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Naomi Osaka stops Serena Williams’ bid for record-tying 24th Grand slam title

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Naomi Osaka stops Serena Williams' bid for record-tying 24th Grand slam title

MELBOURNE, Australia — Naomi Osaka has stopped Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title in the Australian Open semifinals.

Osaka reached her fourth major final by beating Williams 6-3, 6-4 to stretch her winning streak to 20 matches.

Williams grabbed the first two games before Osaka took control with a five-game run.

Osaka broke Williams to begin the second set and was on her way.

Williams’ forehand was off the mark all match and she finished with totals of 24 unforced errors and just 12 winners.

Williams won her 23rd major championship at Melbourne Park in 2017 but remained one behind Margaret Court’s mark for the most in history.

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Domantas Sabonis to replace Kevin Durant in NBA All-Star Game

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Domantas Sabonis to replace Kevin Durant in NBA All-Star Game

Kevin Durant’s hamstring injury meant a great deal to Domantas Sabonis.

He has 1.3 million reasons to be happy about it.

With the injury forcing the Nets’ superstar out of the All-Star game, the Pacers’ forward is taking his spot, and receiving a $1.3 million bonus as a result.

The 24-year-old Sabonis, a former Gonzaga star, is having a terrific year, averaging a career-high 21.5 points per game, along with 11.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Indiana is 15-15, 3.5 games behind the Bucks in the Central division.

This will be the second straight All-Star Game appearance for Sabonis, who has registered three triple-doubles this year and is second in the NBA with 24 double-doubles. Durant will be replaced in the starting lineup by Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

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QB OK losing millions by sitting out

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QB OK losing millions by sitting out

The Texans won’t answer the phone to hear trade proposals for Deshaun Watson and the star quarterback is willing to miss regular season games if he’s not dealt.

In other words, the standoff between the franchise and their unhappy quarterback continues.

ESPN.com reported on Friday that Watson is willing to lose big money by sitting out if Houston refuses to move him and the relationship is beyond repair.

“He could incur $3 million-plus in fines during that process, but he does not care. I’m told the relationship is simply too far gone right now,” ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler said.

This report came hours after NFL Network reported that teams have resorted to leaving voicemails with the Texans since they are unwilling to engage in trade talks.

Watson, 25, signed a four-year, $156 million extension last season, but has felt disrespected by the Texans not consulting him on key decisions, such as hiring Nick Caserio as GM and trading star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last spring.

NFL Network has also reported that the Texans don’t feel there are any deadlines to make a trade, such as the start of free agency (March 17) or 2021 NFL Draft (April 29). Teams that would like to be involved, like the Jets, Dolphins and Panthers, also don’t believe Watson will get dealt.

Nobody has blinked yet. 

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Purdue vs. Penn State line, prediction: Take Boilermakers

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Purdue vs. Penn State line, prediction: Take Boilermakers

The Purdue defense has been one of the most rock-solid units in the nation in 2021, giving up 72 points or fewer in every game this calendar year. On Friday, the Boilermakers will visit a Penn State squad looking for revenge after an 80-72 defeat in West Lafayette, Ind., in January.

The Penn State offense has sputtered in February, scoring more than 68 points twice in their seven games, averaging 64.7 points per game. The Nittany Lions are shooting 31.6 percent from 3-point range in this stretch after making 36.6 percent from distance in their first 13 games, a problem considering Purdue is giving up the fewest points per game on 2-point shots among the 14 Big Ten teams in conference play.

Purdue ranks 21st in the country in rebound rate in true road games and should own the paint against a Penn State team that is allowing opponents to make 54.8 percent of its 2-point shots, which ranks 318th. Trevion Williams is the Boilermakers’ leading scorer at 16 ppg and also their top rebounder at 9.1 per game.

The Boilermakers have covered the spread in eight of their past 11 games, and with Penn State ranking 244th in country in points given up on a per-possession basis, Purdue’s covering ways should continue on Friday.

The play: Purdue, -1.

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