Bad news for tennis fans

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Bad news for tennis fans

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam count will stay stuck at 11 for now, sidetracked by another knee problem. The third-ranked Spaniard withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Tendinitis has kept him out of action since his stunning loss at Wimbledon in late June. The injury already forced him out of the London Olympics, where he was supposed to defend his title and carry Spain's flag in the opening ceremony. "I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and specially, the new yorkers," Nadal wrote on his Twitter account. Nadal is still only 26, but the withdrawals raise questions about the future of a player who has had recurring knee problems in the past. His 11 Grand Slam titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open, yet his hard-charging, hard-hitting style of play takes a toll on his body, particularly his knees. Roger Federer, in contrast, has played in every Grand Slam tournament since the start of 2000, a streak of 51 in a row. In 2009, Nadal missed Wimbledon because of aching knees shortly after falling in the round of 16 at the French Open -- the only time in eight appearances he hasn't won at Roland Garros. He was just the second men's champion in 35 years to decline to defend his title at the All England Club. But Nadal eventually came back stronger than ever from that layoff. After failing to reach the final at the 2009 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open, he won the French to start a run of three straight major titles, capped by completing the career Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. Nadal's absence immediately leaves a trio of heavy favorites at the last Grand Slam event of the year: defending champion Novak Djokovic; five-time U.S. Open winner and currently top-ranked Federer; and 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Andy Murray, who won the gold medal in singles at the London Games by beating Federer in the final. Nadal lost in the U.S. Open final to Djokovic last year, part of a stretch of three straight defeats to the Serb in championship matches at major tournaments. But he seemed to be closing the gap, and at Roland Garros in June, he beat Djokovic in the final for his record seventh title there. Then came the stunning loss at Wimbledon, and Nadal hasn't played since. On June 28, 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol upset him in the second round at the All England Club. Shortly after that defeat, Nadal canceled a scheduled charity match against Djokovic in Spain, citing tendon problems in his left knee. The two-week U.S. Open starts Aug. 27. "Rafa has informed us that he will not be ready to compete at the U.S. Open this year and has withdrawn from the tournament," tournament director David Brewer said in a statement on Wednesday. "We hope to see him back on the court soon and look forward to his return to New York next year."

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Morning tip: Bradley Beal laments Wizarrds losing so many games in crunch time

Morning tip: Bradley Beal laments Wizarrds losing so many games in crunch time

It's easy to point to the disparity in foul shots or foul calls after a loss, but the Wizards did everything possible to win at the San Antonio Spurs for the first time in 17 years. 

They just didn't. They had plenty of blunders at the end of quarters to keep the Spurs in the picture. 

"We didn't even play a great game," said Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 23 points on 11 shots in limited minutes of a 107-105 loss. "We get tired of saying we played hard, we did enough to win the game. We didn’t win the game."

The Wizards (6-12) had an 11-point lead and had a 43-37 rebounding edge. But they took 15 fewer foul shots (18) than the Spurs, who benefitted from getting nine more fouls called (26) in their favor.

Beal shot six free throws, but his backcourt mate John Wall didn't attempt any despite 37 minutes of attacking the basket rather than settling for jumpers. 

The NBA office determined in its last two-minue report, made public when games are within five points or less in the final two minutes and overtime, there weren't any incorrect or missed calls in the game. 

Beal didn't get to take the last shot. It was called for him, but instead the broken play on the inbounds ended up in the hands of Otto Porter as he had a good look at the rim in the lane that could've forced overtime. 

After just 18 games, Beal sounds a lot like he did towards the end of a 41-41 season in 2015-16. They had Wednesday's game at the Oklahoma City Thunder won, but allowed that to go into overtime in what became a loss for the Wizards, too. 

"We know what to do. We’re just not doing it," he said. "Until we do, we’re going to keep losing."

College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

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College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

Did Penn State play their way into the playoff? Michigan has to be in, right? Did Ohio State fall out of top four? Will Washington hang on?

Following all the action on Saturday, there was plenty of debate over who the top four teams should be. Most of the questions surround what to do with the three Big Ten teams contenders.

Ohio State and Michigan are clearly two of the best teams in the country, but neither of them won their division. That honor went to Penn State who also won the conference championship on Saturday, the same Penn State team who beat Ohio State but who also lost twice this season.

For the first time since the College Football Playoff started, there is a real, genuine debate over who the top four will be.

But not really.

SEE THE FINAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

If you're just asking who the committee will put into the playoff, the committee actually tipped its hand last week with its rankings:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State

For everyone saying Michigan should be in the top four, well, they weren't in the top four last week, they didn't play this week, none of the four teams ahead of them did anything to hurt their respective resumes, so what makes anyone out there think the Wolverines are suddenly going to vault into the top four? It's not going to happen.

If Penn State were to make the playoff, it wouldn't be over Washington or Clemson who were already ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions and also won their respective conferences on Saturday. Neither team did anything to hurt themselves, so Penn State won't vault over them. Could they jump Ohio State who they beat head-to-head? That seems doubtful considering the committee declared the Buckeyes the second-best team in the country on Tuesday. That tells me the committee sees them as "unequivocally" one the top teams.

So debate away. When it comes to college football, that's what makes it so fun. But really, there's not that much to debate about. The committee showed last week who they thought the four best teams were and there's no reason to think that will change based on what we saw Saturday.

Find out who will make this year's playoff here with the final College Football Playoff projections.