ISLAMABAD   -  Youngster Muzammil Murtaza caused major upset in the men’s singles semi-finals of the 31st Federal Cup National Ranking Tennis Championship 2017 as he ousted second seed and Pakistan number 2 Muhammad Abid Mushtaq 2-1 in highly thrilling encounter played at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex on Friday. 

Pakistan’s longest serving number 1 tennis player, Aqeel Khan earned the right to play yet another tournament final as he beat Davis Cupper Shahzad Khan in straight sets in the second semi-final played at centre court. 

It was highly sensational performance by the youngster from remote village of Punjab, Muzammil, who is continuing to show his abilities not only at national but international level as well and proving that barren run in finding fresh players could be over in a matter of time. It was battle royal as far as Muzammil is concerned as he was up against Davis Cupper M Abid, who just returned after playing exhibition series with Turkish players along with other Pakistani players including Aqeel Khan. On the other hand, Muzammil was not given even outside chance of staging an upset but the youngster had other ideas in store. Abid was enjoying overwhelming support from his friends from Lahore. 

The first set started on electrifying pace as both players wanted to put other under enormous pressure. It was Abid, who as per expectations settled down well and played powerful backhand shots from the baseline while his serve was also up to the mark. Muzammil was struggling to find the rhythm, but after surviving nervy moments, Muzammil finally settled down well and started to show what he possesses. 

Both players managed to hold onto their respective serves, despite both had numerous opportunities to break each other’s serve, but both failed to capitalize. But it was Muzammil who finally broke the deadlock and won the first set 6-4 in 55 minutes. 

Second set also started with same pace. Abid was playing out of his skin, knowing anything less than the victory in the set will end his journey. Both players managed to hold onto their serves and it was 6-6 after almost an hour of sensational tennis on offer. It was Abid, who enjoyed luck in the tiebreak and won the set 7-6 (5) as Muzammil committed two highly uncharacteristic mistakes, which costs him dearly. After two long sets, Abid simply ran out of steam and was nowhere near to what he had offered in the previous two sets. Muzammil was in hot form and was hitting winners and thrashed Abid in the third and deciding set, winning it 6-1 in just 25 minutes. Aqeel hammered hapless Shahzad to win the encounter in straight sets without even changing gears. Aqeel won 6-2, 6-4. 

In the ladies semi-finals, Sarah Mehboob outclassed top seed Sara Mansoor in three set thriller in around three hours of breath-taking tennis. Sarah took the first set 7-6 (5) on tiebreak, while she lost the second set 2-6 before bouncing back to take decider 6-4 and set up final date with Ushna Suhail, who thrashed Noor Malik, daughter of former champion and Davis Cupper Rashid Malik, 6-0 and 6-2. Top seed Muhammad Yousaf from Peshawar and 2nd seed Muhammad Shoaib also from Peshawar advanced into the Junior-18 singles final, winning their respective semi finals in straight sets. 

Nalain Abbas and Haseesh Kumar from Karachi moved into the boy’s U-14 finals. Hamza Roman from Peshawar and Jamal Shah of Islamabad moved into the final of boys & girls U-10 singles.