Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarter-finals

Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Switzerland’s Roger Federer shake hands after their quarter final match in Madrid on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 11 May 2019

Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarter-finals

MADRID: Dominic Thiem saved two match points to defeat Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6 (13/11), 6-4 and reach the Madrid Open semifinals on Friday.
Austrian fifth seed and Barcelona champion Thiem will on Saturday play world number one Novak Djokovic who advanced on a walkover when opponent Marin Cilic withdrew with a stomach virus.
Federer, playing his first clay court event in three years, squandered two match points in the 15-minute second set tiebreak before Thiem levelled the tie on a sixth set point.
Meanwhile, Simona Halep closed in on a return to the top of the world rankings after beating Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-0 to advance to the women’s final.
Halep, currently No. 3 in the world, will reclaim the number one ranking should she win her third title at the Caja Magica.
Bencic had defeated Halep in their last two matches, but the reigning French Open champion, who lifted the trophy in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, came through in just under two hours.
World number one and two-time Madrid champion Djokovic, meanwhile, walked into the semifinals when ninth seed Marin Cilic withdrew before their match with stomach problems.
“I am sorry to announce that I must withdraw from today’s match. I have had a terrible night dealing with a case of food poisoning,” wrote Cilic in a statement.
“I am extremely disappointed to have my time in Madrid end in this way. Thank you for the support.”
Halep awaits either Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens, a finalist in Madrid last year, or 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
“It’s such a nice feeling to be back in the final here. I really enjoy playing in Madrid, it motivates me,” Halep said.
The third seed comfortably claimed the opening set but let her game lapse slightly in the second.
Bencic, who opened the door for Halep to possibly return to the top of the world ranking with her quarter-final defeat of current No. 1 Naomi Osaka, took the tight second set of the match in a tiebreaker.
But Halep pulled herself together to blitz Bencic in the third and final set as she raced to a victory that increases her chances of returning to the top of the pile.
“I was rushing too much in the second-set tiebreaker,” Halep said. “I was missing too many easy balls — I lost control of that tiebreak.
“In the third, I just started over again, I played smarter, opening up the court and being more aggressive.”


Local hero Mansoor wins in Riyadh’s WWE SuperShowDown

Updated 36 min 43 sec ago

Local hero Mansoor wins in Riyadh’s WWE SuperShowDown

  • Also spoke about desire to see more Saudis enter WWE
  • The Undertaker, a perennial favourite in Saudi Arabia, delighted the crowd by winning the 5-man Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match

RIYADH: The Riyadh crowds got what they came for.

Fireworks greeted those who made their way to the highly anticipated WWE Super ShowDown at Mohammed Abdu Arena at the Boulevard. And the action did not lack fireworks either.

Midway through the night, local hero Mansoor won his match against Dolph Ziggler, ensuring the crowd would go home happy.

“Your voices carried me tonight, when I had nothing it was you who lifted me up,” he said in the ring to his ecstatic fans. “Tonight we showed WWE we are here to stay.”

Later on he addressed the media saying: “Inshallah I want 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 more wins. This wasn’t the first and won’t be the last, I guarantee you 100 percent. And it won’t be just me, it’s gonna be Hussein, it’s gonna be Faisal, it’s gonna be every other person who gets signed and comes to the WWE. I am so proud and so thankful to be the first one to do that, to pave the way,”

He also spoke about his desire to see more Saudis enter WWE, and urged them to come to the tryouts which would be held in Riyadh.

“I want Saudi vs Saudi in the ring, I want the crowd to not know who to cheer for,” he said.

The evening had started with The OC defeat The Viking Raiders in a tag team match up to get the crowd warmed up on cool Riyadh evening.

A procession of crowd favourites soon got them on their feet.

The Undertaker, a perennial favourite in Saudi Arabia, delighted the crowd by winning the 5-man Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match and it was followed by one of the biggest clashes of the night as the brash John Morrison and The Miz overcome The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match and claim their title.

The Miz had told the crowd the previous day to “expect the unexpected, expect new champions”. And the due delivered on that promise.

The New Day put on shell of performance, but ours was just a little better,” Morrison said.  His partner was even more vocal about the win.

“We were exceptional. Let’s put it this way, The New Day gave us everything they had to offer,” said The Miz. “I loved the audience. I was really surprised by them.” Morrison the promised that “ we would definitely come back”.

In the tase team match up, Rollins and Murphy overcame The Street Profits and did not hold back on the celebrations.

“I feel so good about my performance. I’m very proud of myself and this young man here, he really stepped up tonight,” Rollins said. “Tonight we were the winners and they Street Profits are the losers.”

The WWE superstars had spent the previous day making friends around Riyadh, meeting members of Saudi champions Al Nassr Football Club, and visiting the Boulevard.

At WWE Super Showdown, they made more friends.