Five-time champion Roger Federer is out of the US Open after Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov won a late-night thriller to finally beat the Swiss great.
Federer, 38, had won all seven of their previous meetings but unseeded Dimitrov fought back to win 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2.
Federer, who needed treatment for a back injury in the latter stages, said: “I felt it the whole time, but I was able to play.”
Dimitrov, 28, faces Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the last four.
“Clearly in the end he was not at his best. I used every opportunity I had,” said the Bulgarian.
World number 78 Dimitrov’s shock win ensured there will be at least one first-time Grand Slam finalist on Sunday.
Third seed Federer, who lost to Australian John Millman in the last 16 last year, has now been knocked out of the US Open by players ranked outside of the world’s top 50 for the second successive year – after never previously having lost to one at Flushing Meadows.
Afterwards, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he was struggling with the back problem throughout the match.
“I feel low. I’m disappointed it is over because I feel as I though I was playing well,” Federer said.
“It is a missed opportunity. I thought if I could get through I’d have two days off after.”
Federer’s exit leaves long-time rival Rafael Nadal as the strong favourite to lift the trophy, with defending champion Novak Djokovic also out after retiring injured from his last-16 match against Stan Wawrinka on Sunday.
Spanish second seed Nadal, a three-time US Open champion, faces Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman in their quarter-final on Wednesday.
But it is clearly a golden opportunity for 33-year-old Nadal to win his 19th Grand Slam title and narrow the gap on Federer in the race to be regarded as the greatest men’s player of all time.
Federer’s loss also ended the possibility of the illustrious pair, rather remarkably, meeting at the US Open for the first time in their enduring rivalry.
‘Baby Fed’ comes good
Dimitrov, whose career has stalled spectacularly in the past two years, was not expected to be the man to prevent a ‘Fedal’ final from happening.
Nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’ in the early days of his professional career because of his technique, the Bulgarian was once heralded as the man who might succeed the Swiss as the leading player in the men’s game.
But he has tumbled down the ATP rankings since reaching a career-high ranking of three in November 2017, with a shoulder injury derailing his season this year and forcing him to withdraw from four tournaments.
Coming into the final Grand Slam of the season Dimitrov had lost seven of his previous eight matches, including a chastening defeat by world number 405 Kevin King in Atlanta.
However, the 2017 World Tour Finals champion has suddenly rediscovered his form at Flushing Meadows to devastating effect.
“I think the past six, seven months have been pretty rough for me,” he said.
“It was that low that I don’t even want to go there any more. It was just obviously injury, losing points, ranking. That’s the lowest point of any player.
“I kept on believing again in the work, the rehab I had to put behind my shoulder, the exercise, the practice. There were so many things I had to adjust.
“Next thing, you’re almost end of the year, you have a result like that. It’s pretty special to me.”
Dimitrov bounced back from losing the first set against Federer with ferocious forehands which rocked the Swiss and helped him level the match, reports the BBC.
Despite falling behind for a second time, Dimitrov managed to retain belief and dragged his long-time foe into some physically-draining points in the fourth set.
Having broken in the opening game, Dimitrov pushed for a 5-2 lead in a remarkable eighth game where Federer fought off seven break points to eventually hold.
Federer then had five chances of his own to break back in another marathon game before Dimitrov served out to take the match into a decider, the Swiss then taking a 10-minute medical time-out in a bid to ease his back injury.
That did not alleviate the problem, however, Dimitrov taking full advantage to win a match ending at 23:46 local time after three hours and 12 minutes.
FIFA U-17 World Cup: Expect a fantastic team – Garba
ith the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup taking centre stage from this weekend in Brazil, coach of the Golden Eaglets, Manu Garba, has assured Nigerians and the World of a fantastic team performing better than they did at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations played in Tanzania early this year.
After finishing champions in 2013 and 2015, the Eaglets failed to defend their title in 2017 as they failed to qualify. They however finished fourth at the African U-17 Championship behind Angola, who beat the favourites 2-1 in the match for third place.
Nigeria have been grouped in Group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador and Australia with their opening game coming up against Hungary on Saturday, October 26.
