Dubai: The UAE and the Philippines won the men and women’s titles in contrasting styles at the 24th Nations Cup tennis tournament that concluded at the Al Nasr Leisureland (ANL) tennis courts on Saturday.
The UAE defeated France 2-0 in the men’s finals, while the Philippines remained unbeaten in the four-team women’s section to win for the first time-ever in the history of the tournament.
The hosts’ win was hard-fought and well-contested, with Amirvala Madanchi giving them a 1-0 lead following a 6-0, 7-6 (3) win over Xavier Masson.
In the second singles, the 36-year-old Omar Behroozian battled well before quelling the challenge from a much younger Pierre-Antoine Dumas 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to take his team through.
“It’s always been close between us. We have played four times in the past two months and it has always been close even though I have won every time,” Behroozian told Gulf News.
“I was dictating no doubt, but he is such a good mover on court that he managed to return everything I threw at him. He’s a solid opponent to face,” the UAE captain said, complimenting his rival.
French skipper Masson was pleased to return with the runners-up spot in their debut appearance in this annual tournament that was organised by Tennis Emirates in coordination with Al Nasr Leisureland. “It’s certainly a great experience for us. The final was well contested and tense and we can be pleased with the feedback from this week and return even stronger next year,” Masson said.
Earlier in the semi-finals, the UAE defeated Nigeria 2-0, while France sidestepped the Philippines, last year’s runners-up, 2-1.
With just four teams in the fray for the women’s crown, it was the Philippines winning all three matches against India, Syria and Serbia to emerge at the top of the pile in the round-robin format.
“The toughest match was the one against Serbia,” non-playing captain Jong Acena related. Led by Anna Clarice Patrimonio, the other members on the Philippines squad included Tanya Bulilan and sisters Bea Francisca and Renee Marie Acena.
“This is a proud moment for our country as this is the first time-ever that we’re winning the title here,” Acena said.
“I am glad these youngsters got a chance to prove themselves. This has been a great opportunity and a truly proud chapter for Philippines tennis,” he added.
The 24th edition of the annual competition attracted eight teams in the men’s section, while four women’s teams participated.
P.P. Mathew, general manager of ANL, was joined by Ahmad Abdul Malek, vice-president of Tennis Emirates; Nasser Yousuf, general secretary; and Slah Bramley, technical director of Tennis Emirates at the presentation of trophies at the end of the final.
(Men) 1. UAE, 2. France, 3. Nigeria, 4. Philippines
(Women) 1. Philippines, 2. Serbia, 3. India, 4. Syria
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