Sebastian Baez Defeats Francisco Cerundolo at Rio Open to Reach His First ATP 500 Final

Sebastian Baez has reached the biggest ATP Tour final of his career…

The 23-year-old Argentine professional tennis player faced three set points at 4-5 in the opening set on Saturday at the Rio Open. He saved each one under pressure from compatriot Francisco Cerundolo and didn’t lose another game en route to a 7-5, 6-0 victory at the ATP 500.

Sebastian Baez

Baez’s nine-game tear earned him the win in his first semifinal above ATP 250 level. He will now play for his fifth and biggest tour-level title on Sunday.

While Baez twice beat Cerundolo on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2021, Saturday’s win was his first in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, which is now level at 1-1.

“We know each other too much, I think more than I want,” Baez joked after the win. “All matches are different. Today it’s going to my side. In the first set, I gave many break points to him. I had to take it because it’s so hard for both.”

After an early trade of breaks, Baez saved six consecutive break points in the one-hour, 24-minute match. He converted on four of his seven break chances and won more than half of his return points, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

“It’s hard but I always try to be focused on the next point, on the next game, every time thinking about my game and what I have to do,” Baez said of his surge through the finish line.

Cerundolo, who was also bidding to reach his first final above the ATP 250 level, struggled with 39 unforced errors, including 26 off his backhand wing. Despite the loss, he will return to the Top 20 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.

Baez is up seven places to No. 23 this week in the ATP Live Rankings, setting himself up for a career high. He could move up to No. 21 with the Rio title.

Renan Ferreira Knocks Out Ryan Bader in First Round in PFL vs. Bellator Event

Make that four in a row for Renan Ferreira. 

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist (13-3) knocked out Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (31-8) in just 21 seconds on Saturday in the PFL vs. Bellator pay-per-view in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Renan FerreiraFerreira knocked Bader down with a right hand, before ending the fight with hammerfists on the ground in his fourth consecutive win by knockout, three of which came in the first round.

“I am the real problem,” Ferreira said. “I am the record setter. Francis, where you at? I’m the champion out here. I’ve always been ready to fight with the very best in the world. Francis it can be in [MMA] or boxing, whatever you want to do.”

Following his win, talk has begun about Ferreira’s next potential opponent… Francis Ngannou (17-3), who is scheduled to make his second appearance in professional boxing on March 8 in Saudi Arabia, when he takes on former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua.

Earlier this week, however, Ngannou told ESPN he still intends to return to MMA with the PFL, and said he would likely face the winner of Saturday’s contest between Ferreira and Bader. Ngannou was present cageside during the main event.

Ferreira didn’t waste the opportunity to impress. The fight was essentially over before it began. He caught Bader with the right hand just moments in, after Bader moved forward with his own punches. Ferreira, who trains out of American Top Team in south Florida, has now recorded five first-round knockouts in the PFL, including finishes of 21 seconds, 50 seconds, 25 seconds and 31 seconds.

Ferreira claimed a “Super Belt” in the process, although he does not take ownership of Bader’s Bellator title. The real reward, however, is a future fight against Ngannou, which will also take place on PFL PPV.

Bader, a former two-weight champion in Bellator, saw a three-fight win streak snapped. He’d lost recently at light heavyweight against Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, but had been dominant at heavyweight, including two wins over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. It is the shortest loss of Bader’s professional career.

Saturday’s event marked the first PPV since PFL acquired Bellator late last year. Bellator champions fared well overall against their PFL counterparts. Welterweight champion Jason Jackson, middleweight champion Johnny Eblen and former champs Vadim Nemkov and AJ McKee all scored impressive wins over PFL opposition. Yoel Romero also picked up a win against PFL contender Thiago Santos.

Jenni Hermoso & Aitana Bonmatí Help Spain’s Women’s Soccer Team Qualify for First Olympic Games

Jenni Hermoso and Aitana Bonmatí have helped Spain make Olympic history…

The Spanish tennis stars helped Spain beat the Netherlands 3-0 in the UEFA Women’s Nations League semifinals on Friday, a victory that secured the world champions a spot in the Paris Olympics.

Jenni Hermoso & Aitana BonmatíHermoso opened the scoring with a nice solo effort in the 41st minute before Ballon d’Or holder Bonmatí doubled the lead in the 45th. Left back Ona Batlle added the third in the 77th to complete the dominant performance by the hosts.

Spain will face France in the first Women’s Nations League final in the same La Cartuja Stadium on Wednesday. France beat Germany 2-1 in Friday’s other semifinal.

