‘Shocked’ Osaka wins Australian Open to become world number one - Mega Icon Magazine
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‘Shocked’ Osaka wins Australian Open to become world number one

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka said she was “in a state of shock” Saturday after holding her nerve to battle past Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open in a three-set thriller that also delivered her the world number one ranking.

Naomi Osaka The fourth seed and US Open champion triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 in a 2hr 27min epic over the Czech eighth seed to claim back-to-back Grand Slams and become the first Asian, male or female, to hold the top spot. The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers.

“I felt like I was in a state of shock through the entire trophy presentation,” the 21-year-old said. A rattled Osaka almost blew her title hopes with one hand on the trophy when she failed to convert three championship points leading 5-3 in the second set. The never-say-die Kvitova forced a deciding set before Osaka finally edged ahead with a decisive break early in the third. “Of course I felt very disappointed and sad when I had three match points,” she said.

“I tried to tell myself there’s nothing I can do about it. Told myself I’m playing a final and need to keep fighting and couldn’t act immature and needed to keep fighting.” Her jubilation was a marked contrast to Osaka’s maiden Slam win last year, when she tearfully hid her face as boos rang around Flushing Meadows in the wake of losing finalist Serena Williams’ tirade at the umpire.

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This time, Osaka cried with joy and smiled as she became the youngest woman to win back-to-back majors since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. Her gutsy performance confirms her status as the leading light of tennis’ new generation. Kvitova can console herself with a career-best performance at Melbourne Park, where she did not drop a set on her way to the final. It was her first Grand Slam decider since a burglar slashed her racquet hand in a 2016 knife attack and the Czech has shown she is again a contender at the majors.

“Thank you for sticking with me even when we didn’t know if I would able to hold a racquet again,” Kvitova told her team, with her voice cracking. “It’s crazy. I can hardly believe that I just played in a Grand Slam final again.” – Slugfest – Predictions of a slugfest between two of the game’s biggest hitters proved accurate as the pair went toe-to-toe in the first set. They had never met before and Osaka initially struggled to unlock the lanky left-hander’s serve, while Kvitova at times could not handle her opponent’s powerful returns.

The Czech mixed up her game with drop shots and changes of pace but blew three break chances in a crunch sixth game in the first set. Kvitova saved two set points to force a tie-break but Osaka ran away with it 7-2, taking the first set the Czech had conceded in the entire tournament.

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Kvitova regrouped and kept her hopes alive with the first break of the match, going up 2-0 in the second. Osaka was frustrated but did not panic, going back on level terms in the next game after benefiting from a Kvitova double fault and poorly hit drop shot.

The Japanese star broke again to take control as Kvitova’s error rate climbed, bringing up three championship points. But the Czech saved all of them, forcing Osaka to serve for the title. Nerves took hold as Osaka conceded a break to make it 5-5, smashing a ball into the ground and putting her hands over her ears.

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The Czech broke again to seize momentum with her fourth straight game, claiming the set as Osaka left the court with a towel draped over her head. Osaka regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand winner to take a break point in the third game of the decider, going on to see off a Kvitova break opportunity, her mental demons put to bed. Kvitova would not surrender, saving three break points before again forcing Osaka to serve it out, but the Japanese champion managed it on the second attempt for a famous victory.

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Okonjo-Iweala: My Father Died Same Way He Lived

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“He died in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States of America and Ghana. We are immensely grateful that his last moments were peaceful and that he died the same way he lived his life – with quiet dignity.”
by saharaReporters, New York Sep 14, 2019

The father of former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo is dead. The former minister through her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, in a statement yesterday announced the death.

Okonjo-Iweala, in the statement, said his father died in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States and Ghana.

“He died in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States of America and Ghana. We are immensely grateful that his last moments were peaceful and that he died the same way he lived his life – with quiet dignity.

“Daddy was an accomplished man on so many levels – a highly respected academic, international public servant, university administrator, intellectual and traditional ruler. My father touched so many lives personally and professionally,” she said.

The former World Bank Chief added: “It is a tribute to the kind of life that Daddy lived that on his 90th birthday last year, a delegation of old students of Ibadan Boys High School presented him with a letter of commendation written in 1953 in which a colonial education administrator praised him highly for the all-round improvements he achieved in the school within a short period of time. He was only 25 then.

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“Daddy was a passionate intellectual and prolific writer whose last book was published at the age of 90. He touched so many lives personally and professionally and was an unrelenting believer and practitioner in the power of education to transform lives.

“In pursuit of this commitment, Daddy sponsored the education of at least 19 students up to university level in addition to his own seven children. He inspired and motivated so many more.

“Having witnessed the ravages of war, he was committed to unity and peaceful coexistence of all. From his marriage of 66 years to our mother, Prof. Kamene Okonjo to his dedication to duty, he was exceptional.”

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AfDB launches US$ 2 billion 1.625% Global Benchmark due 16 September 2022

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) rated Aaa/AAA/AAA (Moody’s/S&P/Fitch, all stable), has launched and priced a US$ 2 billion 3-year Global Benchmark bond due 16 September 2022, its first US$ benchmark of the year.

Launched on September 11, the bond issue is the Bank’s second Global Benchmark of 2019, following a EUR 1 billion 10-year priced in March 2019. With this transaction, the Bank has now raised US$ 4.4 billion in 2019 to date and executed 61% of its borrowing program for the year. The transaction received strong support from investors globally, with order books reaching US$ 2.8 billion and 53 investors participating. The high quality of the order book is illustrated by the strong participation of Central Banks and Official Institutions, taking 64% of the allocations.

The African Development Bank decided to take advantage of favorable investor sentiment post summer break to access the 3-year tenor, in spite of volatile market conditions ahead of the Fed Meeting the following week. The mandate was announced on Tuesday, September 10, at 12:00 London time with Initial Pricing Thoughts of Mid-Swaps + 13 basis points (bps) area.

The transaction met strong interest from the outset, with Indications of Interest in excess of US$ 1.8 billion (excluding Joint-Lead Managers interest) when order books officially opened at 08:00 London time the following morning, with initial price guidance of Mid-Swaps + 13bps area.

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Momentum continued throughout the European morning, with orders in excess of US$ 2.5 billion around 11:20 London time. At this time, final pricing was set at Mid-Swaps + 13bps. Following the close of the order book in the US, the size of the transaction was set at US$ 2 billion by 14:20 London time.

The transaction was priced at 16:24 London time with a re-offer yield of 1.679%, equivalent to a spread of 8.75bps vs UST 1.5% 15 September 2022, the issuer’s tightest print vs US Treasuries to date.

“We are delighted with this successful dollar Global Benchmark, and particularly pleased by both the very high quality of the order book and the solid participation of African Central Banks. The African Development Bank achieved its tightest ever spread to US Treasuries, and we are grateful to our investors across the world for this outcome, and the financing it will bring to the African continent”. Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Group Treasurer, African Development Bank

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Niger: IDPs reject government’s relief materials

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The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Niger State housed in some temporary camps have rejected relief materials donated to them by the state government.

The displaced persons said the government has handled their plight with levity.

They insisted on getting a permanent solution to the incessant security challenges in their communities.

Over 5,000 persons are currently taking shelter in five camps provided by the state government after bandits attacked several communities including Rafa and Shiroro.

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