Serena chases record 24th Slam as Osaka, Halep eye US Open

first_img“Last year I lost three matches in a row before I came here, so I just wanted to get one match. Then it just kept building on from that,” she said.“This year I went to two quarter-finals back to back and I feel very confident about how I am right now.”While it’s Osaka’s first time defending a Slam, she had her first taste of defending a title this year at Indian Wells.“Going to Indian Wells and learning how defending champion pressure feels, I think it definitely helped me out going into this tournament,” Osaka said. “Because I just feel more loose and comfortable here.“I’m not sure if it’s because the last couple of months have been kind of turbulent but definitely I feel really comfortable and I know that, despite everything, I play well here every year. So I’m not too worried about that.”And she’s much better after pulling out in Cincinnati with a left knee injury.“It’s getting better. I’ve been playing more, longer every day,” she said. “Luckily I’m a fast healer so I think it’s looking good.”– Halep’s confidence high –Halep, who has crashed out of the US Open in the first round the past two years, enters with confidence after beating Williams at Wimbledon.“It cannot be worse than the last two years, to lose in the first round,” Halep said. “I’m really good. I’m feeling healthy. I’m feeling fresh.“The pressure of doing something special, it’s off. Now what comes, comes as a bonus. I’m still working, I’m still motivated to win titles. I’ve started to feel more and more that I’m capable to do that so my confidence is very high.”Barty says “nothing has really changed for me” since her title at Roland Garros.“I just come here to play and do the best that I can,” Barty said. “I’m focused on my first round on Monday and that’s all I’m worried about for the moment.”Share on: WhatsApp Eighth-seeded Serena Williams will be commanding the first day of US Open as she faces Maria Sharapova in the first round.New York, United States | AFP |  Serena Williams has the US Open spotlight as she chases tennis history, but a host of Grand Slam winners and high-ranked rivals are also taking aim at the title.The 37-year-old American will be the focus of attention when the Flushing Meadows fortnight begins Monday with her first-round night match against Russian Maria Sharapova the most anticipated of the women’s openers.“Of course I’m going to watch it,” said top-seeded defending champion Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in last year’s US Open final. “I think everyone in New York is going to watch it.“I’m not that surprised that that happened, because at every Grand Slam there’s always some sort of drama. Like a first round. Like, Oh my God. So this match just happens to be that for this tournament.”Williams will try to capture her 24th Grand Slam singles title to match the all-time record set by Margaret Court.Eighth-seeded Williams, who could meet second-seeded French Open champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the quarter-finals, has not won a Slam since the 2017 Australian Open when she was pregnant, losing the US Open final to Osaka last year amid controversy and the past two Wimbledon finals — including last month to Romania’s Simona Halep.Barty, Osaka, Halep and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, seeking her first Slam title, are among the foes trying to deny Williams yet again in a quest she insists doesn’t dominate her thoughts.“I think it’s definitely meaningful, but at this point in my career, I just try to think of different things and even bigger goals — so it’s just like 24 is just a thing,” Williams said earlier this month.“There are so much more important things in my life. And obviously tennis is super important to me… but yeah there are always other things in life, I feel, that are really big on my plate too.”Williams has not played since retiring from the WTA Toronto final with back spasms, handing Canada’s Bianca Andreescu the title.“Definitely if she manages physically, then I think she can do really well here,” Andreescu said.“She’ll do great, as she always does,” added 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens.– Osaka ‘very confident’ –Osaka won last year’s final after Williams was given a game penalty by umpire Carlos Ramos, who US Open officials have decided will not work on any match with Serena or Venus Williams at this year’s US Open.This time, Osaka has had a better run-up to the Open despite a first-round Wimbledon crash out.last_img read more

