win the doubles to keep alive their
win the doubles to keep alive their
win the doubles to keep alive their
April 12, 2019, 07:40 »
PARIS -- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet put France back in the Davis Cup final by winning the doubles and ending the two-year reign of the Czech Republic on Saturday. Tsonga and Gasquet, who won their singles on Friday, gave Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek a rare doubles defeat in Davis Cup, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 at Roland Garros. France, with an unassailable 3-0 lead, made the final for the first time since 2010. It won the last of its nine cups in 2001. The defending champion Czechs needed to win the doubles to keep alive their chances of reaching a third straight final, but Stepanek played with an apparent right hip injury that required frequent treatment, and Berdych, who lost his singles to Gasquet, struggled with consistency. "In the beginning of the second set I felt something in my lower back, I did not pay much attention to it, but with the time spent on the court it was getting worse and worse, and at the end of the second set I was very limited in my movements," said Stepanek, who was unable to sit during the news conference. "In normal circumstances I would have retired, but I believed I had to somehow finish the match." Both captains amended their pairings before the match, but Berdych and Stepanek could not extend their winning partnership, as they were handed only their second loss in 17 doubles in the competition, the last occasion to Spain in the 2009 final. France will either play the final away to Italy or at home against Switzerland. The Swiss lead 2-1 and the French players are already relishing the prospect of taking om Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka from Nov. 21-23. "To host such players is just fabulous," Gasquet said. "I know that Federer has yet to win the Davis Cup, but he has won 17 Grand Slam titles. He can leave us the Davis Cup." Berdych, who struggled to adjust to clay after reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals last week, praised France. "The guy from the French team that played the most in Paris (Gael Monfils), who should play on clay for them, did not even step out on the court," he said. "Without him, they achieved a great result. It just shows how difficult the Davis Cup is. We did not have as many options as them, that was the difference." France captain Arnaud Clement admitted he was fortunate to have in-form players available. "Today, I had three possible teams, and all of them were capable of winning this match," he said. The French got off to a strong start on centre court, breaking in the second game when Gasquet fired a shot at Berdychs feet. They quickly led 4-1 but dropped three consecutive games as Stepanek raised his level. In the tiebreak, Gasquet unleashed a superb backhand pass to put the French 4-2 ahead, but the the Czechs regained momentum as they won five straight points to close out the set. The French had to dig deep to stave off seven break points early in the second set, and went a break up at 3-2 off Stepaneks serve when Tsonga hit a backhand crosscourt winner. Stepanek and Berdych left the court with the French up 5-4, for a medical timeout. They were greeted with jeers and whistles when they returned after a nearly 10-minute break. Tsonga looked unfazed and held his serve, wrapping up the set with an ace to level the set score. Berdych dropped his focus as he served two consecutive double faults in the error-riddled next game to hand the French a break. The tall Czech was again at fault when he missed a backhand volley on Stepaneks serve, with their opponents moving up 3-0. The twists and turns continued as the Czechs recovered, despite more treatment for Stepanek, who was in obvious pain. They won three straight games to lead 5-4, then failed to hold on to a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak. Gasquet fired a dazzling pass down the line to seal the set, raising his arms in triumph to the delight of the legion of French fans. Stepanek could hardly move in the fourth set, and the French wrapped it up decisively.
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. As TSN reported Thursday, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is under intense pressure from the federal government to focus drug testing on athletes who compete in international events representing Canada. Since funding for the tests has been frozen and the cost of testing can eclipse $1,000 per test, university athletes in a number of sports are being tested less often. ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild found out during the second intermission their spot in the playoffs was secure. Satisfaction came only after they won their way in with a strong finish. Mikko Koivu had the only score in the shootout after Ryan Suters goal tied the game with 65 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Wild beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Tuesday night to clinch a wild-card spot in the Western Conference playoffs. "We wanted to get in the right way," said right wing Jason Pominville, who had two goals and an assist. "We stuck to it and found a way to score one late, and I think its a sign of a good team when you get in the right way against the best team in the NHL right now." Koivu, who had two assists, switched to his backhand to flip the puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the second round. When goalie Ilya Bryzgalov stopped Brad Marchands try with his pad to end it, he pumped his arms as he skated out of the crease to celebrate with his teammates. The Wild will be the seventh seed and face the division winner with the fewest points. "The message was, Lets not wait for anything. Lets not back our way into anything. Lets not come through the back door. Lets go charging through the front door," coach Mike Yeo said. "And what a better way to do it against a team like Boston." As play was about to begin for the third period, the overtime loss by ninth-place Phoenix at Columbus that guaranteed a place in the post-season for Minnesota was announced to the crowd and received with a hearty cheer. The Wild then went a step further by assuring themselves of the top wild-card slot by rallying for the win. They kept up the pressure in overtime after Suters delivery, outshooting the Bruins 6-2 in overtime. Reilly Smith, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson scored for the Bruins, who fell to 16-1-3 in their past 20 games. The Bruins, who clinched the No. 1 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs, held leading scorer Jarome Iginla out for the third time in the past four games because of a lower-body injury. Iginla became the biggest threat to the Wild during his days with then-division rival Calgary. His 677 points, including 37 goals, in 71 career games are the most by any Minnesota opponent.dddddddddddd "Try to get some rest for certain guys and still try to play good hockey," Rask said. "Theres still something to play for. But its not always easy to find that 100 per cent perfect game in these situations." Late in the second period, Zdeno Chara wound up from the point on a power play. Eriksson and Gregory Campbell were parked just outside the crease, and the puck appeared to deflect first off Campbells stick before Eriksson poked it in for the lead with 3:42 left before the break. That didnt mean they were playing their best, though. "I felt we were a little sloppy tonight. We werent very sharp in our passing and our playmaking," coach Claude Julien said. "We didnt have everybody really playing that well. Some of our big players were just very average." Bryzgalov, the latest unlikely leader to emerge for the Wild, made 44 saves over the past two games to blank Pittsburgh and Winnipeg and put Minnesota on the brink of the post-season. His shutout streak ended at 145 minutes and 15 seconds, when Smith sent in an unassisted power-play goal for his 20th score this season. But Bryzgalov, who took over for Darcy Kuemper when the rookie suffered an upper-body injury last month, improved to 7-0-3 since arriving at the trade deadline. "The quicker you can clinch, the better it is," an impressed Julien said. Last season, the Wild limped to the No. 8 seed by winning their final game to finish 5-8-1 in April. This time, theyll have more momentum. "We played ourselves into the playoffs the way that you want to. It says a lot about the guys in here, and hopefully we can keep this thing going here," Suter said. NOTES: Wild goalie Josh Harding, the winner of the NHLs Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy last year for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport, was announced Tuesday as the teams repeat nominee for the award. Harding has been on injured reserve since Jan. 2, continuing to deal with multiple sclerosis, but returned to practice with the Wild last Wednesday. ... Bergeron has 10 goals in his past 11 games. ' ' '
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