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US Open 2020: Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win third Grand Slam title


Osaka lies on the court to celebrate her win
Naomi Osaka lay down on Arthur Ashe Stadium moments after sealing victory

Naomi Osaka demonstrated her growing maturity to fight back against Victoria Azarenka in a compelling US Open final and claim her third Grand Slam title.

Japanese fourth seed Osaka, 22, won 1-6 6-3 6-3 for her second US Open title.

Osaka was overwhelmed in the first set and was in danger of trailing 3-0 in the second before recovering to win 10 of the next 11 games to take momentum.

Belarusian Azarenka, playing in her first major final since 2013, lost serve for 5-3 in the decider.

Osaka shrieked with joy as she took her second match point, then calmly laid out on the court and stared at the New York sky as she contemplated her latest achievement.

Osaka’s level raised considerably as 31-year-old Azarenka was unable to maintain the intensity she showed in a one-sided opening set.

The fightback ensured Osaka, who won the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, maintained her record of winning every Grand Slam final she has played in.

“I don’t want to play you in any more finals, I didn’t really enjoy that, it was a really tough match for me,” Osaka jokingly told Azarenka.

“It was really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger. I learned a lot, so thank you.”

Another US Open title for Osaka – but a contrasting occasion

Osaka’s maiden victory at Flushing Meadows two years ago came in straight sets against Serena Williams in a hostile environment following the American’s infamous argument with umpire Carlos Ramos.

This second success could not have been more different.

Here she had to fight back from a set down against an inspired Azarenka – and navigate a tricky decider which could have swung either way – on a virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For me, I just thought it would be embarrassing to lose this under an hour,” said Osaka, who will rise to third in the world after her win.

Osaka looked a little lost as Azarenka overwhelmed her in a fast start, hitting 13 unforced errors and struggling to cope with the Belarusian’s proactive play and controlled aggression.

Draping a towel over her head at changeovers was a sign of Osaka’s concerns. Her attempts to collect her thoughts and regain her composure did not initially work, however.

Another wayward forehand prompted a frustrated Osaka to throw her racquet to the floor in disgust.

Eventually, though, the mental resilience which she says she has developed over recent months came to the fore.

That resulted in a major momentum shift in her favour as Azarenka threatened to move 3-0 ahead in the second set.

A rasping forehand by Osaka proved pivotal, not only in the game, but ultimately in the whole match as she seized control to level.

The former world number one maintained that level in the decider to earn a 4-1 lead, but was unable to convert one of three break points to move 5-1 ahead.

That might have proved costly when Azarenka immediately put the set back on serve, only for Osaka to battle back again by winning what proved to be the final two games.

Osaka gets the world talking

Not only has Osaka impressed on court during the Cincinnati Masters-US Open bubble in the past month, she has also won many admirers for her activism in the fight against racism and police brutality in the United States.

A few days before the start of the US Open, Osaka pulled out of her Western and Southern Open semi-final in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police in Wisconsin.

Before her US Open first-round match, she wore a face mask with the name of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot dead by a policeman in March.

Osaka, who has Japanese and Haitian parents, and was brought up in the United States, said she had seven masks with seven different names.

Her target was to reveal all of them by reaching Saturday’s final and that provided her with extra motivation to win the title, according to her coach Wim Fissette.

“I felt the point was to make people start talking,” Osaka said after her victory.

“I’ve been inside the bubble and not sure what’s going on in the outside world. The more retweets it gets, the more people talk about it.”

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

When Osaka won the title two years ago, boos rang around the Arthur Ashe Stadium as Serena Williams had been docked a game.

This time virtual silence greeted her triumph – but again she had to do it the hard way.

Azarenka played an almost flawless first set, and it was only when four games from defeat that Osaka found her range and some serious power.

The 22-year-old has taken some knocks over the past 18 months as she came to terms with life as one of the world’s highest profile athletes.

A first-round defeat at last year’s Wimbledon was perhaps the hardest to take – but look at her now.

Not only is she playing with supreme confidence once again, but is also able to use her influence to promote social justice in a very assured and unassuming way.

