Serena Williams wins 18th slam

Serena Williams ended a difficult-for-her Grand Slam season in the best way possible, winning her third consecutive US Open championship and 18th major title overall.

And like each of her matches at Flushing Meadows the past two weeks, the final wasn’t close at all — a 6-3, 6-3 victory over good friend Caroline Wozniacki that lasted only 75 minutes Sunday.

Williams equaled Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 Grand Slam singles titles, the fourth-most in history. Williams also matched Evert’s total of six championships at the US Open and became the first woman to win three in a row since Evert’s four-title run from 1975-78.

Not only did Williams, ranked and seeded No. 1, win all 14 sets she played in the tournament, she never even dropped more than three games in any of them.

When the final ended, Williams dropped to her back behind the baseline, covering her hands with her face. Her first major trophy also came in New York, in 1999, when she was 17.

“It is a pleasure for me to win my first Grand Slam here and then this No. 18,” Williams said, her voice choking. “So I’m really emotional. I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”

Williams earned $4 million, a record in tennis — $3 million for the title, plus a $1 million bonus for having had the best results during the North American summer hard-court circuit. She also became the first female athlete to top $60 million in on-court earnings. Evert and Navratilova joined her on court during the trophy and check ceremony.

Williams also has won five titles apiece at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, plus two at the French Open. Only three players have more Slams to their credit: Margaret Court with 24, Steffi Graf with 22, and Helen Wills Moody with 19.

Until the US Open, though, Williams had not been at her best on her sport’s biggest stages in 2014. She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon, where a disoriented Williams also struggled through an odd appearance in doubles that was attributed to a viral illness.

Back at the top of her game, Williams broke Wozniacki’s serve five times and compiled a hard-to-believe 29-4 edge in winners.

“You really deserved it today. You played better than me,” the 24-year-old Wozniacki said. “You’re an unbelievable champion and you’re an inspiration to me, both on and off the court. You’re an unbelievable friend — and you definitely owe drinks later.”

Remarkably, until a cross-court backhand on the run in the final game that Williams applauded, the only winners registered by the 10th-seeded Wozniacki came on a trio of aces.

That was, in part, a result of the Dane’s iffy play in only her second Grand Slam final — she lost to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open — but mainly due to Williams’ relentless pursuit of every ball.

A few weeks shy of her 33rd birthday, making the American the oldest major champion since Navratilova was 33 at Wimbledon in 1990, Williams powered this way and that in her black-and-pink hightops. Wozniacki is the one training for the New York City Marathon, but she was tuckered out by the end.

Wozniacki may as well have been an extra in this Williams highlight reel. Points were directed by Williams, via serves that reached 120 mph (194 kph), forceful returns that backed Wozniacki into a corner when not producing outright winners, unreachable groundstrokes or the occasional volley.

Yes, this was all about Williams. At times, it felt as if Wozniacki were there because, well, someone needed to be on the opposite side of the net.

They’ve been pals for years, and they hung out together in Miami — heading to the beach, watching an NBA playoff game — after both lost early at the French Open in May. Wozniacki says Williams helped her get over the end of her engagement to golf star Rory McIlroy.

“We text almost every day. She’s such a great person, a nice friend,” Williams said, before turning to address Wozniacki.

“I know you’re going to be winning very, very soon, maybe even Australia,” Williams said, referring to the next major tournament, in January, “so I got to go home and get fit again so I can be ready for you there.”

The friendship between Williams and Wozniacki did not matter one bit, of course, while they played with so much at stake as early evening shadows moved across Arthur Ashe Stadium.

As Williams put it beforehand, referring to her older sister, “If I can play Venus, I can play anybody.”

Look at the Private Ferrari Collection of Phil Bachman

Cray

Beginning with his 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, the vast number of Ferraris in Bachman’s garage is not the sole factor to impress – additionally Phil seeks out the last model to leave the Ferrari factory in any given production run, and in some cases Phil must endure a wait of several years. The majority of Phil’s collection is dominated by yellow Ferraris, as a response to the archetypical Ferrari red, while standout models include a 1967 275 GTB/4, a 1975 365 GT4 BB, and a 2003 Enzo. To read the full interview, click here.

Hawks owner Bruce Levenson Selling team after racist email

WOW !!!!

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson will sell the franchise after the revelation of a 2012 email he wrote stereotyping African-American fans.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Levenson made the announcement Sunday morning with joint statements. Silver held a meeting in New York late last week with a group of other owners to discuss the issue, but many other owners and team officials did not know of it until Sunday’s announcement, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The announcement comes a little more than four months after the release of an audio tape in which former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racial comments to his reported girlfriend. Silver banished Sterling from the NBA and forced him to sell. Sterling’s wife Shelly closed the sale of the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion last month.

Levenson apologized for the August 2012 email, which he said made “clichéd assumptions” about the differences between black and white fans in Atlanta.

“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors,” Levenson said in the statement. “Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.

“In trying to address those issues, I wrote an email two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.

“If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.”

Silver said Levenson notified the NBA of the email in July, and the league followed with its own investigation.

“Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Levenson notified me [Saturday] evening that he had decided to sell his controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks,” Silver said. “As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association.”

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will oversee team operations while the franchise works through the sale process.

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