France seek rare repeat in ‘last’ Davis Cup final

first_imgWhen the players of France and Croatia step onto the clay court laid down inside Lille’s huge Stade Pierre Mauroy on Friday it will mark the end of an era for the 118-year-old Davis Cup.This year’s final will be the last in its current guise after the International Tennis Federation’s decision to revamp the team event starting in 2019.It has not been a pain-free process and fans and players alike will lament the scrapping of the ‘home and away’ format which has been such an integral part of the Davis Cup’s charm.Next year, after an initial qualifying round in February, 18 nations will assemble in Madrid in November to compete in a week-long competition to find an overall winner.French doubles player Pierre-Hugues Herbert is unequivocal when asked what this week’s showdown in Lille means.“They are killing the competition that has been here for decades and for us we see it as the last final,” Herbert, runner-up with Nicolas Mahut at last week’s ATP Finals, told Reuters ahead of the tie.“The next one will maybe have the same name but will be something new and something we don’t know but we will see what happens. It definitely feels like it’s the last one.”“(The ITF) tried to think of something new and it needed it because the best players were not playing. But I think the changes they have done are the worst for the competition.”With the announcement of the ATP Cup to start in Australia in January 2020, just six weeks after the new Davis Cup finale, there are doubts over whether two team competitions can exist, especially in such close proximity on the calendar.The ATP Cup’s slot, just before the Australian Open, makes it an attractive proposition for the players.But for this weekend, at least, the Davis Cup will have the spotlight for a final in which Croatia, hoping to repeat their 2005 triumph, will start slight favourites.France captain Yannick Noah, who led his country to the title last year and will be in charge for the last time before Amelie Mauresmo takes over, is without several top names.Richard Gasquet is injured and Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon are missing, yet with a fanatical home crowd cheering every point, Les Blues will still feel confident of back-to-back titles for the first time since 1932.In world number 32 Lucas Pouille and number 40 Jeremy Chardy they still boast two dangerous singles players while Mahut and Herbert are the reigning French Open doubles champions.Noah also has former world number five Jo-Wilfried Tsonga up his sleeve after including the injury-troubled 33-year-old in his squad for the final.France have won their last six ties on home soil but Zeljko Krajan’s Croatia will certainly not be intimidated by the raucous atmosphere they will encounter.Marin Cilic, the world number seven, is vastly-experienced on the big stages and has won 27 of his 38 Davis Cup singles.Youngster Borna Coric has risen to 12th in the ATP rankings this season and has twice sealed victory for Croatia during their run to the final, most notably winning the fifth rubber in the semi-final against American Frances Tiafoe in Zadar.In Franko Skugor and Mate Pavic they also have a formidable doubles lineup while 35-year-old Ivan Dodig adds useful backup.“We’re having another opportunity now. Two years ago we were close,” Cilic said, referring to the 2016 in which Croatia lost to Argentina. “We have a good chance. But it’s going to be a fight, a big battle against France.”last_img read more

Favourites Cavs open East finals on road vs underdogs Celtics

first_imgBOSTON (AP):The Celtics are heading to the Eastern Conference finals with the No. 1 seed and home court advantage. But they are still very much underdogs to the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers.That’s because throughout this season the conversation hasn’t so much been about which team would come out of the East, as much as how much resistance any team could offer the Cavs.So far it hasn’t been much, with Cleveland posting back-to-back sweeps in the first two rounds.After waiting more than a week for an opponent, the Cavs have their latest challenger. It’s a Boston team that many wrote off after the Celtics fell into a 0-2, first-round hole against the Bulls.Now, fresh off a Game 7 semi-final win over the Washington Wizards, the Celtics in many ways find themselves playing with house money as they prepare to host a LeBron James-led Cleveland team carrying all the expectations into Wednesday’s Game 1 in Boston.”We’ve been counted out since I’ve been here, so it’s nothing new,” Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said. “We’re not really focused on the outside noise and what they think we’re going to … . We’re just going to take care of business as we go.”That’s easier said than done.Boston have yet to beat the Cavs this season with Cleveland at full strength. The Celtics’ lone victory came on March 1, with Kevin Love out after minor left knee surgery. Cleveland won the other games by a combined 35 points, including a 114-91 romp on April 5.Thomas has spoken several times this post-season about wanting to experience the make or break moments that only the playoffs can provide. He has his chance against a team that both he and coach Brad Stevens have acknowledged is better than it was even in April.”That’s where LeBron is so good,” Stevens said. “I think that you can’t throw him one look, because he will eventually pick that look apart.”BAD BLOODThere were major fireworks the last time the Cavaliers and Celtics met in the playoffs.In Game 4 of their 2015 first-round series, which was swept by Cleveland, Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and Love got tangled up, and Love was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Cavs forward J.R. Smith delivered a backhand punch to the face of Boston’s Jae Crowder and former Cavs enforcer Kendrick Perkins delivered a crushing blindside screen on Crowder.Smith earned a two-game suspension, Perkins was fined and Love missed the rest of his first post-season after undergoing surgery.Olynyk was branded Public Enemy No. 1 in Cleveland, but James wouldn’t bite when asked if he thought Boston’s physical forward was a dirty player.”I’m not about story lines,” he said. “I’m just going to play basketball.”The Cavs are 15-3 in road playoff games over the past three seasons.last_img read more

