Great Briton thrashes Roddick to retain title

DOHA // Andy Murray is the new Desert King after celebrating back-to-back tournament victories in Abu Dhabi and Doha in the space of eight days. Murray, the defending champion of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, yesterday overwhelmed the American Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2, who was also seeking to enhance his reputation in the Middle East, having won the Dubai Championship last March. Roddick, who peaked here by eliminating the world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, had no answer to the court wizardry of the British No 1 who produced a succession of bamboozling passing shots which left the world No 8 looking a forlorn figure whenever he was left stranded at the net.

Murray rose to fourth in the world on the back of a splendid finish to 2008, and is surely destined to go higher if this exquisite display is any guide. His demolition of the strong-serving Roddick was by no means a one-off at the start of a new campaign. He played even better in the semi-finals to continue his personal dominance over former world No 1 Roger Federer. After an even start to the final, Roddick found himself at 0-40 in the fifth game and Murray capitalised on the unexpected opportunity to take charge.

That single break decided the opening set and Murray, who conceded only one break point on his own serve, broke twice in the second set to ensure a routine victory in only 70 minutes. Murray, whose fitness was in doubt beforehand because of a back injury, was given a rapturous welcome on to the court by the near-capacity 7,000 crowd but as it dawned on the gallery that this was developing into a one-sided match applause became less enthusiastic.

A brilliant backhand pass took the Scot to the brink of the title and he accepted that first match point with relish.

Manchester United v Liverpool

Premier League, kick off 7.30pm (UAE)

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

The specs

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Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

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Australia squads

ODI: Tim Paine (capt), Aaron Finch (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.

T20: Aaron Finch (capt), Alex Carey (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth.


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

ICC Awards for 2021+


Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)


Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)


2016 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)
2015 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)
2014 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)
2013 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)
2012 - Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
2011 - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2010 - Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
2009 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
2008 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2007 - Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

match info

Southampton 2 (Ings 32' & pen 89') Tottenham Hotspur 5 (Son 45', 47', 64', & 73', Kane 82')

Man of the match Son Heung-min (Tottenham)


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


Name: Rain Management

Year started: 2017

Based: Bahrain

Employees: 100-120

Amount raised: $2.5m from BitMex Ventures and Blockwater. Another $6m raised from MEVP, Coinbase, Vision Ventures, CMT, Jimco and DIFC Fintech Fund

Know your camel milk:
Flavour: Similar to goat’s milk, although less pungent. Vaguely sweet with a subtle, salty aftertaste.
Texture: Smooth and creamy, with a slightly thinner consistency than cow’s milk.
Use it: In your morning coffee, to add flavour to homemade ice cream and milk-heavy desserts, smoothies, spiced camel-milk hot chocolate.
Goes well with: chocolate and caramel, saffron, cardamom and cloves. Also works well with honey and dates.


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