- Chris Young at Eh Game15 hrs ago
If the Raptors winning a playoff series and the Leafs getting lotto-lucky amount to the earth turning over on Toronto’s scruffy pro sports acreage, perhaps they’re best seen as mere aftershocks from last Oct. 14 and Jose Bautista’s bat flip heard 'round the 6, and beyond.
Bautista’s emphatic hoist after launching a Sam Dyson pitch into history was a lot of things: a game and series winner, an eraser of Toronto’s ongoing narrative of sporting disappointment, a maker of memes and legends, the craziest exclamation point on what’s been called the craziest inning in baseball’s playoff history, and if you’re of a Goose Gossage vintage, everything that is wrong with baseball in 2015.
And of course, there was this.
If you were anywhere near Toronto -- or watching on TV across Canada, among the record audience -- it was the stuff of which dreams are made. And ugly Christmas sweaters.Tue, 3 May7:07 PM EDTTexas at TorontoPreview Game
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game17 hrs ago
On the day he returned to the ATP Tour’s top 10, Canadian Milos Raonic showed why he merits that spot.
The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont. survived a stiff early challenge from talented Brazilian left-hander Thomaz Bellucci to run away with his first-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open, 7-6 (4), 6-1.
From the moment in the first-set tiebreak when Bellucci led 3-2, Raonic won 34 of the remaining 47 points.
His second-round opponent will be Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
Raonic has been idle since reaching the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters 2 1/2 weeks ago; he won just two games in a desultory loss to Andy Murray of Great Britain.
Last week, he was in coach Carlos Moyá’s home country of Mallorca, practicing on the clay with, among others, the same Andy Murray.
The adductor issue that recurred in Monte Carlo and had a lot to do with the lopsided score against Murray was not in evidence Monday.
In Bellucci, he faced a hugely gifted opponent, but one whose maddening inconsistency is trying to his fans, his team and more than anyone, likely himself.
- Neil Stevens at Eh Game18 hrs ago
Jamie Dawick’s annual trip to Las Vegas to participate in the World Series of Poker in July will be a brief respite from the lineup shuffling he’ll be doing with his lacrosse team.
An 18-17 overtime loss in Calgary on Saturday left the owner-GM’s Toronto Rock at 5-13 and out of the playoffs for the first time since he bought the National Lacrosse League team in 2009. It was a difficult pill to swallow after going 14-4 in 2015 and getting to the championship series.
“This year has been a nightmare,” Dawick said during a morning-after interview. “I’m glad it’s over because we’re not in the playoffs.
“Next year has already started for me. We need to get back to where we need to be. I’m going to be aggressive this off-season looking at trades and free agents. I’m going to do everything I can do to get this team back to where it needs to be.”
Three positives are worth mentioning.
1. Work ethic was never lacking.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game18 hrs ago
More than two dozen Canadians competed at the various levels of pro tennis last week – a big number even if only a select few were at the ATP/WTA level.
The last man standing was Denis Shapovalov, just turned 17 and making waves on the tough $10,000 ITF Circuit down in the southern U.S.
Shapovalov bumped his won-loss record on the season to 37-7 as he reached the semi-finals of the event in Vero Beach tournament last weekend. That's not even counting doubles. All but one of the tournaments was at the Futures level. The other was the Drummondville Challenger, which has a purse of $100,000; Shapovalov reached the semi-finals there and lost, 6-4 in the third set, to Great Britain's Daniel Evans. Evans, it should be noted, cracked the top 100 in the ATP Tour rankings today.
The ranking points from his previous week's title in Orange Park, Fla. kicked in Monday; Shapovalov's ranking now stands at a career-high No. 405. When his semi-final effort in Vero Beach is added in, he should reach another career best, at approximately No. 392.
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game1 day ago
TORONTO – It wasn’t supposed to come to this, at least not this early on: a Game 7 with the season on the line. Maybe in the second round. In the conference finals? Heck, that’d be an accomplishment. But a Game 7 in the first round? Something must have gone terribly wrong.
Yet this is where the Raptors found themselves Sunday night, punishment for their uneven play in a series against the Indiana Pacers they entered as heavy favourites.
The game was at home – the benefit of being the two-seed in the East – but that was of little comfort to the fan base. Maybe the nerves would subside when the game would tip off. The notoriously late arriving Drake was in his seat over half an hour before the scheduled start time. The anticipation in the arena was exceeded only by anxiety.Sun, 1 MayIndiana84 - 89TorontoGame Recap
- JP Balladier at Eh Game1 day ago
The Toronto Raptors are playing basketball in May. How often can you say that?
