Novak Djokovic overjoyed to be back in Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires hurt

The Serb is back in the last-four in Melbourne. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Novak Djokovic overjoyed to be back in Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires hurt

  • World No. 1 in search of a record seventh Aussie Open title.
  • Serb to face 28th seed Lucas Pouille on Friday in semifinal.

MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic was delighted to get back into the semifinals at the Australian Open after missing out for two years as Kei Nishikori retired injured during their last-eight match.
The world No. 1 eased into a showdown with French 28th seed Lucas Pouille as Nishikori retired after just 51 minutes when behind 6-1, 4-1.
“It feels great. This has been my most successful Grand Slam throughout my career, the first one that I won back in 2008,” said Djokovic, who is chasing a record seventh Melbourne Park title. “I have a lot of beautiful memories.
“Yeah, past two years have been a bit tough with the elbow injury and everything. Over the past 10 years, I’ve had plenty of success here.
“Australia has been really kind to me throughout my career.”
Eighth seed Nishikori had endured three five-set epics during 13hr 47min on court before the quarter-final clash and suffered a thigh strain in the first set as his previous exertions took their toll.
After a medical timeout and three minutes of treatment from the physiotherapist, Nishikori emerged for the second set with his right thigh strapped and taped, and courageously attempted to carry on.
He seemed to be moving a little more freely, but the recovery did not last long.
After being broken to go 2-1 down by the Serbian 14-time Grand Slam champion Nishikori became almost immobilized.
When Djokovic broke again to go 4-1 ahead it proved the last straw for Nishikori’s brave challenge.
“After third game or fourth game when I was serving, I felt pretty heavy to my right leg,” Nishikori told reporters.
“After that I couldn’t really bend my knees and couldn’t jump up. Yeah, I decided to stop.”
Djokovic wished his old foe Nishikori a speedy recovery after beating him for the 16th time in 18 meetings.
“I’m really sorry to see him go through pain. He’s had some tough injuries in the last couple of years. I’m sure he’s not feeling great about ending the Grand Slam this way,” said the Serb.
“But he’s had some marathon matches this tournament that probably have taken the toll on his body.”
Djokovic was exhausted after his late-night four-set win over Daniil Medvedev on Monday and made no secret of his delight to escape the quarter-final with such a light workout.
“As they say, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for me after the match two nights ago,” Djokovic said. “Not to spend too much time on the court.
“I’ve had plenty of matches so far this year and I am in another semifinal and I will do everything to get ready for that one.”
Top seed Djokovic will now meet 28th seed Lucas Pouille on Friday after the Frenchman reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by ousting Milos Raonic in four sets.


Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

Updated 22 July 2019
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Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

  • Princess Nourah thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Saad has officially become the first Saudi woman to be president of a sports club. Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported recently that the princess had successfully acquired the Umbrian football club Spoleto.

Speaking at a press conference, the princess thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future. 

“Football is a family passion, and Italian football is followed all over the world. This is why I chose to invest in Umbria,” she said. 

Princess Nourah chose the team after considering several aspects. “Spoleto is a small, amateur football organization where it is possible to work with the aim of growing and aiming for promotion. But we cannot fail to consider the value and beauty of the city of Spoleto, which is famous throughout the world.” Spoleto is a member of Serie D of the Italian non-professional football association, Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  The association represents more than 12,000 football players and 400 football teams across Italy and is considered the fourth-ranked league in the country. Under the princess’s presidency, the team aims to ascend to Serie C in the near future, and further in the long term.

Spoleto announced that they have formally registered for the Excellence Umbria 2019/2020 championship and the Regional Junior Championship 2019/2020.

This purchase marks the Saudi royal family’s second venture into sports club ownership. Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad co-owns English Premier League football club Sheffield United.