August 27, 2018
Defending champion Rafael Nadal progressed to the second round of the US Open on Monday after fellow Spaniard David Ferrer retired midway through the second set due to a calf injury.
Nadal, the world No.1, breezed through the first set without facing a break point but the 36-year-old Ferrer fought back in the second, breaking Nadal twice before the injury forced him to stop with the score at 6-3 3-4.
Ferrer, whose decision to retire brings the curtain down on his final appearance at a grand slam, said he had taken an injection before the match but was in obvious discomfort and need treatment courtside before he decided to quit.
"I feel bad," he said in a courtside interview. "I had one shot in my calf and there was pain. I tried to play. I tried.
"I'm so sorry because I can't finish the match, but anyway, thanks a lot."
Nadal, who like his opponent was sweating profusely in the oppressively humid conditions, paid tribute to Ferrer, whom he beat in the 2013 French Open final.
"I'm very sorry for him. He's one of my closest friends on the tour and we faced many amazing moments together," Nadal said. "It's sad for him to finish like this."
US Open: Ferrer retires in final grand slam match, Halep the first top seed to lose in first round
Meanwhile, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center's newest stadium received a proper christening when world No.1 Simona Halep made history.
The reigning French Open champion became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the first round of the US Open when she fell to No.44 Kaia Kanepi, 6-2, 6-4, in the tournament's first match in a newly renovated Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Halep, who lost her opening-round match in New York last year to Maria Sharapova, joins a small club of No.1 seeds who have lost in the first round of a grand slam in tennis' Open era, which began in 1968. Virginia Ruzici did so at the 1979 Australian Open, Steffi Graf lost at Wimbledon in 1994, Martina Hingis lost at Wimbledon in 1999 and in 2001, and Angelique Kerber lost as the top seed this year at Roland Garros.
Seeding aside, the last world No.1 to win the US Open was Serena Williams in 2014.
The Romanian known for her fight on court will not forfeit the No.1 ranking despite her loss, as for the first time since 2016 the WTA's top spot is not on the line during a grand slam. Last year, the US Open began with eight players vying for the No.1 ranking.
Halep's defeat does open what was perhaps the toughest quarter of the women's draw, however. She could have played Serena or Venus Williams in the fourth round.
Kanepi advances instead, moving on to play qualifier Jil Teichmann in the second round. The Estonian beat Halep with powerful groundstrokes and free-wheeling, risky tennis that paid off, logging 26 winners to Halep's nine. She never lost control of the match, even in the second set when Halep appeared to get into more of a rhythm.
US Open: Ferrer retires in final grand slam match, Halep the first top seed to lose in first round
The 33-year-old was a quarter-finalist in New York last year. Monday's victory was Kanepi's first win over a top-20 player since 2015.
Serena Williams took the first cautious step towards a record-equalling 24th grand slam title with a 6-4, 6-0 first-round win over Magda Linette.
It was not the imposing performance many are used to seeing from Williams on Arthur Ashe Stadium court as the six-time champion continued to shake the rust off her game on her comeback campaign after the birth of her first child.
Telling the crowd that her spirit was broken after not saying goodbye to her daughter before leaving for her match, Williams appeared distracted during an uneven opening set until she finally seized control with a break to go up 4-3.
Williams, the winner of 72 career singles titles, has the ability to sense when she has an opponent on the ropes and moved in quickly to deliver the knockout punch, breaking the 68th ranked Pole to open the second.
US Open: Ferrer retires in final grand slam match, Halep the first top seed to lose in first round
While her game might not have been firing on all cylinders her ruthlessness remained as the American showed no hesitation in storming through second set before finishing off her opponent with a thundering ace.
Venus Williams moved to the second round by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in a matchup of past US Open champions.
The No.16 seed, a semi-finalist last year at Flushing Meadows, could play younger sister Serena in the third round.
Also through to the second round is Sloane Stephens.
The defending champion, who is also the No.3 seed, defeated Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 6-1, 7-5 in the rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium.
In other results in the men's draw, Swiss wildcard Stan Wawrinka conjured up some of his old US Open magic to sweep past eighth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
After winning the US Open in 2016 Wawrinka was unable to defend his title last year after two surgeries on his left knee.
But the Swiss, 101st in the world rankings, looked right at home on a steamy Monday as he opened his account with a ruthless 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 performance against one of the title contenders.
"The first time I came here last week, one week ago for practice, seeing, looking around a little bit," Wawrinka said.
"Two years ago was something very special, of course, amazing memories after the final.
"So it was great to come back, that’s for sure."
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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