Tag Archives: Defending

Ontario’s Homan, defending champ Einarson unbeaten at Tournament of Hearts

Ontario’s Rachel Homan and defending champion Kerri Einarson were unbeaten, while Quebec’s rookie team injected intrigue into their pool at the Canadian women’s curling championship Monday.

Homan drew even with Einarson at 4-0 atop Pool A with an 8-3 win over Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers.

Ontario and Canada were the only teams among 18 without a loss Monday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Homan is in the third trimester of her pregnancy. Before her first game Saturday, the 31-year-old from Ottawa hadn’t thrown a competitive rock since November.

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Curling clubs shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Homan had few chances to adapt her delivery to her changing body.

“Definitely taking that much time off when your body is changing is definitely a scary thing,” Homan said after her first game.

The three-time national champion remains determined to play every game of the tournament, however.

WATCH | That Curling Show: Quebec skip Laurie St-Georges is leaving her mark in 1st Scotties:

The 23-year-old, who has already delivered her fair share of upsets in this Scotties, tells That Curling Show she is “soaking it all in.” 41:23

“I’m here to play,” Homan said Monday. “I’m excited and feeling really grateful to be on the ice. As long as my body can hold up and handle what we’re doing out there, I’ll be there for all the games.

“I’m super-proud of my team. They’re playing phenomenal in front of me and making my job easy, and sweeping phenomenally. It’s just a lot of fun out there.”

Einarson was idle Monday evening after doubling Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories 8-4 in the morning.

It was a makeup game rescheduled from Saturday when Galusha’s vice Jo-Ann Rizzo was ill.

N.W.T. rebounded at night with a 6-5 win over the MacKenzie Zacharias’s Wild Card Two.

WATCH | Alberta’s Laura Walker suffers 2nd straight loss:

After starting the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with 3 straight victories, Alberta’s Laura Walker loses 6-4 to Wild Card Beth Peterson in Draw 9 action. Walker falls to 3-2 while Peterson improves to 2-3. 0:46

Alberta’s Laura Walker ranked third in Pool A at 3-2 following a 6-4 loss to Beth Peterson’s Wild Card Three.

Galusha and Northern Ontario’s Krysta Burns, who was an 8-7 winner over Yukon’s Laura Eby, were even at 2-2.

The loss to Ontario dropped Nova Scotia to 2-3 alongside Peterson. Zacharias was 1-3 ahead of winless Yukon.

Congested Pool B

Pool B was more congested with Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges, Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt and Wild Card One skipped by Chelsea Carey tied at 3-1 atop the standings.

St-Georges handed Carey her first loss of the tournament and pulled Wild Card One back into the pack with an 8-7 victory.

The 2021 Hearts is running in a spectator-free, controlled environment to prevent the spread of the virus.

St-George and her front end of Emily Riley and sister Cynthia St-George are just two years removed from the junior ranks.

They along with vice Hailey Armstrong are taking an unusual Hearts debut in stride.

“We made our goal, honestly, to have fun and make good shots,” Armstrong said. “We want to work well together at our first Scotties and enjoy the experience.”

The top four teams in each pool of nine advance to the championship round starting Friday and carry their records with them.

WATCH | That Curling Show celebrates the legacy of Sandra Schmirler:

Jennifer Jones, Sara England and Joan McCusker join hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones during the annual Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon. 46:17

The top three from the championship round will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed earning a bye to the final.

After losing to six-time champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba in their first ever game at the Hearts, Quebec strung together three straight wins.

“We’re just having fun and we’re living in the moment,” Armstrong said. “We’re just breathing between every shot and just working as a team.”

Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson also contributed to Pool B’s drama by edging Jones 5-4 on Monday.

WATCH | Guy Hemmings joins That Curling Show to talk about Laurie St-Georges:

The Quebec curling great joins That Curling Show to talk about young skip Laurie St-Georges and her “joie de vivre.” 2:52

Manitoba was 2-2, while Saskatchewan pulled even with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill at 2-1.

“To come out after three games two and one, I’m OK with that,” said Anderson.

Birt recovered from giving up a steal of two in the 10th to St-Georges the previous evening to down Newfoundland’s Hill 12-8.

“We regrouped after last night,” Birt said. “It’s a heartbreaking moment when you lose a game that way, but you also learn so many things from it.”

B.C.’s Corryn Brown collected her first win of the tournament beating Nunavut’s Lori Eddy 11-2 to get to 1-2. New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams and Nunavut were winless in Pool B.