More to follow.



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Coronavirus live news: cases climb in Victoria, Australia, amid record infections globally | World news


Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, Vietnam has kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.

But on Friday, Vietnam’s health ministry said in a statement that a 57-year-old man from Danang, a popular tourist hotspot, had tested positive three times for the virus, prompting the isolation of 50 people he came in contact with.

One hundred and three people connected to the patient were tested for the virus but all returned negative results, the statement said.

The health ministry has not officially confirmed the case as Covid-19, which comes at a time when Vietnam was about to resume international commercial flights and as domestic tourism is surging.

It did not say how the man contracted the virus, but said he had not left Danang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.

Late on Friday, authorities in Hanoi reinstated a recommendation to wear masks in public places as Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index closed down 3.22%.



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Masks in Melbourne as Victoria coronavirus cases hit record: Live | News


 

  • The Australian state of Victoria has announced 484 new cases of coronavirus – a daily record – as it becomes mandatory for everyone in the state to wear masks when they leave their homes. 
  • From mask sceptic to champion of face coverings: After months of downplaying their use, United States President Donald Trump has told Americans to wear masks because “they have an impact”. He would “gladly” use one, he added.
  • More than 14.9 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and nearly 616,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the updates:

Wednesday, July 22

05:20 GMT – Some sense trouble as Japan launches domestic tourism campaign

Japan is preparing to launch a controversial domestic tourism campaign that some have dubbed “Go To Trouble”.

The “Go To Travel” initiative is supposed to boost the tourism industry with travel subsidies of up to 50 percent.

But as coronavirus cases surge, travel to and from Tokyo has been removed and politicians elsewhere want the campaign suspended for fear it will spread the virus around the country.

The public is also sceptical with a poll by the Mainichi newspaper showing 69 percent of respondents wanted it cancelled.

03:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports another daily record of cases

The Australian state of Victoria has reported a record 484 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths from the disease – both men in their 90s. 

Masks have been made mandatory in the state and everyone who goes outside must wear one.

People in Melbourne are currently only able to leave their homes for food and essential supplied, medical reasons, exercise and work or education (if it cannot be done from home).

 

Australia Melbourne

State Premier Daniel Andrews announces Victoria’s highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic [James Ross/EPA] 

03:00 GMT – Japan approves dexamethasone as treatment

Japan’s health ministry has approved the use of dexamethasone as a treatment for COVID-19.

Dexamethasone is a cheap and widely-used steroid.

Studies have shown it has benefits for people with moderate or advanced cases of the disease.




Is plasma therapy effective against coronavirus?

02:00 GMT – Study suggests coronavirus can spread through speaking

A new study by the University of Nebraska suggests that COVID-19 can spread through normal speaking and breathing, and travel further than two metres, according to a report by AFP.

The findings have not yet been peer reviewed.

The Nebraska scientists collected air samples from the rooms of five patients bed-ridden with COVID-19 from about 30 centimetres above the foot of their beds. The patients were talking – producing microdroplets or aerosols that can remain in the air for a number of hours – and some were coughing. 

The team collected microdroplets as small as one micron in diameter, and three of the 18 samples were able to replicate in the lab.

Joshua Santarpia, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said the findings supported the idea that people can get COVID-19 through microdroplets.

“It is replicated in cell culture and therefore infectious,” he told the news agency.




COVID-19 survivor: ‘You understand how important life is’

01:15 GMT – China reports nine new cases in Xinjiang

China has reported 14 new cases of coronavirus, five of them imported and the rest in the far western region of Xinjiang.

There have been no new cases of community transmission in Beijing for 16 days, according to state media.

23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – Qatar to relax travel restrictions from August 1

Qatar is relaxing its coronavirus travel restrictions from the beginning of next month.

From August 1, citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel overseas and return, while residents will be allowed to return.

Travellers from low-risk countries will have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and another after a seven-day home quarantine period, the Government Communications Office said in a statement.

If they are confirmed COVID-free from a recognised testing centre no more than 48 hours before travelling, they will be exempted from the test on arrival.

