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19.06.2019 04:29
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MELBOURNE, Australia - Friends off the court — Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki — face tough tests on Thursday when they play unseeded but potentially dangerous players in the second round at the Australian Open.No. 1-ranked Williams, attempting to win her sixth Australian Open title and 19th major, takes on former No. 2-ranked Vera Zvonareva in a day match on Rod Laver Arena day. Wozniacki plays two-time former Australian titleholder Victoria Azarenka in a night encounter on Margaret Court Arena.We have both pretty intense second-round matches, players who have been to the finals and one who has won Grand Slams, Williams says. Its going to be tricky for her and for me as well just to stay focused.Here are some things to watch on Thursday:___HOLDING THE EDGE: Despite winning seven of her nine matches against Zvonareva, Williams is aware of how good a player the 30-year-old Russian was in 2010 when she made it to the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals and rose to No. 2 in the rankings. That was before a right shoulder injury and subsequent surgery forced Zvonareva off the tour for more than a year. Zvonarevas official ranking now is 203. Its going to be tough, she does so many things well, Williams says. Shes on the way back. I know shes been fighting and playing really hard.___DJOKOVIC, NISHIKORI RETURN: Two players in the top half of the mens draw who could meet in the semifinals — top-seeded and four-time champion Novak Djokovic and U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori — are in action in the second round. Two men who could upset that scenario — Canadian Milos Raonic and defending champion Stan Wawrinka — are also playing Thursday. Djokovic plays Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia and Nishikori takes on Ivan Dodig of Croatia. Eighth-seeded Raonic, in Djokovics quarter of the draw, takes on American Donald Young, while Wawrinka, who could meet Nishikori in the quarterfinals, is up against Marius Copil of Romania.___ANOTHER TOUGH ONE: Wozniacki leads Azarenka 4-3 in their seven meetings. Wozniacki won four in a row before Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, beat Wozniacki in their last meeting at Cincinnati in 2013. Not the easiest on paper (but) honestly, whether you have to beat her in the second round or fourth round, whatever, doesnt matter if you want to win the tournament, says Wozniacki. Azarenka, whose ranking slipped late last year after foot and knee injuries restricted her to just nine tournaments, said shes just happy to be here: Thats my key word for this tournament: Compete.___JUNIOR MEMORIES: Raonics match against Young, the 25-year-old American, brings up a lot of recollections for his opponent from north of the border. A former No. 1-ranked junior and once featured in a weekly newsmagazine article entitled Whos Next? Young was touted to be the next big American player when he began playing professionally at age 15. Hes never quite achieved that potential. He was sort of the poster boy of the way everybody sort of wanted their junior career to go, says Raonic. I definitely followed because there were a lot of tags and labels on him, (I) was aware of sort of what happened, then what he went through. Theres always been a big spotlight on him. Raonic, 24, didnt have a stellar junior career — never getting past the second round of any junior Grand Slam tournament — but hes blossomed into a bona fide top-10 player and considered to have Grand Slam championship potential.__Follow Dennis Passa on Twitter: Thomas Welsh Jersey .Y. - DeMarre Carroll felt as though he couldnt miss in the second quarter as he outscored the Brooklyn Nets 14-13 all by himself. Allen Iverson Jersey . Right-hander Ricky Nolasco and the Twins agreed to terms on a free-agent contract Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. - For once, Clayton Kershaw was glad to see a long shutout streak end. Alex English Jersey . In sunny and almost windless conditions, the Swede shot four consecutive birdies on the front nine on his way to a 68 and went 9 under for a one-shot lead over Englands Lee Slattery and two over Paraguays Farbrizio Zanotti (68). Gary Harris Jersey . -- Fresh off their surprising run in the playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers have signed head coach Terry Stotts to a multi-year contract extension.SALVADOR, Brazil - Switzerland central defender Steve von Bergen is out of the World Cup after breaking a facial bone in his teams 5-2 loss to France. Von Bergen was kicked in the face by France striker Olivier Giroud as they challenged for the ball in the seventh minute of Fridays match in Salvador inn Group E.dddddddddddd The Swiss Football Federation says von Bergen was examined in a Salvador hospital after the match and was diagnosed with a broken left orbita floor. Von Bergen will be returning home as soon as possible with one of the teams doctors to be treated by specialists. 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