Qualifying for Spain’s first Olympic Games is the first important success for the team since Montse Tomé took over in September following the scandal that erupted when former Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso without her consent at the World Cup final.

“[I and my staff] took charge in a difficult moment that nobody wanted and we took a step forward,” Tomé said. “We are proud of the work we have done. This team deserves to play an Olympic Games after all the prior generations who fought for it and came up short.”

Spain started strong in front of their fans in southern Seville.

Striker Salma Paralluelo, who scored the winner to help Spain beat the Dutch in last year’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, missed twice from close-range before she was stopped by goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar in a one-on-one opportunity early on.

More shots came from Olga Carmona and Irene Paredes, while the Netherlands could threaten only through Lineth Beerensteyn‘s powerful shot saved by Cata Coll.

The Dutch resistance finally faltered when Hermoso used two slick changes of feet to avoid three defenders and beat Van Domselaar for the opener.

Bonmatí added a quick second blow when she raced forward to volley home a cross from Barcelona clubmate Mariona Caldentey.

The Netherlands improved after half-time, but Battle caught the visitors off guard when she finished off an attack that started with her own cross.

Spain coach Tomé gave a debut to 17-year-old Vicky López in the second half.

A moment of silence was held before kickoff in memory of the victims of a deadly fire in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

Joao Fonseca Becomes First Player Born in 2006 to Win an ATP Tour-Level Match

Joao Fonseca is making ATP Tour history…

The 17-year-old Brazilian tennis player became the first player born in 2006 to win an ATP Tour-level match when he beat seventh-seeded Arthur Fils 6-0, 6-4 at the Rio Open on Wednesday.

Joao FonsecaFonseca defeated the No. 36-ranked Frenchman in front of raucous fans at the clay court tournament in Rio de Janeiro. He knelt on the court in tears to celebrate.

“This is where I belong. I want to be in these huge stadiums,” said Fonseca, who won the US Open boys singles title last year. “Now it is all about focusing on the process.”

Fonseca, currently ranked No. 655, is expected to jump about 200 positions after beating Fils. Fonseca said he is yet to decide whether he will play tennis for an American university later this year.

“For now I am very focused in the pro-tour, I want to get to the top,” said Fonseca. “That is going to be a personal decision with my family, I won’t make it public now,.”

His opponent in the round of 16 will be Cristian Garin of Chile.

Fonseca’s victory brought some new energy for local fans, who saw three of the title favorites crash out Tuesday.

Carlos Alcaraz abandoned his match against Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro due to an ankle injury; three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka lost to Argentina’s Facundo Díaz Acosta in straight sets; and Chile’s Nicolás Jarry was knocked out by Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann in three sets.

Fourth-seeded Francisco Cerúndolo of Argentina advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Spain’s Albert Ramos-Viñolas 6-2, 6-1.

Rain later postponed to Thursday the match between second-seeded and defending champion Cameron Norrie against Chile’s Tomás Barrios Vera for a place among the last eight.

Eva Longoria to Appear on Season Four of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building”

Eva Longoria is entering the building…

The 48-year-old Mexican American actress, who recently made her feature film directorial debut with Flamin’ Hot, has been cast in Hulu‘s Only Murders in the Building Season 4 in a recurring role.

Eva LongoriaDetails regarding the new season’s plot and character descriptions remain under wraps. However, new episodes will reportedly focus on unraveling the murder of Sazz Pataki (Jane Lynch), Charles-Haden Savage’s (Steve Martin) mind-bogglingly identical stunt double from his years on the series Brazzos and its 2020 revival.

Disney Television Group President Craig Erwich revealed in a recent Deadline interview that the Only Murders In the Building trio: Charles, Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez), will kick off the new season with a trip to Los Angeles before returning to The Arconia in their search of Sazz’s killer.

Longoria’s character becomes integral to the twists and turns of this season’s investigation, sources close to production reveal.

She joins Molly Shannon, the first new cast member announced for Season 4, in the role of a high-powered LA businesswoman who finds herself drawn into the world of the investigation in New York.

Meryl Streep recently set her Season 4 return reprising the role of Loretta Durkin.

In the Season 3 finale—following her highly praised performance in Oliver’s Broadway hit Death Rattle Dazzle— Loretta received two offers in productions that would require her to relocate to Los Angeles. Her new beau Oliver is into this idea as it would allow him to visit the City of Angels. Mabel’s new love interest Tobert (Jesse Williams) is also headed west, and surprisingly, she’s also keen on taking a little break from New York.