Don’t Miss Out on Album Release Party and Prize Giveaway

first_imgLiberty Entertainment has released yet another talented young artist and so far this one has the “ambitions of a rider.”“My talent and rap skill speaks for itself. I’ve been riding this music thing since I came to Liberia a little over a year ago; and this is where I’m at after all the hard work,” said CNote.Canus Manyeh, commonly known as CNote, will on February 5, 2016 at the Gossip Nightclub, “make it happen” for hundreds of his followers with his all red and white solo album release party.Titled “Z-Code,” the 11 track album features the red hot single: “So Fly” and the motivational: “Take Me Away” – songs that are already making waves on the local airwaves.Apart from guest performances by Tan Tan, Lady Vero, Speedo and CoZ, party people should look forward to prize giveaways for the best: dressed hairstyle and couple; and best jungle juice drinker.“Got to drink the jungle,” CNote joked. “I’ll also be performing a surprise track.” Prizes to be given away include washing machines from Razoouk Brothers, blender from Azmar Brothers, a dinner for two at Musu Spot and Evelyn Restaurant. There’s also dinner for two and a night out at Wulki Farm.The all red and white party is being sponsored by Jungle Juice, Champion Design, UN Supermarket, HottFM, Truth FM and Wulki Farm.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

More Liberians to Benefit from Chinese Scholarships

first_imgThe Confucius Institute teaching the Chinese Language at the University of Liberia (UL) has begun preparing competent and qualified students for scholarships and fellowships to universities in the People’s Republic of China.Authorities of the Institute have urged the students to process their passports, because the institute could call on them at any time in November to go to Beijing to attend a two-week fellowship or two-year scholarship program.During an exhibition of the students’ competence in the Chinese Language, the students took a written test and then conversed with their instructors in Chinese.The 11 students, three women and eight men who went through the testing exercise on October 10, performed several Chinese cultural activities, which included singing. The Confucius Institute is yet to disclose the names of successful candidates going to Beijin, however Grace Mensah, Peter Sumo, Boakai Wilson and Archie Luo were among the top performers who fluently conversed with their instructors without English interpretation or hitches.It is therefore certain that, depending on the number of persons the institute will choose, any of these performers stands the chance of benefitting from the opportunities.The Confucius Institute is the educational component of the China-Africa Relations responsible for teaching Chinese Language and Culture to Africans as a means of building trust and confidence between the two.In December 2008, the institute was established on UL campus as the first in West Africa.It was jointly established by Changsha University of Science and Technology and the UL with the aim to teach Chinese Language and Culture to interested Liberians.The institute has extended its programs to officers of the Liberia National Police and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization since they are the first paramilitary personnel that interact with the public daily.This educational component of China-Liberia relations includes full scholarship for three years of study for a Master’s degree in China, one year of study to learn the Chinese language and Culture, Chinese Ambassador Scholarship for one month cultural experience and two-week summer/winter camp trip to China.Meanwhile, the program has led many young Liberians to the People’s Republic of China for studies in various disciplines including Medicine, Education and other areas of Science.About two months ago, over 20 Liberians left Liberia to pursue Master’s degrees in various disciplines in China.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fort St. John Burger King hosting fundraiser for employee battling cancer this Wednesday