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Shedding game rust key for Canadian team in defending world junior gold

A Canadian team lacking game legs opens defence of its world junior men’s hockey title Saturday in Edmonton.

The host team kicks off its preliminary round against Germany at Rogers Place.

Canada has played one game against an opponent — Wednesday’s 1-0 pre-tournament win over Russia — since selection camp started Nov. 16.

Canadian captain Kirby Dach injured his right wrist in the third period of that game and won’t be able to play in the tournament.

Canada coach Andre Tourigny said Friday he will not name another captain for the tournament.

“It’s really heartbreaking what happened, but we prepared since Day 1 to go through adversity,” he said.

Germany will be minus nine players Saturday. Those players are in quarantine because of positive COVID-19 tests on the team.

Three Germans can return to the tournament Sunday and another five Tuesday barring more positive tests.

The 46 players invited to Canada’s selection camp went into quarantine mid-camp after two players tested positive for the virus, so four exhibition games against university teams were cancelled.

An extended quarantine for Sweden upon arrival in Canada wiped out a pre-tournament game between the two countries.

20 of 25 Canadians haven’t played a game in months

Of the 25 players on Canada’s roster, 20 haven’t played any games in months because the pandemic postponed the start of their leagues this season.

“It’s definitely challenging and something we’ve talked about, not being able to play that many games aside from the (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) guys,” said forward Alex Newhook of St. John’s N.L., who hasn’t seen game action with Boston College this season.

“In saying that, we’ve really built up our intensity and pace of play in practice. Regardless of how many games we’ve played, I think our practices will set us up well for the highest level of competition we’ve played in a long time.”

“Resilience” has been a word frequently uttered by head coach Andre Tourigny and his coaching staff in a challenging lead-up to the tournament.

“In team-building exercises, the players had to talk about that value of resilience,” Tourigny said.

“That’s one of the reasons our country is so special in hockey. We’re resilient. We never quit. We stay with it. We never stop. You need that to perform in a championship.”

The Canadians won’t have a sellout crowd at Rogers Place providing adrenalin. All games are without fans to avoid the spread of the virus.

“It’s definitely unfortunate (to) not have fans and having that home crowd,” Newhook said.

“Everyone wants to have that energy. The world juniors are such a large stage and we know the country’s behind us, regardless of having fans or not.

“I think we’re going to have to supply our own energy and we have a lot of guys in that room that can do that really well.”

Canada opens up against Germany on Boxing Day

Canada is arguably in the easier pool alongside Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany. Russia, the United States, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Austria comprise Pool B.

The Canadians start with back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday against the Germans and Slovakia, respectively.

Canada versus Switzerland on Tuesday and a New Year’s Eve matchup with the Finns complete the preliminary round for the host country.

“I can talk to you about our guys for hours about how they work in practice, when we teach them or ask them different things, and how they are off the ice,” Tourigny said.

“But in terms of knowing how they will react in game, when they heat will be on, when mistakes will happen, where there are breakdowns or stuff like that, I cannot tell you right now we know them a lot.”

The top four teams in each group advance to the Jan. 2 quarterfinals, followed by semifinals Jan. 4 and the medal games Jan. 5

Canada boasts considerable talent up front with all 14 forwards drafted in the first round by NHL teams.

Six players are veterans of the 2020 championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where Canada scored three goals in the third period to down Russia 4-3 for gold.

Tournament MVP Alexis Lafreniere wasn’t released by the New York Rangers to play for Canada again.

Devon Levi will be Canada’s starting goalie

A lack of warmup games made choosing a starting goaltender difficult, particularly because Devon Levi, Taylor Gauthier and Dylan Garand haven’t previously played in the tournament.

Levi, of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., posted a 23-save shutout against Russia. Tourigny indicated prior to the exhibition game the job is Levi’s to lose.

“We knew going into camp our goalies would not have a lot of games to prove themselves,” the head coach said.

“According to what we saw in practice and during the intrasquad games, that led to our decision to go with Devon.”

As the home team, Canada gets the palatial dressing room of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

Forward Dylan Holloway, Edmonton’s first pick (10th overall) in October’s draft, is enjoying a preview of what his NHL future could be.

“It’s massive,” gushed the winger from Bragg Creek, Alta. “There’s a ton of square feet. It’s definitely the biggest dressing room I’ve ever been in.

