ISLAMABAD - Aqeel Khan defeated Shahzad Khan in a closely-contested final to lift the National Ranking Tennis Championship 2015 title here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex on Saturday.

It was expected it would be a one-sided affair and Aqeel would easily clinch the title, but Shahzad had big surprise in store for Aqeel, as Shahzad raced onto take formidable 3-0 lead in the first set. Aqeel was looking shell-shocked, as he was not expecting such treatment from Shahzad but Aqeel then levelled the set at 3-3, and then it was 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 and Aqeel then showed again showed his class and took the first set 9-7 on tie break. Shahzad though played well in the second set as well yet he made some mistakes which helped Aqeel took the set comfortably 6-3 to lift another title.

A completely exhausted Aqeel was routed by Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi in the one-set exhibition match played soon after the men's singles final. Aqeel was hardly able to move his feet, while Aisam was fresh and exhibited top class backhand shots to win the match 6-3.

Sara Mansoor outplayed Sarah Mahboob in the ladies singles final. The victory proved Sara Mansoor as number one female player of the country, as she managed to beat Sarah Mehboob in back-to-back finals. Sara won the first set 6-3 and took the second 6-3 to lift the title.

Governor Punjab Rafique Rajwana was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony. Speaking at the occasion, the Governor Punjab announced to invite Aisam and family to Governor House and also Pakistan Davis Cup team. He also promised to help Aisam in allocation of piece of land where he could construct international-standard tennis academy.

The Governor Punjab also promised to talk with Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to talk to Chinese authorities to send their team to Pakistan, as International Tennis Federation (ITF) has once again refused to let Pakistan host the tie at their home soil. If Chinese have no objections over coming and playing in Pakistan, then ITF would also have no issues in this regard. “China is making economic corridor with Pakistan, and a lot of Chinese are working on different projects here. If we can provide security to such a number of Chinese, then taking care of Chinese Davis Cup team will not be a big deal,” he added.

Aisam also commented on the issue and said: “If the tie is not held in Pakistan, then we should explore our options of hosting the tie at the neutral venue. The grass courts suits our style of play and I think Bangladesh would be the suitable destination, but it will be premature to say. If Chinese accept and agree to play in Pakistan, then issue could be be resolved.”

PTF president Salim Saifullah Khan termed the ITF decision of not allowing Pakistan to host Davis Cup Group-I tie at home soil as highly unfortunate. “We were expecting positive response from the ITF but they disappointed us. I am also not satisfied with the response from Chinese embassy in Pakistan. Sartaj Aziz and other high level government officials should also take up the issue.

“I am hopeful this time, the Davis Cup tie would be held in Pakistan after a long gap, as now security situation of the country is quite improved with the active efforts of Pakistan Army and government. Pakistan is a safe country and Chinese government should have complete faith in our abilities,” the PTF chief concluded. The tie was scheduled to be held from March 4 to 6 in Pakistan.