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NEW HAVEN, Conn. New Balance 996 Mens . -- Two-time defending champion Petra Kvitova needed just an hour Thursday to beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1 and move into the semifinals of the Connecticut Open, despite suffering from a cold.Looking to join Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki as a four-time winner in the tournament, Kvitova overpowered the Olympic doubles champion, breaking her four times -- three during the 25-minute final set.I think that sometimes I cant really pay too much attention how I feel, Kvitova said. Its just going out there, just being strong mentally, think about the next point, think about the tennis.The Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Wimbledon champion has been criticized during her career for inconsistent play. But the Czech star will be looking for her fifth consecutive appearance in the finals here and her third straight title. She also won in 2012.They should look at New Haven, she said about her critics. Its always nice to coming somewhere when you feel, you know, at a home and you know you can play well. It always gives you little bit more confidence than normally.She will face top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the semifinals. Radwanska beat lucky loser Kirstin Flipkens of Belgium 6-1, 6-4.The worlds fourth-ranked player had an easy time in the first set, but needed a break in the ninth game of the second set to secure the win over the 30-year-old Flipkens, who struggled with an injury to her left hand.Flipkens, who upset Venus Williams at the Olympics, had lost in the second round of qualifying in New Haven. But she was moved into the main draw after Lesia Tsurenko withdrew with a right knee injury, then beat Belinda Bencic and Caroline Garcia.Ukraines Elina Svitolina advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Elena Vesnina, Makarovas doubles partner in Rio. Svitolina outran her Russian opponent and took advantage of 33 unforced errors.I was trying to push her to make those errors, she said. I think in the end she was just going for too much.The 21-year-old Svitolina will play Johanna Larsson, the 28-year-old Swede who upset second-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-6 (9), 6-1. Larsson lost in qualifying, but got into the main draw when Svetlana Kuznetsova withdrew because of a shoulder injury.Larsson is the third lucky loser to advance to the semifinals in New Haven, joining Samantha Stosur (2006) and Tsurenko (2015).Vinci said she was bothered by an injury to a tendon in her left foot that has been giving her problems since the Olympics.I was thinking always to my pain, and I lost, Vinci said. But now I have two or three days off before New York to try to recover. Supreme Uptempo Red . Numbers Game looks into the Canadiens securing the services of Thomas Vanek in a trade with the New York Islanders. The Canadiens Get: LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-round pick. Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit Red . LOUIS -- Theres no telling how these wacky World Series games will end. http:///...o-ultra-uncaged.html .ca! Hi Kerry, Heres an interesting one. I know its common knowledge that all players are responsible for their sticks. We witnessed that when Zack Kassian hit Edmontons Sam Gagner in the face after a missed check. CINCINNATI -- Thursday games are not a large part of Tom Hermans experience, but the Houston coach is quickly playing catchup.His undefeated and sixth-ranked Cougars are scheduled to play the first of this seasons four non-Saturday night games this week when they travel to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.Its not a bad thing on the back end, said Herman, whose team played one Thursday game last season -- his first in a long time, he said. You like it when you can take a deep breath on Friday and Saturday and let your kids heal and relax a little bit, but to go from our offense playing 97 snaps against Lamar and then turn it around on Sunday and for all intents and purposes have a Tuesday practice in terms of preparing for a game week -- I understand why they do it. The ratings are off the charts when you play these Thursday night games, and were in the entertainment business, but we play four of these. We have three Thursday night games and Friday night game, so in a 12-game schedule, a third of our games are not on a Saturday. That takes its toll on players bodies. Were playing four games in 20 days. You do the match. Thats a lot of pounding on a young mans body in a short amount of time.Houston (2-0) is coming off a 42-0 win over Lamar that was delayed 3 ? hours by lightning and torrential rain that was beneficial from the aspect that quarterback and Heisman Trophy-candidate Greg Ward Jr. was able to use the down time to get extra treatment on his banged-up shoulder. He ended up not playing against Lamar.He was out in pads (Sunday) night and practiced, Herman said on Monday during his weekly media session. Hes still sore, but the soreness is all muscular, so were doing everything we can, from massages to dry needling, to make sure that the muscles that surround the shoulder are ready to go.Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville is -- and isnt -- looking forward to seeing Ward.We saw him play quarterback for the first time four years ago, so weve seen him every year, Tuberville said Monday on the AAC weekly coaches teleconference. New Balance Outlet Store Online. . He makes plays. Obviously, were going to have to play much better than we have been playing to contain a quarterback like Greg Ward.The Bearcats are scheduled to play three non-Saturday games, including the last two Fridays of the regular season. They are coming off a 38-20 win at Purdue -- the first for the program at a Big Ten site in 59 years -- in which they build up a 31-7 lead and fought off a Boilermaker comeback that cut the lead to 31-21 halfway through the fourth quarter. Cincinnati (2-0) had five interceptions in the game, three by senior safety Mike Tyson.Houston, the first top 10 team to visit 40,000-seat Nippert Stadium since then-fifth-ranked West Virginia played there on Nov. 17, 2007, holds a 14-10 advantage in the all-time series against Cincinnati, but the Bearcats have won four of the last five games. The Cougars prevailed, 33-30, last season -- a typically close outcome. The last three games between the two teams have been decided by a combined 18 points.As good as they were last year, theyve improved on both sides of the ball, said Herman, for whom the trip will be somewhat of a homecoming, since hes a Cincinnati native who still has family in the area. Their defensive line and their defensive tackles seem to be in a lot better shape. Theyre moving around better. Their two safeties are really good players hat make a ton of tackles for them. They seem to be a little more sound in what theyre doing. Theyre in the right places at the right time on defense.On offense, the quarterback (sophomore Hayden Moore) is playing at an extremely high level. Hes a really good player behind a massive offensive line. Theyre running the ball a little bit better than they have in years past. It will be a challenge. 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