Serena Williams shows her delight at reaching the semi-finals of the women's Australian Open.
Serena Williams shows her delight at reaching the semi-finals of the women's Australian Open.

Gutsy Serena gatecrashes Russian party

MELBOURNE // The second seed Serena Williams admitted closing the roof on Rod Laver Arena because of the soaring temperatures had helped her battle back from a first set deficit to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 today. The American's victory prevented a Russian sweep of the Australian Open semi-finals and she will now play Elena Dementieva in the last four tomorrow. Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina meet in the other match.

"It was definitely hot," Williams said after the tiring affair. "I think it did because it was really hot out there," she added on whether the roof being closed had helped her. "I was just trying to prepare myself for it to be open the whole time. But with the roof closed it was definitely helpful." With the air temperature exceeding 43 degrees Celsius, neither Williams nor Kuznetsova looked comfortable in the first set, constantly seeking shade at the end of the court between points.

Williams was broken three times while Kuznetsova was broken twice and the Russian managed to seal the first set shortly after the extreme heat policy was invoked at Melbourne Park. Both were then forced off the court for 30 minutes until the roof was closed. Seemingly rejuvenated out of the energy sapping heat, Williams managed to break Kuznetsova when the Russian served for the match in the second set before taking the contest into a decider, which she raced through in just 27 minutes.

Despite advancing to her 15th grand slam semi-final, Williams added she felt she was not playing well. "It's really encouraging because this whole tournament I felt I've been off and I haven't been playing my best," she said. "I was happy because I really wasn't playing my best. My balls started flying. "I was thinking, 'wow, this is just not my best tennis, or even close to it'. Williams, who is seeking her 10th grand slam title, entered the tournament looking fitter than she has in many years at the first grand slam of the season said maybe all the work she did in the off-season was affecting her ball striking.

"I don't know, maybe I overtrained. I worked really hard," she said when asked why she thought she was playing poorly. "I was really ready. Nothing I did in practice... I've been able to do on the court so far. "It's been really kind of frustrating. I'm thinking I could have been at a pool instead of training." While she admitted closing the roof had helped her recover, a fear of flying home early had also assisted when Kuznetsova was serving for the match in the second set.

"I was thinking, 'okay, if you lose, you're going to fly coach (economy class) all the way back to Florida. How uncomfortable would (that) be?' "I wouldn't allow myself to have the emergency row either. I would be so mad, I would have to sit (in) like the last row, the tightest row. "That motivated me to do a little better." *Reuters

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Opening fixtures:
Friday, Oct 5

8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers

Saturday, Oct 6
4pm: Nangarhar Leopards v Kandahar Knights
8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Balkh Legends

Tickets can be bought online at and at the ticket office at the stadium.

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6.00pm: Heros de Lagarde
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7.10pm: Mimi Kakushi
7.45pm: New Kingdom
8.20pm: Siskany
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9.30pm: Ever Given

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

The biog

Favourite book: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Favourite music: Classical

Hobbies: Reading and writing



Name: DarDoc
Based: Abu Dhabi
Founders: Samer Masri, Keswin Suresh
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding: $800,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, angel investors + Incubated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health
Number of employees: 10

In numbers: China in Dubai

The number of Chinese people living in Dubai: An estimated 200,000

Number of Chinese people in International City: Almost 50,000

Daily visitors to Dragon Mart in 2018/19: 120,000

Daily visitors to Dragon Mart in 2010: 20,000

Percentage increase in visitors in eight years: 500 per cent

Company Profile

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


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)


Date started: January 2017
Founder: Khaled Zaatarah 
Based: Dubai and Los Angeles
Sector: Technology 
Size: 21 employees
Funding: $7 million 
Investors: Shorooq Partners, KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures, Hala Ventures, 500Startups, Plug and Play, Magnus Olsson, Samih Toukan, Jonathan Labin

Armies of Sand

By Kenneth Pollack (Oxford University Press)

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

Formula 4 Italian Championship 2023 calendar

April 21-23: Imola
May 5-7: Misano
May 26-28: SPA-Francorchamps
June 23-25: Monza
July 21-23: Paul Ricard
Sept 29-Oct 1: Mugello
Oct 13-15: Vallelunga


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

The biog

Name: Capt Shadia Khasif

Position: Head of the Criminal Registration Department at Hatta police

Family: Five sons and three daughters

The first female investigator in Hatta.

Role Model: Father

She believes that there is a solution to every problem


Champions League Last 16

Red Bull Salzburg+(AUT) v Bayern Munich+(GER)

Sporting Lisbon+(POR) v Manchester City+(ENG)

Benfica+(POR) v Ajax+(NED)

Chelsea+(ENG) v Lille+(FRA)

Atletico Madrid+(ESP) v Manchester United+(ENG)

Villarreal+(ESP) v Juventus+(ITA)

Inter Milan+(ITA) v Liverpool+(ENG)

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid+(ESP)


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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

Rating: 4.5/5


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