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Federer, Nadal Renew Rivalry in Shanghai Final

first_imgWimbledon champion Federer beat Nadal to win the Australian Open in January and has won the last four matches between the two legendary players, who have 35 Grand Slams between them.Cilic, who will rise to a career-best fourth in the world rankings, created three set points in the first set but Nadal took it in 67 minutes. The Croat’s first two service games comprised 30 points, while Nadal conceded only three points in his first four games on serve.But Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion and beaten finalist at Wimbledon this year, gradually imposed himself on proceedings and a crunching forehand down the line from the back of the court earned two break points.He was unable to take those as Nadal demonstrated his powers of resolve and the Croat, having saved six break points, eventually conceded the only break of the set.Cilic saved three break points in game nine but then a stunning whipped Nadal forehand down the line on the run created a break that he duly seized.Nadal, bidding to win the Shanghai title for the first time, calmly served out to force a tie-break and the Spaniard completed his fifth victory in six matches against Cilic, his 16th consecutive victory in all tournaments.“The way doesn’t matter,” said Nadal, 31, with a smile. “We are at the highest level of our sport so nobody wins easy.”With rain falling, the roof was closed for the second semi-final, in which Del Potro was able to participate after a test on the wrist he injured during victory over Viktor Troicki in the previous round.Del Potro saved a break point in the third game and then claimed the decisive break in the opening set, clinching it in 38 minutes with his eighth ace.Federer’s patience was rewarded in the next, however, as he finally secured a break with his fifth chance of the fifth game.Del Potro had persistent exchanges with the umpire about the exuberant crowd, the majority of which were emphatically in favour of the Swiss maestro, which eventually resulted in a request from the official for quiet on serve.Federer claimed a key early break in the decider and, as Del Potro began to show signs of fatigue, he meticulously maintained his advantage to complete a 17th win in 23 matches against the Argentine.The 19-time Grand Slam champion now turns his attentions to Nadal, who holds a 23-14 record over him.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The world’s top two tennis players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, will contest the Shanghai Masters final today after both secured hard-fought wins friday.Top seed Nadal, seeking a seventh title of 2017, beat Croat Marin Cilic 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in two hours, 11 minutes. Federer showed great resolve to thwart Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 3-6 6-3 6-3 in just under two hours.It will be the elite pair’s fourth meeting of the year and the 24th time they have faced each other in a final.last_img read more

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Syracuse defense responds to challenge, stifles potent West Virginia offense in Pinstripe Bowl victory

first_imgNEW YORK — The anger and motivation fueling the Syracuse defense boiled over on the first play from scrimmage.After a week of hearing about the high-powered West Virginia offense, the unit was fired up, wanting to earn respect and ensure the game didn’t turn into a shootout. SU defensive tackle Deon Goggins greeted the Mountaineers with that message, powering into the backfield before throwing WVU running back Shawne Alston down for a four-yard loss.“I really challenged them to play well and I think they did a good job,” SU head coach Doug Marrone said. “I think right off the bat the first play of the game, Deon Goggins comes through and makes a great play for a tackle for a loss and that set the tempo.”The Syracuse defense played with that same intensity for four quarters, spearheading a 38-14 rout of the Mountaineers in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. It was the Orange’s (8-5) third straight victory over its longtime rival WVU (7-6), who moved to the Big 12 this season. The Mountaineers came into the game boasting the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation – averaging 41.6 points per game – and Marrone said he challenged his defense Friday night to win the battle.That’s just what the group did on Saturday, recording two safeties while limiting star quarterback Geno Smith and the Mountaineers to a season-low 14 points.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Our theme was three strikes, you’re out,” SU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer said. “You want to earn someone’s respect, I guess you got to knock ’em out three times, and that was our focus.”Shafer said that became the focus when SU learned it would take on its old rival in the bowl game. He said his players were ready to get on the field when Marrone delivered the challenge at the hotel on Friday.Smith entered the game with 40 touchdowns compared to six interceptions to go along with a 71.4 completion percentage. His top receivers, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, combined for 2,760 yards receiving and 35 touchdowns.By Saturday, Goggins and his teammates were sick of all the hype surrounding the Mountaineers’ offense – a unit they had bested two years in a row in a pair of wins.“We all heard about West Virginia’s offense versus our offense like our defense didn’t play good games, like we didn’t get stops when we needed to over the course of the season,” SU defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. “We had a chip on our shoulders on defense because we knew that we wanted to perform versus this team.”Goggins’ big play to start the day set the tone as the Orange held WVU scoreless in the first quarter. Then, the defense erased running back Jerome Smith’s failure to get into the end zone at the goal line midway through the second quarter with a safety on the next play.Syracuse called a blitz that sent safety Durell Eskridge flying in from the right side. Linebackers Siriki Diabate and Cameron Lynch then arrived, one from the middle and the other from the outside, to take down Smith for the sack.“When we called the play, I was like, ‘Alright, this is my opportunity for me to make a difference in this game, make my mark on this game,’” Diabate said. “And that’s what I did.”The Orange led 5-0 and added a touchdown to take a 12-0 lead before West Virginia finally broke through with a touchdown pass to Bailey less than four minutes before the half.The wide receiver’s 32-yard score was one of the few big plays for the Mountaineers that day. He would find the end zone again late in the third quarter, but WVU never threatened again as SU padded its cushion.The defense was relentless and opportunistic. It erased an SU turnover in the second quarter on the very next play when Brandon Sharpe powered through WVU offensive lineman Quinton Spain to force a fumble. Sharpe pushed back another lineman – this time Nick Kindler in the third quarter – to force Smith to panic in the end zone before chucking the ball into the ground for an intentional grounding penalty resulting in Syracuse’s second safety.The Orange led by 21 with just more than a minute to play in the third quarter.And as Shafer made his way from the coach’s box to the field, his players greeted him with their motto of “three strikes and you’re out.” The motto built on an anger that motivated them turned into a victory cry punctuating a brilliant performance.Said Shafer: “At the end of the day, 11 men playing their a*ses off for one another was the difference.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 30, 2012 at 12:57 am Contact Ryne: [email protected]center_img Related Stories Gallery: Syracuse romps past West Virginia in snowy Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14SNOW PLOW: Syracuse dominates West Virginia on the ground to win Pinstripe Bowl for 2nd time in 3 yearsSU fans share their Pinstripe Bowl experiences through social mediaCohen: Pinstripe Bowl victory completes remarkable, year-long change of fortunes for Marrone, Syracuse programlast_img read more

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