“They’ve got a ping-pong table. The lounge kind of looks like a hotel lobby. The hot tub and cold tub are really nice.

“There’s so many amenities and so many cool things. It’s crazy to be in there and it’s super-cool.”

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LeBron James Calls Out Laura Ingraham for Defending Drew Brees After Telling James to ‘Shut Up and Dribble’

LeBron James Calls Out Laura Ingraham for Defending Drew Brees After Telling James to ‘Shut Up and Dribble’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Alex Pietrangelo lifts defending champs past Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs gave the defending Stanley Cup champions all they could handle for long stretches Monday.

And the St. Louis Blues responded with what won them their rings last June — in the end, they found a way.

Alex Pietrangelo scored the winner in the third period and Jordan Binnington was stellar in making 32 saves as St. Louis downed Toronto 3-2.

The Leafs held a 77-51 edge in shot attempts and jumped into a 2-1 lead when Frederik Gauthier and William Nylander scored 24 seconds apart in the second period. But the Blues stayed with their tried and true formula of patience and persistence.

St. Louis got an equalizer 47.3 seconds before the intermission and then ground out the victory over the game’s final 12 minutes after Pietrangelo put the visitors ahead.

WATCH | Pietrangelo, Blues down Leafs:

St. Louis topped Toronto 3-2 to pick up its seventh-straight win over the Maple Leafs. 1:18

“Good teams find a way to win,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. “They found a way to get one and we didn’t.”

Oskar Sundqvist and Brayden Schenn had the other goals for St. Louis (2-0-1).

Toronto (2-1-1) got 27 saves from Frederik Andersen, who returned to the crease after watching his team blow a 4-1 third-period lead in Saturday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the second game of a back-to-back.

“We played pretty good,” Andersen said. “Unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

Pietrangelo records 400th point of his career

The visitors snapped that 2-2 deadlock at 7:51 of the third when David Perron found a pinching Pietrangelo, and he beat a down-and-out Andersen from a tight angle.

The goal was the second of the season for the Blues captain, the 400th point of his career and his 23rd game-winner to break a tie with Al MacInnis for the most by a defenceman in franchise history.

“We’re playing with a lot more movement,” Pietrangelo said. “We did that in the second half of [last season]. We’re moving a lot more on the blue line, we’ve got defencemen that can make plays.

“The more movement we have, the better we are.”

St. Louis had a chance to put the game away when Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin was penalized for slashing with 4:57 left in regulation, but the Leafs had the best opportunity when Binnington robbed Ilya Mikheyev with his right pad off the rush.

Toronto pressed with Andersen on the bench for the extra attacker, but couldn’t find a way past Binnington and the Blues’ stout, playoff-tested defence.

“The boys have been battling,” said Binnington, a native of nearby Richmond Hill, Ont., who had dozens of family and friends in the stands for his first start at Scotiabank Arena. “That was another good comeback victory.”

‘A save I’ve got to have’

The Blues opened the scoring at 8:30 of the second when Sundqvist — the Blues’ fourth-line centre — moved in on Andersen and blasted a slapshot that Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie tried to block with his stick.

“I wanted to make that save,” Andersen said. “But if you’ve ever stopped a hockey puck you’d know it’s tough when there’s stuff going on in front of the puck.

“But obviously a save I’ve got to have.”

The Leafs responded with a spirited fourth-line shift of their own to tie the score when Jason Spezza batted a puck out of the air to Gauthier, who banged home his second of the season at 11:34.

A healthy scratch for two of Toronto’s first three games, Spezza suited up at home for the first time in blue and white, and registered his first point with the Leafs after signing for the league minimum in free agency on July 1.

“It’s a huge honour to play here,” said the 36-year-old. “It was nice to play in front of the home crowd … something I was looking forward to all summer.”

Fans were on their feet again 24 seconds later when Nylander finished off a beautiful passing play with Cody Ceci and Andreas Johnsson for his second to put the Leafs up 2-1.

WATCH | Ranking the 7 Canadian teams:

Rob Pizzo looks at which teams have the best chance to win Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993. 3:43

Following a long contract impasse that dragged into December, it took Nylander until his 24th game to score his second goal of the 2018-19 campaign.

But the Blues, who went from last in the overall standings in January to winning the franchise’s first title, pushed back late in the period and got the equalizer when Schenn beat Andersen between the pads after Morgan Rielly turned the puck over.

