Sports: Serena Chases a Grand Slam Record at Wimbledon
Serena Williams reaching the Wimbledon final, where she’ll face Simona Halep on Saturday, is momentous on several fronts:
Williams hasn’t won a tournament since giving birth to her daughter, Olympia. She took a six-month break and returned to competitive tennis in March 2018.
She’s still one Grand Slam shy of tying Margaret Court’s record 24 singles titles.
She’s in her third final since coming back on tour, but lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon last year and to Naomi Osaka at the United States Open less than two months later.
Halep has beaten Williams once in 10 matchups, in a tournament final in Singapore in 2014.
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Deputy Sports Editor
“I’ll Have What You’re Having” — More Quotes, Please
Leave it to Billy Crystal to casually slip a “When Harry Met Sally” reference into an interview with Marc Stein.
Crystal, the comedian and long-suffering Los Angeles Clippers fan, dropped this line while talking about the surprise signing of Kawhi Leonard, which rocked N.B.A. free agency:
“I don’t know Drake, but to see what Kawhi meant to them, I wanted to send him a note that said, ‘I’ll have what you’re having.’”
Here are other quotes from this week that gave us little crinkles above our noses or made us realize we want the rest of our lives to start right now:
Liz Cambage, W.N.B.A. superstar, on her uncertainty about her next team as she prepared to travel to the United States from Australia.:
“I literally went into my going-away dinner like, I could still be here next week,” Cambage said. “If I am, cool. But let’s just act like I’m leaving.”
Pete Alonso, the rookie Mets slugger who won the Home Run Derby (and $1 million) this week, when asked about that possibility last month:
“That would definitely pay for the wedding costs,” he says.
David Winters, a 10-year-old fan at the World Cup victory parade, on rooting for the U.S. women’s national team (and the uber-quotable Megan Rapinoe) rather than its male counterpart:
“Sometimes I follow the men, but not normally. I like the women better.”
Photo of the Week
The Times sent four photographers to cover the ticker-tape parade on Wednesday in Lower Manhattan celebrating the U.S. women’s national team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup in France. Our photographer Calla Kessler made this front-page image at City Hall. The team has broadened the conversation about equal pay for women in sports.
Freelance Photo Editor
In Case You Missed It
Are baseballs juiced?
M.L.B. executives starting with Commissioner Rob Manfred insist the league has not deliberately manipulated the baseballs this season. But players don’t seem to buy that and want to know why (as the numbers show) the ball is flying farther than before.
“If there’s something that’s potentially altering that, just come out and say it,” said Jake Odorizzi, a pitcher for the Twins, one of four teams on track to break the season home run record.
Another development putting athletes at odds with their sport’s executives: Players in Grand Slam tennis tournaments are facing new fines if they don’t play well enough.
“They didn’t even say hi to me; they said, ‘Your account is frozen,’” said Anna Tatishvili, a 29-year-old American who played in the French Open after losing 19 months with an ankle injury. “They talked to me like I’m some kind of criminal or something. It was so disrespectful. I even cried.”
What to Watch This Weekend
All times are Eastern.
TENNIS The Wimbledon men’s semifinals include a showdown between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who produced one of the most memorable tennis matches of all time at Wimbledon in 2008. It will be their 40th meeting when they take the court Friday morning. The winner gets Novak Djokovic, the defending Wimbledon champion and No. 1 seed, in the final. Djokovic defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in the other semifinal. The women’s final is Saturday and the men’s final is Sunday, with all matches aired on ESPN.
GOLF The British Open is next week, and many top golfers are getting ready at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., (Saturday-Sunday, 3 p.m., CBS) or at the Scottish Open (Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m., Golf Channel; 12:30 p.m., NBC).
AUTO RACING Lewis Hamilton’s history-making career continues apace this weekend at the British Grand Prix, where the local hero looks to take a record sixth win at Silverstone. (Sunday, 9:05 a.m., ESPN2)
TOUR DE FRANCE The yellow jersey is, of course, the most iconic prize of the race. But 29-year-old Peter Sagan has again donned the green jersey, awarded to the Tour’s points leader, usually the best sprinter in the field. If he rides into Paris wearing green, Sagan’s seven points wins will set a new Tour record. His breakaway speed will be on full display Friday during Stage 7’s flat ride to Chalon-sur-Saône, this year’s longest at 230 kilometers (143 miles). (Friday, 7 a.m., NBCSN)
WORLD SERIES OF POKER A $10 million top prize is richer than usual for the winner of the no-limit Texas Hold ’em main event, which drew its second largest field ever in Las Vegas. There were 35 players remaining at the start of play Friday, including Antonio Esfandiari, who has the most earnings in series history with $22.3 million — most coming from an $18 million score in a special $1 million buy-in event in 2012. (Friday and Sunday-Tuesday, ESPN and ESPN2)
SOCCER Major League Soccer’s Hudson River Derby will be renewed when the Red Bulls host New York City. (Sunday, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
M.L.B. The All-Star break is ending and teams are heading into a crucial stretch for decision-making with the trade deadline coming July 31. A World Series rematch starts the unofficial second half of the season: the Boston Red Sox host the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have 60 wins — the most in the majors. The second and third game in the series will be televised nationally (Saturday, 7:15 p.m., Fox; Sunday, 7:08 p.m., ESPN).
Big thanks to Assistant Sports Editor Elena Bergeron for helping wrangle this newsletter together. Again, please tell us what you want to read in this space going forward. We want to keep it fresh and interesting, so email your thoughts to [email protected].
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