Cibulkova stuns Kerber to win WTA Finals

GLORIOUS MOMENT: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia celebrates after defeating Angelique Kerber of Germany in the final of the WTA Finals at Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sundau. (Reuters)
Updated 30 October 2016

Cibulkova stuns Kerber to win WTA Finals

SINGAPORE: Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, who pulled off a stunning upset over world number one Angelique Kerber to scoop the WTA finals Sunday, credited her mental strength for her winning performance.
Runner-up at the 2014 Australian Open, the former seventh seed denied Kerber a chance to end a remarkable year on a high, defeating her in a nail-biting 6-3, 6-4 final in Singapore that lasted 76 minutes.
“It’s a big thing now in my tennis that I work with a mental coach. I’ve worked with him for one and a half years.
“This is something very important for me, because as you can see, on the court I put a lot of emotions, and emotions just affect me,” she told reporters after her win.
Cibulkova turned the tables on Germany’s Kerber a week after losing to her in the first of three round-robin stage matches.
“This is a big moment for me. It’s the biggest moment in my career,” Cibulkova said at the presentation.
“It’s hard to describe in words (how I feel). I have to congratulate Angelique Kerber, you are an inspiration for me to play hard this year. With hard work, everything is possible.”
Kerber went into the final as the overwhelming favorite to win after taking this year’s Australian Open and US Open titles but the 28-year-old was powerless to stop her diminutive opponent, whose shock win capped an inspired return to the game’s elite that saw her named as this season’s WTA Comeback Player of the Year.
Cibulkova only just snuck into the WTA Finals, restricted to the world’s top eight players, when she won this month’s Linz Open in Austria but was facing an early exit from Singapore after losing her first two matches.
She only qualified for the semifinals on a countback when Kerber did her a huge favor by beating American Madison Keys in straight sets, and Cibulkova herself and fought back from a set down to win against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
For her win over Kerber, Cibulkova was presented with the Billie Jean King trophy by tennis legend Monica Seles and a cheque for $2.05 million.
Kerber on the other hand was left wondering what went wrong at the end of a stellar year.
Oozing with self-belief after making the quantum leap from another promising player to the woman who dislodged Serena Williams at the top of the world rankings, Kerber had done everything right this week, giving up just set one in the four matches she played en route to the final.
The left-hander had won each of her last five matches with Cibulkova, but did not bank on her playing the match of her life, hitting winners from every part of the court, eliciting huge roars and gasps from the crowd.
“It was a tough year with a lot of matches, so I give everything on court today, the rest (of the) energy I had left,” Kerber told reporters.
“Of course when I’m looking back it’s one of my best years... I will just think about the best moments and the positive emotions.”
There were some anxious moments too for Cibulkova at the end.
She squandered three golden opportunities as her nerves started to fray, but regained her composure and was rewarded for her aggressive approach with a slice of luck, hitting a ferocious forehand that clipped the tape and landed on the other side of the net just as she fell to the court in disbelief at her achievement.
Russia’s Olympic gold medallists Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina won the doubles final, beating US Open winners Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova 7-5 (7-5) 6-3.


Saudi Professional League broadcasts live on Twitter

Updated 16 sec ago

Saudi Professional League broadcasts live on Twitter

  • Video watching of the league’s events and news has generated more than 115 million views

RIYADH: Saudi sports channels, exclusive carriers of the Saudi Professional League 2019/2020, have started broadcasting all league matches on Twitter.

The broadcast via the Twitter platform (@riyadiyatv) will be free and include studio analysis for each match and other relevant information to give viewers the chance to follow the games, including on their smartphones.

The move between the Saudi sports channels and Twitter offers fans the chance to watch Saudi league matches and pursue their passion for sport through mobile applications and smart programs on social media platforms.

The growing public interest in the Saudi Professional League is clear. Video watching of the league’s events and news has generated more than 115 million views and recorded more than 360 million hits on the accounts of Saudi sports channels on Twitter during the first two months of the league.

Sports content is one of the most popular items on Twitter, as evidenced by several surveys about the Kingdom conducted by Toluna, which specializes in consumer insight surveys and analysis.

The most-watched videos on football include highlights of the matches (88 percent), commentary and technical analysis (43 percent). The study also found that (72 percent) of Twitter users in the Kingdom consider the platform one of the main sources of access to online video content.

Twitter will create customized pages in Arabic and English for watching the main matches of the league. Live events will be transmitted directly to sports fans through videos and “Moments,” a collection of tweets, by accessing the page through the “explore” section or at the top of the timeline or by using the “search” feature. Twitter created the first page dedicated to watching the Al-Hilal-Al Nasr derby, held last Sunday at the King Saud University stadium.

Zeinab Abu Alsamh, CEO of commercial and marketing affairs at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority, said that Saudi Arabia was one of the leading countries using the Twitter platform. 

“This important step with the global Twitter platform in broadcasting the matches of the Saudi league will make us reach a wide segment of our followers everywhere in the world, in order to ensure the access of media content to all spectrums of viewers through the widespread Twitter platform,” she said.

Kinda Ibrahim, Twitter director of media partnerships for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “We are delighted to be broadcasting the Saudi Professional League on our platform as we are always striving to bring new and exciting experiences to football fans on Twitter. The Saudi Professional League has a huge following inside and outside the Kingdom, and we seek through a live broadcast to enrich the experience of Saudi football fans.”

Commercial brands will be able to link their products and services to the Saudi Professional League’s premium content and communicate with the public through the Saudi Alwasail media company. Videos of the most important moments of the league will be posted on the Saudi sports channels accounts in promotional tweets, in cooperation with sponsoring brands. These tweets contain brand ads, which automatically appear before videos from Saudi sports channels.

The Saudi Professional League began on Aug. 22 and will continue until May 2020.