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Dream partnership delivers title
Monday, March 31, 2014

The dream partnership of Mohd Aiman Abdullah and Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim delivered as expected last night.

The current and former Brunei No 1s were crowned champions of the Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) Open Men's Doubles 1st Leg 2014 after overcoming Billy Wong and Nurul Mohd Andi Hambali 6-3, 6-2 in the final - sweet revenge for the winners after they lost their first meeting 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 on Friday.

Aiman and Pg Aki got off to a good start to lead 2-1 in the first set before the match was put on hold for almost two hours due to inclement weather at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas last night.

Both teams held their serves when the encounter resumed before Aiman and Pg Aki broke for the second time in the opening set to make it 4-2.

The 16-year-old Andi was visibly shaky having converted several unforced errors.

Both teams held their serves for the next three games to see Aiman and Pg Aki claim the first set 6-3.

The momentum was clearly with Aiman and Pg Aki as they stormed out to a 4-0 advantage to start the second set.

Pg Aki was having a good game at the net while his teammate handled the long balls well at the back.

It was a deficit Wong and Andi never came back from as they looked distraught at times, and the duo's strategy of both playing at the backcourt was countered by their more experienced opponents.

They also only had themselves to blame considering they hit good returns to only see the ball go out of bounds.

Aiman was ecstatic about the victory and is already hoping for more in the near future.

"I hope that we can continue playing together because this is a dream come true for me to play together (with Pg Aki), and now, to actually win a tournament," said Aiman in an interview with The Brunei Times after the triumph.

"We learned from our loss and put in a lot of thought into our game plan. We made a few strategies in case the first one didn't work but I'm happy that it did and we stuck with it.

"It was also good that we kept each other motivated throughtout the whole match to stay positive. We kept improving match by match and this is the best performance that we have put up together so far," continued the 21-year-old.

Pg Aki felt that the game was much closer than the score suggested and believes that his partnership with Aiman can go further.

"The score didn't reflect the game because it was a very good match," said Pg Aki. "It was a good performance but I thought we could have done better... I believe that there is a lot more we can do.

"Our opponents defeated us the first time by hitting a lot of long balls as we were at the net most of the time. We analysed their strengths and came up with a game plan. It worked and I think it might have psyched our opponents too," continued Pg Aki.

Wong, on the other hand, was disappointed and felt that it just was not their day.

"We were playing at the back and hitting long like in our previous match. It was part of our strategy but they adjusted to that," said Wong.

"We failed to adjust to the change and it also affected our mentality. There were plenty of distractions amongst ourselves and we swayed from our plan.

"I thought our performance was alright but it was just not our day. But credit to our opponents for putting us in the position.

"It is unfortunate because I thought the score didn't suggest how close the match was," continued Wong.

"I wasn't warmed yet in the first set so I was a bit off," said Andi. "I kept hitting my shots to the net and it only started getting better for me in the second set.

"I also thought that the break in between was a minus for us as we kind of lost our focus," added the 16-year-old.

Courtesy from Brunei Times