The Emmy-nominated comedy, produced by 20th Television, is co-created and co-written by Steve Martin and John Hoffman who also executive produce alongside Short, Gomez, Dan Fogelman and Jess Rosenthal.

Longoria recently kicked off promotions for her new Apple TV+ series Land of Women in which she executive produces and stars opposite Carmen Maura. The six-episode dramedy series is inspired by Sandra Barneda’s best-selling novel of the same name and will be presented in both Spanish and English.

In addition to her work directing, acting and producing through her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, Longoria partnered last fall with Cris Abrego to form the new media holding company and premium content studio, Hyphenate Media Group. Land of Women is the company’s first project.

Up next, she is set to star in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Longoria will also produce and star in the TV adaptation of Isabel Allende’s bestselling novel The House of the Spirits for FilmNation Entertainment. The series is a family saga following the extraordinary lives of three generations of women in the Trueba Family, Longoria will portray Blanca Trueba, one of the passionate and courageous women leaders.

Other upcoming projects include the Disney+ original series, from 20th Television, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, currently in development. The series is inspired by the legend of La Llorona (the weeping woman) and follows teenage Paola on a quest to save her best friend from a different world steeped in Latin folklore that defies logic and legend; and the HBO film A Class Apart, which tells the incredible true story of a group of Mexican Americans fighting for their civil rights during a landmark case that leads to the Supreme Court.

Gabito Ballesteros Earns First No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay Chart with Prince Royce-Collab “Cosas de la Peda”

Gabito Ballesteros is celebrating a Billboard first…

The 24-year-old Mexican singer-songwriter and record producer’s collaboration with Prince Royce, “Cosas De La Peda” rises to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart as their first partnership advances from the runner-up slot to lead the February 24-dated list.

Gabito Ballesteros, Prince RoyceThat translates into a 24th No. 1 for Prince Royce, while Ballesteros scores his first champ on first try.

“Cosas De La Peda,” Mexican slang for “drunken times,” lifts 2-1 on the tropical radio ranking with by a 37% gain in audience impressions, to 6.2 million earned in the U.S. during the February 9-15 tracking week, according to Luminate.

The track trades places with Marc Anthony’s “Punta Cana” which drops 1-2 with an 11% dip in impressions, to 5.2 million.

Prior to its release, “Cosas De La Peda” received its fair share of promotion. The Bronx-born singer premiered the song live for the first time, with Ballesteros, during Calibash festival at the Crypto Arena in Los Angeles on January 12. Plus, a performance on ABC’s Good Morning America followed on January 17.

With “Peda,” Royce collects his 24th No. 1 on Tropical Airplay, continuing with the third-most leaders since the chart’s inception in 1994. Only two soloists stand ahead him: Marc Anthony with 36 No. 1s and Victor Manuelle with 29. Here’s an updated look at the artists with the most No. 1 hits on the almost three-decade-old ranking:

36, Marc Anthony
29, Victor Manuelle
24, Prince Royce
18, Romeo Santos
14, Elvis Crespo
14, Gilberto Santa Rosa
13, Jerry Rivera
12, Juan Luis Guerra 440
11, India

Ballesteros, who seasoned “Peda” with his corridos tumbados flair, lands a first No. 1 on the Tropical Airplay —and on any airplay ranking— thanks to the bachata tumbada. The Mexican producer first landed a No. 1 on a Billboard chart as a producer of the two-week champ “Lady Gaga,” with Peso Pluma and Junior H (last September).

Elsewhere, “Cosas De La Peda” flies 26-11 on the overall Latin Airplay tally. It bests Ballesteros’ previous No. 37 entry with “La Pelinegra,” with La Adictiva, last October.

Cosas De La Peda” is one of 23 songs from Royce’s latest seventh full-length album, Llamada Perdida, released February 16 through Sony Music Latin; it has not entered any Billboard charts yet. The song was produced by Edgar Barrera and Luis Miguel Gómez Castaño, better known as Casta.

Ada Limón Named to Time Magazine’s 2024 Women of the Year List

Ada Limón has earned a special place in Time

The 47-year-old Mexican American poet, the first Latina to be Poet Laureate of the United States, has been named to Time magazine’s annual Women of the Year list.

Ada Limon,The Time list is designed to recognize “extraordinary leaders working toward a more equal world.”

In 2022, Limon was appointed the 24th poet laureate of the U.S., a role previously held by the likes of Tracy K. SmithJoy Harjo, and Rita Dove.

