Tag Archives: Serena Williams

Serena Williams suffers loss in US Open semifinal

Serena Williams lost to Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinal 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 earlier today.  What a disappointment.  This marks the end of Serena’s Grand Slam run for the calendar year.  Saturday’s final will be an all Italian match between Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta.

The Grand Slam will have to wait.

Two victories from joining the most prestigious club in tennis, Serena Williams ran into a roadblock at the United States Open.

In one of the biggest surprises in tennis history, Roberta Vinci, an unseeded Italian veteran playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal, defeated Williams, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, on Friday.

“It’s an incredible moment for me,” said Vinci, who cried in her chair after the upset and called the victory the “best moment of my life.”

Instead of Williams playing for a Grand Slam in Saturday’s final, it will be an all-Italian affair between Vinci and 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta, who beat No. 2 Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-3, in another upset earlier Friday. But Pennetta’s victory was no surprise compared with what Vinci engineered on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Congrats to Roberta.  She played a great match against Serena.

I’m still proud of Serena.

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She had a great Grand Slam run this year. She almost had it. And of course she’s still Queen Serena.

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Serena Williams defeats Venus Williams in the US Open quarterfinal

Serena Williams continued her winning streak by defeating her big sis Venus Williams last night in the US Open quarterfinal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

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It felt like a full-circle match and moment at the U.S. Open. As the large crowd milled outside Arthur Ashe Stadium full of anticipation on a steamy Tuesday night, it was hard not to flash back to the beginnings for Venus and Serena Williams.

To Compton, Calif., and the early phases of their father Richard’s unlikely business plan to make them champions. To braces and hair beads and walking off court hand-in-hand after their first match against each other as professionals at the 1998 Australian Open.

To Venus sitting, with her hood up and her emotions mixed, in the stands of this vast stadium in 1999 as her little sister became the first Williams to win a major singles title.

In a family sport, the Williamses have provided a sibling rivalry like no other, and it seemed altogether fitting that they met again this September with so much tennis history on the line.

But there was no tweaking the narrative arc of their remarkable careers on Tuesday. Though Venus the elder swung for the lines and even won the second set in a hurry, Serena the younger prevailed — as she has so often in recent years — to win this quarterfinal match, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, and bring the prospect of a Grand Slam ever closer to reality.

Next up for Serena is Italy’s Roberta Vinci tomorrow (Thursday) September 10 at 7:00pm on ESPN.

It’s Serena Williams vs Venus Williams in the US Open Quarterfinal

Yesterday at the US Open Serena Williams defeated Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3 and Venus Williams defeated Anett Kontaveit, 6-2, 6-1.  The Williams sisters will meet in the quarterfinals tomorrow evening and the match will be telecast on ESPN at 7:00pm EST.

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This is difficult for me.  I’ve been a long time fan of the Williams sisters.  I always root for both.  But I gotta go for Serena since she’s pursuing the calendar year Grand Slam.  At least we know there will be a Williams sister in the US Open semifinal.

At age 35, Venus Williams has been making a gallant effort to win an eighth major tennis title, her last one coming seven years ago at Wimbledon. But if she is to do it at this year’s United States Open, it will come at a heavy cost. She will have to deny her younger sister the rare opportunity to win a Grand Slam.

Williams dispatched Anett Kontaveit, 6-2, 6-1, and will play Serena Williams, the No. 1 seed on a path toward history, in the quarterfinals of the Open on Tuesday night.

That familial matchup was confirmed when Serena Williams followed her older sister on court at Arthur Ashe Stadium and pummeled Madison Keys, 6-3, 6-3.

Both women played clean, dominating tennis on Sunday, and so for the 27th time as professionals — not including other instances in practices and informal hitting sessions — they will put their unique and sometimes uneasy sibling relationship on public display.

“I’m playing, for me, the best player in the tournament,” Williams said.

That was Serena Williams, not Venus, speaking.

Oh and I just had to add this move that took place during Serena’s win against Bethanie Mattek-Sands last Friday.

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The New York Times has an interesting article about Serena and Venus Williams and the impact they’ve had on tennis.

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For a sizable portion of nearly two transformative decades, one family surname has competitively dominated tennis and continually inundated its news. Think about how an emerging generation of female players has never known a tour without the headlining Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.

