Dubai: Belgium claimed a hat-trick with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Tunisia in the final of the 25th Al Nasr Leisureland (ANL) Nations Cup that concluded at the ANL tennis courts late on Thursday.
Back-to-back champions in 2016 and 2017, Belgium made amends for their absence last year by winning the biggest tennis competition for teams in the UAE.
Belgium took the lead in the first singles when former ATP Tour player Jonas Merckx eased past Waleed Jallali 6-4, 6-0. But, Mohammad Koubaa kept the Tunisians afloat with a 6-2, 6-3 win over captain Dries Depla. In the deciding doubles, Merckx combined with Kenneth Cavwenbrgh to outdo Jallali and Koubaa 6-2, 6-2 for their third straight crown in the 25-year history of this competition.
Tennis Emirates board officials Ahmad Abdul Malek and Nasser Al Marzouqi were joined by Andul Kader Yousuf of ANL at the presentation of trophies after the final. Belgium picked up a cheque for Dh20,000, while Tunisia had to stay content with Dh10,000. UAE ‘A’ and France, the two losing semi-finalists walked away with Dh5,000 each.
“We are very happy to win this tournament for the third time. We knew we had an outside chance to win, but we also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Belgian skipper Depla told Gulf News.
“After the two singles, we were deciding who should play along with Jonas. After the first few games we knew we had made the right decision of fielding Kenneth alongside Jonas,” he added.