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Osaka: Grand Slam Comeback Ends In 1st-Round Loss To Garcia, Gauff Advances At Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Naomi Osaka returned through the players’ tunnel after her Grand Slam return ended in a first-round loss, where her name is prominently displayed alongside prior Australian Open champions.

On Monday night, three matches into her return from 15 months off the tour and six months after the birth of her daughter, Shai, Osaka was defeated 6-4, 7-6 (2) by 16th-seeded Caroline Garcia in a tight match at Rod Laver Arena.

“The competitive side of me is really frustrated that I’m not winning these matches, of course,” Osaka said at a post-match press conference. “So I wouldn’t say, like, this comeback is how I thought because I’m delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament.”

She grinned before saying, “I think my delusion is what allows me to win the tournaments.”

Osaka won the U.SU.S.en in 2018 and 2020 and the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021. This was her first loss in the first round since her debut in Melbourne in 2016.

After losing in the first round of the French Open and the United States Open in 2022, she took a break from tennis to care for her health. For now, she has no plans to take any additional breaks.

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Osaka: Grand Slam Comeback Ends In 1st-Round Loss To Garcia, Gauff Advances At Australian Open

“Yeah, I think I just have to keep living day by day and training hard and playing a lot more matches,” she said. “And hopefully, my dreams will come true.”

The big-serving Garcia did not offer Osaka a chance at a breakpoint during the match. Most rallies were brief, with only three lasting more than nine strokes. The majority were less than four. Most of the service holds were comfortable, except Osaka’s one dropped game in the first set. That made all the difference.

“I have a lot of respect for Naomi as a person and as a player — 15 months she’s been away,” Garcia said. “I’m pleased to have her back. Six months after giving birth, she’s already playing well. We must exercise caution.”

Osaka was one of three former Australian Open champions who returned to Melbourne Park as mothers, including 2016 winner Angelique Kerber and 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki.

The Australian Open began on Sunday and will be played across 15 days for the first time, with the first round divided over three days to reduce late-finishing matches.

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Osaka: Grand Slam Comeback Ends In 1st-Round Loss To Garcia, Gauff Advances At Australian Open

Nonetheless, it was 1:39 a.m. local time when Felix Auger-Aliassime completed a 4-hour, 59-minute victory over 2020 U.SU.S.en winner Dominic Thiem, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-3. A ball kid had to chase a bird off the court at Margaret Court Arena during the fourth set, which caused the audience to chuckle briefly. It then flew over the stadium briefly before play resumed.

Auger-Aliassime’s victory snapped a string of three consecutive first-round exits at majors.

Coco Gauff, the US U.S.en champion, defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-0 in the first match on Rod Laver Arena.

After receiving guidance from Andy Roddick, the 19-year-old Gauff, who won her maiden major at the U.S. U.S. in September, claimed she felt more confident in her serve.

Fourth-seeded Gauff only dropped one game on her serve in the second set and praised Roddick, adding, “He’s probably one of the best servers in history.”

Marketa Vondrousova, the Wimbledon winner, was eliminated in the first round after losing 6-1 and 6-2 to Dayana Yastremska while dealing with a hip issue.

Mirra Andreeva, a third 16-year-old, advanced to the second round after defeating 29-year-old Bernarda Pera 7-5, 6-2. She will face sixth-seeded Ons Jabeur, a three-time Grand Slam runner-up.

Alina Korneeva and Brenda Fruhvirtova, both 16, advanced after winning their maiden Grand Slam main draw matches on Sunday.

“I’m reallyd for this,” Andreeva remarked, playing Jabeur. “I’ve said several times that she’s the player I admire. I absolutely enjoy the way she plays. I’m confident it’ll be a fantastic match.”

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Osaka: Grand Slam Comeback Ends In 1st-Round Loss To Garcia, Gauff Advances At Australian Open

Alex de Minaur, Australia’s newest top-10 player, advanced after former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic retired from their match. De Minaur was ahead 6-7 (6), 6-3, 2-0 when the big-serving Canadian quit injured.

Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 and 2022 finalist at Melbourne Park, advanced after his opponent retired from their encounter.

Medvedev had lost the first set but was up 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, and 1-0 when 22-year-old Terence Atmane retired due to cramps.

“When I was feeling tired in the third set, I looked up the other end and saw he was cramping,” Medvedev told reporters. “The conditions were fine, but it has not been hot these seven days, and then it was hot today, so you get more stressed.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final last year, defeated Zizou Bergs 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to progress.

Adrian Mannarino defeated Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Djokovic, a 10-time winner, is now the lone Australian champion in the men’s tournament.

Andy Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, fell to Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, and claimed it could be his last appearance in the season’s opening major.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

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EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid was held without a point, so Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers’ other best players stepped up, bringing them one win away from the Stanley Cup.

