Russian tennis star Veronika Kudermetova has won the first singles title of her career – and her straight-sets victory over Montenegrin Danka Kovinic would have made her idol, UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, a proud compatriot.
The 23-year-old claimed she had no expectations going into the final in South Carolina, where she won the world’s oldest professional all-women’s tournament in America with a 6-4, 6-2 victory to earn the top prize of around $ 565,000.
Ranked at 38 going in to the tournament, Kudermetova beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who was a previous winner at Charleston, in the quarterfinals, and started 53 places ahead of Kovinic.
The big-serving prospect never seemed unduly troubled as she went one better than her previous final of the year, when she beat world number five Elina Svitolina in Abu Dhabi on a run that was only ended by Belarusian world number seven Aryna Sabalenka.
It was a claycourt tournament stacked with stars & Grand Slam champs, but the Volvo Car Open was won by 38th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova, a lean and powerful Russian who did not drop a set all week & defeated another outsider, Danka Kovinic, 6-4, 6-2 to win her 1st WTA title pic.twitter.com/Tt6WGsatpI
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 11, 2021
Kudermetova has said that her tennis inspiration is Russian tennis icon Maria Sharapova, but she named Nurmagomedov as her hero in the build-up to the final.
“Khabib is a tough guy, a real man,” she said, speaking to the WTA on its Tennis Channel.
“He never misses an opportunity. I think he’s a good person. When he fights, I strongly support him, I like him.
“He is an amazing person, I hope I can be as mentally strong as he is. He has a nickname – an eagle. I am often called a black panther.”
After the greatest day of her time in the game so far, Kudermetova now knows how Nurmagomedov felt on some of his greatest nights in his 29-fight unbeaten career. Also on rt.com‘Medvedev is a hero, but the girls push each other too!’ Rising star Kudermetova on tennis in Russia
Episode 3 of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ ended with a ‘Black Panther’ cameo. Ayo crosses paths with Bucky, and she’s on a mission. Get to know the character before the next episode.
The final moments of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s third episode featured a surprising cameo. Ayo showed up in Latvia and met up with Bucky. When they came face-to-face, Bucky tells her, “I was wondering when you were going to show up.” Ayo replies in Xhosa, “I’m here for Zemo.”
Ayo is a prominent character from the Marvel Comics and has had a notable role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, her journey is just getting started. Here are 5 key things to know about Ayo.
1. Ayo is after Baron Zemo.
The reason Ayo wants to get her hands on Zemo is simple: she wants justice. Zemo is the one who killed King T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. He then framed Bucky for King T’Chaka’s murder, which set off a devastating set of events. Zemo may have been living out his life in a German prison until Sam and Bucky broke him out, but the people of Wakanda would much rather he pay for his crimes in their world.
2. She first appeared in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’
Ayo was in Vienna with King T’Chaka was killed during the ratifying of the Sokovia Accords. As she was escorting the new King T’Challa to his car, she crossed paths with Natasha. T’Challa told Ayo to stand down so he could speak to Natasha. Ayo had a much larger role in Black Panther.
3. She is a member of the Dora Milaje.
She is the second-in-command of the Dora Milaje, the female bodyguards who serve as the royal security of the Black Panther and the Golden Tribe. Ayo serves alongside Okoye, who is the head of the Dora Milaje. Ayo is extremely skilled in combat training.
4. She fought in the Battle of Wakanda.
Ayo was ordered to protect Shuri as she tried to separate Vision from the Mind Stone in Avengers: Infinity War. Ayo fought valiantly to keep Shuri out of harm’s way. When Corvus Glaive showed up, he was too powerful for them both.
5. Ayo is played by Florence Kasumba.
Florence was born in Uganda and raised in Germany. In addition to Marvel movies, she notably played Senator Acantha in Wonder Woman and Shenzi in The Lion King. While it hasn’t been confirmed, Florence will likely reprise her role as Ayo in the Black Panther sequel.
Avengers Endgame and Black Panther star Boseman was nominated for a Golden Globe posthumously in the Netflix film. The movie came out three months after the tragic death of the 43-year-old actor. The star’s death was announced on August 29, 2020. His official Twitter account posted the news, stating: “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV.”
Boseman was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actor, Motion Picture Drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in last night’s virtual ceremony.
In the film Boseman played Levee, a trumpet-playing musician who constantly clashed with his boss, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis).
The film received rave reviews, with many critics praising Boseman’s “Oscar-worthy” performance.
The award places Boseman in history as the first Black actor to win a Golden Globe posthumously.
READ MORE: Black Panther 2 is ‘extremely challenging’ without Chadwick Boseman
Wolfe told the Independent: “That will happen as it happens. I know this may sound full of it, but I think it’s one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. Period.
“It’s an astonishing performance: how naked it is, how viscerally powerful it is. There’s charisma and then there is the truth and he is filled with both.”
Davis, who was also nominated for her role in the movie, recently praised Boseman and his performance as well.
She said: “Chadwick Boseman deserves [awards recognition].”
Davis continued: “This is someone who did the work, who learned the trumpet.
“I mean, those long three, four-page monologues, are you kidding me? He did the work and he did an extraordinary job.”
After the actor’s death his family made a statement saying: “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.
“From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is available to watch on Netflix now.