24. 09. 2018
Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing – National

Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing – National

NEW YORK – The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. fell Thursday after the retailer reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere.

The company is trying to stock trendier clothing — and it turns out that means stripping off the once-prized Abercrombie logo.

It is a major change for the retailer, whose sweatshirts and T-shirts emblazoned with its name long held major cachet with teenagers. Now, individuality is the name of the game.

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“Personal style, specifically with teens, is becoming less about fitting in and more about standing out,” said Lauren Wolfenden, a senior advisory analyst at WGSN, a fashion trend consultancy. “A&F has wised up to this by phasing out the cookie-cutter logo-ed product look and bringing in trendy pieces that can be worn in a multitude of different ways.”

A&F and other traditional teen stores have to adapt in an uphill battle to turn their businesses around as mall traffic drops and shoppers’ tastes change.

A slowly recovering economy is making parents and teens to think twice about splurging on clothes. Expensive standbys like Abercrombie also have lost business to “fast fashion” chains like H&M, known for quickly churning out trendy $9 tops.

Teens are also spending less time at the mall and more time researching and buying on mobile devices. And when they do buy, they’re more likely buying the latest gadget than filling their closets.

Last week, Aeropostale last week reported its seventh consecutive quarterly loss on slumping sales. It also forecast another loss in the current quarter.

At the same time, Aeropostale, based in New York, reinstated Julian Geiger, its former CEO.

Earnings at another competitor, American Eagle, have also declined on weak sales.

Mike Jeffries, A&F’s CEO, said in a statement that the retailer has made progress in stocking trendier clothing and said the improvement is “clearly evident” in its back-to-school business.

“In a continuing challenging environment, our sales for the second quarter were somewhat below plan, but we have seen modest improvement since the back-to-school floor set,” he added.

A&F has been shortening the time from developing a design to shipping the clothing to the stores. It’s also changing its colour palette.

WGSN’s Wolfenden said Abercrombie announced earlier this year that it would start using black in their collections, something it had never done before. She praised some of the current fashions in the stores, which include Aztec printed silky pants, sleek maxi-dresses and slouchy T-shirts with scenic images and French sayings.

But the big change, of course, shoppers are seeing is clothes that don’t shout the Abercrombie name.

For the fall shopping season, A&F has reduced its logoed merchandise by half, and plans to go further.

“In the spring season, we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Jeffries told investors on a conference call

In a note to investors Thursday, Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, noted that “it’s taking time to win back customers.” But he believes that the merchandise changes are “gaining traction.”

A&F said it earned $12.9 million, or 17 cents in its fiscal second quarter. That compares with $11.3 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 19 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected 10 cents per share.

The New Albany, Ohio-based retailer reported that revenue fell 5.8 per cent to $890.6 million, short of analyst estimates.

Revenue at stores open at least a year dropped a steep 11 per cent, including 8 per cent at U.S. stores.

A&F’s shares fell nearly 5 per cent, or $2.13, to close at $41.87 on Thursday. American Eagle’s shares fell a little more than 1 per cent, or 16 cents, to $14.03. And Aeropostale’s shares slipped 2 cents, to close at $4.14.


Follow Anne D’Innocenzio at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活桑拿会所杭州夜网/adinnocenzio

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24. 09. 2018
Police seize $2.3M in stolen high-end cars in international bust – Toronto

Police seize $2.3M in stolen high-end cars in international bust – Toronto

ABOVE: Toronto police release details of the 2.3 million dollars in luxury cars retrieved in a series of early morning raids

TORONTO – Eight people were arrested and $2.3 million in luxury cars retrieved after early morning raids dealt a blow, police say, to an international car theft ring.

The Toronto Police Service, along with Canadian Border Services Agends and police officers from York, Halton, Peel, Niagara executed more than 30 raids Thursday morning in homes, businesses and a storage container.

Police named the investigation Project YellowBird after a yellow Porsche Carrera stolen from a home in north Toronto during December’s ice storm.

Superintendent Scott Gilbert said the suspects were forced to break in to the homes when searching for the cars because of “immobilizer” technology in the car that prevents anyone from driving it without the programmable key.

The estimated 23 break-ins were motivated by searches for those keys, he said; stolen jewellery and other property were just added benefit.

A photo of a stolen Mercedes seized by police in the Project Yellowbird raids.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

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Gilbert said the suspects would drive nice cars so as to not look out of place in fancy neighbourhoods – and it worked. Residents said they noticed people roaming around their neighbours’ homes but didn’t call police because the strangers didn’t seem “out of place.”

