ISLAMABAD - Thirteen-year-old tennis star Mahin Aftab has recorded victory in Barcelona Academies U-16 female singles after thrashing local favourite Natalia in straight sets in the final. Talking to The Nation from Spain, title-winning Mahin said: “I enjoyed a lot while playing against top juniors of the world, who participated in the prestigious event. I lost in the U-18 semifinals. My elder sister Aleena Aftab, 15-year-old, lost her U-16 semifinals and U-18 quarterfinals in the same event.

“The credit of my victory goes to my dad Aftab Qureshi, who is a source of great inspiration for both of us and he was very instrumental in taking our careers very seriously. I am also very thankful to Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) and my employers ZTBL, who always buck us up and support us superbly,” she added. Mahin and Aleena are already number 3 and 4 senior players of Pakistan and taking giant strides both at national and international levels. Mahin was expecting a tough final as Natalia was an experienced player and was also enjoying huge fan following, but Pakistani’s dedication and focus on match helped win the final. Although Mahin didn’t start well yet after playing four games, she gained rhythm and played some powerful shots down the line to wrap up the first set 6-3. In the second set, Natalia found it too hard to counter pace and aggression of Mahin, who just dropped two games before winning the second set 6-2 to clinch the trophy.

“I will return Pakistan later this month before completing my training and taking part in a few more events in Spain. Pakistan tennis is in dire need of female players as majority of the female players only play abroad or play for the country in Fed Cup. Players like me, my sister and Rida Khalid can earn laurels for the country at international level. The PTF president always speaks highly about investing on juniors and a keen supporter of female tennis. It is hoped that Salim Saifullah Khan will pay more attention towards female players so that they may train abroad and play key role in helping set new records at international stage,” Mahin concluded.