ABU DHABI // Omar Bahroozian sent a service return wide in the second set against Peter Wessels. That summed up the final of the inaugural Wilson Cup at the Zayed International Tennis Centre at the Zayed Sports City on Friday night.
It was the Emirati No 1's third finals defeat in three years against the former world No 72, the tennis coach at the Zayed International Tennis Centre for the past three years, this time by a 6-1, 7-6 score.
"This was the best he has played against me since our first meeting at a final in 2011," said Bahroozian, who lost 8-6 in the tie-break. "In the first set he was really unplayable at times. The previous two meetings were close at the Le Meridien Fujairah, but tonight for some reason he was playing better.
"His shot making is really, really good and that's the quality of the player once ranked 72 in the world. I tried to fight and make the match a bit longer and that's what I did. It may have been because he was more familiar with the surface, as he's the coach here. From my point of view it was tough because I had a very hard passage to the final."
So did the winner. Wessels acknowledged it was his toughest game against Bahroozian.
"I was really struggling physically and, like Omar, had to play in the singles, doubles and the mixed doubles, plus my lessons that I had to go through, it was indeed a tough week for me," he said.
Bahroozian was comparably burned out.
"I had a very tough semi-final in the previous night against a player [Mo Niaki of Canada] ranked 1,000 in the world and before the final had to play the men's doubles final, which went to a three-setter," he said.
"And that combined with some coaching and not playing more regularly, I felt a bit tired, but that shouldn't take anything away from Peter's win."
Bahroozian took a 3-0 lead in the second set before Wessels reeled off five in a row. The Emirati came back to level at 6-6 to force the tiebreak.
The 30 year old from Dubai returned to competition after a re-think of his retirement plans last September.
"I wanted to call it a day because I have put up a lot of years and now I can contribute with some coaching," Bahroozian said.
"I am trying to combine between these two as the country needs me for the Davis Cup in April and looking for a wild card in the Dubai Open. This was my first competition in more than four months and I am pretty pleased of my performance."
Bahroozian sensed that there are not many reinforcements on the immediate UAE horizon.
"I think we went through a gap in the generations where our federation didn't take care of grooming some youngsters," he said.
"Suddenly, they have realised and have told us to continue. They are grooming some young players, but it will take some time."
Bahroozian partnered with Dale Fawcett to win the men's doubles final against Kirksteen Rebuyas and Mhar Serra 4-6, 6-3, 12-10. Wessels and Feline Charlot took the mixed doubles, defeating Shane Claes and Troy Gillham 6-1, 6-4.
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