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    Lindsey Vonn isn't quite done yet. The most successful female skier in World Cup history said Wednesday she remains 'hopeful' that she can fix her ailing knees. 'I'm taking things day by day and we will see what happens,' Vonn wrote on Instagram . 'I know that I might not get the ending to my career that I had hoped for, but if there is a chance, I will take it.' The announcement comes three days after Vonn hinted at immediate retirement after failing to finish a super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, citing severe pain in both of her knees. Vonn said the reason she had 'so much pain and muscle shut down in Cortina was due to an impact injury to my peroneal nerve.' 'This most likely came from the final jump on the first training run in Cortina, but it's hard to know for sure,' Vonn added. 'After that training run, the pain got progressively worse each day and by Sunday my lower leg was in a lot of pain and my muscles had completely shut down.' Vonn, who hadn't raced all season because of a left knee injury, finished no better than ninth in three races in Cortina. 'Now that we know the problem the next issue is fixing it,' Vonn said. 'So far we haven't found a solution and as a result I will not be able to compete in tomorrow's downhill training run.' Downhill training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, followed downhill and super-G races this weekend. Vonn needs to start at least one training run to race, per International Ski Federation rules. 'Since this is a new 'injury' per say, I remain hopeful that we can fix it,' she said. Vonn has 82 wins — most among women — and four less than overall record-holder Ingemark Stenmark of Sweden. After Garmisch, her next scheduled competition is the world championships in Are, Sweden, which open on Feb. 5. Vonn had been planning to retire in December following races in Lake Louise, Alberta, where she has won a record 18 times. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf
  • A Louisiana attorney has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell over a controversial missed call in the New Orleans Saints' NFC championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. >> From WGNO: Read the lawsuit here The suit, filed Tuesday by lawyer Frank D'Amico Jr., seeks to hold Goodell and the league 'accountable for the blatant (mis)actions of its employees and maintaining the integrity of the NFL,' the firm said in a Facebook post.  >> Read the Facebook post here >> 'Saints got robbed': Fan buys Atlanta billboards to protest missed pass interference call The complaint stems from what many are calling an obvious missed pass interference call during the final minutes of the fourth quarter. That's when the Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman 'committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit' on the Saints' Tommylee Lewis, the AP reported.  >> Saints fans blast officials over missed pass interference call in NFC championship loss The Saints then settled for a field goal before the Rams followed suit, tying the game 23-23 and forcing it into overtime. The Rams ultimately won 26-23. >> Watch the clip here According to WVUE, the suit cites a provision in the NFL rule book that gives Goodell the power to take 'corrective measures' if an incident occurs that is 'so extraordinarily unfair' that it 'has a major effect on the result of a game.' The lawsuit says the rules allow Goodell to reschedule the game from the beginning, resume it from the moment of the missed call or reverse the game’s result. >> On NFL.com: Read the rule here The firm said it has received several mostly positive phone calls about the suit. 'It appears, however, that any time the term 'lawsuit' arises that the general public believes it was filed for financial reasons and compensation for damages,' the firm's Facebook post said. 'The petition filed by our office was not a petition for damages, but rather a petition for a Writ of Mandamus which seeks equitable relief and NOT monetary damages.' >> Read more trending news  The post continued: 'Our plaintiffs and the entire fan base simply want Roger Goodell and the NFL to do the right thing in this situation, and if for whatever reason he refuses, we have set the wheels in motion to compel him to do so using the legal remedies afforded to us under the law.' Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Lucas Pouille had lost every Australian Open match he played until he hired Amelie Mauresmo as coach. A couple of months later, he's into a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time. The 24-year-old Frenchman will next play Novak Djokovic, who is aiming for a men's record seventh Australian title, so things will get tougher. Djokovic was leading 6-1, 4-1 and his quarterfinal match was less than an hour old Wednesday when eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori retired with an injured right leg, finally succumbing after three of his four previous rounds went to five sets. It gave Djokovic a spot in the semifinals at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016, when he won his second straight title and his fifth in six years. 