ISLAMABAD: Playing consistent but powerful baseline game top seed Cheong Eui Kim (Korea) overcame strong resistance from Rio Noguchi to win the men’s singles title of Serena ITF Futures Tennis Tournament here at the PTF Complex courts Sunday.
The final that had to be shifted from Centre Court to adjacent court in the wake of fading natural light, Kim beat Noguchi (Japan) in a three-set battle 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1.
The Japanese player started off the final in a whirlwind fashion breaking Kim at the outset, courtesy to some entertaining and attacking tennis. Though Kim bounced back with a break, Noguchi went on to win the first set on a tie break.
“We are used to play together and know each other game well. I had early control but Korean is a powerful customer and knows the art of bouncing back,” Noguchi said.
Kim did exactly that and went and was seen in top gear in the second set. He was seen playing consistent baseline game, showing the solution of all the winners sent in by Noguchi. Kim was seen playing superb backhand winners that earned him many points.
After closing in the second set, he continued to be in aggressive form yet again going into the third set. Kim broke Noguchi at the outset of the third and deciding set and was leading 3-1 when action was shifted to adjacent court where the facility of floodlight excited.
Kim had to exert little even after a short break and went on to wrap up the third set and match easily.
“Even after losing the opening set, I knew well I would go on to make a match of it. Noguchi played the first set well and I took time to get into top gear,” Kim said.
He hoped to improve his ranking with a title win. “It is a good sign for my ranking. The title will help me improve my ranking and get better events in days to come,” Korean said.
He said his opponent who was his partner in doubles victory was one of the up and coming player.
In Serena National Championship, Mohammad Shoaib beat Saqib Hayat 6-4, 6-4 to win the Boys’ singles Under-18 title while Sami Zeb edged out Uzair Khan 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win under-14 title.
Salim Saifullah Khan, president Pakistan Tennis Federation and General Manager Serena Hotels Michel Galopin were the guests of honours and distributed prizes among the winners of ITF Futures and national events.