Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.
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It has been more than a year of inaction for Roger Federer now. He last played at the Australian Open 2020, where the Swiss maestro saw a straight-set loss against the Serbian Novak Djokovic. It was a tough series for him where he had to test his physical limits in 2 five-setters. The 20-time grand slam champion later in the same year underwent double knee surgeries. All of this kept him away from the tennis court even after various countries lifted lockdown and the sport made a much-awaited return. However, the latest news is a big positive for the Federer camp. Martina Navratilova reflected on the comeback of Roger Federer The Swiss great will make his return to the ATP Tour at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Also, the latest development suggests that he can then play an ATP 500 tournament in nearby Dubai. In a recent interview, a jovial Martina Navratilova learned the news and reacted with some humor. The 18-time women’s Grand Slam champion expressed, “I think he just wants to stay in Burj Al Arab again, but amazing! “It’s great to see Roger back, it’s about time for him sitting for over a year. So I’m glad he’s healthy and playing again.” That he is coming back with an ATP 250 will ensure that he does not have to put too much pressure on himself for advancing deeper in the event. Prior to this, there were headlines that alleged Roger was fit enough to return for Australian Open 2021 and that he decided against it because of family reasons. Can the Ninjafed make a successful return? Roger Federer gestures to the spectators before hitting signed tennis balls into the stands during the 2019 Hopman Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Well, it might be an ATP 250, but it has participation from some of the best ATP players. The 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, the ATP Cup 2021 hero Andrey Rublev, and of course King Roger himself will stay in the highlight of the event. Apart from these names, there are six players from the Top-20 that’ll make the competition juicier. From Roger’s Swiss companion Stan Wawrinka to Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, and others, it will not be an easy draw for the legendary 39-YO. However, the rusty Federer is also the mighty Federer, and he has always dominated all the aforementioned names with his stinging play. Also notably, his participation in the Dubai event will depend on how his body reacts to the Qatar event. The event will kick off on March 8th and the world will cheer for the arguable GOAT. READ MORE- Why is Roger Federer Considered the GOAT?
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Lionel Messi leads the Team of the Week in La Liga after his outstanding performance for Barcelona in the 5-1 win against Alaves.After being rested for the previous league match against Betis, Messi (10) was restored to the starting XI for league action versus Alaves, and he looked dangerous from pretty much the opening whistle.He would score two and set-up another in the game, with his first coming via a whipped strike in off the post from 25 yards.It would have taken a lot to better his opening goal, but he managed it, with an absolutely beautiful curled effort into the top left corner from around the same distance.Messi’s assist would be for Francisco Trincao, but he also played a huge part in the fifth and final goal, too, as it was his delightful scooped pass over the top of the Alaves defence which was met by Antoine Griezmann to assist Junior Firpo.Trincao (8.8) makes the Team of the Week too after his first ever double for the Blaugrana.Leading the line is Celta’s Santi Mina (8.7) who scored two to end his team’s run of six without a win with victory versus Elche.Making up the front four is Alex Berenguer (9.1), who also scored two goals, this time for Athletic Bilbao in an impressive 4-0 away win at Cadiz.Toni Kroos (9.5) kept things ticking over in midfield for Real Madrid as he usually, does, completing 101/107 passes and enjoying 115 touches of the ball. He did, however, also play a part in both goals in the 2-0 win against Valencia with a goal of his own plus an assist.Sergio Canales (8.3) joins him in midfield following a solid outing for Betis.Firpo (7.7) makes it in at left-back following his goal for Barcelona, while he also misplaced just four out of 57 attempted passes.Nobody had more touches of the ball or completed more passes this weekend than Clement Lenglet (7.5) with tallies of 121 and 106.Lucas Vazquez (8.2) is the only substitute in the Team of the Week, as he replaced Dani Carvajal in the first half for Real Madrid to go on and earn himself an assist for Kroos.Diego Carlos (7.6) makes up the back four.Osasuna earned a potentially vital 1-0 win away at Levante, and have goalkeeper Sergio Herrera (8.4) to thank after his four saves to earn his clean sheet.LA LIGA TEAM OF THE WEEK
Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has fired another shot at Madrid Open owner Ion Tiriac after Williams booked yet another Australian Open semi-final appearance.Williams was in imperious form in her quarter-final clash against Simona Halep, thoroughly dismantling the No.2 seed en-route to a 6-3 6-3 win at Rod Laver Arena.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!The 39-year-old has looked extremely sprightly after being forced to pull out of the French Open early last year through injury, chasing down balls defensively with the same ferocity she did earlier in her career. Williams’ vintage showing so far in the Australian Open has silenced many of her critics who believed her chances of winning another Grand Slam title were slim, with Tiriac one of the more vocal critics.Williams was in untouchable form against Simona Halep in her Australian Open quarter-final clash (Getty)Following Williams’ dominant display against Halep and advanced to her 40th Grand Slam semi-final, Ohanian made sure to stick the boot into Tiriac on social media.”Good thing no one listens to that racist sexist (clown) Tiriac,” he tweeted.The tweet wasn’t the first time Ohanian had taken aim at Tiriac and called him racist and sexist, after also doing so late last year when Tiriac called out Williams’ physique.”At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago,” Tiriac said on Romanian TV.”Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire.” Williams’ improved lateral movement has stood out so far in her Australian Open campaign, with her agility a far cry from the version of her fans saw in Melbourne Park last year when she was hampered by ankle and Achilles issues.Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted this week that her withdrawal from the French Open last year had allowed the 23-time Grand Slam winner to get out of a “vicious circle”.Williams’ lateral movement has been noticeably improved after she had been hampered by injuries (Getty)”We’ve been struggling those last years because she had a lot of injuries, so she was not able to practice the way we wanted,” he said.”It’s a bit of a vicious circle because when you can’t practice well, you don’t get fit. When you’re not fit, you get more injured. We had to get out of this vicious circle.”In Roland Garros she had an injury that could get really worse, and that would have been extremely bad. That was definitely the right decision to stop, to heal, and to start working hard because she was able after that to do the necessary work in order to get fit.”Now we’re more in a virtuous circle than a vicious one. You have to start that virtuous circle by being fit, then everything goes better.”For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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Odisha FC head coach Gerald Peyton has revealed that they are going with a gameplan when they face FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium, this Wednesday evening. The ‘Juggernauts’, placed at the bottom of the table, have won just one game in the season and collected 9 points from 17 matches so far.Odisha FC’s Interim Head Coach Gerry Peyton is now ready with a gameplan for the home team FC Goa for their next game in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Attending the Pre-Match Press Conference ahead of the upcoming match against the Gaurs, he said that it is difficult to play matches in quick succession; however, he will want certain players to be fresh and have legs to do well tomorrow.“They have done well because of which they are at the top of the table. I think all the top teams now, like Mumbai yesterday, are showing little bit of nerves. We will go there with a gameplan to do well and get a result,” the 64-year-old professional explained.“I think it’s (playing back-to-back games) very difficult because we only finished last night going through all the details. Now I am starting to prepare for the training today with all the information how we are going to play against Goa. That sort of things – quick succession of games, the physical demands on the players, who is fit and who is not fit, having players fit…. Like last game, I rested Diego (Mauricio) thinking he comes on second half and then I want him fresh for the game against Goa. I want Diego to score two or three goals against Goa. I know I am asking too much, I always ask too much. I want Brad (Inman) fresh and I want certain payers fresh so that we have legs to do well against Goa.”Elaborating more about Odisha FC’s plan, he mentioned, “When you look at the second half against NorthEast, we had a high percentage of passing, higher than them. We also had 81% accuracy of pass and against Goa, they are a good passing team. I know their tactics; I know how they will play against us. We will play in a certain way. After 15 minutes, we seem to settle down and then start to pass or we start to get our game together. This is going to be important that we start straight from the off.”With three games to go for the Kalinga Warriors in the seventh season of the League, Coach Peyton, who had joined before the start of the season as an Assistant Coach, said that he is now preparing the team for the next ISL season. “We are now preparing Odisha for next season. What I have said to the players is – This is your challenge. If you want to be successful next season then you have to prepare now for next season. Everything you do now is in preparation to get off to a winning start next season. If you don’t prepare now and let this season go, you are still in that state of mind when you start next season. These three games are very important,” the former Arsenal Coach asserted. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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February 16 2021
With a 100 big blind effective stack, you open-raise to 3bbs in the Cutoff seat and get called by the player in the Big Blind.
