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Serena Williams wins record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title

In 1998, two teenage tennis phenoms from Compton, Calif., met for the first time on the pro tour, in the second round at the Australian Open. Beads in their hair and braces on their teeth, the oft-talked about sisters stood ready to take the tennis world by storm.

But few could have predicted the spectacular journey that lay ahead of Serena and Venus Williams, one that spanned nearly two decades and brought them back to Melbourne, competing in their ninth Grand Slam final, with Serena cementing herself as the most decorated player, male or female, in the Open era by besting her older sister 6-4, 6-4.

The enormity of the moment was not lost on either sister. Saturday’s match opened with four consecutive breaks of serve as the duo worked out their respective nerves, Serena trying to capture her record-breaking title, and Venus attempting to raise a major trophy for the first time since 2008. It took until the fifth game for Serena Williams to find her groove in her serve and rally to win the opener 6-4.

Venus Williams, coming off of a draining, come-from-behind, three-set win over CoCo Vandeweghe, held to open the second set and then fought back triple break point at 1-1 to keep herself within striking distance. In the seventh game, though, Serena Williams got the pivotal break to put herself closer to history. Still, Venus Williams conceded nothing to her little sister, fighting to hold at 3-5 and staying aggressive as Serena Williams tried to serve for the set. Eventually, the little sister pulled through to win her long-coveted 23rd major title.

Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title by winning the Australian Open. (AP)

Serena Williams tops sister Venus at Australian Open to win record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title

Saturday’s title was Serena’s 10th major championship won over the age of 30. By comparison, Steffi Graf won her final Grand Slam at age 29. The win also ensures that Serena Williams will retake her spot at the top of the WTA rankings.

As Serena dropped to the ground in celebration of a lifelong goal, she was a long way from the courts of Compton, but not far from the best friend and support system that has been there through it all.

“There’s no way I would be here at 23 without her,” Serena said of her sister. “There’s no way I would be at one without her. She’s the only reason that I’m standing here today. She’s the only reason that the Williams sisters exist.”


Jackie Bamberger

Sports World News

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Monday and spoke about the power sports has to unite people.

“Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,” Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. “Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves.”

“It is a game and celebration,” he said, and noted that “there’s a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me standing here.” Robinson, a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke Major League Baseball’s color line to become its first black player.

The White House event came four days before Obama hands the presidency over to Donald Trump following one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.

It also follows a weekend in which civil rights icon John Lewis said he didn’t consider Trump a legitimate president because of Russian meddling in the election. Trump responded on Twitter by criticizing Lewis as “all talk” and suggesting the Democratic congressman take better care of his Georgia district.

Obama has a home in Chicago, but is a longtime White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.

His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, however, is a lifelong Cubs fan. She greeted Cubs players before the ceremony, which Obama noted was her first appearance at some of the roughly 50 events he has hosted for championship college and professional sports teams.

The Cubs gave Obama two baseball jerseys — home and away — with the number 44, among other gifts. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also wears the number, and Obama referred to Rizzo as “my fellow 44.” Obama is the nation’s 44th president.

Obama said it will be hard for him to wear the jersey, but told the Cubs:

“Do know that among Sox fans I am the Cubs’ No. 1 fan.”

Hours after the Cubs won the series in November, Obama asked the team on Twitter if it wanted to visit the White House before his term ends Friday.

The World Series title was the first for the Cubs since 1908, and they won it by defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

 Darlene Superville, Associated Press


Campesino outclassed rivals to win the St Catherine Cup

In a show of his championship sprinting pedigree, the Philip Feanny-trained Campesino outclassed rivals to win the St Catherine Cup feature in fine style at Caymanas Park yesterday.

Campesino Cops the St Catherine Cup at Caymanas Park

Sent off at a 2-5 favourite in the small, but fairly competitive field of six runners,Campesino effortlessly swept past rivals at the top of the straight to win going away by six comfortable lengths in decent time of 1:05.0 minutes for the 1,100-metre event.

Stable companion Bubbling Kitten came on strong in deep stretch for second place ahead of Blue Dixie in third place.

Jockey Robert Halledeen, who was winning for the second time aboard Campesino, said that he was a mere pilot atop the seven-year-old bay gelding.

“From the gates opened we were a winner. We sat very easy in third position and when I asked him to run just turning for home, Campesino responded well and powered past rivals to win going away,” Halledeen told the Jamaica Observer.

Campesino, under a tight hold from Halledeen, watched closely from third position as Polly B (Dane Nelson) and Sir Budget, under Orlando Foster, dictated the early fractions approaching the half-mile.

