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    Tommy Paul has reached his first Grand Slam semifinal and ended the surprising run of Ben Shelton by winning their all-American matchup 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 at the Australian Open. Paul is the first man from the United States to make it to the final four at Melbourne Park since Andy Roddick in 2009. Paul will face 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday. Djokovic beat Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov meet in the other men’s semifinal Friday. Aryna Sabalenka and Magda Linette advanced to the semifinals with victories. The other women's semifinal is Victoria Azarenka against Elena Rybakina.

      Two days after advancing to her first Grand Slam tournament quarterfinal unseeded Magda Linette has gone one better and is into the Australian Open semis. The 30-year-old Linette beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5 to add the former No. 1 to the list of top players she has beaten at Melbourne Park during this tournament.

        The term "choke" is often used when describing a tennis player who misses what looks like an easy shot or loses a match at the Australian Open and other tournaments. The attention falls on one athlete when there are no teammates to cover for mistakes or provide help at key junctures in an individual sport. That means plenty of praise for the winners and accusations of "choking" lobbed at the losers. Sometimes it's used when a high-ranked player is defeated by someone much lower-ranked that they're "supposed" to beat. Or when someone throws away a big lead. It is not surprising that most players are not fans of the term.

          MELBOURNE, Australia — On the court at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday night, Victoria Azarenka — the athlete — displayed the same confident brand of take-the-ball-early, hard-hitting tennis that carried her to two Australian Open titles and the No. 1 ranking a decade ago.

            There couldn’t be more contrasting men’s quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic is still on track for his 10th title at Melbourne Park and now faces No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev — who is 0-6 in Grand Slam quarterfinals. The other men's match Wednesday features a pair of unseeded 20-something Americans: Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul. Neither has ever been this far at a major tournament and their matchup will be the first Slam quarterfinal between two U.S. men since 2007. There is also a fresh face among the women: Magda Linette is playing in her first quarterfinal in 30 Grand Slam appearances. She faces Karolina Pliskova. The other quarterfinalists are appearing for the first time in the last eight at Melbourne Park: No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Donna Vekic.

            HENDERSONVILLE — Fifteen wrestlers from conferences covered by the Hickory Daily Record participated in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Girls Wrestling West Regional Meet on Thursday at North Henderson High School. The top four finishers in 12 separate weight classes qual…

            The Western Foothills 3A Conference (WFAC) and Catawba Valley 2A Conference (CVAC) crowned their conference champions on Tuesday. The WFAC held its league championship meet at the Hickory Foundation YMCA, while the CVAC championship meet took place at the Lenoir Aquatic & Fitness Center.

            LINCOLNTON — Hickory’s boys basketball team seized control of the Western Foothills 3A Conference with a 72-51 win at North Lincoln on Tuesday. In completing the series sweep of the second-place Knights, the Red tornadoes moved two games ahead of North Lincoln with five to play.

            Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol a month after entering it, according to a league source, and now will be unable to participate in the Pro Bowl. Tagovailoa was not among the original selection of three AFC quarterbacks for the NFL’s All-Star exhibition taking place Feb. 2-5, but with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe ...

            The South Atlantic Conference released its preseason coaches’ poll for men’s lacrosse this week, with Lenoir-Rhyne finishing first with 79 points and seven first-place votes. Limestone came in second with 72 points and two first-place votes, while Wingate rounded out the top three with 68 po…

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            Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol a month after entering it, according to a league source, and now will be unable to participate in the Pro Bowl. Tagovailoa was not among the original selection of three AFC quarterbacks for the NFL’s All-Star exhibition taking place Feb. 2-5, but with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe ...

            Nick Sirianni is getting his flowers figuratively instead of thrown at his face. The chest-bumping, sideline-prancing, expletive-tossing head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles has won over a tough city that questioned his credentials and mocked his introductory news conference when he was hired two years ago.

            Rookie Chet Holmgren got hurt last summer and will miss the entirety of this season. But evidently, his rehab has been going extremely well since four NBA players say he should start next month’s All-Star Game. It doesn't make much sense, but the voting by NBA players for their own All-Star Game rarely does.

            The San Francisco 49ers will play at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Much of the focus will be on the two young quarterbacks, Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and San Francisco's Brock Purdy, with everyone watching to see how they will handle the pressure of the moment. Hurts and Purdy have been here before. Not in the NFC championship game, ...

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