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Favourites set to clash tomorrow
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mohd Aiman Abdullah (L) and Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim in action during an earlier Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 match. BT file

Mohd Aiman Abdullah and Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim picked up their third straight victory in the Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Abd Rasheed Abdullah and Izannie Abu Bakar.

The duo of Billy Wong and Mohd Andi Hambali are on pace with the favourites after also picking up their third consecutive triumph with a 6-2, 6-0 result over Jay Yong and Jermaine Francis last night.

Competed in the round-robin format, the competition continues tomorrow and both of yesterday's winning duos are set to clash at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas - the meeting set to see a reunion between former Brunei No 1 Pg Aki and his partner Wong.

Wong and Pg Aki were teammates in Brunei's first team triumph in the Borneo Cup back in 2003 and also played in the doubles event at the 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.

"Billy is one of the players who we groomed back in the day. He played well and is still one of the top players," said Pg Aki in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"He is no stranger to me as we have played in the Davis Cup together as well and I'm looking forward to the match on Friday.

"It will be close and can go either way, and it all depends on how we hold our mental toughness - as physical-wise both (teams) are there.

"Even the skill level is the same. It is going to be interesting and I'm excited to go up against him," continued Pg Aki, who was part of the Brunei team that won bronze during the 1999 SEA Games.

Wong, who was a regular in the doubles event partnering Ian Chok for almost a decade, has only played together with Andi once last year.

He felt that the partnership is still shaky but they are adjusting well.

"We are still gelling together and getting used to each other. It is so far so good and our target is to at least reach the final," said Wong.

"It is still pretty good and we are getting better. The standard is there but we are not playing as well as we want to," he added.

Andi also pointed out that they are also adapting to playing on the courts.

"The courts are fast and we are still trying to adapt to them," said Andi, who usually plays at the Brunei Tennis Centre.

"We will use the first match (against Aiman and Pg Aki) to learn on how to play if we meet in the final," he concluded.

The other match saw the pair of Francis Xavier Golez and Juliano Licup work for a 6-7(5), 6-4, 15-13 comeback victory over Siddhesh Mahadeshwar and Arun Isak Ravi Kumar.

Courtesy from Brunei Times