Speaking with FIFA.com, Garba, said they had the trophy in sight once again.
“Everyone should get ready to see a fantastic Nigerian team that play great football and have the trophy in their sights,” Garba said.
“Ecuador, Hungary and Australia are undoubtedly strong teams that we respect, but we are record-breaking world champions and I was involved in two of our title wins.
“The will to win every game is part of the DNA of every Nigerian team, and my team here in Brazil is no exception.”
Indeed, Garba was head coach when the African side clinched victory in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, and served as Yemi Tella’s assistant six years earlier.
Meanwhile, the assistant coach of the team, Uduka Ugbade, has declared that the team must work very hard if they are to qualify from their group as they begin their quest for a record sixth title.
Ugbade said they must be wary of the teams in their group, while also charging the players to be hardworking and never underrate their opponents.
He told www.brila.net that, “As the most successful team in the U-17 world cup from the past and to this present, it’s so funny that now we are meeting Hungary again since 1985 that we met them in the quarter-finals.
“And you know Ecuador as well, we are not going to say they are an easy country to deal with and football is on the rise in Australia as well. So we have a very big work to do to sort these teams.”
Iwobi can’t play as Everton’s number 10 – Bent
ormer Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent believes Alex Iwobi does not have the quality to play in the number 10 role for Everton.
The Nigeria international was deployed to the attacking midfield position in the Toffees’ 2-0 victory against West Ham United last Saturday and featured for 87 minutes before making way for Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The former England international lauded the performance of the 23-year-old but claimed he is not good enough for the central attacking midfield role.
“He’s a funny one as for me he works really hard,” Bent told Football Insider
“Any player would want him in their team as he works so hard but my only issue with him is that if you’re going to play that No.10 role you need to have better quality on the ball.
“For me, too many times, he’ll pick the wrong option as he’ll shoot rather than pass or overshoot his pass, so if you’re going to play a No.10 it needs to be someone like Sigurdsson.
“He’s got that kind of technique, which he showed with the second goal, that means he can play No.10 and Iwobi, for a manager, he is a manager’s dream as he works really hard but to play No.10, you need to have more quality.”
Iwobi has scored two goals and provided one assist in eight appearances since his summer switch from Arsenal.
The utility player will be expected to play a role when Everton take on Brighton and Hove Albion in their next league game on October 26.
Osimhen clever, dangerous, Chukwueze warns Valencia
…as Lille host Valencia in Champions League today
…eagles striker can wreck any team – Esin
uper Eagles striker Victor Osimhen will be looking forward to scoring his second UEFA Champions League goal and lead his French side Lille to their first victory in the tournament when they confront Valencia today and his national teammate Samuel Chukwueze warned the Spanish side the striker could wreck them.
Osimhen announced his arrival on the big stage when he scored Lille’s only goal in their 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Match Day 2 to the admiration of Blues coach Frank Lampard who rated the Nigerian as the biggest threat for his side in the encounter.
Lille Metropolle has been the slaughter slab for Osimhen where he has scored eight of his side 12 goals on that ground ands it remains to be seen how Valencia will stop the rampaging striker.
Chukwueze knows all about the qualities of the Lille number seven, having played together with him in the Golden Eaglets, Flying Eagles and Olympic Team before they were promoted to the Super Eagles and the youngster has warned the Spanish side to watch out for his teammate.
“He is a great player, he has a lot of speed and [eye for] goal, he reads [the opposition] very well. He is a very complete forward,” Chukwueze told Spanish online news outlet, Superdeporte.es.
Ex-international, Etim Esin, believes Osimhen has proved he can hold his own against any team in the world and challenged the striker to maintain the consistency.
“Osimhem is a huge talent; he is proving that he can become one of the biggest forwards in the world and you saw the way he played against Chelsea in their last match in the Champions League, he showed class.
“I look forward to another fantastic showing from him when they play on Wednesday again. I want to see that consistency because that is what is important for a youngster. He needs to keep working hard and Champions League is a big stage for him to show the world he is getting to that level where he will be regarded as one of the best,” he said.
Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8: First Bank, Air Warriors cruise to semis
he two top teams at the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8 both qualified for the semi-finals of the competition with emphatic wins at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday.
