- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game7 hrs ago
Life has been a little difficult around TSN headquarters this summer.
After all, it has to be more than a little painful for the sports channel that ruled cable television for decades to stand by and watch rival Sportsnet crow weekly about record ratings for its Blue Jays games. That pain must be a minor headache compared with the agony of reading those Rogers releases that tout the fact that Sportsnet has now surpassed TSN in average ratings -- even if TSN argues those claims are dubious.
Throw in the fact that TSN's biggest champion, Phil King, was ousted in one of those corporate blood-lettingsrecently and it's been a pretty tough summer around the Bell Media playground.
So when TSN has something to crow about these days, it's only fair that the channel that bills itself as ``Canada's sports leader" gets a nod or two. And there certainly are a few things worth a nod.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game8 hrs ago
NEW YORK – Vasek Pospisil's work space on Court 7 Monday night in New York wasn't exactly neat and tidy as it was.
As habitually heavy sweater, a humid day like this one was always going to produce a mass of soaking-wet shirts, dripping wristbands and the remains of various hydration solutions.
But this time, the humidity got to the 25-year-old Canadian on every level – in his body, and in his mind.
In a match that, given reasonable form, he would fully expect to win after a slow start, first the racquet went flying into the net. Then, the massive tennis bag was tossed. Then, a water bottle went flying into the court.
It's quite unlike Pospisil to lose it that way. But the cramps were coming, there was nothing he could do about it, and he pretty much knew he was going to lose the match – which he did, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (0), 6-0, 6-1 to Andreas Haider Maurer of Austria, a noted hothead who, on this night, pretty much kept his cool.
At 0-3, love-30 in the fourth set, the cramps hit for real.
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game9 hrs ago
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has long been talked about in basketball circles from coast-to-coast as the place where Canada's senior men's national team will announce its arrival as a powerhouse on the world basketball scene.
Before they can do that though, they need to make sure they get there. A top two finish at the FIBA Americas tournament that tipped off Monday in Mexico City is what they need to book their trip to Rio.
Given the depth of the team and the quality of players at coach Jay Triano's disposal, it would be a huge disappointment if Canada doesn't get it done.
The only notable absentee from the FIBA Americas roster is still out of contract forward Tristan Thompson. With a projected starting lineup of Andrew Wiggins, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas, and Anthony Bennett, it's easily the most talented group Canada has ever assembled in international competition, even without Thompson around. The bench features NBA talent in Andrew Nicholson, Robert Sacre, and Dwight Powell and Phil Scrubb, Brady Heslip, Aaron Doornekamp, and Melvin Ejim round out the roster.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game17 hrs ago
NEW YORK – As well as Milos Raonic serves, and for as many years as he has now been piling up a lot of victories on the strength of that serve, his matches often end up a game of cat and mouse.
His opponents will try different return positions to try to upset his rhythm, or get a better strike on the ball, anything to make a dent.
Tim Smyczek, a scrappy American with great wheels but a paucity of weapons, tried just about everything to handle the Canadian's serve, which regularly got into the 140-mile-an-hour range and up.
It didn't really work. While Raonic might admit to benefiting from some good fortune to escape the second-set tiebreak, in the end it was a routine, 6-4, 7-6 (8), 6-1 win that puts him into the second round of the US Open singles against old foe Fernando Verdasco, and likely answers some questions as to his general level of fitness after an injury-marred summer.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game19 hrs ago
NEW YORK – Some of the old Genie Bouchard fist-pumping fighting spirit was on display Monday on Court 17 at the US Open, some welcome positive body language in a season of slumps, and slumping shoulders.
At the end of it, nearly two hours in the heat and humidity, Bouchard had secured a 6-4, 6-3 victory over American Alison Riske and advances to the second round of singles, in a draw that already has some big holes in it for an opportunistic player to squeak through.
No doubt bandwidth will be spilled about the immediate “Jimmy Connors” effect on Bouchard’s play, even though Riske was one of the players Bouchard has actually beaten this season – and on Riske’s favourite surface, grass, in the bargain.
“It’s great to get one win. I’m just focused on one day at a time, one point, one match. You know, not looking ahead at all. Not getting ahead of myself,” Bouchard said.
At the same time, even though Bouchard said she has tried to erase the 6-1, 6-0 thumping at the hands of the crafty Roberta Vinci last week in New Haven from her memory, she said she has felt different this week.
