BRUSSELS: A policeman stand guards the Brussels courthouse yesterday. Mohammed Abrini, suspected bomber Osama Krayem and two other suspects have been heard yesterday at the Brussels courthouse. — AFP
BRUSSELS: A policeman stand guards the Brussels courthouse yesterday. Mohammed Abrini, suspected bomber Osama Krayem and two other suspects have been heard yesterday at the Brussels courthouse. — AFP

Belgian court jails jihadist recruiter for 15 years - Abrini, 6 others held for another month

Emotional Svitolina retires injured from Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Carlos Alcaraz demolished unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic to storm into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday as Daniil Medvedev stayed on track for a third final in four years. The Spanish second seed, who will next face sixth seed Alexander Zverev, is locked in a fierce battle with Novak Djokovic for the world number one spot and is also after his Melbourne crown.

The two-time Grand Slam winner produced some scintillating baseline hitting at Rod Laver Arena to sweep Kecmanovic aside 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 in one hour 49 minutes. The 20-year-old, who missed last year’s Australian Open with an injury, has dropped just one set so far in Melbourne, where he had previously never been past the third round.

“I pushed him to the limit in every ball, every point,” said Alcaraz. “He has played a lot of tough matches before this one, so probably physically he wasn’t 100 percent. “I could take my chances in every set and it was a pretty good match for myself. “I’m feeling better and better every day. Every match I play here on Rod Laver (Arena) I feel more comfortable. Pleasure to play here, amazing court.”

Zverev overcame a fierce challenge from British 19th seed Cameron Norrie to pull through 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (10/3) in a punishing match lasting more than four hours. He racked up 54 winners, including 15 aces, as he chases his first Grand Slam title.

‘Feeling 100 percent’

Russian third seed Medvedev was made to work hard by Portugal’s Nuno Borges before prevailing 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-1 after more than three hours. The 27-year-old will meet Polish ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the last four.

“Before this match I was feeling 100 percent,” said Medvedev, defeated by Djokovic in the 2021 final and by Rafael Nadal the following year. “But he made me run third set and that’s why I missed a little bit too much. I was pretty dead to be honest. In the fourth set I managed to raise my energy levels.”

Big-serving Hurkacz ended the dream run of French wildcard Arthur Cazaux 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to advance to his first quarter-final in Melbourne. Earlier, Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska fought off two set points in the first set and came from a break down in the second against two-time champion Victoria Azarenka to win 7-6 (8/6),6-4.

Her reward is a clash with unseeded Czech Linda Noskova, who went through when Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina retired with a bad back while trailing 3-0 in the first set. “I need to take a little bit of time to breathe because my heart I feel is going to jump out of my body,” said Yastremska, who hammered Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the first round.

“I always felt like I was running behind the train, but I think because I am a little bit of a fighter that’s why I won this match.” Noskova, 19, barely broke a sweat to progress after former world number three Svitolina was unable to complete her match on Margaret Court Arena.

The 19th seed needed a medical timeout at 2-0 down in the first set, during which she received treatment for her lower back, and she pulled out after being broken for the second time on her return. “I got a spasm, or I don’t know exactly what it is, but like shooting pain in the first game, the last two points,” said Svitolina. “Couldn’t do anything, completely locked my back.”

Noskova, ranked 50 in the world, is enjoying a breakout tournament, including a stunning win against world number one Iga Swiatek in the third round. Chinese 12th seed Zheng Qinwen routed unseeded French player Oceane Dodin 6-0, 6-3. She will face unseeded Russian Anna Kalinskaya, who beat Italian 26th seed Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-2. — AFP

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