Monday, October 20, 2008
WTA World No. 245 American Shenay Perry turned her luck around this weekend. Perry defeated American Julie Ditty 6-1, 6-3 to take the title at The Gwinnett Sports Commission Women's USTA Pro Tennis Classic, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
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"So when I look at all of this and I think back to my army career, we've got two individuals. Either one of them could be a good president, but which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – and we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.
I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the ... onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."
Retired General Colin Powell endorsing Senator Barack Obama
On Sunday I watched the very distinguished Former Secretary of State, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Former National Security Advisor, Retired General Colin Powell, being interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet The Press, "lead into" the thinking that allowed him to cross party lines to vote for Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama...it was an exercise in diligence. It was the type of thought process that we don't see on average, at least not from most politicians.
General Powell was taxed, regretful, considerate, and committed in his choice to cast his vote for Senator Obama and not for his longtime friend and Republican ally John McCain. After vividly displaying the considerable weight carried in arriving at this decision, one of the first responses that Tom Brokaw had was, "and you are fully aware that there will be some, how many no one can say for sure, but there will be some who will say this is an African American, distinguished American, supporting another African American because of race." I just shook my head.
Prior to Sunday morning October 19, 2008, with regard to race General Powell must have been one of the persons least referred to that I've witnessed in my lifetime. He has been respected by most and potentially all on the merits of his commitment to this country, his deliberate decisions and actions that manifest that commitment and his dignity as a human. Yet with the single utterance of the words "I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama", he suddenly became a questionable poor decision making character who has no vision beyond his Black skin. From Rudy Giuliani to a myriad of other Republicans, "Powell got it wrong."
When General Powell voiced his decision I wasn't the least bit surprised given previous hints that he had given in this direction, but the first words out of my mouth were "oh well, that anonymity of color that you once employed is out the window, you're Black now."
One of the most exciting features of General Powell, for me at least, has been the fact that I've always seen and respected him as a man. His being a Republican may not have been the "norm" for a Black man, but neither was the career and political heights that he achieved. As a matter of fact, his achievements were not the norm for a man of any race. He is an exceptional individual and I continue to see him as such. However, in the short hours that have passed since he voiced his choice for the next president, many have come out to declare that he made this decision only on the basis of race. How very, very sad.
We have seem racism injected into this presidential race with a hypodermic needle. From the primaries until now Senator Obama has been accused of, associated with and insinuated to be all things racially negative in a fervent hope that people will see him for who he "really" is and not cast their vote for him. I am not the least bit surprised. Racism in this country is alive and well and its babies have been speaking loud and proud at and through the McCain/Palin rallies.
How very typical of the race matters in the United States of America. I don't have to talk about those of us who have and continue to make this nation a united one, it is evident in the wide array of faces that stand in front of, behind and alongside Senator Obama in his appearances. It is heartwarming and a blessing to see. On the other hand, those who stand in front of, behind and alongside McCain/Palin exclaim "treason," "terrorist," "kill him," and that is a curse to witness.
The merits upon which I have always assessed General Powell stand firm this Monday morning. As a supporter of Senator Barack Obama, I am so gratified to see someone of Powell's stature aboard the "movement for change." It's a damn shame that effective with the news cycle at 6:00 a.m. this morning, a man who has always been revered for his decision making and experience will be disrespected, questioned, and lambasted for his decision to not only vote for a Democrat, but for that Democrat to be a Black man.
Good morning America, it's 1:49 a.m., the games begins in a few hours.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008
Well, that was different...and a bit awkward.
At the 25th and final Zurich Open, American Venus Williams took her 38th title. She last won this title in 1999 at 19. “It is great to have my name on this tournament twice. It does not matter if it is the last final of a tournament, it is a final and you want to win, but it is great to get the last title of a tournament. I had always a good time in this city and I have good memories and it is definitely one of my favourite tournaments.”
It appears that Venus is now firmly into the season-ending WTA Tour Championship in Doha next month. “I'm obviously glad to be healthy to play the Championships and I am happy to have had this good week to going there. Next two weeks I go home and rest a little bit and then I prepare for Doha.”
It also appears that Flavia Penetta talked herself out of the win. She played so well in the semifinal but could not seem to find a groove today, especially after she lost the first set. It looked like she was practicing putting the ball into the net.
Now, on to the awkward trophy presentation. A well meaning but albeit strange serenade...yep, I said serenade. A singer stood in front of Venus on court and sang a version of Tina Turner's "Simply The Best." What?
The singer sang the song very well, that wasn't my issue. It was the fact that she was standing right in front of Venus kind of egging her on to get into the groove of her moment. Ever the trooper, Venus held her flowers and swayed from side to side with a smile as all of the other people stood around watching...creepy. Fortunately for the singer, Venus has a good spirit.
“I was very consistent today and I had a great service game, my service a weapon, when it gets in, it helps. She plays well but I had a lot less errors today and I felt good today too.”
“Of course I try to get the highest rank possible and I think I have good chances to be number 1 again next year.”
