Aqeel survives Barkat scare in Federal Cup
ISLAMABAD – Top seed Aqeel Khan survived a close scare against young Barkatullah in the 33rd Federal Cup National Ranking Tennis Championship men’s singles quarterfinals here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex on Friday.
Barkatullah, who had nothing to lose, started the first set on a stunning note as he broke the second game of Aqeel and then held onto his serve to take 3-0 lead, before Aqeel bouncing back in style and first held onto his serve and then broke the seventh game of Barkatullah to make it 4-all. Aqeel then put his young opponent under tremendous pressure and first took 5-4 lead and then won the set 6-4 in 44th minute.
After playing so well in the first, Barkat couldn’t play with same venom and zeal as Aqeel started playing aggressively and his powerful serves, backhand passing shots, down the line winners and returns were too good to handle for the youngster. Aqeel was toying with Barkat and let him run to all corners of the court and then broke the fifth and seventh games of Barkat to grab the second set 6-2 in just 22 minutes. The match was witnessed by PTF Secretary Col (R) Gul Muhammad, ITF White Badge referees Arif Qureshi and Shahzad Alvi and tennis enthusiasts.
In quarterfinals, young Huzaifa Abdul Rehman upset fourth seed Mudassar Murtaza to set semifinal date with Aqeel Khan. Huzaifa broke the first, third and fifth games of Mudassar to win the first set 6-1. He continued his brilliant run in the second set as well and broke the second and fourth games of Mudassar to take it 6-2.
Muhammad Abid recorded another upset when he eliminated third seed Shahzad Khan in straight sets. Abid took the first set 6-3, breaking seventh game of Shahzad and then won the second 6-2 by breaking fourth and sixth games of his opponent to set semifinal date with second seed Muzammil Murtaza, who also survived close scare against Heera Ashiq, winning the encounter 7-6(3), 6-0.
In the men’s doubles semifinals, Shahzad/Abid beat Mudssar/Asad 6-4, 6-3, Barkatullah/Ahmed beat Shaoib/Huzaifa 6-2, 6-2. In senior 45 plus doubles semifinals, Irfanullah/Israr Gul beat Imran Ahmed/Azeem Khan 6-1, 6-3 while Hameed-ul-Haq/Mehmood Khan got walk over against Waseem/Sheraz.