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Mitch's Sports Report: One Point Away From Victory, Turned Ankle Turns Fortunes For Williams

It's shocking any time Serena Williams loses a grand slam tennis match, but her ouster at the Australian Open yesterday was made even moreso as she bowed out to the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova after building up a 5-1 lead in the third and deciding set.

Williams was also serving for match point at 40-30 when everything went sideways, and it may have been a turned ankle on that very service point that turned the tide. After Williams seemed to injure her ankle on that serve she failed to win another service point, but she also did not blame the ankle turn on her loss. She didn't call for an injury time-out, either, and credit Pliskova for simply outplaying Williams the rest of the way in scoring a remarkable 7-5 comeback win in that final set, allowing the seven seed to move closer to her first ever major grand slam title.

Williams, meanwhile, will have to delay her bid for her eighth Australian Open championship and a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall.

On the men's side Novak Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals after Kei Nishikori bowed out of their match with an injury.

This note from the NHL, where the Edmonton Oilers have fired their general manager Peter Chiarelli after four seasons at the helm. The last straw was a loss to the Detroit Red Wings last night, the Wings sporting the league's fewest points. The Oilers by now were supposed to be among the NHL's elite since they've been stockpiling high level draft picks due to a string of losing seasons, but the team is still mired well outside the playoff bubble and Chiarelli has been criticized for moves like trading away one of those high draft picks, Taylor Hall. Fans of the Boston Bruins feel Edmonton's pain, as many of us are still in disbelief years later about Chiarelli's decision to trade one of the game's best centers in Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars for players who have long since left Boston.

A thriller of a game in men's college hockey last night as the Norwich Cadets and Middlebury Panthers played down to the wire, a 2-2 contest decided with just 23 seconds left in the final period when the Cadets got the game winner off the stick of junior forward Jordan Hall to win 3-2.

The Cadets overcome a 2-0 deficit after second period goals by Panthers Zach Shapiro and Emack Bentley, but came back to tie on tallies by Felix Brassard and Max Borduas before Hall's heroics in the waning seconds.

The Norwich women's hockey team fell 3-1 to Amherst College in Northfield last night, only Amanda Conway's goal late in the third period keeping the Cadets from being shut out. The goal was Conway's 22nd of the season, the highest goal total in women's NCAA division three hockey.

In Massachusetts, the Castleton Spartans dropped a 2-1 decision to Endicott on a late goal, but the loss was no fault of goalie Rylie Willis, who was outstanding for the Spartans in making 53 saves on the night.

In women's college hoops the Middlebury Panthers continue their dominating season, now 16-2 on the year after a 59-42 win over Clarkson at Pepin Gym. Catherine Harrison recorded a double double with 11 points and 10 boards.

In Lyndonville, the Northern Vermont University Lyndon Hornets got strong games from Lea Crompton, who scored 18 points, and Alissa Mitchell, who pulled down 14 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Hornets fell to Fisher College 63-54.

Finally, there are four new plaques going up in Cooperstown's baseball Hall of Fame. Pitchers Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, and the late Roy Halladay are in, along with the second greatest designated hitter of all time, Edgar Martinez. The greatest, of course, is David Ortiz. Rivera became the first player to enter the Hall on a unanimous vote, and deservedly so.

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