Serena Williams hits a backhand against Yulia Putintseva during their French Open quarter-final match. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Serena Williams hits a backhand against Yulia Putintseva during their French Open quarter-final match. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Error-prone Serena Williams digs deep to reach French Open semi-finals



Defending champion Serena Williams pulled out quite a comeback in the French Open quarter-finals Thursday, coming back from a set and a break down to beat 60th-ranked Yulia Putintseva 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.

How close was Williams to her earliest exit at a grand slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2014? Putintseva twice was a point from serving for the biggest victory of her career.

“She played unbelievable. And I honestly didn’t think I was going to win that in the second set,” Williams said. “Somehow I did.”

See also:

Congested schedule at French Open holds no fears for Serena Williams, but there will be no semi-final against Venus

• Gallery: Finally the rain goes away as Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka progress at French Open

Yes, Williams came through, as she so often does, overcoming not only a relentless competitor in Putintseva but also her own shakiness on a cloudy, chilly day that included a brief rain delay in the third game. The No 1-seeded American’s strokes were off, her range was wrong, to the tune of mistake after mistake after mistake.

She made 11 unforced errors before Putintseva committed a single one, and at the end of the first set, the count was 24-2, which seems like it might be a typo but isn’t. Williams got so desperate at one point that she shifted her racket to her left hand to try a shot that way – and whiffed.

By the end, the unforced error statistics read: Williams 43, Putintseva 16.

But by the end, too, Williams was asserting herself as no one else currently on tour can, winding up with twice as many winners as Putintseva, 36-18.

And now Williams can continue her quest for a 22nd grand slam title, which would equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record.

Kiki Bertens became the first Dutchwoman in 45 years to reach the French Open semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Swiss eighth-seed Timea Bacsinszky.

Bertens, the world No 58, will be playing in her first grand slam semi-final where she will on Friday face world No 1 Williams.

Victory for Bertens was her 12th successive victory having arrived in Paris from Nuremburg where she had won the title as a qualifier.

She had knocked out Australian Open champion and third-seed Angelique Kerber in the first round before seeing off Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist in Paris last year.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Bertens who will now break the top 30 after her run in Paris.

“To be in the semis, it’s just crazy. To play Serena it will be a great match – she’s the No 1 in the world.

“I will just go out there and try and have fun and give it my all.”

Men’s draw

Still on target to win a fourth straight major title and complete a career Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals at the French Open for a record sixth straight time.

The top-seeded Serb beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 Thursday, a day after completing a four-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I’m very pleased to be in semi-finals of another grand slam,” Djokovic said after reaching his 30th major semi-final. “But because of the fact that I have to play every day, my focus right away goes for recovery and the next match. I don’t have much time.”

Only Roger Federer, with 39 major semi-finals, and Jimmy Connors, with 31, have participated in more major semi-finals in the Open era.

Djokovic will next face No 13 seed Dominic Thiem. The Austrian beat No 12 David Goffin of Belgium 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-1.

A French Open victory would give Djokovic a 12th major title – two less than Rafael Nadal – and would also give him four consecutive grand slam titles, something no man has done since Rod Laver won all four in 1969.

After winning the first two sets, Djokovic was even with Berdych at 3-3 when they stopped playing because of rain. When they returned, Djokovic won the next three games and the match.

Berdych, however, felt the stoppage cost him valuable momentum, and was scathing about the decision to come off in conditions he considered were exactly the same as for most of the match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“That was one of the worst calls that I ever had on the court,” the Czech player said. “We were playing two-and-a-half sets in the light rain.”

Celebrating his win, Djokovic called a ball boy onto the court and the pair waved to each side of the stadium.

In the other match on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Thiem and Goffin were playing in the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time.

Besides losing the match, Goffin also briefly lost control of his racket. After the first point of the tie-breaker in the second set, Goffin tossed his racket up in the air but failed to catch it, hitting himself in the face.

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SNAPSHOT

While Huawei did launch the first smartphone with a 50MP image sensor in its P40 series in 2020, Oppo in 2014 introduced the Find 7, which was capable of taking 50MP images: this was done using a combination of a 13MP sensor and software that resulted in shots seemingly taken from a 50MP camera.

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Kamindu Mendis bio

Full name: Pasqual Handi Kamindu Dilanka Mendis

Born: September 30, 1998

Age: 20 years and 26 days

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Major teams Sri Lanka's Under 19 team

Batting style: Left-hander

Bowling style: Right-arm off-spin and slow left-arm orthodox (that's right!)