“This isn’t a bunch of kids going out and breaking into houses during lunch hour,” said Police Chief Bill Blair. “[This is a] very sophisticated and up until this morning a highly successful criminal enterprise.”

Police retrieved 23 vehicles, including a Bentley, various model BMWs, Mercedes SUVs, an Aston Martin and the yellow Porsche. They say the estimated value of the cars nears $2.3 million.

Four of the cars – including the yellow Porsche – were found in Europe.

Blair suggested the criminal organization was operating well before the ice storm, when Toronto police investigators began looking into car thefts.

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24. 09. 2018
Should Tim Hortons brace for job cuts? – National

Should Tim Hortons brace for job cuts? – National

The mood among thousands of employees at Tim Hortons Inc this week has more than likely undergone a stark transformation, company watchers say, from optimism to uneasiness.

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News that Burger King is merging with Canada’s biggest and most iconic coffee chain is being hailed by big business and politicians as a win for the company and country. But for many Tim Hortons employees at regional offices, distribution centres and manufacturing facilities, the blockbuster deal could see them out of a job.

3G Capital, the big investment fund that owns Burger King and will become the majority owner of a joint Tim Hortons/Burger King company (see chart), has made a “commitment to Canada” as part of the bid. It includes a pledge of “no changes to restaurant-level employment” among other promises.

“There may not be cuts at the store level, but are there going to be cuts at virtually every other level? Yes,” said an investment expert close to Tim Hortons who is well aware of the new corporate overlords taking the helm at Tims.

Earlier this week, 3G execs who will become the new bosses of Tims were purposely vague about their plans, experts say, deflecting questions about “synergies” that could be realized by combining Tims with Burger King then cutting away pieces deemed a drag on profits.

“Synergies are difficult to talk about because they mean nasty things like job losses,” CIBC World Markets analyst Perry Caicco said in a note to clients. “But the new company’s own presentation mentions an opportunity for significant synergies.”

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Reputation precedes it

3G comes with a reputation for slashing budgets and head count at companies it gains control of. About 450 middle managers and higher-ups were fired from Burger King when it was acquired by 3G in 2010.

More recently, Heinz has dumped 3,400 positions across the food processing company since being acquired by the New York and Rio-based investment fund in February 2013.

A cold rationality at 3G driven by a thirst for bigger profits fed into a decision to close Heinz’s longstanding Leamington, Ont. ketchup factory in June.

The anchor of Canada’s anointed tomato capital in southwestern Ontario, the 105-year-old facility provided stable, well-paying jobs to generations of Canadians.

MORE: In Canada’s tomato capital, there’s life after ketchup

Cut where?

Tim Hortons doesn’t directly employ the tens of thousands of full- and part-time staffs at the 3,600 or so franchisee-owned locations in Canada. But it does directly employ 2,150 people spread across its headquarters in Oakville, Ont., five distribution centres throughout Canada and 12 regional offices.

Tims distribution centres are located in Guelph, Ont., Kingston, Ont., Langley, B.C., Calgary and Debert, Nova Scotia. Another facility is owned in Vaudreuil Dorion, Que., according to regulatory filings.

There are three manufacturing facilities as well, based in Hamilton, Oakville and Rochester, New York, while 500 workers staff 14 company-owned Tims locations.

Experts say 3G will be looking closely at those behind-the-scenes operations to see where it can gain efficiencies between Tims and Burger King’s own delivery systems.

CIBC’s Caicco and others warn that if 3G slices too deeply into Tim Hortons, it risks damaging the company’s culture and reputation, which could see employees – and customers – turn their back on it.

“They will need to be careful about the culture and the workforce,” Caicco said.

“They’re going to look for synergies, but any changes they make will be completely invisible to the customer,” Ken Wong, a business professor at Queen’s University said. “Things that won’t affect the quality or products of either [chain].”

Still, experts suggest Tims already runs a cost-effective business, and 3G won’t have much if any trimming to do.

“There’s little chance Burger King can bring better management to Tim Hortons’ cost structure or productivity in the first couple years,” Caicco said. “If there are costs to cut at Tims, management either would have, or will, cut them shortly.”

Analysts expect Burger King to take Tims over formally before the end of the year.

“If you had a business that wasn’t performing as well as Tim Hortons is, you’d see the worst of 3G come out,” Prof. Wong added. “But it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it.”

