Bad news for tennis fans

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Bad news for tennis fans

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam count will stay stuck at 11 for now, sidetracked by another knee problem. The third-ranked Spaniard withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Tendinitis has kept him out of action since his stunning loss at Wimbledon in late June. The injury already forced him out of the London Olympics, where he was supposed to defend his title and carry Spain's flag in the opening ceremony. "I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and specially, the new yorkers," Nadal wrote on his Twitter account. Nadal is still only 26, but the withdrawals raise questions about the future of a player who has had recurring knee problems in the past. His 11 Grand Slam titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open, yet his hard-charging, hard-hitting style of play takes a toll on his body, particularly his knees. Roger Federer, in contrast, has played in every Grand Slam tournament since the start of 2000, a streak of 51 in a row. In 2009, Nadal missed Wimbledon because of aching knees shortly after falling in the round of 16 at the French Open -- the only time in eight appearances he hasn't won at Roland Garros. He was just the second men's champion in 35 years to decline to defend his title at the All England Club. But Nadal eventually came back stronger than ever from that layoff. After failing to reach the final at the 2009 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open, he won the French to start a run of three straight major titles, capped by completing the career Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. Nadal's absence immediately leaves a trio of heavy favorites at the last Grand Slam event of the year: defending champion Novak Djokovic; five-time U.S. Open winner and currently top-ranked Federer; and 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Andy Murray, who won the gold medal in singles at the London Games by beating Federer in the final. Nadal lost in the U.S. Open final to Djokovic last year, part of a stretch of three straight defeats to the Serb in championship matches at major tournaments. But he seemed to be closing the gap, and at Roland Garros in June, he beat Djokovic in the final for his record seventh title there. Then came the stunning loss at Wimbledon, and Nadal hasn't played since. On June 28, 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol upset him in the second round at the All England Club. Shortly after that defeat, Nadal canceled a scheduled charity match against Djokovic in Spain, citing tendon problems in his left knee. The two-week U.S. Open starts Aug. 27. "Rafa has informed us that he will not be ready to compete at the U.S. Open this year and has withdrawn from the tournament," tournament director David Brewer said in a statement on Wednesday. "We hope to see him back on the court soon and look forward to his return to New York next year."

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

BOX SCORE

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut after a trade from the Lakers, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds after he was acquired from Sacramento during the break. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists.

Houston led by as many as 35 points when Gordon's free throws made it 100-65 late in the third quarter.

Patrick Beverley had 12 rebounds for Houston. Montrezl Harrell added 10 points for the Rockets, who shot 49.5 percent (45 of 91).

After New Orleans acquired Cousins, nicknamed "Boogie," in a deal involving five players and two draft choices, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps hoped Cousins and Davis would thrive playing off one another while point guard Jrue Holiday initiated offensive sets. But Holiday had arguably his worst game this season, turning the ball over seven times and finishing with only six points and four assists.

The crowd was charged up for both Cousins' debut and Davis' resumption of a sensational season following his record 52-point performance on Sunday.

Both players received rousing receptions during introductions and the crowd roared when Cousins hit a jumper for games' first points.

Cousins and Davis each scored eight in the first quarter, but it was also apparent that the integration of new personnel had New Orleans a bit out of sync. The Pelicans turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, leading to 17 Rockets points.

The Rockets also hit nine 3s in the opening half, including three each by Gordon and Williams, and led 66-50 at halftime.

By the end of the third quarter, the crowd that had been so rowdy at tip-off was starting to file out with their team down 100-67.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston has won seven of the past eight meetings. ... The Rockets hit at least 10 3s in a game for the 55th time in 59 games this season. ... The Rockets, now 41-18, have matched their win total for all of last season.

Pelicans: Before the game, New Orleans waived F Terrence Jones and signed G/F Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Jones, who joined New Orleans on a one-year contract this season, was released to help him find a team where he could play more. Thompson played a little more than four minutes and scored three points. ... The Pelicans are now 14-16 at home.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.

Pelicans: Visit Dallas on Saturday night.

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

OAKLAND -- For the first time in nearly four weeks, the Warriors will take the court Thursday night with their regular starting lineup.

Center Zaza Pachulia, out since Jan. 29 with a strained rotator cuff, was cleared to play and will return to his status as the starting center when the Warriors face the Clippers at Oracle Arena, coach Steve Kerr said in his pregame news conference.

Backup center David West, who has been out since Jan. 18 with a fractured thumb, also received clearance and will be available.

JaVale McGee, who performed well while starting eight games in place of Pachulia, will return to his normal role, playing spot minutes off the bench.

“I considered either way, but I think we had a good groove with Zaza as a starter,” Kerr said. “And JaVale was still making an impact when Zaza was starting, bringing him in midway through the first quarter. We hadn’t done it the other way.

“I’ve seen JaVale with our other group, later in the first quarter, and that worked well. So I figured I might as well go back to what’s already worked.”

While Pachulia was out, McGee averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game. Generating most of his offense on dunks off lobs, he is shooting 74.7 percent (71-of-95) over his last 22 games and 67.8 percent this season.

Pachulia, who has started 44 games, is averaging 5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He is shooting 52.7 percent from the field.