‘They just have so much skill’

“They’re the champs, they’re a very patient team,” said Spezza, whose team hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. “We hung with them all night and a bounce here or there could have been a different story.”

The 26-year-old Binnington, who beat the Leafs 3-2 in overtime at Enterprise Center on Feb. 19 after taking over the No. 1 job the previous month, was helped out by two posts in a busy first.

Toronto centre Alexander Kerfoot found iron just two minutes in and Auston Matthews, who entered with five goals in three games to open the campaign, then chimed another shot off the post behind Binnington on a Toronto power play before Nylander couldn’t quite control a loose puck.

“They just have so much skill,” Binnington said. “They move the puck and they want to go forward. It’s probably fun to play in that system, but we handled it.

“Both teams played well. I’m happy we came out on top.”

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Defending champion, No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka ousted before quarters at U.S. Open

Naomi Osaka’s 10-match U.S. Open winning streak and title defence are done after she was outplayed in the fourth round by Belinda Bencic and lost 7-5, 6-4 Monday.

Osaka has been wearing a black sleeve on her bothersome left knee and was visited by a trainer after getting broken to trail 3-2 in the second set.

“I was so excited to come on the court. The challenge cannot be bigger [than] against Naomi,” said the 13th-seeded Bencic, who will face No. 23 Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals. “I’m really pleased with how I played and how I managed my nerves in the end.”

The result under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium on a rainy afternoon means both defending champions and No. 1 seeds are gone before the quarterfinals at the year’s last Grand Slam tournament.

WATCH | Bencic stuns Osaka in 4th round at Flushing Meadows:

Belinda Bencic defeats defending U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-4 in their round of 16 match at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. 1:45

Last year’s men’s champ, Novak Djokovic, stopped playing in his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka on Sunday night because of a painful left shoulder.

Osaka made her breakthrough at Flushing Meadows in 2018, winning her first major championship by beating Serena Williams in a chaotic final that devolved after Williams got into an extended argument with the chair umpire.

Osaka followed that up with a second consecutive Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open in January. That allowed her to become the first tennis player representing Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.

Big-match player

Bencic, who is from Switzerland, showed again that she is a big-match player. She improved to 3-0 against Osaka this season and now has a tour-leading nine victories over top-10 opponents in 2019. Bencic also is 4-1 over her career against top-ranked players.

Bencic is 22, just a year older than Osaka, but her progress was slowed in recent years by injuries, including wrist surgery.

Back in 2014, when she was 17, Bencic became the youngest woman into the U.S. Open quarterfifnals since 1997, when Martina Hingis took the title.

It was Hingis’ mother, and then Hingis herself, who coached and mentored Bencic along the way, and she credited them after getting past Osaka.

“I know so much from them, what they’ve taught me,” Bencic said.

Nadal dispatches Cilic

Rafael Nadal easily passed his first test of this year’s U.S. Open and reached the quarter-finals at a ninth consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

With Tiger Woods throwing uppercuts in the stands, Nadal shook off dropping a set and powered past 2014 champion Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round.

Nadal dropped a set for the first time in this year’s tournament but quickly responded by breaking to lead 3-1 in the third set and was on his way.

Nadal is seeking his fourth title at Flushing Meadows and his 19th Grand Slam trophy overall. Roger Federer holds the men’s record of 20; they only could meet in the final this year. The rivals never have played each other in New York.

The No. 2-seeded Nadal, who retired from his 2018 semifinal at the U.S. Open with a knee injury, will try to get back to the final four by beating No. 20 Diego Schwartzman.

Vekic achieves career best

Vekic, a 23-year-old from Croatia, reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final by saving a match point and edging No. 26 Julia Goerges of Germany 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3.

“I don’t even know how I won this match,” Vekic said.

Well, here’s how: Goerges served for the victory at 5-4 in the second set, coming within one point of ending things right there. Not only couldn’t Goerges convert, but she also double-faulted three times in that game and unraveled from there, wasting a 21-ace effort.

Osaka is more powerful than Bencic and repeatedly used her serve to keep things close, finishing with nine aces.

But it was Bencic’s precision that won the day. She made only 12 unforced errors in the entire match, while producing 29 winners.

Her style is similar to the younger Hingis, who won five Grand Slam singles titles.

“I’m just trying to play it a little bit like chess and anticipate,” Bencic said.

Playing so crisply, so cleanly, she took balls on the rise and snapped them back, rushing Osaka and not giving her time to respond in kind.

