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Osaka Does It Again, Sends Serena Williams Back Home

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Osaka Does It Again, Sends Serena Williams Back Home

Naomi Osaka made it through to the Australian Open final by ending Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title on Thursday.

Osaka, who won the US Open last year, is now on course to make it back to back Grand Slam titles as she overcame a nervous start to wrap up a hugely impressive 6-3 6-4 win over the 39-year-old American to make it 20 wins in a row, while Jennifer Brady withstood late drama to defeat Karolina Muchova and reach her first major final.

 

It was another setback for Williams as she once again came up short in her 10th attempt to move level with Margaret Court’s haul of major titles.

Osaka, whose last defeat came on February 7, 2020, said on court: “I was really nervous and scared in the beginning but I eased my way into it.

“It was about having fun and it was the first day having a crowd for a while. It’s an honour to play her and I didn’t want to go out really bad so I just tried my best.

“I was a little kid watching her play so coming up against her on the court for me is a dream.”

Asked how she was reading the Williams serve so well, she shrugged: “I was just guessing. It’s either going this way or that way.”

The numbers were in Williams’ favour; the American had won all her previous eight semi-finals at Melbourne Park, had not lost to a top-three player at a Grand Slam since 2007, and had beaten Osaka in their last two meetings to gain a measure of revenge for her acrimonious defeat in the 2018 US Open final.

Perhaps mindful of that, Osaka looked uncharacteristically tight at first in front of a limited crowd, allowed back in after Victoria’s five-day coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

She struggled with her ball toss in the direct sunlight and double-faulted on her way to dropping serve in the opening game.

Williams, by contrast, began with an ace and a confident hold before Osaka wriggled out of another break point, an ace getting her on the board.

That seemed to click the 23-year-old into gear, and as her timing returned Williams’ deserted her, the first set quickly disappearing as Osaka won five games in a row and held her nerve to serve it out at the tricky end.

A sizzling crosscourt backhand secured another break for Osaka at the start of the second with Williams becoming more animated, at one point bellowing “make the shot” at herself.

Osaka had won eight out of nine games before Williams could stem the bleeding with a hold for 1-2.

A nasty dose of the Osaka jitters allowed Williams back in for 4-4, but the third seed promptly broke back to love and this time nervelessly wrapped up victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

READ ALSO: No Mercy For Messi As Mbappe Breaks 23 Years Record

Williams gave the crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena a long wave goodbye with her hand on her heart, prompting questions about whether she would be coming back.

In her post-match press conference, the 39-year-old responded: “I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone. So…”

She then made an abrupt and emotional departure from the room after breaking down in tears.

“It was a big error day for me today,” she told reporters.

Asked if it was just a bad day at the office, Williams said: “I don’t know. I’m done,” before leaving the room in tears.

She later took to social media to convey a message to her Australian fans, which said: “Melbourne and my Australian fans. Today was not ideal outcome or performance but it happens. I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and everyone single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you.”

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Two Catholic priests Kidnapped In Edo

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Two Catholic priests Kidnapped In Edo

The abduction of two Catholic priests, Rev. Father Udo of St, Patrick Catholic church Uromi and Rev. Father Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Center Ugboha, was confirmed on Sunday by Edo State Police Command.

The priests were abducted along the Benin-Auchi Road on their way back to Uromi in Esan South-East Local Government Area of the state.

In a statement on Sunday, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the abduction of the reverend fathers.

The statement read: “This is to confirm the kidnap of two Catholic Rev. Fathers; Rev. Fr. Udo Peter of St. Patrick Catholic Church Uromi and Rev. Fr. Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Ugboha in Esan South East LGA of Edo State.

READ ALSO: Kukah’s Diocese Under Attack, Two Priests, Worshippers Kidnapped

“The Edo State Police Command was informed of the incident by the Divisional Police Officer, Ugboha, Edo State, that on Sunday, July 3, 2022, one Rev. Father Amos Abhulimen of St. Dominic Catholic Church Ugboha, reported that he was informed by the Catholic authority via WhatsApp that the above-named Catholic Rev. Fathers were attacked, kidnapped and taken to unknown place by some kidnappers along Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen Communities.

“Immediately, the Commissioner Of Police, CP Abutu Yaro, dispatched policemen to the area to carry out aggressive and well coordinated manhunt in arresting the kidnappers as well as rescue the Rev. Fathers unhurt,” the statement added.

A Catholic priest popularly known as Rev. Father Christopher Odia was Kidnapped last Sunday at Ikabigbo Community, Etsako West LGA and was later found dead after few hours in the bush.

 

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

The Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Peter Nwaoboshi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday also ordered that the senator’s two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.

The court’s ruling was delivered in an appeal challenging the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the defendants on two counts of fraud and money laundering. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which arraigned him however challenged the lower court’s decision.

EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.

 READ ALSO: Why Move To Impeach Senate President Will Fail – Nwaboshi

Part of the money paid to the vendor – N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd – was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.

Earlier in his judgment, Justice Aneke said the evidence of the prosecutor “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank to purchase additional equipment and as provision of working capital”.

“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third defendant .Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the EFCC quoted the judge as saying in a statement.

The high court judge was also quoted as claiming that a fatal blow was dealt to the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10. Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants”.

However, ruling on the EFCC’s appeal on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents.

“The court said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged,” EFCC said.

 

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Drama In Court As Lawyer Appears In Priestly Attire

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VIDEO: Drama As Lawyer In Priestly Attire Appears In Court

By John Michael Ojo
There was a mild drama today at the Okpoko Magistrate Court in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, as a lawyer simply identified as Ogbachalu Goshen appeared before the court in a pastoral robe.

But Ogbachalu who was standing before the magistrate, CB Mbaegbu, was denied  hearing on the ground that he was not properly attired, leading to a minor incident in the court.

READ ALSO: Female Students Can Wear Hijab To Lagos Schools – Supreme Court

However,  citing a recent Supreme Court’s judgment which supported the wearing of hijab by female students in public schools as a reference point, Ogbachalu reminded the court that it was his right to dress in his priestly attire as he was an ordained pastor and that the objection by the court to hear him, was an infringement on his fundamental human right as enshrined in section 38 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

The magistrate however disagreed his submission which only forced the court to dismiss.

 

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