Entering the lane and going three wide of rivals, Halledeen asked his mount to go, and the offspring of Compadre-Yaella responded with aplomb from the urging and powered home for an emphatic victory.

Earlier on the nine-race programme, Andree Powell, one of three female apprentice riders, lifted the excitement at the ‘Park’ when she rode a brilliant double.

Powell was successful aboard Glyder for owner/trainer Gordon Lewis in the second race over 1,000 metres straight and Classy Aviator in the fourth race for trainer Gary Subratie over 1,200 metres.

“It was a very nice feeling to ride two winners on a day. I am very happy and I will continue to work hard as I want to ride more winners,” Powell said.

Also riding two winners was Shamaree Muir. He won aboard Light Brigade and Colors Of War.

Racing continues next Saturday with the running of James B Dawes Memorial Cup.

Source: Jamaica Observer

— Ruddy Allen & Alicia Barrett


Redstripe Premier League resumes with full schedule of Football

TUCKER, St James — The Red Stripe Premier League will resume with a full schedule of six games today after the Christmas/new year break, and with statistically half of the season still to come, the rush for points at both ends of the tables will also resume with urgency.

There is still all to play for with six points separating the top five teams and another six separating the last four.

Additionally, with the transfer window almost a week old and another three weeks to go, teams across the board are aiming to address their deficiencies.

The disparity in the needs will be most obvious in the games at Wespow Park in Tucker, St James, and Harbour View, where teams at opposite parts of the tables will meet.

At Tucker, defending champions and leaders Montego Bay United (MBU) will host second to last Waterhouse FC, who are in a second-straight season fighting for survival. Also Harbour View, the home team, who are two points above the relegation zone, take on fourth-placed Humble Lion, four points from the top.

Arnett Gardens, who have dropped precipitously from the lofty heights they occupied for the last three seasons to mid-tables, will be tested by an ambitious UWI FC team, while second-placed Tivoli Gardens will host a Marverley-Hughenden team on the upward bounce under new coach, Anthony Patrick.

A number of teams have sought to boost their squads in the transfer window and few have made a bigger splash than MBU, who have brought several schoolboy players, including top striker of the season, Jourdaine Fletcher of daCosta Cup champions, Cornwall College.

Whether the 19 year old can force his way into the starting team after just one week of training is to be seen, given the return of last year’s MVP and top-scorer Owayne “Turtle” Gordon as well as the incumbent starters Dino Williams, who leads the team with seven goals, and Allan Ottey.

Waterhouse, under new coach Glendon “Admiral” Bailey, have picked up four points form their last two games to haul themselves off the bottom of the standings and closer to safety, but are still in a lot of trouble.

The last time Waterhouse played at Wespow Park they lost 1-2, and while they have improved since then, will also face a tough team, full of confidence and boasting the best defensive record in the league.

Dillon Thelwell, who has been handed the reins at Montego Bay United with the departure of the Serb Slavisa Bozicic back, will be hoping to reward the confidence of notoriously impatient club president Orville Powell with a good start today.

Until they were beaten by Portmore United in the final set of games last month, Tivoli Gardens were on a surge up the tables, winning seven of eight games. They will be seeking to start a new run when they host Maverley in what could be the game of the round.

Former national player Jermaine Johnson has been leading the charge for Tivoli and has scored eight goals, second only to Boys’ Town’s Shemar Nicholson and one more than MBU’s Dino Williams.

Johnson’s seven yellow cards are also the most by any player in the competition, along with one expulsion.

Maverley-Hughenden are unbeaten in three games and have added significantly to their roster in the transfer window, and will seek to take all three points today after earning one from their first-round 1-1 draw.

Phillip Peddie has carried his form over from the KSAFA Super League and the JFF Confederation play-offs last season and leads the promoted team with five goals so far.

Harbour View have struggled all season and are tethering on the edge of the relegation abyss, and will hope to get a well-needed win when they welcome a dangerous Humble Lion who are unbeaten in five outings.

Harbour View have lost eight games, one shy of the most by Marverley-Hughenden, and their 13 goals are just one off the least by Reno FC. The Westmoreland-based outfit must improve in almost every area if they are to avoid the relegation dogfight later in the season.

Humble Lion, who have a number of veterans in their line-up, including goal poacher Devon Hodges, will have ambitions of returning to the semi-finals and face a Harbour View team that has not played well at home this season, losing six times and drawing another in the eight times they have played at Compound.