Bencic broke for a 6-5 lead with a forehand volley winner followed by a backhand passing winner, then served out that set. In the second, Bencic conjured up another terrific backhand passing shot off a sharp volley by Osaka to set up love-40, and a double-fault then made it 3-2.

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Defending champ Brooke Henderson 1 shot back at CP Women’s Open

Canada’s Brooke Henderson is quite comfortable in the role of defending champion.

She showed why during a strong opening round Thursday morning at Magna Golf Club.

Henderson fired a 6-under-par 66 for a two-shot clubhouse lead before American Annie Park set a competitive course record at 7-under 65 in the afternoon group to take sole possession of first.

With impressive length off the tee and a putting stroke that was reliable, the 21-year-old Henderson from Smiths Falls, Ont., displayed the same form that carried her to victory a year ago in Regina.

“It’s nice to be in a position where I had a good round, everything seemed to go right for me,” Henderson said. “Hopefully I can continue to stick to my game plan, make a lot of birdies, and I would love to be in this position on Sunday.”

WATCH | Brooke Henderson has solid 1st round:

Watch Brooke Henderson’s best shots, as she fired a 6-under 66 to take the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the CP Canadian Women’s Open. 1:22

Park didn’t know that she was making history at the exclusive Magna Golf Club, instead hoping for a career-low 64. She didn’t feel bad about stealing Henderson’s thunder, either.

“Brooke is a phenomenal player and not only that, she’s a great person. She’s such a sweetheart. I can see why the fans love her,” said Park. “I was focused on my own game out there and tried to play my best.”

Park wasn’t the only one to gain ground on Henderson in the afternoon. Quebec City’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay, Jin Young Ko, Nicole Broch Larsen and Pajaree Anannarukarn also shot 6-under 66 to enter into a five-way tie for second.

Cool, breezy conditions greeted players with morning tee times like Henderson, who has successfully defended titles on two occasions over her LPGA Tour career.

The 6,709-yard course has wide fairways and sets up nicely for big hitters. Henderson, who’s ninth on the Tour in average driving distance, gave herself opportunities and took advantage.

Simplicity kept Henderson on the fairway for most of the day. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press )

“For me when I’m playing well, (it’s) my ball striking, hitting a lot fairways, greens, and then just hoping I’m making some putts too,” she said.

Henderson said she felt calm on the first tee as dozens of supportive fans lined the block area. She crushed her opening drive and was on her way to a solid front nine that included four birdies.

Her lone hiccup came on the 399-yard, par-4 fourth hole after her drive found a bunker. Henderson, who settled for bogey, missed only one other fairway on the day and hit 16 of 18 greens.

“I just tried to keep things really simple,” she said. “When I showed up this morning it was really cold and windy and I was like, ‘Uh oh.’ But in the back of my head it was also sort of like Sunday last year, so I figured it might not be a bad thing.”

WATCH | Brooke Henderson breaks down her game:

Professional golfer and defending CP Women’s Open Champion Brooke Henderson walks us through the thought process and strategies of a par 4 golf hole. 2:34

Henderson closed with a 65 at Wascana Country Club in 2018 to become the first Canadian winner of this event in 45 years.

She was rewarded for her aggressive play at that tournament, but had to be more careful here with swirling winds making club selection more challenging.

After setting up on the par-3, 167-yard 17th, Henderson returned to her bag and had another chat with her sister and caddie Brittany. With a tough pin position behind a greenside pond, Henderson decided to play it safe by landing on the right side of the green and then two-putting for par.

Henderson pulled her drive on the 18th hole but rebounded with one of her best shots of the round. With a favourable lie in the rough, she elevated the ball nicely, cleared a bunker in front of the green and stuck the ball within four feet.

She hit the birdie putt to the delight of the partisan gallery.

“All the birdies pretty much fell for me today, which is a great feeling,” Henderson said. “It’s going to be hard to back up. Hopefully I’ll go out and keep hitting it well.”

Henderson has won nine career LPGA Tour events, a record for Canadians on the PGA or LPGA Tours. She’s sixth on the LPGA money list this year.

Fifteen Canadians and 96 of the top 100 money winners on the LPGA Tour this year are in the field at the US$ 2.25-million tournament. The winner will earn $ 337,500.

The 156-player list will be trimmed to low 70s and ties after Friday’s second round. Favourable weather conditions were expected through the weekend.

Unlike last year, domestic television coverage is available for all four rounds with TSN and RDS picking up a simulcast of the Golf Channel feed.

