Venus wins in Dubai

Dubai: Venus Williams returned to the world’s top five for the first time in six years on Saturday by clinching the 40th title of her career with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Virginie Razzano in the final of the troubled Dubai Open.

The last time Williams played Razzano in a WTA Tour final, two years ago in Tokyo, the French player

saved three match points in the second set and went on to beat her. But her victory in the $2 million event on Saturday was rarely in doubt once she had taken the first set. Both the crowd and Venus showed appreciation for Razzano, who produced another spirited performance after having beaten two top five players, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva, along the way. It was the seventh time in the last eight final appearances that Venus had won. — AFP

Abidal sidelined

MADRID: Barcelona have lost French international defender Eric Abidal for around eight weeks due to a leg injury, the club said on Saturday. Abidal was forced off 22 minutes into Saturday’s 2-1 derby defeat by Espanyol and will now be sidelined for the next two months. It is bad timing for Abidal who will miss out on an emotional return to former club Lyon who Barcelona face in the Champions League on Tuesday. — AFP