Muscat: It took Hassan Haider a lot of hardwork, perseverance and guts of steel to capture the boys under-14 singles crown at the ISC/Muscat Pharmacy Open Junior Tennis Tournament organised by the Indian Social Club (ISC) Oman.
In a thrilling and nerve-wrecking final, top-seeded Hassan made heavy weather of a comfortable 6-3, 4-0 advantage and held his nerves to outlast Ayaan Malhotra before edging to a 6-3, 5-7, 10-4 victory to emerge winner.
Kudos to Ayaan who one thought was gone and out at 1-set and 0-4 down. It was not the first time that Ayaan has shown fighting abilities. After a below-par showing in the first set, it was a combination of Ayaan’s tactical moves and a degree of laxity by Hassan that led to Ayaan staging a marvelous fight back.
From 0-4 down in the second set, Ayaan broke Hassan’s serve in the fifth and seventh games and held for 4-games-all. He broke again for the crucial 6-5 lead and served out the second set.
Hassan took an early 4-0 lead in the decider super tie-breaker before Ayaan opened his account. Hassan put Ayaan under pressure with some brilliant down the line winners and went on the attack to close the match at 10-4 to claim victory after nearly two hours of play.