Last spring, she was granted a two-year second term. And in October came the announcement that she’d won a MacArthur “genius” grant.

These are the achievements most writers only dream of—but there was one invitation that even the most inventive of poets would not have imagined: NASA reached out. It wanted Limón to compose an original poem to be launched into space.

“As soon as I hung up, I thought, Oh, no,” Limón says.

Her poem “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa” will be engraved inside the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft set to launch on October 10 and begin orbiting Jupiter by 2030.

Out of this world though the commission may be, it’s a fitting one for a poet dedicated to exploring the ties between the human experience and the universe we all share.

“When I’m in my darkest space, as a poet and as a human, turning to nature is the one thing that will bring me back to myself,” Limón says. “It’s very hard to write from a place of fear and isolation. If you can, connect to the natural world—a tree, a shrub, whatever you can set your sight on for a moment. We’re not alone.”

This summer, Limón will embark on a tour across the U.S. to unveil poetry installations in seven national parks as part of her signature program as poet laureate, dubbed You Are Here—which is also the title of an anthology she’ll publish in April. From Washington to Florida, Limón will convene people from all walks of life to celebrate both poetry and the land.

Other Class of 2024 honorees this year include actor, writer and director Greta Gerwig; actor Taraji P. Henson; singer, songwriter and actor Andra Day; tennis player Coco Gauff; Global CEO of Chanel Leena Nair; co-founder and leader of the Israeli movement Women Wage Peace Yael Admi; founder and director of Women of the Sun Reem Hajajreh; president and chairwoman of nonprofit Nadia’s Initiative Nadia Murad; medical scientist and professor of research on hyperemesis gravidarum Marlena Fejzo; founder and executive director of The Chisholm Legacy Project Jacqui Patterson; and economic historian and labor economist Claudia Goldin.

Time will host the third annual invite-only Time Women of the Year Gala on Tuesday, March 5, in Los Angeles. The event will feature appearances and remarks from Women of the Year honorees, the presentation of a Time Earth Award, as well as a special musical performance by Andra Day.

Colman Domingo to Serve as a Presenter at This Weekend’s Screen Actors Guild Awards

Win or lose, Colman Domingo will be taking the stage at the SAG Awards

The 54-year-old Belizean-Guatemalan American actor, who is nominated for two SAG Awards, is among 30 presenters announced for the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards set for Saturday in Los Angeles.

Colman DomingoDomingo is among a roster of presenters that includes America Ferrera, nominated for being part of the cast of Barbie, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Jessica Chastain, Erika Alexander, Emily Blunt, Danielle Brooks, Sterling K. Brown, Michael Cera, Robert Downey Jr., Fran Drescher, Phil Dunster, Billie Eilish, , Brendan Fraser, Taraji P. Henson, Troy Kotsur, Greta Lee, Melissa McCarthy, Cillian Murphy, Glen Powell, Issa Rae, Storm Reid, Tracee Ellis Ross, Alexander Skarsgård, Omar Sy, Hannah Waddingham, Naomi Watts and Jeffrey Wright.

More presenters will be announced later.

Elba will open the ceremony, which has been host-free since 2021, and Aniston will present the 59th SAG Life Achievement Award to legendary actor, singer, producer, writer and director Barbra Streisand.

Barbie and Oppenheimer lead with four nominations apiece in the film races, while on the TV side the last season of Succession scored five nominations to top the field.

Barbie and Oppenheimer are joined in the Cast category by American Fiction, The Color Purple and Killers of the Flower Moon, with each scoring multiple nominations.

The SAG Awards historically have been an almost certain predictor of future Oscars success. Last year, Everything Everywhere All at Once scored the ensemble Cast trophy as well as wins for Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Kwan — all four repeated the feat later at the Oscars, as did SAG Best Actor winner Brendan Frasier from The Whale.

Winners in SAG’s 15 categories will be announced Saturday, February 24 at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles in a ceremony streaming live on Netflix.

Myke Towers Earns 11th No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay Chart with “La Falda”

Myke Towers has skirted his way to the top of the charts…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican rapper, singer and songwriter has pounced to No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart as “La Falda” rises from No. 5 to lead the list dated February 24.

Myke TowersThe song, announced on Towers’ X account in November, is the focus track from his 23-song album LVEU: Vive La Tuya… No La Mía, which debuted and peaked at No. 9 on Top Latin Albums on the December 9-dated list.

With the new leader, Towers collects his 11th Latin Airplay No. 1 and second in 2024, after the Yandel collab, “Borracho y Loco” (February 17 chart).

