Action from the opening day of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: NAS Sports Tournament got off to a perfect start with thrilling contests in the padel championship at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on Thursday. The opening day of the 10th edition of the annual Ramadan tournament witnessed strong competition in the 100-point local classification category.

The padel competition has attracted 500 players, including professionals and amateurs, and Saeed Mohamed Al Marri, secretary general of the UAE Padel Association, expressed delight with the overwhelming response and credited the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament for the growth and popularity of the sport in the Emirates.

Saeed Al Marri
Saeed Mohamed Al Marri is happy with the progress of padel in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Al Marri said: “The number of players competing in the padel championship in this edition has increased 10 times since the first edition, which debuted in 2013 NAS Sports Tournament. The game was introduced by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, and in the UAE it was first held at the Nad Al Sheba tournament. With Sheikh Hamdan’s unwavering support and the visionary role of Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association, padel has become the most-developed and rapidly expanding game in recent years.”

Brilliant rally

On the courts, Roberto Rodriguez and Martin Nochez brushed aside Marawan Al Qaisi and Ishaan Shubal 6-1, 6-2. Rodriguez and Nochez gained the upper hand from the beginning and didn’t allow their rivals to flex their muscles.

Jonathan Green and Colin Marshall had to dig deep to battle past Muhammad Al Hooli and Bilal Guerni 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 after a marathon tiebreaker, while Omair Al Zarouni and Humaid Bin Lahej staged a brilliant rally to beat Khaled Al Falasi and Khalfan Belhoul 3-6, 6-3, and 10-7.

Issa Al Marzouqi and Ahmed Mustafa also recovered from a set down to beat Hamad Abdullah and Muhammad Al Muhairi 6-2, 2-6, 11-9.

Winning start

Saood Al Arif and Nasser Al Balushi defeated Saeed Al-Manana and Abdullah Al Suwaidi 6-4, 7-6, and Hamad Al Mazmi and Muhammad Al Qasim outlasted Muhammad Al Falasi and Saeed Malik 4-6, 6-2, 10-2.

Mohammed Al Shamsi and Daniel Dupazo sweep aside Mahmoud Lattar and David William 6-0, 6-0. Francisco Rodriguez and Ignacio Gonzalez made a winning start with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Virender Chauhan and Aminu Adam.

Khalfan Belhoul
The padel competition has attracted 500 players, including professionals and amateurs. Image Credit: Supplied

In other matches, Abdullah Abdulaziz and Faris Al Janahi beat Maria Martinez and Fova Nikolenko 6-2, 6-0; Salem Al Houli and Andres Vera defeated Sami Al Sayed and Julio Perez 7-6, 6-3; Ranjan Paradeep and Rabih Al Maristani eased past Hamdan Al Janahi and Muhammad Al Janahi 6-0, 6-3, and Ali Al Aref and Victor Mina overcame Emilio Mesas and Jaswan Bebo 4-6, 6-3, 12-10.

UAE players well prepared 

Gonzalo Torres and Fabrizio Guerrero battled past Carl Shafik and Claudio Casasica 3-6, 6-4, 10-3, and Muammar Amin and Nasser Hamouda defeated Muhammad Al Buflasa and Abdullah Al Shamsi 5-7, 6-3, 10-6.

Prominent padel players Javier Lopez and Sergio Alchorisa started their campaign with a thumping 6-0, 6-0 win over Artem Budovkin and Mohammed Al Nuaimi.

Al Marri added that UAE’s national team are well prepared for the NAS International Padel Championship and expressed confidence in their abilities. The UAE team last year won the GCC Championship at the NAS Sports Tournament. He also explained the logic in sequence of the competitions so that the players could compete in the local categories first, then the international gold category, which will help them to effectively prepare for the international championship.