Wizards fire coach Saunders after dismal start
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Wizards fired coach Flip Saunders on Tuesday after opening the season with a National Basketball Association-worst 2-15 record. The Wizards, who started the season with eight consecutive losses, were trounced by the Philadelphia 76ers 103-83 on Monday for their seventh road loss in as many tries this year.
Former anti-doping chief accuses NFLPA of stalling
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has accused the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) of using stalling tactics to block the introduction of tests for human growth hormone (HGH). After years of pressure from anti-doping crusaders and the U.S. government, the NFL and NFLPA finally agreed to start blood testing for HGH when they signed a new collective bargaining agreement in August.
Blue Jays' Morrow signs $20 million deal
(Reuters) - Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow has signed a three-year, $20 million contract with a club option for the 2015 season of $10 million, the Major League Baseball team said Tuesday. Morrow, 27, made a career-high 30 starts in his second full season as a starting pitcher in 2011. He also set personal bests for wins (11), innings pitched (179 1/3) and strikeouts (203).
Deja vu for Super Bowl-bound New York Giants
(Reuters) - As the euphoric New York Giants return to practice this week after winning the National Football Conference (NFC) title, they have an eerie sense of déjà vu about their march to another Super Bowl showdown with the New England Patriots. Just as the Giants had to dig deep four years ago on their way to Super Bowl success over the Patriots after an improbable playoff run as a wild card, this season they had to rebound from a four-game losing streak before peaking in time to reach the National Football League finale.
Yankees longtime catcher Posada retires
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jorge Posada, the catcher who was one of the New York Yankees' "Core Four" as a member of five World Series-winning teams, formally retired Tuesday after 17 seasons with the club. A fiery competitor who played through a golden pinstripe period along with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, Posada was a powerful switch-hitter and favorite of Yankee Stadium crowds who greeted him with chants of "Hip, Hip, Jorge!" when he came to the plate.
Assured Nadal downs Berdych to set up Federer
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A fired-up Rafa Nadal survived a huge scare from big-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open on Tuesday to prevail 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-3 and set up a mouthwatering semi-final with great rival Roger Federer. A set down and facing set point in the second, Nadal dug himself out of a cavernous hole then roared to victory after a taxing four-hour tussle under the lights at a frenzied Rod Laver Arena.
Giants and Patriots deliver perfect Super Bowl match-up
MIAMI (Reuters) - An NFL season which almost did not happen is set for a thundering finale with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots heading to the Super Bowl for what should be a pulsating battle. The rivalry between New York and Boston is unrivaled in North American professional sports, whether it be the Yankees and the Red Sox in baseball or the two gridiron teams who will come face to face in Indianapolis on February 5.
Federer and Nadal seal semi-final showdown
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer sauntered through at the Australian Open Tuesday to set up a first grand slam semi-final against Rafa Nadal since 2005 after the Spaniard fought tooth and nail to keep his own hopes alive. So long ranked one and two in the world rankings, until Novak Djokovic broke their duopoly, their meetings have more often than not been reserved for finals, one of which came three years ago in Melbourne when Nadal reduced Federer to tears.
Sharks hooked by Dubnyk's 44 saves
(Reuters) - Devan Dubnyk made 44 saves, capped by the game-ending stop, as the last-placed Edmonton Oilers produced an unlikely 2-1 upset of the San Jose Sharks in a shootout on Monday. San Jose dictated the play with a 45-18 advantage in shots, but behind Dubnyk's heroics the home team forced a shootout where they converted two attempts to the Sharks' one.
Djokovic wary of Ferrer threat
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - David Ferrer has moved almost unnoticed into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open but world number one Novak Djokovic knows the serious threat the Spaniard will pose Wednesday. The fifth-seeded Ferrer has been shunted on to the outside courts in his four matches so far at Melbourne Park, attracting little attention despite coming into the tournament having already won the Auckland Open.