Paula Badosa Edges Past Victoria Azarenka to Win First-Ever WTA 1000 Title at Indian Wells Masters

It’s a debut for books for Paula Badosa

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player outlasted former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (2) at the BNP Paribas Open, becoming just the third woman to win in her Indian Wells Masters debut and the tournament’s first Spanish champion.

Paula BadosaIn claiming her first WTA 1000 title, Badosa earned $1.2 million.

Badosa joined Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and Serena Williams in 1999 in winning the title in her first appearance. It was Badosa’s second title of her career, having won in Belgrade earlier this year.

Badosa and Azarenka struggled for more than three hours, trading back-to-back service breaks five times. The last time Azarenka broke for a 5-4 lead in the third, and Badosa broke right back for a 5-all tie.

Paula Badosa

“We were both going for our shots, really pushing each other to the max,” Azarenka said.

Badosa missed a backhand that allowed Azarenka to hold at 6-all.

Badosa dominated the tiebreaker, racing to a 6-2 lead. Azarenka dumped a forehand into the net to give Badosa match point.

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Badosa cracked a forehand winner, then collapsed at the baseline. She lay face down, crying and shaking, before getting up. Azarenka came around the net and hugged the 23-year-old Spaniard.

Azarenka, the two-time major champion and former top-ranked player, was seeking just her second title since 2016. She last won in 2020 at Cincinnati. The 32-year-old from Belarus came up short in her bid to become the first woman to win Indian Wells three times, having taken the title in 2012 and 2016.

Azarenka’s season was interrupted by injuries and she made early exits in the Grand Slam events. Her best result was making the fourth round at the French Open.

“This year has been challenging a bit,” she said, “but finishing on a strong note, not necessarily with the result I wanted but with the progress I wanted to seek, that’s really positive.”

In the first-set tiebreaker, Badosa had leads of 4-0 and 5-3. Azarenka tied it 5-all on Badosa’s netted forehand. Azarenka missed a backhand to give Badosa a set point and the Spaniard cashed in with a backhand winner to take the set.

She beat fifth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round, No. 15 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and No. 14 Ons Jabeur in the semifinals — all in straight sets — to reach the final.

“The first thing I learned this week is that nothing is impossible,” Badosa said.

Badosa earned $1.2 million, more than her previous prize money for the year of just over $1 million.

She came into the tournament ranked 27th in the world; a year ago, she was 87th. Badosa is projected to rise to a career-best 13th in Monday’s WTA Tour rankings.

The combined ATP and WTA tour event was one of the first major sporting events canceled in March 2020 when the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. It will return to its usual March slot next year.

Fat Joe to Appear on the Upcoming “MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon”

Fat Joe’s got hart… And, he’s ready to share it with the world.

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American rapper, whose real name Joseph Antonio Cartagena, will take part in the MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon, the upcoming two-hour special hosted by Hart that reimagines the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual variety show fundraiser.

Fat-Joe

Fat Joe joins a lineup of talent additions that includes Don Cheadle, Common, Cindy Crawford, Whitney Cummings, Stephen Curry, Zachary Levi and Kelly Rowland.

The special, which will benefit the MDA and Help From the Hart Charity, streams live on Saturday from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET on Hart’s LOL Network and its digital platforms YouTube and Pluto TV, as well as on TikTok, Triller and Twitch.

SiriusXM will air an encore of the show on its Laugh Out Loud Radio channel on October 26 at 4:00 pm ET and again the next day at 10:00 am ET.

The telethon will feature entertainment, comedy, musical performances and MDA’s Let’s Play For a Cure gaming elements, a gaming stream hosted by Zedd running simultaneously. A Telethon Showcase to celebrate the members of the neuromuscular community and hosted by Nancy O’Dell and Jann Carl will follow the two-hour main show. It will stream on the MDA’s Facebook page.

As a warmup, an MDA-hosted online auction on CharityBuzz featuring items from Serena Williams, Curry and others launches Friday at mda.org/telethon.