Having both topped their groups with 100 percent win records, First Bank and Air Warriors eased towards an anticipated confrontation in the final with big victories over Black Gold and Plateau Rocks as expected.
The Elephant Ladies, who are on a quest for their 10th national title, thrashed Black Gold 90-32 in the first quarter-final to claim their fourth straight post-season victory.
Grace John had a game-high 17 points and added four assists to power favourites past the underdogs who have now lost all of their four Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League National Final 8 games.
Ifunanya Okoro contributed 16 points, five assists and five rebounds as the champions cruised into the last four stage.
Air Warriors, who won all their three games to top the Group B table, ruthlessly dealt with Plateau Rocks 103-50 points.
Murjanatu Musa of Air Warriors scored an impressive 26 points and bagged two assists and 12 rebounds to drive her team to victory against the team that finished bottom of Group A.
The semi-finals are billed for Wednesday with the final scheduled for Thursday.
The champions of the competition and runners-up will represent Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou from 28 October to 3 November.
Volleyball Div 1: Nigeria Correction Service remains unbeaten on Day 4
igeria Correction Service beat Kada Kings 3-0 (25-20, 25-21) to continue her unbeaten run on Day 4 of the ongoing National Volleyball League Division one in Bauchi.
The duo of Dauda Saje and Emenike Ezike capitalised on the lapses of Kada Stars as they have recorded 3 straight wins at the league.
Nigeria Correction Service player, Dauda Saje said the team came prepared for the second leg of the Division one league.
Saje said that the aim of the team was not only to win all her matches but to eventually qualify for the 2020 Nigeria Volleyball Premier League.
“Nigeria Correction Service is in Bauchi for serious business, we lost total concentration at the first leg in Ilorin and we are here to correct all those mistakes,” He said
“Our mission is to win all our matches and eventually qualify for next year’s volleyball premier league. We have been the two strongest teams in the league (COAS Spikers and Sunshine Spikers) and I believe the remaining teams should be ready to be beaten.”
Reacting to the loss, the head coach of Kada Stars, Sani Abdullahi said his players will have to correct their mistakes in subsequent matches.
He said, “We came with a game plan but it did not work today against Nigeria Correction Service. I and my coaching crew will restrategise and effect changes were necessary”.
Abraham sets for new Chelsea deal
ammy Abraham will reportedly sign a new contract with Chelsea that would see him earn £100,000 a week.
The Englishman has emerged as an indispensable figure under Frank Lampard this season, scoring eight goals in nine Premier League fixtures.
His performances at club level, along with fellow youngster Fikayo Tomori, earned him a place in the England senior squad for internationals this month.
According to Sky Sports Italia, Abraham is on the cusp of penning a new £100,000-a-week deal at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old has come off the back of an impressive loan spell at Aston Villa last season during which he netted 26 goals as the club was promoted through the playoffs.
Abraham is expected to lead the line for Chelsea in a Champions League game against Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.
GOtv Boxing Night Mini’ll help boxers – Mensah
amous boxing coach, Joe Mensah, has described the introduction of GOtv Boxing Night Mini as a boon to Nigerian boxers. The maiden edition of the show is slated to hold on November 16 at Rowe Park in Yaba, Lagos.
Speaking in an interview in Lagos on Tuesday, Mensah, who represented Nigeria at the 1972 Olympic Games, said the event is a pertinent intervention for boxing in Nigeria, adding that it will provide Nigerian boxers with the opportunity to rack up more fights and compete against their colleagues.
He said: “It’s a nice programme which would help Nigerian boxing. There are just few events such as GOtv Boxing Night and GOtv Boxing NextGen Search which have promoted boxers in the country. A lot of boxers have turned pro in Nigeria but they haven’t got a chance to compete on the big stage. Therefore, the new entrant (GOtv Boxing Night Mini) is a welcome development for the sport as boxers will be able to test themselves against their fellow professionals.”
The veteran boxing coach also lauded the sponsors for their contribution towards the development of boxing in Nigeria, as it gives them the chance to improve their professional record.