This scenario shows a common spot where you are in position against a tough opponent in the Big Blind on the flop after you were the preflop aggressor.
Against a less-skilled opponent automatically c-betting a standard size is often the best play. These types of opponents are less likely to put pressure on your c-bets by making moves on the flop.
Against tougher players you’ll need to focus on board texture to determine the best continuation bet sizing and identify flops where checking behind will be the best play. Generally you can use smaller c-bet sizes on dry, static flops that don’t have many equity changing turn cards. For example, larger c-bet sizing is not required on a flop of rainbow.
On more coordinated boards that still favor you as the raiser, such as with a flush draw, you can use a larger c-bet sizing. Tough opponents will have robust check-raising ranges as part of their overall Big Blind Defense strategy, so be aware of not over folding hands with too much equity when your c-bet gets check-raised.
You will often be put to tough decisions with marginal hands, with the correct decision often coming down to understanding the effects of blockers. If you hold cards that interfere with your opponent’s ability to have strong hands, you should be more likely to call down in the hand. If your cards interfere with their ability to have bluffs, you should be more likely to fold.
For more GTO hand analysis, you can play through five solved random hands from this situation.
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The full selection of scenarios for the WPT GTO Trainer are only available to members of LearnWPT, however we’re giving PokerNews Readers free access to the Trainer on a regular basis with the WPT GTO Hands of The Week.
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After a bumpy start to the 2020-21 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors are getting back in form. They made several changes to their roster in the offseason and it took some time for the players to settle in. But with the All-Star break almost here, the Dubs are looking consistent. The credit for their newfound success goes to none other than their veteran duo of Steph Curry and Draymond Green. Recently, the two stars flaunted their skills against the Cavaliers in a comfortable 129-98 victory. Curry continued his hot scoring streak with 36 points against the Cavs. On the other hand, Green handled the facilitating duties for the team as he finished the game with 16 assists. The two stars have shouldered the burden for the team in the absence of Klay Thompson. But can the Warriors go all the way and win another championship? We will find out in the coming months. Steph Curry and Draymond Green: The two pillars for the Golden State Warriors Golden State Warriors forward Kent Bazemore (26) and forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (95) and guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Draymond Green (23) during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsFollowing this sensational victory, Juan Toscano-Anderson gave an interesting post-game interview. He said: “I am a beneficiary of these guys, their hall of fame IQ. You know Draymond [Green] had 16 assists today and that’s amazing from our starting center. Last five games, he’s in double digits assists. … Either Steph [Curry] is open or Imma be open. “I’m aware that the defense ain’t gonna leave him so I just find those gaps and get those easy buckets. I know Draymond sees everything. Sometimes he sees it a little too quick before any of us see it, but it’s great to play with a guy like that.” Draymond Green has always been an amazing playmaker for the Dubs. Even during their stretch of dominance in the mid 2010s, he took on the role of a facilitator for their championship teams. This season, he is elevating his game further in that department. READ MORE | Steph Curry and LeBron James Ready to Move On From Intense Rivalry But is this enough for the Warriors to win another championship? Feel free to share your thoughts. Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops
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The European action returns this week, as the battle in the Europa League resumes. Ajax would have been hoping to still be in the Champions League, but a third-place finish in their group means that they will now be in the second-tier competition in the second half of the season.
Europa League Preview
Ajax narrowly missed out on qualification for the knockout round of the Champions League after finishing below Liverpool and Atalanta in their very competitive group. Their pedigree in European action ensures that they remain a side that could do well in the Europa League this season, but they will be coming up against a side that have proven throughout the season that they are growing. Ajax themselves have proven that their next wave of talented young players could be up for the challenge this season, as they are six points clear in the Eredivisie at present. They have won their last five games, which includes the 2-0 success that they recorded against Heracles at the weekend. Sebastien Haller scored the second in that win, but the former West Ham striker will not be eligible to play in the knockout round of the Europa League after an administrator error.
