Simona Halep thwarts Serena Williams’ historic bid with Wimbledon final triumph

Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates winning the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles final against Serena Williams of the US on Center Court. (Reuters)
Updated 13 July 2019

Simona Halep thwarts Serena Williams’ historic bid with Wimbledon final triumph

  • 27-year-old Romanian captured her second career major with a 6-2, 6-2 victory
  • Williams bluntly admitted she had not been at the races against a superior opponent

WIMBLEDON, London: Simona Halep torpedoed Serena Williams’s latest bid to capture a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam on Saturday when she stormed to a sensational victory in a 56-minute Wimbledon final.
The 27-year-old Romanian captured her second career major with a 6-2, 6-2 victory adding a maiden Wimbledon — the first for her country in both men’s and women’s singles — to her 2018 Roland Garros triumph.
Defeat for 37-year-old Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who won the last of her 23 Slam titles at the 2017 Australian Open, meant her attempt to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record for major wins was put back on ice until at least the US Open.
“My mom said when I was 10 that if I want to do something in tennis I have to play in the final at Wimbledon,” said Halep.
“I had lots of nerves, my stomach wasn’t very well. I have never played a better match.
“I said at the start of the tournament that one of my motivations was to win and become a lifetime member of the club.”
Williams bluntly admitted she had not been at the races against a superior opponent.
“She played out of her mind. I was like a deer in the headlights,” said Williams.
Williams was undone by 26 unforced errors to Halep’s two.
Williams may have kept Halep waiting to go on court but if she hoped that would upset her opponent it did quite the opposite.
Indeed the Halep fan who burst into song — waving a Romanian scarf from the 2015 Rugby World Cup — singing “We love you Simona, we do!” served to give her the boost to rattle Williams from the start.
A flashing forehand crosscourt set the tone and she broke her in the first game.
She broke again to lead 3-0 — things clearly not going Williams’s way when a Halep shot clipped the net and went over but the American’s shot also clipped the net but failed to go over.
Already 3-0 down after eight minutes, Williams was completely at sea and by the time Halep served to lead 4-0 Williams had won just six points.
She finally got on the board with her next service game but Halep had little trouble in sealing the set which included another remarkable point from the Romanian.
The 27-year-old raced to retrieve an incredible get which sneaked over the net and Williams was only able to put her shot into the net.
Williams — who has let slip opportunities to equal Court’s record in last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finals — appeared to at last get fired up in the first game of the second set.
She let out a long yell at the ground when she won a point on her serve and another on the next point.
However, that was a rare show of her fiery side as Halep broke her to lead 3-2.
Halep rubbed in her superiority to break her again for 5-2 — two powerful serves earlier in the game had Williams saying why was I not able to do this earlier — and took the match and the title with aplomb with the first of her three match points.
She sank to her knees a broad smile on her face before rising to hug Williams.
Her victory also gave Halep’s favored royal Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, bragging rights over sister-in-law Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — they were sitting beside each other in the Royal Box.
Meghan is a close friend of Williams.


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.