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US Open: No ‘Invincibility’ as Serena Struggles Into RND 4 & Nadal Falls

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Rafael Nadal has failed to reach the round of 16 of the U.S. Open for the first time in ten years after blowing out a two-set lead to lose 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 to Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

The Spaniard was two sets and a break up but Fognini started the real tennis business after midnight (in the U.S.), forcing a decider, during which he scooped barrage of break points to tie 4-4 before claiming the win which sends him into the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time ever.

The reality is that Nadal will not win any major this year for the first time since 2005 and the 2013 champion has now suffered his first defeat since losing the 2011 championship match to Novak Djokovic.

Serena charges back

Ask Bethanie Mattek-Sands and she will affirm hardly would any one not want to gate-crash Serena Williams’ pursuit of a historic 22nd Grand Slam title.

The top seed came within two games of losing to her countrywoman on Friday night, having dropped the first set to 30-year-old Minnesota native, Mattek-Sands, who broke her in the ninth game of the second set and then held to tie 5-5.

But the 33-year-old claimed the final eight games to salvage a 3-6 7-5 6-0 win and kept hopes of adding this year’s U.S. Open trophy to her already secured titles from Melbourne, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Serena Williams Celebrates Her Third-Round Win Over Mattek-Sands at the U.S. Open. Image: Getty via USTA.

Serena Williams Celebrates Her Third-Round Win Over Mattek-Sands at the U.S. Open. Image: Getty via USTA.


Up next for Williams will be yet another American, No. 19 seed Madison Keys, Who sailed past 15th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 7-3 6-2.

Serena could meet her older sibling Venus in the quarter-final, following the 23rd seed latter’s 6-3 6-4 cruise against Belinda Bencic.

Eugenie Bouchard, 25th seed, advanced into the second week of the U.S. Open by seeing off Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(11-9) 4-6 6-3 in a match than lasted about three hours.

Elina Svitolina, 17th seed, dismissed 13th seed Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 7-5, while qualifier Annet Kontaveit saw off Madison Brengle 7-5 6-4.

Italy’s Roberta Vinci eliminated Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1 4-7 6-2 and Russia’s Daria Kasatkina lost to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-3.

Djokovic, Cilic into 4th Round

Novak Djokovic was not spared of some erratic piece of tennis on Friday while facing Ital’s Andreas Seppi but got the job done, 6-3 7-5 7-5.

The Serb’s 10-0 head-to-head unbeaten record against the No. 25 seed was suspect, while he could only get 56% of his serves in, in the first set and being broken by Seppi twice – including while first serving for the match – throughout the 2 hours and 26 minutes duration of the game.

Djokovic will meet Roberto Bautista-Agut in the round of 16 after his third round opponent, David Goffin, retired while trailing the 23rd seed’s 2-6 5-7 6-3 3-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Marin Cilic was another player to bear it all in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Friday against the unseeded Kazak, Mikhail Kukushkin, eventually topping a 4-hour-11-minute duel 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-1. Next up for the defending champion his the high-flying Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Frenchman Chardy, seeded 26th, saw off No. 7 seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-1 to reach the round of 16 of the U.S. Open for the first time.

Other men’s singles results (Friday)

Third Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 63 75 75
[27] Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [7] David Ferrer (ESP) 76(6) 46 63 61
[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. [8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 36 46 64 63 64
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(5) 76(1) 63 67(3) 61
[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. [10] Milos Raonic (CAN) 62 76(4) 63
[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. [14] David Goffin (BEL) 26 57 63 31 ret.
[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 75 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. [26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) 76(3) 61 61

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Talented Nigerian Players of the NFL

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The NFL is quickly becoming one of the most popular leagues for Nigerian athletes. Over the last few years, we have seen some immensely talented players from Nigeria, or with Nigerian ancestry, come into the league and take over. While all positions in the sport of American football have benefited, notably there has been a focus on defensive positions from these athletes, with linebackers and defensive ends rising to prominence. Here are some of the most talented Nigerian athletes in the NFL that you need to know.

