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  • The road to the top of men's tennis is a bumpy one for Vancouver's Filip Peliwo. (CP/Graham Hughes)

    MONTREAL – When you’re the International Tennis Federation’s junior champion, when you win two junior Grand Slam titles in a year and reach the final in the other two, it would be natural to assume the next steps up the professional ladder will follow, well, naturally.

    And so, the difference between expectations and the brutally competitive reality of the ATP Tour has hit 20-year-old Filip Peliwo fairly hard.

    But a ray of hope struck the Vancouver native, No. 265 in the ATP Tour’s latest singles rankings, in Casablanca on Monday when he qualified for the first Tour-level main draw of his young career.

    Peliwo played the Rogers Cup last year in Montreal on a wild card. This one, he earned all on his own.

    “It was a good match, I did what I had to do to win. Obviously the serving (42 per cent first serves) wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be, but always room to improve tomorrow,” Peliwo told Eh Game via telephone from Casablanca after his 6-1, 6-4 victory over 31-year-old Romanian Victor Crivoi. “I think that this week might be the start of a bit of an upswing,” he added.

    Peliwo will play 32-year-old Filippo Volandri of Italy, another hardened veteran, Monday.

    Read More »from For Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo, the road to the top of men’s tennis is bumpier than expected
  • Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter Power)

    There’s only one way Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey can really start to peel away the pain from the 2013 season – pitch like he did against the Yankees Saturday afternoon.

     “He had it working today. The other day in Tampa he wasn’t on, today he was on,” said manager John Gibbons after Toronto’s 4-0 win. “This was a big game for us, he stepped up.”

    It was a bounceback performance for Dickey after he struggled mightily in the season opening loss to the Rays. In that game he gave up six earned runs and walked six batters; on Saturday Dickey faced 25 batters over six and two-third innings and his command was sharp. With the exception of a sidearm knuckleball that got away and hit Fransisco Cervelli and a four-pitch walk to Derek Jeter, he was better able to locate the pitch that can be uncooperative by nature, which resulted in six strikeouts.

    “Part of it’s the pitch. You have to live and die with the pitch. It’s part of what makes it very difficult to do at the big-league level,

    Read More »from R.A. Dickey displays dominant side in Blue Jays' win over Yankees
  • Team Koe leaves The World Championship without a medal. (CP)

    There will be better days ahead for Kevin Koe. Just not with the team he took to Beijing.

    Moments after Canada's deflating, 7-5, World Championship bronze medal game loss to the Swiss on Sunday, the skip confirmed, during a post-game interview on TSN, that he would be moving on without mates Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft and Pat Simmons.

    “I think it’s fairly obvious, this is our last hurrah," Koe said.

    Obvious, yes, because the rumours of his team's break up had been swirling through the winter breezes most of the curling season, tempered slightly with a Brier win, but then all but confirmed when two other skips outed Koe's plans for next season.

    "We really wanted t go out with a win," continued Koe. "We’re great friends. I love playing with the guys, and, you know, I love ‘em all. To go out the way we did is disappointing but we’ve had a great run over the years."

    Ultimately, Koe, Simmons, Rycroft and Thiessen will have one more chance to go out with a bang as they are scheduled to

    Read More »from Canada bows out at the World Men’s Curling Championship. Kevin Koe confirms the end has come for his team
  • Coach Nick Saviano's words of wisdom didn't have enough of an effect Saturday on a tired Genie Bouchard (tennistv.com)

    In the first set of their semifinal at the Family Circle Cup Saturday, Montreal’s Genie Bouchard left opponent Andrea Petkovic absolutely no room to breathe.

    Her relentless attack was completely and utterly suffocating. And after breezing through that first set 6-1, there was every indication the 20-year-old Canadian would be on her way to the biggest final of her young career.

    Slowly but surely, though, the 26-year-old German found little spaces. She hit harder. She attacked a little more. She ran down one more ball. And even when she appeared to indicate to her coach halfway through the third set that her legs were gone, she found fresher legs.

    It was Bouchard, no doubt running on fumes both mentally and physically after a third taxing three-setter in three days, who ran out of answers as Petkovic prevailed 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 to end the Canadian’s great run in Charleston.

    Read More »from Andrea Petkovic dashes Eugenie Bouchard’s finals hopes at the Family Circle Cup
  • Masahiro Tanaka showed signs of brilliance in a win over the Blue Jays. (The Canadian Press)TORONTO — It was far from perfect but in his major-league debut Masahiro Tanaka showed the potential to be worth every penny the New York Yankees spent on him.

    The Japanese pitching phenom earned the win and spoiled the Toronto Blue Jays’ home opener with a solid, and sometimes dominant, performance in his first game in North America. The Yankees roughed up Blue Jays pitching and won 7-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 48,197.

    Blue Jays manager John Gibbons probably summed up Tanaka’s night best. “He’s the real deal.”

    Tanaka’s night did get off to a rough start though.

    Blue Jays leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera welcomed Tanaka to the major leagues with a solo home run to right field in the first inning.

    “It was my mistake and I think Cabrera took a really good swing,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. But he wasn’t rattled as he got Colby Rasmus to ground out and struck out Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.

    He hit another rough patch in the second when Dioner Navarro

    Read More »from Masahiro Tanaka starts slow but lives up to billing in major-league debut
  • Dustin McGowan's night lasted only 2.2 innings. (The Canadian Press)TORONTO — Dustin McGowan’s redemption story will have to wait for another day. The Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher made his first big-league start since September 2011 but it lasted less than three innings.

