Aisam-ul-Haq wins maiden ATP title

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New Delhi, Dec 1: Playing to a plan, Pakistan's Aisam-ul -Haq overpowered South Korea's Jea Sung An 7-5, 6-4 to win his maiden ATP Challenger tennis tournament here today.

The 145th rank 27-year-old Pakistani took 87 minutes to sniff out 399th ranked South Korean's resistance to earn 55 ATP points and a cheque of 7200 dollar.

Sung An put up a good fight in the first set and made Aisam to fight for every point.

The tall Pakistani fired 15 aces and three double faults found it hard to break the Sung An's defence as the match started and the first set went with the serve till the tenth game. Aisam, however, looked more confident compared to his rival who was surprisingly tentative.

Sung An, who yesterday had beaten Martin Slaner (Austria) with ease, tried to engage Aisam in long rallies from the baseline. However, the Pakistani managed to approach the net and applied the 'kill'.

Aisam managed to break Sung An in the crucial 11th game to clinch the set and go up 1-0.

The fight went out of the South Korean after he lost the first set and he virtually threw in the towel in the next without putting much fight.

Sung An, who fired nine aces and had one double fault, could not engage Aisam that well in the second as the Pakistani went on the offensive.

If the end took a bit longer it was not due to Sung An's effort but because of several unforced errors committed by Aisam at crucial stages.

Aisam broke Sung An in the third game and that was enough for him to be assured of the title. However, in the 10th game, the Pakistani made things tougher for himself by double faulting twice.

He started the game with 15-0 and then fired an ace to make it 30-0 but double faulted at this stage (30-15). He again sent an ace (40-15) and had two match points but again double faulted (40-15). However, he steadied himself and sent a superb shot down the middle serve which Sung An returned into the net.

''I was serving well for the whole week. I was confident of going into the final,'' Aisdam said after the title win.

''This was my second challenger final this year, the first was in Nottingham (England) where I lost to Australia's Alun Jones,'' he said adding ''at that time I was nervous but today I was sure of myself, I was confident.'' ''In any case Delhi has been very good to me. It is just like a second home to me and it is great that I won my first ATP title here,'' said the beaming Lahori.

UNI

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