SPORTS


Uzbekistan & Turkey in doubles final

Baku, May 21, AZERTAC

Turkey kept their hopes of completing the clean sweep of all six tennis titles alive at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku on Saturday.

All four Turkish players reached their respective singles semi-finals in the morning at the Baku Tennis Academy, before the doubles pairs then booked their final places.

Turkey had already won both the men's and the women's team titles in Baku.

Ayla Aksu and Berfu Cengiz beat Malaysia's Jawairiah Noordin and Theiviya Selva-Rajoo 6-3, 8-6, before Altug Celikbilek and Ilhan Sarp Agabigun hammered Moroccans Amine Ahouda and Ayoub Chakrouni 6-0, 6-3.

Uzbekistan's Sabina Sharipova and Polina Merenkova eased into the women's final with a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Turkmenistan pairing of Jahan Bayramova and Anastasiya Prenko, while their compatriots Amal Sultanbe and Jurabek Karimov secured a spot in the men's final by seeing off Malaysia's Mohamed Merzuki and Ahmed Abdul Razak 6-3, 6-3.

The 18-year-old Karimov, who was runner-up in the junior Australian Open final last year, confidently bounced back from the disappointment of his earlier singles defeat to Turk Anil Yuksel, by dominating in the doubles.

The Uzbek pair raced into 3-0 leads in both sets and were never in any danger of being knocked out.

In the second men's semi, Celikbilek and Agabigun were even more in control, as they bagelled their north African opponents in the opening set.

But Ahouda, who had also reached the singles last four earlier in the day, produced some big shots to help Morocco claim the first two games of the second to give themselves hope of a comeback.

Celibilek and Agabigun pulled themselves together though to return to the form they showed in the first set and move a break ahead.

The Moroccans were disheartened and a double fault on break point from Chakrouni effectively ended their hopes, as four successive games finished off the match for Turkey.

The world number 139 Sharipova had already beaten Bayramova in the singles quarter-finals, and she moved a step closer to a possible golden double.

The 22-year-old teamed up with Merenkova to seal a straightforward win out on Court One in only 53 minutes.

It was a much closer fight on Court Two for the second semi-final, where Aksu and Cengiz were pushed hard by Noordin and Selva-Rajoo.

After taking the first set by a single break, the Turks had to hit back from 3-1 down to win the second 8-6, with the crucial break of serve coming in the 13th game as there was no tie-break.

The doubles finals between Uzbekistan and Turkey will take place on Centre Court on Sunday with the singles showdowns on Monday.

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