ISLAMABAD                 -        Pakistan’s longest serving No 1 tennis player Aqeel Khan started the 5th Benazir Bhutto Shaheed National Ranking Tennis Championship 2019 in great style as he hammered Faizan Fayyaz in straight sets in the first round played here at Islamabad Tennis Complex on Monday.

Faizan was no match to the experience of Aqeel, who simply toyed with the youngster and taught him a tennis lesson. Aqeel took the first set 6-1, as he broke the second, fourth and sixth games of his opponent, while the national tennis star won the second set with same margin of 6-1 to advance to the second round.

In other matches of the day, Sami Zeb beat Shakir Ullah 6-3 and 6-0, Israr Gul beat Danish Ramzan 6-2 and 6-3, Asan Ullah beat Ejaz Khan 6-1 and 6-3, Heera Ashiq beat Ayaz Khan 6-0 and 6-2, M Shoiab beat Farhad Ali Raza 6-1 and 6-0, Muzzamil Murtaza beat Saqib Hayat 6-3 and 6-4, Aman Atiq beat Shaheen Mehmood 6-1 and 6-1, Muddassar Murtaza beat Jibran ul Haq 6-2 and 6-3 and Huzaifa Abdur Rehman beat Ahmed Baber 6-0 and 6-0.

In the men’s doubles first round matches, Amed Baber/Saqib Hayat beat Ahmed Kamil/Nauman Aftab 3-6, 6-3 and 11-9, Rashid Malik (ZTBL)/Sikandar Hayat beat Danish Ramzan/Asad Bachani 6-0 and 6-2, Shahzad Khan/Ahmed Chaudhry beat Shakir Ullah/Asad Ullah 6-0 and 6-0, Heera Ashiq/Yousaf Kqahalil beat Shahid Afridi/Shaheen Mehmood 7-5 and 6-4, M Shoiab/Huzaifa Abdul Rehman beat Khursheed Abbasi/Aman Atiq 6-1 and 6-2, Muzzamil Murtaza/Muddassir Murtaza beat Ejaz Khan/Barkat ullah 6-3, 1-6 and 10-4, Col Shahid/Usman Ejaz beat Muhammad Minhas/Ibrahim Omer 4-6, 6-4 and 10-8.

In boys/girls U-10, Haider Ali Rizwan got walk over against Hammad Shah, M Haziq Asim beat Sameer Maqsood 4-2 and 4-0, Asad Zaman got w/o against Jamal Shah, young and talented Haniya Minhas beat Mahnoor Farooqi 4-0 and 4-0 and Lala Rukh Sajid beat Awais Ali 4-1 and 4-1.

Earlier addressing the press conference, chief organiser of the tournament Senator Taj Haider, along with Senator Farhatullah Babar, MD ITC Fazale Subhan and PPP Islamabad President Syed Sibt-ul-Haider Bukhari, said that the tournament carries the biggest ever prize of Rs 1 million cash awards. “We have received a whopping 185 entries in the main categories while the tournament also has a draw of 32 ladies players. Pakistan’s pride international ace player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, partnering Aqeel Khan, will also be seen in action in the doubles category.

“We have included a special category named after late Senator Syed Dilawar Abbas, Patron Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), where around 100 players with special abilities will be vying for the title in this category. We want to have international players like we had previous years, but due to limited resources, as only this time Sindh government released funds, while other sponsors backed off due to prevailing situation. We are highly grateful to the CM Sindh for his love for tennis and whenever we requested him, he never through for a while and always lent a helping hand to us,” he added.

Senator Taj said: “As we all know the tournament is named after the late ex-premier Mohtarma Benzair Bhutto Shaheed, we want to give her best possible tribute. She was also a keen sports lover. It is the 5th edition and we will continue to hold this annual event named after her.” Paying glowing tribute to ITC management and especially MD Fazle Subhan for making top class arrangements, he said that in this budget, they made a lot of maintenance/uplift and up-gradation work of ITC and now the courts are one of the bests in the country.

Senator Taj added that people question him that why they always organise the event in Islamabad and budget of Sindh is being utilized outside the province. “I just have one simple answer that was Benazir Bhutto the leader of only Sindh or any particular province. She was the daughter of Pakistan and we want to give clear message to the world that Benazir was the chain of all the provinces.”

Sharing his views, Senator Farhatullah Babar thanked Senator Taj Haider, Fazale Subhan and sports journalists for sparing time and giving time to sports. “It is a very clear message that Pakistan is highly peaceful and sports-loving country and sports are continued unabated here. Pakistan is not known for terrorism, but for beautiful places and this country has produced not one but countless international sporting icons.

PPP Islamabad President Syed Sibt-ul Haider Bukhari said it is his duty to remain present at the venue where an event is being organized in the name of his great leader. “I would love to contribute in any capacity and this event will be one of the best of the country.” Fazle Subahn also thanked Senator Taj Haider and Senator Farhatullah Babar and promised to make the event a success.