Some telling perspective on the subject from Garbiñe Muguruza, 21, who grew up in Venezuela and Spain:

“When I was 4 or 5, I turned on the TV, and they were playing,” said Muguruza, Serena’s victim in last month’s Wimbledon final. “Today, I turn the TV on, and they are still playing.

“So I am saying, how is this possible?”

Who could resist occasionally posing that question since the late 1990s, when the sisters — born 15 months apart, African-American outliers from gritty Compton, Calif. — began to lay siege to a sport historically and overwhelmingly trending wealthy and white?

Back then, there was resistance to the takeover. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine women’s tennis without Venus, 35, its elder stateswoman, and Serena, going on 34 and a United States Open title away from completing tennis’s first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf’s in 1988.

The sisters do not need Clarence the Angel to remind them that it’s been a wonderful sporting life, though not one without stumbles and setbacks. But the spectating world can grow impatient with the status quo, bored and resentful of its repetition. So let’s consider what a Williams-less tour might have been like had Richard Williams, the family patriarch, never created his most improbable blueprint.

And then there is this from Justine Henin:

While receiving an award recently in Toronto, Henin — who was probably Serena’s most challenging opponent, besides the younger Venus — predicted that Serena would win the calendar Slam, saying, “What I admire and respect so much still is that Serena remains the boss.”

But Henin added that the rest of the current field had become too interchangeable, too timid.

“There are many girls that can play good tennis, but it’s not consistent enough,” she said. “I wish the girls can be more consistent and believe that they can beat Serena, because some players proved in the past that it is possible.”

Years ago I remember Justine Henin making a comment about how tennis fans are tired of seeing the Williams sisters in Grand Slams.

“I think that maybe the crowd likes also to see the other players in different Grand Slam finals,” Justine Henin said after she was dismantled by Venus Williams on Thursday. “It’s a difficult situation.”

Of course Papa Williams struck back:

Difficult for whom? The fans or the players? Out of sight, but not far from a telephone, Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena, took time out from his list of Florida business ventures — including solar-panel assembly, filmmaking and nature photography — to offer a suggestion for the list of opponents who will not bother to watch his daughters play each other in their third major final when the women’s final at Wimbledon unfolds on Saturday.

“I know history,” Richard Williams said when reached today. “And I know that no one ever got tired of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert or Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.

“I think what people are tired of is that they’re not able to beat these girls. They’re looking for excuses or a cop-out. If I were another player, I would watch Venus and Serena play with a pencil and a piece of paper. I would take notes and say to myself, `I’m going to beat you the next time.’ If you’re tired of it, do something about it.”

Thank you. I never heard anyone say they’re tired of Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal. Never heard anyone say they were tired of Pete Sampras before he retired.  Justine Henin got a serious side eye from me years ago after making her comment.

Check out the entire New York Times article.

Black Girl Magic graces September 2015/Fall magazine covers

The month of September is a big month for fashion magazines. And black women are gracing the covers of seven fashion magazines and one entertainment magazine.  As much as I complain about black women always getting slighted/demeaned by the media it’s a refreshing change to see these black women on the various magazine covers.

There are seven black women gracing fall magazine covers: Willow Smith, Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Ciara, Serena Williams, Misty Copeland and Amandla Stenberg. I had to utter their names, because the weight of them all together gives me goosebumps. The editors at Vogue, Shape, Self, New York Magazine, Essence, i-D and Dazed did not plan this coincidence, making it organic and, therefore, all the more exciting.

I’m proud of my fellow black women getting the covers of the most important month of the year, because this is something that everyone needs to see. I am more than well-versed in the grandeur of our different shades of brown, the grace in our cadences, the ferocity in our words. I am of this community, and I’ve seen these layers my entire life, and I’ve lived them. Hopefully now black women’s greatness will get wider recognition.

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Kerry Washington covers the September 2015 issue of Self Magazine.

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Kerry Washington wakes up early. I learn this when her publicist emails to ask if I’d like to do pilates with the actress at 6:30 a.m. before we sit down for our interview. A cursory Google search of Washington suggests I’m in trouble: This is, after all, a woman who moved to India after college and became certified as a yoga instructor. But my fear of pilates-induced humiliation is outweighed by my desire to watch Olivia Pope work out.

