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Serena Beats World’s No.1, Halep, to Reach Australian Open Quarters

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Serena Williams subdued a stubborn fightback from world number one Simona Halep to take her quest for a record-equalling 24th major into the Australian Open quarter-finals Monday.

The 37-year-old American beat the Romanian top seed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in an epic three-setter to line up a last eight clash with Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova.

It was Williams’ first match against a world number one since returning after having a baby in September 2017 and the American showed why many already regard her as the greatest of all time.

She unleashed an early onslaught and Halep was in danger crumbling before the French Open champion regrouped for a stirring comeback.

“It was an intense match and there were some incredible points,” Williams said.

“She’s the number one player in the world and there’s a reason why… (but) I’m such a fighter, I just never give up.”

Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam Down Under two years ago while two months pregnant and is the bookies’ favourite to claim an eighth Australian title, despite being seeded 16th.

Another major would match Margaret Court’s tally and an intensely-focused Williams had not dropped a set in three matches before meeting Halep.

Williams’ started slowly when she allowed Halep to bring up three break points in the opening game, conceding with a double fault.

But the American broke back in the next, racing to the net for an overhead smash when one of her powerfully hit returns flew high off Halep’s racquet.

She then ran away with the first set 6-1 in 20 minutes, blasting 10 winners to three against the world’s top-ranked player.

Halep did better early in the second set, and when the American did break her in the third game she immediately broke back.

Standing well behind the baseline, she drew Williams into more rallies and began to find her range, hitting the corners to move the American around.

Halep broke again to take a set off Williams, celebrating with a fired-up double fist pump.

The turning point came in the sixth game of the third set when Halep clawed three break points but Williams held and took a decisive break in the fifth.

(AFP)

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Atiku Sympathises with Tinubu over ‘Unfortunate’ Fall on Democracy Day Parade Ground

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By Eric Elezuo

A former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has sympathized with President Bola Tinubu over his fall while trying to board a parade truck to inspect parade at the Eagle Square on Wednesday.

The former Vice President expressed his sympathies via his verified X account, describing the fall as ‘unfortunate incident’, and hoping that all is well with the President.

He wrote:

“I sincerely sympathize with President Bola Tinubu over this unfortunate incident as he was set to review the parade on Democracy Day. I hope that all is well with him -AA”

Recall that while Tinubu attempted to mount the open truck for inspection of parade, he slipped and fell. But he was quick to pick himself up again with the help of his aides, who came to his rescue.

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Democracy Day Parade: Tinubu Slips, Falls, Recovers

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President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday slipped and fell while boarding the parade vehicle at the venue of the 2024 Democracy Day.

The President had approached the vehicle shortly after he arrived at the Eagles Square, Abuja venue of the programme.

Our correspondent observed that the President lost his footing momentarily as he was about to step into the vehicle.

However, despite the slip, the President quickly regained his balance and continued with the proceedings.

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Glo Maintains 18 Years Tradition, Sponsors Ojude Oba Festival Again

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Digital solutions provider, Globacom, has announced that it will again be partnering with the organizers of the popular Ojude Oba festival this year in continuation of a tradition it started 18 years ago.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference held at Awujale’s Palace in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Globacom’s representative, Mr. Kazeem Kaka, restated the company’s commitment to uplifting Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

“Our sponsorship of festivals is aimed at identifying with the cultures and traditions of the Nigerian people, as an indigenous brand. Our involvement in the celebration of Ojude Oba festival is therefore geared towards promoting the unique tradition and custom of the Ijebu people”, Kaka said.

Globacom’s collaboration with the custodians of this festival, Mr. Kaka explained, underscores the company’s commitment to the rich heritage of the nation which is externalised through these festivals.

“It is our belief that our continued support for Ojude Oba will further strengthen the festival and entrench it as a world class carnival which will attract even more tourists from across the world. We are convinced that this partnership will further foster a symbiotic relationship with immense benefits for both Globacom and Ijebuland”, he added.

In his speech, the Chairman, Ojude Oba Planning Committee, Chief Olu Okuboyejo, paid tribute to Globacom for its massive support for the celebration which he noted serves as a reminder of the historical antecedents of the Ijebu people.

Themed: “Unity and Harmony in Ijebuland…The gift of Ojude Oba”, the 2024 edition of the festival is the 18th time that Globacom will be partnering with the Ojude Oba Planning Committee as the main sponsor of the festival.

Ojude Oba is celebrated annually two days after the Islamic  Eid El-Kabr festival and it’s a social gathering where all divergent issues affecting the lives of the Ijebu people are addressed. It is also a cornerstone for the development of the community socially, politically and economically.

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