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Serena Criticises Performance In US Open Final

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Serena Williams branded her performance in the US Open final “inexcusable” and said it was the “worst match” she played during the tournament.
Williams, who turns 38 later this month, was beaten 6-3 7-5 by Canadian 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu, whose win marked her first Grand Slam title.
Defeat means American Williams is still chasing a record-equalling 24th major.
“I believe I could have just been more Serena today,” said Williams, a six-time champion at Flushing Meadows.
“I honestly don’t think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in Grand Slam finals.
“It’s inexcusable for me to play at that level,” she said.
Andreescu, in the main draw in New York for the first time, dominated a 43-minute opening set to stun a partisan Arthur Ashe Stadium, going a break up in the very first game.
The 15th seed held match point at 5-2 in the second set before Williams staged an attempted comeback, winning five successive games.
“I was just thinking, honestly at that point, wow, this is terrible,” said Williams. “Like you got to play better. I have to do better.
“I just couldn’t go down like that, so I just wanted to play a little bit better.”
Andreescu broke Williams’ serve for the fourth time of the set to wrap up the win, making her the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title and the first teenager to do so since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open.
Williams remains on 23 Grand Slam titles, one short of Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record.
“I’m not necessarily chasing a record. I’m just trying to win Grand Slams,” Williams said.
She said “It’s definitely frustrating. But for the most part I just am still here. I’m still doing what I can do.”
Williams has now lost her last four Grand Slam finals, last winning in Australia in 2017 before the difficult birth of her daughter later that year.
In 2018, she lost the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber before a controversial US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka, and was beaten in this year’s final at the All England Club by Simona Halep.
Williams said her successive falls at the final hurdle were “truly frustrating” but vowed to keep going.
“Kerber doesn’t count because I was exhausted,” she said. “My baby was eight months, and that’s tough.
“But all of it honestly, truly is super frustrating. I’m so close, so close, so close, yet so far away.
“I guess I’ve got to keep going if I want to be a professional tennis player. And I’ve just got to just keep fighting through it.
“I definitely did better than I did against Halep,” she said.

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‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’

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Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.

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Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August

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The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.

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S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo

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John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.

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