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Tony Becca: Two sides of an upset

first_img After winning the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon, Williams was gunning for the US Open and four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year and she was a cinch to win it, especially with Maria Sharapova of Russia pulling out before hitting a ball and with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus falling by the wayside. All the talk was about Williams becoming the first to do so since Steffi Graf in 1988, especially as the two players who stood in her way were Vinci and Flavia Pennetta, two Italians, two childhood playmates who had never ever contested a Grand Slam final. One was 32 years old, the other was 33, one ranked number 43, the other ranked number 26. With Pennetta winning her semi-final by upsetting the tournament’s number two seed, Simona Halep, in straight sets in the first semi-final and awaiting the winner of the second semi-final, Serena, coming in with a record of 33 successive Grand Slam victories, took on Vinci, who had never even won a set against her and whose season record was 20 wins and 20 losses. Winning the first set 6-2, and easily at that, it seemed as if Vinci was doomed to lose one more time. Williams appeared way above her class. And when Williams raced to a 2-0 lead in the third set, it was, or so it seemed, all over for Vinci. Out of the blue, however, Vinci made her move. Using a mixture of different speeds on her shots, slices, pushes at the net and delicate drop shots, Vinci outfoxed Serena, destroyed her rhythm and won the set at four. tactics working gunning for US Open The 2015 US Open tennis tournament which ended at Flushing Meadows in New York last Sunday was an occasion to remember, especially for those who love or enjoy the excitement of an upset. First off, Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland, probably the finest player of them all, who also boasts a record of 17 Grand Slam titles – to win the men’s singles and his 10th Grand Slam title; and second, the surprise, or the upset, of Serena Williams in the women’s singles. Federer played well, especially for a 34-year-old, but in the battle of the number one-ranked player versus number two-ranked player, Djokovic, the number one, played a little better and deserved his victory in four sets and the US$3.3 million winner’s prize, although Federer looked threatening for a while. The match of the tournament, however, was the women’s semi-final match between Williams of the USA, the world’s number one, the defending champion, and the favourite by far for the title, and Roberta Vinci of Italy. With the emotions of Serena coming to the fore in that set, however, screaming, stomping and pointing, Vinci remained cool until, at 3-3, at 40-40, she smiled at Serena’s antics, obviously feeling satisfied that her tactics were working. She then won a point after a long rally and then gestured dramatically to the fans to cheer for her also. It was interesting. One player behaving as if she should not be in such a fight, as if she was ordained; and the other player fighting and enjoying every moment of the duel for the US Open title and the winner’s prize money. Vinci broke Williams by winning the next point, held serve at 5-3 and then held serve at love to create one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game. “I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me,” said Williams afterwards, the Grand Slam finalist on 25 occasions and winner 21 times, only one short of Graf. “If you have any other questions, I’m open for that.” Vinci, however, who later lost to Pennetta in the final, was head over heels at her performance and had the 20,000-plus fans cracking up with laughter during post-match interview. “How do you feel after such a historic performance?” she was asked before the fans, minutes after the Serena match. “This is an amazing moment for me,” said the 300-1 underdog. “I am in a dream, I beat Serena. I am in the final of the US Open.” “Did you have a plan for the match?” “No. Just play. Don’t think about Serena. Just enjoy yourself. Get the ball in court, and run, and run.” The next day, Vinci lost in the final in straight sets to Pennetta. She was not as tricky and not as good as she was against Williams. Probably she was not as motivated, or not as intoxicated as she was for the match of her life. She lost easily. She was, however, still smiling and still laughing. She had defeated Williams, a champion, the champion and arguably the best of all time. Vinci had her day in the sun. The day she defeated Serena Williams at the US Open, the day she will forever remember. Sports fans, tennis fans especially, will never forget her, or her celebration as the miracle unfolded, both for her play, her tactics and for her wonderful words which followed her amazing upset.last_img read more