    The oft-injured, former prized prospect was roughed up early by the New York Yankees. He surrendered four runs on eight hits before being lifted with two outs in the third inning after throwing 72 pitches. The Yankees went on to win 7-3 in front of 48,197 in the Blue Jays’ home opener. The result wasn’t what he wanted, but being on the mound for the home opener was an accomplishment in itself.

    McGowan, 32, won 12 games in 2007, including a one-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, but spent part of the next six seasons on the disabled list with a serious right shoulder injury, and various foot and oblique injuries. The Blue Jays stuck with him and signed him to an extension in 2012. He appeared in 25 games in 2013, all in relief, then won the fifth spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation

    Read More »from Yankees spoil Dustin McGowan’s first big-league start since 2011, and Blue Jays’ home opener
  • Genie Bouchard goofs around in an on-court interview after her second consecutive win over a former No. 1 player Friday. (tennistv.com)As the third set wore on and the game clock approached two hours, Montreal's Genie Bouchard did well to remember the advice coach Nick Saviano was giving her during an on-court consultation.

    "Whatever you feel, you have enough to go three more sets, full speed. Show no weakness, no fatigue," Saviano said. "Remember, this gal is a good player. There's no guarantee you will win. Only guarantee you play each point the best you can."

    Saviano could see his charge during changeovers, holding an ice towel to her head and looking exhausted and more than a little overheated in the South Carolina heat, wind and humidity. But despite the conditions, Bouchard pulled off her second consecutive win over a former No. 1 player at the Family Circle Cup Friday, defeating No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to move into the semifinals.

    She'll face No. 14 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany Saturday.

    Read More »from Another day, another statement win for Montreal’s Genie Bouchard at the Family Circle Cup
  • TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: Former player Roy Halladay #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays meets with former teammate and current broadcaster Gregg Zaun and with Halladay's son before the start of MLB game action against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
    TORONTO — Roy Halladay had a reputation for being a focused, fierce competitor. For someone with that kind of reputation, he’s handling retirement remarkably well.

    The former Blue Jays All-Star pitcher and Cy Young winner was honoured before the team’s home opener on Friday night and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Halladay announced his retirement this offseason after 16 major-league seasons.

    “It’s pretty cool to be back [in Toronto],” Halladay said during pre-game batting practice. “It doesn’t seem like that long ago, it feels like I was just here. I’m enjoying retirement but this pretty cool to be able to come back here.

    “I have no regrets, no disappointments; [retirement] was the right choice for me. . . I had a lot of fun when I played. I left everything out there that I could. It makes it that much easier to enjoy things now. I enjoy being here and talking to guys. It’s a sport that I love, it’s a passion of mine. I want to try to give back to it. I really enjoy being

    Read More »from Roy Halladay enjoying retirement, in no rush to get back into baseball
  • Regina football has produiced plenty of solid players, including Marc Mueller.The Regina Rams have perhaps the most unusual situation in CIS football; they compete as part of the University of Regina, but the team predates university affiliation and still has a distinct status within the athletic department. That's why they're still known as the Rams, the moniker used in their junior football days, rather than the Cougars, the name used for the rest of the university's teams. The arrangement that saw the Rams join forces with the U of R in 1999 is 15 years old this year, and the university is bringing it up for review. According to what athletics director Dick White told The Regina Leader-Post, though, this isn't a situation like UBC's where cutting football was briefly discussed. Instead, the university seems quite happy with the arrangement, and is exploring ways to make it better:

    White expects the panel will hear a lot of positives about the school's relationship with the Rams, but he also believes there will be suggestions about potential improvements.

    "(The relationship) is in a pretty good place," White said.

    "But it would be absolutely crazy to not listen to all the stakeholders that are involved in this organization and hear how they think it's going and how we can make it better."

    A respected three-person panel, composed of Jim Hopson (the Saskatchewan Roughriders' president, who also played with the Rams while they were still a junior team), Clint Hamilton (the University of Victoria's athletic director) and Jim Weese (a former university employee who's now the dean of health sciences at Western University), will run the review. They're going to meet with stakeholders, including Rams' players, coaches and sponsors, other people in the athletic department, Regina faculty and administrators and representatives from other Regina football programs. Community members' submissions are also being accepted via e-mail to Kinesiology and Health Studies dean Harold Riemer, khs.dean@uregina.ca. It's going to be interesting to see how this review plays out and what changes are made to the Rams-Regina relationship, but evidence from around CIS football suggests that other schools may be watching closely, as the model in place at the U of R could potentially work elsewhere.

    Read More »from Panel to explore Rams/URegina partnership, an unusual one that might work elsewhere
  • Canada's Genie Bouchard looks determined after winning the first set against Venus Williams. She prevailed in three sets to reach the quarterfinals at the Family Circle Cup. (AP/Mic Smith)

    Montreal's Genie Bouchard is ranked eight places higher than American veteran Venus Williams - and therefore the favorite on paper in their third-round match in Charleston, S.C. Thursday.

    On the court, where it is all actually played out, the rankings weren't worth the paper they're printed on. The 13-year age difference between the two (Williams is 33, Bouchard just 20) means a wealth of competitive experience on the American's side. And with both players trying to use their serves and groundstrokes to dictate play – in other words, both trying to achieve the same goal at the expense of the other – it was going to be a matter of who executed best at crunch time.

    Bouchard won fewer points than Williams (101 to 91) in the match. But she won the big points in a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-4 victory that put her in the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup for the second consecutive year.

    On the court, it felt like an upset.

    "It was a really tough battle. A bit ugly at times, but I just tried to fight," Bouchard said in a post-match on-court interview with ESPN, which televised the match to a wide audience in the U.S.

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard survives tussle with Venus Williams, moves on to Family Circle Cup quarter-finals

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