However, only three hours of coverage are provided each day. The early afternoon cutoff on Thursday came just before Henderson finished her round.

The 2018 tournament was the first year in recent memory that a Canadian sports network did not broadcast the event or pick up the simulcast.

When Henderson led after 54 holes last year, Bell Media and Golf Channel reached an agreement to allow Canadian viewers to watch the last three hours of the final round.

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Canada’s Maggie MacNeil wins world 100m butterfly title after upsetting 3-time defending champion

Maggie MacNeil of London, Ont., knocked off three-time world champion and defending Olympic gold medallist Sarah Sjostrom to win the women’s 100-metre butterfly, posting a Canadian-record time of 55.83 seconds at the world aquatics championships on Monday.

Sjostrom was nearly one second ahead of MacNeil early on but the Canadian took charge and caught the reigning Olympic champion, handing the Swede her first loss in the event since 2013 and capturing Canada’s first gold medal at these worlds.

The 19-year-old MacNeil, making her worlds debut on the senior national team, turned in the eighth-fastest performance of all-time and is the second-fastest woman in history. She is also just the second female Canadian swimmer to ever win a world title, joining Kylie Masse, who won the 100 backstroke two years ago at worlds.

Sjostrom, who is tops in the world across the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, crossed the line in 56.22. She has slipped a little in butterfly of late and that allowed MacNeil to take her throne.

Emma McKeon of Australia, who finished second to Sjostrom in the100 butterfly in the 2017 world final, was third on Monday in 56.61.

MacNeil, who recently completed her freshman year at the University of Michigan, was part of the Canadian women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team that won a bronze medal on Sunday at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.

WATCH | Maggie MacNeil helps Canada to relay bronze on Sunday:

Kayla Sanchez, Maggie MacNeil, Penny Oleksiak and Taylor Ruck posted a time of three minutes 31.78 seconds to lead Canada’s 4×100 relay team its first medal at the event since 1978. 6:18
She qualified second for Monday’s 100 butterfly final in a personal-best time of 56.52, only 6-100ths of a second off Penny Oleksiak’s Canadian mark from her silver-medal winning performance at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Sjostrom qualified first in 56.29.

MacNeil’s victory on Monday upped Canada’s medal total to five in Gwangju, with two silver and two bronze at the two-week event that features swimming, artistic swimming, diving and water polo.

Pickrem collects bronze in 200m medley

Canada’s Syndey Pickrem challenged for the lead over the last 50 metres of the women’s 200 individual medley final on Monday but came up short, placing third in two minutes 8.70 seconds.

Katinka Hosszu, the unbeatable Hungarian, prevailed in a 2019 world-leading time of 2:07.53 for her fourth consecutive gold medal in the 200 IM at worlds. The 2016 Olympic gold medallist is also the three-time defending world champion in the 400 IM. Ye Shiwen of China rounded out the podium on Monday in 2:08.60.

Japan’s Yui Ohashi, who was considered a medal contender on Monday, was disqualified from the race.

The 22-year-old Pickrem, a dual Canadian/American citizen, shone at the recent FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis, finishing second in the 200 medley. Her 2:08.61 put her just behind Hosszu (2:08.50) and ahead of Melanie Margalis (2:10.41) of the United States.

Masse top qualifier for 100 backstroke final

Kylie Masse, the reigning world champion in the 100 backstroke, qualified first for Tuesday’s final in 58.50 seconds. The native of LaSalle, Ont., won world gold in 2017 with a then-world record time of 58.10, breaking a mark that had stood for eight years.

But Masse’s time had a much shorter shelf life as American Kathleen Baker swam 58-flat at the U.S. swimming championships last July.

Taylor Ruck, Masse’s teammate, was third in qualifying Monday in 58.83 while Baker was fourth in 59.03.

Peaty captures men’s breaststroke title

Adam Peaty on Monday became the first man to win a third 100-metre breaststroke title at worlds.

The British swimmer claimed the title in 57.14 seconds, a night after he became the first man to break 57 seconds in the semifinals. Peaty was under his own world-record pace at the turn before coming home a full body-length in front and 1.32 seconds ahead of teammate James Wilby.

In the semifinals, the 2016 Olympic champion was timed in 56.88. Wilby touched in 58.46 and Yan Zibei of China was third in 58.63.

