Serena eases to victory in Rome return

Serena Williams of the US in action against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson during their WTA Masters match on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 13 May 2019
0

Serena eases to victory in Rome return

  • Williams was playing for the first time since withdrawing ahead of her third-round match at the Miami Open in March because of a left knee injury

ROME: Serena Williams opened her clay-court season with a routine 6-4, 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson on Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.

Williams fell behind 3-1 in the first set but then began to take control with her baseline power on a windy day at the Foro Italico.

When Williams ran down a passing attempt from Peterson and replied with a cross-court winner to break for a 5-2 lead in the second set, she let out a scream and bent over as she pumped both of her fists.

Williams finished with 28 winners to Peterson’s eight, and committed only two more unforced errors than the 58th-ranked Swede, 22-20.

Williams was playing for the first time since withdrawing ahead of her third-round match at the Miami Open in March because of a left knee injury. 

Trophies

The last time Williams had played in Rome was when she won the last of her four Italian Open trophies in 2016.

If Venus Williams wins her match against Elize Mertens, the Williams sisters will meet in the second round.

In men’s action, 13th-seeded Borna Coric rallied past Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 in a matchup of two of the top young players on tour. 

Auger-Aliassime struggled with his serve, hitting seven double-faults to Coric’s one.

Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco also had to come from behind to beat Kyle Edmund 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Verdasco will next face fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem. Also, Laslo Djere defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4.

Others advancing on the women’s side included Dominika Cibulkova, Katerina Siniakova and Yulia Putintseva.


Saudi Arabia’s Young Falcons go down to France in opening U-20 World Cup match

Updated 25 May 2019
0

Saudi Arabia’s Young Falcons go down to France in opening U-20 World Cup match

  • Saudi Arabia’s next game in the tournament is against Mali on Tuesday
  • The U-20 Green Falcons are making their ninth appearance at the event

GDYNIA, Poland: Saudi Arabia’s U-20 World Cup campaign got off to a faltering start on Saturday as the young Green Falcons lost 2-0 to France at the Stadion GOSiR in Gdynia, Poland.
Khaled Al-Atwi’s young guns made the worst possible start as they went down to ten men when Faraj Al-Ghashayan was given his marching orders after just 12 minutes.
However, France labored for their first goal as the Green Falcons stayed resolute in defense. But with two minutes of the first period remaining Strasbourg player Youssouf Fofana, who had come on for the injured Boubakary Soumare midway through the first half, found the net to break the deadlock.
The man advantage was clear for all to see in the second half as Saudi Arabia struggled to make an impact on the match. And France extended their advantage with fifteen minutes left when Lyon’s Amine Gouiri scored to take the game away from Al-Atwi’s side.
Saudi Arabia’s next game in the tournament is against Mali on Tuesday. The African side opened their tournament with a 1-1 draw against Saudi Arabia's other Group E opponents Panama.
The U-20 Green Falcons are making their ninth appearance at the World Cup. In 2017’s edition in South Korea, they were knocked out at the Round of 16 stage by Uruguay, while the Kingdom hosted the event in 1989.