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24. 09. 2018
Drunk driver sentenced to 8 years in triple fatal

Drunk driver sentenced to 8 years in triple fatal

Watch above: “You ruined my life,” Sheri Arsenault told Pratt in court before he was sentenced to eight years in prison for a fatal crash that killed three men, including Arsenault’s son. Laurel Gregory reports.

EDMONTON – Johnathan Pratt, the man responsible for the deaths of three young men from Beaumont, has been sentenced to eight years behind bars.

Justice Paul Belzil handed out the sentence Thursday afternoon, after a morning filled with emotions in a Wetaskiwin court room.

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The eight-year sentence comes after Pratt was found guilty earlier this year of manslaughter and impaired driving causing death in a collision that killed Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak, and Thaddeus Lake.

“I was hoping it would maybe be 10 [years],” said Zane Novak, Kole’s father, “set a little bit more of a precedent. I think that if there has ever been a case in recent history before the courts that really could have set some distinct precedent, this could have been it.

“Though there is some closure with this today, it’s minimal.”

“The outcome, I don’t want to use the word happy because there’s no such thing as that word regarding something like this,” said Sheri Arsenault, Bradley’s mother. “But I am pleased with the outcome.”

READ MORE: ‘I feel for them every day,’ Alberta man found guilty of deadly crash

The Crown said a manslaughter charge in this type of case is rare in Canada but the severity of the crash made it appropriate.

A collision reconstructionist said Pratt’s pick-up truck was travelling nearly 200 km/h before it slammed into the back of the three young men’s car in November 2011.

“There was an extreme driving pattern, extreme speed, no braking, no steering to avoid the other vehicle, driving right through that other vehicle, and of course the extreme level of intoxication which at its lowest was at 200 milligrams per cent,” said Ryan Pollard, Crown Prosecutor.

Pratt has said no amount of jail time can change what happened.

Court heard about two dozen victim impact statements Thursday, from family members of the young men. Zane said his son Kole never hung up the phone without saying ‘I love you.’

“I can’t begin to count the number of kids he taught to skateboard, snowboard,” Zane read. “It took all my determination to do this victim impact statement…I do it only to honour Kole.”

Many in the courtroom wiped tears from their eyes as Bradley’s father, Rob Arsenault, read his statement.

“My son Brad is always on my mind,” he said.

Sheri Arsenault said she could write 1007 victim impact statements – one for every day her heart has ached since “Bradley’s traumatizing death.”

“You ruined my life,” Sheri said, looking directly at Pratt.

The Crown was seeking a 10-year sentence and a lifetime driving ban.

The Defence said a 10-year sentence would “crush Mr. Pratt” and argued that society is not served by someone who “rots in prison” with no opportunity to contribute.

The Defence was asking for between four and seven years in prison along with a two or three-year probation. In addition, the Defence asked for a five-year driving prohibition upon Pratt’s date of release.

Prior to Justice Belzil’s decision Thursday, Pratt briefly addressed court.

“I do feel pain for what has happened…There isn’t one day that goes by that I don’t think about the families.”

The eight-year sentence includes a five-year concurrent sentence for the three counts of manslaughter and three years served concurrently for impaired driving causing death.

“I think the things that I will always be resentful of is the fact that the sentences are served concurrently instead of consecutively,” said Zane. “There were three individuals that lost their lives and I really will always think that there should be three separate periods of  time that the perpetrator of that crime should have to serve.”

READ MORE: Alberta mom lends her support while dealing with impaired driving tragedy

Justice Belzil also imposed a lifetime driving prohibition for the impaired driving causing death charge.

The sentencing hearing began at 9 a.m. at the Wetaskiwin Provincial Court house.

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24. 09. 2018
NASA confirms development of next space exploration vehicle – National

NASA confirms development of next space exploration vehicle – National

TORONTO – It’s the next giant leap in space exploration.

On Wednesday, NASA officials announced that they have completed a “rigorous review” of the Space Launch System, or SLS. This heavy-lift exploration rocket is aimed at getting humanity beyond low-Earth orbit and to Mars.

Since the end of the Apollo era, the human space program has been limited to low-Earth orbit and this is the first rocket of its kind in the new era of human space exploration.

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This step – approval to take the rocket from formulation to development – is the first project to have reached this stage of development since the space shuttle.

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“We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey.”

The SLS will have a 70-metric-ton lift capacity and carry the Orion spacecraft, which has been undergoing extensive testing in recent months.

