MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Williams was one point from victory, one serve from setting up a semifinal rematch against 2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka. The crowd inside Rod Laver Arena was beginning to thin, as Williams came back from a set and a break down against No. 7 Karolina Pliskova to take a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 lead in the third set. One point and the match was over.
Except it wasn't.Serving for the match, Williams was called for a foot fault. On her second serve, she ended a seven-shot rally by rolling her ankle and hitting a forehand into the net, pushing the game to deuce. She double-faulted on her next serve and then lost the game on a backhand unforced error. After suffering tough losses in the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, it seemed improbable Williams would squander another opportunity to capture a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. Surely, she would settle.
But for the rest of the match, Williams seemed stunned, out of step and unable to recalibrate her game. Once Pliskova realized she had Williams on her heels, she pounced. "I was pushing her. I was more aggressive," Pliskova said after her 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win. "This is not happening often, maybe once in life. I went for it. I got a chance and I pushed her in the end."
Unbelievably, Williams lost her last 11 points on serve, while Pliskova, a former world No. 1, saved three more match points and won the next five games and the match to earn a spot in the Australian Open semifinals for the first time in her career.
Depending on the angle from which it's viewed, this match will be remembered as either one of the greatest comebacks in Aussie Open history or one of the biggest collapses of Williams' career. In reality, it was both.
"I think it's the best comeback so far in my life," Pliskova said, making a case for the former. "The biggest win against [Serena] is that I believed I could win. That was the victory for me today."
But let's back up for a moment. To the foot fault. On match point. As the words left the line judge's mouth, the crowd gasped, readying for Williams' reaction. In that moment, was Williams thinking about the infamous US Open incident of 2009, when she was called for a foot fault on her second serve, giving Kim Clijsters double match point? Or her loss against Pliskova in the 2016 US Open semis, when Williams double-faulted on match point? Or maybe she was drawing on a more recent memory, recalling last year's US Open final against Naomi Osaka, when Williams was called for a coaching violation, the first penalty in a string of violations that cost her a point, a game and, arguably, the championship.
Not one to let the public in to her innermost thoughts, it's unlikely Williams will ever discuss what was going through her mind after Wednesday's foot-fault call. It's hard to imagine she wasn't thinking about the improbability of it all. But then again, maybe she remembered she was serving at 5-1 and in possession of the most lethal serve in the game and simply dropped her guard.
Whatever was happening internally, Williams, 37, did not react or question the call. She simply motioned for another ball and continued the match. Outwardly, she kept her cool. But inwardly, she began to unravel.
Fans play rock-paper-scissors over Osaka's towel
Naomi Osaka tosses her towel into the stands and two fans determine who keeps the souvenir with a friendly game of rock-paper-scissors.
That's when it all fell apart.
"I did everything I could on those match points," Williams said. "I can't say that I choked. [Pliskova] literally played her best tennis ever on those shots. I've never seen anything like it. Next time I'm up 5-1 against anybody, I need to make sure I play lights out. It's a good learning experience."
But it's not a lesson Williams has studied often. Only twice previously had she squandered a Grand Slam match after being up match point. In fact, the only time Williams had ever lost after being up four match points, as she did Wednesday, came in a 2001 quarterfinal loss to Monica Seles at the Estyle.com tournament in Los Angeles. At this stage of a Slam and against a player like Williams, the chances of a comeback like the one Pliskova orchestrated are so small that the 23-time Grand Slam winner still seemed stunned by the outcome more than an hour after the match ended.
"There's nothing I did wrong on those match points," Williams said. "I don't think it had anything to do with my ankle. I stayed aggressive. She literally hit the lines on some of them. At that point, I'm just trying to think, 'OK, win some points, win this game.' Then I had a couple more match points on her serve. Naturally I thought, all right, here we go, you're going to win one of these. That clearly didn't happen."
Serena suffers foot fault, rolls ankle
Late in the third set up 5-1, Serena Williams suffers a foot fault and rolls her ankle on the next rally.
Since returning to tennis from a 15-month maternity leave last March, Williams has made it clear she goes to work every day with one goal in mind: to add to her Slam total and break the all-time record. "She's ready to win all four this year," her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told ESPN.com following her fourth-round win here in Melbourne. But after coming achingly close in three of her four attempts in the past 10 months and after experiencing a gut-wrenching loss against Pliskova, one must wonder whether Williams still believes that goal is within her reach.
"The big picture for me is always winning. I'm not going to sit here and lie about that," Williams said. "It hasn't happened yet, but I feel like it's going to happen." When asked where she feels she has the best shot at winning No. 24, Williams said, "Roland Garros. Because it's the next Slam."
