Tennis: Istomin wins Tashkent Challenger title

Tashkent, Oct 17 (IANS) Local star and top seed Denis Istomin scored a facile 6-3, 6-4 win to dethrone defending champion Lucas Lacko of Slovakia in the final of the $125,000 Tashkent ATP Challenger at the Olympic Tennis School complex here on Saturday.

Istomin took just over an hour to tame Lacko who was playing in his third final at the Tashkent Challenger. He had earlier won the title here in 2011.

Earlier, in the semi-finals which were completed on Saturday morning, Istomin ended the challenge of India’s Yuki Bhambri 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 52 minutes, while Lacko stunned second seed Ricardis Berankis of Lithuania 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6 (8) in two hours and 32 minutes

In the final, Istomin broke Lacko in the fourth game of the first set to go 3-1 up. The 29-year-old Uzbek then served out the ninth game to claim the first set in just 30 minutes .

In the second set, Lacko held the first game while in the second, Istomin saved two break points by firing three aces to level the score at 1-1. Both players held their serves till 3-3 before Istomin broke Lacko in the seventh game with some excellent forehand returns.

Istomin held the next game to take a 5-3 lead before holding the 10th game at love to win the set and the title.

” It feels special, its important for me to win at home than anywhere else,” Istomin said after the win. “It was a very tight match and I was very happy to play indoors, but the key today was my serve.”

“It would have been a different story if we played outdoors, but I have to give credit to Denis who served very well and I did not have a chance. I was also tired from playing back to back matches,” a dejected Lacko said.

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