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Canada Day Weekend Sports Preview–June 29-July 1–Volleyball, LPGA, Wimbledon, CFL _ MLB

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The Edmonton Eskimos will start their 2013 Canadian Football League season Saturday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday, TSN, 1:30 p.m.).

The Eskimos will enter the 2013 season with Mike Reilly at quarterback, who backed up Travis Lulay last season, and won the job when Matt Nichols tore his ACL against the Roughriders in the preseason. According to the Canadian Press, Eskimos General Manager Ed Hervey was very excited in the offseason of the acquisitions of backup running back John White from Utah and offensive lineman Carson Rockhill, who was acquired from Hamilton.

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NLL moves Stealth to Vancouver

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The National Lacrosse League has decided to return to Vancouver. According to the National Lacrosse League website, the Washington Stealth  have decided to move to British Columbia for the 2014 season.

The Stealth will move to Langley, British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver, and become the fourth NLL team in Canada, joining the Edmonton Rush, the Calgary Roughnecks and Toronto Rock.

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Wacky Wednesday at Wimbledon

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

 

Roger Federer (Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday was one of the most remarkable days in the history of grand slam tennis.

A total of seven players either retired or withdrew even before their match began, and seven former  world number ones were knocked out.

And there are some big names no longer in the draw. They include seven time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, world number two Maria Sharapova of Russia and world number three Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

As far as the Canadians went, Eugenie Bouchard of  Westmount, Quebec was one of those players to knock out a former world number when she beat Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. As for Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil, he was up a break in the fifth and deciding set, but could not hang on against 20th seed Russian Mikhail Youzhny and lost, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.

Tomorrow Thornhill’s Milos Raonic will play Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, while Nepean, Ontario’s Jesse Levine takes on former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina on center court.

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Fifth seeds eliminated while Canadians perfect at Wimbledon

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Monica Puig (Wikimedia Commons)

A pair of fifth seeds have been eliminated after round one of Wimbledon, which concluded on Tuesday.

French Open champion Rafael Nadal of Spain shockingly lost in straight sets to 135th ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium yesterday 7-6, 7-6, 6-4, while 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani of Italy lost to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-3, 6-2.

As for the Canadians, they have been perfect over the first two days. On Monday, Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, B.C. defeated Marc Gicquel of France 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 and Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Quebec defeated Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. Then today, Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario defeated Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 and Jesse Levine of Nepean, Ontario defeated Guido Pella of Argentina 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 4-3.

The road will be tough for Pospisil, Bouchard and Levine in round two however. Pospisil will face 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia Wednesday, Bouchard will face former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia Wednesday and Levine will face former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro Thursday.

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Weekend Sports Preview–June 15-16–U.S. Open, Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Finals, IndyCar, WMBL _ Volleyball

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Phil Mickelson (Steven Newton, Wikimedia Commons)

There is  doubt after two days of the 2013 United States Open, the course at Merion is winning. As of Friday, only two players were under par for the second major of the year– big game Phil Mickelson and little name Billy Horschel at one under par.

Prior to the tournament there was speculation that the course was goin to play easy because it was a short course of under 7,000 yards. But the course has bee anything but easy, as it has given players headaches on a regular basis. Round two ends Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. on TSN and continues throughout the day. Sunday’s coverage will start at 10:00 a.m.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday–IndyCar Racing–Milwaukee Mile–Sportsnet One–2:00 p.m.– James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario will start second for the ninth race of the year behind American Marco Andretti. Hinchcliffe has had an up and down season as he won two races earlier in the year but has struggled since his win in Sao Paulo on May 5. He is also in a difficult position on Saturdy as he is also starting behind his Andretti Autosport teammate.

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Park wins second major of 2013

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Inbee Park (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

There’s no question at the moment that South Korea’s Inbee Park is the best female golfer in the world.

On Sunday in Rochester, New York, Park defeated Catriona Matthew of Scotland in a three hole playoff to win the LPGA Championship.

Park and Matthew both finished 72 holes  tied at -5. Park had back-to-back rounds of 68 in the second and third round of action, before faltering with a three-over par 75 in the fourth and final round on Sunday afternoon.

Matthew showed a little bit more consistency in her rounds and caught Park by shooting a final round of four-under par 68.

In the playoff however, Park birdied the 18th, while Matthew missed her long par opportunity.

Park  has now won three Majors in her career once. She previously won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open in Edina, Minnesota and the 2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California  near San Diego in April.

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Vettel easily wins Canadian Grand Prix

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Sebastian Vettel (Wikimedia Commons)

It was basically a simple drive Sunday for Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. He was simply never challenged by any of his 21 competitors and the three-time World Champion who drives for Red Bull came away victorious. Vettel defeated Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain by nine full seconds.

However, like the French Open earlier in the day the biggest story was not the fact that someone was victorious.

According to the Canadian Press, a race track worker tragically died after he slipped under the wheel of a crane after the race. The man was helping get a car off the track. The car belonged to Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico.

The worker’s name has not been released. He had worked at the track for ten years and was 38 years old.

Hopefully the Formula One community will do something this year to honour the individual.  The next F1 race is June 30 in England.

 

 

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Nadal wins French Open Sunday

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Rafael Nadal (Chris Johnson, Wikimedia Commons)

Rafael Nadal defeated David Ferrer in an all Spanish final 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday. However the real story will be about the complete lack of security.

