Serena Williams retires because of injury as Andreescu wins Rogers

1 / 2
Bianca Andreescu of Canada with the winners trophy following her victory over Serena Williams in the final match on Day 9 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.(Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP)
2 / 2
Bianca Andreescu of Canada hits a shot against Serena Williams during the final match on Day 9 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 12 August 2019

Serena Williams retires because of injury as Andreescu wins Rogers

  • Andreescu was up 3-1 in the first set when Williams called for a medical timeout
  • The 19-year-old Andreescu has victories over seven of the top 10 players in the world

TORONTO: Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win the Rogers Cup in 50 years when Serena Williams retired because of an injury Sunday.
Andreescu was up 3-1 in the first set when Williams called for a medical timeout.
Less than a minute later, the chair umpire announced that the 37-year-old Williams was retiring from the match, handing Andreescu her second WTA Premier title of the season.
The tournament’s final lasted only 16 minutes.




Serena Williams (USA) cries after withdrawing from the final against Bianca Andreescu during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Aviva Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

After the chair umpire announced the retirement, Williams started to cry on her bench. Andreescu went over to comfort her, hugging her and telling Williams how much she admires the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
“I’m not a crier, but, thank you guys,” said Williams as she choked back tears after accepting the second-place check. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today. I tried but I just couldn’t do it.”
Williams’ retirement was the last of several high-profile injuries at the Rogers Cup. Fourth-seeded Simona Halep withdrew from her quarterfinal matchup with Marie Bouzkova. On the men’s side, Milos Raonic retired after two sets against Felix Auger-Aliassime in a much-anticipated all-Canadian matchup. No. 16 seed Gael Monfils then withdrew before his semifinal against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
The 19-year-old Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, has victories over seven of the top 10 players in the world. Her world ranking will rise from 27th to 14th on Monday. Her previous high was 22nd.
“I’m speechless right now. I’m the first Canadian who got to the finals and has won this tournament since 1969,” Andreescu said after being presented with the Rogers Cup trophy in an on-court ceremony. “This been a dream come true, really.
“This week has not been easy. I’ve had many, many tough matches.”
Andreescu returned this week from a right shoulder injury that sidelined her since the French Open in May. She won in Indian Wells in March for her first WTA Tour title.
“What I’ve been through the past two months has not been easy,” Andreescu said when addressing fans. “I kept telling myself ‘never give up.’ I’m trying to look at my injury not as a setback but more of a challenge. I tried to embrace it as much as I can.”
Andreescu had been on the court more than any other player at this year’s Rogers Cup at 10 hours, 54 minutes heading into the match against Williams.
Faye Urban of Windsor, Ontario, beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in the 1969 final, when the tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open.


Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star eyes path to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Updated 20 August 2019

Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star eyes path to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • Dalma Malhas ‘honored’ to be part of national team
  • Equestrian star began riding aged four

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star Dalma Malhas is counting down to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by competing in a series of crucial qualifying events.

Malhas, who has been riding since the age of four, told Arab News that she was honored to be part of the Saudi national team after “years of work and dedication.”

Next month she and her fellow showjumpers head to Morocco to take part in a series of qualifying events.

The 10th edition of the Morocco Royal Tour takes place in three cities — Tetouan, Rabat, and Eljadida —  on three consecutive weekends. The top two teams, based on their results, will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Malhas wants to be at the prestigious sporting event in Japan. 

“The work that has been done in the past few years will manifest itself now and I’m enjoying what I’ve been working on ... I believe in destiny and hard work,” she told Arab News. “Anything could happen, but I’m hopeful and trying to focus on peak performance because it is important that, when it comes to the horse and myself, we want to be there, energetic and motivated.”

She was the first female athlete from the Kingdom to compete at an Olympic-level event, riding at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore and winning a bronze medal. She participated in the 14-18 age group, becoming only the third Saudi athlete to snag an Olympic medal.

She said it was easy to buy a horse that was already trained and compete with it. But the challenge for her was to get an inexperienced horse and train him from scratch.

“I dedicated time, effort and energy. I had a vision of how he could be and transformed him into a skilled and talented horse, and step-by-step I followed that. You build a strong partnership when you go through that process. It’s an affinity you can’t really buy. This is a very big part of horsemanship and one of my biggest achievements since the Youth Olympic Games. It’s priceless, having a combination and partnership like this.”

Malhas was born in 1992 in the US. Her mother, Arwa Mutabagani, is a prominent equestrian and has been a board member at the Saudi Equestrian Federation since 2008. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

Malhas has had a thoroughly international upbringing. At 12 she moved with her mother from Saudi Arabia to Rome to train with her under Italy’s former showjumping national coach, Duccio Bartalucci, spending a decade under his tutelage.

After studying and training in Italy she joined a two-year professional program at the Forsan Equestrian Center in Chantilly, France. She has been training with Olympic champion Roger Yves Bost since 2016. 

She started 2019 by participating in several tournaments, crisscrossing Europe and gradually moving up the leaderboard. 

She has won several awards to date, including Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, and can be regarded as a pioneer and role model.

Malhas said there were great opportunities for Saudi women in the fields of sports and equestrianism. She talked about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and how it empowered women. She also saw an opportunity to become more involved. 

“I want to give back too. I’ve been mostly focused on showjumping and training, so hopefully I’ll start giving back and contribute to society and motivate my peers in the country. I don’t mind though I’ve been enjoying the ride and after years of work I’m finally being rewarded in the best way possible.”