#1 /www.billsjersey.com/ von Zhuyeqing 18.02.2019 06:11

ZAGREB Chad Kelly Broncos Jersey , Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Orlando Magic great prospect Mario Hezonja helped Croatia beat Slovenia 80-73 on Saturday, opening day of EuroBasket 2015 Group C tournament in Arena Zagreb.

Hezonja, 20, the youngest member of Croatian basketball national team scored the first basket, a 3-pointer Brendan Langley Broncos Jersey , for his team at this event and had a significant role with 13 points and 6 rebounds in this victory against neighboring rivals from Slovenia.

Kruno Simon, 30, had 20 points and center Luka Zoric added 17 points. Damjan Rudez of Minnesota Timberwolves hit a go ahead 3-pointer for Croatia and dished out 3 assists.

Hezonja's performance was overshadowed by Bojan Bogdanovic injury. Brookly Nets shooting guard took a hard fall in the middle of the third quarter and stayed on the floor for several minutes. The doctors had to help him stand up and seat him on the bench. Even though he was not feeling well, Bogdanovic tried to persuade Croatian national head coach Velimir Perasovic to put him back on court. But Perasovic listened to doctors and didn't let Bogdanovic to take any part until the end of the match.

"You know how stubborn he can be. He tried to persuade mi five times to let him in. After what the doctors told me I wouldn't do it for anything in the world. There is no such a result or such a game that I would risk someone's health to win it," Croatian national coach Velimir Perasovic said.

Several hours after the game Bogdanovic went to the hospital for a detailed checkup to learn the exact extent of his head injury Carlos Henderson Broncos Jersey , as confirmed by Croatian doctors.

Bogdanovic, 26, scored nine points before he took a hard fall with the back of his head hitting the court after a layup in the third quarter of Croatia's Group C opener against Slovenia. As he brings almost 20 points every night to the table he will be hardly missed in Croatian squad if he will be forced to skip some games at the EuroBasket 2015.

With Bogdanovic possibly out there will be more minutes for Hezonja who debuted for Croatia at the World Cup 2014 in Spain last summer. He saw some limited time on the court and didn't have enough chances to show how talented he is. One year later Hezonja became a starting forward for Croatian squad.

"Nothing has changed since last year. I was ready then for a bigger role, I am ready now and I will be ready again next year," Hezonja said.

If Croatia makes it through to the final game of EuroBasket 2015 Demarcus Walker Broncos Jersey , that will be played on September 20 in Lille, France. Hezonja will have to get ready for the clash with some big stars at 2016 Olympics.

It's a dream of every player and the dream of Croatian supporters. They still remember times when winning bronze medals at World Cup or Eurobasket wasn't good enough.

There is not enough time for Croatian players to celebrate and enjoy this important victory, because on Sunday they will fight against strong Greek team that beat Macedonia on Saturday. Croatia will seek another win and a strong possibility to go to the knockout stage of EuroBasket 2015 staged in Lille as the best team from Group C.

Serena Williams hits a forehand return to Tsvetana Pironkova at the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday. Photo: IC

Serena Williams put herself back on the winning track in the American's final warm-up event before the US Open with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.

The defending champion enjoyed a successful return to Cincinnati but Caroline Wozniacki, who Williams beat in the final at Flushing Meadows last year DaeSean Hamilton Broncos Jersey , continued her poor buildup for New York with a straight-set loss to Victoria Azarenka.

Williams prevailed in 90 minutes and showed none of the uncharacteristic struggles that dogged her during last week's semifinal loss to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in Toronto.

The world No.1, who will aim for a rare sweep of the four Grand Slam events at the August 31-September 13 US Open, broke Pironkova's serve once in each set and then sealed -victory in style with her 15th ace of the second-round match.

"There wasn't anything really tactical in particular for me today, I always just try to play my game and be consistent and stay focused," Williams Josey Jewell Broncos Jersey , who improved to 44-2 in 2015, said in a courtside interview.

The American will meet Karin Knapp in the third round after the Italian advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Russia's Daria Gavrilova.

Williams is skipping next week's Connecticut Open in order to prepare for the US Open, where she will look to earn her fifth consecutive Grand Slam singles title and fourth of 2015.

"There's definitely a lot of pressure ... I would like to win the Open, probably more than anyone else Isaac Yiadom Broncos Jersey ," she said.

"Whether I do or not, I'm going to try to win it this year or next year and just keep going for that. So, it's not the end of the world."

In the evening session, Azarenka continued her dominance of Wozniacki when she eased past the fifth seed 6-0, 6-4.

Though ranked well below her opponent due to an extended -injury layoff Justin Simmons Broncos Jersey , it was the fifth consecutive straight-set victory for the world No.21 from Belarus over the Dane.

Wozniacki had her chances in the second set but frittered away 10 of 11 break points, while Azarenka converted two of her four chances.

The Dane, who has fallen at the first hurdle against three different opponents the past three weeks, has been granted a wild card entry into next week's Connecticut Open in an effort to find some form before heading to the US Open.

Fourth seed Petra Kvitova also bowed out, the Czech beaten 7-5 Jake Butt Broncos Jersey , 4-6, 6-2 by Caroline Garcia, of France, leaving the women's event with just two of the top five seeds still standing.

Garcia will meet 14th seed Elina Svitolina in the next round after the Ukrainian edged out the slumping Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (86),

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