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Sloane Stephens, Simona Halep Advance to French Open Final



Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep will square off against one another in the French Open Final on Saturday.

Stephens defeated Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 to become the first American woman other than Venus or Serena Williams to advance to the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Halep, who defeated No. 3 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4, is a two-time runner up.

“She’s No. 1 in the world for a reason,” Stephens said of Halep (h/t ESPN). “I think that we’ll just have to go out and compete. Somebody’s going to win. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. Just go out, give it your all, and whoever wins, wins.”

“Another great opportunity on Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it,” Stephens said.

“It’s never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you’re friends with,” Stephens said. “It’s very difficult. I think more when I do play Madi, it’s just — on the court it’s very competitive. We are always very competitive. But it’s a little weird. There’s not as much, ‘Come ons’ and things like that.”

“I will try my best and hopefully I will be better than last year” Halep said.

“I’m happy that I can have another chance.”

“It was very nice to play like that,” Halep said. “I’m really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza. She’s a great opponent, a great player. And it’s always tough against her. I think I played very well. … I played again one of my best matches on clay.”

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Serena Williams, Andy Murray Ousted from Wimbledon Mixed Doubles



Serena Williams

Serena Williams and Andy Murray’s run in the Wimbledon mixed doubles tournament has come to an end following two impressive victories that excited the crowds.

Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar, the top-seeded pair, defeated the team of Williams and Murray during the 3rd round on Wednesday in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

“We had so much fun,” Williams said, according to ESPNW’s D’Arcy Maine.

“We aren’t ready for it to be over. But we both are obviously focused on our health, both of us actually, taking it literally one day at a time, seeing what happens from there.

“We did have a good tournament. I think overall we played really well for our first time playing together.”

Williams plays in the semifinals of the singles draw on Thursday.

“I guess it was more a confirmation of something that you would have expected from someone that’s won as much as she’s done,” Murray said. “It was just the fact that she was so into it, so competitive, which is cool. I like that. Some people might just see it as being maybe mixed doubles. We’re playing it to have fun and get matches.

“But a genuine kind of desire and will to win, which I would have expected that to have been the case, but I didn’t know that about her. Never spent any time on the court with her. That was the thing that was nice whilst we were on the court. She was really into wanting to win and pumped. I like that.”

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Attempting Attendance World Record



Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal

On the court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have a long-standing, competitive rivalry, but the two will be teaming up in an attempt to set a new world record for attendance at a tennis match.

The current record is 35,681, which was for an exhibition game between Belgian Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams in 2010 that took place in Brussels.

Federer, Nadal, and celebrity guests will take part of an event that will feature an exhibition game between the two tennis legends on February 7th at the Cape Town Stadium in Africa, as part of the Roger Federer Foundation, which is involved in charitable work in Africa.

A doubles match will kick things off, it will see Federer partner Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Nadal team up with South African comedian Trevor Noah.

“This Match in Africa is a dream come true,” Federer said to the press (h/t ESPN). “I will play in my mother’s home country against my toughest rival and friend Rafa Nadal.

“We share not only the love for tennis but also for the good cause of giving children a better start in education and in life.”

“Roger and I have shared so many magical moments on and off the court” Nadal said.

“Travelling with him to Cape Town and playing for the benefit of children is something I am very excited about.

“It will be my first time in the region with Roger as a tour guide — that will be fun.”

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Nick Kyrgios Not Apologizing for Attempting to Hit Rafael Nadal with Ball



Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios is not willing to offer an apology for attempting to hit Rafael Nadal with a ball during this intense second-round Wimbledon on Thursday.

Kyrgios aimed a forehand at Nadal, who was able to deflect it with a his racket and glared back at Kyrgios. Things did not further escalate, and Nadal went on to win 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3).

Kyrgios brought that fire to his postgame news conference where he admitted to attempting to hit Nadal with the ball, while refusing to apologize for it.

“Why would I apologize? I mean, the dude has got how many Slams, how much money in the bank account?” Kyrgios said, according to ESPN UK’s Rob Bartlett. “I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologize to him at all.”

Nadal stated that he was more concerned for the safety of the crowd.

“I don’t say Nick does this stuff to bother the opponent, but [it] is true that sometimes he’s dangerous. When he hit the ball like this, [it] is dangerous,” Nadal said. “[It] is not dangerous for me, [it] is dangerous for a line referee, dangerous for a crowd. When you hit the ball like this, you don’t know where the ball goes.

“I know he’s a big, talented player, but I am a professional player, too. I know when you hit this kind of ball, the ball can go anywhere. This time the ball went in, [it] almost hit me, no problem. I am professional, so I know how to avoid this. But another one, the ball goes straight to the back. So have been dangerous moment for the line umpire. That ball hits an eye or something like this, is a problem. That’s it.”

Kyrgios aired his issues with the umpire, who he called “horrendous”.

“I’m serving, I’m like starting my routine. Rafa said, ‘Stop.’ The rule is like, ‘Play to the speed of the server.’ Why do I have to wait for him to get into his rhythm every time?” Kyrgios said. “I got angry at the ref. He’s like, ‘No, I’ll tell him what I want to tell him.’ I was like, ‘Oh, a little bit of a power trip there.’ He obviously feels pretty important sitting up in the chair. He was just terrible. I thought the way he handled the match was just bad.”

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