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25.10.2018 11:59
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Incredibly enough, with two days left in the mens tennis season, we still dont know who will wind up with the No. 1 ranking.No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic could meet in Sundays championship for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals -- marking the first time in tournament history that two finalists would determine the No. 1 ranking.In Saturdays semifinals at Londons O2 Arena, Murray faces No. 4 Milos Raonic, and later Djokovic meets No. 5 Kei Nishikori.After beating Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2 Friday, Murray was asked if it mattered whether the pivotal match with Djokovic came sooner or later.I mean, theres a good chance that if I want to win the tournament, I would have to win against him, he told the media. That would either be in the semis or the final. I dont think that makes a whole lot of difference.Im certainly not taking anything for granted. I know it will be hard. But, yeah, I feel like my games in a good place.Heres a breakdown of the two semifinal matches:Andy Murray versus Milos Raonic, 9 a.m. ET on ESPN3Round-robin records: Murray 3-0; Raonic 2-1Career head-to-head: Murray leads 8-3 (with three walkovers)W2W4: Turns out, life atop the tennis universe hasnt been a burden after all. Murray won all three of his round-robin matches this week and five of six sets. And while he still seemed frazzled and frustrated at times (notably against Nishikori in his second match), he has largely contained his outbursts. Its that kind of cerebral composure that has historically been his biggest enemy. And when you factor in all that is on the line in London -- winning a first ATP Finals title, securing it in front of his home fans and holding on to the top ranking -- Murray deserves credit for the manner in which he swept his way to the final four -- the first time since 2008 hes reached the semifinals unbeaten.Truth be told, its never been better. Murray has won 22 consecutive matches, equaling his career best -- which came earlier this year. He was masterful against Wawrinka, but his opponent Saturday is also playing some of the finest tennis of his career. Raonic has crafted a stellar 52-15 record, and the faster courts and indoor conditions of the O2 Arena make his serve more lethal than it already is. Hes slugged a tournament high 40 aces through three matches.But more telling beyond this tangible stuff is the manner in which Raonic, who could end the season ranked a career-high No. 3, talks about playing big in the seminal moments, as he did in a must-win match against Dominic Thiem on Thursday: Theres a lot definitely to be proud of, playing under that kind of pressure, cause I really wanted to get out of the group stages and I wanted to give myself a chance in the semifinals, he said to the media after a straight-sets win that propelled him into the semifinals.Murray is keenly aware Raonic took Djokovic to a pair of tiebreakers and is comfortable in this venue. Yeah, you dont normally get loads of opportunities against the big servers, Murray said. Then it comes down to when you do get those chances, whether you take them or not. And this year when Ive played him, Ive created a few opportunities in the matches. When theyve come, Ive been pretty clinical.Ill need to be the same tomorrow if I want to win.Prediction: Murray in two.Novak Djokovic versus Kei Nishikori, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN3Round-robin records: Djokovic 3-0; Nishikori 1-2Career head-to-head: Djokovic leads 10-2W2W4: Finally, Djokovic will play someone who has a career win against him. He was 23-0 versus his round-robin group heading into the ATP World Tour Finals and swept his three matches this week. Nishikori has beaten Djokovic twice, most notably in the 2014 US Open semifinals. Nishikori has played strong tennis since the summer hard-court season began. In August, he took down Rafael Nadal to win bronze at the Rio Olympics, and then a few weeks later made the US Open semifinals. Nishikori came into the year-end championships just a couple of weeks removed from a finals appearance at the Swiss Indoors. In his opener this week, he manhandled Wawrinka and narrowly lost to Murray in a three-setter Wednesday.But this matchup will likely be determined by Djokovics state of mind. For a player who preaches harmony and relaxation, he has been on edge all week, snapping at chair umpires and smashing rackets. Nearly unbeatable through the French Open, Djokovic, who had a commanding lead in the rankings during the summer, has battled himself as much as his opponents in recent months. He squirrely existence has raised questions as to what (and why) his game has fallen. Nonetheless, after dropping the opening set to Thiem last Sunday, Djokovic sailed the rest of the way in London, including a one-hour shellacking of alternate David Goffin, who filled in for injured Gael Monfils on Thursday.Remember, not only is the championship on the line, but so is the No. 1 ranking, an honor -- even if he has not admitted