Saturday semifinals and on the men’s side, the only real intrigue comes from looking ahead to the finals, although any player will tell you that they can never overlook the opponent immediately across the net.
Novak Djokovic, the number two seed, goes toe-to-toe with the sixth seed from Argentina Juan Martin Del Potro, the first man other than Rafael Nadal to steal a Grand Slam from Federer during his amazing run from a few years ago. Del Potro has dealt with injuries, which slowed him down following his US Open win, but he’s back and clearly has what it takes to reach the finals here.
Djokovic has definitely brought that return game of his, which will be key against the taller Del Potro who takes advantage of his height. The first set stays on-serve until Del Potro litters a serve game with two double faults and Djokovic breaks for a 4-2 lead. From that point, it’s a routine set of holds with Djokovic winning the set 6-3.
Djokovic breaks Del Potro during his second service game in the second set. A pair of holds before Djokovic breaks again (Del Potro fails to win a point during this service game) for a 5-2 lead. Watching the latter portion of this set, its curious to see Djokovic pushing Del Potro further and further off the baseline with punishingly deep shots. And he pushes and shoves him right out of the match with a final ace [6-3, 6-2].
The other semifinal match is all Swiss, all the time. The number one-seed and world’s number one player Roger Federer against Stanislas Wawrinka. The two teamed up to capture the gold in doubles in the Olympics and having served as practice partners over the years, there’s a real familiarity that could make this match intriguing.
Federer comes out and it is apparent that as the man is king of all he surveys. The crowds are overwhelmingly behind him, granting him home court advantage, although its not like he needs it.
The first set features flashes of brilliance from each man as they hold serve with Wawrinka confirming that he has a powerful weapon in his serve. He logs more aces than Federer, yet Federer's net play and shot selection more than keeps him in the match. By the inevitable tiebreak, the all-around game of Federer leads to a 7-4 win.
The second set is more of the same as they trade holds up through 3-games all, and then Federer sneaks in a break and a strong hold for a 5-3 lead. The expectation is for a Wawrinka hold and then Federer to serve it out, but an untimely double fault for Wawrinka gives the game and match to Federer [7-6 (7-4), 6-3].
Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic. The number one seed versus the number two seed – the first time the two top seeds have met in the finals at the W&S Open. This is the match everyone was waiting for and the crowds are raucous.
On court, the action takes an unexpected turn. Federer breaks immediately, holds and then breaks again for a 3-0 lead. He holds again at love and unbelievably breaks once more for 5-0. Is Djokovic hurt? He makes no calls for his coach or a trainer and simply lets Federer serve out the first set [6-0]. Has he ever been blanked in a set, in an event final?
When Djokovic holds to start the second set, the crowd whoops it up, hoping to provide him with a charge. And now both players look like the top seeds we came to see. The service games add up and there’s the sense that a tiebreak is in store.
When it arrives, the temperature seems to rise. Heat and excitement generate a palpable jolt. Federer grabs a mini-break on Djokovic’s first serve and holds his two points. Before the air deflates out of the stands, Djokovic holds and breaks back. Back and forth they go. At 6-6, with the crowd firmly in his corner, Djokovic holds to take a 7-6 lead, but Federer scores a huge smash before taking the next two points and the match.
He raises his arms and grants Mirka a knowing nod as he walks over to towel off before the trophy presentation. This match sets the field on notice that Federer is ready to extend his Grand Slam singles title count even further and everybody, including the defending champion, better watch out.
The women’s finalists, ninth seed Na Li (CHN) and the fifth seed Angelique Kerber (GER), have the distinction of being the players who took out the Williams sisters on the way towards this meeting and each of them has proven capable of slugging it out or exerting their will through carefully constructed points.
Much like the men’s final though, this one starts off rather one-sided. Kerber follows up an all-business hold with a quick break of Li and another hold. Li finally hangs on during a service game, but what has undone her thus far is an inability to rein in her shots. Serves and groundstrokes sail far and wide in an-ever increasing avalanche. She seems confounded by her lack of control, but by the time Kerber has earned the first set at 6-1, Li has no answers and yet, it is Kerber who calls for an on-court conference with her coach.