Though officials said that they hope to have the vehicle ready earlier, they said that it will be ready no later than November 2018.

NASA’s goal is to send humans to Mars by the 2030s.

Follow @NebulousNikki

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24. 09. 2018
Joan Rivers fighting for her life in NYC hospital – National

Joan Rivers fighting for her life in NYC hospital – National

ABOVE: Joan Rivers appeared healthy and vibrant just hours before surgery went wrong

TORONTO — Joan Rivers is in a medically-induced coma in a New York City hospital after falling unconscious Thursday while undergoing a procedure on her vocal chords.

The 81-year-old comedian and TV personality was at the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic on East 93rd Street when she stopped breathing.

Paramedics responded to a 911 call at 9:39 a.m. about a person “in either cardiac or respiratory arrest.”

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Rivers was rushed to the Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she was listed in critical but stable condition. It is not known how long the star was deprived of oxygen.

“I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support for my mother,” said Rivers’ daughter, Melissa Rivers, in a statement Thursday night.

“She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.”

Melissa, 46, rushed to New York from Los Angeles on Thursday with son Edgar, 13, to be at the comedian’s bedside.

In a 2010 interview with New York magazine, Rivers said she often thought about her own death.

“I make deals with God all the time. ‘Give me 10 more good years and I’ll call it a day,'” she said.

“I feel amazing. I truly feel like I am 25. I walk everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with me. The mind is going better than ever.”

Rivers taped a post-Emmys Fashion Police special on Tuesday and performed in New York on Wednesday night. She was scheduled to perform Friday night in New Jersey.

Her celebrity friends used social media to send their best wishes.

This is an updated version of a story that first appeared Aug. 28, 2014.

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24. 09. 2018
UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria – National

UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria – National

ABOVE: UN beefs up military presence after peacekeepers detained

An armed group detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and another 81 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said.

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The peacekeepers were detained on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during a “period of increased fighting between armed elements and the Syrian Arab Armed Forces,” the office of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. It said another 81 peacekeepers are “currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.”

The statement did not specify which armed group is holding the peacekeepers. Various Syrian rebel groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, have been fighting the Syrian military near the Golan Heights. On Wednesday, opposition fighters captured a Golan Heights crossing point on the disputed border between Syria and Israel.

READ MORE: Mother of U.S. journalist held by Islamic militants pleads for his release

The statement said the United Nations “is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers,” who are part of UNDOF, the mission that has been monitoring a 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.

In June, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the intense fighting between Syrian government and opposition fighters in the Golan Heights and demanded an end to all military activity in the area. Syrian mortars overshooting their target have repeatedly hit the Israeli-controlled Golan, and U.N. peacekeepers have been abducted.

Thursday’s statement noted that UNDOF peacekeepers who were detained by armed forces in March and May were later safely released.

As of July, UNDOF has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.

But the Philippine government last week said it would bring home its 331 peacekeeping forces from the Golan Heights after their tour of duty ends in October, amid the deteriorating security in the region.

In June 2013, Austria said it was withdrawing its 377 U.N. peacekeepers from the Golan Heights. Croatia also withdrew in 2013 amid fears its troops would be targeted.

©2014The Canadian Press

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24. 09. 2018
Time to scrap ‘dumb’ trade rules: Brad Wall

Time to scrap ‘dumb’ trade rules: Brad Wall

WATCH ABOVE: Trade between the provinces and territories is expected to dominate discussion today as Canada’s premiers gather in Charlottetown for their annual conference. Ross Lord reports.

CHARLOTTETOWN – The premiers of Canada’s three western provinces announced Thursday they’re going to review the remaining trade barriers between them as part of their New West Partnership.

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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said while the deal between his province, Alberta and British Columbia has made progress on easing the movement of goods and services across borders, more work can be done.

Wall said he was taken aback after discovering that a manufacturer of first aid kits would have to satisfy 10 different sets of regulations in order to operate throughout Canada.

READ MORE: Premiers, native leaders call for forum on missing and murdered aboriginal women

“This seems dumb,” Wall said. “At the heart of improving trade issues is trying to remove dumb from the economy.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the New West Partnership should serve as an example to other provinces looking for ways to bring down trade barriers.

“This is the most successful free trade bloc in Canada,” Clark said. “Canada doesn’t have a great track record of being free-traders between provinces. … We are trying to lead by example.”

The premiers are meeting in Charlottetown where they are also expected to discuss health care, pensions and the so-called fiscal imbalance with Ottawa. The meeting wraps up Friday.