Washington, 38, arrives in sweats, with no makeup and no entourage, looking infinitely more relaxed than the character she plays on television. She’s a new mother with a hit show, but her face betrays none of the stress that must entail. Instead, her skin glows, her smile is bright, her eyes somehow managing to convey warmth, strength and vulnerability all at once.

Amandla Stenberg covers the Autumn 2015 issue of Dazed Magazine.

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After igniting fierce debate with her pop-culture polemic, The Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg has emerged as one of the most incendiary voices of her generation – but she insists that her fight has only just begun.

This spring, an LA teenager’s school project ignited the internet. A charm offensive titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows”, the five-minute video deftly unpacked the thorny issue of cultural appropriation with a nuance that few would be able to nail. Raising an eyebrow at culprits like Iggy Azalea and Katy Perry treating black culture as a pick’n’mix stand at the multiplex, the clip, uploaded by 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, announced a whip-smart new voice that was not to be fucked with.

Three years after she shot to global prominence as Rue in The Hunger Games (2012), the actress is leading a wave of young, hyper-informed trendsetters with a fresh and fearless take on today’s defining issues. Last month, she echoed the sentiments of her school project in a comment on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram. In response to the pouty reality princess’s latest look – cornrows – Stenberg wrote, “when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism”. Jenner retorted, “go and hang out w Jaden.” (Stenberg attended prom with Jenner’s ex, Jaden Smith.)

Beyonce covers the September 2015 issue of Vogue Magazine.

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Willow Smith covers the latest issue of I-D Magazine.

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Ciara covers the September 2015 issue of Shape Magazine.

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Our kickass September cover girl Ciara has come a long way from Goodies—her 2004 debut, chart-topping album. In the past year alone, 29-year-old has released her sixth studio album, starred in the NBC series I Can Do That, went on tour, and had a baby, just to name a few. (She also started a much-talked-about relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a frequent fixture on her Instagram!)

We caught up the singer in the middle of the video shoot for her single “Dance Like We’re Making Love” and found out how she stays strong and focused on success.

Misty Copeland covers the September 2015 issue of Essence Magazine.

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Misty Copeland is having one amazing year, and the joy and focus of it all shows clearly on her face as she gracefully poses on the September cover of ESSENCE, her perfect arabesque accentuated by the beautiful Zimmermann dress flowing around her.

After years of training and overcoming a seemingly career-ending injury, Copeland has earned her spot in the pantheon of great dancers by becoming the first Black woman to perform the lead in Swan Lake for the American Ballet Theatre and then days later becoming the first Black woman to be promoted to principal ballerina in the ABT’s 75-year history. Add in a Broadway show run (in On the Town), a groundbreaking contract with Under Armour, and a new engagement to her longtime boyfriend and it’s a great time to be Misty Copeland.

Last week I blogged about Serena Williams covering the August 10, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.

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Queen Latifah covers the latest issue of Variety Magazine.
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Queen Latifah has never shied away from a battle.

She was 16 years old when she told Michael Kenneth Williams that she wanted to be a rapper. She jokes that the actor didn’t believe her, but Williams says that had more to do with his lack of faith in the industry than in his belief in Latifah.

“Female rappers were relatively taboo, so I was like, ‘OK, that’s cool. Be all you can be!’ ” Williams recalls with a laugh. “But in my wildest imagination, I didn’t think she would really become what she is today, simply because I’d never seen it before. Who makes it out of the ’hood and does that? But she proved me wrong.”

These days, the 45-year-old rapper-turned-actress-turned-mogul sits at the helm of a $100 million business, Flavor Unit Entertainment (named for the group of emcees she belonged to at the start of her career), negotiating deals for herself and others both in front of and behind the camera. She’s been nominated for seven Grammy Awards (winning one), an Oscar and a pair of Emmys, the most recent for her starring role in the HBO movie “Bessie,” about the complicated life of blues legend Bessie Smith, whose hard-driving ways and up-by-the-bootstraps backstory could describe Latifah herself.

Congrats to all the beautiful ladies for their magazine covers.

Serena Williams covers New York Magazine

Idris, Jussie and now Serena.  Tennis Queen Serena Williams covers the latest issue of New York Magazine.

