ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s doubles pair Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan pulled off one of the most exciting victories in Davis Cup history when they came from 2-1 down to beat Sri Lanka 3-2 in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II doubles tie played in Colombo on Saturday to give Pakistan a 2-1 edge.
Aisam/Aqeel beat Godamanna/Rajeev Rajapakse in 3 hours and 35 minutes of hard-fought tennis watched by a pack to capacity crowd.
While talking exclusively with this correspondent from Sri Lanaka, Aqeel said: “We started the match in whirlwind fashion and took the first set 6-2, but the Lankan pair sported by a passionate crowd bounced back to take the second set 7-6 on tie break. The Lankans also took the third set 6-2, as we were completely on the back foot at that moment. But like past whenever we had to face such situations, we used to bounce back and that's what we did here also. We upped the tempo of our game and completely outplayed the Lankans in the fourth and fifth set and won both sets 6-2 and 6-2 to take the marathon match 3-2.” Aqeel said that it was truly a remarkable comeback staged by us, as heat and humidity and vocal crowd was too hot to handle, but we kept our nerves and went on to give edge to our country in the tie.
Aqeel would now face top Sri Lankan player Harshana Godamanna in the first reverse singles match today. If Aqeel managed to win the match, Pakistan will clinch the tie, but if Aqeel failed to win, then it will be all left on Pakistan's top international player Aisam, who will face Dineshkanthan in the must win match. But in case of Aqeel’s victory it will be a dead rubber as the match will have no effect on overall results, then a chance chance may be given to Yasir or Abid.
Talking about his chances against Godamanna, Aqeel said: “I am quite confident that by the grace of God I will win the tie. Although he is a very good player and enjoy a lot of home support, knows conditions very well and has the extra advantage of beating Aisam in the singles match, but I am fully focused for the challenge ahead and ready to defeat him, a confident Aqeel concluded.