“I did not talk to Serena yet, but she is always happy for me.”
After winning the match, Venus' father, Richard Williams, brought her dog Harold over for congratulations.
Photo by AP
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"Venus is so wrong. I mean, I'd win. Come on!" —Serena
Game, set, and... From left: Dress, $4,800, Donna Karan New York. 866-240-4700. Earrings, price upon request, Bulgari. 800-BULGARI. Cuff, $1,995, Yves Saint Laurent. 212-980-2970. Gown, $15,490, Oscar de la Renta. 212-288-5810. Bracelet, $950, Tom Binns.tombinnsdesign.com. Ring, $15,000, De Beers. 800-929-0889.
888-977-1900. Cuff, $1,995,
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Saturday, October 18, 2008
Venus Williams advanced to the final of the Zurich Open on Saturday with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over second seed Ana Ivanovic.
It marks a long awaited return to the final of this tournament for Williams - she has not played here on the final day since 1999 when - at the age of 19 - she topped then-number one Martina Hingis to claim the ninth of her 37 career titles.
The two-time reigning Wimbledon champion will go for another on Sunday when she faces Italy's Flavia Pennetta, a 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) winner over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain in Saturday's other semi-final.
Williams ranked ninth in the world and seeded third here, has now won five of her six meetings against Ivanovic, who has not played well during the second half of this season.
"Winning close matches are rewarding, and especially at the end I think we were both competing very well," said Williams. "I think that sometimes it's tough to get a rhythm against her because when she plays me she's just going for everything.
"She plays aggressive to try and take the match away from me and to try and force the issue."
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Friday, October 17, 2008
DETROIT (AP) — Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs, who possessed one of the most dynamic and emotive voices of all the Motown singers, died Friday at 72. He had been ill recently and died in his sleep at the Detroit house he shared with his wife, said Dana Meah, the wife of a grandson. The Wayne County medical examiner's office also confirmed the death.
With Stubbs in the lead, the Four Tops sold millions of records, including such hits as "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)."
The group performed for more than four decades without a change in personnel. Stubbs' death leaves one surviving member of the original group: Abdul "Duke" Fakir.
Stubbs "fits right up there with all the icons of Motown," said Audley Smith, chief operating officer of the Motown Historical Museum. "His voice was as unique as Marvin's or as Smokey's or as Stevie's."
The Four Tops began singing together in 1953 under the group name the Four Aims and signed a deal with Chess Records. They later changed their names to the Four Tops to avoid being confused with the Ames Brothers.
I thought we ought to hear a little "Still Water Love."
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (TICKER) —It has been a while since Venus Williams was in this position.
Third third-seeded American advanced to the semifinals of the Zurich Open on Friday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Italy’s Francesca Schiavone.
This is the first time Williams has reached the final four here since winning the hardcourt event back in 1999, when - at the age of 19 - she topped No. 1 Martina Hingis to claim the ninth of her 37 career titles.
The path to title No. 38 could get a bit tougher in the semis as a potential showdown with second-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic is looming.
Ivanovic, who has stumbled to a 6-6 mark since winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open, will face Czech qualifier Petra Kvitova in the remaining quarterfinal match.
In addition to improving her record at this event to 12-3 with Friday’s triumph, Williams moved to 5-0 all-time against Schiavone.
The semifinal on the opposite side of draw will be a battle of unseeded players as Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain will square off.
Pennetta, who ousted world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic on Thursday, topped Katarina Srebotnik, 7-5, 6-2, while Medina Garrigues moved through when Victoria Azarenka retired from their match with the score knotted, 4-6, 6-3.
Azarenka appeared to suffer a muscle strain just below her right shoulder during the second set and opted to concede the match prior to the start of the third.
First prize is $95,000.
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MADRID (AFP) — Swashbuckling Frenchman Gael Monfils believes Lleyton Hewitt's loss is his gain after linking up with the Australian's former coach Roger Rasheed. >
Hewitt and Rasheed split in 2007 after a four-year partnership and now Monfils is reaping the benefits of the coach's widely-respected knowledge.
"Roger's making me more focussed on my game and more disciplined. It's really helping and the results are starting to come. I'm learning how to stay focussed and play tough."
Monfils, ranked 18th in the world, showed the results of his new lifestyle with an upset of eighth seed Andy Roddick 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters, only the second of his career at this level after Rome two years ago.
In addition to Rasheed's input, acupuncture and ironclad rules on diet from French physio Philippe Manacom are turning one of the best natural athletes on the ATP into a title contender.
Monfils says life has changed for the better on court as a result of his new approach to his career.
"For the last two months, I've been very serious," said the 22-year-old finalist last weekend indoors in Vienna a fortnight after reaching the Bangkok semi-finals.
"It's all changing for me."
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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Quite a few of you who visit Black Tennis Pro's frequently either left me a comment here at the site, or sent me an email to let me know that you voted for Black Tennis Pro's in the 2009 Black Web Awards. Thank you so very much to each and every one of you. Your support lifted Black Tennis Pro's to the win as Best Site For Black Athletes and I am genuinely thrilled. I don't know about you, but I like to win!