Hull suddenly retires from hockey

first_img Bernard Geoffrion, Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer will have their jerseys retired by the Montreal Canadiens this season. TRACK AND FIELD: Eugene, Ore. has been awarded the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, beating out Sacramento, which successfully hosted the Trials in 2000 and 2004. Eugene has hosted the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Trials. HORSE RACING: Aragorn held off Eastern Sand by a nose to win the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. Aragon, ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, completed the 1-mile turf course in 1:46.48 and paid $9.20, $6 and $4.60. Eastern Sand returned $5.60 and $5 and Brecon Beacon paid $7.20 to show. Sweet Talker, the longest shot in the seven-horse field at 18-1, prevailed by a nose over Karen’s Caper, with Gorella another head back in the $500,000 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Stormin Fever finished the 1 miles in 1:51.2 on firm turf at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. BOXING: Poland’s Tomasz Adamek successfully defended his WBC light heavyweight title, stopping Germany’s Thomas Ulrich in the sixth round at Duesseldorf, Germany. Adamek, 30-0 with 21 knockouts, floored Ulrich with a right to the side of his head with 1:04 left in the sixth round. CYCLING: Olympic champion Paolo Bettini of Italy edged a sprint to win the Tour of Lombardy at Como, Italy. Bettini beat compatriot Gilberto Simoni, Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck and Italy’s Gianpaolo Caruso to win the 99th edition after a 152.5-mile ride from the Swiss town of Mendrisio to Como. _Daily News Wire Services 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I wish no one had to do this because it’s so hard, it’s hard because you never think you’re going to grow older and be unable to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. I just thank everyone who ever touched my life in the game.” The 41-year-old Hull, who had one assist in five games for the Phoenix Coyotes in his 20th NHL season, had to stop to gain control of his emotions, making the announcement with his four children, fiance and several former teammates on hand. Brett Hull, the third-leading scorer in NHL history, announced his retirement Saturday, effective immediately. “I had so much fun coming to the rink day after day,” he said at a news conference, his voice choking with emotion. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Hull signed with the Coyotes on Aug. 6, 2004, because he wanted to play for his longtime friend, Wayne Gretzky, who is in his first season as Phoenix’s coach. Only Gretzky and Gordie Howe have more goals than Hull in NHL history. Hull had 741 goals and 650 assists in his long NHL career with Calgary, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix. He won Stanley Cup titles in 1999 with Dallas and 2002 with Detroit. In 1999, he scored a controversial goal in the third overtime to give the Stars a 2-1 victory over Buffalo in the series-ending sixth game. Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Andy Sutton was suspended for four games by the NHL after his hit on Darcy Tucker left the Toronto forward with a bloodied forehead. Sutton was ejected Friday from Atlanta’s 9-1 loss to Toronto. He is eligible to return Oct. 27 at Pittsburgh. Also, the Thrashers placed goalie Mike Dunham on injured reserve with a groin injury, leaving the team with a lack of experience at the position. last_img read more

Around our school

first_imgWHITTIER – Local seniors and their parents can attend a bilingual financial aid workshop at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria at California High School, 9800 S. Mills Ave.The workshop covers all types of aid, and the FAFSA, the financial aid form that needs to be completed.Financial aid is available for students planning to attend a two- or four-year college or university, and/or a trade/vocation school.For more information, call Cindy Patricio at 562-698-8121, Ext. 3305. Guidelines set for meal program WHITTIER – The Whittier Union High School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education are announcing guidelines for participation in the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program.Eligibility is based on household size and income criteria.For reduced-price meals, annual household income for children in a family of four cannot exceed $35,798. The income level goes up $6,031 for each additional member.For free meals, annual household income cannot exceed $25,155 for children in a family of four. The income level goes up $4,238 per additional family member.Children who receive public assistance – food stamps or CalWORKS, for example – are automatically eligible for the school meal program.To apply for the program, parents must complete an application form available at the school. The form can be turned in at any time during the school year.Eligibility is determined solely on the application, although the information may be verified by school administrators at any time.Families who apply but are found ineligible can discuss the decision with the determining officials on an informal basis. A formal request for an appeal hearing can also be made.For more information, call your local school or Ellen Gong-Guy at (562) 940-1864. California High’s band wins award WHITTIER – California High School’s Entertainment Unit won the Sweepstakes Award at the annual Whittier Union High School District Band Jamboree competition held last week at the La Mirada High stadium.California’s school band performed against groups from La Serna, Pioneer and Whittier high schools. Students fill shoe boxes for charity WHITTIER – Students from Carden Whittier School donated more than 60 shoe boxes to Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse.Last year, Samaritan’s Purse distributed gift-filled shoe boxes to more than 3 million children in more than 65 countries ravaged by war, poverty or disaster. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad play SOUTH WHITTIER – Drama Club students at Graves Middle School will perform the play “The Misadventures of a Mad Scientist” at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the school, 13243 E. Los Nietos Road.Admission is $1, and children under 5 are free.For more information, call the school at (562) 944-0135, Ext. 317. If you have an event or notice deserving attention, send your notice to Tracy Garcia, education reporter, at 7612 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier, CA 90602. You may call the office at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051, or send e-mail to tracy.garcia@sgvn.com. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more