The latest talent additions to the lineup join previously announced guests including Garcelle Beauvais, Aloe Blacc, Jack Black, Usain Bolt, Bryan Cranston, Adam Devine, Josh Gad, Liz Gillies, Aldis Hodge, Edwin Hodge, Michael B. Jordan, DJ Khaled, Daniel Levy, Loni Love, Leslie Mann, Jillian Mercado, Robin Thicke, Gabrielle Union Wade and John David Washington.

Jonathan Krisel is directing.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Among the Real-Life Heroes Celebrated in DC Comics’ “Wonder Women of History” Graphic Novel Anthology

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting illustrated

DC Comics has unveiled the new young adult graphic novel anthology Wonder Women of History, which celebrates real-life heroes, including the 30-year-old Bronx-born Puerto Rican politician who currently serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez, or simply AOC, as she’s known, drew national recognition when she won the Democratic Party‘s primary election for New York’s 14th congressional district in June 2018, defeating Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent, in what was widely seen as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm election primaries. She defeated Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in the November general election.

Taking office at age 29, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She has been noted for her substantial social media presence relative to her fellow members of Congress

Female and non-binary writers and artists tell 17 stories of those “who take up Wonder Woman‘s iconic mantle” in their respective fields of science, sports, entertainment, politics, social justice and more, according to the DC Comics blog. 

New York Times bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson edited the collection after recently writing the original graphic novel Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed.

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Wonder Women of History also spotlights singer-actress Janelle Monáe, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Iskwew Air CEO and Founder Teara Fraser, LGBTQ+ rights activist Edith Windsor, transgender activist and Stonewall uprising figure Marsha P. Johnson, Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez, disability rights activist Judith HeumannNASA‘s first Hispanic female astronaut Ellen Ochoa, deputy director of Wuhan Institute of Virology and China’s “Bat Woman” Dr. Shi Zhengli, 23-time Grand Slam winning tennis player Serena Williams, stand-up comic Tig Notaro, actress Keiko Agena, and the first African American gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal Dominique Dawes.

The graphic novel will officially hit bookstore shelves everywhere on December 1. The anthology will also include portraits of illustrators Weshoyot Alvitre, Colleen Doran, Agnes Garbowska, Bex Glendining, Ashley A. Woods, and Safiya Zerrougui.

Wonder Women of History is already available for pre-order here.

Rafael Nadal Pledges AUD $250,000 for Australia Bushfire Relief Efforts During Rally for Relief

Rafael Nadal is swinging for a cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star was among some of tennis’ biggest names gathered in Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday to raise funds for Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal Rally for Relief

Raising nearly 5 million Australian dollars ($3.5 million), Nadal, Serena WilliamsNovak DjokovicRoger FedererCaroline Wozniacki and a number of up-and-coming stars at the Rally for Relief gave the capacity crowd of more than 15,000 fans the opportunity to see the lighter side of the competitive sport.

Nadal and the gang volunteered their time for the cause. On several occasions, volunteer fire personnel took to the court to play against the tennis stars.

Australian’s Nick Kyrgiosplayed a role in kick-starting the wave of relief. His Twitterpledge of $200 per ace throughout the Australian summer inspired colleagues into action, prompting Tennis Australiato announce the Rally for Relief evening.

During the event, Federerand Nadal announced they’d contribute 250,000 Australian dollars to the cause.

Kyrgios said he “got goose bumps” when the figure was announced after his one-set match with Federer on the night.

“It’s been an emotional couple of weeks. I just wanted to send a message. … I was eating dinner and wrote a tweet … and it kind of exploded,” he said on court after the event. “When I was back home in Canberra, I couldn’t even go outside [due to the smoke].”

Federer said he and other players were only too happy to help out a nation in which he spends nearly one month of the year.

“It’s been hard to watch,” Federer said. “As you get it through the news, you don’t know how bad it is, but then you get here and speak to the people affected, it’s difficult. I’m always happy to help and lend my money and do my fair share.”