The once-mighty Arnett Gardens are facing their toughest test in years and have slipped to mid-tables to sixth place on 22 points, 13 shy of the leaders.

Expectations must have been lowered this year and the new rules that allow the four teams from third to sixth position to play off for two semi-final spots must be their first goal, if not to avoid dropping below the cut-off mark.

Today they will face a UWI FC team that are well-poised to make a run at the top-four in only their second season at this level, and the visitors will start favourites to grab all the points at stake.

UWI FC led the tables earlier, but a slight dip in form saw them fall to third, but only trail Tivoli Gardens on goal difference. But the Christmas break would have helped them to regroup.

They have lost twice in their last six outings, both by 1-0 margins, but beat Reno FC 2-0 in their most recent outing.

Portmore United and Jamalco will meet in a Clarendon derby that the former won 1-0 in the first round, but Jamalco will have home advantage at the Wembley Centre of Excellence.

Whether they can take advantage against Portmore United, who have added Lenworth Hyde to their coaching ranks, is another matter.

Portmore United went to the final last season and with the CFU Club Championship coming up soon, will also want to step up their game a few notches against a team that has struggled to keep pace in the Premier League.

Despite being in fifth place, the Portmore United coaching staff will be concerned with the team’s unimpressive 15 goals, and know they must improve if they are to make a serious challenge for a spot in the top four.

Both hosts Reno FC and Boys’ Town will be desperate for anything they can get. Reno are in ninth position on 18 points and just off the drop zone, but they are much better off than last-placed Boys’ Town, who are on 12 and looking up at the other 11 teams.

Reno FC won their previous meeting 4-0 and coach Wendell Downswell, who reported signing three attacking players to bolster their anaemic scoring record, will hope they can hit the ground running.

Boys’ Town held MBU 1-1 at home in their last game, and coach Andrew Price will hope they can build on that performance starting today, while improving at the back where they have let in 33 goals in 17 outings — the most by any team in the league.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Sports World News

Manchester United: Antoine Griezmann ‘Promised’ Paul Pogba Wages

FRANK FIFE_Getty Images
FRANK FIFE/Getty Images

Manchester United have “promised” Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann parity with Paul Pogba, in terms of wages, should he make the switch to Old Trafford this summer.That’s according to Phil Cadden of The Sun, who noted preliminary talks have already been held with Griezmann’s representatives over the terms of a transfer. If he joins the Red Devils, the Frenchman could earn a weekly wage of £220,000.

As Bleacher Report UK hinted, it’s quite the sum of money:

“United have yet to agree a fee for Griezmann with Atletico, who are demanding they shell out his £86 million release clause,” Cadden said. “But the Red Devils are still confident of reaching an agreement with the Madrid club—and could even offer players as makeweights in any deal.”

For the 25-year-old, 2016 was a bittersweet year. While Griezmann was on the losing side in two major finals, with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and France at the UEFA European Championship, he was central to each side’s progression.

His performances at the point of the attack for both earned him a spot on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or that Cristiano Ronaldo won. Here’s a look at how he cemented himself as one of the best footballers in the world:

At Atletico, under the tutelage of Diego Simeone, there have been drastic improvements made to Griezmann’s game.

The attacker arrived at the Vicente Calderon in 2014 from Real Sociedad as a talented wide player. Since then, his skills have been refined, his role in the team has been defined and significant progression has followed.

Typically operating as a split striker, Griezmann’s blistering surges from deep, timing of runs into the box and ability to influence the game from deeper positions has propelled him into the world-class bracket. Per OptaJose, no French player was more prolific last year:

Atletico will be desperate to keep him, although United possess the capital to get enormous deals done, as they showed with the acquisition of Pogba in the summer.

While Juventus, like Atletico, are better placed than the Red Devils to challenge for trophies, Old Trafford has an allure. And if United were able to agree terms with Atletico, there’s little doubt Griezmann would be tempted by the wages said to be on offer.

But as we can see here, courtesy of AS, the forward recently said he has no desire to depart:

The end of this season will mark three terms at Atletico Madrid for Griezmann, and with the team sitting in sixth place in La Liga, he may feel a new challenge would be invigorating. After all, while he’s developed with Atletico, the Frenchman has yet to win anything.

While United aren’t quite ready to compete for the biggest honours yet, the intention to be juggernauts of the world game once again, indicated by signing players such as Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is there. Griezmann’s acquisition would further confirm that ambition.

By Matt Jones , Featured Columnist Jan 6, 2017