Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for January 24, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - Both Australian Open finals almost set

The Australian Open has been really great this year, with lots of upsets on both the men's and women's draws, an insane collapse by Serena Williams, and new legacies beginning. Naomi Osaka is in the finals and has a chance to win her second Grand Slam in a row, after she defeated Karolina Pliskova in three sets. Petra Kvitova, meanwhile, is in the finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since her last win in 2014, and looks as good as she ever has. Rafael Nadal made surprisingly easy work of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had looked unbeatable prior to this match. Nadal won 6-2, 6-4, 6-0, and will face the winner of tonight's match between Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille. It's safe to say I think Djokovic will win here. 

Second Base - Pacers lose Oladip but beat Raptors

The Indiana Pacers were a surprise success story last year, with Victor Oladipo becoming an All-Star out of nowhere, but this season, the team is third in the Wast and Oladipo was once again playing great. However, last night against the Pacers, as Oladipo prepared to try and block a Pascal Siakim, he collapsed to the floor and had to be stretchered off with a knee injury. There is no official word, but it's expected he'll miss the rest of the season, a massive blow at this stage of the season. Still, the Pacers held on to beat Toronto 110-106. Kawhi Leonard was rested for his fourth straight game, but will be in the lineup on Friday when the Raptors head to Houston to play the Rockets. Leonard will need to be at his best on both sides of the court, as James Harden is on an absolute tear, scoring at least 30 points in his last 21 games, and scoring a career high 61 points in a win over the New York Knicks last night. 

Third Base - Roy Halladay to go into HOF without a logo on his hat

This is a bit of a surprising and strange story. Roy Halladay's family, in conjunction with the Hall of Fame, have announced that Roy Halladay's plaque will not feature a logo of one of the two teams he played for on his hat, as the family couldn't choose between the two teams. While this is a little disappointing at first, since Halladay played 12 of his 16 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, it's ultimately not a huge deal and is certainly up to the family to decide, and should not be taken as a slight. 

Home Base - Leafs beat up Capitals, Habs win again, in last game before All Star break

I know it's just one game, but the Toronto Maple Leafs needed this. The team had been playing up and down hockey the last couple of weeks and was no longer looking like the clear-cut second best team in hockey, let alone in the top five. Last night, they beat the Washington Capitals 6-3, handings the Capitals their seventh straight loss, which is crazy in itself. Nazem Kadri had a hat trick, and Auston Matthews scored twice as well, and all is well in Leafs nation heading into the All Star Break. The Montreal Canadiens beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 last night, as their strange but successful season continues. The team is one point behind the Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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