Novak Djokovic storms past Lucas Pouille to set up final against Rafael Nadal

Djokovic is in to his seventh Aussie Open final, he is yet to lose one. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Novak Djokovic storms past Lucas Pouille to set up final against Rafael Nadal

  • Serb makes light work of Frenchman to set up classic clash in Melbourne.
  • Djokovic looking for a record seventh Australian Open title.

MELBOURNE: A rampant Novak Djokovic completed a stunning 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Lucas Pouille to storm into his seventh Australian Open final and set up a mouthwatering title match with Rafal Nadal.
The six-times champion was at his devastating best in the one hour and 23 minute procession as he gave the hapless Pouille a brutal lesson in Grand Slam tennis and extended his perfect semifinals record to 7-0 at Melbourne Park.
Attacking the lines with machine-like precision, Djokovic broke the 28th-seeded Frenchman seven times yet never looked in danger of conceding a break point.
Top seed Djokovic wrapped up the encounter on the second match point when Pouille netted and the Serb will face Nadal in search of a record seventh title in Melbourne.
Djokovic was left struggling to remember whether he had played any better in his previous Melbourne semifinals.
“It’s definitely one of the best matches I have ever had on this court, definitely. Everything worked the way I intended before the match,” he said.
Djokovic will meet second-seeded Spaniard Nadal in Sunday’s final seven years after the Serb prevailed in a five hour 53-minute epic at the 2012 tournament, the longest Grand Slam final on record.
“I would definitely want to buy the ticket for the match, for those who haven’t yet,” he quipped in his on-court interview.
“That’s (2012 final) a once in a life-time event and hopefully the outcome will be the same for me.”
Even before entering the court on Friday, Djokovic was a heavy favorite on paper.
No Frenchman had beaten him in 27 previous matches at the Grand Slams, his last defeat coming against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2010 quarter-finals in Melbourne.
A nervous-looking Pouille felt the weight of history and was soon under siege on serve.
After saving two break points, he struck a double-fault to fall 2-0 behind.
That was all the head-start Djokovic needed as he roared to a 5-0 lead before many of the center court fans had settled in their seats.
Djokovic smiled ruefully after wasting a set point with an ambitious drop shot from the baseline.
But with another two in the bank and an anxious opponent, he could afford the luxury.
Pouille did little with the reprieve, smacking a forehand long, and when the dust had cleared, he looked up to see the set was gone in 23 minutes.
A low rumble of unease coursed through the stadium as Djokovic broke the Frenchman to lead 3-1 in the second, with fans being served up an execution rather than treated to a contest.
After Pouille held serve to 4-2, the crowd erupted.
There was plenty of good will toward the Frenchman at center court but even his most loyal fans would have tutted at the way he conceded the second set in 33 minutes.
He squandered a chance to hold serve with an errant backhand then lazily fired wide off the same wing to hand the Serb a two-set lead.
From there it was academic, as Djokovic whipped through the last set in 27 minutes, with Pouille yet another of the Tour’s young hopefuls left humbled by the master Serb.


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.