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PRESS BOX: No. 1 Angelique Kerber, No. 2 Simona Halep both lose

By The Sports Xchange
PRESS BOX: No. 1 Angelique Kerber, No. 2 Simona Halep both lose
Angelique Kerber runs to return a ball. Kerber, the No. 1 seed, was upset in Aegon International quarterfinals. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber and No. 2 Simona Halep both won matches at the Aegon International on Thursday, but they were both eliminated later in the day in quarterfinal matches.

The grass-court event in Eastbourne, England, has been plagued by rain this week, forcing players to play two matches Thursday.

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Kerber easily won her first match of the day, beating Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain 6-2, 6-1. But the German star lost her second match to British star Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4.

It was a big day for Konta, the fifth seed, who had eliminated this year's French Open champ, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 earlier.

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Despite her loss, Kerber will retain the No. 1 ranking for at least another week, because Halep also lost in the quarterfinals.

The Romanian had to struggle to get through her first match of the day, beating 149th-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4) 7-5. Halep had to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to win that affair.

She was not as fortunate in her second match of the day, falling to sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.

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--Top-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic advanced to the Aegon International semifinals with a 6-2, 7-6 (9) victory over American Donald Young at Eastbourne, England.

Second-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils recorded eight aces to complete a 6-3, 6-2 victory over local wild card Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.

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--Frenchman Adrian Mannarino rebounded from losing the first set to dispatch third-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals of the Antalya Open in Antalya, Turkey.

NBA

--Highly coveted forward Gordon Hayward will open the free-agent process by meeting with the Miami Heat on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

Hayward, who played in his first All-Star game last season, will also consider remaining with the Utah Jazz or departing for the Boston Celtics.

Hayward averaged 21.9 points for the Jazz last season. The 27-year-old reportedly will meet with the Jazz on Monday.

--Lance Stephenson took to social media to plead with fellow forward Paul George to stay with the Indiana Pacers.

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Stephenson, who was drafted by the Pacers along with George in 2010, posted a photo of the two on his Instagram account on Wednesday night.

"I'm not letting u leave bro @ygtrece stay home bro," the 26-year-old Stephenson wrote. "We did big things let's continue."

George reportedly is committed to playing for the Pacers through next season, but the four-time All-Star intends for sign with another club when his contract is up in 2018.

NFL

--Terri Valenti will serve as the first female instant replay official in NFL history, the league announced.

Valenti's new role makes her the second female official in three years hired by the NFL, joining Sarah Thomas.

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