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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

‘I know I can get better’ – VCB seeks improvements as she focuses on 2017

first_img MAIN FOCUS Despite an endearing career which began with gold medals at the World Youth Championships in1999, eight-time Olympic medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown maintains a hunger to keep improving. The veteran athlete, though failing to win an individual medal at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, has no plans to quit just yet. “Not right now,” she said when asked about retirement. “I am focusing on 2017. After 2017, I will re-evaluate and see. I am taking it one year at a time,” said the decorated sprinter. “Right now, my main focus is staying healthy and training hard and preparing for next season. I am just taking it one day at a time and just push myself as hard as I can, and just hope for a great 2017,” she told The Gleaner at a ceremony for the country’s Olympic and Paralympics athletes at the National Indoor Sports Centre last Saturday night. Ahead of next year’s IAAF World Championships, Campbell-Brown, a three-time World champion, is taking things step by step. “The first step is to make the Jamaican team, so that is my main focus, then go from there,” stressed Campbell-Brown, who is coached by her husband, Omar Brown, who was also her schoolmate at Vere Technical. “We know each other since high school, and so he understands me well and I understand him well, so it’s working out well,” she reasoned. The 34-year-old athlete holds personal bests of 10.76 seconds in the 100m and 21.74 seconds for the 200m. “I know I can get better, I don’t know what God has in store and He has been directing my path. I just need to take care of what I need to do; I have a lot of things to improve on as an athlete,” she pointed out. “Although I have been doing this for so long, I still have stuff that I see I can improve on and if I can really get those things done then I can do better,” she said. The athlete, who has numerous accolades and titles, is the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200m events after Barbel Wockel of Germany. “Last year overall was a good year. I can’t complain, I have to give thanks for everything. “I just know I have a lot of things to work on going forward, and that is always good when you finish your season and know that you have stuff to improve and to improve performances,” Campbell-Brown summarised. She added that she started last season well, but hit some roadblocks. She intends to get back to the top of her game soon. “I didn’t get the result I wanted, but that’s why I say it’s a good place to start and know exactly how to take care of things to move forward,” she emphasised. Meanwhile, Campbell-Brown who will be one of four athletes including to be honoured with statues at the National Stadium over the next two years, said she is elated. “That’s awesome, that is an extraordinary accomplishment. I give God all the glory for that, and I thank all the people for making it possible, all those who have supported me over the years and seen it fit for me to be honoured in that way,” she explained. The other athletes who will be recognised with statues are Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell.last_img read more

BAYWATCH TERRY AMONG DONEGAL WINNERS ON €44K WINNING STREAK

first_imgTerry Stewart, from Ballybofey, Co. Donegal has won €22,000 on last Saturdays (25th July 2015) National Lottery Winning Streak game show on RTE. Pictured here at the presentation of the winning cheques were from left to right: Sinead Kennedy, Winning Streak game show co-host; Terry Stewart, the winning player; Harry Cooke, Head of Operations & Corporate Affairs at the National Lottery who made the presentation and Marty Whelan, Winning Streak game show co-host. The winning ticket was bought Eason’s, Letterkenny S/C, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Pic; Mac Innes Photography.A FORMER actor in Baywatch from County Donegal was among two winners on the weekend edition of TV’s Winning Streak.Terry Stewart (66) is originally from Ramelton and now lives in Ballybofey but for many years he lived in Los Angeles, and appeared in Baywatch and films with Mel Gibson and Malcolm McDowell.Terry called the United States home for 22 years and returned to Ireland in 2008 after recovering from cancer. He originally moved to the US in the 1980’s to work in construction and got into the acting business in Los Angeles.He worked as an extra in movies such as What Women Want with Mel Gibson and Red Rose and Petrol with Malcolm McDowell and former Miss Ireland Olivia Treacy. Terry also appeared in Baywatch. He lived in Beverly Hills near Mark Wahlberg and his brother Donnie.Life in Donegal is very different to California but Terry loves the people, the landscape and living near his two sisters and two brothers. The Oasis Bar in Letterkenny put a bus on for Terry’s friends to travel to Dublin to support him in the Winning Streak audience.He won €22,000 on Saturday’s show. Angie Doherty (37) who lives in Malin Head with her husband James and four sons, Michael (17), Bailey (15), Kyle (13) and Blane (8) also won €22,000 on the same show.She works in Seaview Stores in Malin Head (or Docs as it is known in the area) where she bought her lucky ticket. She marked her nine year anniversary working at Docs on Saturday during the Winning Streak show.Angie shares her Winning Streak tickets every week with a friend, Billy McKeeney. They swap names every week if they get three stars and it was her turn the week the ticket was pulled from the drum. Billy was in the audience on the night.Her winnings included a holiday to New York.Angie Doherty from Malin Head, Co. Donegal has won €22,000 including a holiday to New York on last Saturdays (25th July 2015) National Lottery Winning Streak game show on RTE. Pictured here at the presentation of the winning cheques were from left to right: Catriona Doherty, Ticket Selling Agent, XL Stop & Shop, Ballygorman, Malin Head, Co. Donegal. Marty Whelan, Winning Streak game show co-host; Angie Doherty, the winning player; Harry Cooke, Head of Operations & Corporate Affairs at the National Lottery who made the presentation and, Sinead Kennedy Winning Streak game show co-host. Pic: Mac Innes Photography.BAYWATCH TERRY AMONG DONEGAL WINNERS ON €44K WINNING STREAK was last modified: July 27th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BallybofeyBaywatchMalin HeadRameltonterryWinning Streaklast_img read more