Feb. 3, 2011TENNIS PAGE
SAN JOSE The SAP Open announced today its wild card selections for the 2011 tournament to be played February 7-13 at HP Pavilion at San Jose. Playing in the Singles Main Draw will be James Blake (USA), Milos Raonic (CAN) and Bradley Klahn (USA). Theses wild card selections join an already impressive field of players which includes 2010 SAP Open champion Fernando Verdasco (ESP), top-15 talent Gael Monfils (FRA), 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), former SAP Open champion Lleyton Hewitt (AUS), American Sam Querrey and top-Japanese player Kei Nishikori and many more.In the Doubles Main Draw Americans Travis Rettenmaier (USA) and Robert Kendrick (USA) have accepted one wild card while Bradley Klahn (USA) and Ryan Thacher (USA) have accepted the second wild card.
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James Blake returns to the 2011 SAP Open for the first time since 2009 when he reached the tournament semifinals. In his career, Blake, 31, has been ranked as high as 4 in the world and has earned more than 7 million in prize money since turning pro in 1999. He has captured 10 ATP singles titles and five doubles titles in his career including the 2004 SAP Open doubles title with partner Mardy Fish. In Davis Cup play, Blake owns a 21-12 record. He was named 2005 ATP World Tour Comeback Player of Year and was featured in People Magazines 2006-2007 Sexiest Man Alive issue. This native of Yonkers, New York who now resides in Tampa, Florida will be playing the SAP Open for the tenth time in 12 years. Coming to the SAP Open for the first time in his career is 20-year old Milos Raonic (CAN). Raonic captivated the tennis world just last month as he advanced through three rounds of qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw at the Australian Open where he advanced through to the round of 16. Along the way, Raonic defeated two top-25 players in Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny before losing to world 7 David Ferrer in four sets. A native of Podgorica, Montenegro, Raonic now resides in Toronto, Canada.Also making his debut at the 2011 SAP Open is 20-year old Bradley Klahn of Poway, Calif. Klahn, a student-athlete at Stanford University, reached the Round of 16 at the Junior Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2008. He won the NCAA Singles Championship as a sophomore, and reached the doubles semifinals with partner Ryan Thacher. In 2009, Klahn won the Pac-10 singles and doubles championship as a freshman. He is the two-time defending Sherwood Collegiate Cup Champion and has also represented the USA in Junior Davis Cup play in 2006. The 2011 SAP Open schedule of play for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night has been announced. The Pete Sampras vs. Gael Monfils charity exhibition singles match will be played at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 7 followed by a second main draw match to be announced. On Tuesday, February 8, Sam Querrey will play his first-round singles match at 7 p.m. followed by Juan Martin del Potros first-round singles match. On Wednesday, February 9, defending champion Fernando Verdasco will play his first-round singles match at 7 p.m. followed by Gael Monfils first-round match. Opponents for each of the featured tournament matches will be determined at the SAP Open draw event to be held Friday, February 4 at 12 noon at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.Courtesy HP Pavilion media services
NASHVILLE – The Sharks’ road trip somehow got worse, before mercifully coming to an end on Saturday in Nashville.
For the second time in two nights, the Sharks were handled with ease by their opponent as Nashville skated to a 7-2 win at Bridgestone Arena. San Jose lost its sixth straight, all in regulation, including all four games on its road trip.
Colton Sissons and James Neal each had two goals to lead Nashville.
The Sharks have been outscored 13-3 in their last two games, including Friday night’s disastrous 6-1 defeat to lowly Dallas. The last time San Jose lost all of its games in regulation on a road trip of at least four games was March 19-29, 1993 (0-6-0).
The Sharks lost center Logan Couture late in the second period, when he was hit squarely in the mouth with a deflected puck and did not return, appearing to loose at least one tooth on the play. Couture immediately charged towards the dressing room after he was struck.
Trailing 2-0 to start the second period, Patrick Marleau cut the lead in half on the power play, when he redirected a Brent Burns pass at 4:24.
Nashville responded right away, though, when Marcus Sorensen was caught high-sticking P.K. Subban. Neal capped off a pretty passing play with his third goal in as many games against the Sharks this season, whipping it in from the circle just 24 seconds after Marleau’s score.
Subban upped the Preds’ lead to 4-1, when Martin Jones lost sight of the puck and the Nashville defenseman whizzed it just inside the post on a shot from the wall at 14:39.
Justin Braun brought the Sharks back to within 4-2 with his first goal in 20 games at 16:19 of the second period, but San Jose didn’t get any momentum from the tally. Sissons and Neal each got their second of the night in the final frame, including Neal’s on the power play while Micheal Haley was serving a match penalty.
Viktor Arvidsson’s shorthanded goal at 19:22 capped the scoring, and another embarrassing night for San Jose.
The Preds scored the only two goals of the first period. At 4:14, Sissons parked in front of the net and whacked in a pass from Colin Wilson, who outmuscled Tomas Hertl on a loose puck behind the net.
Cody McLeod made it 2-0. After Roman Josi walked Burns just inside the blue line, the defenseman's shot hit the crossbar and McLeod was in front to poke it over the line at 15:19.
The Predators improved to 6-1-0 in their last seven, and took over third place in the Central Division ahead of St. Louis.
The Sharks are just 1-5-0 in their last six regular season games in Nashville, with the lone win coming in a shootout. Saturday was their only visit of the season.
The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Nashville was 2-for-4. Perhaps the only good news for San Jose lately is its power play could be coming out of its season-long slump, going 4-for-17 over the last seven games.
Marleau has seven power play goals this season.
Haley was kicked out of the game for attempting to injure Calle Jarnkrok in the third period.
Jones lost for the fourth time in his last five decisions, allowing seven goals on 34 shots, and is just 1-4-2 in his career in the regular season against the Predators.
Pekka Rinne made 26 saves, winning his fourth straight start while allowing just five total goals over that span. He’s 11-6-4 career against the Sharks.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was scratched due to illness, although he did not appear to be walking right after Friday’s game in Dallas when he took just one shift in the third period. San Jose is 2-4-1 when its top defensive defenseman doesn’t dress.
Chris Tierney was also out, and is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Timo Meier returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch on Friday.
Joe Pavelski played in his 800th career game.
The Sharks return home to host the Rangers on Tuesday. It’s their first meeting since New York’s 7-4 win on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in the third game of the season.
Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.
Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.
“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.
Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.
“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”
Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.