Tennis star plays her final pro tournament

Tennis star plays her final pro tournament

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Not accustomed to losing the last point at the U.S. Open, Kim Clijsters picked up her bag, waved and bid adieu to the fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium -- summoning up a melancholy smile before making her way to the tunnel.Her stay at her last professional tennis tournament ended much earlier than she'd expected. A winner of the last 22 matches she had played at the U.S. Open, Clijsters finally dropped one Wednesday, and with that loss ended a singles career that included four Grand Slam titles and thousands of good memories."It's been an incredible journey," Clijsters said, "and a lot of dreams for me have come true because of tennis."She fell 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) to 18-year-old Laura Robson of Britain to finish with a 523-127 record, 41 titles and 20 weeks ranked No. 1, most recently in February 2011.Through the starts and stops of a career that spanned 15 years, Clijsters handled all the wins and losses with class, standing out as someone who could keep up with the powerful games and personalities that took over her sport -- and get people to like her while she was doing it."She was a tremendous athlete, a really good competitor," said Maria Sharapova, who won her match, 6-1, 6-0 over Lourdes Dominguez Lino. "I think the nicest thing you saw about her was her commitment to the sport, but also wanting to have a great family life, retiring from the sport to start that, and then coming back and achieving the things that she achieved."Already with a U.S. Open title to her name, Clijsters walked away in 2007, but returned after getting married, having a baby and realizing she hadn't done everything she'd set out to do in her sport.Now, she is nearing 30, her daughter, Jada, is 4, and it really is time to move on.Earlier this year, she announced her last event would be the U.S. Open, the tournament she won in 2009 -- only months into her comeback -- and then again in 2010. Certainly, she didn't expect it to end in the second round, but knowing the end was coming one way or another, she said there were no regrets."Since I retired the first time, it's been a great adventure for my team and my family," said Clijsters, who was 28-0 against players ranked outside the top 10 at the U.S. Open before Wednesday. "It's all been worth it. But I do look forward to the next part of my life coming up."Her last defeat at Flushing Meadows came against Belgian rival Justine Henin on Sept. 6, 2003, in the tournament final.Robson was 9 at the time.When it was over, one reporter asked the young British player: "Do you feel like the girl that shot Bambi?""I wouldn't go that far. I would say that was Becker beating Agassi here a few years ago," Robson said, referring to Benjamin Becker's four-set win at the 2006 U.S. Open that ended Agassi's career.Robson knows, though, how much 23rd-seeded Clijsters means to the game, not only as a superb player but as someone who by all accounts is universally liked -- by fans, tennis officials and even opponents."She's always been someone that I've looked up to since I started on the tour. She's always been incredibly nice to be around," Robson said. "I think we're all going to miss her."Clijsters was the only seeded woman who lost during the afternoon session of Day 3, when the winners also included No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, defending champion Sam Stosur, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2011 French Open champion Li Na."The whole tour is certainly going to miss having her around. She's been a great player and a great person," Stosur said about Clijsters. "I guess she's ready to do other things. She's definitely one of those people that you can look up to and really admire with what she's been able to achieve."In men's play, No. 3 Andy Murray, who won Olympic gold in singles and teamed with Robson for the silver in the mixed doubles, defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 in a second-round match. No. 4 David Ferrer, No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic and No. 9 John Isner all advanced in first-round matches.The headliner on this day, though, was Clijsters.Less than an hour after her loss, she was hanging out in the players' garden alongside the stadium. She shared a laugh with some friends, hugs from others, and paused to pose for a photograph alongside 14-time major champion Serena Williams, who was headed out after partnering sister Venus for a first-round victory in doubles.Clijsters is still in the doubles draw, paired with another Belgian, Kirsten Flipkens, and they play a first-round match Thursday.Clijsters said she needed to focus on that. Clearly, though, the time to reflect has begun."It's not just the tennis side of things that you think about now, it's about life," she said. "We've had a lot of things happen in these last 15 years that I've been on tour. I'm able to look back at them, and I'm very happy with the progress that I've made."

Cowboys roll the dice, select linebacker Jaylon Smith in 2nd round

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Cowboys roll the dice, select linebacker Jaylon Smith in 2nd round

And we thought the Cowboys were taking a chance with their first-round pick. They really rolled the dice tonight.

After taking a running back in the first round last night the Cowboys took a player who won’t play in 2016 with their second-round pick.

Last night it was Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth pick in the draft, generally considered to be way too high to draft a running back. Tonight it was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who won’t play in 2016.

