Nurul Mohd Andi Hambali (pic) outplayed Juliano Licup 7-5, 6-2 to win the 1st Leg Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) Open Men's Singles title yesterday.
It was an equal battle between the two finalists in the first set, with neither letting their opponent go on a run to take a two point lead.
Andi eventually took control of the game when the scores were tied at 5-5 and won two straight games to seal the first set 7-5.
The two looked like they were about to do a repeat of the first set when Andi won the first and Licup took the second.
Andi then went on a four game streak to lead 5-1 with the help of his powerful returns at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Licup managed to take one last round before the 15 year old finished with the 6-2 set.
Andi, who started playing tennis at the age of six, was surprised with his 5-1 in the second set.
"I thought he would fight back like last time when I was leading 5-2, and I lost," Andi told The Brunei Times following his win.
"It was a really unexpected game for me, especially in the second set.
"I still need to work on my backhand because I only changed it about two or three months ago," added the youngster who will be taking part in the 49th Brunei International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit Grade 4 scheduled from March 11-16.
Licup felt that Andi deserved the win as he has shown a lot of improvement since the last time they met, and Licup won.
"Andi is a lot more consistent and powerful since the last time we played. Especially with his forehands," said Licup.
"Andi was so good tonight and it was hard to take the ball because he was very strong.
"In the second set when he was leading I changed my tactics and gave him drop shots. But he's still young and could chase down the ball and return it back," said Licup, adding he thought Andi will enjoy more success if he continues training.
Andi secured his spot into the final after he took out Abdul Rasheed Abdullah 6-4, 6-4 during the semi-finals meet whilst Licup finished with an easy 6-2, 6-2 win in his match against Mohd Yusree Hj Mohd Yusainey on Friday night.
Ali Bakurtheen was the victor in the consolation round final after he defeated Jermaine Francis 6-3, 6-2. Bakurtheen sealed his berth into the final after he outmatched Zen Sii 9-3 while Francis beat Jay Yong 9-6 in his semi-final round.
The consolation round bracket is for players who failed to make it past the first round of the competition.
BDTA assistant secretary general Izannie Abu Bakar presented the medals yesterday.