“La Falda” likewise ascends to No. 1 on Latin Rhythm Airplay, securing Towers an 11th champ there as well.

For the tracking week February 9-15, “La Falda” registered 10.54 million audience impressions in the U.S., up 47% from the week prior, according to Luminate, and takes the Greatest Gainer honors.

Towers’ run of Latin Airplay No. 1s began just a little more than three years ago, when “Caramelo,” with Ozuna and Karol G, peaked at No. 1 in late 2020, where it remained for three weeks.

Here’s a look at his collection of wins on the overall radio ranking:

Title, Artist, Peak, Weeks at No. 1
“Caramelo,” with Ozuna & Karol G, Aug. 15, 2020, three
“Mi Niña,” with Los Legendarios & Wisin, Jan. 16, 2021, one
“La Nota,” with Manuel Turizo & Rauw Alejandro, Jan. 23, 2021, one
“Travesuras,” with Nio Garcia, Casper Mágico, Ozuna, Wisin, Yandel & Flow La Movie, March 6, 2021, one
“Bandido,” with Juhn, June 19, 2021, one
“Pareja Del Año,” with Sebastián Yatra, Aug. 14, 2021, one
“Bésame,” with Luis Fonsi, Nov. 27, 2021, one
“Ulala,” with Daddy Yankee, April 8, 2023, one
“Lala,” Sept. 23, 2023, two
“Borracho Y Loco,” with Yandel, Feb. 17, 2024, one
“La Falda,” Feb. 24, 2024

Thanks to its radio haul, “La Falda” pushes 18-12 on the multimetric Hot Latin Songs chart, which blends streaming activity, digital sales, and radio airplay.

“La Falda” rises to new peaks on both Global charts as well. It lifts 85-75 on Billboard Global 200, powered largely by with 24 million worldwide streams. Meanwhile, it pushes 56-47 on Global Excl. U.S. supported in great part by 20 million clicks outside the U.S.

Keyla Monterroso Mejia to Star in Mindy Kaling’s Untitled Comedy Series for Netflix

Keyla Monterroso Mejia is answering the Kal(ing)… 

The 25-year-old Guatemalan & Mexican American actress and Curb Your Enthusiasm scene-stealer will star in Mindy Kaling‘s Netflix comedy series, set in the world of pro basketball, lead by Kate Hudson.

Keyla Monterroso MejiaMonterroso Mejia is among a roster of cast newcomers that includes Fabrizio Guido, Toby SandemanChet Hanks and Roberto Sanchez, who previously starred in Queen of the South.

In addition to Hudson, they join previously announced cast members Brenda Song, Drew Tarver and.

In the as-yet untitled comedy series, when a scandal forces her brother to resign, Isla Gordon (Hudson) is appointed President of the Los Angeles Waves, one of the most storied professional basketball franchises, and her family business. Ambitious and often overlooked, Isla will have to prove to her skeptical brothers, the board, and the larger sports community that she was the right choice for the job, especially in the unpredictable, male-dominated world of sports.

Guido plays Jackie Moreno, a popcorn vendor at the stadium where the Waves play, Jackie can’t believe it when he is suddenly thrust into the inner circle of his favorite team. Now he has the opportunity to work his way up the organization from the ground floor.

Monterroso Mejia plays Ana MorenoJackie’s cousin who is also a personal injury attorney. Ana is smart, ambitious and always looking for an angle.

Sanchez is Stephen Ramirez, the intimidating head of the board who’s been with the Waves through generations of Gordons. He’s old-fashioned, no-nonsense, and a constant reminder of the old guard, making Isla desperate to prove she’s more than just Jack Gordon’s little daughter.

The 10-part series is written and executive-produced by Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen, who serves as showrunner.

Guido’s television credits include the role of Mikey Gutierrez on Mr. Iglesias, a major recurring role on Perry Masonas well as Welcome To The Family, The Night Shift and Wisdom of the Crowd.

Monterroso Mejia is perhaps best known for her absurdly hilarious role as Maria Sofia on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Her other credits include the major recurring role of Ashley on Abbott Elementary, as well as On My Block spinoff Freeridge and is in post on Amazon StudiosWill Ferrell & Reese Witherspoon wedding comedy You’re Cordially Invited.

Sanchez will next be seen in a major recurring role on Starz’s BMF and in Apple TV+’s upcoming Palm RoyaleHis previous credits include Queen of the South and 2 Fast 2 Furious