'Feels great. This has been my most successful Grand Slam throughout my career,' Djokovic said. 'Past two years have been a bit tough with the elbow injury and everything. 'Over the past 10 years, I've had plenty of success here. Everyone tries to get their hands on one of the four biggest titles in sport, but Australia has been really kind to me.' Pouille isn't even sure how far he's capable of going. But after losing in the first round on his five previous visits, he knows the trajectory is OK. 'I didn't win a match in Melbourne before,' Pouille said. 'Now I'm in the semifinals. So just very, very happy.' Pouille fended off a strong comeback from 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic for a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win, his first in three tries in a major quarterfinal and is first against the big-serving Canadian. Mauresmo, who won two major titles as a player, including the 2006 Australian women's title, had previously worked as Andy Murray's coach. Pouille said Mauresmo had quickly worked out how to improve his game, giving him confidence. 'She's the right state of mind. She knows everything about tennis. It's not about being a woman or a man. It doesn't matter,' Pouille said in an on-court interview when asked about the rarity of a highly-ranked male player working with a female coach. 'You just have to know what you're doing — and she does.' Some people criticized Murray, a three-time major champion and five-time finalist in Australia, when he first hired Mauresmo. But Pouille hasn't had to contend with that kind of sexist negativity. 'I think times changed. It's a shame that it happened,' Pouille said. 'Men are coaching women, so why not the contrary? She's a champion. She's a great coach.' The No. 28-seeded Pouille was up two sets and had break points in the seventh and ninth games of the third but Raonic held serve in clutch moments. Then Raonic rallied, railing against officialdom after getting angry when he challenged a line judge's call as Pouille was serving to stay in the set. His service return hit the baseline but was called out. When he challenged it, and a replay confirmed his shot was good, chair umpire Nico Helwerth ordered a replay of the point. Raonic thought he deserved to be given the point and, when he asked why it wasn't awarded to him, told the umpire 'because you don't watch, because you're incapable.' Pouille won the replayed point and held serve for 6-6, but Raonic won the first six points of the tiebreaker and eventually forced a fourth set. It was on serve until Pouille put serious pressure on Raonic's serve and volleys, and broke to clinch the match. Raonic is now 1-3 in Australian Open quarterfinals, but he had a tough draw at Melbourne Park. He had to hold off Nick Kyrgios in the first round, former champion Stan Wawrinka in the second and No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev in the fourth. Raonic said he was disappointed with his serve in the quarterfinals, but not about his challenge in the third set. For Pouille, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up had some words of wisdom. 'It's not so much only the opponent you're facing, but it's also the situation, which is a completely new one for him,' Raonic said. 'I think he has to stay true to himself, try to do the things he does well, really focus on that aspect more than anything else.' ___ More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Mariano Rivera sailed into the Hall of Fame without a single dissenting vote. Next year, it's Derek Jeter's turn — and don't expect much opposition then, either. Jeter headlines the group of candidates who will be newly eligible for the Hall next year , and now that Rivera has become the first player elected unanimously , it won't be a surprise if another transcendent New York Yankees star does the same. With 3,465 hits to his credit — not to mention five World Series titles — Jeter shouldn't have much to worry about when the results are announced. Whether he goes in unanimously is another matter. After his longtime teammate broke ground as the first player selected on 100 percent of the ballots submitted, some baseball writers might be more willing to vote strategically: Nobody is allowed to pick more than 10 players, so for some it could make sense to leave off a certain inductee if a vote would mean more for a player on the bubble. But nobody left off Rivera this time, and Jeter's stature in the sport is similar. Here are a few other things to watch in the next Hall of Fame vote: BEST OF THE REST Jeter may be the only first-ballot Hall of Famer next year, but there are a handful of other new candidates who distinguished themselves as well. Cliff Lee won a Cy Young Award and Jason Giambi has an MVP. Alfonso Soriano accomplished a rare 40-40 season in 2006. FINAL SHOT Edgar Martinez made the Hall this year in his last chance on the ballot. Fred McGriff did not. Next season, it's Larry Walker