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It’s a little past midnight at HSN headquarters, and Serena Williams is nine minutes into a disquisition on a piece of fabric she’s called “Convertible A-line Top With Scarf,” available to you, the home shopper, for $39.95 or three “flexpays” of $13.32. “It’s like one huge circle that has a lot of style in it,” she says, not without conviction, fiddling with the bottom of the one she is wearing (“This is, um, mustard”), flapping it like a fan, rubbing one hand on her arm, and smoothing her hair. She forgets the names of colors, misstates a price. There with the right number and the right name is HSN savant Bobbi Ray Carter, sheathed in a hot-pink Convertible A-line Top With Scarf and raccooned in black eyeliner, filling in her co-host’s “ums” with the deft patter of a sales professional: “Amazingly transitional, think-fall-think-summer-think-winter-summer-into-fall versatility, quality, surprise scarf.” Bobbi Ray Carter knows how to touch a piece of fabric: She gives it a crisp snap between her fingers, smartly smooths the drape, all the while growing progressively more tense as Serena fumbles some hangers and launches, at 56 minutes, into a long anecdote about packing jeans for Wimbledon. “Mmmm,” says Bobbi Ray Carter, tight-lipped and possibly not breathing, awaiting the arc of Serena’s story to make its mumbly descent — “I felt good packing my own jeans, I had a moment there” — so she can finally change the subject — “And it’s our customer pick!” — and steer us back to the safe harbor of Denim Moto Legging color choices.

A little background on HSN’s least comfortable saleswoman: Serena Williams is the best women’s tennis player in the world, breezing through one of the best seasons of her life. Should she win the U.S. Open next month, she will have swept all four grand slams in a calendar year, cementing her reputation as the greatest women’s player of all time and making her a serious contender for the greatest athlete of her generation.

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Check out the Serena Williams interview at New York Magazine.

The media obsession with Serena Williams’ body image

I have my dvr set for News One Now with Roland Martin on Tv One. Today they talked about the constant bashing towards Serena Williams when it comes to her body image. Mainstream media and just people in general have a problem with her body. Over the years I have read accusations of steroid use, how she looks manly and other sexist and racist comments. Serena has won 21 Grand Slams and some folks still hate on her. But it seems like the more hate that’s directed her way she just keeps on winning.

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The New York Times had an article about how her fellow female tennis players not wanting to bulk up and preferring to stay slim. The tennis coach of Agnieszka Radwanska even stated that he prefers to keep Agnieszka small framed cause she wants to be looked at as a woman.

The Opinion Page at the New York Times responded to the negative reaction the article received.

When The Times’s sports staff gave the green light to an article proposed by a frequent freelancer, Ben Rothenberg, intentions were good. Here was an opportunity to illuminate a pervasive problem in women’s sports, the old and troubling notions of what a female athlete should look like, and to do so through the views of the athletes themselves. Mr. Rothenberg even had the tennis superstar Serena Williams on the record with thoughtful quotes.

Mr. Rothenberg and his editors said they took special pains to make the story balanced and sensitive.

But by Friday afternoon, many readers were aghast. They were calling the article (and even The Times itself) racist and sexist. They were deploring the article’s timing, which focused on body image just when Ms. Williams was triumphing at Wimbledon. The article, they said, harmed progress in bringing equality and recognition to women’s sports — something happening that very day with New York City’s first ticker-tape parade for a team of female athletes, the World Cup champion United States soccer team.

One longtime subscriber, Lisa Leshne, wrote to me: “Why is this even a story? Why does the newspaper feel the need to talk about Serena’s body type? What’s with the obsession over ‘perceived ideal feminine body type?’” From her point of view, “She’s a champion, she’s strong and successful, that’s the story.”

Serena is happy and has accepted who she is. Women aren’t meant to look the same. We all have different body types. Just because a woman isn’t 5’3 and weighs 123 pounds doesn’t mean she isn’t a woman. Why is the media so obsessed with Serena’s body type? Mainstream media seems to have problems when it comes to black women and our bodies. A lot of times it seems like they have problems with black women period.  Remember Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times article about Viola Davis?

As Annalise, Ms. Davis, 49, is sexual and even sexy, in a slightly menacing way, but the actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series “Extant.”

Even Michelle Obama has had mean spirited comments about her body. Seems like if you’re not blond, blue eyed and stick thin with a boyish body mainstream media will attack you like a pit bull.

After Serena’s Wimbledon win last Saturday most folks were praising her. But of course the trolls were out in full force.  One Twitter follower of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowlings made a mean spirited comment towards Serena.  And Ms. Rowlings was prepared to clap back.