Lille remain in a strong position in Ligue 1 this season, as they are still top of the league despite being held in their most recent fixture. The league title remains a dream for Lille, as they are likely to be put under immense pressure by PSG in the second half of the season. However, the fact that they have lost just two games in 25 domestic league fixtures highlights that they are a side that Ajax should take very seriously in the first leg of the meeting in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Lille vs Ajax Head To Head
These two European sides haven’t come up against each other many times in recent history. In fact, they have only played each other twice, with those meetings coming in the Champions League group stages in the 2019-20 season. Ajax won both meetings, and scored a total of five goals in the two games.
Lille vs Ajax Prediction
While the last two meetings only came less than two years ago, Lille have grown immeasurably as a team during that period. The first leg will be crucial to determine which side progresses, but we expect the French side to take a slender lead back to the Netherlands with them.
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Johnathan Thurston says he’ll strongly consider joining Queensland’s State of Origin coaching staff if offered a role for the 2021 series.The Maroons legend, who made 37 Origin appearances is widely tipped to serve as an assistant under newly appointed Queensland coach Paul Green.”Once you’re in it it’s very consuming, I love the Maroon jersey everything about it, so yeah if I get asked yeah I’d certainly consider it,” Thurston said.JT toasts the aggression reignited into Origin: JT’s Roast and Toast”I’ve got to talk to the boss first because four young kids at home, eight, six, four and two this year they are. The eight-year-old is going on 18 so it’s tough times for the wife.”Thurston and Green combined as captain and coach to deliver the Cowboys’ first NRL premiership in 2015 and JT believes his former mentor will make a seamless transition into Origin.”There’s been a lot of talk about his intensity and things like that, but it’s State of Origin, it’s the best players you’re working with,” Thurston said.”It’s about making sure everyone understands their role in the team and that’s what he brought to the Cowboys. “He’s one of the best footy brains going round Greeny, so I’m predicting our boys will go back-to-back with him at the helm.” What Origin means to QueenslandersThurston’s home town of Townsville will host the first major match of the year when the NRL All Stars game kicks off on Saturday and he’s advocating for North Queensland to stage a State of Origin match as well. “Yeah 100 percent. Not only can we hopefully attract an Origin game but hopefully we can attract teams from other codes to come and play because it’s a world class stadium it’s a world class high performance centre … so that’s what we want.”For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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Bienve Maranon and Angelo Kouame near naturalization. FILE PHOTOS
MANILA, Philippines — Athletes Angelo Kouame and Bienvenido Marañon’s naturalization bids have hurdled the House of Representatives, bringing them another step closer to gaining Filipino citizenship.
During its Tuesday session, the lower chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 8632 and 8631 which grants Filipino citizenship to Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Ivorian basketball star Kouame and United City FC’s Spanish football striker Marañon, respectively.
Naturalization is a step required for the athletes to compete under the Philippine flag.
Once a naturalization bid hurdles the House, it will be passed to the Senate before its submission to the Office of the President.
Kouame was included in the 16-man lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain, but was not able to suit up due to his pending naturalization.
The center from Ateneo was named UAAP Rookie of the Year in 2018.
During the hearing of the House committee on justice back in December 2020, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio said that the Philippines eyes to progress in the international basketball ranking by excelling in different tournaments.
“Almost every team has a naturalized player especially in our region because the Europeans are very big,” Panlilio said.
“We are hoping with Ange here–He’s been here for four years. And I think it is an investment for the national team program of the SBP with Ange to be with us maybe for the next 10 to 15 years,” he added.
Meanwhile, Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez, who filed the bill for Maranon’s citizenship, said that Marañon “has shown exceptional skills complemented by commendable work ethics.”
“He is known as one of the most prolific scorers in Southeast Asia,” Lopez said.
“If granted the opportunity to play for the Philippines, Maranon will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the national football team, the Azkals, and bring pride and honor to our country,” he added.
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