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.
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.
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.
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.
Makinde flags off construction of ultra-modern local govt service commission secretariat
Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Friday, flagged off the construction of the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board, noting that those opposed to the project would be silenced when they see the outcome.
Governor Makinde, who maintained that the state government has commenced a gradual rehabilitation of the secretariat complex which, he said, had been left to degenerate over the years, added that the process would not abate until the entire structure was given the desired face-lift.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying these while unveiling the 3D design for the office complex.
The governor maintained that the idea of the office complex came from the Local Government Service Commission itself, while he also noted that in 11 months when the project would be completed, opposition members criticizing the government would be silenced.
He said: “It is my pleasure to be here today to flag off the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and the Local Government Pension Board.
This was not my idea but that of the Permanent Secretary of Local Government Service Commission.
“We thought we should lay our own foundation and start a campaign of regenerating the secretariat. Oyo State had the opportunity of having the very first modern secretariat then and, several years later, it is still those structures that we keep seeing. They were not even renovating them, they were just painting the exterior, only.
“We did not do anything for the 100 days in office of this administration but, much later, we released 15million Naira to each ministry to renovate their offices. And I am glad, indeed, that the Secretariat is wearing a new look, not only from the outside but even from the inside. Renovation work is also going on at the Governor’s Office.
“In about 11 months, we will be coming back here to commission the edifice. So, I thank the chairmen and chairpersons of the local government areas and the local council development areas, because everybody came together to buy into the vision. And by that your singular action, we were able to raise a substantial amount that is needed for the construction of this structure.
“Where I was coming from, we played a little bit of politics but this is governance. When we initially came up with this idea, some people said we were taking money from the government’s purse. I think they will shut their mouths permanently in another 11 months.
“I congratulate the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board. It is your idea and baby and we will support you to see to its completion.”
In their separate speeches, the chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Service Commission/Local Government Staff Pension Board, Honourable Aderemi Ayodele, and the secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State Council, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, described the flag off of the office complex as historic.
Abatan, who praised Governor Makinde for seeing to the payment of about N5 billion in gratuities to retired workers of Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals, said that Makinde’s administration was purposeful.
According to him, the administration has so far paid N1.98 billion to retirees of primary schools while local government retires have got about N3.2 billion.”
He further stated that in the last one year, the administration, apart from paying 100 per cent pensions to retirees, has been releasing N274 million monthly for the payment of gratuities of retired Primary School teachers and Local Government staff.
He noted that so far, the sum of N3.5 billion has been paid as gratuities to retirees by the administration, noting that the efforts of the Makinde government have culminated in the socio-economic development being witnessed in the state.
COVID-19: SON moves to harmonise locally produced ventilators to meet global standards
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Wednessday disclosed that it has begun harmonising the production of ventilators developed across the country to conform with the international standards toward containing COVID-19 pandemic.
SON’s Director-General, Osita Aboloma, made this disclosure in a statement in Lagos, following the unveiling of locally manufactured ventilators produced by Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun.
SON’s DG, who was represented by its Ogun Office 1 Coordinator, Mr Jerome Umoru, was at the unveiling.
SON urged various inventors to ensure compliance with ISO 5080601/2/12/3020 and Medical Electrical Equipment part 11 for clinical care.
He noted that adherence to the standard will ensure ease during the process of conformity assessment and product certification.
He stressed that the certification of locally produced ventilators, air purifiers and hand sanitiser machines would put the nation in its pride of place globally.
“We are partnering with the institute in ensuring that various machines produced in the country meet the required standards so as not to end up in the shelves,” Aboloma said.
He also added that the standards body of the unification was also aimed at saving the nation’s foreign exchange spent on importation of ventilators to fights against COVID-19.
Aboloma advised private sector investment in such innovations to enable inventors to go through the next stages of clinical trials and obtain the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) mark.
He reiterated SON’s support toward sustaining local production of essential materials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through quality assurance.
“In our efforts to address the ongoing pandemic, we have diligently assigned officers to inspect the ventilators and alcohol-based hand sanitisers under production.
“We have one common standard for each product. We want to ensure that what we are producing meets the standard and once it does, we will certify it.
“We will also continue to monitor activities so that they do not rest on their oars in producing quality goods.
“I have presented a copy of the Standard to the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and it is the ‘golden rule,” he said.
SON promised that the moment the institute was able to meet the basic parameter on requirements, certification of the innovations would be fast tracked.
“SON is ready to partner with all technical institutions, especially those involved in the production of life saving equipment and materials at this time.
“This is so that their products will meet minimum requirements of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS), and undergo certification under the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) scheme,” he said.
The SON director-general revealed that in no distant time, consumers would be empowered through product authentication scheme to determine the quality and conformance of products at the point of purchase.
He said that those without necessary certifications would be rejected.
Just In: Makinde distributes palliatives to persons living with disabilities
The governor, who stated this at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan during the distribution of palliatives to PWDs, maintained that pretenders and impersonators will never again be allowed to take what rightly belongs to PWDs in the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the distribution of palliatives to PWDs is the third phase of the palliatives distribution in the state, with the state having distributed palliatives to 90,000 poorest of the poor households as well as the distribution of seedlings, herbicides, pesticides and other farm inputs to 10,000 farmers in the first and second phases.
In his speech, the governor reiterated his promise to set up an agency for persons with disabilities, noting that his administration has not forgotten its commitment in that regard.
He added that the agency will be in place before the administration’s second anniversary in office.
He said: “When I walked in here this morning, I thought of the pictures in my archive. We have all met. We have all taken pictures together. So, you are not new to me and I am not new to you. It is just the continuation of the relationship that we started, even before I became the governor of this state.
“The bottom line is that, before now, we went into the records and we saw that every time you say you are putting up a programme for the people living with disabilities, you only have 20 per cent of the data being correctly presented. About 80 per cent will just be able-bodied people taking benefits that belong to the people living with disabilities. But we have been able to crack that and solve it. So, never again will pretenders or impersonators in Oyo State take what rightly belongs to people with disabilities.
“When we said they should bring names of persons living with disabilities for them to be included in the administration at the local level, some people thought we would not check. So, they brought the names of able-bodied people. We called and asked around and discovered that it was the names of able-bodied people that were submitted. So, we removed their names.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank you for your support during the election and the present administration. We made promises during the electioneering and promised to involve you in every facet of this administration and we are on that path.
“This is the third phase of palliatives distribution. The first stage is for the poorest of the poor amongst us. We distributed palliatives just like this to 90,000 households. Some who are farmers called me and said we should give them seedlings to increase their productivity when they get to their various farms. We listened to them and, in the second phase, we distributed seedlings to the farmers.
“Now, this is the third phase, which is for the vulnerable within us and it will be for 30,000 households. So, we are flagging it off with yourselves because you are among the vulnerable in our society.”
Governor Makinde, who stated that he was aware that his promise to set up an agency for PWDs has not been fulfilled, said the promise will come to fruition, as he has kept a record of all the promises he made during the electioneering.
He implored the PWDs to continue to adhere to the directives of the Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19.
Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Adviser to the governor on Agribusiness, Dr. Debo Akande, said the event was a reflection of Governor Makinde’s commitment to ensuring equity and equality in the running of the state, adding that with the governor, all citizens and residents of the state are equal.
He maintained that the food security and emergency committee, which is in charge of palliatives distribution, did due diligence to ensure that all persons present at the event had their data checked and clarified.
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