A list of the countries designated low-risk will be published on the website of the Ministry of Public Health and updated every two weeks.

23:00 GMT (Tuesday) – Trump comes out in favour of masks

After months of downplaying their importance, US President Donald Trump has come out unequivocally in favour of wearing masks. 

Speaking at the first White House press briefing in weeks, and without any medical experts present, Trump urged Americans to get a mask and wear it.

“Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they’ll have an effect and we need everything we can get,” he said. “I will use it, gladly.”  

Trump was talking in his first White House briefing in weeks and showed off his mask as he spoke. You can read more on what happened here.

US Trump

US President Donald Trump holds up his face mask at the White House press briefing on July 21 [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via AFP]

—-

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (July 21) here.





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Australia fires live: NSW and Victoria bushfire towns get brief rain reprieve – latest updates


Rain falls on some NSW, Victorian and South Australian bushfire-affected areas, but worse fire conditions are forecast to return. Follow all today’s latest news and live updates

9.19pm GMT

Asked if Scott Morrison’s initial response to the crisis was embarrassing for the nation, Craig Kelly says:

Absolutely not. In fact, what has been disappointing, is that we are a very stoic nation. We have had disasters in the past. Everyone has got behind the leader, we have got in there, done our best to clean it up.

But unfortunately, during an international tragedy, we have seen people actually trying to exploit it for political advantage.

9.16pm GMT

“There is no denialist cult,” Craig Kelly says, about views about climate change within the Morrison government.

He says the debate should be about hazard reduction. Which has already been explained about a million times.

Continue reading…



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Manchester Victoria station stabbings: Man admits attempted murder


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Media captionManchester stabbing: Police restrain suspect

A man who launched a frenzied knife attack at a railway station has admitted trying to kill three people, including a police officer.

Mahdi Mohamud, 26, stabbed and slashed at a couple and then attacked Sgt Lee Valentine at Manchester Victoria railway station on New Year’s Eve.

The couple’s injuries included a punctured lung and a skull fracture.

Mohamud pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to three counts of attempted murder and a terror offence.

He admitted possession of a document or record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The court heard Mohamud, of Cheetham Hill in Manchester, walked up behind a man and a woman in their 50s shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “Long live the caliphate” as they headed for a tram platform shortly before 21:00 GMT on 31 December.

He stabbed the man repeatedly in the back, shoulders and head and then slashed the woman across the face after the couple randomly crossed his path.

The man suffered 13 injuries including a skull fracture while the woman’s right lung was punctured and she suffered a slash to her forehead that cut down to the bone.

Image copyright
PA Media

Image caption

Four officers, including Sgt Valentine (second left) and two tram staff, received commendations following the attack

British Transport Police officers and tram staff confronted Mohamud, who witnesses said was “like an animal” and was “fixated” on stabbing and slashing.

Sgt Valentine, 31, shot Mohamud with his Taser but the barbs got stuck in the knifeman’s coat and failed to paralyse him.

The sergeant was stabbed in the shoulder before the suspect was wrestled to the ground and arrested.

Sgt Valentine said Mohamud was “dancing around, waving this knife around” before he started to run at the officers.

“He probably closed a seven foot gap in half a second,” he added.

“It was just like a dive, he flew, he probably jumped three or four foot off the ground and just sort of lunged, probably lunged at my head with his knife.”

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

A woman and a man in their 50s and a police sergeant were stabbed

A second kitchen knife was found in Mohamud’s waistband.

Greater Manchester Police said officers recovered a large amount of “counter-terrorism mindset material”, including images and a document about how to carry out knife attacks.

The defendant, a Dutch national from a Somali family, had arrived in the UK aged nine and became radicalised online, the force said.

Mohamud was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the attack and taken to a secure mental health facility where he is currently detained.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said: “The prosecution’s case is that the attack at Victoria Station was not simply a product of that mental illness.

“It was intended to be a lethal attack, carefully planned over a number of months, reflecting the defendant’s extremist ideology and his desire to perform violent jihad.

“The defendant’s actions may have been disinhibited by his mental illness, but they were driven by an entrenched desire to undertake jihad against the West.”



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