Nadal, Djokovic to play exhibition in Saudi Arabia

Djokovic and Nadal have played 52 times. (GSA)
Updated 08 October 2018
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Nadal, Djokovic to play exhibition in Saudi Arabia

  • The match between the two stars will take place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City on December 22
  • Thanks for the invitation and looking forward to playing and visiting for the first time: Nadal

PARIS: World number one Rafael Nadal on Sunday said he has agreed to play an exhibition match against fellow Grand Slam title winner Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia in December.
The match between the two stars will take place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City on December 22.
“Thanks for the invitation and looking forward to playing and visiting for the first time,” Nadal said on Twitter.
Nadal, the reigning French Open champion, has 17 Grand Slam titles to his name.
Former world number one Djokovic, now at three in the rankings, won Wimbledon and the US Open this year to take his majors collection to 14.
Djokovic and Nadal have played 52 times in their careers with the Serb leading their head-to-head 27-25.
Saudi Arabia has hosted a series of international sports events in recent months.
The first women’s professional squash tournament took place in January while last month saw Britain’s Callum Smith knock out compatriot George Groves in a World Boxing Association super middleweight boxing bout in Jeddah.


Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

Updated 17 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

  • A double from Almoez Ali means Qatar top Group E.
  • Juan Antonio Pizzi's men now face Japan in second round on Monday.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia now know they will have to overcome Japan in the second round if they are to keep their hopes of a fourth Asian Cup title alive. 

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Qatar meant Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men finished second in Group E — both sides went into the top-of-the-table clash knowing they had already secured a spot in the knockout stages. 

A brace from Almoez Ali in Abu Dhabi was enough to give Qatar the three points and leave them top of the group. 

From the kick-off the Green Falcons were the ones who looked the more likely to make the initial breakthrough —  Fahad Almuwallad slamming a right-foot shot against the post after 22 minutes.

Qatar captain Hasan Al-Haydos then missed a penalty in the 42nd minute after Ali had been clattered in the box.

But Ali, who scored four goals in Qatar's 6-0 rout of North Korea last weekend, made no mistake in first-half stoppage time.

He calmly slotted the ball past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to become the first player to score six goals in a single Asian Cup since South Korea's Lee Dong-gook in 2000.

Ali subsequently headed in a seventh goal of the tournament 10 minutes from time, celebrating with a jig of delight.

While the defeat was not ideal Green Falcons coach Pizzi said he was still hopeful Saudi Arabia would be able to go far in the tournament. 

"It was an intense game but we have to hide our feelings and prepare for the last 16," Pizzi said.

"We were missing quality in the final third and individual errors have cost us," he added.

"But we will bounce back. I respect every team left in the competition, including Japan, but I don't feel that we are inferior to them in any way."

Qatar, who have never gone beyond the quarterfinals, advance to face Iraq in the last 16.