Rafael Nadal to Take Part in ‘Rally for Relief’ Charity Event to Raise Funds for Australian Bushfire Relief

Rafael Nadalis ready to swing his racquet for a good cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will take part in a charity event ahead of the Australian Open that will have a new air quality policy as organizers grapple with issues related to the bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that the Rally for Relief will be held onRod Laver Arena on the evening of January 15 with proceeds going to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Nadal will take part alongside Roger FedererSerena WilliamsNick KyrgiosNaomi OsakaCaroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tiley said

“I’m really proud of the playing group because the number of calls and emails I’ve got with everyone stepping forward and either giving money or making themselves available.

“The format is going to be pretty cool … it’s going to be a combination of fun and seriousness.

“We’ll see some doubles, we’ll see some singles, some target hitting and opportunities to raise more money on the night.

“We’ll see the players having a lot of fun.”

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster with all proceeds going to bushfire disaster relief charities.

Tiley also confirmed the Open will go ahead as scheduled with an air quality policy in place after concerns had been raised about the potential for smoke from bushfires burning in Victoria’s east to affect the health of players and fans.

“This is a new experience for not only us but across the world in this sport,” Tiley said.

“But we lead the world with the extreme heat policy and we expect to do the same around air quality.

“We do have three stadiums with roofs so play will always continue.

“But what will be new is that we will have some real-time (air quality) monitoring on-site … and we’ll use that analysis to make some decisions around the safety and well-being of players and fans.

“… I think the players understand that this is not something that we can do anything about and they’ve been gracious and very cooperative.

“They want to play.”

Jennifer Lopez Named GQ’s “Icon of the Year” & Graces the Magazine’s Men of the Year Issue Cover

There’s no doubt Jennifer Lopezis an icon… And now she’s been officially granted the title.

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar graces the cover of GQ’s Men of the Year issue on and has been honored as the magazine’s Icon of the Year

“As a movie icon, a global pop icon, and an internet-melting fashion icon, nobody owned 2019 quite like Jennifer Lopez,” reads the cover story on Lopez, who has earned Oscar buzz this year for her performance in Hustlers.

Lopez, who has continues her music career with new music in 2019, will co-headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show with Shakira in February.

J.Lois the eighth woman to be featured on the cover of GQ’s Men of the Year issue. She joins a roster of women that includes Serena Williams,Gal GadotShailene WoodleyRihanna, Mila KunisScarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston.

The Hustlers star spoke with Jessica Pressler, the New York magazine writer who wrote the original story that Hustlersis based on, about her prolific career.

“There is no reason to ever be ashamed of where you’re at. Not when you’re doing your best. Not when you’re in your best moment,” Lopez told Pressler. “There’s always gonna be people to tell you no. Or ‘You can’t.’ Or ‘You shouldn’t.’ It’s gonna happen. No matter what anybody says, you just have to still be like, ‘I’m still doing this. I’m still gonna succeed. I’m still gonna do my best.’ Defy the odds. Why not?”

Garbine Muguruza to Play This Year’s Hopman Cup

Garbine Muguruza is ready to take on the world…

The 24-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and compatriot David Ferrer will represent Spain in the Hopman Cup mixed teams event in late December.

Garbine Muguruza

The eight-country tournament is scheduled from December 29 to January 5 on indoor hard courts at Perth Arena. It’s used by the players as a tuneup event for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14 in Melbourne.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have also committed to play, while former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev will represent Germany.

Frances Tiafoe will be Williams’ partner for the United States, while Belinda Bencic will again represent Switzerland with Federer to defend the title they won in January over Kerber and Zverev in the final.

Williams and Federer are scheduled to play mixed doubles against each other when the U.S. meets Switzerland on January 1.

