Fitter Fish advances; King, Stephens reach semi's at Citi Open

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Fitter Fish advances; King, Stephens reach semi's at Citi Open

Mardy Fishs gimpy right ankle could use a night off, ideally, a week, maybe more. Thats just not happening, not now anyway. Not in the middle of a tournament as the top seed, not with a string of events on deck leading to the mother of all hard court events, the U.S. Open.The 30-year-old did the next best thing in his second-round match: He briskly disposed his overmatched opponent in 60 minutes,defeating Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-1 at the Citi Open on Thursday.Fishs injured wheel, originally dinged up two weeks ago during a tournament in Atlanta and then tweaked while diving for a ball in his opening match in Washington, will simply have to tough it out. If the worlds 15th ranked player reaches the final, he will end up playing four straight days. Thats a tough thing because the ankle needs rest and Im not going to give it rest, said Fish, a six-time champion on tour still seeking his first crown this year.Dominant serving propelled No. 8 seed Sam Querrey into the third round where the American will face third-seeded Kevin Anderson, also a straight-set winner. Xavier Malisse, Fishs next opponent and a 2010 semifinalist, dispatched No. 6 Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2.In the womens draw, laser-focused and No. 4 seed Vania King defeated seventh-seeded Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in an All-American quarterfinal. 19-year-old andNo. 3 seed Sloane Stephens reached her second career semifinal with a6-4, 6-4 Stadium court victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.The irony for Fish, who won two matches this week in Washington for the first time since 2006, is that after a largely inactive summer he needs the work, physical and mental. Diagnosed with heart arrhythmia, Fish underwent a procedure in May and remained off the tour for over two months. Since then he reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, but the ankle injury in Atlanta forced a withdrawal during his first match, his last event before his current one.Fitness level, really, the confidence that I feel like I can play in any weather against anyone and come out on top, Fish said as to what hes hoping to build toward this week.Despite practicing under the stifling afternoon sun, the native Minnesotan said he naively brushed aside the heat and humidity, as his blistering serve and formidable ground strokes later did against Berankis. Sure, dealing with the elements on a single day is a minor achievement, but a necessary building block as Fish grinds out this week, then another, then another.I think were on the right track, but every match helps with that, Fish said, who finished with 10 aces in his latest result. You cant train hard enough for the matches. You play harder, you try harder in the real matches. It only comes with match play.The womens matchup between American quarterfinalists was the epitome of contrasting, well, everything. The gritty King comes out of the Chris Evert School of stoic on-court demeanor while Vandeweghe hooted and hollered at herself and officials throughout. That vocal edge only added toVandeweghe's 6-foot-1 Amazonian presence, especially compared to the petite 5-foot-5 speedster who ultimately tracked down enough missiles. In the end, precision and poise downed power and peevishness. Shes much bigger, much stronger than I am. She has a lot more power than I do, said King, a two-time grand slam doubles champion with a power of her own.(Coco) doesnt have the wheels like I do.Vandeweghe entered the match having dominated her previous two opponents this week, losing only five games over her last three sets. Against King she dropped that many before finally getting on the scoreboard. With Vandeweghes first serve iffy early,King broke it twice for a 5-0 lead. Though her opponent began using her passion for good during the second set triumph and rallying back from an early break in the third, King countered with a decisive break of her own at 4-all.Its just whether I can negate her power enough and move her serve consistently enough. At the end of the day in the third set I was able to do that, King said of her game plan against Vandeweghe. The 23-year-old California native knows a similar approach is required for Fridays semifinals against another big, strong player,top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenko, a straight-sets winner over Kai-Chen Chang. King, aiming for her first singles title since 2006, has three straight victories over Pavlyuchenkova, including a triumph at this years Australian Open.The other semifinal pits the rising Stephens against Magdalena Rybariova.After defeating Florent Serra, Anderson will next face Querrey, his doubles partner this week. Coming off a championship effort in Los Angeles last week, Querrey won all 22 points on his first serve in a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Benjamin Becker.

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Top-end talent still available for Redskins in Round 2 of NFL Draft, but red flags remain

Top-end talent still available for Redskins in Round 2 of NFL Draft, but red flags remain

The Redskins started the draft with a bang Thursday night by selecting Alabama DL Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick.

In many ways, getting the best player available on their board that also satisfies a serious need for Washington, the franchise amassed significant capital they can spend on Friday night.

[Related: Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two All-Pro defenders]

So, what to do next? Let's look at some top options.

  • Joe Mixon - The Oklahoma running back made a deplorable decision a few years ago that was caught on tape. It will haunt his career, yet, at some point his talent is too much to pass up. The Redskins have done their homework on Mixon, and if the 6-foot-1, 226 lbs. gasher lasts to 49, the 'Skins will have a call to make.
  • Malik McDowell - A top 15 talent with questions, sliding to the 49th pick might be the exact motivation McDowell needs to be his best every snap. Pairing Allen with McDowell would be a significant investment in the defensive line for Bruce Allen.
  • Tyus Bowser - Want a freak athlete? This is your guy. A college hoops player at Houston, Bowser has impressive speed and torque off the edge. He can get to quarterbacks, and that's a skill every team needs.
  • Terrell Basham - His name isn't as well known since he played in the MAC but this kid has big-time game. Basham impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and is an edge rushing talent. He won't make it to the third round.
  • Teez Tabor - Redskins director of college scouting Scott Campbell made clear that his organizational philosophy values game tape over combine numbers. In that case, Tabor is a first rounder. He's great on the field, has a fierce competitive streak and is a local kid. His Florida teammate Quincy Wilson could also be a fit. There will be a lot of good secondary players available for Washington at 49; Tabor might be the top of the list.
  • Zach Cunningham - A tackling machine in the SEC, this could be an easy pick. No question marks. Just good talent. The Redskins played it smart Thursday night, stayed patient and took the best player on their board. Same thing could land Cunningham Friday.
  • Dan Feeney - The Redskins could add depth to their offensive line and Feeney would be a good choice. A guard with good feet, he could learn the speed of the NFL in 2017 and  be the 'Skins starting left guard in 2018.

More Redskins: Jonathan Allen pick gives Redskins more freedom for the rest of the draft

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Jason Smith could miss Game 6, as Wizards frontcourt already lacks depth

Jason Smith could miss Game 6, as Wizards frontcourt already lacks depth

ATLANTA -- Jason Smith went through "very little" at a shootaround session Friday with the Wizards but his status for Game 6 with the Hawks still is going to be a game-time decisions, according to coach Scott Brooks. 

Smith strained his left calf in a Game 5 win vs. the Hawks but didn't return in the fourth quarter. He says he "hyperextended" it when hustling on a play.

If he's unable to play, Markieff Morris' foul trouble becomes an even bigger issue for the Wizards if he ends up off the floor because of it for the fourth game in a row. The Wizards are thin on bigs already with Ian Mahinmi having yet to make an appearance in the series with the same injury as Smith towards the end of the regular season.

Strains are tears but there are varying degrees which makes the recovery process different. 

Mahinmi, of course, remains out.

[RELATED: To close out, Wizards must avoid these mistakes in Game 6]