Roger Federer won a record 15th Grand Slam after beating sixth seed Andy Roddick in an epic fifth set 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14 in the Wimbledon men’s final.
Federer’s victory was all the more incredible for the fact that he recovered from one set down, and trailed 6-2 in a second set tie-break before he won the next two sets to seize control of a scintillating encounter on Centre Court.
Roddick refused to be denied, and the American fought back against the world number two with ferocious intensity, and clinched the fourth set 6-3 with real conviction.
The fifth set was a positive barrage of aces from the rackets of both players but finally, serving to stay in the match for the 11th time, Roddick was broken as Federer sealed a monumental win.
At 27 years old, Federer has now overhauled Pete Sampras’s incredible tally of 14 titles, among which he can count six Wimbledon crowns to surpass Bjorn Borg and Lawrence Doherty’s five.
For Roddick, it was a third defeat to the Swiss in finals at the All England Club to follow similar results in 2004 and 2005, and to compound the American’s frustration, his nemesis now holds a staggering 19-2 career advantage over him.
The artistry of the Swiss generally trumped the 26-year-old’s punch and grit and, in playing in his seventh straight Wimbledon final and record 20th Grand Slam title match, the world number two looked utterly composed.
Both players settled incredibly quickly, finding a good rhythm on serve and looking comfortable in the process, as the first 10 games were rattled through.
Indeed, Roddick did not commit an unforced error until the set was locked at 5-5, despite Federer having sauntered through his service holds in a more serene fashion.
The American was forced to save three break points in his sixth service game, and even had to challenge a line call to save the second, but held his nerve impressively.
Perhaps a touch of complacency set in to Federer’s game, as he drilled two erratic forehands wide and long to hand Roddick the crucial break which clinched the first set for the American 7-5, to the crowd’s disbelief.
With the second set mimicking the first on the most part, the only game which was not taken with assurance on serve was at 5-5, with Federer double faulting for 30-30, but again he came through unscathed.
Roddick began the second set tie-break with a 143mph ace and, having won 26 out of 31 breakers this season, the American looked invincible as he raced into a 6-2 lead.
The turning point was perhaps an inexplicably mishit backhand volley from the sixth seed, and his four set points slowly and painfully eroded before him as Federer stormed back to clinch the second set with his first opportunity at 8-6.
While Federer proceeded to cruise through his service games at the start of the third set, Roddick was forced to battle valiantly to save a break point at 30-40 in the sixth game, as the Swiss turned the screw.
Roddick showed real resilience in forcing a second tie-break, and this time the roles were reversed as Federer raced into a 5-1 lead, pouncing on two tepid second serves from the American.
The sixth seed clawed his way back into the breaker, and demanded of his opponent that he hold his nerve at 6-5 to serve out for the third set: Federer duly did just that.
Roddick was undeterred by having slipped behind in the match, and broke the Swiss in the fourth game of the fourth set, slamming a backhand down the line to re-exert his authority.
Federer smelt an opportunity after the American had double faulted at 30-30 with a 4-2 lead, but the sixth seed won an epic 21-shot rally with a powerful forehand, and followed it with a booming ace to consolidate his break.
Federer surged into a 0-30 lead with Roddick erring slightly as he served for the fourth set, but the American harried superbly to win an extended rally, and delivered another stunning first serve out wide to take the match into a fifth and final set.
In just the second game of the final set, Roddick continued his unblemished record of saving break points in the match, and rescued a sixth with an emphatic first serve out wide after Federer had won an 18-shot rally with a deft forehand.
Both players refused to compromise on their serves, crunching big deliveries seemingly at will, and Federer unthinkably out-aced his opponent as the final set coasted along through 6-6 and beyond.
With the set locked at 8-8, Roddick found an exquisite backhand passing shot down the line to prompt two set points, but somehow Federer wrestled his way out of trouble in the manner of an escapologist, holding after deuce.
As both players grew wearier, their impeccable standards finally began to wilt, and two overhit backhands from Roddick handed victory to Federer, his record-breaking victor in the most dramatic manner.
Prior to the match Federer stood, in many people’s eyes, on the cusp of ending the perennial debate over whether he is the game’s greatest ever player. His record now stands alone.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.
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