who will be up for the 10th and final time. Walker's vote percentage shot up this year from 34 to 55. He'll need another increase like that to get in. BONDS AND CLEMENS Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, their candidacies held back by links to performance-enhancing drug use, appear to have hit a wall. In their seventh year on the ballot, Clemens received 59.5 percent of the vote and Bonds received 59.1. Last year, Clemens was at 57.3 percent and Bonds was at 56.4. In theory, there's enough time to make up the remaining ground — Martinez was below 50 percent three years ago — but views on Bonds and Clemens appear pretty entrenched. OTHER HOLDOVERS Four players were elected this year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and with only Jeter standing out among the newcomers, the ballot might feel a bit less crowded next year. That could be good news for players like Walker, Curt Schilling (61 percent this year) and Omar Vizquel (43 percent). Walker has only one chance left, but Schilling and Vizquel have an opportunity to make progress in 2020 and then again in 2021, when the group of newcomers appears less formidable. SABERMETRIC DARLING? If you're looking for an under-the-radar candidate who looks pretty impressive through the lens of advanced stats, Bobby Abreu is eligible in 2020. Abreu was just a two-time All-Star, but he finished with a career on-base percentage of .395. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Abreu was worth 60 wins above replacement for his career — roughly the same as Vladimir Guerrero, who went into the Hall of Fame in 2018. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
  • South Korea's human rights commission plans to interview thousands of adult and child athletes about a culture of abuse in sports after a wave of female athletes came forward to say they had been raped or assaulted by their coaches. The yearlong investigation will cover 50 sports and include children competing for elementary, middle and high schools, Park Hong-geun, an official from the National Human Rights Commission, said Wednesday. He said the commission aims to interview all minor and adult athletes competing for scholastic and corporate league teams in speedskating and judo, which have been marred with sexual abuse allegations. The investigation, pushed by dozens of government officials and civilian experts, could start as early as next week and could extend beyond a year if needed. The commission plans to issue guidelines when it concludes its largest-ever inquiry into sports, but it also could forward evidence to police for further investigation and possible criminal prosecution. 'Education processes will be a key part of the investigation because there are situations where athletes find it hard to disclose what they have been through or even recognize they had been abused or sexually harassed,' Park said. 'We will have to discuss with the schools and teams to figure out how to proceed with the investigation in each sport, but we plan to build it mostly around face-to-face interviews.' South Korean competitive sports in recent weeks have been hit by a growing #MeToo movement, which highlights deep-rooted problems over a brutal training culture and highly hierarchical relationships between coaches and athletes. It began with two-time Olympic short-track speedskating champion Shim Suk-hee accusing her former coach of repeatedly raping her since she was 17. The coach, Cho Jae-beom, was the national team coach shortly before the Pyeongchang Olympics last year and is now serving a 10-month prison term for physically assaulting athletes, including Shim. Cho's lawyers said he denies sexually assaulting Shim. A group representing speed skating athletes said Monday there were at least five more female skaters saying they were sexually abused by their male coaches, but did not reveal their names because of privacy concerns. Encouraged by Shim, female athletes in judo, taekwondo, soccer and wrestling have also accused their male coaches of sexual harassment or assault since. Experts say abusive treatment of female athletes has long been a problem in South Korea's elite sports, which are predominantly run by men. Athletes often skip school to compete in athletic events and must live in dormitories, giving coaches often-overbearing control and leaving athletes undereducated and more vulnerable. South Korea has long associated national pride with achievement in the Olympics and other international sporting events, leaving problems overlooked as long as the athletes succeed. After a previous inquiry into school sports, the human rights commission in 2010 recommended safeguards to the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, including instructions and proposals for preventing abuse and providing better education. Choi Young-ae, the commission's chairwoman, criticized the KOC for ignoring the guideline for years, which she said worsened the abuse facing athletes today. 'Physical and sexual violence in (South Korean) sports does not happen incidentally, but is generated consistently under a structure,' she said in a news conference on Wednesday. 'A culture that puts medals and other awards over everything else has been exonerating violent behaviors and such violence has been closely associated with the sexual violence that occurs.
