Tsonga toils against unheralded Greek rival

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga serves the ball to Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their first round tennis match at the Rotterdam World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2017

Tsonga toils against unheralded Greek rival

ROTTERDAM: Sixth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was kept guessing by unheralded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas before grinding out a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) first round win at the Rotterdam World Tennis on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old wildcard entry came onto the court as a complete unknown to Tsonga, who played the Dutch final in 2011, losing to Swede Robin Soderling.
Tsonga, returning to the Ahoy stadium for the first time since 2014, led by a set and 5-3 in the second set against the 205th-ranked challenger but was unable to kill off the match.
Instead, the 31-year-old had to take it into a tiebreaker, eventually making it into the second round in 89 minutes with four breaks of serve.
“It was difficult as I did did not know him at all,” said the No. 14. “That is unusual on the tour, never seeing someone before at all.
“I didn’t know where to play at the start or what to expect. The entire match went like this. He went for it sometimes, other times he stayed back and was waiting.
“He surprised me during the entire match.”
In round two Tsonga faces Sydney champion Gilles Muller after the Luxembourg veteran beat Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-2 with 14 aces as the number 317 youngster made his ATP main draw debut.
Holder Martin Klizan of Slovakia began his title defense with a defeat of Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 while last year’s semifinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber took out eighth seed Lucas Pouille of France 7-5, 6-2.
Frenchman Gilles Simon overcame compatriot Nicolas Mahut 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.


Toni and Rafa Nadal to split in 2018
Rafael Nadal’s career-long coaching relationship with his uncle Toni Nadal will end this year, Toni Nadal confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.
“The decision has been mine,” said Toni Nadal, while insisting he will remain in his role for the rest of the 2017 season.
Toni Nadal, 55, cited the demands of traveling on tour as the reason for the change and will oversee coaching at Rafael’s tennis academy on his home island of Mallorca.
“I understand that my role will be in the academy,” he added.
“At my age, I have traveled around the world and for a while when I have to travel it is hard.
“I have three children. The academy has given me a reason to enjoy being here (in Mallorca.)“
Former world No. 1 Carlos Moya will take over as Nadal’s main coach for 2018 having joined his team back in December.
Nadal reached the Australian Open final in January, losing an epic five-set match to old rival Roger Federer, in his first Grand Slam since brining Moya on board alongside long-time coaches Toni and Francisco Roig.
“What has been important to me all my life is that things go well for Rafa,” continued Toni Nadal.
“Things have gone sufficiently well at the start of the year, the incorporation of Carlos has been a great success.
“I understand that Rafael is well looked after with Francisco and Carlos.”
The Nadals have enjoyed one of the longest and most successful coaching relationships in the history of tennis.
Nadal has won 14 Grand Slams under the tutelage of his uncle, tying Pete Sampras for the second most in history behind Federer’s 18.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.