Draisaitl made his first significant contribution to the final by setting up Warren Foegele’s early goal, Adam Henrique and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, and the Oilers forced Game 7 by defeating the Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 6 on Friday night.

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Oilers | AP News image

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

“At the end of the day, we play to win and this is going to be the hardest game for us,” Draisaitl told reporters. “We have to bring our game again.”

They are the first club to tie the final after trailing 3-0 since the Detroit Red Wings in 1945. The Oilers have a chance Monday night in Sunrise to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only NHL teams to overcome a deficit and win the Stanley Cup.

“There was an unshakable belief,” Hyman remarked. “No matter what transpired over the year, we always thought we could make it through. Regardless of the grave situation, we believe we have a shot. It was a protracted season of adversity that prepared us. The next one will be the toughest. It feels surreal to do it in front of this crowd. This is our first chance to win.

The opportunity to make hockey history and break Canada’s three-decade Cup drought exists only due to McDavid’s exploits in Games 4 and 5, which lifted the Oilers from the brink of defeat. This was the first time in his nine-year career that they won a game without him scoring a point or taking a shot on goal.

Draisaitl, his longstanding running partner from Germany who has previously been named league MVP and is regarded as one of the top players in the world, provided a spark in Game 5 after being largely ineffectual against the Panthers.

“He’s a horse,” defenseman Darnell Nurse stated. “He’s always present at the most important occasions. When you look at his postseason performances, he’s one of the best to ever do it.

Draisaitl received the puck at center ice, skated around and between Florida defenders, and placed it on the tape of Foegele’s stick for a tap-in that Sergei Bobrovsky had little chance of stopping. That did not deter the ecstatic sellout crowd of 18,000+ from mockingly screaming, “Ser-gei! Ser-gei!” before the anthems and throughout the night.

The goalie known as “Bob” was scarcely to blame since blunders in front of him also contributed to the 2-on-1 rush that concluded with Henrique beating Bobrovsky off a brilliant feed from Mattias Janmark. In front of their goaltender, the Panthers appeared tight and hesitant, in stark contrast to the juggernaut that reached the final for the second year in a row and won the first three games to claim the franchise’s first championship.

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

“We have one game to go,” Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said. “We were ready from the beginning to play a seven-game series, and nothing has changed. We went up three, and they played three good games. Now it is up to us to win at home.”

Florida had only six shots on goal halfway through the game and ended with 21. Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner made key stops to stop the Panthers, allowing only one goal to Aleksander Barkov less than 90 seconds into the third period.

The first time Barkov got the puck past him, 10 seconds after Henrique’s goal, Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch successfully challenged for offside. A thorough analysis revealed that Sam Reinhart entered the attacking zone about an inch or less before the puck, prompting a shout from supporters.

“I actually didn’t think it was that close,” Knoblauch explained. “In my mind, it was definitely offside.”

That wasn’t the loudest Rogers Place got; there were many contenders for that honor. When the Oilers took to the ice to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the decibel meter on the video screens read 113.8.

Ryan McLeod and Nurse scored empty-net goals in the final minutes, eliciting chants of “We want the Cup!” “We want the Cup!” and a raucous celebration at the outdoor viewing party.

Edmonton Oilers Beat The Florida Panthers 5-1 To Force A Game 7 In The Stanley Cup Final

That was the fever level for a city bathed in blue and orange downtown in the hours leading up to puck drop. Friday might as well have been a holiday in Edmonton, where almost a million people can now dream of the Oilers hoisting another white championship banner to the rafters — and doing it in the most unlikely way possible.

We’re just excited to keep our season going,” McDavid added. “That is what it has been about. Take each game and each day as it comes. “I look forward to the next one.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

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SEOUL, South Korea — On Friday, South Korea summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the country’s new defense pact with North Korea, as border tensions remained high due to vague threats and brief, seemingly accidental incursions by North Korean forces.

Earlier Friday, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a vague threat of retaliation after South Korean activists flew balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border, while South Korea’s military said it fired warning shots the day before to repel North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the rivals’ land border for the third time this month.

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Korea AP Image

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

That happened two days after Moscow and Pyongyang signed an agreement promising mutual defense aid if either was attacked, and a day after, Seoul responded by stating that it would consider giving armaments to Ukraine to combat Russia’s incursion.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun summoned Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev to denounce the agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and urged Moscow to immediately suspend its purported military collaboration with Pyongyang.

Kim, the South Korean official, emphasized that any collaboration that directly or indirectly assists the North in developing its military capabilities would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, represent a threat to South Korean security, and warned of the ramifications for Seoul’s relations with Moscow.