  • Alabama has a reputation of losing large first-half leads. Against No. 20 Mississippi, Alabama's lead didn't just hold up, it grew. The Crimson Tide built a 16-point lead by halftime and extended that advantage to 28 points on the way to a 74-53 blowout win over Ole Miss. 'Fortunately tonight, we were just a consistent basketball team,' Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. The first-half lead was built on a mixture of defense, scoring 15 points off nine Ole Miss turnovers, and rebounding, as the Crimson Tide pulled down seven more rebounds than the Rebels. The rebounding difference came from Alabama's offense, as it collected nine offensive boards to the Rebels' two. 'Give Alabama credit; they're a good offensive rebounding team,' Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. 'They played desperate tonight.' John Petty came off the bench and scored 12 of his 15 points in 16. The Crimson Tide kept the lead by working inside-out. Donta Hall scored seven of his 11 points in just 10 minutes, while Galin Smith added six of his 10. They combined for nine of Alabama's 20 offensive rebounds, a season high. The duo of Terence Davis and Breein Tyree had dominated for the Rebels this season, combining for 33 points a game. Alabama denied them open looks while Ole Miss was on offense and didn't allow them to rest on defense, going straight at them. Tyree, the SEC's second-leading scorer, finished with nine points. Davis, who had averaged 16.2 points a game, was the Ole Miss player to score in double digits, finishing with 10. He picked up a technical with 1:07 left in the first half and fouled out with 16:05 left in the game. 'So immature,' Davis said. 'I'm just not used to player technicals, so that's why I just left him in to foul out. . Guy has been in the league for four years and to act that way. We all got exactly what we deserved tonight.' POLL IMPLICATIONS: No. 20 Ole Miss entered Coleman Coliseum off a 17-point win against Arkansas, but a blowout loss against Alabama, and the Rebels will likely fall out of the rankings. QUICK COMPARE: Alabama struggled to hit free throws at Tennessee on Saturday, making eight of the 18 attempts (44 percent). Tuesday night, the team shot 17 of 22 (77 percent) from the line. PLAY OF THE GAME: Avery Johnson Jr. drove to the baseline, floating the ball off the backboard. Donta Hall followed the ball and threw down a two-handed dunk, giving Alabama a nine-point lead midway through the first half. STAR WATCH: Donta Hall finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. It was his fourth straight double-double, an Alabama record. BIG PICTURE: Ole Miss: For the first time in their six conference games, the Rebels didn't have a big first half, scoring just 26 points. Their previous first-half low against conference opponents was 31. Alabama: After letting several big leads slip away throughout the season, the Crimson Tide proved they could hang on to a large first-half advantage. They also proved they could make free throws when it mattered. UP NEXT: Ole Miss: Host Iowa State on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Alabama: Alabama travels to Waco, Texas, to play Baylor on Saturday. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • The ball bounced right to Charles Matthews, who dribbled once and squared up to shoot as the game clock — and more importantly, the shot clock — neared zero. 'I saw the clock when I did get the ball. I'm not sure exactly how much time, but I did know that there was time on the clock,' Matthews said. 'So I didn't want to just throw up a crazy shot. I wanted to still follow through with it.' Matthews used up what little time he had, then made a baseline floater at the buzzer to lift No. 5 Michigan to a 59-57 win over Minnesota on Tuesday night. On the final possession, Iggy Brazdeikis drove to the basket and had his shot blocked by Eric Curry, but the ball bounced over to Matthews to the left of the rim. His shot went high in the air and dropped through with no time remaining. The shot by Matthews was clearly released before the game clock expired, but the shot clock was a much closer call. After a long review, officials ruled the ball was released in time. 'As heartbreaking as that was, we got that stop,' Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. 