Miami Gardens, Mar 23 (AP/UNB) — Facing the setting sun, Serena Williams tried to shield her eyes with her left hand as she hit a shot, lost the point and then waved in frustration at the bothersome glare.
Later, after a seesaw victory in her first match at the Miami Open's new site, she was able to joke about the unwanted spotlight.
"A lot of photographers came," Williams said. "I thought, 'This must be good light.' I thought about taking a selfie, but you've got to stay in the moment."
Williams played poorly for a stretch and was broken three times but steadied her game in the final set to beat Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. She avoided a repeat of last year, when she was eliminated in the first round by Naomi Osaka.
That was Williams' farewell to Key Biscayne, where she won eight titles. Only Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf have won any women's tournament more times.
Six-time men's champion Novak Djokovic won his opening match under the lights, beating Bernard Tomic 7-6 (2), 6-2.
With the Miami Open's move to the Dolphins' stadium complex, players are adjusting to the unfamiliar setting. The No. 1-ranked Osaka beat qualifier Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-1, but she and Williams both found the mix of sun and shadows in the cavernous stadium a challenge.
"It was interesting," Williams said. "First it was dark out there, which was really odd. The shadows were so intense it was dark, and then ... there was light."
She chuckled and said, "Whatever. I need to focus on playing better or not being in the tournament much longer."
Osaka agreed that any issues with visibility weren't worth complaining about. She hit 14 aces and overcame a ragged stretch in the second set, when she became so frustrated she threw her racket.
"I had a bit of a dip," Osaka said. "It was really hard for me, I think, emotionally in the second set, because I just started thinking about winning, not exactly the things I could do in order to win."
Williams' match followed a similar pattern, but she regrouped after a flurry of errors in the second set.
"I said, 'Serena, you can play a lot better than that,'" she said.
While the outer courts were crowded on a mild, cloudless afternoon, there were only a few thousand spectators for Williams' match in the 13,800-seat stadium, with temporary stands on three sides and a net replacing the 50-yard line.
"It was a different court, but it was a beautiful court," said Williams, who happens to own a small share of the Dolphins. "It's so different from anything I've played on in my entire career, so I was super excited."
The mood was mostly subdued, although when Williams whacked a backhand winner with a grunt that echoed in the upper deck, the fans added their own roar to hers.
The match victory was the 76th for Williams in the tournament, but she hasn't won a Miami Open title since 2015. She hasn't won any tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, before she took a break of more than a year to become a mom.
The match was her first since she retired at Indian Wells two weeks ago because of a viral illness.
On the men's side, defending champion John Isner hit 20 aces, lost only 11 points on his serve and beat qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7). No. 3-seeded Dominic Thiem, coming off the biggest title of his career Sunday at Indian Wells, lost his opening match to Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4.
No. 5 Kei Nishikori was upset by Dusan Lajovic 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Lajovic improved to 3-14 against top-10 players.
In other women's play, Canadian 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu, who overcame a match point to win her opening match, reached the third round by beating No. 32 Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3. Andreescu won her first career title last week at Indian Wells.
Defending Miami Open champion Sloane Stephens beat Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-3. Three-time champion Venus Williams overcame a wobbly start to beat No. 24 Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (4), 6-1.
Dhaka, Mar 22 (UNB) – The Sikder Group Independence Day Golf Cup Tournament 2019 was inaugurated on Friday at Kurmitola Golf Course.
Lieutenant General Md Shafiqur Rahman, Chief of General Staff of Bangladesh Army, inaugurated the three-day tournament as the chief guest.
Chairman of R&R Aviation Ltd and R&R Holdings Ltd (Sikder Group) Rick Haque Sikder, Managing Director of R&R Aviation Ltd and R&R Holdings Ltd Ron Haque Sikder, Director and COO Syed Qamrul Islam Mohon and the Advisor of R&R Aviation Ltd Air Commodore (retd) Sakeb Iqbal Khan Majlis, and Advisor Farid Uddin Khan were also present.
The tee-off was witnessed by Major General Md Enayet Ullah, Vice President of Kurmitola Golf Club, Brigadier General Abidur Reza Khan (retd) Chairman, Tournament Committee of Kurmitola Golf Club, Brigadier General GSM Hamidur Rahman(retd), CEO of Kurmitola Golf Club, Lieutenant Colonel Md Abdul Bari (retd), General Manager, Golf Operations, Kurmitola Golf Club, other civil and military high officials and businessmen.
Sikder Group, a leading business conglomerate, organised the event on the occasion of Independence and National Day for the seventh consecutive year.
Around 650 civil and military high officials, diplomats and businessmen are taking part in the event.