Smith was on his way to being a top-10 pick in the draft until he suffered a serious knee injury in the Fighting Irish’s bowl game. He was diagnosed with nerve damage as a result of the injury. That scared teams off until the Cowboys took him with the 34th overall pick in the draft.

If he can play in 2017 he could be quite a boost to the Dallas defense. Smith was an excellent all-around defender at Notre Dame and he could give the Redskins problems in both the running and passing game.

But if there is a lingering issue with the knee, Smith could either not play or have the quality of his play diminished. That’s a gamble that the Cowboys are willing to take.

One reason that the Cowboys may be confident in their wager is that the doctor who performed the surgery on Smith is one of their team physicians so they may have had better information than most of the other teams out there.

RELATED: NEW REDSKINS WR DOCTSON PROVIDES UPDATE ON HIS SURGICALLY REPAIRED WRIST

Ravens trade down twice, move from No. 36, to No. 38, to No. 42

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Ravens trade down twice, move from No. 36, to No. 38, to No. 42

The Ravens started Round 2 of the draft by trading down – twice. First of the Ravens dealt with the Jaguars, trading down two spots. In exchange for giving the Jaguars the 36th pick in the draft, the Ravens received the 38th and 146th pick from the Jaguars.

Then the Ravens traded down from No. 38 to No. 42.  In exchange for sending the 38th pick to the Dolphins, the Ravens received picks No. 42 and 107 (fourth round) from the Dolphins.

Moving up two spots with the pick they got from the Ravens, the Jaguars took UCLA linebacker Miles Jack, finally ending his freefall. Jack was expected to be a top-10 pick until concern grew about the state of his surgically-repaired knee. If Jack has a long, successful NFL career, the Ravens could regret passing on a player who could have fit nicely in their defense. However, the Ravens didn’t feel they could take the risk on Jack, especially after wide receiver Breshad Perriman missed his entire rookie season last year with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, moving down from No. 36 to No. 42 meant the Ravens were confident they could still get a player they coveted, while getting the extra picks from Jaguars and Dolphins.

RELATED: RONNIE STANLEY COULD BEGIN RAVENS CAREER AT GUARD INSTEAD OF TACKLE

What will a Scott Brooks team actually look like?

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What will a Scott Brooks team actually look like?

Perhaps the simplistic, though at times accurate way to view a new head coach is thinking if he did this and that at a previous stop, that plan comes with him. Yet considering Scott Brooks had the unique superstar dynamic of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at Oklahoma City, is it fair to wonder whether we're actually what truly defines a Scott Brooks team?

"That's a fair question," Brooks answered to a small group of reporters in the halls of Verizon Center following his introductory press conference Wednesday.

It's a question the new guy wasn't ready to answer seeing as he'd been on the job for about 24 hours. It's a process he's ready to figure out. 

"I'm excited to get to know all of our players first," Brooks said. "[Wizards president] Ernie [Grunfeld] and the staff will get together to add pieces along the way to make this a competitive team.

"We ultimately want to compete for championships. In order to do that, it's a process of going step by step and you can't skip steps. I learned that as a player. I was fortunate enough to be on a championship team in Houston. But I love the group that we have. I can't emphasize that enough. I love the players that we have."

No doubt the coach loved the players he helped groom with the Thunder. Durant and Westbrook emerged as among the elite players in the league. Lengthy forward Serge Ibaka provided a big man element and other key contributors including future NBA Most Valuable Player runner-up James Harden helped as Oklahoma City went from a 23-win team the season before Brooks took the head job to the NBA Finals three years later.

"I'm proud of what we accomplished as a group," Brooks said. "Three conference finals and an NBA Finals, one of the youngest teams in the [league] history to get there."

The focus typically centered on Oklahoma City's potent offensive stars. The Thunder ranked top five in scoring in each of Brooks' last five seasons, yet also were one of the top defensive teams in that stretch. Oklahoma City ranked top 10 four straight seasons in defensive efficiency before injuries hampered the squad in 2014-15, Brooks' final season. 

"We've always focused on being a two-way team," he said.

The focus with Washington starts with John Wall. Though a perennial All-Star guard like Westbrook, Wall offers a true pass-first presence while the Thunder standout looks for his own shot more often. That difference of styles will be part of Brooks' planning, as will Bradley Beal's perimeter shooting, Marcin Gortat's rim-to-rim running, Markieff Morris' athleticism, Otto Porter's 3-and-D progress and Kelly Oubre's potential. Then there are the other nine spots still open. 

There is work to do and Brooks says he's ready for the challenge. When it's all done, we might see what a Scott Brooks team looks like.

"This team that I have the privileged to coach," he said, "I'm looking forward to get to know the guys and to establish a system that we're successful night in and night out."