PALEMBANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin secured a place in probably his last Olympic Games in 2020 by rallying from a set down to beat China’s Wu Yibing 2-6 6-2 7-6(2) to win the Asian Games men’s tennis gold medal on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Istomin benefited from a rain delay as Wu suffered a lapse in concentration after taking the first set to allow his opponent back into the match.
“The weather conditions changed a lot for my game and he was also losing concentration a little bit so that worked for me,” Istomin said on his way to catching a flight to New York for the U.S. Open starting on Monday.
Istomin, world number 75, fired 15 aces and 47 winners in a match lasting two hours and 16 minutes, denying the Chinese another gold after they had won the women’s singles and doubles tennis titles.
“I feel good to have the gold medal... It’s very important for me to win a gold medal for my country. For me it means a lot,” said Istomin, who had won silver in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
“It’s very important for me to have the gold because probably it’s my last Asian Games and my last Olympic Games in two years, so I feel good,” he added.
“Qualifying for the Olympics was the main goal.”
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Jakarta; editing by Ed Osmond