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Aisam Qureshi wins ITF Futures

November 23, 2003 14:11 IST

Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan won the $10,000 ONGC ITF Futures men's tennis  tournament beating Great Britain's Nicky Crawley 6-1, 7-5 in the final at the Doon School complex in Dehradun on Sunday.

This was the first Futures title on Indian soil for the third seeded Qureshi. He had earlier won a Satellite Masters in Mumbai two years ago. He gained 12 ATP points and $1300 from the victory which followed his triumph in Thailand last week in a similar event.

Crawley came into the tournament as a rank outsider, and with a ranking of 1050. The Briton had to come through the qualifying rounds and as such, must have been happy to reach the final and pocket $900 and 8 ATP points.

The Briton refused to go down without a fight and gave Qureshi a run for his money playing well above himself, particularly in the second set.

Down a set and broken in the first game of the second, Crawley displayed grit in breaking back and taking the fight to the opponent.

When Crawley went down 0-1 in the second, it seemed a cakewalk for the talented Pakistani but from the moment he broke back in the very next game and until Qureshi broke him again in the eleventh, the Briton gave the Pakistani a tough time.

"He had nothing to lose, he was the underdog. I wanted to put pressure on him from the start which I did but then he broke me and that gave him the confidence to play well," Qureshi said of his opponent.

As Crawley's game went up a notch, Qureshi's deteriorated. He began to struggle for rhythm and his rival began blasting winners on both flanks.

"I got an early break (in the second set) which is what I wanted but then started to make mistakes on the volleys. But as long as I held serve, I had no problems," Qureshi said.

"I told myself to go back to the basics. If he can pass me, well and good, because it was not easy to pass on these courts."

With the scores level at 5-5, the inexperience of Crawley showed off as he committed unforced errors to hand his rival two breakpoints.

Qureshi played the point with digital precision to go 6-5 up. And as with any seasoned players, his game came together at the right time of serving out the match.

A couple of crisp volleys and a back hand return later, Qureshi fired an ace to wrap up the contest.

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