New Al-Ahli signings from La Liga land in Saudi Arabia

José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano have arrived in the Kingdom to play for Al-Ahli. (@ALAHLI_FCEN)
Updated 02 July 2018
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New Al-Ahli signings from La Liga land in Saudi Arabia

  • José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano arrive in Jeddah after signing two-year contracts
  • They will spearhead Al-Ahli's title challenge with Al-Hilal

LONDON: Al-Ahli’s new signings José Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano have both thanked the fans for making them feel so welcome after they touched down in Jeddah to begin their careers in the Saudi Pro League.
Jurado, the former Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid playmaker, and ex-Valencia and Sevilla defender Ruano arrived in the Kingdom on Saturday after signing two-year contracts last week.
They will meet their new teammates this week and begin pre-season training under new coach Pablo Guede as the squad prepares for the opening league game of the season against Al-Batin on Aug. 30.
Al-Ahli finished runners-up to Al-Hilal by a point last season and have made four new signings and re-signed three existing players as they seek to go one better this time round.
Jurado is the headline summer signing. He won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, played at Real Madrid and Espanyol and has Premier League experience with Watford. This is his third stint abroad, having played in England and Russia.
“I’m at home, finally in Jeddah,” tweeted Jurado, 32. “Thanks to @ALAHLI_FCEN for the excellent welcome received.”
The signing of Ruano is more low key than that of Jurado, but the capture of the defender could be just as important. He is set to form a new-look partnership with Motaz Hawsawi at the heart of the Al-Ahli defense and he will bring with him 12 years of La Liga experience, a league where your mettle and skill as a defender is really tested.
“Thank you @ALAHLI_FCEN and thank you all for your support messages,” he tweeted.
Nouh Al-Mousa and Egypt international Abdallah El-Said have also signed for the club while Omar Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Hawsawi have signed new contracts.


Fognini tops Lajovic to claim Monte Carlo Masters

Updated 21 April 2019
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Fognini tops Lajovic to claim Monte Carlo Masters

  • Fabio Fognini defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday
  • Fognini is only the fourth man to win the clay-court event since Nadal’s first of a record 11 wins in 2005

MONACO: Fabio Fognini won the biggest title of his career after beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the Monte Carlo Masters final.
The 13th-seeded Italian’s first title of the year was his ninth overall but first at Masters level.
It came the day after he stunned defending champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets, becoming the first player to beat Nadal here since Novak Djokovic in the 2015 semifinals.
“It has been an incredible week, I will keep working,” Fognini said. “I started the season badly so this is unbelievable.”
After going out in the third round of the Australian Open, Fognini had won only one match and lost six times before this tournament.
Playing here may have given him a boost, however, since he grew up in nearby San Remo — just over the Italian border and a short drive or train ride away along the glittering Mediterranean coast.
The 48th-ranked Lajovic’s run to his first career final was unexpected. But the unseeded Serb rarely threatened in humid, overcast and slightly windy conditions.
Fognini needed a medical timeout to receive treatment to his right foot and right thigh after the fifth game of the second set.
But it did not impede him as he served out the match, clinching victory on his second match point when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.
The players hugged warmly at the net.
The 31-year-old Fognini is only the fourth man to win the clay-court event since Nadal’s first of a record 11 wins in 2005. Djokovic, twice, and Stan Wawrinka also won.
The last Italian before Fognini was Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968.
The 85-year-old Pietrangeli, a two-time French Open winner, stood and applauded as Fognini dropped to his knees to kiss the surface.
Pietrangeli walked gingerly onto the court and the pair hugged. Pietrangeli posed alongside Fognini as he held the trophy
The match started evenly enough, but Fognini broke for a 4-2 lead when Lajovic made an unforced error on forehand. Fognini then held his serve with a typically flamboyant one-handed, cross-court backhand to take control.
Serving for the set, Fognini saved a break point with a forehand winner down the line, and then clinched it with an equally good backhand.
Fognini broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.
After Fognini’s medical timeout, Lajovic missed an easy smash at 30-30 in the next game.
With that miss, his slim hopes faded.