Tennis: Pliskova in convincing victory over sluggish Williams

World number three Karolina Pliskova, playing her first match under the guidance of new coach Rennae Stubbs, showcased her heavy artillery. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Tennis: Pliskova in convincing victory over sluggish Williams

SINGAPORE: World number three Karolina Pliskova believes her experience playing on the Singapore Indoor Stadium’s slower court was the catalyst for a crushing straight sets victory over Venus Williams on Sunday.
Pliskova, playing in her second consecutive WTA Finals, overwhelmed a sluggish Williams from the get-go to record a 6-2, 6-2 victory in a one-sided match lasting just one hour and 13 minutes.
Williams was making her debut in Singapore after reaching the WTA Finals for the first time since 2009, when it was played in Doha.
Even though she did not make it out of the group stage a year ago, the Czech said the experience helped enormously.
“I think I had quite an advantage from that she (Williams) was not playing for the last few years in WTA finals,” Pliskova told reporters after the match.
“I don’t know how she felt but I think I was trying to take that advantage that I was here last year.”
Opening the tournament, which fields the top eight players, Pliskova — playing her first match under the guidance of new coach Rennae Stubbs — showcased her heavy artillery.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for the 25-year-old, who slipped in the rankings after being crowned world number one in July.
But the match was an anti-climax for Williams and an early blow to the 37-year-old’s bid to be crowned the world’s number one for the first time in 15 years.
Williams said she was confident of rebounding from the defeat. “Yeah, I have been in this position before,” she said. “So I will be back on Tuesday. I felt like I returned well today. I just didn’t execute as well during the point.”
Even though both players are notable servers, there were four breaks of serve in the first set and Pliskova captured three of them.
Pliskova started the match in trademark fashion with an ace and showed her proficiency in returning by breaking Williams in the second game to gain an early stranglehold.
In just her second tournament since the US Open, Williams struggled to dust off the cobwebs. Her error-strewn first set was marred by nine unforced errors and three double faults.
Williams appeared to be finding her groove early in the second set when she had two chances to break. But Pliskova had all the answers and ran out a comfortable winner.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”