will be inducted into the racing Hall of Fame next month in Saratogain Spam Area!!! 02.09.2019 11:04
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- When Venus Williams pushed one last forehand long to lose in the first round for the first time in her record five Olympic singles tournaments, her opponent celebrated as if having claimed a gold medal, dropping down on the green hard court to plant a kiss on the white five-ring logo.This was clearly a very big deal to Kirsten Flipkens, a Belgian ranked 62nd and only once as far as the semifinals at a Grand Slam event.Just two points away from winning on four occasions while portions of the crowd turned hostile toward her, the 36-year-old Williams faded as Saturday nights match stretched past 3 hours and she was stunned 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) by Flipkens on Day 1 of tennis at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.Afterward, Williams did not speak to reporters. Instead, U.S. womens tennis coach Mary Joe Fernandez did, saying that Williams was sick before arriving in Brazil. Fernandez added that Williams had cramping, dehydration and an upset stomach after her loss, but still hoped to play doubles Sunday with younger sister Serena.I would be highly surprised if she didnt play, because this has been her goal for the last four years -- to come back to the Olympics, Fernandez said. She wants to win a medal so badly in anything. Knowing Venus, she will be out there, no matter how badly shes feeling.Williams owns four gold medals: one in singles and three in doubles. She owns 21 Grand Slam titles: seven in singles, 14 in doubles. But she labored at times Saturday and even showed frustration by shouting Ridiculous! after dropping one point.With U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry watching from a second-row seat behind a baseline, the fifth-seeded Williams wasted a 4-1 lead in the final set and was broken while serving for the victory at 5-3.Williams was coming off a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon last month, her best showing at a major since 2010. That also made her the oldest woman since 1994 to reach a Grand Slam tournaments final four. And it helped her attain her best ranking since revealing in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with Sjongrens syndrome, which can cause joint pain and fatigue.Shes used to not feeling 100 percent with her Sjongrens, and I think thats why we saw her compete and fight to the end, Fernandez said. Credit to Flipkens, who hung around and defended so well and made her play extra shots.Williams is the first tennis player to participate in singles at five Olympics, and never had failed to reach at least the third round before, claiming a gold at the 2000 Sydney Games. She also won doubles golds in 2000, 2008 and 2012.But against Flipkens, who was making her Olympic debut, Williams failed to find the right measure on most of her strokes and wound up with 13 fewer winners on courts that competitors agree are playing slowly. Williams, once possessor of one of the best serves in womens tennis, hit one ace, five fewer than Flipkens.This is just one of the most epic matches in my life, Flipkens said.The fans couldnt seem to settle on which woman they wanted to win. They greeted Williams far more loudly and warmly during prematch introductions, although perhaps that was because of her far-greater name recognition.Later, though, they roared when Williams made mistakes. They clapped when she double-faulted. They even gave her grief for the common and innocuous practice of catching a ball toss that wasnt gd.When one group of spectators bellowed a USA! USA! chant late in the third set, others responded by bing (Kerry had left by then).They just enjoyed my game because, I think, Im a little girl trying to do some special stuff to get a chance to beat a champion like that, Flipkens said.Williams loss was part of a rough day for the United States tennis team. Seven of the countrys eight singles players were in action, and they went 2-5.Steve Johnson and Madison Keys won, but there were losses for Jack Sock (who said afterward he had walking pneumonia, then got into a Twitter spat with former pro player and coach Brad Gilbert), Denis Kudla, Brian Baker and Sloane Stephens.In all, three of the top six women already are gone, with No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and No. 6 Roberta Vinci of Italy -- who ended Serena Williams bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam at the U.S. Open last September -- joining Venus Williams on the way out.---Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich NGolo Kante Jersey . Luis Suarezs double powered Liverpl to a 4-0 victory over Fulham, and Southampton easily overcame Hull 4-1 to continue the south coast clubs impressive start to the season. Liverpl and Southampton sent Chelsea down to fourth place as the west London club was held to 2-2 at home. 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Grade 1 winner Rachels Valentina, the only daughter of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, has been retired from racing, owner-breeder Barbara Bankes Stonestreet Farm announced Sunday.We want to announce that Rachels Valentina will now retire from racing sound and injury-free, the farm posted on its blog. We lk forward to sharing her babies with you, carrying on the legacy of Rachel the Great.Rachels Valentina, by Bernardini, won two of three starts last year as a juvenile for Stonestreet and trainer Todd Pletcher. Following her debut score at Saratoga, she earned her signature victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes before finishing second to the unbeaten champion Songbird in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies.Rachels Valentina returned to the races five months later to finish second to Weep No More in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She was soundly beaten as the favorite in her last two outings, finishing sixth in the Kentucky Oaks and fifth in the Graade 1 Mother Gse Stakes.ddddddddddddRachels Valentina was the second foal out of Rachel Alexandra, who will be inducted into the racing Hall of Fame next month in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The mare experienced severe complications following the fillys birth, resulting in surgery and a lengthy clinic stay before she recovered and returned home to Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Ky.Banke has said the champion will not be bred again. The mares full sister, Samantha Nicole, is also part of Stonestreets brdmare band and was covered by Bernardini this year for her first foal.Rachel Alexandras only other foal is Jesss Dream, a 4-year-old son of Curlin who won his only start last summer at Saratoga. Plagued by minor physical ailments throughout his career, he is now back in training with Kiaran McLaughlin, most recently breezing July 12 at Belmont. ' ' '
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