According to Russia’s embassy’s X account, Zinoviev told Korean officials that any attempts to “threaten or blackmail” Russia were inappropriate and that his country’s agreement with North Korea was not intended for specific third nations. The South Korean ministry said Zinoviev agreed to relay Seoul’s concerns to his superiors in Moscow.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded Russia and referenced U.N. Security Council sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, which prohibits all countries from supplying the DPRK with material for nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

“Any relationship that any country has with the DPRK, including the Russian Federation, must entirely abide by those sanctions,” he told reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Leafleting activities by South Korean citizen activists in recent weeks have resulted in a resurgence of Cold War-style psychological warfare along the inter-Korean border.

South Korean civilian activists led by North Korean defector Park Sang-Hak claimed to have sent 20 balloons with 300,000 propaganda leaflets, 5,000 USB sticks containing South Korean pop music and TV dramas, and 3,000 US dollars from the South Korean border town of Paju on Thursday night.

According to observers, Pyongyang resents such material because it worries it may demoralize front-line troops and people, weakening Kim Jong Un’s grasp on power.

In a statement released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Yo Jong, one of her brother’s top foreign policy officials, referred to the campaigners as “defector scum” and threatened punishment.

“When you do something you were clearly warned not to do, it’s only natural that you will find yourself dealing with something you didn’t have to,” she said, without mentioning what the North might do.

Following previous leafleting by South Korean activists, North Korea released over 1,000 balloons into South Korea, dropping tonnes of rubbish, destroying roof tiles and windows, and causing other property damage. Kim Yo Jong suggested that balloons could become the North’s routine response to leafleting, stating that the North would retaliate by “scattering dozens of times more rubbish than is being scattered on us.”

In response, South Korea resumed anti-North Korean propaganda broadcasts with military loudspeakers deployed at the border for the first time in years, prompting Kim Yo Jong to issue another official media statement warning that Seoul was “creating a prelude to a very dangerous situation.”

Tensions between the Koreas have reached their greatest point in years, as Kim Jong Un advances nuclear weapons and missile development and seeks to bolster his regional position by uniting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a standoff with the US-led West.

South Korea, a rising arms exporter with a well-equipped military backed by the United States, has said it is considering increasing its support for Ukraine in response. Seoul has previously supplied humanitarian aid and other assistance while supporting the US-led economic sanctions against Russia. However, it has not directly provided weaponry, citing a long-standing policy of not sending weapons to countries actively involved in conflict.

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

Putin told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday that delivering arms to Ukraine would be “a very big mistake,” and that South Korea “shouldn’t worry” about the pact if it isn’t plotting an attack on Pyongyang.

According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Minister Cho Tae-yul spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa separately on Friday to discuss the new accord. According to Cho’s ministry, the diplomats agreed that the pact poses a major danger to regional peace and stability and pledged to deepen trilateral coordination to address the challenges posed by Moscow and Pyongyang’s alignment.

North Korea is particularly sensitive to criticism of Kim’s dictatorial regime and attempts to reach its people through global news and other media.

When South Korea resumed loudspeaker broadcasts in 2015 for the first time in 11 years, North Korea launched artillery rounds across the border, leading South Korea to respond, according to South Korean officials. There were no casualties reported.

South Korea’s military said there are indicators that North Korea is placing its speakers near the border, albeit they are not yet operational.

In the most recent border incident, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that several North Korean soldiers engaged in undefined construction work temporarily breached the military demarcation line that separates the two countries around 11 a.m. Thursday.

South Korea Summons Russian Ambassador As Tensions Rise With North Korea

The South Korean military issued a warning and fired warning shots, prompting the North Korean soldiers to retreat. The joint chiefs did not immediately provide any information, such as why the material was released a day late.

South Korea’s military believes recent border incursions were unintentional, as North Korean soldiers did not return fire and left after the warning shots.

The South’s military has spotted the North sending massive numbers of soldiers on the front lines to construct suspected anti-tank barriers, reinforce roads, and place mines in an apparent attempt to bolster their side of the border. Seoul says the actions are intended to deter North Korean people and military from fleeing to the South.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

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DETROIT  — a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Barry Sanders, said he “had a health scare related to my heart” last weekend.

“It was unexpected and served as a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant about our physical well-being, even when we are feeling fine,” the former Detroit Lions star wrote in a message on social media Friday.

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Sanders | lions wire

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

The Lions posted their social media statement, stating, “Get well soon Barry.”

“I am grateful for the amazing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for providing me with needed care,” Sanders told CNN. “My family and I appreciate your prayers and support at this time. As my doctors have advised, I am utilising this opportunity to prioritise my health and well-being. I appreciate your understanding and ongoing support.”

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Barry Sanders | AP news Image

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

Sanders, who turns 56 next month, was a six-time All-Pro with the Lions from 1989 to 1998 before retiring abruptly. He carried for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns, including 2,053 yards in his MVP season of 1997.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Barry Sanders | AP news Image

Barry Sanders Says He Experienced ‘Health Scare’ Related To His Heart

Sanders played his entire career for the Lions, who took him with the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft following his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma State.

SOURCE – (AP)

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