Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al-Ahli sign international striker

Djaniny Tavares has penned a long-term contract at Al-Ahli. (@ALAHLI_FCEN)
Updated 20 July 2018

Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al-Ahli sign international striker

  • 6ft 3in forward Djaniny Tavares will play for the Jeddah giants this season
  • Cape Verde international set to partner Omar Al-Somah in new-look strikeforce

LONDON: Al-Ahli have taken another positive step towards wrestling the title away from Al-Hilal by adding to their already prolific strike force.
The Jeddah side have signed Cape Verde international striker Djaniny Tavares on a four-year deal and he is set to spearhead an attacking unit that scored 59 times in the league last season, 12 more than anyone else. 
Tavares, 27, is 6ft 3in and is likely to be used as a target man, making him the perfect foil for sharpshooter Omar Al-Somah, who has been the league’s top-scorer in three of the past four seasons.
Somah scored 11 times in the league last season — one less than Al-Fayha’s Ronnie Fernández who led the league scoring charts —  while Leonardo, with ten, and Giannis Fetfatzidis, who got nine, were not far behind for Al-Ahli, but the latter two have been released as part of a cull of the club’s foreign players, so Tavares has been recruited with a view to replacing their goal threat.

Tavares is not a household name — he has spent most of his career playing for some of the lesser known clubs in Portugal — but he has spent the last four years in Mexico, scoring 40 goals in 124 games for Santos Laguna. He has been capped 24 times by his country, scoring four goals and will join up with his new Al-Ahli teammates in Austria for their pre-season training camp.
Tavares is the club’s fifth summer signing, following on from the capture of Spaniard’s Jose Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano, Egyptian international Abdallah El-Said and Nouh Al-Mousa. Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Motaz Hawsawi have signed new contracts while Pablo Guede is the new coach.

Al-Ahli missed out on the title by a single point last season and are keen to kick on and land the title for the first time since 2016.
Al-Ahli begin the competitive season on Aug. 7 with an Arab Club Champions Cup game against Muharraq before kicking off the Saudi Pro League season on Aug. 30 with a home game against Al-Batin

Injured Serena withdraws from French Open; Nadal cruises

Updated 01 October 2020

Injured Serena withdraws from French Open; Nadal cruises

  • The 39-year-old Williams, a three-time winner at Roland Garros, pulled out ahead of her second round match

PARIS: Serena Williams suffered another blow in her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title as the American withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday with an Achilles injury, while 12-time champion Rafael Nadal raced into the third round.

The 39-year-old Williams, a three-time winner at Roland Garros, pulled out ahead of her second round match against Tsvetana Pironkova citing the injury that prompted her to skip the Rome tuneup event.

“The Achilles didn't have enough time to heal after the US Open,” said Williams, who admitted last week she was not fully fit after her run to the semifinals in New York.

“I'm struggling to walk, so that's kind of a telltale sign that I should try to recover.”

The injury likely means she will miss the rest of 2020, leaving the Australian Open in 2021 as her next chance to equal Margaret Court's all-time majors record.

Nadal looked in ominous form as he stepped up his pursuit of Roger Federer's 20 major titles with a crushing win over 236th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald.

The Spaniard batted aside McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 in exactly 100 minutes and will meet Japan's Kei Nishikori or Stefano Travaglia of Italy for a spot in the last 16.

“The aim was to play as well as possible. I'm very happy. I have another difficult match next,” said Nadal. The 34-year-old needs one more major to pull level with long-time rival Federer and owns an astonishing 95-2 record in Paris going back to his triumph on debut in 2005.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem swept into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) victory over American qualifier Jack Sock, saving three set points to close out the match.

The Austrian third seed will play Norway's Casper Ruud, seeded 28th, or American Tommy Paul for a place in the last 16.

“I'm very happy with my game in the first two rounds. It was not an easy draw at all and I'm very happy not to drop a set,” said Thiem, who defeated 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic in round one.

Dutch fifth seed Kiki Bertens had to be taken off court in a wheelchair after a fiery win over former finalist Sara Errani.

Bertens triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 9-7 in a three-hour 11-minute clash which left her in cramps and Italian Errani screaming an obscenity as she left the court.

"After one hour, she's injured but then she's running around like never before," said Errani.

"She leaves the court in a chair and now she's in the locker room and eating in the restaurant, perfect. She exaggerated."

Bertens is due to meet Katerina Siniakova next while Elina Svitolina overcame Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

The Ukrainian third seed is coming off a title at Strasbourg last week and will next play Russian 27th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, but was briefly taken aback by a sonic boom.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open winner, followed up his demolition of Andy Murray with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 defeat of Germany's Dominik Koepfer.

Sebastian Korda, the son of 1992 Roland Garros runner-up and 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, also progressed after a four-sets victory over fellow American John Isner.