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Kei Nishikori
Nishikori, Pliskova crowned Brisbane International champions
6 January 2019, 6:08 PM

Japan’s Kei Nishikori overcame Daniil Medvedev in the Brisbane International final on Sunday for his first ATP title in nearly three years and the 12th of his career.

Last year’s finalist Nishikori, who prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-2, won 70% of points on his first serve and converted five out of 15 break point opportunities to snap a nine-match losing streak in finals.

“This week was one of the best for me,” Nishikori, who beat Denis Kudla, Grigor Dimitrov and Jeremy Chardy this week, said.

“I’ve never had a week like this to start the season, so it gives me a lot of confidence.”

World number nine Nishikori started slowly, trailing 3-0 in the opening set but responded in typically determined fashion to win six of the next seven games for an early advantage.

Medvedev saved four break points to take a 3-2 lead in the second set before dragging the match into a decider but his opponent, who lost their previous meeting in last year’s Tokyo final, was not to be denied again.

Breaking Medvedev for a 3-1 lead in the third set, Nishikori held firm to seal the match in a little more than two hours for his first trophy since winning in Memphis in February 2016.

“Great final today, I lost to him last year in the final in Japan, so I’m happy to get revenge today,” Nishikori added.

“I’m really happy that finally I’ve won this title, it’s been like seven or eight times at this tournament.”

Earlier, former world number one Karolina Pliskova battled back from a set and a break down to beat Lesia Tsurenko 4-6 7-5 6-2 and win the women’s title for the second time.

Tsurenko served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but the tall Czech drew on all her experience to overcome her dogged opponent and regain the title she won at the Queensland Tennis Centre two years ago.

The Ukrainian took an injury time out after rolling her ankle while being broken in the first game of the third set and was powerless to prevent the world number eight from storming to her 12th career title.

“I think everything was against me today… I felt there is no chance I can win. I felt so far away from playing good tennis tonight,” Pliskova, who needed a pep talk from coach Rennae Stubbs to regain composure, said.

“Rennae said ‘I am absolutely sure you can win this match,’ which gave me some confidence and belief that I can do it.

“I just tried to change the things around a little bit and believed I was going to get a chance… I felt I was getting better with the time.”

Victory meant Pliskova joined Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2016) and Serena Williams (2013-14) as the third woman to win the Premier event twice.

Jazz presenter ‘Bra Mesh’ passes on
1 January 2019, 7:37 PM

Jazz presenter and radio legend Mesh Mapetla also known as “Bra Mesh” has passed away.

His radio career centred around the presentation of Jazz programs and is known in Jazz circles as the ultimate Jazz fundi. He worked for the erstwhile Radio SR, Radio Bop, Radio Metro and Lesedi FM.

Many Jazz artists have credited “Bra Mesh” for their success in the industry.

 

He presented the programme for almost eight years before being relieved off his duties.

During his Sunday slot days at the station, jazz lovers would have their ears glued to the radio.

After leaving Lesedi FM, Mapetla performed at the Sports Bar.

Dirco calls for probe into extremist activities in Mozambique
1 January 2019, 6:08 PM

International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says it’s unacceptable for South Africans to be involved in activities that destabilise other countries.

This follows reports of charges against South Africa citizen Andre Hanekom related to his alleged aiding of an extreme jihadist group that is destabilising the northern part of Mozambique.

A South African and two Tanzanians are among leaders of a jihadist group reported to be operating in the northern gas-rich region.

According to reports these groups wants to create an independent state.

Hanekom, 60, was formally arrested in August in a hospital after being seized by military from a restaurant in the gas industry hub town of Palma.

Dirco Spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya says the Minister has called for a thorough investigation into the matter.

More than 800 South Africans are in prisons across the world for crimes, including fraud, drug possession and violent crimes, with the majority in the Americas for drug-related convictions.

Click on the video below:

Four injured after German man rams car into crowd; racist motive suspected
1 January 2019, 5:25 PM

Police detained a 50-year-old German man early on Tuesday on suspicion of ramming his car into a crowd of people in the northwestern German town of Bottrop, injuring four, in what authorities say may have been a xenophobic attack.

The man, who fled the scene, made racist comments when he was later stopped and arrested, according to a statement by local police and prosecutors.

“Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that maybe linked to the xenophobic views of the driver,” the statement said. “In addition, investigators have preliminary information about a mental illness of the driver.”

A police spokesperson said Syrian and Afghan citizens were among those injured, but gave no further details.

One of the four people injured remained in hospital.

The attack occurred after midnight on New Year’s Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop.

Earlier, the driver had steered his car at another pedestrian, who managed to escape unharmed, according to the statement.

He also targeted people at a bus stop after fleeing the scene of the Bottrop attack, it said.

Pope bemoans disjointed world, praises unity over diversity
1 January 2019, 3:21 PM

Pope Francis, in his first message of the new year on Tuesday, bemoaned a lack of unityacross the world, and warned against a soulless hunt for profit that benefits only a few.

“How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed,” the Pope said in his traditional New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his homily he paid homage to motherhood, saying a world that looked to the future while forgetting “a mother’s gaze” was shortsighted.

“It may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters,” he said.

The New Year’s address followed a turbulent 2018 for the Pope, whose Church was battered by a torrent of sex scandals across the world that Francis has repeatedly failed to contain.

The sense of crisis was underscored on Monday when the Vatican spokesperson and his deputy abruptly and unexpectedly resigned following disagreements on communications strategy.

Pope Francis made no overt reference to the tumult, but called for Roman Catholics to remain rooted to the Church, saying: “Unity counts more than diversity.”

He also warned that Church risked becoming “a beautiful museum of the past” if people lost “the amazement of faith”.

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