Tag Archives: tennis

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.

American Masters features Althea Gibson

Before Serena and Venus Williams there was Althea Gibson. Tonight on PBS American Masters presents Althea.

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This documentary details the life of Althea Gibson, the first African American to win The French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open (formerly called the U.S. Nationals). Althea Gibson’s first Grand Slam win was in 1956 at the French Championships (now the French Open) where she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title. She won the Wimbledon Women’s singles title in 1957 and 1958. She won the U.S. Open Women’s singles title in 1957 and 1958.

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American Masters presents Althea, premiering nationwide Friday, September 4, 2015 at 9 p.m. during the U.S. Open. The 90-minute documentary reveals the highs and lows of this remarkable athlete whose life and achievements transcend sports and have entered the annals of African American history. From her roots as a sharecropper’s daughter in the cotton fields of South Carolina, to her emergence as the unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s, her story is a complex tale of race, class and gender.

In recounting Gibson’s story, the filmmakers were meticulous in finding period imagery, including over 450 vintage photographs. Producer and director Rex Miller weaves this archival visual material and interviews with those who knew Gibson, such as former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Wimbledon champions Dick Savitt and Billie Jean King (who also serves as one of the film’s executive producers), Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, widow of Arthur Ashe, and more.

People often cite Arthur Ashe as the first African American to win Wimbledon (1975). He was indeed the first African American male to win the men’s singles title, but it was, in fact, Althea Gibson, who was the first African American to cross the color line playing and winning at Wimbledon (1957 and 1958) and at the U.S. Nationals (1957 and 1958 – precursor of the U.S. Open).

Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina on August 25, 1927. At the age of three, her father moved the family north migrating to Harlem in 1930. Gibson was a tomboy who grew up loving sports, but disliked school so much that she started skipping classes at the age of 12 and, by 18, had dropped out of high school. She played basketball, but “…paddle tennis started it all,” says Gibson, in a clip from a 1984 interview.

She learned to play that sport on the streets, but it was bandleader Buddy Walker, who was also the neighborhood play street director, who introduced her to tennis and The Cosmopolitan Club, a private black tennis club. At the club, she met Fred Johnson, the one-armed coach, who taught her how to play. Under the auspices of the American Tennis Association (ATA), an organization of African American players, she began to develop as a tennis player. It was during this time that she met boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who would become a friend and mentor.

American Masters: Althea airs tonight (September 4) at 9:00pm EST on your local PBS channel.

Check out the following links for additional information about Althea Gibson:

Althea The Film- Twitter

Althea Documentary

Althea Gibson- History.com

Serena Williams’s Links to a Pioneer Keep Growing Clearer

Althea Gibson broke barriers

Althea Gibson: The ‘she-ro’ who inspired tennis to change

I Always Wanted To Be Somebody

Born To Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson

Serena and Venus Williams

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.

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 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.

Serena Williams vs Venus Williams on Centre Court

Serena and Venus Williams will meet tomorrow (Monday July 6, 2015) in the 4th round of Wimbledon on Centre Court.  The match starts at 8:00am Eastern Time.

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(CNN) For Serena it’s a vital match in her quest for the grand slam while for Venus it’s maybe her last chance to win Wimbledon.

But for both the Williams, Monday’s sisterly showdown on Centre Court is a match neither is truly relishing.

Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou told CNN that the world number one would indeed rather she be facing another opponent.

“They’re super close so this is not something she likes,” the Frenchman revealed.

“Plus Venus is a super player. She’s been No.1. She’s won many grand slams and she’s super dangerous on grass. But I guess if you want to win a grand slam you have to beat the best players and Venus is one of those. So she will have to beat her if she wants to win here.”

Thanks goodness I’m off tomorrow so I can watch this match.  But it’s gonna be bittersweet because I like both Serena and Venus.  The last time they met at Wimbledon was in 2009 when Serena defeated Venus in the Ladies Final.

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While Serena has been on a Grand Slam winning streak, Venus has been recovering from an auto-immune disease Sjogren’s syndrome which was diagnosed in 2011.  Serena almost didn’t make this round after squeaking past British tennis player Heather Watson last Friday.  That was a thriller.

Good luck to both ladies.

You can read about the Williams sisters at CNN.com.

Who is Dustin Brown?

I love watching tennis.  So while at work I saw on Twitter that one of my favorite tennis players Rafael Nadal lost to some guy named Dustin Brown at Wimbledon.  I’m like who?  Never heard of him.  Talk about an upset.  The Tennis Channel will be showing the match tonight.  I hope I can stay up to watch.

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Rafa hasn’t been doing too well lately. Ranked 102nd in the world, Dustin defeated Rafa 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round.

Rafael Nadal was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first week for the third time in four years, bamboozled by the wild but often brilliant game of the qualifier Dustin Brown, a man who spent three years living in a camper van as he travelled Europe trying to earn a living. The German hit numerous drop shots, some unbelievable returns and generally kept the 10th seed off balance and out of kilter, clinching a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

dustin_rafaelThe 30-year-old Jamaican/German was born in Germany.

Born in Germany but raised in Jamaica before switching his nationality back to that of his native land in 2010, the dreadlocked, athletic Brown has the kind of unorthodox game that can infuriate many a better player, causing them to lose rhythm.

Congrats to Dustin!!

Next up is Viktor Troicki of Serbia on Saturday.

Serena Williams wins 20th Grand Slam title

Congrats to Serena Williams!!  She did it!!  Serena defeated Lucie Safarova in the French Open earlier today 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. It was Serena’s 20th Grand Slam victory.

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Serena has 3 French Open trophies, 6 U.S. Open trophies, 6 Australian Open trophies and 5 Wimbledon trophies. When it comes to All Time wins Serena is now in 3rd place for the most grand slam tournament singles titles. Margaret Court has 24 grand slam titles and Steffi Graf has 22 grand slam titles. But when it comes to the Open Era of tennis Steffi Graf is in 1st place with 22 grand slam titles and Serena is in 2nd place with 20 grand slam titles. (The Open Era began in 1968 when the Grand Slam tournaments agreed to allow professional players to compete with amateurs. Prior to 1968 only amateurs were allowed to compete in the Grand Slam tournaments and other events organized or sanctioned by the ILTF including the Davis Cup.)  If she wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year she would tie Steffi Graf.

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Serena won the French Open while dealing with the flu. I was worried cause I heard that she didn’t practice yesterday due to her illness. Serena won the 1st set and I thought “she’s not playing like a sick woman.” But then Lucie came back and won the 2nd set. Serena was down 2-0 in the 3rd set but rallied back to win 6-2. During the presentation of the trophies Serena thanked the French Open crowd in French. The television announcer of course had to translate for us non-French speaking folks.

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I can’t believe I sat through the entire match. Even though I got a little nervous I refused to change the channel. I had that much faith in Serena and I knew she would win. My day of running errands and whatnot didn’t start until after the match was over. Oh happy day 🙂

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