About Town

first_imgLITTLE SILVERThe Seniors of Little Silver will have their last meeting of the season at noon Tuesday, June 25, at the Club House, Church Street.A luncheon, prepared by Sickles Market with special treats from members, will be served at noon and the regular meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Members who would like to prepare their favorite dish to share should call Linda Rizzo, the hospitality chairwoman, at 732-741-5339.Those attending should RSVP by June 20. The cost is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers. Checks, made payable to Seniors of Little Silver, should be mailed to Diane Tresente, treasurer, at 61 Seven Bridges Road, Little Silver.Following the board meeting, board-assembled baskets will be raffled off.Informal gatherings will be held, beginning in July, at 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at The Turning Point on Prospect Street. All are welcomed.Regular meetings will resume in the fall on Sept. 24 – the fourth Tuesday of the month. Conservation Foundation Holds Kids Photo/Art Contest ATLANTIC HIGHLANDSThe 5th Annual Atlantic Highlands Car Show will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday June 15, with June 22 as the rain date.The event, which will run along First Avenue, usually features more than 160 cars and trucks and brings out thousands of spectators.Handcrafters and automotive-related vendors will be set up in the park and the borough’s shops and eateries will be open.There will be two areas of entertainment: one stage in the center of the show and another in the park. This year’s entertainment will include D.J. Riff Raff, The Battery Electric, Michael Melore & The Winjen Band, Plato Zorba, Christina Alessi, The Brigantines, Poppa John “Bug” with Gary Wright performing acoustic and Nine Below Zero.For information about registering a vehicle or inquiring about vending, visit www.atlantichighlands.org/events/car-show or call or email Meredith at 347-528-5372 or vintagevarietyshop@yahoo.com. * * * * *Daylily Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29 at Deep Cut Gardens.Area residents are invited to visit Deep Cut Gardens, Red Hill Road, Middletown, and enjoy an assortment of daylilies. In addition to colorful displays, expert daylily growers will be on hand to discuss this hardy flower and give horticultural advice.The event is presented by the Monmouth County Park System and the Garden State Daylily Growers.Deep Cut Gardens is the Monmouth County Park System’s site dedicated to the home gardener. The 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons. For more information on Deep Cut Gardens or the Mon­mouth County Park System, visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com or call the Park System at 732-842-4000.The TTY/TDD number for people with hearing impairment is 711. MONMOUTH COUNTY – Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) announces its Fall 2013 Kids Capturing Conservation Photo/Art Contest for preschools located in Monmouth County. The purpose of this contest is to increase awareness of the importance of nature and land conservation in Monmouth County.There are two ways to win: the winning school will be awarded a grant of $1,500, the three top winning student entrants will each be awarded an exciting birthday party at Huber Woods Environmental Center in Locust (Middletown Township) and the second three winning students will each win a digital camera.The contest invites students enrolled at registered preschools to photograph or draw a special moment in nature that is then posted by an adult family member on Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s Facebook Contest Page. The winning school will be determined by the highest percentage of entrants based on school enrollment. The student winners will be based on receiving the most social media votes.Preschools must register on the MCF website contest registration page by June 21 for the opportunity to win the grant. The actual contest takes place in the fall, and student photo/art entries may be submitted from October 1 through October 15. Student entries must be from a preregistered preschool. Please visit our contest page for more details. To register online: MonmouthConservationFoundation.org/Capturing-Conservation. For more information, contact Lisa McKean at 732-671-7000.Monmouth Conservation Foundation is Monmouth County’s only countywide land trust whose overarching mission is to create a permanent legacy of open space, parks, and protected natural resources for our generation, our children’s generation and future generations. Established as a 501(c) 3 in 1977, the foundation has preserved over 6,500 acres of open space, farmland, wetlands and parks throughout Monmouth County. The conservation and preservation of land creates a better quality of life – protecting the character and integrity of Monmouth County for all to appreciate and benefit from. With continued support, MCF will continue to preserve the beauty of Monmouth’s County for future generations. * * * * *The American Association of University Women (AAUW) will be holding a book sale 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Old First Church, 60 King’s Highway.Shoppers can fill bags with as many books that fit for $5 per bag. Treasures include complete sets, classics, children’s and young-adult books plus current fiction, mysteries, history titles, hardcovers and paperbacks.Proceeds provide scholarships for local women. MIDDLETOWNYouth from the Middletown United Methodist Church, 924 Middletown-Lincroft Rd., will host a dinner and live band on Saturday, June 15, on church grounds to raise funds for a service mission trip to upstate New York.Area families with youth and small children are invited to join in this fun summer evening of dinner and live music in a mix of music styles.Every year 15 youth and six adults from the church travel to upstate New York to help fix up the homes of those in need.Projects can include painting, roofing and building ramps, stairs or porches. The youths volunteer a week of their summer to sleep on air mattresses in schools or churches and do manual labor.The experience goes a long way in molding character, learning new skills and building lasting friendships and relationships among themselves and the families and communities they serve.It also moves youth forward in their academic pursuits and their service to their communities and those in need.Additional information is available by calling 732-671-0707 or visiting the website at www.middletownumcnj.org. * * * * *The Monmouth County Park System is hosting a pottery open house from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Newman Springs Road.Visitors can sample hand-building techniques and try the potter’s wheel.Additional information is available by visiting www.monmouthcountyparks.com or calling 732-842-4000.  For people with hearing impairment, the TDD/TTY number is 711. LINCROFTThe monthly social-action film screening will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Unitarian meetinghouse, 1475 W. Front St.The film, Living Downstream, follows scientist, professor, author and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer, its environmental links and the urgent human rights issue therein. Both personal journey and scientific-social exploration, the film is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land, and water.Additional information is available by calling Dan Ciaglia at 732-284-6312 or emailing sarah.klepner@gmail.com.last_img read more

