ISLAMABAD    -    Pakistan’s Huzaifa and compatriot Shoaib will vie for top honours in the ITF Pakistan Junior World Ranking Tennis Championship 2019 boys’ singles final to be played today (Friday) at 10:4am here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex.

On Thursday, both the Pakistanis carved out contrasting victories against their respective opponents in the semifinals. Second seed Huzaifa will attempt to win the second successive title, as he will face Shoaib in the final. While top seed Turkish Aysegul Mert will also try to win back-to-back titles as she will face Korean Soo Ha Jang in the girls’ singles final.

In the boys’ singles first semifinal, sixth seed Shoaib struggled hard to win his encounter against unseeded Korean Gunuk Kang in three hard-fought sets. Gunuk won the first set 6-4 by breaking the 10th game of Shoaib while in the second set, both the players played number of winners down the line and cross courts were witnessed as the score reached 4-4. Both the players held their respective serves at 5-4. Shoaib then saved the match point and also broke his game to draw the score 5-5 and then won the set 7-5.

In the third and final set, Shoaib was in full command and didn’t allow his opponent to settle down and played number of winners. His serve was hard to reply, while his backhand shots were also top class. He managed to break the third and fifth games of Gunuk to win the set 6-1, thus won the marathon semifinal of 2 hours.

In the second semifinal, second seed Huzaifa registered straight sets victory against Korean Min-Joon KIM. The local lad won the first set 6-1 by breaking the third and fifth games of KIM while took the second with same 6-1 margin by breaking the fifth and seventh games of his opponent.

In the girls’ singles first semifinal, top seed Turkish Aysegul Mert eliminated Korean Ji Woo Choi in straight sets. Aysegul had to face some stiff resistance in the first set, as Choi matched fire-with-fire till it was 4-4, but Aysegul then managed to break ninth of her rival and then held her serve to take the first set 6-4. Aysegul demolished her opponent in the second set to win it 6-1.

The major upset was witnessed in the second semifinals unseeded Korean Soo Ha Jang eliminated third seed Russian Arina Valitova in a well-contested two-set semifinal. Arina built up 3-1 lead in the first set by breaking third game of Soo, who leveled the score 5-5 by breaking 10th game of Arina and then won the first set 7-5 by breaking the 12th game of her opponent. In the second set, it was 4-4 but Soo once again played superb tennis and won the set 6-4 by breaking 10th game of Arina. The girls’ singles final will be played today at 2:30pm.

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan was amongst the crowd to especially witness the match between Shoaib and Gunuk. The PTF chief also interacted with the foreign players and their parents/coaches, who were full of appreciation for playing on the state-of-the-art courts in such beautiful surroundings and environment. They were also impressed with the hospitality and friendly attitude of the Pakistanis.