©2014The Canadian Press

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24. 09. 2018
Former Bisons player suspended for steroid use – Winnipeg

Former Bisons player suspended for steroid use – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – A former University of Manitoba Bisons football player has been suspended after testing positive for Oxandrolone, a synthetic anabolic steroid.

Ranji Atwall, a defensive line player last season, was handed a four-year sanction from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES).

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“Basically it’s cheating. Steroids aren’t part of the rules and they’re not permitted. It’s against the spirit of sport, it steals the very soul of sport competition when one or more competitors are doping through the use of steroids,” says CCES COO Doug MacQuarrie over the phone.

The sample, which tested positive, was collected during out-of-competition doping control on March 17 in Edmonton, according to a CCES release.

Atwall admitted to the violation, waived his rights to a hearing and accepted the suspension.

“He’s paying his own personal consequences right now, he’s suffering through that right now on a very, very, very, bad choice that he made and certainly realizes the implications of that choice,” says Bisons football head coach, Brian Dobie.

“Our goal is to have 100 percent of our student athletes competing fairly and drug free and so I’m disappointed and I have to say there’s probably a little bit of anger there,” says Coleen Dufresne, Bison Sports Athletic Director.

The sanction makes Atwall ineligible to play in any capacity.

This is not the first time the football player, originally from Richmond, BC, has been caught in a violation.

In 2011, Atwall’s sample tested positive for the presence of cannabis while he was playing in the Canadian Junior Football League.

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24. 09. 2018
Australian Open champ Wawrinka tells fan to ‘Shut up’ at US Open – National

Australian Open champ Wawrinka tells fan to ‘Shut up’ at US Open – National

NEW YORK – In the heat of the moment, locked in a suddenly tight match after midnight at Flushing Meadows, Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka snapped at a rowdy spectator, telling him to “Shut up.”

An hour later, his 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) victory over 91st-ranked Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in the second round of the U.S. Open complete, Wawrinka was able to laugh about the exchange.

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“At the end of the day, they start to get a little bit drunk,” Wawrinka said at his news conference, shaking his head and chuckling. “It was OK. I had to talk to a few of them. At the end, it’s normal. … Everybody was into the match. That’s OK. It can happen.”

In a match that began Wednesday and finished after 12:30 a.m. Thursday, the third-seeded Wawrinka quickly built a two-set lead before faltering a bit, muttering aloud at himself after one miss: “Too many mistakes!”

READ MORE: Roger Federer wins 1st-round match at US Open

By the time he was in the grind of the fourth set, Wawrinka was talking directly to a fan who was bothering him, turning toward the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands and saying: “Shut up, man! Seriously, shut up.”

Once his mind was back on the tennis, Wawrinka was fine.

At the outset of the match, Wawrinka explained afterward, “It was comfortable, because I was playing really good tennis. I think I was serving big. I was moving really well and taking the ball early, dictating every point. That’s why it (looked) like – not easy, but it (looked) good for me.”

Bellucci, a left-hander, was ranked as high as 21st in 2010, but arrived in New York with a record of only 11-10 this season.

He entered Wednesday with a 5-19 record against opponents ranked in the top 10, including 0-9 on hard courts.

But after a poor start, he began giving Wawrinka some trouble.

Bellucci finally earned his first break point of the match in the fourth game of the third set. He converted the chance on a 10-stroke exchange, stumbling as he flubbed a shot that clipped a net cord, then righting himself to deliver a backhand lob winner that landed on the baseline for a 3-1 lead that helped him take that set.

Wawrinka called that “one bad game.”

And then, making things really interesting, Bellucci went up a break at 2-1 in the fourth set.

But Wawrinka was able to break back to get back on serve. At 5-4 in the fourth set, Wawrinka held two match points, but Bellucci saved them to hold serve there and get to 5-all. With a chance to force a fifth set, though, Bellucci faltered in the tiebreaker.

“I tried to focus more on my game and not on what he was doing,” Wawrinka said in an on-court interview. “Tried to make him work a lot. I was playing a little bit smarter at the end of the match.”

Wawrinka made a real breakthrough at Flushing Meadows last year, eliminating defending champion Andy Murray and getting to his first major semifinal in the 35th Grand Slam tournament of his career.

He now has reached the third round of the U.S. Open for the fourth time in the past five years.

Wawrinka’s next opponent is 92nd-ranked Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, who eliminated 30th-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3.

©2014The Associated Press

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