it -- Djokovic believes he deserves. For the first time since his tenure atop tennis began 223 weeks ago, few have questioned whether he is the best player in the game. But the feeling now is that as he closes in on 30 years old, his game has dropped, while the landscape is slowly shifting. Still, with two full days left in the regular season, Djokovic has corralled a final boost of intensity. I can say from my perspective that I always try to really take the last drop of energy, whatever is left in my body, to perform as well as I can and finish off the season in the best possible way, he told the media after beating Goffin.Prediction: Djokovic in three Cheap Bengals Jerseys Free Shipping . Fred Couples, captain of the U.S. side, put it all into perspective. "We know whos in charge," he said. Andrew Billings Jersey . McPhee said that Ovechkins father Mikhail is in stable condition after having the surgery this week and is no longer in intensive care. "Weve told him to stay as long as necessary with your dad," he said. Ovechkin and his Russian national team were eliminated from the mens hockey tournament in Sochi on Wednesday with a 3-1 quarter-final loss to Finland. . "Thank you for the warm welcome," Beckham said on an 80-degree February morning. In this case, it was soccer weather. The sport moved a step closer to returning to South Florida on Wednesday, when Beckham confirmed he has exercised his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami. Mason Schreck Jersey . -- Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was selected Monday to his second straight Pro Bowl, while guard Kyle Long made it after a solid rookie season. Sam Hubbard Jersey . The nimble-footed quarterback got his wish, dashing through the snow and a weary defence all the way into the NCAA record book. INDIANAPOLIS -- After spending two days dissecting the problems from their last loss, the Indiana Pacers found some solutions Saturday.And they didnt even need their best player, Paul George, to bail them out.Instead, Indiana made a season-high 12 3-pointers, forced 18 turnovers and pulled away from the struggling Chicago Bulls for a resounding 111-94 victory, after George was banished to the locker room for the final 13 1/2 minutes after inadvertently kicking the ball into the stands.This is what we feel we can do out on the floor, Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. Again, its going to be a process and its going to take time for us to continue to build. But this is the type of game we want to build off of.There was a reason this one looked easy.After seeing their problems exposed on tape, the embarrassed Pacers (3-3) found motivation in proving everyone wrong this time -- especially against a team playing back-to-back games for the first time this season.The Pacers took full advantage of the opportunity.C.J. Miles scored 20 points off the bench, making four 3s. Myles Turner finished with 16 points and four blocks, and George still had 13 points and seven rebounds.That was more than enough against the Bulls (3-3), who have lost three straight.Jimmy Butler and Doug McDermott each scored 16 points, while Rajon Rondo had nine points and five assists. But Rondo (four) and Butler (six) combined for nearly as many turnovers as the Pacers had as a team (12).Right out of the gate, you could see it was going to be tough, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. Weve got to find a way to bounce back and do the things to be successful.The game was only tied once, at 2-2, and Indiana soonn took control.ddddddddddddJECTEDGeorge appeared to be upset when there was a no-call on one of his shots and then he was called for a foul on the Bulls ensuing possession. He was assessed a technical foul and immediately ejected. He said he apologized to the fan the ball hit. I just meant to kick the ball against the stanchion, George said. My soccer skills arent as good as I thought. Im glad my teammates were able to pick up this win and me not be at fault for a loss.THREE FOR THE SHOWAfter Georges departure, with 1:42 left in the third, the Pacers had two 3s out of their next four baskets. Indiana, which took 26 attempts, had made 10 3-pointers three other times this season.TIP-INSBulls: Had an eight-game streak with 100 or more points snapped. ... One night after Wade made five 3-pointers, his highest single-game total since April 2009, he was 1 of 9 from the field and 0 for 2 on 3s. ... Guard R.J. Hunter returned to his hometown for the first time with Chicago.Pacers: Extended the lead to 26 in the second half, their largest lead of the season. The previous best was 16 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 1. ... The Pacers scored 62 points in a half for the second time this season and topped the 100-point mark for the fifth time in six games.UP NEXTBulls: Will try to snap their two-game losing streak against Orlando when the series resumes Monday in Chicago.Pacers: Will chase their first road win of the season Monday night at Charlotte. The Hornets have won three of the last four in the series including a sweep last season. 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