NBA

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return for Clippers

By Sports Desk January 29, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been cleared to return against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Leonard and George missed the opening two games of a six-game road swing after reportedly entering the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The Clippers went 1-1 in the pair's absence against the Atlanta Hawks (lost 108-99) and Miami Heat (won 109-105).

But Leonard and George are set to take to the court when the Clippers (14-5) visit the Magic (8-11).

Leonard has been averaging 25.9 points, 5.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21, while Clippers team-mate George is averaging 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

The Clippers have gone 8-1 in their last nine games and have outscored opponents by an average of 12.8 points per game, second in the NBA in that span (Utah Jazz, plus-15.6), per Stats Perform. This stretch has come after the Clippers began the season 6-4, outscoring opponents by 0.8 points per game in that period.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have won 13 successive games against the Magic – dating back to January 2014. It is tied for the longest active winning streak by any current NBA franchise against any opponent (the Philadelphia 76ers versus New York Knicks and the 76ers against Charlotte Hornets – both 13).

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    Swiatek is the favourite for the French Open title this year, and the Pole has been in dominant form so far in Paris.

    On Saturday, she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-3 7-5 to move into round four, tallying up a 31st consecutive win in the process – only three players Justine Henin (32), Serena Williams (34) and Venus Williams (35) have recorded longer winning streaks this century.

    Swiatek won the first and only grand slam title of her career at Roland Garros in 2020, and of the 19 matches she has now played at the French Open, the 20-year-old has won 17.

    That feat ranks her just behind Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the number of wins from their first 19 matches at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

    Evert, Seles and 24-time grand slam winner Court managed 18 victories from that number of matches.

    Swiatek was beaten by Maria Sakkari at the quarter-final stage in Paris last year.

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    Iga Swiatek's quest to win a second French Open title continued as she progressed into the fourth round with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of Danka Kovinic.

    Playing early on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday, the top seed made ultimately got past the world number 95 Kovinic in straight sets, though the Montenegrin did not go down without a fight.

    Kovinic took all three break points that Swiatek offered up, with two of those coming in the second set, halting what seemed set to be a procession for the favourite.

    It has been over 100 days since Swiatek last lost a match, but the Pole temporarily lost her composure as Kovinic reeled off four straight games to go from 4-1 down to 5-4 up.

    The final game of Kovinic's streak was settled by a poor Swiatek backhand into the net as the 20-year-old saw the momentum swing the way of her opponent, who was frustrating the world number one with some sublime drop shots.

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    It was an opportunity Swiatek grasped, and though Kovinic fended off the first match point with a powerful forehand, a return straight into the net confirmed her exit.

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    Data Slam: Swiatek closing in on Henin

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    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 1/0
    Kovinic – 3/4

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