By Alaric Gomes
Dubai: Seventh seed Ghassan Alansi of Yemen claimed his first career title when he scalped fifth seed Alexey Prokopchuk of Ukraine in the final of the 12th Al Wasl Club Dubai ITF Junior Championships that concluded on Saturday.
Alansi recorded a 6-3, 6-4 win in the boys’ final, while Frenchwoman Tessah Andrianjafitrimo clinched the girls’ crown by a walkover after her opponent Natalya Malenko rushed off to catch a flight back home to Ukraine.
Omar Abbas, Chief of Tennis at Al Wasl, presented the trophies to the winners alongside Sarah Baker, General Secretary of Tennis Emirates, Slah Bramly, Technical Director of Tennis Emirates, and Tournament Director Zayed Abbas.
“I’m too overwhelmed to say anything right now as I am too full of emotions after my first ever title,” Alansi told Gulf News. “I came here to win and here I am with a first ever ITF title of my career and I find it difficult to believe.”
A player in the mould of Frenchman Gael Monfils, the lanky Alansi took his time to settle in to the final, mixing his game with drop shots and slices and keeping his Ukrainian opponent guessing. He took the first set 6-3 with a couple of breaks.
In the second, Alansi stumbled a bit as Prokopchuk came to terms with his game plan, but the Yemeni did enough to ensure he won in straights sets. “This is like a dream come true for me,” Alansi said. “I came to Dubai with no support from anyone and here I am going back to Sana’a with my first ever title. I simply cannot believe it.”
Andrianjafitrimo won her title when Malenko dashed off to Dubai International Airport, which will see the Ukrainian lose the 30 ranking points she would have earned as runner-up, along with an additional four suspension points against her name.
“She had booked a charter flight back home with closed dates. But when she entered the final, she knew she had to stay an additional day. She tried her best to change her flight but could not. She was crying the whole day [on Friday],” ITF Referee Hossam Hamed Salam told Gulf News.