Miami Gardens, Mar 22 (AP/UNB) — Three-time tournament champion Venus Williams won her opening match Thursday at the new site of the Miami Open by beating Dalila Jakupovic 7-5, 6-3.
Williams, making her 20th appearance in the tournament, won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001 when the event was played on Key Biscayne. It moved this year to the Miami Dolphins' complex, and Williams played in the stadium.
Cori Gauff, a 15-year-old wild card from Delray Beach, Florida, became the youngest player since 2009 to win a WTA Tour match when she beat Catherine McNally 6-3, 6-4.
Whitney Osuigwe, a 16-year-old qualifier from Bradenton, Florida, also earned her first WTA Tour victory. She beat Mari Osaka, 6-2, 6-4. Osaka is the sister of 2018 champion Naomi Osaka.
No. 3-seeded Petra Kvitova won her opening match by beating Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4.
Dhaka, Mar 21 (UNB) – Bangladeshi Grand Masters Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib and Enamul Hossain Razib shared the top slot in the Open section of the Asian Zonal Chess Championships (Zone 3.2) securing 5.5 points each after the 7th round matches at the conference room of SREDA at Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) in the city on Thursday.
Four players are sharing the 2nd position with 5 points each. They are GM Ziaur Rahman & FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Saif Sporting Club, GM Reefat Bin Sattar and IM Mohammad Minhaz Uddin of Bangladesh Navy.
Six other players are sharing the 3rd slot securing 4.5 points each. They are FM Mehdi Hasan Parag, FM Syed Mahfuzur Rahman, CM SM Sharon, CM Sohel Chowdhury, Nayem Haque and FM Thilakarathne of Sri Lanka.
In the 7th round games of the Open section, GM Rakib beat GM Zia, GM Razib drew with FM Fahad, GM Reefat beat IM Shakil, IM Minhaz drew with FM Thilakarathe, FM Parag drew with Nayem, FM Mahfuz drew with Shawket Bin Osman Shaon, CM Sohel defeated FM Md Taibur Rahman, CM Sharon beat Swarnavo Choudhury, Md Jamal Uddin trounced FM Mohammad Javed, Alahakoon Isuru outplayed Tahsin Tajwar Zia, CM Md Sharif Hossain overcame Mortuza Muhtadi Islam, CM Chanchal Kumer Ghosh beat Sadnan Hasan Dihan, CM Keshav Shrestha of Nepal beat Mihir Lal Das, CM Subrota Biswas drew with FM Md Saif Uddin, CM Mahtabuddin Ahmed beat Md Asadujjaman, Jabed Al Azad beat Mortuza Mahathir Islam, Dibakar Dibya beat Nasir Hasan and Dr Ratan Kumar Paul beat Md. Murshedul Kabir.
In Women’s section, WFM Sharmin Sultana Shirin of Janata Bank Officer Welfare Society and WCM Noshin Anjum were jointly leading the meet securing 5.5 points each after the 7th round matches.
WFM Syeda Shabana Parveen is in the 2nd position with 5 points.
Four players are sharing the 3rd position with 4.5 points each. They are WIM Rani Hamid, WFM Tanima Parveen, WFM Nazrana Khan Eva and Jannatul Ferdous.
In the 7th round games of the Women’s section, WFM Shirin drew with WFM Nipa, WCM Noshin beat WFM Zakia Sultana, WFM Eva drew with WFM Tanima, WIM Rani Hamid defeated Kazi Zarin Tasnim, Jannatul beat WFM Premanath Dinushki of Sri Lanka, Israt Jahan Diba drew with Ahmed Walijah, WIM Ranasinghe SD of Sri Lanka beat Kiswara Shajrin Eavan, Sabikun Nahar Tonima beat WFM Sujana Lohani of Nepal, Nusrat Jahan Alo drew with Jahanara Haque Runu, Samiha Chowdhury beat Aeon Sarker and Thakur Jania Haque beat Wadifa Ahmed.
The 8th round games of both sections will be held on Friday (March 22) from 3pm at same venue.
Dhaka, Mar 21 (UNB) – Baridhara Rajuk School clinched the boys’ crown and Scholastica School girls’ title of the Panam Group Dhaka Metropolis School Volleyball (Boys and Girls) Tournament eliminating their rivals in the finals at Shaheed Suhrawardy National Indoor Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday.
In the finals, Baridhara Rajuk School emerged boys’ champion beating South Breeze School, Dhanmondi by straight 3-0 sets while Scholastica School clinched the girls’ title beating BISC Nirjor also by straight 3-0 sets in the afternoon.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Deputy Office Secretary of Ruling Bangladesh Awami League Biplob Barua witnessed the day’s final as the chief guest and later he distributed the trophies.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Volleyball Federation Ashiqur Rahman Miku was present on the occasion.