After three months of challenging with 46 matches full of quality, surprise and excitement, now comes the final between Brent Paterson and Phuong Tran to decide who is going to take home the prestigious Vietbay Open 2014 title.
The tournament's format has been updated this year to require a much higher level of intensity, focus and consistency from players in a long run. Only one wrong step can detoriate the chance of going further. Last year Semi Finalist Kim Cuong Pham failed to qualify for the playoff. Anh Minh Do beat both Nguyen Tran and Brent Patteson (who eventually went to the Semi-Final and Final) but it's still not enough to help him get through the dead group. Even though there are many on-and-off-court reasons, we can't deny that the quality of Vietbay Open had been raised to another level. The gaps between players are much closer and anyone can beat the other in his good day.
Early in the morning, when two finalists were still warming up, all the fun of betting had began. Knowing Phuong defeating Brent twice before, Minh Tran - the tournament's co-director - put all of his money on Phuong winning in 2 straigt sets. And it turned out to be a costly mistake. Minh knew Phuong very well, but he just didn't know Brent well enough.
Brent intented going for quick kills right of the bat. Phuong's acuracy and consistency which helped him to crown the champion last year didn't work really well in a windy day. His deadly lob is not effective either against a 6-feet tall Brent. Brent closed out the first set 6-3 by his powerful net play which Phuong couldn't seem to find a good answer yet.
"When you are facing Brent at net, Chinese Great Wall looks tiny.", said Phuong.
But when people started ordering pizza and prepare for the after-the-match party, Phuong seems to get his rythm back. He hit forehand with more confidence and his backhand found a way to pass Brent's wall more and more. Phuong fought back with never-give-up spirit, running from corner to conner to save him many important points. He's rewarded with the second set 6-4 to push the match to the decisive third set.
"Somebody need to check Phuong's water", tournament co-director Minh Do said when the bottle of water a secret girl kept bringing to Phuong changed its color,
"We need to do dopping test on Phuong after the match too".
When the clock is going to the 3 hours mark and the score is still 4-4 in the last set. Their tired legs don't want to
run anymore and the smell of pizza made their stomach boiling. Phuong didn't hide his intention to extend the rallies to wear Brent out. His plan seems to work as Brent started making more uncharacteristic errors to give Phuong Tran three match points. Brent saved two of them but an unforce error send Phuong jumping into the air, clenching his fist, roaring to the crowd with joy.
"My goal is going to the semi-final so this final is beyond my expectation. Congratulation to Phuong and thank everybody for this great and fun tournament.", said Brent.
Phuong's stratergy and consistency has been paid off with this Vietbay champion title for the second time in a row.