'The ball kind of bounced their way.' Gabe Kalscheur's 3-pointer tied it at 57 with 30.9 seconds remaining, capping a 10-0 run for the Golden Gophers. Brazdeikis scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. He was held scoreless at Wisconsin on Saturday when the Wolverines lost for the first time this season. Michigan (18-1, 7-1 Big Ten) struggled through much of the game against Minnesota and was down by seven before Brazdeikis made a 3-pointer and a three-point play to cut the deficit to one. That was the start of a 23-3 run by the Wolverines. Michigan led by 13, and then it was Minnesota's turn to rally. Minnesota (14-5, 4-4) scored the first six points and led 19-10 after a 3 by Kalscheur. Michigan was 3 of 20 from the field before finishing the first half a bit better. The Golden Gophers led 31-28 at halftime. DOUBLE-DOUBLES Jordan Murphy scored 15 points with 11 rebounds for Minnesota, and Brazdeikis had 11 rebounds to go with his 18 points for Michigan. The last-second shot by Matthews was especially tough for Murphy and the Golden Gophers after they'd battled back to tie it. 'We were just hoping that it was a shot-clock violation so we could get a chance at overtime,' Murphy said. 'We think we were playing those guys pretty well. Obviously they made a big run in the second half, but we made a run back, so it was a pretty interesting game to play in. We just didn't finish out our defensive possession.' ALL EARS Amid all the commotion on the final play, Michigan coach John Beilein liked what he heard. 'I trust my ears,' Beilein said. 'I saw the ball leave his hand, and I heard a buzzer go off, and that's usually a good sign.' BIG PICTURE Minnesota: The way Michigan shot the ball in the first half, the Golden Gophers could have been up by more at halftime, but turnovers hurt. Minnesota had 10 in the first half while the Wolverines committed just two. The margin was 16-6 at the end of the game. Michigan: This obviously wasn't an emphatic victory for the Wolverines after their weekend loss. A lot of their problems were because of outside shooting. They went 3 of 22 from 3-point range. POLL IMPLICATIONS An underwhelming win at home is unlikely to move the needle much for Michigan. UP NEXT Minnesota: The Golden Gophers host Iowa on Sunday. Michigan: The Wolverines have a relatively quick turnaround before playing at Indiana on Friday night. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
  • Kansas State and Texas Tech have two of the four highest-rated defenses in the country. They didn't disappoint Tuesday night. In a preview of the tough test that awaits Big 12 opponents, the Wildcats ground down the 14th-ranked Red Raiders 58-45 on Tuesday night. Kansas State held Tech to a season low in points and hasn't allowed a team to score more than 71 this season. 'First of all, it is about K-State's defense,' Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. 'One team has broken 70 on them this year, and we knew it was going to be a difficult game to score so we set up a game plan.' That game plan didn't work. Barry Brown Jr. had 15 points, Dean Wade scored 13 and Mike McGuirl added nine as K-State hit big shot after big shot. 'Everyone is coming to win and play their best game,' Brown said. 'Especially knowing you've won five straight, everyone is trying to stop your momentum.' The Big 12's top-ranked defenses combined to force 30 turnovers. The Wildcats (15-4, 5-2) held Texas Tech to 33-percent shooting and never let the Red Raiders get their offense rolling. Jarrett Culver led Texas Tech (15-4, 4-3) with 17 points. Tariq Owens had 12. The Wildcats outrebounded Texas Tech 33-25 overall and 27-18 on the defensive side, limiting second-chance points. The Red Raiders struggled to contain Brown in the first half. He had two step-back 3-pointers and 11 points. Wade was a mismatch as well, with Red Raider big man Norense Odiase called for three fouls in the first half. He only played five minutes. Owens scored seven points off the bench in Odiase's absence, keeping Texas Tech in it, but Kansas State led 32-24 at the half. 'They made shots,' Beard said. 'They were aggressive, they got to the free-throw line and late in the game when we were trying to come back from a deficit they got good looks.' The Wildcats led 46-38 midway through the second half before Wade made two free throws and Xavier Sneed hit a 3. The Red Raiders got back within eight but couldn't get any closer. 'I think the biggest improvement we've made from the start of the season is passing the ball and slowly I think we are becoming a better offensive team,' coach Bruce Weber said. After Tuesday night, the teams seem to be going in different directions. K-State has won five straight while the Red Raiders have lost their last three games after starting 4-0 in Big 12 play. Beard thinks the Wildcats are built for a title run this year and was quick to give them credit after the loss. 'This is one of the best teams in the country,' he said. 'Now they have won five straight, which is a direct reflection of the character of the guys they have on their team.' K-State is in a tie for first in the conference with Kansas, which has won 14 straight regular-season titles. The Wildcats will clash with the Jayhawks for the first of two meetings on Feb. 5th at home. 'Well we dug out of the hole and not only were we 0-2, but we were down 21 points to West Virginia,' Weber said. 