In a perfect world, Tommy Haas would not even be in Washington this week. Denied a London Olympics opportunity, the last player with a win over Roger Federer is making the of his DC experience.Top seed Mardy Fish, Haas friend and Los Angeles neighbor, was the latest victim caught in the No. 4 seeds scorned wake. Haas reached his first championship in Washington with a 6-3, 7-5 victory at the Citi Open on Saturday afternoon. Alexandr Dolgopolov hopes hes not next, though the laid-back Ukrainian hardly seems stressed, like ever. Like Haas, the crafty No. 2 seed has yet to lose a set this week including a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over eighth-seeded Sam Querrey in the other semifinal at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center.The days session concluded with unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova continuing her upset-fueled tournament by defeating No. 1 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-1 in the womens championship match.Haas sets streak appeared in jeopardy at 4-5, 30-40 in the second against Fish, but he fended off a simultaneous break and set point. He subsequently took the game, then broke the 15th ranked player in the worlds serve, then served successfully for the match.There was just a few points (difference) here and there really, said Haas, a winner in five of his last six matches against top 15 ranked players this year. If you get a break point opportunity, like so often in many matches you try to win those big points. The majority of them went my way today.The 34-year-old Haas has appeared in three finals this year, all coming within the last 10 weeks. One ended with a pre-Wimbledon championship over Federer, who subsequently won at Wimbledon and next plays for Olympic gold on Sunday.Anytime in a final you can beat someone like Roger Federer, pretty recently, youre playing some good tennis, Fish said. No disgrace to lose to someone like that.An Olympic silver medalist in 2000, Haas desired a berth on the current German team. His country required a top-24 world ranking, which at the time Haas, who began the year 205, did not possess. That led to a decision the one-time No. 2 ranked player in the world and since 2010, also an American citizen - declared after his first round match this week, a big mistake in my eyes.Ironically, with a win in the championship against Dolgopolov, Haas rank will jump inside the top 24.Against Fish in the first set, Haas lost only two points on serve and did not commit an unforced error. ''That's obviously something that doesn't happen often in my game, because I play very aggressively at times and miss a few balls here and there,'' said Haas, now 4-1 in his career against Fish. ''But in order to beat people like Mardy Fish, you have to play at a very high level.''Fishs attempt at dictating play on set point failed when a slice backhand inadvertently turned into a drop shot, allowing Haas to recover and win the point.That was the biggest point of the match for me, said the 30-year-old Fish, who continues rounding back into shape after an extended medical absence on tour following a procedure for an irregular heartbeat.This was a great week for me to get some matches, see where I am, to build on, Fish said. Im not happy with the result today, but happy with the week.While Haas is quite familiar with his occasional LA knock around pal, hes never faced Dolgopolov, who broke the big serving Querrey in the matchs opening game. That was really important, said Dolgopolov, who will see his ranking jump from 25 to 16 next week regardless of whether he wins his second career title on Sunday. Its tough to break his serve. To start the game like that, its a lot of confidence.The 23-year-old Ukrainian with the semi-contrarian, high-risk game also ripped off 25 winners while thwarting all five of Querreys break chances.He has an awkward-style game, and it makes it tough to play against, said Querrey, whose semifinals appearance backed up his title win in Los Angeles last week.Ranked 102 entering this week, Rybarikova did not lose a set in any of her five matches, including wins over the top three ranked players in the womens draw. The Slovak drubbed Pavlyuchenkova in65 minutes en route to winning her third career title and doing so in the first year the Washington tournament, a staple on the ATP schedule, combined with the WTA Tour. NotesThe mens final is scheduled for 4 pm on SundayQuerrey and partner Kevin Anderson will play for the doubles championship at 1 pm against the team of Trent Conrad Huey and Dominic InglotNo American male has won theWashington championship since Andy Roddick in 2007.
While the Redskins are not yet out of the woods regarding Trent Williams’ knee injury, the news sounds better than Williams looked after the game on Sunday.
Jay Gruden confirmed an earlier report that an MRI revealed no structural damage to the left knee of the Pro Bowl left tackle. He went down near the end of the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to the Lions and he needed assistance to get back to the locker room. After talking to the press, he had a decided limp as he walked to the team bus.
“That’s [the MRI results] good news, but we have to still monitor him during the week and see how he does,” said Gruden.
Guard Brandon Scherff left the game briefly after suffering a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. “He’s sore,” said Gruden. “He’s a tough sucker, but he’s sore.”
Scherff will be monitored in practice as well.
Gruden also said that cornerback Bashaud Breeland is sore after suffering a sprained ankle. He missed two games with a right ankle injury earlier this season but Gruden said that his injury is to his left ankle.
As Barry Trotz searches for ways to generate more offense, the Capitals coach said Monday that his forwards need to do a better job of screening opposing goaltenders.
“With the way teams are [defending], you have to get your [point] shots through and you have to get people to the net,” Trotz said after practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “We are getting pucks to the net from the point. We’ll keep using that but at the same time I’d like to see us have some more net presence.”
The Capitals’ offense ranks 25th through the season's first five games, having tallied 13 goals—11 at even strength and two on the power play.
Trotz said he’s not worried about scoring the tic-tac-toe goals. His star-laden lineup will make sure that they get plenty of those. He wants to see more gritty goals, the ones that required forwards to position themselves in front of slap shots and jostle with defensemen, all the while obscuring the opposing goalie’s line of sight.
“We’re pretty good in the zone; we can make some high-skill plays,” Trotz said. “But at the end of the day, when the puck is delivered, we want to make it as difficult as we can for the goaltenders.”
“So,” he added, “east-west is always good, especially if it’s through the middle of the [offensive zone] where you can make the goaltender have to move laterally, hard. I’m all for that. But when pucks are in a little more stationary position at the point, we want to have traffic.”
Trotz pointed to Lars Eller’s goal against the Rangers on Saturday as a good example of what he’d like to see more of. Eller stationed himself between the circle and the crease, drawing the attention of defenseman New York Brady Skjei. As Eller parked himself in front of Lundqvist, the Capitals’ center managed to get the heel of his stick on Brooks Orpik’s point shot. It was a nifty redirection that Lundqvist did not see until it was too late.
“You don’t always have to be on top of the goalie, but you have to be in that shot lane so you can get your stick on it,” Trotz said. “You have to be somewhere where it’s making it hard for him to pick up the puck.”
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