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jokergreen Dec 9 '19
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork. China Jerseys Outlet .com) - The Grand Slam season will get underway Monday at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where a new champion will be crowned this year. Li Na was the runner-up in 2011 and 13 before she nailed down her first Australian Open title last season by beating pesky Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in the final. But the Chinese star retired toward the end of last season, opening the way for a new Aussie champ in 2015. Who are the favorites to fill the void, you say? Well, lets take a look. You dont have to look much further than five-time Aussie titlist Serena Williams, whos never lost in a final in Oz while holding the Open Era record for titles there. The 18-time Grand Slam winner will be the favorite at the latest Aussie fortnight ... and for good reason. Surprisingly, however, the world No. 1 superstar and reigning U.S. Open champ is seeking her first Aussie title in five years. From 2003 to 2010, the mighty Serena nailed down the five Aussie championships, beating five former No. 1 stars in all of those finals (Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina and Justine Henin, respectively). But she hasnt gotten past the quarters in Melbourne since the 10 championship, including a fourth-round loss a year ago. Sharapova will take a crack at Serena, even though she hasnt beaten her American rival since 2004, or 15 straight meetings. Fifteen straight! The reigning French Open queen captured her lone Aussie title in 2008 and is a two-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, where, like Serena, she exited early in the round of 16 last year. The five-time major titlist from Russia opened her 2015 season last week with a title in Brisbane, where she beat fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in a sexy final. Simona Halep will be the No. 3 seed in Melbourne, where she reached the quarterfinals a year ago. The quiet Romanian star was last years French Open runner-up to Sharapova and opened her 15 season with a title in China last week. Haleps a Grand Slam title waiting to happen after reaching at least the quarters at three of the four majors in 2014, including a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon. The best left-handed woman on the planet is Petra Kvitova. The world No. 4 star is a two-time Wimbledon champ and currently holds that coveted title. The Czech slugger reached the Aussie semis in 2012, but she has struggled Down Under since, failing to get past the second round, including an opening-round exit there a year ago. As a matter of fact, PK failed to get past the third round at three of the four Slams in 14 (but did manage to sneak out a second Wimby title in four years). The aforementioned Ivanovic is coming off one of her best seasons in several years and opened her latest campaign by reaching the final in Brisbane last week. The former world No. 1 from Serbia is no stranger to success in Melbourne, where she reached the final in 2008 and the quarterfinals a year ago. Having said that, in between the 08 runner-up finish and the trek into the round of eight last year, AI could do no better than the fourth round in the Bourne from 2009-13, or a five-year stretch. Ouch. But I thinks its safe to say shes recovered since then. Still the capable Ivanovic, the French Open champion in 2008 and runner-up in 2007, failed to get past the third round at the final three Slams of 2014, including a second-round flameout at the U.S. Open. The rest of the Top 10 is rounded out by former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska; last years Wimbledon runner-up Genie Bouchard; former world No. 1 and two-time U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki; left-handed German Angelique Kerber; and rising Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who is yet another tough lefty. Radwanska just doesnt have enough power to run the table at a major. Bouchard, like Halep, will probably be a Grand Slam champion sooner rather than later. The young Canadian was the only woman to reach at least the semifinals at three of the four majors last year in only her first full Grand Slam season. The former world No. 1 Wozniacki, like the aforementioned Ivanovic, also has enjoyed a resurgence on tour. The popular Dane reached her second U.S. Open final in six years last year and opened her 2015 season by reaching a final in Auckland just last week. Wozniackis best Aussie showing was a trip into the semis in 2011. Kerber has no shot in Melbourne, while Makarova could make some noise Down Under. Makarova has quietly reached at least the quarters at six of the last 12 majors, including a trip into a U.S. Open semi in September. She was a back-to-back Aussie quarterfinalist in 2012 and 2013 and can make any player uncomfortable on the other side of the net. Venus Williams may not be a threat to win it all at the Aussie anymore, but she did open her 2015 season with a title in Auckland last week, beating Wozniacki in an attractive all-former-world-No. 1 finale. Venus is a seven-time major champ, but hasnt nailed down a big one since the 2008 Wimbledon Championships. She was the 2003 Aussie runner-up to her little sister, but hasnt been much of a factor since in Melbourne, reaching only a pair of quarterfinals over the last 11 years. Id say that ship has sailed. Keep your eye on one of my favorite young players on the tour ... Karolina Pliskova. This big-serving Czech was second on tour to only Serena in aces last year and is a dangerous player for sure. She also had her best-ever showing at the last major event, a third-round berth in New York in September. And how about an unseeded Victoria Azarenka? The former world No. 1 star missed months of action last year while battling left foot and right knee injuries. But when healthy, Vika has been nothing short of a