Williams lacked that confidence at the start of her quarterfinal match. Instead, Pliskova began the day playing fearlessly and with an aggressive game plan against the seven-time Australian Open champ. But after being broken in the second set, Pliskova dropped her intensity and began to make errors. Williams, on the other hand, started to dictate the pace of the match midway through the second set, playing more aggressively (she was 8-for-10 at the net in the second set) and stealing Pliskova's confidence with each winner (Williams hit 21 winners in the second set to Pliskova's nine). Williams took the second set 6-4 and continued to roll, winning seven of eight games before being broken at 5-1. Serving at 5-2 in the third, Pliskova saw an opening.
"I just felt a chance," Pliskova said of that moment. "For sure it was in her head. I saw a chance and I just took it."
Against Osaka in Thursday's semifinal, Pliskova knows she must do precisely the same.
"I've played few hitters here in the last matches, so I think I'm well-prepared for Naomi," she said. "Obviously, she's trying to make her game from the forehand side. I will just try to do anything possible to maybe put one extra ball back, but on the other hand still be aggressive. Take my chances. I'm sure I'm going to get some. I think anything is possible."
As she learned against Williams on Wednesday, belief is a powerful weapon.
In an email to potential supporters, Mr. Buttigieg (he pronounces it BOOT-edge-edge) said he was forming an exploratory committee and cast himself as a candidate of the future, stressing his generational identity and calling for policies “untethered to the politics of the past” on issues like climate and economic opportunity.
“What will America look like in 2054, when I reach the age of the current president?” Mr. Buttigieg said. “How will we look back on 2020?”
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Buttigieg was a consultant at McKinsey before entering politics.
It is unclear whether a municipal executive who oversees a city of about 100,000 people can be a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. While several other current or former mayors are considering campaigns, they all hail from iconic American cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York, and have records of managing sprawling bureaucracies or navigating major crises. Mr. Buttigieg has a far more modest record to draw upon.
He has traveled the country since then campaigning for fellow Democrats, drawing largely favorable media coverage and making little secret of his interest in higher office — and perhaps the highest office.
“The Democratic Party matters more than ever, now that a hostile takeover of the Republican Party has brought to power a thin-skinned authoritarian who is not liberal, nor conservative, nor moderate,” Mr. Buttigieg wrote in his post-election essay, urging: “We need to be ready to put forward a better way.”
In a political irony, Mr. Buttigieg’s announcement on Wednesday reflects a similar calculus: he has been regarded as a potentially strong candidate for the governorship of Indiana, which is also on the ballot in 2020, but has opted for an underdog presidential campaign instead.
Nurse arrested in case of incapacitated woman who gave birth
UPDATED ON: JANUARY 23, 2019 / 2:27 PM / CBS/AP
A nurse has been arrested on a charge of sexual assault in the impregnation of an incapacitated woman who gave birth last month at a long-term health care facility, police said Wednesday.
Investigators arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.
Williams said Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility where the woman lived and had been providing care to her.
MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Sutherland was linked to the case through DNA, police spokesman Tommy Thompson said. Investigators determined his DNA matched that of the baby.
Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement Wednesday that Sutherland had undergone "an extensive background check" when he was hired. It said he was fired as soon as its leadership team learned he was arrested.
"Every member of the Hacienda organization is troubled beyond words to think that a licensed practical nurse could be capable of seriously harming a patient," the statement said.
The 29-year-old victim has been incapacitated since the age of 3 and gave birth to a boy at the facility on December 29. Employees said they had no idea she was pregnant. Court records said her last known physical was in April.
Hacienda Healthcare said it has boosted security in the last two weeks to ensure patients' safety.
"We will continue to do so," it said. "We also will continue to review and improve what is already an in-depth vetting process for caregivers at Hacienda. We will not tolerate any mistreatment of a Hacienda patient, nor will we stop until every Hacienda patient is as safe as we can make them."
The case has prompted the departure or discipline of key figures at Hacienda HealthCare, including the CEO. The provider on Sunday announced that one doctor who had cared for the woman resigned and another had been suspended.
Earlier stories had described the patient as being comatose or in a vegetative state. But her parents released a statement on Tuesday disputing that characterization. They described her instead as intellectually disabled because of seizures in early childhood. While she doesn't speak, she has some mobility in her limbs, head and neck. She also responds to sound and can make facial gestures.
First published on January 23, 2019
Arizona Police Arrest Nurse Suspected Of Impregnating Incapacitated Woman
Bryan Singer Hit With Fresh Allegations of Sex With Underage Boys
By GENE MADDAUS
UPDATED: Bryan Singer, the director of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” has responded to new allegations published in the Atlantic on Wednesday that he engaged in sexual misconduct with underage boys.