The second set offers more of the same, as Li continues to push shots, except for her swinging half-volleys, which she nails with surprising accuracy. Somehow, she settles into a groove and evens things up at 3-all. Kerber lapses into a funk and before you know it, Li has secured the second set 6-3.
Li breaks to open the third set and suddenly, the two have completely switched games. Kerber can’t keep the ball on the court or as the games mount, it looks like she’s frustrated by Li’s ability to power shots all over the court. Kerber begins to stop chasing down shots that she consistently reached in the first set. She calls for a second pow-wow with her coach after falling down 3-0. Li aces her to take the fourth game, but Kerber digs deep enough to win her next service game and the crowd perks up for a minute, checking Kerber’s resolve. Unfortunately, Kerber had nothing left in the tank and she allowed Li to sweep her off the court without much resistance.
The final score [1-6, 6-3, 6-1] doesn’t quite reflect the curious lack of sharp precise play. It will be interesting to see if either player can use today’s effort as a springboard into the US Open. The women’s side of the upcoming Slam appears wide open, ready and waiting for someone, anyone to step up to the big stage, like Stosur last year. At this rate though, it will take far more from either of these finalists to own that epic moment.
Sorry to do this, guy who got hit in the face by Michael Boley's celebratory throw. But dang was it funny.
Last month, the Ohio High School Athletic Association declared her ineligible for the current basketball season. It says her family’s move into the suburban school district was not for “bona fide” reasons; it was solely to play basketball. A lawsuit filed by Paige’s mother, Vivian Watkins, contends Withrow High School opposed the transfer and filed an inaccurate complaint that led to the ban. OHSAA has not yet filed its formal response in the case. Court officials told CityBeat its lawyer has been in touch with the judge and indicated it will fight to keep Paige from playing high school hoops.
The 18-year-old Paige is a 5-foot-7 guard who is one of Cincinnati’s top female athletes. A post-high school college scholarship might be hanging in the balance of the court case. She was all-conference for the past three seasons in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference, the league which includes most of the city’s public urban high schools. (Clark Montessori and Walnut Hills are the two city schools that are in different leagues). Three years worth of Paige’s stats are available by clicking here.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman has scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing on a request for a temporary injunction that would lift the OHSAA ban and allow Paige to play. The basketball player’s mom — who is acting as her own lawyer in the case — says legitimate family issues led to the move outside the city. The mom contends the OHSAA has refused to consider evidence showing her daughter transferred to Winton Woods because the mom’s marriage broke down and she moved into a suburban apartment with her two children.
“Mrs. Watkins looked for apartments that would fit her budget and a decent community to reside in,” the mom wrote in the lawsuit against the OHSAA. “She looked all over and finally found a place in May of 2012. Since Alexxus was moving with her it would have been hard to transport Alexxus back and forth to Withrow High School, so it was decided that Alexxus would attend Winton Woods High School which is closer to Alexxus place of residence.”
The state rule is designed to hamper schools from recruiting star athletes to pump up their sports programs. In the past, there have been allegations that players enrolled in schools where they did not actually reside, or had temporarily “moved” in order to improve a team.North College Hill was dogged for years over rumors it recruited O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker for its state championship hoops teams. Both are now in the NBA: Walker plays for the New York Knicks and Mayo is with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The greatest idea of my awesome life was to find a friend who lives less than a quarter-mile from my place who has Tecmo Super Bowl and likes to play it. We recently began a new experiment — starting a season and putting every single team on “MAN” control.
The Cincinnati pugilist (23-0, 19 knockouts), who lives in Westwood, faces Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 knockouts). The fight will be broadcast on HBO's Boxing After Dark and represents the next step in a career that may propel Broner into the highest levels of the sport. This will be Broner's fifth appearance on HBO.
Broner is the youngest current U.S. title holder after winning the WBO Junior Lightweight belt with a third-round knockout of Vicente Rodriguez last November. His first title defense came in February of this year, also in Cincinnati. He easily defeated Eloy Perez, prompting additional fan, cable and promoter attention. His second title defense this Saturday may be a turning point, leading to the next tier of exposure and reward — and perhaps much tougher fights.
