Archive for category David’s Posts

Serena and Maria — Part 22

Serena Williams has faced Maria Sharapova 21 times.  Serena has won all but two of those head to head encounters including the 2012 Olympics Gold Medal match.

The only times Maria has beaten Serena was 2004 in the Wimbledon final and the year end championships the same year.

I will be rooting for Serena to make it 20 – 2 instead of 19 – 3 on Monday.

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The HBO Documentary: Being Serena

I must honestly say that this documentary “mini series” really impressed me.  After seeing Part 2 titled “Strength” I had a new appreciation and admiration for Serena.  She obviously did not want to have a C-section due to her history of blood clots and the impact on her comeback to tennis.

Of course, the most important thing was the health of the mother and the baby, the absolutely precious Alexis Olympia.  But the C-section added risk to Serena’s health due to her blood clot history.  Thank goodness she knows her body better than anyone else and she insisted on a scan when she knew there was something wrong.

Seeing her struggle during her first match back (an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion) was painful but I knew it was just the start of the journey.  If anyone could make it back it was Serena.  Seeing her struggle playing doubles with Venus during the Fed Cup was painful as well.  Seeing her playing the quarter finals against Venus in Indian Wells and losing was painful.  Seeing her lose in the first round of the Miami Open was painful too.  But thank goodness she knows her body better than anyone and insisted on a cat-scan with dye when she “knew” she had blood clots – and she did.

I am very glad that this documentary was done and I was very glad I watched it.  Even to the point that they completed the documentary only the day before the final episode aired.

Watch it – it’s worth it.

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Indian Wells & The Miami Open Are Over

Indian Wells marked the return of Serena and a third round match between Venus and Serena.  Something needs to be done about protected rankings for women out for maternity leave so this kind of crazy seeding and crazy draws don’t happen like this.

Which brings us to Miami – Serena meets the winner from Indian Wells in the first round at Miami?  Absurd.  It was disappointing that Venus only made it to the Quarterfinals but she did beat some big names getting there.

But let’s talk about the winners.  John Isner (New York Empire, WTT) finally got his first Masters 1000 title and Sloane Stephens (former Washington Kastle, WTT now with the Philadelphia Freedom, WTT)  took the Women’s Singles title.  Throw in the Washington Kastles’ own Bob and Mike Bryan taking their 115th career title in Miami and another WTT former player, Coco Vandeweghe paired with Australian Ashleigh Barty to win the Women’s Doubles title.

It was nice to see the USA represented as the winners in every event in Miami this year.  It was the first time in eight years that an American man had won the Men’s Singles title.

Now waiting for WTT to start…

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It’s Getting Closer…!!!

The World Team Tennis season is on it’s way and along with that are the new look Washington Kastles.  The WTT draft was held on March 13, 2018 and the 2018 Washington Kastle’s roster is:

  • Murphy Jensen, Coach
  • Madison Brengle (protected)
  • Bob and Mike Bryan (protected)
  • Robert Lindstedt
  • Nicole Melichar
  • Tennys Sandgren
  • Venus Williams (protected)
  • Frances Tiafoe

The 2018 season kicks off with Kastles visiting the New York Empire on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 5:00 PM at Court 17 of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and runs through August 2, 2018 with an away match in Orange County, CA.

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Under A Week And Counting

We are now under a week and counting!!!  It’s Wednesday evening and only 6 nights from now I’ll be in the Smith Center at GWU watching my beloved Washington Kastles first home match.

Martina Hingis and Frances Tiafoe will be “in the house” on 7/18 and 7/19.  Bob and Mike Bryan will be with Frances on 7/20 and then on 7/21 Martina, Frances and Nick Kyrgios will represent the “home team”.  After a road trip, the Kastles return to the Smith Center on 7/25 and our Wimbledon stars Venus Williams, Sam Querrey and Bruno Soares will be there for the “home team”.  Sam and Bruno will be with the team also on 7/26 and 7/29.

As of today, July 12, Venus is in the Women’s Semifinals, Sam is in the Men’s Semifinals, and Martina (along with Jamie Murray) and Bruno (along with Elena Vesnina) are in the Quarterfinals of the Mixed Doubles.

All in all a pretty good tournament for the Kastles stars.

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Serena Stands Alone at 23 Majors in the Open Era

What an amazing Australian Open Women’s Final!!!  I have made no bones about the fact that my absolute favorite tennis player of all time is Serena Williams followed by Venus at an extremely second.  After all, Venus was instrumental in the Washington Kastles winning the 2012 WTT Championship in Charleston, SC and I was fortunate enough to meet Venus after the championship match and get a fantastic photo with Venus (that I will cherish forever).

It was truly bittersweet to watch the sister battle, yet again, in the final.  I had cheered for both of them in every single match up until the final and cheering for Serena  final was heart wrenching since I love Venus, the way Venus competes, her consistent eloquence and her massive contributions to women’s tennis including equal prize money and being such a fantastic role model to young women.

