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Alejandro Galan and Juan Lebron scored a thrilling win in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The world’s No 1 men’s pair of Alejandro Galan and Juan Lebron battled it out against Ramiro Moyano with Xisco Gil in an epic match that went the distance in the World Padel Tour Modon Abu Dhabi Padel Master on Wednesday.

The thrilling contest went neck and neck before Galan and Lebron came out on top with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 win. Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association, witnessed the showdown featuring the top-ranked men’s duo.

New pairing

The No 2 men’s pair of Agustin Tapia and Arturo Manso just made it into the second round after an intensely close 7-6, 7-6 result over Javier Mora and Javier Barahmona. New pairing Patricia Llaguno and Victoria Iglesias began their adventure with a victory over their compatriots Lorena Alonso and Sandra Hernandez 6-1, 6-1 in just over one hour on centre court.

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Ariana Sanchesz, Paula Josemaria, Alia Taher and Aisha Alawadhi before the start of their match. Image Credit: Supplied

Spectators were delighted to see the historic debut of Arab Women on the World Padel Tour Centre court. UAE Nationals Alia Taher and Aisha Alawadhi took on former world No 1s Ariana Sanchez and Paula Josemaria, and despite the defeat, it marked a ground-breaking moment for the sport.

In a heartwarming display of support, the crowd cheered on UAE Nationals Abdulla Alabdulla and Fares Al Janahi as they faced off against mid-ranked Spaniards Javi Rico and Jorge Ruiz in the main draw. Notwithstanding the loss, the wild card team’s spirited effort thrilled the spectators and showcased their promising talent on the global stage. The Arab presence on an international stage will surely benefit the region, in spite of the scorelines.

Prize fund

This tournament is a major landmark for Middle East sports and the World Padel Tour, which is taking place for the first time in Abu Dhabi, awarding winners a total prize pool of €250,000, the highest ever in a WPT tournament.

As anticipated, the action on the first day was incredible, headlined by the upset loss of fan-favourite Francisco ‘Paquito’ Navarro Compan (Spain), who played with Argentina’s Juan Tello, 4/6 — 5/7 against Spain’s Gonzalo Rubio Perez and Javier Ruiz Gonzalez.

Winning streak

Other fan favourites Argentine Federico Chingotto and Spaniard Javier Garrido ‘El Califa’ Gómez cruised through to the next round, winning two sets against Francisco Javier Leal Perez and Jon Sanz Zalba. Top-seeded Agustín Tapia and Arturo Coello Manso came through for their fans, winning against Javier García Mora and Javier González Barahona, 7/6, 7/6.

After ending the 2022 season with a five-title, 19-match winning streak, Spain’s No 1-ranked Alejandra Salazar Bengoechea and Gemma Triay Pons beat their compatriots Anna Cortiles and Sofia Saiz Vallejo, winning a fairly one-sided match, 6/2, 6/0.