Jeremiah Attaochu

Jeremiah Attaochu is a 6’3”( 1.91m) outside linebacker who is currently playing for the Denver Broncos. He was a member of the 2014 draft, selected in the 2nd round as pick #50 overall. Attaochu played briefly for several teams like the 49ers and the Jets as he gradually tried to find the perfect fit. Recently, Attaochu has been re-signed by the Broncos on a one-year $1.5 million contract. Clearly, the Broncos liked what he brought to their defensive line.

Since Peyton Manning left the Broncos, the squad has been testing new offensive schemes, but their defense remains very strong. All-star player Von Miller has recently been placed on the injury list, so Attaochu will be called on to perform his best. With his aggressive tackling and limitless gas tank, Attaochu certainly helps bring the Broncos favorable American football odds. The team’s main division rivals are the Kansas City Chiefs who have one of the strongest offenses in the league. Heading into the 2020 season, defense is a priority for the Broncos.

Jeff Okudah

Okudah was born in Texas, USA in 1999 to Nigerian parents, making him one of the youngest players on this list. In the most recent NFL draft, Okudah was one of the most in-demand athletes and was selected #3 overall by the Detroit Lions. In the buildup to his NFL debut he quickly became known as the best cornerback in the entire country, and has proven to be yet another exceptional Nigerian athlete to gr3aduate from Texas universities.

This is excellent news for the Lions, who certainly need all the help they can get on defense. Okudah made his NFL debut this past Sunday, playing against the Green Bay Packers and MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. All things considered, Okudah played well and showed that he can perform at the professional level.

Emmanuel Ogbah

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Ogbah has come a long way on his journey to becoming the standout outside linebacker that he is. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 as the #32 overall pick. After two years with the squad, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he really came into his own as a linebacker.

Ogbah played a big role in the Chief’s 12-4 record while he was active during the 2019 season. His standout performance was during week 3 versus the Baltimore Ravens, when Ogbah sacked quarterback Lamar Jackson 1.5 times. Unfortunately, a pectoral injury ended his exceptional season at game 10, but his efforts ultimately helped the Chiefs get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Afterwards, Ogbah signed a two-year $15 million dollar contract with the Miami Dolphins, where he currently helps round out their defense.

Noah Igbinoghene

This young athlete is an exceptionally talented cornerback. He was recently drafted in the first round as #30 overall by the Miami Dolphins. Though he was born in the US, he is of Nigerian descent and lived in the country for part of his life in his earlier years.

Notably, both of his parents were talented athletes in their own right. Igbinoghene’s father not only competed in the Men’s Triple Jump in the 1996 Olympics, but also won a bronze medal at the 1990 Commonwealth games. His mother was a track and field star, and was part of the relay team that won a bronze medal for Nigeria at the 1992 Olympics.

NFL analysts gave the Dolphin’s an A+ for the Igbinoghene pick, saying that he was the right player for their team and helped the Dolphins patch up a weakness on defense. He played well against the Buffalo Bills this past weekend, ultimately blocking many passes that came his way.

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Barcelona Sell Luis Suarez To Atletico Madrid

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Barcelona have sold striker Luis Suarez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.

The transfer was confirmed on Wednesday evening, with Suarez reportedly crying as he left Barcelona’s training grounds for the last time the same day.

“FC Barcelona would like to publicly express their gratitude to Luis Suarez for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future,” the statement said.

The club said a “farewell event” would take place for Suarez on Thursday before a press conference.

Suarez leaves Barcelona after six successful years. He scored 198 goals – making him Barcelona’s third top scorer, and won 13 titles.

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Messi and Ronaldo miss out on UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominations

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No Messi or Ronaldo in UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominations for first time in 10 years as De Bruyne & Lewandowski battle it out.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also in the running for the award, with a new winner set to be announced at the start of October.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been left off the final shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for first time in 10 years, with Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski set to battle it out for the individual prize.

Ronaldo, who currently plies his trade in Italy with Juventus, has picked up the accolade on three occasions and also has a total of nine nominations to his name, while Barcelona superstar Messi has won it two times and made the final shortlist in six of the last 10 seasons.

Both men have stood out as the best players of their generation for well over a decade, but as they continue to advance into their thirties, an inevitable changing of the guard is beginning to take shape.

News Credit: Goal.com

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