In the second set with Nadal leading 5-1, a man ran on to the court with a white mask, without a shirt, and carrying a fiery flare.

The man seemed to be a protester, but he came dangerously close to Nadal. Five topless protesters were also arrested for calling for the resignation of the French president and another four were seen yelling about children’s rights.

It was simply a peculiar final and one where the protesters seemed to overshadow Nadal’s excellence on the court. It was too bad because Nadal will go down in history as one of the greatest tennis players ever and the greatest clay court tennis player ever.

However organizers of major sporting events must learn from this. Protesters cannot be taken lightly and the athletes’ safety needs to be maintained at all cost.

 

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Williams wins French Open

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Serena Williams (Fergal Carr, Wikimedia Commons)

For the second time in her tennis career, Serena Williams of the United States has won the French Open. On Saturday, she defeated defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-4, 6-4.

Williams has now won 16 major titles in her career. But, it was also only her first French Open title since 2002, when she beat her sister Venus Williams, 7-5, 6-3.

John McEnroe and Mary Carillo of NBC both stated that this was Serena Williams’ best French Open performance. I disagree. Serena was just as dominant in 2002 and had more difficult opponents in winning the championship. She defeated Jennifer Capriati, Vera Zvonareva, Mary Pierce and not to mention her sister.

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Weekend Sports Preview–June 8-9–French Open, Canadian Grand Prix, NHL, NBA Finals, MLB, WMBL, Equestrian _ LPGA

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Serena Williams (Katherine Shann, Wikimedia Commons)

Back in 2004, Russian newcomer Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis scene when she beat the great  Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in the final of Wimbledon. Sharpova, who was only 17 at the time, proved her victory was no fluke when she beat Williams at a tournament in Los Angeles later that summer.

However over the last nine years, it has all been Williams in their head-to-head battles. Serena, who is currently ranked number one in the world, has defeated Sharapova, currently ranked second, twelve straight times. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Williams gave Sharapova a 6-0, 6-1 beatdown in which it was quite possibly Williams’s best tennis match ever.

Now Williams has not won the French Open since 2002 when she beat her sister Venus, but should go into the final as the clear favourite (Saturday, NBC, 7:00 a.m.).

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday _ Sunday–LPGA Championship–Golf Channel–1:00 p.m.–Women’s golf second major is this weekend from Rochester,  New York. Once again, a South Korean is in the lead. Currently in first round action, Chella Choi at -6 leads American Morgan Pressel by two strokes. Choi is trying to become the fourth consecutive South Korean to win a major, following Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin and Inbee Park. Round one was on Friday because action was rained out on Thursday. Organizers are expected to have round two on Saturday and then 36 holes on Sunday.

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Nadal beats Djokovic in French Open classic

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Rafael Nadal (Chris Johnson, Wikimedia Commons)

John McEnroe simply said it was the greatest tennis match ever played on clay. NBC’s Ted Robinson stated he was honoured to be alive.

Friday in the men’s semi-finals of the 2013 French Open, seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal defeated top seed and reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in a marathon classic that took almost five hours to play.

It seemed like Nadal was going to beat Djokovic in the fourth set. Nadal was in the process of serving for the match, but got broken by Djokovic in the twelfth game. After Djokovic tied the set at 6, Djokovic dominated the fourth set tiebreak and early stages of the fifth set. Djokovic broke Nadal early in the fifth set and seemed in control himself, but saw Nadal tie the set at four games apiece with his own break of service.

What made this match stand apart from other five set marathons in the majors were the long rallies, and how difficult it was for Nadal and Djokovic to even record a single point.

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Barons eliminated from Calder Cup playoffs

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The Oklahoma City Barons, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, got knocked out of the Calder Cup Playoffs Wednesday evening in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, defeated the Barons 5-4 to win the Western Conference Finals 4-3,

The Barons forced a seventh and deciding game with a 4-3 victory in Grand Rapids on Tuesday night in game six of the series, but were unable to put together the necessary three consecutive road wins to win the series.

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Tsonga defeats Federer in quarterfinals of the French Open

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (Charlie Cowins, Wikimedia Commons)

On paper one might have been surprised that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France upset the great Roger Federer of Switzerland on Tuesday 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in the men’s quarterfinals of the French Open.

Federer has won 17 grand slam career titles including the 2009 French Open, and 256 grand slam victories  to only 38 defeats.

However the loss on Tuesday,  should not be of great surprise. Tsonga actually went further than Federer at the ATP Masters Series in Madrid. Tsonga advanced to the quarterfinals, while Federer was knocked out in the third round to Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Ranked eighth in the world, and sixth at the French Open because of injuries to Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, Tsonga will now play David Ferrer of Spain in the semi-finals in a very interesting semi-final on Friday.

Ferrer, who beat fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, is obviously pleased he will see Tsonga over Federer. All-time, Federer is 14-0 against Ferrer.

 

 

 

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Barons experience offensive woes in Calder Cup Playoffs

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

All of a sudden the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers’ American Hockey League affliate, have had problems scoring and have run into a very hot goaltender.

The Barons headed into the weekend leading the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in the Western Conference Final of the Calder Cup Playoffs, but the Barons failed to score a goal in two complete games this weekend.

Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek made 40 saves in a 4-0 Grand Rapids win on Saturday and then made 37 saves on Sunday in a 3-0 Griffins win, who took a 3-2 lead in the series.

Game six now shifts back to Michigan on Tuesday evening.

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