Konta first British woman to make French Open semis since 1983

first_imgBy Ossian ShinePARIS, France (Reuters) – Jo Konta cantered into the semi-finals of the French Open yesterday, blitzing American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4 to become the first British woman into the last four in Paris since 1983.It was a brutal performance, but one that left her feeling light of spirit: “I think happy more than anything,” she smiled.“I feel just really happy. Yeah, happy, I think, is the main word, main feeling. I feel really pleased with just how I dealt with the conditions out there and just how I gave myself space to play. I thought I played the game, which I was just really pleased with. Just happy.”Swinging freely, the 28-year-old pummelled groundstrokes past her opponent to secure the victory in a little over an hour.Konta, who had never won a match here before this year, will face either Petra Martic or Marketa Vondrousova for a spot in the final.“I’ve always said that whenever I step out onto the court, I’m always going to have a chance,” Konta said.“I’m always going to have a shot. I don’t think any player on tour can go on court against me and feel like they’ve definitely got it.“I definitely back myself and my ability that way.”The last British woman to reach the final in Paris was Sue Barker, who lifted the trophy in 1976.Stephens refused to rule Konta out as a champion.“I think any of the people left in the tournament can win the tournament. I think she played really well today. Obviously it only gets tougher from here. Yeah, I think anyone that’s left can win the tournament,” she said.last_img read more

Dodgers end pursuit of Hisashi Iwakuma, who signs with Mariners

first_imgNow the Dodgers are in the position of having to pick up the spare.For all the progress they made with Greinke and Iwakuma — and Jeff Samardzija, who reportedly received a formal offer from the Dodgers before signing with the Giants — the Dodgers haven’t added to their starting rotation since Brett Anderson accepted his qualifying offer on Nov. 13.That will certainly change by the time pitchers and catchers report to spring training in February. Behind ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, the rotation is full of question marks. Can Anderson avoid the disabled list for two straight seasons for the first time in his career? Can Hyun-Jin Ryu return after missing all of 2015? When will Brandon McCarthy be able to return from Tommy John surgery? Where do Alex Wood and Mike Bolsinger fit in?That’s an unenviable list of questions for any team. It doesn’t help that the Dodgers’ division rivals have already loaded up on starting pitching. The Giants doubled down by signing Johnny Cueto to a six-year contract after locking up Samardzija for five years. The Diamondbacks have Greinke. Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto announced Thursday night — at a company party, no less — that Hisashi Iwakuma will re-sign with the only major league team he’s ever pitched for.Earlier this month the Dodgers and Iwakuma agreed to terms on a three-year, $45 million contract that was pending a physical. Something changed after the Dodgers reviewed the physical, however, and the Mariners apparently wasted little time swooping in. Iwakuma’s contract is guaranteed for one year, with vesting options for 2017 and 2018 — far more conservative terms for a pitcher with a history of arm troubles. Speaking last week at the Winter Meetings, days after Zack Greinke signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dipoto said the Dodgers “just came in and threw a bowling ball into the alley” with their three-year offer. The Dodgers may be short on pitching, but they still have time. According to multiple reports Thursday, they have already engaged the Tampa Bay Rays in talks for right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi.Odorizzi, 25, comes with less injury risk than the 34-year-old Iwakuma, though he did miss time last season with a strained left oblique. Since joining the Rays’ rotation in 2014, Odorizzi has gone 20-22 with a 3.74 earned-run average.Odorizzi isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2017, so he’d cost less money than Iwakuma. The price in terms of prospects is unknown.The Dodgers bolstered their probable Triple-A rotation Wednesday by acquiring Frankie Montas from the Chicago White Sox — another possible trade chip in their arsenal.Right-hander Mike Leake, left-hander Scott Kazmir and right-hander Kenta Maeda headline the remaining free agent starters. Unlike Iwakuma, the Dodgers would not have to surrender a first-round draft pick to sign Leake, Kazmir or Maeda. Maeda, 27, was posted by his Japanese team last week. The teams who have paid the expected $20 million posting fee to negotiate with him are expected to be revealed soon.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more