Kerber survives Sydney opener

Kerber survives Sydney opener

Defending champion Angelique Kerber cruised into the Sydney International third round yesterday as she targets back-to-back titles, while world number five Sloane Stephens narrowly avoided a shock loss. The second seeded German was made to work hard in the opening set against Italy’s Camila Giorgi, but took control in the second to ease through 7-6 (7/3), 6-2. “It’s always tough to play Camila, the way she is hitting the ball.

Her second serve is like her first serve,” said world number two Kerber, who had a first round bye and is now into the third round. “It’s never easy to play your first tournament match but I am happy to be through. Hopefully I can go back-to-back, but there’s still a long way to go.” America’s Stephens battled back from the brink of a defeat to beat 72nd-ranked qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in their first round clash.

Less than a week before the Australian Open -- the season’s first Grand Slam -- she was on the ropes with Alexandrova winning the first set to love and serving for the match in the second set. But Stephens somehow rallied to win 0-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3). Earlier, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova avenged her US Open defeat to in-form Aryna Sabalenka. The Czech, who slumped to 29 in the world after being attacked in her home by a knife-wielding man in 2016, has battled back to number eight and was encouraged by her 6-1, 7-5 win over the Belarusian.

Sabalenka is a form player, racing to number 11 in the world after a stellar 2018 and starting the year by winning the Shenzhen Open. Kvitova, who is aiming for her second Sydney title after lifting the trophy in 2015, belted 28 winners to Sabalenka’s 11 and won an incredible 85 percent of her first-serve points.

There was no such joy for 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, whose poor form continued in a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Australia’s Ash Barty, who is rewarded with a second-round clash against world number one Simona Halep. After picking up a thigh injury at the Hopman Cup, Garbine Muguruza -- another major winner -- safely negotiated her first-round encounter with fellow Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-4.




May makes fresh push for Brexit

May makes fresh push for Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May huddled with her ministers yesterday as she plotted a renewed bid to convince MPs to back her EU divorce deal after securing a delay to Brexit from European leaders in Brussels. The premier faces daun

May pleads to save Brexit plan

May pleads to save Brexit plan

A dogged but isolated Prime Minister Theresa May was headed back to Brussels yesterday to beg for more time to deliver her Brexit plan, in defiance of the MPs who twice rejected the withdrawal deal. May’s fellow European Union le

Oil slick heading to French coast

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An oil slick was heading towards the French coastline yesterday after an Italian cargo ship sank in the Atlantic carrying 45 containers of “dangerous materials”, authorities said. “According to our forecasts, fragment

Startups pitch their business models

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Flat6Labs Bahrain hosted its Second Demo Day at The National Theatre of Bahrain where eight startups from its second cycle pitched their businesses. The second cycle received over 200 applications from more than 40 countries which were

Turkey tumbles into recession

Turkey tumbles into recession

Turkey’s economy entered its first recession in a decade, official data showed yesterday, just weeks before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government faces local elections where growth and inflation will be key issues for

Abbas appoints Shtayyeh as PM

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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on Sunday, a senior official said, in a move seen as part of efforts to further isolate Hamas. Abbas asked Shtayyeh, a member of the central


SCW to further promote women entrepreneurship

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New programme to employ 240 newly-graduated Bahraini docs

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Roommate killer’s jail term reduced

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Dog torturer’s custody extended

Dog torturer’s custody extended

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50 birds worth Dh20m killed by lightning bolt

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Probe ordered

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The Cabinet yesterday chaired by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, has ordered a thorough probe into allegations of two girls selling drugs at a school in the Northern Governorate. The Premier ordered the formation of a high-level committee, under the

Jakarta opens mass rapid transit system

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Indonesia’s capital inaugurated its first mass rapid transit system on Sunday, a $1.1 billion project seen as crucial to tackling some of the world’s worst traffic congestion. President Joko Widodo and other officials joine

MAX anti-stall software fix ready

MAX anti-stall software fix ready

A fix to the anti-stall system suspected in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet that killed 189 people in Indonesia is ready, industry sources said Saturday, as the company tries to avoid a lengthy grounding of its planes. Boeing was d

Sri Lanka opens work on $3.85bn refinery

Sri Lanka opens work on $3.85bn refinery

Sri Lanka began construction yesterday of a nearly $4 billion oil refinery it hopes will revive foreign interest in its shipping facilities after Beijing’s takeover of a nearby port spooked international investors. Prime Minister