first_imgA GoFundMe campaign that was set up for the McCormick’s at the beginning of September raised nearly $13,000 from a goal of $5,000.The fundraiser is taking place from 5:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. this Wednesday at the Burger King in Fort St. John, located on Alaska Road South.For more details, visit the fundraiser’s Facebook event page: FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Burger King restaurant in Fort St. John is going to be hosting a fundraiser for one of its own employees facing a battle against cancer.Burger King owner Trevor Bolin said that 15-year-old Alaya McCormick, who works at the restaurant, was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects white blood cells known as lymphocytes.Since her recent diagnosis, Alaya has had to travel to Vancouver, where she is currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment.- Advertisement -Since she’ll have to miss the first month of school, Alaya’s mom has had to take off at least one month of work to be with her daughter while she undergoes treatment.Bolin said that to help raise money to cover travel, food, rent, and other expenses for the family during the treatment, the Burger King will be donating a portion of the proceeds from every Whopper sold on Wednesday, September 19th to the McCormick’s.“She’s a very bright, very, very cheerful girl. She works at Burger King so it kind of hit home twice for us on this one. One of her biggest concerns when she first found out she was sick and had to go to Vancouver was if her job would be waiting for her when she came back. That meant a lot to me, she means a lot to me, and the community means a lot to me,” said Bolin.Advertisementlast_img read more

Jones’ kick return saves day for Harbor

first_imgHarbor’s offense, which had been ineffective during much of the game, did not appear capable of bringing them back. But Jones had other plans. Jones took the kickoff at the 10-yard line, found a seam in the middle of the field and broke out to the right, darting down the sideline for the decisive touchdown. Harbor quarterback Andrew Trudnowski was pulled late in the second quarter, unable to mount any scoring drives for the Seahawks. Trudnowski often had time to throw, but completed only 33 percent of his passes for just 76 yards. Backup sophomore quarterback Daniel Torres led the Seahawks on a scoring drive on his first series to even the score before halftime, connecting with running back Earl Ford for a 13-yard touchdown pass. But Torres was ineffective for much of the game as well, finishing 7-for-20 for 48 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Harbor coach Andrew Alvillar was relieved to open conference play with a win. “It’s not the way we wanted to win or even the way we should win, but I’m not going to give it back either,” he said. Alvillar said the quarterback who has a better week of practice will start next week against West L.A.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! JC FOOTBALL: The 90-yard touchdown lifts Sea Hawks by East L.A. By Stephen McFadden CORRESPONDENT Just when it looked like Harbor College was in serious trouble, in danger of blowing a good shot at victory, Frankie Jones came running to the rescue. Jones returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to lead Harbor to a 26-21 victory Saturday night at East L.A College in the Western State Conference opener for both schools. Harbor’s defense keyed the victory, shutting down the Huskies for much of second quarter and the second half, including two critical interceptions by defensive back Jeramy Bryant late in the fourth quarter. Leading 20-14 with eight minutes remaining, the Seahawks seemed to be in control. But after failing to get a first down in three plays, Harbor (2-1, 1-0) inexplicably called a fake punt on fourth-and-14 from its 26. East L.A. (0-3, 0-1) sniffed out the fake and tackled the punter for only a 3-yard gain to take over at Harbor’s 29. The Huskies moved the ball down to the 10-yard line, but Harbor’s defense stepped up and forced a fourth-and-6 situation. East L.A. elected to go for it, and quarterback Cameron Kusnier’s pass was broken up in the end zone, but a questionable pass interference penalty was called on Harbor. Two plays later, running back Mika Vera scored on a 1-yard plunge, his second touchdown of the game, to give East L.A. a 21-20 lead with only 5:13 remaining. last_img read more

Arsene Wenger provides transfer update on Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez

first_img Speculation has surrounded both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez this summer 1 Arsene Wenger has made it clear Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will ‘100 per cent’ say at Arsenal this summer despite rumours linking the England winger with a move away from the Emirates.The 23-year-old is reportedly keen on leaving the Gunners to kickstart his career, with a host of clubs including Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City interested in him.Oxlade-Chamberlain is said to be frustrated by his contract situation in north London, with no progress made on talks concerning a new deal, with his current one expiring at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.But despite rumours suggesting he could leave this summer, Arsenal head coach Wenger has emphatically denied such reports.Asked whether Oxlade-Chamberlain will stay with the Gunners, Wenger said: “Yes, 100 per cent I expect him to stay.“There is a lot of speculation, but no matter what happens he will stay.”Wenger also spoke out about the future of star attacker Alexis Sanchez, who has been the centre of speculation since the final months of last season.Sanchez is said to want a new contract to reward his good performances, and could seek a move elsewhere if he is not handed one.Wenger made it clear no deal has yet been reached, despite reports suggesting otherwise.“A lot that comes out about Sanchez isn’t completely right,” he continued. “No, that is not the case.”last_img read more