Speaking of Serena she was looking like a princess at the Wimbledon Champions Dinner.

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Williams showed just how comfortable she is Sunday when she arrived for the Wimbledon champions dinner wearing a peachy dress, with her hair long and straight. Now, if Williams completes the first Grand Slam since Steffi Graf 27 years ago, the next step for her is to become a role model, a real living, breathing, strong role model.

“That is really an important acceptance for some female athletes, that their best body type, their best performance build, is one that is not thin,” Pam Shriver told the Times. “It’s one of power.”

Serena Williams defeats Garbine Muguruza in the Wimbledon Ladies Final

Serena Williams has done it again.  She won the Wimbledon Ladies Final earlier today defeating Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4.  This is Queen Serena’s 21st Grand Slam title.  She’s one win away from tying Steffi Graf in Grand Slam wins.

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Serena Williams won her fourth consecutive Grand Slam title and 21st of her career on Saturday by beating Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain, 6-4, 6-4, at Wimbledon. It is her sixth Wimbledon championship.

Today’s win is also Serena’s 6th Wimbledon Ladies Singles title.  Serena is one win away from a Grand Slam (a sweep of tennis’s four major championships in the same calendar year).  This year she’s won the Australian Open, the French Open and now Wimbledon.  A fourth win a the U.S. Open in September will give her a Grand Slam.

With her victory at Wimbledon, Williams now holds all four Grand Slam singles titles — the so-called Serena Slam, which she also achieved over two seasons in 2002 and 2003.

But neither that run nor this one was the true Grand Slam, which requires a player to win the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the United States Open in the same calendar year.

Only three women have managed it: Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988.

Serena was looking a little shaky in the beginning. Garbine had her number and I wasn’t surprised but it didn’t last long. I watched Garbine in the semifinal match against Agnieszka Radwanska that went back and forth between the two so I knew she would be tough.   I was a little nervous watching Serena vs Garbine at first but I was happy to see Serena make her comeback.

You know it’s getting too draining being on pins and needles watching Queen Serena in these matches and yelling at the tv.

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It gets too nerve wracking and I have to hide my remote so I won’t change the channel. Will I have to go through this again when the U.S. Open starts later this summer? We will see.

Congrats to Serena and next up is the U.S. Open which starts August 31, 2015.

Serena Williams defeats Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon semifinals

Earlier today Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon semifinals.  This is Serena’s 17th consecutive win against Maria.

Williams improved to 18-2 all-time against Sharapova, last losing to her in the final of the 2004 Tour Championships (Sharapova also defeated Williams in that year’s Wimbledon final for the first of her five Grand Slam titles). Thursday’s match was just their third ever at Wimbledon and their first since 2010.

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Next up for Serena is the Wimbledon Ladies Final against Garbine Muguruza who defeated Agnieszka Radwanska. This will be Garbine’s first Grand Slam.

Congrats to Serena and good luck on Saturday.  Looks like the final will start at 9:00am Eastern time Saturday morning.

Serena Williams defeats Victoria Azarenka

It’s another win for Serena Williams at Wimbledon.  She defeated Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 earlier today at Centre Court.  Congrats to Serena!!

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I was somewhat nervous after the first set but you know Serena. She always seems to make a comeback.

LONDON — Even as Serena Williams piled up aces and groundstroke winners from all angles, even as she stormed through seven games in a row and 10 of the last 13 in yet another comeback, her Wimbledon quarterfinal against Victoria Azarenka never felt like a runaway.

That’s because Azarenka, a two-time major champion and former No. 1 in her own right, was playing spectacular tennis, too, nearly the equal of Williams in every facet.

Nearly.

For when Williams finds her best game, she becomes unbeatable. And for her past 26 Grand Slam matches she is, indeed, unbeaten. Erasing an early deficit at Centre Court, Williams got past Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 Tuesday with the help of 17 aces and a remarkable ratio of 46 winners to 12 unforced errors.

Again I refused to touch my remote. I was determined to sit through the entire match no matter how nervous I was. I did a lot of yelling at the television today. That’s something I usually do when I’m watching the Washington Redskins on tv 😉

Next up for Serena is Maria Sharapova on Thursday.  Listening to her loud grunting during her match with CoCo Vandeweghe got on my last nerve.  I was rooting for CoCo.

Good luck Serena.

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