Domenic DiPiero: Commitment to Community

first_imgBy John BurtonDomenic DiPiero III is a hometown guy who grew up in The Two River area and not only loves the community but believes in giving back to it.That’s why he bought The Two River Times.“It may not have the financial upside,” of other for-profit endeavors, Domenic noted, but added, “it has real benefit for the community.”Another driving factor for Domenic is that he wanted to emulate his father, remaining in the area and running much of his investment firm as well as the Two River Times operations out of their respective Red Bank offices.“It was that balance that I was always trying to achieve,” he said.“The truth of the matter,” he explained, “is I liked the life my dad had.”The elder Domenic DiPiero and his family lived in Middletown, where he and his wife raised the young Domenic and his siblings. The senior DiPiero established his business offices in the late 1970s in what is now the headquarters of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, on the corner of Bodman Place and Riverside Avenue.Domenic remembered being able to walk from school – having attended St. James Elementary School and then Red Bank Catholic high school – to his father’s offices of Delphi Petroleum and spend time with him.“To see his ability to be around his kids and to be able to work there after school,” Domenic said, “was something what I wanted to do.”And he does, noting just recently, “Today I’ll walk to the JV football game,” at his alma mater, RBC, to catch his son, Domenic IV, playing.A year ago Domenic bought The Two River Times from then owner, Michael “Mickey” Gooch,” at the time a fellow Rumson resident and friend, who had owned the Red Bank- based weekly newspaper for 10 years. “I was always a fan of the paper,” he said, having read it for local and sports news as well as news about the various charitable and not-for-profit organizations, many of which he is involved with.Domenic had served on the Riverview Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees, having been elected the board’s chair; the Meridian Health System Foundation board, also for a time as its chair and on its strategic planning committee; and has been a board member for the Two River Theater, Count Basie Theatre’s foundation and on the finance committee for the Two River Film Festival. He and his brother, David, have been active with the Asbury Park Pop Warner youth football program, helping to make the program more accessible to underprivileged youth.And in a sense Domenic saw his taking ownership of the TRT and continuing its work as akin to the efforts that those other organizations have been accomplishing.“More than any other publication we are really part of the community,” he emphasized, pointing out that almost all of the paper’s staff live in the coverage area and it has always been owned and operated by those who lived in the area and had heartfelt attachments to it.“It’s rare these days to have an independent newspaper run by local people,” in the contemporary media environment. He acknowledged another reason he decided to acquire the paper. “I was afraid it would fall into the hands of a big company or in the hands of someone with an agenda,” he said.And in the last year, “Everything I’ve heard has been positive,” about the publication. He admitted that “there are people who would let me know if there is something wrong with it.”Many have stepped forth to offer their expertise, wishing to contribute columns and suggestions for the publication because they believed in the area.The Two River Times continues to be a positive reflection of this community, he said. “I really believe – and I’m fortunate enough to have traveled around the country and around the world – I believe this is the best place to live. And being involved with the paper only solidified that.”So far, “It’s a lot of fun,” being involved in the newspaper, learning about the publishing world and what this all entails, he said. “And it’s a great way to showcase all these nonprofits and small businesses we have around here and the people who work for them.”“Growing up here, The Two River Times is something that we can gather around and support,” he said. “And as long as the community is interested and supports The Two River Times, I am happy to do my part in keeping it ‘our’ paper.”last_img read more

