Neighbors Fish, Haas ready for Citi Open clash

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Neighbors Fish, Haas ready for Citi Open clash

Increasingly on the mens professional tennis tour, age is truly just a number. Mardy Fish and Tommy Haas are winning proof. The 30-somethings rolled up convincing quarterfinal victories, setting up a head-to-head semifinal meeting between friends and hitting partners back in Southern California. Fellow graybeard James Blakes hopes of another inspired run in Washington, dashed by a dashing shot maker while the makings of an All-American womens vanished in the night.The top-seeded Fish stayed afloat with an efficient 6-3, 6-4 win over Xavier Malisse while No. 4 Haas continued his run of straight set wins in DC, downing fellow German Tobias Kamke 6-1, 6-2.The other semifinal pits a pair of whippersnappers including power-serving American Sam Querrey. The No. 8 seed continued his recent torrid play with a straight-sets win. Second-seeded Alexander Dolgopolov ended Blakes run, 7-6 (3), 6-4.On the womens side, No. 3 seed and rising star Sloane Stephens suffered through a losing battle with her composure - and upset-minded Magdalena Rybarikova, who will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Saturdays final. The top seeded Russian overcame the afternoon heat and a one-set deficit against No. 4 Vania King.Serving served as the centerpiece of Fishs triumph, as the 30-year smacked 10 aces while fending off any change of momentum with timely winners. After breaking Malisse once in each set, Fishs attention quickly turned toward facing one of his practice partners. Certainly not the next tour stop to the North. There is somewhere else he would rather be.Were good friends. We actually live really close to each in Los Angeles and hang out a lot there, practice together a lot there, said Fish, who has lost three of four career matches to Haas with the last meeting coming in 2007. Itll be fun. Itll be one of those matches that is the reason why were out here. Winner goes to the final and the loser goes to Toronto.Haas, the last player to make Roger Federer a loser this year, never faced a break point on his serve against Kamke. Fish, rounding back into game shape after an extended absence for health matters, knows his increasingly confident pal is playing well. Seeing as this particular chum once stood No. 2 in the world and possesses a wicked backhand, dont expect any kid glove treatment when Fish sees Haas lined up across the net.Sometimes its hard to play close friends, said Fish who enters his first career Washington semifinal and is now two wins from his first tour title this year. You know, you root for them to win, but you have to put it into perspective, and say that this is the guy that is trying to take my lunch away tomorrow, and Im going to try and beat him any way I can. The 34-year-old Haas run to the semifinals followed a finals appearance in his previous tournament before Washington and a title win in Halle against Federer, the most prominent tour member of the three-decades old club that also includes Malisse, Anderson and Blake.I think it speaks to the physicality of the game nowadays, said Fish when asked of the ongoing trend of players not simply sticking around longer compared to historical norms, but also turning in winning results. It takes guys longer to develop. Its a much more physical, much more mental. And there are a lot of 30 and older guys that are playing well.This week there are also two younger guys playing well, including the 24-year-old Querrey. Coming off a championship last week in Los Angeles, Querrey has won 44 of 48 first serve points over his last two matches.Then there is the laid-back, ponytail wearing and drop shot making Dolgopolov, who beat Querrey in their only previous meeting. He also erased an early 3-0 deficit against Blake with an array of crafty winners. I knew if I concentrated and just work it, it will get better, the Ukrainian said about falling quickly behind. My game is pretty risky, so you can miss a lot of shots, but you can also make some shots, just a lot of winners. I was just trying to get myself into rhythm.Rybarikova, ranked 102 and the only unseeded player in the semifinals, dictated play against Stephens, the second seed she defeated this week. Already a two-time winner on tour, the Slovak goes for the upset hat trick against Pavlyuchenkova, who received medical attention throughout her match against King yet still powered her way into the finals for the first time this year.NotesThe mens semifinals between Fish-Haas starts no earlier than 3:00 p.m. followed by Querrey-Dolgopolov and the womens championship.

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Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 21, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 51 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 20
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 29
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 43

Five Redskins who are under pressure going into training camp

QB Kirk Cousins–Going first with the most obvious. He’s under pressure to get this team back to the playoffs. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine will help the running game and perhaps the defense will improve. But this team still will rise and fall by scoring points through the air. From his point of view, he’s on a one-year deal. If he is going to get a record long-term deal next year–or get the Redskins to cough up $35 million on the franchise tag–he’s going to need to play well.

WR Terrelle Pryor–He also is in the one-year contract situation so he needs to impress all 32 teams to drive up his value. He’s also being counted on to replace the 1,000-yard production of either Pierre Garçon or DeSean Jackson. Or maybe both. That’s a lot to put on the plate of a player in just his second full-time year at his position.

CB Josh Norman–Cousins has the highest 2017 salari on the team but Norman has the biggest contract on the team and he didn’t have the impact to match it last year. It’s not that he had a bad year but it’s reasonable to expect more interceptions and fewer penalties. It’s fair to give him a pass with it being his first year in the system. However, the Redskins have a window to release him without a debilitating cap hit after this season and if the value isn’t there you can’t rule out them pulling the trigger.

S Su’a Cravens–Everyone knows that Cravens is perhaps a step slow for a safety. He needs to make up for it with anticipation, which means paying attention to all the details in practice and doing a lot of extra film study. There is no questioning his work ethic but it’s a lot to absorb in a hurry.

OLB Preston Smith–When he is on, few are better. When he’s off, he can disappear for games on end. Consistency is the key for Smith this year. If he catches on and starts playing at his best all the time, he may be in line for a lucrative contract extension next offseason. If he falters, Trent Murphy, Junior Galette, and Ryan Anderson all will be waiting to lay claim to his snaps.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Orioles bats rally to compete sweep of Rangers

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Orioles bats rally to compete sweep of Rangers

BALTIMORE -- Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones both homered and drove in three runs, and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers 9-7 on Thursday night to complete a four-game sweep.

Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis also went deep for the Orioles, who trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning before coming back to hand Hamels (4-1) his first loss in 10 starts this season.

Baltimore hit 10 home runs in the series and outscored Texas 34-11.

The Orioles' four-game winning streak is their longest since a six-game run in early May, and it puts them within three games of .500 (46-49) for the first time since July 4.

Miguel Castro (2-1) worked the sixth for Baltimore after starter Wade Miley allowed five runs over five innings.

Mike Napoli homered for the Rangers, whose five-game skid matches their season high.

Adrian Beltre had two hits for Texas and has 2,985 for his career, tied with Sam Rice for 31st place on the all-time list.

Hamels brought a 21-inning scoreless streak into the game and extended it to 24 -- third-longest of his career -- before Schoop homered in the fourth.

Jones and Trumbo connected in the fifth, and Hamels was lifted after Baltimore used three straight singles to pull even in the sixth. Jones greeted Jeremy Jeffress with an RBI double, and Schoop capped the uprising with a two-run single for an 8-5 lead.

Davis homered in the seventh, and the Rangers scored two in the ninth off Zach Britton.

Hamels gave up seven runs, along with a season-high nine hits and three home runs.

Beltre singled in a run for Texas in the first inning, and Carlos Gomez made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the fourth.

Napoli hit his 21st home run with two on in the fifth.