Aqeel/Shahzad, Enrique win ITF Futures Tennis titles

Islamabad – Pakistani pair of Aqeel Khan/Shahzad Khan and second seed Spaniard Enrique Lopez-Pererz won the US$15,000 Begum Kulsum ITF Futures Tennis Tournament 2017 at Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) Complex on Sunday.

In the doubles event final, Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan and Shahzad Khan struggled hard to defeat Russian-Ukrainian pair of Anton Chekhov and Alexandr Lebedyn 7-6 (5), 3-6, 10-6 to win the title. It was the second consecutive doubles title for longest serving Pakistan No 1 player Aqeel Khan, who also won the previous ITF Future Tournament.

In the men’s singles final, Spaniard Enrique stunned top seed Ivan Nedelko of Russia 7-6 (1), 6-1 to lift the title. The first set proved to be a clash of titans which was witnessed and applauded by a sizeable crowd. After a tough battle, the Spaniard succeeded in downing his opponent by 7-6 (1) while in the second set, the Spaniard never allowed the Russian to play freely and took it 6-1.

Pakistan’s international tennis player and national champion Ushna Suhail, who won her eight consecutive national ranking title of the year, beat Sara Mansoor 6-3, 7-6 in the final. Ushna faced stiff resistance after winning the first set with relative ease, while she was leading 5-0 in second set when Sara displayed fighting spirit, using speed and baseline, lob tactics to level 5-5. After that, high quality tennis was witnessed as both the players used their skills to level 6-6. In the tie break, score went to 3-all before Ushna could win the set and match at 7-6.

Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Pirzada, PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Alizada, PSB DG Akhtar Ganjeera, diplomats and high-profile dignitaries witnessed the matches and expressed their pleasure at the exciting games of tennis played in Islamabad.  The PTF president congratulated the title winners and thanked the ITF and government for their support. He also lauded the PTF management and staff for their untiring efforts to make the event a success. He also thanked the players and ITF officials from Iran and Pakistan.

Salim said 25 foreign players including from India participated in the tournament. “Next year, we will try to hold six international tournaments in Pakistan out of which three will be held in Lahore,” he added.

The PTF chief said sports must not be dragged with politics. “We are a peace loving nation and we welcome our guests with full zeal and passion,” he said and added the visting foreign players were fully satisfied with the security arrangements here for the tournament.

IPC minister Riaz Pirzada also expressed his pleasure at the holding of international events in Islamabad and thanked the PTF president for the invitation. He was pleased at the arrangements at the complex and hoped that more such sports events will be held in the future to promote sports activities and improve the soft image of Pakistan worldwide.

Chief guest Zafar Iqbal Jhagra applauded the efforts of PTF chief, the government and all its functionaries especially the Law Enforcement Agencies, the IPC ministry and media for their efforts to hold the international tennis tournaments in a befitting manner.

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