In the report, four men allege that Singer had sexual encounters with them when they were teenagers in the late 1990s. One of the men, Victor Valdovinos, says he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of “Apt Pupil” when Singer fondled his genitals.
The three other accusers are identified in the story by pseudonyms. One, identified in the story as Andy, says that he had sex with Singer when he was 15. Another man, identified as Eric, says he was 17 when he began having sex with the director. Singer would have been 31 at the time. The third man, Ben, alleges that he and Singer had oral sex when he was 17 or 18.
“He would stick his hands down your pants without consent,” the man told the Atlantic. “He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them.”
Singer’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, denied to the magazine that Singer had ever had sex with underage boys, and disputed various details of the accusers’ accounts.
How 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Nearly Bit the Dust
'Bohemian Rhapsody' Sees Mixed Reviews as Critics Praise Rami Malek
Singer also responded to the story on Wednesday, calling it a “homophobic smear piece.”
“The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997,” Singer said in a statement. “After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic. It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. Again, I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention. And it is no surprise that, with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”
Singer was fired two weeks before the end of production on “Bohemian Rhapsody” in December 2017. The film received five Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, including best picture and best actor for Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Singer remains the credited director, but was not nominated. He is next scheduled to direct “Red Sonja” for Millennium Films.
The authors of the Atlantic article, Alex French and Maximillian Potter, spoke to 50 sources over the course of a 12-month investigation. French and Potter are both affiliated with Esquire, French as a writer at large and Potter as the editor at large. In their own statement on Wednesday, the writers said that Hearst Communications, which owns Esquire, had killed the piece.
“We have been asked why a story reported and written by two Esquire writers is being published in the Atlantic,” they said. “This story began with our editors at Esquire. After months of reporting, the story went through Esquire’s editorial process, which included fact-checking and vetting by a Hearst attorney, and the story was approved for publication. The story was then killed by Hearst executives. We do not know why. We feel fortunate that the Atlantic decided to work with us, and we are grateful that the piece has gone through the Atlantic’s thoughtful editorial process, which included another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting. We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remains the focus.”
The investigation first came into public view on Oct. 15, when Singer posted on Instagram that Esquire was looking to write a negative article about him.
“In today’s climate where people’s careers are being harmed by mere accusations, what Esquire is attempting to do is a reckless disregard for the truth, making assumptions that are fictional and irresponsible,” Singer wrote at the time.
In April 2014, Michael Egan sued Singer, alleging that the director had raped him several times in Hawaii in 1999, when Egan was 17. That case was dropped several months later, after discrepancies emerged in Egan’s story.
Cesar Sanchez-Guzman sued Singer in December 2017, claiming that Singer raped him on a yacht in 2003. Singer has denied the allegation, and the case is still pending.
“The industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened,” Sanchez-Guzman told the magazine. “Most people don’t see the truth.”
Bryan Singer Hit With Fresh Allegations of Sex With Underage Boys in Atlantic Exposé
Bryan Singer has been accused by four more men of having sex with them when they were underage in a bombshell exposé in The Atlantic published Wednesday.
Over a 12-month investigation, the journalists say they spoke to more that 50 sources, including four men who have never spoken about their experiences with Singer before. One individual claimed that, at the age of 17, he had sex with the director at Singer’s house in 1997. Another claimed that he and Singer had sex the same year in a Beverly Hills mansion, when he was just 15. Both assert that Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew that they were under 18 and therefore below the age of consent in California.
"The accusations against Singer cover a spectrum," The Atlantic story emphasized. "Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage; others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression and PTSD."
One of the people the magazine spoke with said that Singer and his friends had people who brought them boys. "If you weren’t young and cute enough to be their boy, you could still ingratiate yourself by bringing boys to them," he is quoted as saying.
Victor Valdovinos told The Atlantic that he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of Apt Pupil when Singer — then in his 30s — touched his genitals. According to Valdovinos, Singer molested him multiple times during a day of filming in a locker room that required partial nudity.
Valdovinos — the only subject to reveal his name; the other new accusers are identified by pseudonyms — said that Singer reached through the flaps of the towel wrapped around his waist and "grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it." Valdovinos also said that Singer "rubbed his front part on me," adding that Singer "did it all with this smile." Valdovinos said that Singer told him, "You're so good-looking … I really want to work with you … I have a nice Ferrari … I'm going to take care of you."
Valdovinos recalled that he felt "frozen" and "speechless" after Singer's alleged advances. "He came back to where I was in the locker room throughout the day to molest me," Valdovinos added.
