Williams sisters who? Trio of U.S. women reach Citi Open quarters

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Williams sisters who? Trio of U.S. women reach Citi Open quarters

Raise your hand if your take on American female tennis essentially begins and ends with Venus and Serena Williams.Vania King says dont believe the hype. Coco Vandeweghe scoffs at the notion of there being no young American women coming up the ranks.Now, raise your hand if youre unfamiliar with Vania King and Coco Vandeweghe. The simple answer is the pair rank among the top 100 players on tour yet many have never heard of them. The precise reply for this weekis the No. 4 and 7 seeds respectively at the Citi Open. After both pulled of straight sets on Wednesday, their diverse styles are set for a stars and stripes clashin Thursday's quarterfinals. The slugging and brash Vandeweghe, seeded for the first time on tour, dismissed her second straight opponent. Brimming with confidence after reaching her first WTA final at Stanford last month where she lost to Serena Williams Vandeweghe boldly downed Aravane Rezai 6-2, 6-2.King positions herself on the court with a defensive-minded presence, though she mixed enough winners to down fellow American Irina Falconi 6-2, 7-6 (5). Another American, Sloane Stephens,reached the quarterfinal round on Tuesday. She will play 18-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard on Thursday following the second round match between men's top seedMardy Fish and Ricardas Berankis.King, atwo-time grand slam doubles champion, also went on the offensive in the post match press conference. A reporter asked whether there being three Americans this deep in the tournament with none being part of that famed sister act ran counter to the public perception of womens tennis in the U.S.I dont think the publics perception is (its only) Venus and Serena, said King, whose lone singles title came as a 16-year-old in 2006. I think thats the medias perception. I think the media groups tennis in the United States as if youre not in the top 10 or if you havent multiple grand slams than youre not a good player.If you go to any other sport in the states, people are known for being top 200, top 300...Its no small feat to be the best 100 in the world. Vandeweghe received a similar query about there being a trio of red, white and blue-ers left in the womens draw.I think its great that were all in the quarters, said the 21-year-old and one of nine Americans inside the WTAs top 100 rankings. Vandeweghe jumped from 120 to 69 after her effort at Stanford. "It's great to have all these Americans inside the top 100. With all the talk about, 'No good Americans coming up,' we've got a lot of young girls and I think we're all doing well individually and doing different things very well."Vandeweghe speaks as she plays: bold and direct. Case in point, analysis of her win over Rezai.My serve definitely shook her confidence, also with me beating her in the groundstroke rallies, said Vandeweghe, who never lost a service game and smacked 11 aces. Both those things just kind of depleted her confidence and that definitely raised my game to see that in an opponent.Truth is whatever former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghes niece lacks in terms of championship winning hardware, she makes up for with the rigid belief that any time could be her time.I didnt really have plans on going to the finals in Stamford, but going into a tournament youre always thinking about winning the tournament, beating everybody, Vandeweghe said. Otherwise, there is no real point and showing up and playing.Next time Vandeweghe shows up to play, King will be on the other side of the net. The 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open double champion anticipates matchup will play fast and display their contrasting methods.We dont play very similar, King said.The winner could face top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals, though the Russian struggled in her three-set victory on Wednesday. While a title win in D.C. may not adjust their Q ratings with the general public the WTA side of the event is not among the prominent stops on tour King and Vandeweghe have a chance for a much desired title run and generating additional momentum before the U.S. Open.Its what you do with your opportunities, how you take advantage of them, Vandeweghe said. NotesJames Blake, fourth-seeded Tommy Haas and No. 2 Alexandr Dolgopolov all advanced to the third round with straight-set victoriesBouchard upset No. 8 Olga Govortsova in three sets.

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Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

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In Patric Hornqvist, Penguins have a guy who 'conveniently will fall on your goalie'

In Patric Hornqvist, Penguins have a guy who 'conveniently will fall on your goalie'

The major story of last year’s series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was the other guys, the players not named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who carried the Penguins to victory. Guys like Patric Hornqvist.

On Wednesday in the last full practice before Game 1, Hornqvist practiced on the top line with Sidney Crosby and rookie Jake Guentzel. That’s a lot of skill on one line. What does Hornqvist add? Net-front presence.

“He's relentless,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. “He's fearless.”

RELATED: Key matchup: Penguins' power play vs. Caps' penalty kill

Trotz would know. Hornqvist spent the first six seasons of his NHL career in Nashville playing under Trotz.

It's not always easy being a net-front guy. It takes a willingness to face slap shots from your teammates. The opposing defense will also do everything they can to muscle you out of your spot. None of that seems to matter to Hornqvist.

Trotz illustrated Hornqvist's willingness to get to the front of the net during his time in Nashville.

“When I had [Pekka Rinne], [Hornqvist] would line up in front of Pekka and we would do one-timers with Shea Weber and that's what he practiced every day. He would be standing there.”

Weber is now a three-time winner for the hardest shot in the NHL. If that is not enough to scare you from standing in front of the net, nothing is.

Getting good net-front presence, however, is about more than just standing in front of the net. Hornqvist is a guy who understands all the nuances of that role and that’s what makes him such a dangerous player.

“He conveniently will fall on your goalie many times," Trotz said, "But he's a hungry athlete in that area and he understands his role and that's what makes him special in that area.”

MORE CAPITALS: 3 reasons to be optimistic Caps will get past the Penguins

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