Finnish qualifier Jami Aijanen triumphed on home soil to lift the
Suez Helsinki Summer Challenger, PSA M5 title courtesy of a 3-2
scalp against top seed Iker Pajares Bernabeu - just one year after
younger brother Miko won the 2015 instalment.
Aijanen opened up the tournament with a 3-1 win against Egypt’s
Ahmed Hussein, before stunning second seed Matthew Hopkin to reach
the semi-final. There, he met fellow Fin Kristian Rautiainen, with a
brutal five-game clash taking its toll on his opponent, who was
forced to retire towards the end of the final game, handing the win
Pajares, meanwhile, was in fine form throughout the tournament and
put wildcard Ville Karsikas and European Junior Champion Patrick
Rooney to the sword, with those victories preceding a punishing 3-2
win against Matias Tuomi in the last four to prevent the home crowd
from having two local heroes to cheer for in the final.
It was the Spaniard who started the better of the two in the
showpiece finale and he dominated the opener to take a one-game
lead, before Aijanen found his rhythm in the second to level the
Pajares was soon back on top in the third, winning 12-10 on the
tie-break, but a tenacious Aijanen refused to be beaten and romped
to victory in games four and five to battle to the win and lift his
first PSA World Tour title.