As a matter of fact, it's not just the Raptors, but the collective sigh of relief by sports fans in Toronto craving for a deep playoff run.
The Raps were in full control of Game 7 on Sunday night against the Pacers going into the fourth quarter, but an 11-point effort made everyone attending and watching the game sweat more than after running a 5K.
The first round of the playoffs was getting repetitive, and the fans made sure to let the Raptors know.
We even had a Blue Jays sighting, despite playing in Tampa Bay earlier in the day, both Marcus Stroman and Jose Bautista made it off the flight and straight to the Air Canada Centre.
Ultimately the Raptors held on, and the community exhaled after holding their breath for the final five and a half minutes. The curse was broken, and the players finally got the monkey off their backs.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
Tennis rankings are often as much about what players' opponents do – or don't do – in any given week as they are about what the players themselves do.
Rather than play any of the three Tour events on the schedule, Canadian Milos Raonic trained in Mallorca last week with coach Carlos Moyá, preparing for the upcoming ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid, Spain.
But despite being idle, he made a small but noteworthy jump in the new rankings that will become official Monday.
The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont. is back in the top 10 for the first time since late last October as Richard Gasquet, who was defending a 2015 title in Estoril, Portugal, didn't play that tournament this past week and withdrew from a larger tournament in Barcelona the week prior to that. The resultant loss of ranking points dropped the Frenchman to No. 12, and allowed both Raonic and Marin Cilic of Croatia to move up one spot.
Raonic had been at No. 11.
On the racquet-obliteration scale, give Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov an 8 out of 10 for effort as he implodes in IstanbulStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
Give some props to Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov.
Before he went postal on his tennis racquets for the final time in a three-set loss to Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the Istanbul ATP Tour final Sunday, he at least had the courtesy of giving the chair umpire some advance warning.
What followedwill get a whole lot of air time.
The 24-year-old, called "Baby Federer" early in his career for his stylistic homage to the Swiss star, was in the top 10 just two years ago and hailed as one of the next generation of stars on the ATP Tour. Since then, he has seen a two-year relationship with fellow tennis player Maria Sharapova end, and has seen his ranking fall to No. 28.
And in the final against Schwartzman, a diminutive, scrappy player who was seeking his first Tour title, Dimitrov had his share of issues.
The stringing on his racquets was failing him – badly. As well, he said later he began cramping when he was up a set and 5-2 in the second set and couldn’t serve it out when he had the opportunity.
After Dimitrov was broken early in the third set, the racquet paid the price.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game1 day ago
It was a heck of a run while it lasted.
And by all indications, there are more streaks to come from Brooke Henderson.
The teenager from Smiths Falls, Ont., finished tied for 19th at the LPGA Volunteers of America Texas Shootout on Sunday, ending an impressive string of eight straight top-10 finishes.
She was halfway to the LPGA record of 16, set by Australian Karrie Webb over the 1999 and 2000 seasons before hitting a snag in Texas and will now have to start all over again. But considering that Henderson is 18 and in only her second season as a member of the tour, there's plenty of time left to take another run.
Henderson started off the tournament as if a ninth straight top-10 was a given, turning in sub-par rounds of 69 and 68. But she stumbled on Saturday, carding a 2-over 73 to drop down the leaderboard.
Things started to look up on Sunday as Henderson birdied the first three holes at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Tex. But a bogey on the fifth and a disastrous double-bogey on the sixth pretty much ended the streak.
A lot of positives but in the end, a first-round loss in Madrid as Eugenie Bouchard returns to actionStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
There were some good things in Genie Bouchard’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 loss to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open Sunday, plenty of positives to build on.
Unfortunately for the 22-year-old from Montreal, she’ll have to wait more than a week to try to build on them.
Bouchard hadn’t played in nearly four weeks,since retiring from her second-round match against Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Liño at the WTA tournament in Charleston. A recurrence of a stubborn abdominal injury was the culprit and in the intervening weeks, she had barely served in practice.
After the two-hour, 32-minute defeat, she will have to wait more than a week, until the first round of the next big WTA tournament in Rome.
The effects of the injury on Bouchard’s serve, which was the stroke affected the most during that Charleston match, showed. Her nine double-faults appeared to be above all a matter of not wanting to put extra pressure on the abdominal area; most of the missed second serves flew long.