Horton given warning for podium protest

China’s Sun Yang was back in the pool for the 200 freestyle semifinals a night after winning the 400 free. He qualified second-fastest behind Clyde Lewis of Australia. The final is Tuesday night.

Earlier Monday, FINA’s executive board met in Gwangju to discuss Mack Horton’s podium protest against Sun and decided to send a warning letter to Swimming Australia and to Horton.

Australian Mack Horton refused to stand next to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang on the men’s 400-metre freestyle podium. Sun is currently facing allegations of doping rule violations that could result in a ban from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 0:59

“While FINA respects the principle of freedom of speech, it has to be conducted in the right context,” the board said in a statement.

Horton refused to take his spot on the medals stand or shake Sun’s hand after finishing second to the Chinese star in the 400 free. The Aussie swimmer is angry that Sun, who served a three-month doping suspension in 2014, is being allowed to compete in Gwangju before he faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in September that could potentially end his career.

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Defending champ Koepka in command, but Masters champ Woods misses cut at PGA

Brooks Koepka has a big lead at the PGA Championship and another entry in the major championship record book.

Koepka birdied three of his last four holes for a 5-under 65 to shatter the 36-hole record in all four majors. He was at 12-under 128, breaking the mark of 130 set at the Masters by Jordan Spieth, the U.S. Open by Martin Kaymer, the British Open by Nick Faldo and Brandt Snedeker, and the PGA Championship by Gary Woodland.

Still to be determined was the size of his lead, which most likely would be another PGA Championship record.

Tiger Woods witnessed it all, but that’s all Woods will see at Bethpage Black. He shot a 73 and will miss the cut. It’s the first time Woods has missed the cut at a major in the same year he won a major since 2006.

Masters champion Tiger Woods missed the cut after shooting a 73 on Friday. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

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French Montana Speaks Out After Seemingly Defending R. Kelly

French Montana is clarifying his thoughts on R. Kelly.

TMZ caught up with the “Unforgettable” rapper after he performed during halftime at the LA Rams’ game on Saturday night where he seemingly defended Kelly following the release of Lifetime’s troubling six-part docuseries ,Surviving R. Kelly, in which multiple women claimed sexual abuse at the hands of the R&B singer.

Throughout this ordeal, Kelly has staunchly maintained his innocence.

“All the greats went down like that,” Montana said, referencing Michael Jackson. “Let somebody enjoy their legacy. Whatever happened, happened, man.”

Later, when asked if people should stop listening to Kelly’s music in light of the allegations he’s facing, Montana responded: “They [people] don’t let nobody have their legendary moments.” 

But on Sunday, perhaps feeling he heat from his comments, the 34-year-old performer decided to throw his support behind Kelly’s alleged victims with a new tweet.

“Let me be clear. My heart is with the victims,” he wrote. “I never thought  the people I looked up to as a kid, who sang and danced and gave me hope to become a superstar would become drug addicts, child molestors and rapists. I am hoping we as a culture create better leaders. We need them.”

Since the release of the docuseries, Hollywood has come out in droves to decry Kelly for his alleged behavior. Lady Gaga is removing her 2013 song with Kelly, “Do What U Want (With My Body),” from iTunes. In a scathing tweet, John Legend explained his willingness to participate in the series in which he acknowledged Kelly’s success while also denounced him in light of the allegations he’s facing.

“To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all,” Legend wrote. “I believe these women and don’t give a f**k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”

Meanwhile, Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, continues to defend the crooner.

“He’s disappointed that these women are doing this, that these families are doing it, that they’re ruining a talented musician’s career,” he said on CBS This Morning on Friday. Later, he added that “there’s absolutely no evidence [that] what they’re saying is true.”

Get more news on Kelly down below.


'Surviving R. Kelly': Red Flags, Shocking Allegations and #MuteRKelly Movement

Christina Aguilera Praises Lady Gaga for Speaking Out Against R. Kelly

Cara Delevingne Says She's Lost 50,000 Followers Since Slamming R. Kelly

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U.S. Open: Defending champ Stephens eliminated in quarter-finals

First, there were four break points squandered, along with an early chance for the lead.

Next, three more wasted.

Pretty soon, Sloane Stephens' run at a U.S. Open repeat was lost too.

The defending champion was eliminated Tuesday, beaten by Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

"I didn't play the big points well, and you don't win matches when you don't take your opportunities," Stephens said.

Stephens beat Sevastova in the same round last year en route to her first Grand Slam title, but she missed numerous chances to grab an early lead in the rematch and could never get back into the match.