Escobedo is a 2004 US Olympian, though he did not medal. He's fighting at 130 pounds, having tasted defeat as a pro at 135 pounds in a split-decision title fight loss versus Michael Katsidis in 2009. After four victories in the new weight class, the 30-year-old Escobedo now faces one of the most highly touted prospects in boxing today in Broner.
In the ring, Broner's athleticism, speed, power and preparation, as well as his side-on fighting style and offense-from-defense positioning, have led to comparisons with current pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Broner says he doesn't watch tape of opponents but prefers to adapt in the ring.
Outside the ring, he's known for a flamboyant style that also has brought comparisons to Mayweather's flashy persona, but Broner shows adaptability in the arena of life as well. Broner describes strong and apparently nourishing interests, including recording his own music. So far, when it's time to focus — in the ring or answering serious questions about his claims to elite status — the 22-year-old can be frank, direct and thoughtful.
But he's also being called over-the-top. A rare talent. And, of course, undefeated.
Cincinnati sports fans are on notice that maybe, just maybe, they have a new, hometown, world-class athlete worth following on the international stage.
Broner-Escobedo headlines an extensive undercard on Saturday, July 21. U.S. Bank Arena doors open at 5 pm. HBO Boxing After Dark coverage begins at 10 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
Cincinnati's Adrien "The Problem" Broner won the fight Saturday night, but he lost the title.
Broner, contracted to defend his WBO Junior Lightweight title (130 pounds) against Vicente Escobedo on Saturday in a fight broadcast nationally on HBO, failed to make weight, coming in more than three pounds heavy.
The undefeated Broner automatically lost his title, while Escobedo, who faced more risk fighting the heavier Broner, had the option to cancel the fight. After negotiating substantial additions to his share of the purse, Escobedo agreed to proceed.
No longer a title fight, the 12-round bout began with a pattern Broner continued throughout the night: jabbing low to the body early each round, then mixing his punches — crosses, hooks and uppercuts with both hands — with jabs higher up. Broner struck at first in single or a few shots, but increasingly unleashed torrents of hard shots with speed and power in both hands throughout the first four rounds.
Both men landed punches, but Broner landed significantly more jabs and the more telling power shots. For four rounds Escobedo stayed in the center of the ring with Broner, though faring worse in the exchanges.
At the end of the fourth round, both men headed back to their corners. Broner gave Escobedo a long look then told his trainer, "I'm going to walk him down." Calm in his corner, Broner remained sitting until the final moment when the bell signaled the beginning of the round.
Broner's pace and intensity ratcheted up. The battered Escobedo barely forced his way off the ropes through a barrage of punches, circling not Broner but the whole ring, his back to the ropes.
The final, measured attack saw Escobedo bent double, nose bloodied, unable to respond to Broner's attack. The referee halted the bout in the fifth round as Escobedo's corner threw in the towel.
"It was time to open up," Broner said after the fight. "I was opening up every round, getting closer and closer. He's a world class fighter who has a chance win a world title one day, but today was not his day."
"I felt his power. He's fast and hard to hit," Escobedo said. "I did my job and came in here like a professional and he didn't. That's the past, and he was the better man tonight."
For Broner, the TKO victory means he can explore bigger possibilities in higher weight classes as an unbeaten, phenomenally skilled, yet only modestly, tested pound-for-pound candidate.
Broner's trainer Mike Stafford said Broner "can be comfortable at 135; he can be comfortable at 140. But right now, we're going to . We're not going up two weight classes because we don't have to."
Broner, who previously has said he might go as high as 154, said, "The task only gets bigger from here, going to lighweight. We'll give them all hell: [Antonio] DeMarco can be next, after that, [Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Brandon] Rios ... anybody."
Broner's failure to make weight on Friday has been criticized by many and interpreted to reflect his attitude toward life both in and outside the ring. It's too soon and the situation too complex — networks, promoters, pundits, the fighters and camps are all in play — to reach definitive conclusions about how Broner will continue to develop as a person and a fighter.
