Aqeel, Shahzad win ITF Futures Tennis doubles title

ISLAMABAD-Ever-green Aqeel Khan partnering Shahzad Khan created new history, as he won the Serena Hotels ITF Futures Tennis Tournament, 2017 men’s doubles title defeating Luka Pavlovic/Pere Riba in the finals played here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex on Saturday.

It was truly professional performance showed by veteran tennis star Aqeel along with Davis Cupper Shahzad Khan as the aging heroes never looked back against highly experienced French and Spanish pair. There was tremendous crowd support as well, which worked wonders for the local champions.

Aqeel had vast experience of playing at his favourite surface at the PTF Complex, where he had won countless titles over the two decades. He also always feels comfortable while playing alongside proven Shahzad. The pair started the proceedings on a very slow tempo as it was a highly crunch encounter. Both the pairs started slow and played cautiously trying to force the other to make mistakes. As the match progressed the pace increased and both pairs showed their skills and pushed the opponents to the limits. The pressure of the final was evident on both pairs but the Pakistanis coped well and prevailed in the end. The home ground and the crowd, was to the locals advantage, which boosted their morale to finish the game in style with the crowd chanting the pairs name in the final stages of the game.

The French and Spanish pair played excellent tennis but were no match for the Pakistani pair on the memorable day.

Aqeel made his mark and proved that he is Pakistan’s no1 player indeed, while he was ably supported by Shahzad whose excellent serves put the opponents on the back foot. Aqeel played some excellent shots to force the opponents into making mistakes.

Aqeel/Shahzad won the first set 7-6 (3) on tie-break, while they took second also on tie-break 7-6 (4). Salim Saifullah Khan, who witnessed the match alongside Syed Dilawar Abbas and the PTF management expressed his pleasure at the momentous occasion and congratulated the Pakistani pair on making history and displaying excellent skills.

Meanwhile, Sara Mansoor to play Ushna Suhail in the ladies singles final after registering contrasting victories against their respective opponents in the semi-finals.

In the first semi-final, Sara Mansoor overpowered Sara Mahboob in three set thriller 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. It was highly exciting and entertaining tennis on offer as both players displayed quality tennis to progress into the final. Both players looked tired in the closing stages of the match but Sara Mansoor’s experience paid off in the end. In the second semi-final Ushna Sohail breezed past Mehwish Chishti by playing some excellent shots 6-0, 6-1. Mehwish was no match for the top seed Ushna, who was at her best and seems to be the favourite for the final.

In the Boys U-14 final, Sami Zaib overpowered a resilient Nailan Abbas 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to win the title in three sets. It was an entertaining game as both youngsters displayed quality, passion and sportsman spirit. The men’s singles final will be played today between the Russian top Seed Ivan Nedelko and the fourth seed Spaniard Pere Riba at 2:30pm.

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