In December 2017, Singer was accused of rape by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who claimed Singer forced him to engage in oral and anal sex while aboard a yacht in Seattle in 2003 when he was just 17. Singer has denied Sanchez-Guzman's allegations and the case is still pending.
Speaking with The Atlantic, Sanchez-Guzmansaid that "the industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. Most people don't see the truth."
The allegations made in The Atlantic come as Singer's professional reputation has been called into question after he was fired during the production of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in December 2017. Executives at 20th Century Fox came to the decision after escalating tensions between Singer and actor Rami Malek caused by the former's frequent unexplained absences from set. Singer denied all allegations of unprofessional behavior and claimed Fox refused to allow him to tend to "a gravely ill parent" as well as to his own health.
Singer was replaced by Eddie the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher for the final weeks of shooting Bohemian Rhapsody, but he was still credited as sole director of the film due to DGA rules.
Despite a difficult production and a lukewarm reception from critics, Bohemian Rhapsody has proved to be a huge global hit, with an $800 million and counting box office haul. The film has also proved a champion during awards season, picking up two Golden Globe awards (best drama film and Malek for best actor in a drama) and five Academy Award nominations, including best film, on Tuesday.
In response to the Atlantic article, Singer released the following statement through his rep: "The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997. After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic. It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. Again, I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention. And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsodybeing an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success."
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said. “I’m thrilled that I am going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’”
Alan Taylor is directing the movie for New Line. The cast includes Cory Stoll, Billy Magnussen, Jon Bernthal, Alessandro Nivola, and Vera Farmiga. The film will be set during the Newark riots in July, 1967, when the acrimony between African-Americans and Italian-Americans became lethal as 26 people died and hundreds were injured in New Jersey’s largest city.
Series creator David Chase co-wrote the script with producer Lawrence Konner. Plot details are under wraps. Some of the other characters from the series besides Tony Soprano will appear in the movie. Nicole Lambert and Marcus Viscidi are executive producing.
James Gandolfini originated the role of Tony Soprano on the HBO series, which premiered in 1999 and ran for six seasons as it explored the dynamics of the fictional head of a New Jersey-based crime family, starting with his attempting to deal with panic attacks by seeing a psychiatrist. The role earned him three Primetime Emmys, one Golden Globe, and three SAG awards. The elder Gandolfini died in 2013 at the age of 51.
Chase won five Primetime Emmys for “The Sopranos.” Michael Gandolfini is best known for his role as Joey Dwyer on HBO’s “The Deuce.” He is repped by WME and Brookside Artist Management. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
© 2019 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
James Gandolfini's son cast to play young Tony Soprano
Las últimas fotografías del veterano de Hollywod Jack Nicholson, de 81 años, durante un juego de Los Angeles Lakers, llamaron la atención de sus admiradores. La estrella, alejado de la pantalla grande hace varios años, luce un aspecto desmejorado.
Nicholson fue retratado junto a su hijo Raymond, sentados en primera fila en el Staples Center de Los Ángeles en el partido de los Lakers contra los Golden State Warriors.
Su cambio físico no pasó desapercibido, ya que si bien el protagonista de Los infiltrados no ha aparecido en una película desde 2010, quedó en evidencia que ha aumentado mucho de peso.
Nicholson, que asiste fielmente a cada uno de los partidos de su equipo, al que sigue desde los años 70, fue visto disfrutando de unas hamburguesas y papas fritas con su hijo.
Nicholson se mostró de muy buen humor mientras disfrutaba de su pasatiempo favorito. Pese a la derrota de los Lakers, el intérprete posó con el boxeador Manny Pacquiao.
Alejado de los cámaras y de los eventos de la industria, su físico cambió mucho en los últimos años. Se muestra con exceso de peso y lejos de su perfil de galán que lo caracterizó.
Nicholson supo jactarse de haberse acostado con más de 2.000 mujeres y se lo conocía como "el hombre al que ninguna mujer podía resistir". Era un reconocido mujeriejo. Entre sus conquistas figuran las actrices Lara Flynn Boyle, Janice Dickinson y Anjelica Huston .
El ganador de tres premios Oscar lleva más de ocho años retirado del cine.
Su último trabajo fue en How Do You Know, una comedia dramática dirigida y escrita por James L. Brooks, que protagonizó con Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, y Owen Wilson.
Sobre su alejamiento de los set de filmación, Nicholson explicó a The Sun en el 2013 que se encontraba menos motivado para "para realizar películas". Y añadió: "El negocio del cine es el mejor, pero solo quiero hacer aquellas que conmuevan a las personas, sobre emociones y personas", agregó.