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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Rafael Nadal & Serena Williams Win 2009 Australian Open Singles Titles

Rafael Nadal of Spain continued his dominance over former world #1 Roger Federer of Switzerland in a thrilling five-set win, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, to win the 2009 Australian Open Men's Singles Title. The victory - his first on a hard court in a grand slam, lasted almost four & a half hours. Nadal destroyed Federer's opportunity to win his 14th major, which will tie Pete Sampras for the most in men's grand slam singles history. Ironically, Nadal is the only player to defeat Federer in a major; he's beaten him 13 out of 19 times in their incredible rivalry. In fact, their ongoing play against one anotha parallels the legendary competition between Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg & John McEnroe, Andre Agassi & Pete Sampras.

This was the most anticipated match of the season. After seeming to be invincible, Federer lost his top spot last summer to Nadal when he succumbed to him at Wimbledon. The 22 year-old powerful lefty has shown no signs of stepping down from his throne. His five-set, semi-final win over countryman Fernando Verdasco took five hours & 14 minutes, the longest in Australian Open history. Some experts felt despite Nadal's superior level of fitness he'd be too weary to beat Federer in Rod Laver Arena, in front of Rod Laver, who was there to witness the match. But Nadal is resilient with a heart of gold. He saved a bushel of break points, particularly in the third-set where Federer had six chances in game 10 & game 12.

When Federer won the fourth set it looked like he'd be victorious. Yet he played unusually flat in set number five. Federer's five-set record is 13-11, amazingly mediocre for someone considered to be the best of all time. At the podium, upon receiving his runner-up trophy, he began to cry uncontrollably: he showed us his humanness. Nadal, like Federer, has three of the four majors in his repertoire. He has six majors & will probably break Sampras' record as well. But he gets better because he has Federer to play against on the world's biggest stages. Like Laver, who did it twice, unlike Federer whose yet to do it once, Nadal might win all four grand slams in a single calendar year. The international tennis community awaits with delicious anticipation.

Serena Williams defeated Dinara Safina of Russia in straight sets to win her fourth Australian Open women's singles crown. The resounding victory moved her into the number one spot, a familiar place for the confident African-American. Williams now has 10 grand slam singles titles, a record shared only by Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf & Monica Seles. In fact, both Martina & Steffi are on record stating Serena could be the greatest of all-time among women, yet nagging injuries & outside interests have impacted her ability to play at a consistent level.

The match, their second straight grand slam appearance against one anotha, seemed over before it started as Williams broke early & often in the first set. She ripped winners from both sides & attacked Safina's vulnerable second serve without mercy. The third-seeded Safina has made tremendous strides in the last 18 months, getting physically fit & working on her mental toughness, an overwhelming liability in her career. Despite her outstanding play to reach the final, she was no match for Serena, who was in control from the very first point.

Williams joins Court, Evonne Goolagong, Graf & Seles as the only women to win four singles titles down under. Record temperatures plagued players throughout the tournament. In fact, the heatwave was, at one point during Williams' semi-final match against eighth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, over 140 degrees on the court. Australian Open policy dictates the roof to be opened after the first set, a welcome relief to both champions. Williams also won the doubles with older sistah Venus, their eighth major title.

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