DONE DEAL! Burnley confirm record signing of Leeds United striker Chris Wood

first_img Chris Wood was the Championship’s top scorer with 27 goals for Leeds United last season The Clarets did not disclose the sum paid to Leeds for Wood but confirmed it was more than their previous record, reportedly around £13million for Robbie Brady from Norwich earlier this year.They secure a frontman who had played for seven Championship clubs before settling at Leeds, where he followed up his 13-goal haul in 2015/16 with an explosive tally in the last campaign.He picked up where he left off by scoring in Leeds’ opening game of the season at Bolton but ruled himself out of last weekend’s win at Sunderland after declaring “I didn’t feel it was right to play” amid speculation about his future.The 25-year-old, who has had brief spells in the Premier League with West Brom and Leicester, will be available for Burnley’s Carabao Cup second-round tie against Blackburn on Wednesday.He said: “This is a club that wants to stay in the Premier League for years to come and it’s going that way.“I’ve had tastes of being in there but I’ve never had the chance to give it a proper bash.“Coming here I feel I’ve got a proper opportunity to do that. I’ve never started a Premier League game and this what I want to do.“The squad has done fantastically over the last couple of years to put themselves in the position they are now.“There have been some great additions this summer, which I’m sure has given everyone an added boost, to move forward and cement us as a Premier League team and looking on further up the league.”Wood, who has scored 20 times in 52 appearances for New Zealand, added: “The manager has given me a lot of confidence and backed me to bring me here, which is what you want.“I’ve still got a lot of good years ahead of me. I’ve got lots of ambitions to achieve in the future. I’ve got goals and dreams that I want to achieve and it starts here.” Burnley have announced the signing of Chris Wood from Leeds on a four-year deal for a club-record fee.The New Zealand striker rose to prominence by finishing as the Championship’s leading scorer with 27 goals last season and will now get his chance to shine in the top flight under Sean Dyche.“My ambition has been to play in the Premier League for years,” Wood said after completing his move to Turf Moor. 1 SIGNING: Burnley Football Club is delighted to confirm the signing of Chris Wood from Leeds United for a club record fee.More to come…— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 21, 2017last_img read more

Students head for Central America

first_imgVALENCIA – They’ll chat with a former Nicaraguan president, watch turtles lay eggs in the dark of night and learn about the economy of Central America. A group of 27 students, parents and community members leave Saturday on a trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, lead by two College of the Canyons instructors. The goal of the 12-day trip, which cost participants $2,300 each, is to learn Spanish, immerse themselves in the culture of the two Central American countries and get biology lessons on the local flora and fauna. “It’s pretty exciting,” said professor Claudia Acosta, chairwoman of the foreign languages department at College of the Canyons, one of two instructors on the trip. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.“They’re going to a place that was extremely conflictive,” she said. “There was a war, there was a civil war, (a) Marxist-type government. And now they’re … going there and discovering.” The itinerary includes an interview with Violeta Chamorro, who was president of Nicaragua from 1990 to 1996 and clashed with the socialist Sandinistas. Chamorro offered to host the group at her large home, where the students will talk with her. The participants in the tour will also visit Tortuguero in Costa Rica, where they will see chelonia mydas turtles come up from the ocean and lay eggs. Mindful of disturbing the turtles, the group will be dressed in black to not disturb the animals. “From prior experiences, (participants) said that it was a life-changing experience for them,” said Miriam Goldbert, a biology professor at College of the Canyons who will co-lead the tour. “It’s so amazing to see these huge, almost pre-historic creatures come out and leave and go to the ocean,” she said. To learn about the economy of Central America, the group will visit sugar and banana plantations and the National Theater in Costa Rica, which was built with taxes on coffee. Christine Roca is one of several high school students going on the trip. She’s been to Costa Rica before. “It’s definitely a poorer country, but … it has beautiful beaches,” she said. “If you want to major in biology, it’s a great place. They have the marina, the tropical wildlife. It’s a great place.” (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more