Red Bank’s ‘Couch to 5K’ Running Program Takes First Steps

first_imgby John BurtonRED BANK – For Red Bank Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Hoffmann, the aim is simple: no matter how sedentary they have been, those who signed up for his running program can start moving and get healthier.“It’s my hope it’ll plant the seed,” in the participants and they’ll continue on this fitness journey, Hoffmann said of his program “Couch Potato to 5K,” which kicked off this week.Hoffmann, who is relatively new to the Red Bank job, has conducted similar programs for about nine years, in Fair Haven, where he had previously worked as rec director, as well as in Manalapan and in South Carolina.His program is along the same lines as a national one called “Girls on the Run” and the idea is pretty simple, Hoffmann maintained—finding people’s comfort level, getting them off the couch and getting them to remain active. “It’s both an action and life enrichment course,” he explained.For the first session on a cold Monday evening this week, 13 participants joined Hoffmann at East Side Park, at the Mechanic Street/Harrison Avenue intersection, where Hoffmann told the group what to expect when they meet on Wednesdays and Mondays, from March through June.After a joke-filled introduction to the group, Hoffmann tells them to “run at a comfortable level and if you need to walk, you walk.” The idea being, he said, to extend the distances over time, “So it’ll be more running than walking,” as time progresses.Ultimately, Hoffmann hopes to have participants shape up sufficiently to be able to take on a 5K run in June.Before they start Hoffmann has them take a deep breath and give a U.S. Marine-style grunt. The grunt is for a reason, but he won’t tell them until later in the training season.Debbie Graf said she joined “Because I am a couch potato…I needed to get in shape.”Along with that, “I wanted to see who was doing it,” and was pleasantly surprised to see a neighbor had joined.Joining her, too, was Graf’s husband, John McCracken, who is already a regular runner, figuring he’d provide moral support as well. McCracken acknowledged he had already run 6 ½ miles after work before joining Graf for this program. “I’ll probably cramp up before I finish here,” he kidded.“The hardest part is done,” Hoffmann told them. “You’re here,” and are starting the program.James Scavone, executive director of Red Bank RiverCenter, the local business coalition, decided to get involved. “I’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time,” and thought getting more exercise would help, he said.The group did a series of stretches and some brief walk-run combinations for short distances for the first outing. Hoffmann reminded everyone that “Running is a little like making love.” He let that sink in before explaining, “You don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it.”“Anyone out of breath? In pain?” he asked afterwards. “That’ll change. It’ll go away,” as the sessions progress, he promised.Claudia Ferreira, a municipal employee, said she regularly exercises but conceded “I do better with a plan.”“It was fun,” she said of the first session and looked forward to continuing.“My real reason is really to get heart healthy and lose weight,” explained Doreen Hoffmann (no relation to Charlie), who also works for the town. She found the session “non-intimidating” and credited Charlie Hoffmann for setting the comforting tone.She’s not interested in being a serious runner but, “I feel however I end, jogging, walking, running,” she noted, “it’s pushing me to obtain a goal.”“My hope is that at some point maybe someone will come back to me and say ‘I’m running in the Boston Marathon,’” Charlie said. “I hope they stick with it.”There is still time to sign up. But that window is closing as the group continues with its twice weekly training, getting in shape, Hoffmann explained.The program costs $30 and participants get a T-shirt, the sessions and “homework” instructing different exercises and other activities members can do between trainings.For more information, call the borough Parks and Recreation Department, 732-530-2782.last_img read more

STREAKING GOODYEARFORROSES HEADS SUNDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA ANA STAKES AT 1 1/8 MILES ON TURF; TRAINED BY BALTAS, SHE BIDS FOR HER THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN WITH NAKATANI UP

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (March 9, 2017)–Seemingly invigorated since changing her base of operations from Toronto, Canada to the Richard Baltas barn at Santa Anita, Irish-bred Goodyearforroses will bid for her third Winter Meet win in a row in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes for older fillies and mares at a mile and one eighth on turf.Several distaffers rate competitive chances in the eight-horse Santa Ana, including trainer Paulo Lobo’s Pretty Girl, who was second to “Goodyear” two starts back in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 31, a race that was shifted to a “sloppy” main track and thus lost its Grade III status. Be sure to tune into XBTV on Sunday at www.xbtv.com/watch-live/ from any mobile device or computer. The XBTV team will feature live, on-site coverage throughout the race day, as well as providing Gulfstream Park bonus coverage as well.                Fans can watch video of prominent in-day workers at www.xbtv.com/video-on-demand/workouts/  First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.  Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.  For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com/horse-racing/live-racing/. GOODYEARFORROSES: Sold privately following a close third place finish in the Grade III Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 5, she seemed to relish the sloppy conditions in the Frankel and rallied strongly from off the pace to win the mile and one half turf Astra II Stakes here on Feb. 2.  The triumvirate of Goodyearforroses, Corey Nakatani and Baltas will be bidding for their third win in a row as the 5-year-old mare attempts her first graded stakes win.  Owned by Abbondanza Racing, she has six wins from 14 starts and has earnings of $245,995. PRETTY GIRL: A Group I & III winner in her native Argentina, this classy 6-year-old mare made her U.S. debut in the prestigious Grade I Beverly D Stakes on Aug. 13 at Arlington Park, rallying from far back to finish a respectable seventh and was idle until running second in the Dec. 31 Frankel, her first start for Lobo.  Although far back early in the Beverly D, she pressed the early Frankel pace but was no match for Goodyearforroses late.  With Victor Espinoza engaged to ride for the first time, chances are Pretty Girl will approach the Santa Ana with a “wait and see” approach at a mile and one eighth.  Owned by Stud RDI, LLC and Bonne Chance Farm, LLC, Pretty Girl is 8-4-1-1, with all of her wins coming on turf.center_img Pretty Girl–Victor Espinoza–120Do the Dance–Tyler Baze–120Goodyearforroses–Corey Nakatani–120Sheeza Milky Way–Jamie Theriot–120Sweet Charity–Flavien Prat–120Kenriya–Rafael Bejarano–120Evo Campo–Brice Blanc–120Responsibleforlove–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–120 THE GRADE II SANTA ANA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 7 of 9                                                                                                          Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PTlast_img read more