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Rafael Nadal upset by Stefanos Tsitsipas in Australian Open

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Rafael Nadal upset by Stefanos Tsitsipas in Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — For the 225th time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal grabbed a two-set lead in a Grand Slam match. For only the second time, he blew that big edge and lost.

A couple of uncharacteristically sloppy overheads and a framed backhand in a third-set tiebreaker began Nadal’s undoing, and his bid for a men’s-record 21st major championship eventually ended in the Australian Open quarterfinals Wednesday with 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I have to go back home,” Nadal said, “and practice to be better.”

At his put-the-ball-where-he-wants-it best in the early going, Nadal went ahead rather easily, winning 27 consecutive points on his serve in one stretch and running his streak of consecutive sets won at major tournaments to 35, one shy of Roger Federer’s record for the professional era.

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Yankees’ Jameson Taillon wonders about spring training balls

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Yankees' Jameson Taillon wonders about spring training balls

Observations from Friday’s Yankees workout:

Luke Goes Yard

Last year’s home run champ, Luke Voit, took new teammate Corey Kluber deep to right-center in live batting practice. Voit is hoping to show his power over the course of a healthy, 162-game season.

A Whole New Ball Game

Jameson Taillon echoed Gerrit Cole’s sentiment in saying they are unsure if they are using baseballs designed for this year or last season. MLB announced changes to the balls for the upcoming season that are expected to make them not travel as far. “I’m really not sure what we’re throwing, to be honest,” Taillon said.

Caught My Eye

After showing it off online Thursday, Clint Frazier used a bat in batting practice on Friday painted to resemble his look, complete with red hair, sunglasses, a necklace and pinstripes.

Saturday’s Schedule

It’s the final workout before the Grapefruit League season begins Sunday against the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.

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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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