INFO

Everton 0

Arsenal 0

Man of the Match: Djibril Sidibe (Everton)

The specs: 2019 Haval H6

Price, base: Dh69,900

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 197hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 315Nm @ 2,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 7.0L / 100km

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

Ten10 Cricket League

Venue and schedule Sharjah Cricket Stadium, December 14 to 17

Teams

Maratha Arabians Leading player: Virender Sehwag; Top picks: Mohammed Amir, Imad Wasim; UAE players: Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan

Bengal Lions Leading player: Sarfraz Ahmed; Top picks: Sunil Narine, Mustafizur Rahman; UAE players: Mohammed Naveed, Rameez Shahzad

Kerala Kings Leading player: Eoin Morgan; Top picks: Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir; UAE players: Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider

Pakhtoons Leading player: Shahid Afridi; Top picks: Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal; UAE players: Amjad Javed, Saqlain Haider

Punjabi Legends Leading player: Shoaib Malik; Top picks: Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan; UAE players: Ghulam Shabber, Shareef Asadullah

Team Sri Lanka Cricket Will be made up of Colombo players who won island’s domestic limited-overs competition

RESULTS

5pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival Purebred Arabian Cup Conditions (PA) Dh 200,000 (Turf) 1,600m
Winner: Hameem, Adrie de Vries (jockey), Abdallah Al Hammadi (trainer)
5.30pm: Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup Conditions (PA) Dh 200,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Winked, Connor Beasley, Abdallah Al Hammadi
6pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Cup Listed (TB) Dh 380,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Boerhan, Ryan Curatolo, Nicholas Bachalard
6.30pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Group 3 (PA) Dh 500,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Alwajel, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel
7pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Jewel Crown Group 1 (PA) Dh 5,000,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Messi, Pat Dobbs, Timo Keersmaekers
7.30pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival Handicap (PA) Dh 150,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Harrab, Ryan Curatolo, Jean de Roualle
8pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh 100,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: AF Alareeq, Connor Beasley, Ahmed Al Mehairbi

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Student Of The Year 2

Director: Punit Malhotra

Stars: Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria, Ananya Pandey, Aditya Seal 

1.5 stars

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Afghanistan fixtures
  • v Australia, today
  • v Sri Lanka, Tuesday
  • v New Zealand, Saturday,
  • v South Africa, June 15
  • v England, June 18
  • v India, June 22
  • v Bangladesh, June 24
  • v Pakistan, June 29
  • v West Indies, July 4
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The specs

Engine: 3.6-litre, V6
Transmission: eight-speed auto
Power: 285hp
Torque: 353Nm
Price: Dh159,900
On sale: now

The bio:

Favourite holiday destination: I really enjoyed Sri Lanka and Vietnam but my dream destination is the Maldives.

Favourite food: My mum’s Chinese cooking.

Favourite film: Robocop, followed by The Terminator.

Hobbies: Off-roading, scuba diving, playing squash and going to the gym.

 

UAE finals day

Friday, April 13
Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

3pm, UAE Conference: Dubai Tigers v Sharjah Wanderers
6.30pm, UAE Premiership: Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Key features of new policy

Pupils to learn coding and other vocational skills from Grade 6

Exams to test critical thinking and application of knowledge

A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance, Assessment, Review and Analysis for Holistic Development) will form the standard for schools

Schools to implement online system to encouraging transparency and accountability

The trailblazers

Sixteen boys and 15 girls have gone on from Go-Pro Academy in Dubai to either professional contracts abroad or scholarships in the United States. Here are two of the most prominent.

Georgia Gibson (Newcastle United)
The reason the academy in Dubai first set up a girls’ programme was to help Gibson reach her potential. Now she plays professionally for Newcastle United in the UK.

Mackenzie Hunt (Everton)
Attended DESS in Dubai, before heading to the UK to join Everton full time as a teenager. He was on the bench for the first team as recently as their fixture against Brighton on February 24.

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

HOW DO SIM CARD SCAMS WORK?

Sim swap frauds are a form of identity theft.

They involve criminals conning mobile phone operators into issuing them with replacement Sim cards, often by claiming their phone has been lost or stolen 

They use the victim's personal details - obtained through criminal methods - to convince such companies of their identity.

The criminal can then access any online service that requires security codes to be sent to a user's mobile phone, such as banking services.

The National in Davos

We are bringing you the inside story from the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, a gathering of hundreds of world leaders, top executives and billionaires.

Museum of the Future in numbers
  • 78 metres is the height of the museum
  • 30,000 square metres is its total area
  • 17,000 square metres is the length of the stainless steel facade
  • 14 kilometres is the length of LED lights used on the facade
  • 1,024 individual pieces make up the exterior 
  • 7 floors in all, with one for administrative offices
  • 2,400 diagonally intersecting steel members frame the torus shape
  • 100 species of trees and plants dot the gardens
  • Dh145 is the price of a ticket
Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 290hp

Torque: 340Nm

Price: Dh155,800

On sale: now

Concrete and Gold
Foo Fighters
RCA records

MATCH INFO

What: 2006 World Cup quarter-final
When: July 1
Where: Gelsenkirchen Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Result:
England 0 Portugal 0
(Portugal win 3-1 on penalties)

Racecard

5pm: Al Maha Stables – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,400m
5.30pm: Al Anoud Stables – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round 2 – Group 3 (PA) Dh 300,000 (T) 2,200m
7pm: Liwa Oasis – Group 2 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 1,400m
7.30pm: Dames Stables – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m

Scores

Oman 109-3 in 18.4 overs (Aqib Ilyas 45 not out, Aamir Kaleem 27) beat UAE 108-9 in 20 overs (Usman 27, Mustafa 24, Fayyaz 3-16, Bilal 3-23)

Ultra processed foods

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

The biog

Siblings: five brothers and one sister

Education: Bachelors in Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Interests: Swimming, tennis and the gym

Favourite place: UAE

Favourite packet food on the trip: pasta primavera

What he did to pass the time during the trip: listen to audio books

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


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