In the meantime, the measured approach of Broner and his team gives him the best chance to demonstrate possibly elite skills against more challenging competition.
Three other Cincinnati-area fighters on the undercard won their bouts Saturday night, including middlewight Chris Pearson, junior lightweight Brandon Bennett and heavyweight Danny Calhoun.
Athletes and coaches consistently fill reporters’ notebooks with clichés and figures of speech, politicized and politically correct jargon that means nothing except that he or she respects the fans, the game and the opponent.
There are also players and coaches who consistently run their mouths, firing off arguments and declarations that distract their teammates and make them look like jackasses.
But for every hundred athletes too nervous to show their personal side or too conservative to speak out on controversial subjects or too stupid to shut up once in a while, there are players and coaches who are freaking hilarious and make athletes seem like real people instead of cliché robots and jocks.
Former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco doesn’t have the best image. After breaking into the majors as a super fast, freaky power hitter with the Oakland A’s and winning a World Series with his fellow Bash Brother/performance-enhancing-drug-user Mark McGwire, Canseco’s career and reputation were marred by injuries and a series of embarrassing moments on and off the field.
In 1992, Canseco was traded to another team while he was in the on-deck circle waiting to bat. In 1993, a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run — This Week In Baseball in 1998 named the incident the greatest blooper of the show’s first 20-plus years. Canseco then asked his manager to pitch in a game even though he was an outfielder, which resulted in an elbow injury that required surgery.
During the PED witch
hunt of the early 2000s, Canseco apparently took exception to MLB’s
— and the media’s — obsession with how huge Barry Bonds’ body
and head had gotten and released a tell-all book called Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he claimed that the majority of MLB players were on steroids.
Since then, Canseco has generally been seen as a doofus who does silly things to maintain his celebrity and make relatively small amounts of money, such as participating in reality shows, claiming Madonna liked him more than he liked her and training for a mixed martial arts fight and then losing in 77 seconds.
Canseco in the past few days has apparently attempted to rectify all his wrongs with a series of tweets aimed at schooling all the “morons” who don’t believe in global warming. It reads as a passionate, if grammatically flawed, cry for reason in the wake of the mass consumption and laziness that has led to the death of thousands of polar bears and, apparently, Al Gore.
The following is a
collection of the tweets, which have made quite an impression on the
Twitter community, ranked in order of hilariousness.
Be the first to receive future advice on world-changing lifestyle tips from Jose Canseco by following him @JoseCanseco.
8. The tweet that got it all started — Canseco alerts the public that he is going to drop some serious knowledge about global warming the following day, likely using an aggressive tone.
7. While this tweet was
certainly informative, the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto has
been known even by the laziest non-recyclers for a long time. The
Playboy celebrity golf tournament reference is funny, though — classic Canseco.
6. “How do we stop global warming?” A relevant question, completely reasonable coming from someone like Canseco who probably doesn’t actually know the answer.
5. Here’s where Canseco starts really lashing into the skeptics, his frustration with mass consumption demonstrating a larger level of understanding of the issue, which likely surprised many readers. Canseco also introduces the concept of polar bears in this tweet, which is essential to later hilarity.
4. Ridiculously bad grammar aside, Canseco again makes a good point — in some countries families indeed share much less space than we use in America. The second reference to polar bears is really funny and for some reason unexpected.
3. Canseco in this
tweet proves that he’s not going to let the issue of lazy,
over-consuming humans fizzle out after a couple of liberal-esque polar bear
references. Jose is now invoking the sacrifices of the pioneers, who
didn’t use any electricity and just slept in flannel pajamas even
when it was snowing. A pretty good point.
2. Jose Canseco thinks Al Gore is dead.
1. If Canseco is correct that lowering your body temperature at night will make you live 20-percent longer, then he’s probably well on his way to solving global warming. Energy savings aside, Canseco’s hope that he’ll live into his seventies rather than dying in some stupid way during the next 10 years is likely what led to this outburst of social consciousness.