The funny thing about my finding out about the win is that I stopped by to see SjP at Sojourner's Place, who also deserves a hearty congratulations for her win as Best Online Commentator. As I was reading the related article, I found out that I had won. This is exactly how I found out that I had been nominated, stopping by Sojourner's Place. Thanks for the constant 411 SjP!
I haven't had an opportunity to go through the entire list of winners as yet, but SjP noted that the following sites were among the winners.
Barack Obama.com - Most Important Site for Black America & Most Original Site
Black Women in Europe Blog - Best Black European Site
Black Blog Watch - Best Black Blog Directory
You Betta Recognize - Best Education
Raw Dawg Buffalo - Best Business & Political
Congratulations to all of the winners!
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Well, we've survived the third and final debate between the presidential candidates. I am so glad that they are over! It has been nice to see my choice for president, Barack Obama, continually spell out his plans and discuss his vision for America, but enough of anything is enough!
McCain never had a shot in heaven or hell of convincing me that he would be the better candidate, so continuing to look at him create new policy with every changing poll has been a real drag. I will say though, McCain is quite impressive in his denial of running a dirtier than dirty campaign against Obama and then pretending that he is the one that has been victimized. A reality show seems a good place for him to go from here. That kind of bologna works in that venue.
Bored with the debates, yes. But these 30-minute spots that Obama has purchased on various networks definitely have my attention. I can't wait to see what he has planned to leave the American people with just days prior to the election. Very strategic move Obama!
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and American Venus Williams made it look easy today.
Venus, seeded third, beat Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Zurich Open.
"I played OK and when the points became important I was winning those, especially on my serve. I was trying to put more into coming in (to the net) on different kinds of shots. I'll be looking to improve my level with every round," Venus said.
Up next is either Russian Maria Kirilenko or Italian Francesca Schiavone.Monfils reached the last 16 of the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Masters by defeating Chilean Fernando González 6-3, 6-4. This is the second time in a week that the two have met, bringing a second straight-sets win for the Monfils.
In Madrid also, Tsonga, the 16th seed, edged through a third-set tiebreak to defeat Spaniard Marcel Granollers 3-6, 6-3, 7-6.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
American James Blake can't seem to get the job done as of late. I thought that the short period that he's been off might have rejuvenated his game, but not so. Today Blake was defeated by Frenchman Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round of the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid.
He seems to be in some kind of funk...Come on Blake, SNAP OUT OF IT!!!
Frenchman Gael Monfils Through To Second Round
Gael Monfils won his first singles match in three visits to Madrid with a 6-2, 6-4 round one victory over Italian wild card Fabio Fognini.
Monfils will meet Fernando Gonzalez in the second round.
Unfortunately, that good fortune did not transfer over to the doubles. Monfils and his partner, countryman Gilles Simon, were bounced by Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and German Nicolas Keifer 6-3, 6-2.
Photo Getty Images
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Venus Williams vs. BYE
James Blake, USA vs. BYE
Gael Monfils, USA vs. Fabio Fognini, ITA
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA vs. BYE
Gael Monfils, FRA and Gilles Simon, FRA
Thomas Berdych, CZE and Nicolas Keifer, GER
James Blake, USA and Mardy Fish, USA
Carlos Moya, ESP and Rafael Nadal, ESP
6-4, 6-7(5) [5/10]
Jeff Coetzee, RSA and Wesley Moodie, RSA
Donald Young, USA vs. Lester Cook, USA
Scoville Jenkins, USA vs. Robert Kendrick, USA
Scoville Jenkins, USA and Amir Weintraub, ISR
Ilia Bozoljac, SRB and Dusan Vemic, SRB
Nicholas Monroe, USA vs. Brett Joelson, USA
Phillip Simmonds, USA vs. Maksim Tikhomirov, USA
Phillip Simmonds, USA and Gregory Ouellette, USA
G. D. Jones, NZL and Ryan Rowe, USA
Asia Muhammad, USA vs. Rossana De Los Rios, PAR
Alexandra Stevenson, USA vs. Shenay Perry, USA
Ahsha Rolle, USA vs. Anna Tatishvilli, GEO
Angela Haynes, USA vs. Lindsay Lee-Waters, USA
Ahsha Rolle, USA and Olga Puchkoba, RUS
Julie Ditty, USA and Carly Gullickson, USA
Asia Muhammad, USA and Christina McHale, USA
Brittany Augustine, USA and Grace Min, USA
Megan Moulton-Levy, USA and Audra Cohen, USA
Lauren Albanese, USA vs. Madison Brengle, USA
Angela Haynes, USA and Melinda Czink, HUN
Margaret Boyette, USA and Alexandra Clay, USA
Singles Qualifying Rounds:
Megan Moulton-Levy, USA defeated Chieh-Yu Hsu, USA
Whitney Jones, USA vs. Anna Orlik, BLR
Whitney Jones, USA and Larikah Russell, BAH
Coral Morales, CHI and Melodia Morales, CHI
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