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Dream partnership gets off to flying start
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim (L) and Mohd Aiman Abdullah during last night's BDTA Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 opener against Siddhesh Mahadeshwar and Arun Isak Ravi Kumar. BT/Md Asdeny Yakub

It was a good warm up for Mohd Aiman Abdullah and Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim after the duo opened their Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 campaign with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Siddhesh Mahadeshwar and Arun Isak Ravi Kumar last night.

The tournament kicked off with three games last night, with the highlight match seeing Aiman and Pg Aki Ismasufian, a pairing of the current and former Brunei No 1s, team up for the first time.

Abdul Rasheed Abdullah and Izannie Abu Bakar were also victorious after dispatching the team of Jay Yong and Jermaine Francis 6-0, 6-1.

In the night's other match, Billy Wong and Nurul Mohd Andi Hambali were made to work for a 6-4, 6-2 win over Francis Xavier Golez and Juliano Licup.

The six-pair competition at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas is contested in a round-robin format and continues today at 7pm.

The top two pairs will contest Sunday's final.

Pg Aki, who was the Sultanate's top player before the emergence of Aiman, felt that the match was a good start for the team after they used their experience to overpower their younger opponents.

"I wouldn't say it was easy but it was a comfortable win. We were just far ahead in terms of experience," said Pg Aki in an interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"Our opponents are good junior players and they played well but they made some mistakes and maybe they were nervous as well.

"Overall, it was a good warm up for us, especially me since I haven't played in a long time," added the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games bronze medalist.

"I came to play without practice. But stamina wise I'm still okay.

"This is a good chance to play with him (Aiman) and it feels really good as we've never played doubles together," continued the seasoned player who is a four-time winner of the Borneo Cup.

Aiman was also delighted to play alongside Pg Aki considering he idolised the latter when he started playing.

"It is an honour and a great opportunity to play alongside him (Pg Aki). I've been wanting to do so but never got the chance until now," said Aiman.

"I've only played him once back when I was 12-years-old where I lost 6-1, 6-0," added the 21-year-old.

"But so far it is quite alright. We need to adapt more to make us understand each other," he continued.

Aiman is not going to let the win get to his head and said the duo will take it one step at a time.

"Our mission is to win one game at a time and we will not take anything for granted. We will respect all our opponents and hopefully strike some fear in them.

"We're here to have fun and play some good games and winning would be a bonus for us as anything can happen."

Courtesy from Brunei Times