Boxers scheduled to fight at GOtv Boxing Night Mini include Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight champion; Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, West African Boxing Union (WABU) welterweight champion; Waheed “Skoro” Usman, former African Boxing Union (ABU) featherweight champion; Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi, Opeyemi “Sense” Adeyemi and Sikiru “Omo Iya Eleja” Shogbesan.
T/Tennis: Toriola to lead Team Nigeria to ITTF W/C In Japan
igeria’s seven-time Olympian, Segun Toriola will lead a five-man team Nigeria table tennis players to the 2019 ITTF Team World Cup taking place at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The team also includes world number 19, Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo, Bode Abiodun and Azeez Solanke.
Nigeria and Egypt are representing the continent at World championship which begins on November 6 and ends on 10 in Tokyo.
The championship also serves as a table tennis test event for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be hosted by Japan.
Nigeria secured their place at the tournament following their triumph at the 2018 African Championships held in Mauritius and the West African side will be returning to the tournament after their last appearance in 2010.
Like Nigeria, Egypt is the African women champion and they have named Dina Meshref, Reem El-Eraky, Yousra Helmy, Marwa Alhodaby and Farah Abdel-Aziz.
The tournament will feature teams of the standard of the Olympic Games, as a dress rehearsal for the showpiece event in 2020. With such high stakes, there is no thread of favourites in table tennis, which can afford to exclude the behemoth that is Team China.
The European contingent is well represented at the World Cup, and while Team Germany will only have their men’s team as qualified contestants, they are sure to be more than a handful for everyone.
Rivers Hoopers demolish Benue Braves in President Cup
ivers Hoopers demolished Benue Braves 77-30 points in the NBBF President Cup at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara Stadium, Ilorin on Tuesday.
Victor Anthony had a game high 20 points, eight rebounds, one steal and two blocks to go with it while Ameh Owoicho added 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal which included one 3-pointer in the game. Ikechukwu Benjamin added 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals. He also hit 2/3 from behind the arc and 2/2 from the free throw line.
Rivers Hoopers outscored Braves in all quarters (16-11, 18-7, 21-7, 22-5) and gave them no chance at all in the paint. Braves were forced to commit 25 turnovers against 10 made by Hoopers in the game.
The KingsMen as they are fondly called had more points from the bench 53-9 for the second game in a role and 25 points scored from turnovers.
Top performer for Hoopers, Victor Anthony was shocked he finished with a game high against Benue Braves.
“I want to thank my teammates because it was team work that gave us the result. To be frank, I am surprised I scored a game high I don’t know what to say but once again I thank my teammates for helping me to be top scorer today,” said Anthony.
“I am seeing Hoopers as one of the teams that can pick the continental slot. Some teams and players are complaining that we are already a national team and we shouldn’t be in the competition with them so we should just be allowed to go and represent the country.”
Rivers Hoopers will next play Police Baton on Wednesday at 4pm.
Olusegun targets top scorer award in Brazil
olden Eaglets striker, Olakunle Olusegun, has set a target of topping the goals chart at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup kicking off in Brazil, as he wants to rank among the competition’s legends over the years.
Nigeria has a strong tradition of producing top scorers at the competition, with Wilson Oruma at Japan ’93, Macauley Chrisantus at Korea 2007 and Victor Osimhen at Chile 2015, while Femi Opabunmi and Kelechi Iheanacho were joint-highest in 2001 and 2013 respectively.
And Olusegun believes he can join the roll call of these set of players by emerging the top scorer in Brazil.
Although he admitted it would be more about team work and playing together for the common goal when the championship begins this Saturday, with Nigeria playing Hungary first , the Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC of Ilorin youngster said he has to fulfill his duty of banging goals, which he hopes to do aplenty in Brazil.
Olusegun who won the award for highest goals scorer in the regional qualifiers for this year’s African U-17 Cup of Nations, failed to replicate the feat at the continental championship proper in Tanzania.
The ABS striker who said he would have loved to score more in the Eaglets’ last three friendlies, but admitted that he was saving his best for the World Cup and further declared:
”I tried to score more than two goals but Iater on decided to reseve it for the World Cup.”
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