Hopman Cup Teams:
Australia: Matthew Ebden and Ashleigh Barty
France: Lucas Pouille and Alize Cornet
Germany: Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber
Britain: Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter
Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
Spain: David Ferrer and Garbine Muguruza
Switzerland: Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic
United States: Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams

Garbiñe Muguruza: The Highest Paid Latina Athlete in the World

Garbiñe Muguruza is the highest-paid Latina athlete…

Forbes has released its list of the 10 Highest-Paid Female Athletes, with the 24-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan professional tennis player and former world No. 1 making the cut.

Garbiñe Muguruza 

Muguruza comes in at No. 4 on the list, behind Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens.

Muguruza, who won her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon last year, earned 11 million during the tracking period.

Muguruza’s title at the All England Club meant a big bonus from sponsor Adidas and also helped her land a deal with Rolex. Evian signed Muguruza this year for a multiyear, global marketing campaign. Other sponsors include BabolatBeats by Dre, Maui Jim sunglasses and Caser Seguros insurance.

In all, the 10 highest-paid female athletes banked $105 million from prize money, appearances, royalties and endorsements in the 12 months ending June 1, 2018. The tally is down 4% from last year and 28% from five years ago. Blame the retirements of popular endorsement stars like Li Na, Danica Patrick and Ana Ivanovic. Another dent: The off-court income of Maria Sharapova, who was the top-earning female athlete for 11 straight years, is still down more than 50% after the fallout from her 16-month suspension for taking a banned substance. Sharapova ranks fifth this year at $10.5 million.

Here’s the complete list:

1, Serena Williams — Total earnings: $18.1 million
2. Caroline Wozniacki — Total earnings: $13 million
3. Sloane Stephens — Total earnings: $11.2 million
4. Garbine Muguruza — Total earnings: $11 million
5. Maria Sharapova — Total earnings: $10.5 million
6. Venus Williams — Total earnings: $10.2 million
7. P.V. Sindhu — Total earnings: $8.5 million
8. Simona Halep — Total earnings: $7.7 million
9. Danica Patrick — Total earnings: $7.5 million
10. Angelique Kerber — Total earnings: $7 million

Garbine Muguruza Wins Her First Western & Southern Open Title

Garbine Muguruza has claimed her first title in the United States…

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player added another trophy in her breakthrough summer, beating Simona Halep on Sunday for her first Western & Southern Open title.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza’s 6-1, 6-0 win in only 56 minutes extended her streak of playing deep into tournaments and denied Halep a chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the next WTA rankings.

Muguruza won her first title in the U.S. and her second of the year, after defeating Venus Williams at Wimbledon earlier this summer. In three tournaments since, she has at least reached the quarterfinals.

Muguruza broke Halep to go up 2-0 in the first set and was in control. Halep won only 12 points in the set, which lasted 23 minutes. Muguruza broke her again to open the second set and faced only two break points all match.

When it ended, Muguruza congratulated Halep and walked around the court with her smiling face cradled in both hands, taking it all in. Then she put her hands over her heart and reached toward the applauding crowd.

The women’s bracket was missing Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Muguruza knocked off defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Muguruza Advances to Her First Australian Open Quarterfinal

Garbiñe Muguruza is one step closer to another Grand Slam title.

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player has booked a maiden Australian Open quarterfinals berth, cruising to a straight-sets win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

Garbiñe Muguruza

Muguruza, who defeated Serena Williams in the final of last year’s French Open, rarely looked troubled on her way to a 6-2, 6-3 victory in just more than an hour on Sunday night.

She’ll next face American Coco Vandeweghe, who beat world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.

“It was a very important match for me because this is the third time that I’m in the round of 16 and I never go through,” Muguruza said.

“It means a lot. I always come here very motivated. To be in the quarterfinals is such a great achievement and I’m so looking forward to keep winning.”

Muguruza was able to capitalize on 26 unforced errors from world No. 78 Cirstea, who sought a medical timeout during the second set for treatment of a wrist injury.

Muguruza said she had grown in confidence since claiming her first grand slam title at Roland Garros last year.

“I know grand slams are very important,” Muguruza said.

“When you win one, you have that self-confidence and that belief in yourself that you can do it again.”