'There's a lot more coming up and as I said, these next two road games are very, very important.' BIG PICTURE Texas Tech has lost three straight games after starting 4-0 in conference play. They will need to get the ship going back in the right direction soon. Kansas State has won five straight and looks to be one of the best teams in the Big 12. UP NEXT Texas Tech will be home Saturday against Arkansas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. K-State plays at Texas A&M on Saturday. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Four times, Serena Williams was only one point — a single point — from closing out a victory in the Australian Open quarterfinals. On the first such chance, at 5-1, 40-30 in the third set, she turned her left ankle awkwardly. The owner of the best serve in the sport would lose every point she served the rest of the way. And so it was that a startling reversal and result would follow Wednesday at Melbourne Park, with Williams dropping the last six games of a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 loss to No. 7-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. 'I can't say that I choked on those match points,' Williams said. 'She literally played her best tennis ever on those shots.' The 37-year-old American didn't call for a trainer during the match and later wouldn't blame the ankle for the way everything changed down the stretch, saying afterward that it 'seems to be fine.' But instead of Williams moving closer to an eighth championship at the Australian Open and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall, it is Pliskova who will continue the pursuit of her first major trophy. 'I was almost in the locker room,' Pliskova told the Rod Laver Arena crowd, 'but now I'm standing here as the winner.' Normally, Williams is the one manufacturing a comeback. This time, it was surprising to see her let a sizable lead vanish. Only twice before in 380 Grand Slam matches had Williams lost after holding a match point, at the 2010 French Open and 1999 Australian Open. In Thursday's semifinals, Pliskova will face No. 4-seeded Naomi Osaka, who advanced by beating No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1. The other women's semifinal will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova against unseeded American Danielle Collins. In men's action Wednesday, No. 28 Lucas Pouille of France reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by beating 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4. Pouille, who is coached by two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo, had been 0-5 for his career at the Australian Open until last week. His next opponent will be 14-time major champion Novak Djokovic, who moved on when 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori stopped playing while trailing 6-1, 4-1. Nishikori was treated for leg problems by a trainer. Williams' surprising departure scuttled what would have been a much-anticipated rematch against Osaka, who beat her in the chaotic U.S. Open final last September. This defeat is the earliest in Australia for Williams since 2014, when she exited with a fourth-round loss to Ana Ivanovic. Since then? She won the tournament in 2015, lost in the final in 2016, and won again in 2017 while pregnant, before missing last year's edition a few months after the birth of her daughter. As for chasing Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24 Slam trophies in singles, Williams said: 'It hasn't happened yet, but I feel like it's going to happen.' The match against Pliskova was played under a stifling sun, with the temperature around 80 degrees (25 degrees Celsius). Williams — coming off an intense three-set victory over No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round — often stepped into the patches of shade behind each baseline. She did not start well, not well at all. Her mistakes were mounting and deficit was growing. In the first set alone, Williams made more than twice as many unforced errors as her opponent, 11-5, a pattern that would continue throughout. By the end, the margin was 37-15. Looking increasingly frustrated, Williams would yell at herself after mistakes or gesture as if to say, 'That's NOT how I should be hitting the ball!' Add it all up, and Pliskova led by a set and a break at 3-2 in the second. Only then did Williams get going. From there, she immediately earned her first break point of the match and converted it to get to 3-all, beginning a run in which she claimed nine of 11 games. 'You don't really feel,' Pliskova said, 'like you're going to win this match.' Serving for the victory at 5-1, 40-30, Williams was called for a foot fault — reminiscent of an infamous such ruling at the U.S. Open a decade ago. During the ensuing point Wednesday, Williams twisted her left ankle and dumped a forehand into the net. She grabbed at her foot afterward, then double-faulted and would go on to cede that game. Not a big deal, right? She still had a sizable lead. Except that three more match points would follow while Pliskova served, and she saved each one. 'There's nothing I did wrong on those match points. I didn't do anything wrong. I stayed aggressive,' Williams said. 