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game1 day ago
Good luck trying to think of another month quite like the one you just witnessed, Blue Jays fans. You'll be thinking for a long time, because there isn't one: August 2015 has been the best month in the 39-year history of the franchise, and it isn't particularly close.
Toronto improved to 21-5 this month after this past weekend's commanding sweep of the Detroit Tigers, and can make it 22 wins in August with David Price taking the mound at home Monday night against Cleveland.
It's as dominant a month a big-league team could hope to have. Go ahead, try to pick your favourite stat: The Blue Jays had five series sweeps in August. Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 13, they reeled off their second 11-game win streak of the year. Their run differential during this span is +89. Their average margin of victory is 4.8 runs. Seriously, this isn't just your run of the mill hot stretch.Tue, 1 Sep7:07 PM EDTCleveland at TorontoPreview Game
As Jimmy Connors leaves New York, protégé Eugenie Bouchard readies to try to put his advice into practice at the US OpenStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
NEW YORK – In about five days, retired tennis great Jimmy Connors may have been in Genie Bouchard's face more than anyone has all season long – combined.
But the American legend left town Sunday and won't return to New York for a week. So when Bouchard follows countryman Milos Raonic onto Court 17 late Monday afternoon for her first-round singles match against American Alison Riske, she can only rely on his many words, which may still be ringing in her ears.
Here's what it looked like at a final practice Sunday, which took place on Arthur Ashe Stadium – the site of a couple of solid Bouchard victories a year ago, in night matches against Barbora Strycova and Sorana Cirstea.
Connors wouldn't do interviews during his stint with Bouchard this week.
Bouchard, talking to US Open rights holder TSN, said the (mostly) one-way conversations were partly his experiences as a player on the big stages, and partly reminding her that she has done this before.
His back woes finally under control, Milos Raonic prepares to finish the summer on the right note at the US OpenStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
NEW YORK – Milos Raonic has had his moments at the US Open which, along with the Australian Open, figures to be the Grand Slam that most suits his game and where he can make the most noise.
But after nearly five months of physical woes that began with a nerve issue in his foot that eventually required surgery, the 24-year-old Canadian is short of match play. First, he missed the French Open because of the surgery. Then, in trying to get back for the grass court season, he found himself suffering various other physical issues related to compensating for the more fragile foot.
The summer hard-court season in the US has been a tough one. First he didn't defend his title at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where he defeated countryman Vasek Pospisil in the final a year ago. Then came an early loss at his home-country Rogers Cup to fellow big server Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, in two tiebreaks. Then, a first-round loss to Spanish lefty Feliciano Lopez the following week in Cincinnati.
But for the last few days, after physio Claudio Zimaglia – who also is an osteopath – worked that area every which day, it has finally begun to loosen up.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
NEW YORK – When Maria Sharapova did her pre-tournament press conference Saturday afternoon, she was cagey on her health, and fairly vague about her prospects at this year's US Open.
"Just had a bit of a muscle strain," she said of the leg injury that led to her withdrawing both from the Rogers Cup in Toronto and from the Cincinnati tournament two weeks ago.
"I’m feeling better. I’m feeling better. It’s just a time thing, when you’re dealing with these nagging things, it’s it’s almost just a day-to-day process," she said. "I’ve done everything I could to be ready. There’s nothing more I could have done, so I hope (I'll be ready)."
She wasn't. After a late-afternoon practice session on Louis Armstrong Stadium Sunday, the tournament announced that Sharapova had withdrawn.
Sharapova was due to play countrywoman Daria Gavrilova, who now represents Australia. The 21-year-old pulled off the big upset in straight sets against Sharapova in the second round of the Miami event last March, although Sharapova got her revenge a month later on the red clay in Rome.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
NEW YORK – It hasn't even yet begun, but Genie Bouchard's US Open so far has been made up of a rogue's gallery of her 2015 memories.
It began at the draw, with her first opponent (American Alison Riske) and her potential second-round opponent (Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan) being among her few victims on the tennis court this season.
On Saturday, she took on Kristina Mladenovic in a practice match – Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman who so summarily dismissed her in the first round of the French Open and then again, 6-0 in the third set, in the first round of Birmingham on grass a few weeks later.
Truth be told, the outcome of this practice wasn't much different than those matches even if, since it doesn't count or anything, the scores will not be recorded for posterity.
But what was noted for posterity was the marathon pep talk mentor Jimmy Connors launched into at the end of the 90-minute workout.