of the play in which the play clock appeared on TV to expire before Jackson’s incomplete pass to the sideline, adding he had no idea if there was an error made.

“The back judge is looking at the play clock and if it were to hit zero, he sees the zero, and he then looks to see if the ball is being snapped,” Novak said. “If the ball is being snapped, we will let the play go. If it’s not moving, it’s delay of game. Those are the mechanics that we apply on that play.”

Baltimore (2-1) went into the fourth quarter with a 16-7 lead and ended up trailing briefly.

Ryan Santoso made a go-ahead, 35-yard field goal with 1:04 left, giving Campbell an opportunity to win his first game with the Lions (0-3).

“It hurts because you put yourself in position to win,” Campbell said. “The silver lining is we’re getting better and I’m proud of the way they competed.”

Santoso was promoted from Detroit’s practice squad on Saturday after kicker Austin Seibert went on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Jackson was 16 of 31 for a season-high 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His teammates dropped at least four passes that could have potentially turned the closely contested game into a rout.

Mark Andrews had five receptions for 109 yards for the Ravens, who have won 11 straight games against NFC opponents.

Jackson perfectly placed two passes on one drive that should have been touchdowns, but Watkins and Marquise Brown failed to catch the football. Brown also dropped two passes on a single possession late in the first half, forcing Baltimore to punt.

Detroit’s Jared Goff was 22 of 30 for 217 yards and D’Andre Swift had 107 yards of offense and a score.

“I know this city and this franchise have gone through a lot of gut punches in the last few years, but I’m telling you we will remain true and remain resilient and the gut punches will stop,” Goff said.

The Ravens often had to settle for field goals, and they’re fortunate to have one of the best ever handling that job for them.

Tucker, who was wide right on a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter, made a 39-yard kick with 10:05 left in the first half to put them ahead 3-0. Tucker made two field goals in the third.

“He’s a huge part of our game,” Jackson said. “If we’re not getting it done, he’s going to come through and give us three points here, three points there.”

The Lions have a history of losing on long kicks. In addition to the two by Tucker, Detroit was also on the wrong end of Tom Dempsey’s then-record 63-yarder in 1970 for New Orleans. Buffalo’s Dan Carpenter beat the Lions with a 58-yarder in 2014.


The Ravens ran for 116 yards, surpassing 100 yards for the 42nd straight game to pull within one of the NFL record set by Pittsburgh from 1974-77.


Calvin Johnson set aside his hard feelings for the Lions long enough to be honored at halftime, receiving his ring of excellence from the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being inducted last month.


Ravens: Rookie LB Daelin Hayes (ankle) and S DeShon Elliott (quadriceps) were hurt during the game. The defense started the game without DE Derek Wolfe (back, hip injuries), and LBs Jaylon Ferguson and Justin Houston and DL Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike went on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Lions: LB Trey Flowers (shoulder, knee) was inactive.


Ravens: Play at Denver next Sunday.

Lions: Play at Chicago next Sunday.


Follow Larry Lage at


More AP NFL coverage: and


This version has been corrected to show that Tennessee was the opponent on Prater’s 64-yard kick in 2013.

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