'She just literally hit the lines on some of them.' Williams would again serve for the match at 5-3 — and again get broken. The owner of the most feared and respected serve in women's tennis was broken for a third time in a row at 5-all, and Pliskova was on her way. 'She got a little bit shaky in the end,' Pliskova said. 'So I took my chances. And I won.' Osaka will carry a 12-match Grand Slam winning streak into the semifinals. The 21-year-old from Japan moved closer to a second consecutive major championship by parlaying her aggressive and powerful style into a 31-11 edge in winners against Svitolina. 'For me, right now, I just try to keep looking forward. So I'm not really satisfied. Like, I am happy that I'm here, but at the same time, I want to keep going,' said Osaka, who never had been past the fourth round at the Australian Open. 'There is more matches to win.' ___ Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich ___ More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • One of Frank Martin's best coaching moments this season for South Carolina came away from the games or the practice court. He counseled his senior leader Chris Silva to forget about the team's early problems and savor every minute he had left to play. Silva has taken that advice and powered the Gamecocks' surprising run through the Southeastern Conference. Silva was nearly unstoppable, with career highs of 32 points and 14 rebounds, to lead South Carolina to an 80-77 victory over No. 16 Auburn on Tuesday night. He made 11 of 12 shots, 10 of 11 foul shots and had four of his team's eight blocks. Silva's relentless play underneath was also a factor in two of Auburn's post players fouling out. 'Silva was the difference,' Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. 'We had nobody to guard him.' It wasn't that way through much of the pre-SEC schedule for South Carolina (10-8, 5-1), which lost to mid-majors Stony Brook and Wofford along with heavyweights Michigan and Virginia to enter league play 5-7 overall. Silva, the 6-foot-9 forward who tested his NBA value last year as a junior, acknowledged the frustration of some of the early losses. 'Frank told me to enjoy the game and that's what I'm doing right now, enjoying the game,' Silva said. 'And when I enjoy the game, the emotions come out of me.' Silva leaped high when the horn sounded, celebrating with teammates and cheering fans over the Gamecocks' fifth victory in six league games. Felipe Haase's 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left put South Carolina ahead for good, and Silva's final two foul shots sealed the win. The Tigers (13-5, 2-3) used a late 12-0 run to wipe out South Carolina's 71-61 lead. They were still ahead 77-75 after Jared Harper's two free throws with 56.3 to go. That's when Haase nailed his long-range, go-ahead basket from the right corner. Chuma Okeke missed a 3-pointer and Danjel Purifoy couldn't connect on a driving basket on Auburn's next possession before Silva came down with his 14th rebound and got fouled with 2.5 seconds to play. Silva made both, and Auburn threw away the pass on its final possession to lose its second straight heartbreaker following an 82-80 loss to Kentucky last Saturday. Pearl said games like the past two are just part of the SEC grind, and he'll make sure his players don't get too down on themselves. 'You've got to keep your locker room and you've got to fight through some adversity,' he said. Auburn appeared to be finished after Hassani Gravett's floater went in just as the shot clock expired for a 71-61 lead with 6:33 to go. But the explosive Tigers shot their way back in it, making five of their next six attempts in a two-minute span. Okeke's 3 from the left front put Auburn ahead 73-71 with 4:01 remaining, capping a 12-0 surge. Brown and Harper scored 17 points each for Auburn. THE BIG PICTURE Auburn: The Tigers showed spurts of stellar play amid several long stretches of offensive struggles. They started the game going 4 of 14 from the field before their closing run. They fell behind 62-53, and then scored six points in four seconds to tighten things up. South Carolina: The Gamecocks have found their stride at the perfect time with Silva in charge. He has become the team's most accomplished and capable scorer. MISSING WILEY Auburn played without 6-foot-11 Austin Wiley, who has averaged 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds this season, for a second straight game. The Tigers could've used his size and strength against South Carolina's post players. Forwards Horace Spencer and Anfernee McLemore fouled out. MARTIN'S MINDSET Martin had wondered at times earlier this year who would step up as leaders. And he was pleased that his team returned from its only SEC loss — last Saturday night at LSU — with a strong resolve to correct mistakes. 'That's leadership,' Martin said. NUMBERS Gravett had three 3-pointers and was South Carolina's only other double-digit scorer with 13 points. It was Silva's 20th career game with double-figure points and rebounds. UP NEXT Auburn plays at No. 22 Mississippi State on Saturday night. South Carolina visits Oklahoma State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25