Sudanese teenager Nouredin Adam fought gallantly to beat Tanzanian Shaaban Ibrahim by 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), in a nerve-jangling International Tennis Federation’s sanctioned under-14 epic final match played at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club’s centre court yesterday.
The boys’ event was preceded by girls’ singles final where Adam’s sister Samah shocked Shannon Wong from Mauritius by 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in another thrilling best of three show.
It was one of the thrilling (Ibrahim vs Adam) final that kept spectators spellbound for three and half hours as the teenagers braced the blistering sun with spectacular actions.
Baseline player Adam won the title on tier break (7-5) as they fought up to a final third set at 6-6 games, with the Khartoum boy making a dramatic comeback to take advantage of Ibrahim’s weak back hand returns.
The match that started at 05:00 hours lasted for three and half hours later as Adam won the first set by 6-4.
Ibrahim had to come from behind after trailing by 5-1 games but he was not strong enough to power his serves past Adam who put the first set beyond reach after winning the tenth game.
The homeboy Ibrahim took command of the second set with master class of volleys that left Adam committing many unforced errors. Ibrahim won 6-1 to bounce back into the game and stretch the match into decisive third set.
Ibrahim won easily amid thunderous applause from home supporting fans who thronged at the DGC hard court in big numbers.
Highly backed Ibrahim took the final set promisingly to take a 4-2 games lead but would not be able to extend his dominance as Adam made a spectacular comeback to level it to 4-4 games. It was in this game when Ibrahim and Adam exchanged advantage ten times before the Sudanese emerged winner to drew level.
Ibrahim won the fifth game and had a sever for the sixth game but blew his golden opportunity for poor back hand.
Adam drew level on five games apiece and then stepped up his performance to take a 6-5 lead, needing to win one more game to wrap up the victory. Ibrahim then bounced back with his spin shots that found the Sudanese napping for the game to tie at 6-6.
Umpire Hassan Kassim signaled for the tie break that left Ibrahim’s Zimbabwean coach Martin Dzuwa giving the match a back as he would not be able to watch the final outcome.
Ibrahim took a good command to lead by 4-2 in the tie breaker but Adam bounced back to draw level and then led to 5-4.
Ibrahim levelled before Adam outpaced him with quick fire wins to put the game beyond the reach to break the tie by 7-5 and wrap up the victory.
In mixed doubles played later in the afternoon, Ibrahim combined well with Adam’s sistr to beat Robin Ntatangwa and Tedd Ntari by two straight sets of 5-4,6-4.