Aqeel, Samir thrown out, Abid advances

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s top tennis stars Aqeel Khan and Samir Iftikhar were among others who were thrown out of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto (BB) International Tennis Tournament in the very first round while Mohammad Abid Ali Akbar cruised into the second round here at Islamabad Tennis Complex on Wednesday.

Besides Aqeel and Samir, Shahzad Khan and Heera Ashiq were the other Pakistani players who lost their matches and ousted from the tournament. Abid Akbar was the lucky one, who faced the country fellow Heera Ashiq and routed him in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 to book berth in the next round, where he has to face tough time and struggle hard to further advance in the international tournament. Ahmed Chaudhry has already qualified for the second round.

Julian Onken of Germany proved too hot for Pakistan’s longest serving No 1 player Aqeel Khan as he easily cruised past the Pakistani 6-2, 6-2 to book berth in the next round. Ivan Nedelko of Russia also played superb tennis and was in great form as he outclassed Pakistan’s Shahzad Khan in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.

Pakistan’s international tennis player Samir Iftikhar, who was twice beaten by Spain’s Pere Riba, was this time no match to France’s Luka Pavlovic who thrashed the Pakistani Davis Cupper also in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Such pathetic results of Pakistani players show that despite they have potential and talent to excel, yet they direly need international-standard training and international matches home and abroad to improve their game and skills and do well against international players, otherwise, it is too for Pakistan Tennis Federation to get even ordinary results.

In the other matches of the day, Russia’s Anton Chekhov though faced some resistance from his counterpart Nikolay Vylegzhanin but he succeeded in taming him 7-5, 7-5. Lopez Perez of Spain displayed quality tennis against Vadim Alekseenko of Ukraine and defeated him 6-0, 7-5. The Spaniard faced no resistance in the first set, which he won 6-0, but he had to struggle hard in the second set to win it 7-5 and qualified for the next round. The pre-quarterfinals of this international tournament will be played today (Wednesday).

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