Top Arab player Malek Jaziri fails to deliver at Wimbledon

Malek Jaziri won just one set in two matches at Wimbledon this week. (AFP)
Updated 06 July 2018
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Top Arab player Malek Jaziri fails to deliver at Wimbledon

  • Tunisian loses to Jared Donaldso in the singles
  • World No. 1 also bows out early in the doubles

LONDON: Malek Jaziri will have to wait another year to improve his modest Wimbledon record after he bowed out of two events at the first hurdle.
The top men’s Arab player was beaten in straight sets in the men’s singles by Jared Donaldson on Monday and then exited the men’s doubles on Thursday, he and his partner Radu Albot losing in four sets to Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak.
The defeat to Donaldson would have hurt the most as Jaziri has been in the form of his life in singles play this year and was fancied to reach the second round of Wimbledon for only the second time in his career.
He has tasted victory over top-ten players Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic this year so beating Donaldson, the 21-year-old American, was well within Jabeur’s capability, but he struggled to get his first serve going, landing just 57 percent of his efforts in play and then only winning 65 percent of points on his first serve. He failed to win a single break point. He managed to take the first set to a tie break but then folded, losing 6-3, 6-1. Donaldson went on to lose to Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-setter in the next round.
Jaziri then hoped to pick himself up in the doubles and reach the third round for the first time, but he and Albot, his Moldovan partner, lost 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. Albot could have been forgiven for having one eye on his singles tournament as he faces John Isner in the last 32.
Jaziri earned £39,000 ($51,000) in prize money for playing in the first round of the singles and shared £11,500 with Albot for playing in the doubles. He has earned nearly $3 million in career prize money.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”