Sevastova, the No. 19 seed from Latvia, will play either Serena Williams or 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova in her first Grand Slam semifinal.

That's further than it ever appeared Sevastova would get in tennis when she retired in May 2013, her body battered by muscular and back-related injuries. She returned nearly two years later and finally broke through on her third straight appearance in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

"It was an amazing journey, this three, four years," she said.

Three-quarters of Arthur Ashe Stadium was in the sun on another day of more than 90-degree temperatures in New York, and Stephens seemed to lack some of her usual sideline-to-sideline court coverage in the heat.

Isner ousted

John Isner doubled over and rested his elbows on his knees. He grimaced. He shook his head.

He looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but where he was: Falling further and further behind against Juan Martin del Potro in muggy, energy-robbing heat at the U.S. Open.

Isner's bid to become the first American man in a dozen years to get to the final four at Flushing Meadows ended Tuesday with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to No. 3 seed del Potro, the Argentine who won the 2009 championship.

The temperature, more than 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius), made things uncomfortable across the 3 1/2-hour match. So did the humidity, at about 50 per cent. Those kinds of conditions were a problem for Roger Federer when he was upset by 55th-ranked John Millman a night earlier, and Isner had all kinds of trouble, too — certainly more than del Potro did.

Things got so bad around the site that the tournament suspended junior matches for a few hours in the afternoon. The U.S. Tennis Association invoked its new extreme heat policy, which allows men to take a 10-minute break after the third set, but that clearly didn't help Isner, who quickly trailed 3-0 in the fourth.

This has been something of a breakthrough season at age 33 for Isner, including two hard-court titles and a run to his first Grand Slam semifinal, which happened at Wimbledon in July. He followed that up by getting to the quarterfinals in New York for the first time since 2011; no one from the U.S. has made it past this stage at this tournament since Andy Roddick in 2006, three years after he became the country's most recent male champion at any major.

But del Potro presented all sorts of problems.

His serve is almost as imposing as Isner's, while other elements of del Potro's game — returns and, most notably, his thunderous forehand, which often clocks in at more than 161 kph — are superior.

He now will face either defending champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal or No. 9 Dominic Thiem in the semifinals on Friday. Nadal-Thiem was scheduled for later Tuesday night.

If Nadal wins that, he and del Potro would have a third consecutive Grand Slam meeting: del Potro lost to the 17-time major champ in the French Open semifinals and the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Battling cold

Stephens said she had been battling a cold, but her biggest problem Tuesday might have been her serve. The No. 3 seed was broken five times in the 84-minute match.

"Mentally, physically, I just wasn't connecting," Stephens said. "It just was a really tough day. The heat doesn't make it any more fun."

Stephens, one of the best defenders in the game, squandered all seven break-point chances in the first set, missing out a chance for early momentum during a lengthy third game of the match. She couldn't convert four chances to break in that game that lasted 18 points, and Sevastova then quickly broke her for a 3-1 lead.

Stephens then couldn't convert three more chances in the next game, and never got another in the first set.

Her frustration became apparent, whether she was gesturing to her coach, staring in annoyance at deep balls that bounced off the baseline, or just screaming out in general.

"I'm trying!" she responded to a plea from the crowd to pick it up in the second set.

She did eventually get close, breaking Sevastova at love to cut it to 4-3 in the second set. But Sevastova broke right back during another lengthy game, this one lasting 14 points, and soon it was over — but not before Stephens made a pretty good run at becoming the first repeat champion since Williams won three in a row from 2012-14.

"So the fact that I made it to the quarterfinals and played some really good matches and I just competed as hard as I could, I mean, a lot to be proud of," Stephens said. "And obviously defending a title is very hard, very difficult."

Williams could still give the U.S. at least one women's semifinalist after Stephens won an all-American final four last year. Pliskova is the last player to beat her in Flushing Meadows, a victory in the 2016 semifinals before Williams missed the tournament last year, when she gave birth to her daughter.

Canadian advancing in junior

Canada's Leylah Fernandez is heading to the third round of the girls' draw at the U.S. Open.

The 15-year-old from Montreal downed Mylene Halemai of France 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Fernandez won 71 per cent of her points on first serve and broke her opponent six times.

The Canadian reached the semifinals of the French Open girls' draw earlier this year.

Fernandez will face unseeded Taisya Pachkaleva of Russia in the third round at Flushing Meadows.

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