force at the Slams, especially in Oz, where she captured back-to- back titles in 2012 and 2013 and has appeared in at least the quarters there four of the last five years. Azarenka is also a two-time U.S. Open runner-up who has been making deep runs at the majors since 2009. In addition to Serena (and in some way, Venus), another American to keep an eye on could be 30th-ranked Madison Keys. The 19-year-old Illinois native could be one of the breakthrough players were looking for this year, and wouldnt that be nice. Well, whos gonna win it all this year? It would be real easy to pick Serena here, but Im leaning in the Simona Halep direction, if things can break right for the steady Romanian. China Jerseys Custom . They say things like "stress is when you dont know what youre doing" and "I wasnt hired to motivate players, I was hired to coach motivated players." They ring as true now as they did when Mularkey heard them the first time playing tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame coach 25 years ago. China Jerseys Fake . "We cannot stay the same way the whole season long," said Reyes. "This is not acceptable. Something needs to change because were a better team than what were showing right now. Its a long season and we just need to continue to push." Its been a frustrating week for the ballclub.GREEN BAY, Wis. - Building a successful working relationship between a quarterback and receiver requires a lot of time and communication.After seven years together, there are few better combinations in the NFL than the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.A quarterback renowned for accuracy throwing to the leagues leading receiver, and theyll try to keep the Packers passing game rolling against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.The best players are often the smartest players and the ones that have the distinct attention to detail, and Jordy has such great second and third reactions, Rodgers said.But he also, really, from his second year on, really wanted to get on the same page with me and cared about how I was seeing the game, and has really gotten in my hip pocket since then.Early on, Rodgers did most of the talking. Nelson listened. Then the receiver started earning trust by making plays. Offensive co-ordinator Tom Clements said Nelson runs textbook routes.Now its a two-way conversation between Rodgers and Nelson.The longer youre here, the more experience you have with (Rodgers), you get a slight a€” a slight a€” privilege to say some stuff, Nelson said with a laugh.He leads the league with 33 catches for 459 yards. Nelson has an uncanny knack of catches on the sideline as if hes walking a tightrope. Nelson makes the most difficult moves look easy, such as midair adjustments to make tough catches with defenders draped on him.I dont think I walked into here after Year 4 or something and said, All right, now Im going to tell you how I feel about things, Nelson said. I think its just a feel-out process and just . Im sure one day he just asked a question and it built off of there.Vikings receiver Greg Jennings is familiar with how things work in Green Bay. He played for the Packers until 2012, and had 80 catches for 1,292 yards and nine scores in 2008, Nelsons first year in the league.After Nelson had nine catches for 209 yards against the Jets in Week 2, Jennings sent a congratulatory text.I had to shoot him a way to ball out text, Jennings said. But, yeah, its no surprise to me at all.Some things to watch in the teams first meeting since the 26-all tie last November at Lambeau Field:JUST JENNINGS: The Minnesota wideout tried to maake amends last year for pointed comments questioning Rodgers and his leadership. China Jerseys For Cheap. . Asked this week to reflect on the comments, Jennings sounded more conciliatory.Those were some things that I wish I had not said or done. But again, life is about adapting and showing resolve, Jennings said.Still, Jennings cant expect a warm welcome back in Titletown. When asked, Jennings added he did not miss Green Bay, but for reasons that didnt have to do with football.I would have loved to have finished my career out in Green Bay, but from where I am spiritually and where I am with my family and the growth that weve had because of what we have around us educationally a€” and there was some great educational systems there, as well a€” but this is a step up for us, Jennings said.BRIDGEWATER: The Vikings quarterback had an impressive debut in his first career start with 317 yards passing in a 41-28 win last week over Atlanta. But he sprained his left ankle in the game and his status is uncertain. Christian Ponder would start if Bridgewater cant go.ZIMMERS D: The last time Mike Zimmer coached against Green Bay, he was the defensive co-ordinator for the Bengals in a 34-30 win last year in Cincinnati. Rodgers said the Vikings defence is running some similar schemes.You know a key is to stay out of third-and-extra-longs because thats when his scheme and his defence really thrive, Rodgers said.SMOOTH RHODES: Its a good thing for the Vikings that cornerback Xavier Rhodes is coming off the best game of his two-year career: five tackles and four pass breakups against Atlantas potent offence. But Zimmer would rather not have to get into another high-scoring affair.I hope not. I dont really like those shootouts, Zimmer said.ON THE RUN: While the Packers passing game is clicking, the running attack needs work. Eddie Lacy, the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year, is off to a slow start, and Green Bay is just 28th in the league on the ground.Green Bay is even worse against the run, ranking last. Minnesota rookie Jerick McKinnon ran for 135 yards on 18 carries last week against the Falcons, while Matt Asiata had three rushing touchdowns.___Online:AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL__Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP ' ' '
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