It was particularly sweet to sit and watch Venus play Coco at the AO – a repeat meeting of the final event at the WTT 2012 Championship match in Charleston, SC.  The Kastles were tied 15-15 going into the final match – Venus vs. Coco, winner take all.  It went to an event tiebreak and Venus lost the first two points in the tiebreak to Coco.  The rep from NBC Sports told the Sacramento players to put on their jackets for the award ceremony.  I tapped him on the shoulder and said “never count a Williams’ sister out”.  Venus reeled off 5 straight points to win the championship and take the Kastles to 32-0.

Serena is my all time tennis favorite and I am so happy for her.  Sisters rule!!!

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“Hidden Figures” – A Triumph of a Movie

I went to see Hidden Figures this morning.  It was snowing with a forecast of about 1″ of accumulation so I figured there was no point to sit at home and stare at the snow when I could go see the movie I had been waiting to see.

The fact that three brilliant African American women had been an integral part of the success of the manned space program was unknown to me until this movie started to be publicized.

The main character in the movie was Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) who was a “computer” at the Langley Research Center of NACA/NASA in Hampton, VA.  She was the person that did the math to calculate the lift off and landing trajectories for a number of space missions.  Ms. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine Johnson was brilliant and hopefully she will receive a Oscar nomination for the part.

Octavia Spencer portrays Dorothy Vaughan who was the first African American supervisor at NACA.  She was also a pioneer in computer programming with a  specialty in Fortran.  Janelle Monae plays Mary Jackson who became the first African American women to become an aeronautical engineer at NASA.

Kevin Costner portrays Al Harrison, director of the Space Task Group at NASA and does an excellent job of not underplaying or overplaying the part.  Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst, Glen Powell and Mahershala Ali round out the cast.

This was time well spent and this is a movie that all young girls should see.  Not just young African American girls, but all young girls.  For that matter all young boys should see this movie to understand that women are just as capable as men in math and science.

My reaction to the movie was surprising to me.  Yes, I was exhilarated to see the role that these unheralded brilliant women played in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.  But I was also incensed – incensed that the story had not been told a lot sooner.  Thank goodness Margot Lee Shetterly wrote the book and brought the story to the attention of the American people.  Her father was a research scientist at the Langley Research Center and she knew the women in Hidden Figures at a young age.

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The Olympics Ruined This Season of WTT – Here’s To Next July

Well, the Olympics really screwed up this year of WTT and the Kastles did not make the playoffs.  Instead of one East and one West team it was two West teams this year.  The Orange County Breakers faced the San Diego Aviators with the Aviators prevailing.

The 2017 WTT season will be the 10th season for the Kastles so it should be great.

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It’s Kastles Time!!!

It’s finally here!!!  World Team Tennis season.

My beloved Washington Kastles started out the season on the road in New York where they faced the New York Empire in their inaugural match.

Denis Kudla and Leander Paes started out winning the Men’s Doubles match 5-4 and then Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova took the court to face Christina McHale and Maria Ingoyen in Women’s Doubles.  Martina and “A-Rod” took care of the Empire duo in 15 minutes and won by a score of 5-2 to bring the overall score to 10-6.  Guido Pella then faced Denis Kudla in Men’s Singles and got the Empire close to the Kastles by winning by a score of 5-2.

So, at intermission the overall score was 12-11 and it appeared that the match would be closer than Kastles fans would be comfortable with.  Martina Hingis and Leander Paes took the court against Christina McHale and Neal Skupski.  The Kastles served first and were broken.  The Kastles broke back.  After the Kastles broke a second time, they won the set 5-2 for an overall score of 17-13.

The score of 17-13 gave Madison Brengle a slight cushion playing Women’s Singles against Christina McHale and the announcer on ESPN3 kept talking about the fact that if Christina McHale won the Women’s Singles event that they would go to extended play, could tie up the overall score and then go to a supertiebreaker.

Christina served first and was broken.  Madison held serve and broke Christina a second time to go up 3-0.  Christina broke back to make it 3-1.  Madison then broke Christina a third time to bring the event to 4-1.  With Madison serving for the set Christina broke a second time to bring the event score to 4-2.  Christina then served and was broken for the fourth time and Madison won the event 5-2 and the overall final match score was 22-15.

Then Kastles take the court at the Smith Center tonight to play the Springfield Lasers with Bob and Mike Bryan joining the team.

Kastles Time!!!

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The Eurythmics Were Right – “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”

Well, Serena won her second Wimbledon 2016 Championship today just a couple of hours after her Singles title alongside her sister Venus.

Venus and Serena won the Womens Doubles Championship in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 over Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova in an hour and 27 minutes.  The big key to the Williams sisters winning this title was break opportunities.  Venus and Serena had 4 break points against their opponents and converted 75%  of them – 3 out of 4.  Babos and Shvedova had 8 break points against the Williams sisters and only converted 13% of them – one.

This keeps the Williams sisters record in Grand Slam Doubles Finals intact – they are 14-0 when they reach the final.

Again, congratulations to our former Kastles super stars and my two favorite players of all time.

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