ISLAMABAD          -  Young Mahin Aftab carved out sensational 2-1 victory against former Pakistan No 3 Mehaq Khokhar in the quarterfinals of the 5th Shaheed Benzair Bhutto National Ranking Tennis Championship 2019 here at Islamabad Tennis Complex on Friday.

Tremendous tennis was played by both the girls, who had just returned after representing Pakistan in the 13th SAG in Nepal and won bronze medal for the country. Mehaq, who had played lot of tennis not only in Pakistan and USA and also represented the country in a number of team events, was finding it very difficult to adjust to the windy conditions as her serves were not hitting perfectly while her backhand shots were also highly wayward. She was looking very frustrated and was not able to dictate terms in the first set.

But despite all the hazards, Mehaq showed her class and kept Mahin at the bay in the entire first set as both the girls managed to hold onto their respective serves and it was 6-all. But in the tiebreak, Mahin hit winners to take the first set 7-6(0). The second set was completely different story altogether as wind stopped blowing and conditions favoured Mehaq’s style, who took full advantage and raced onto take 5-1 lead. Mahin produced made a little comeback and made 3-5, but Mehaq then broke her opponent serve and won the second set 6-3 to square the things at 1-all.

The third and decisive set was a one-sided affair, as Mahin was hitting aces and winners and fully prevailed over Mehaq as she first took 5-0 lead and then Mehaq fought back to make it 1-5, but Mahin then held her serves and won the set 6-1 to set semifinal date with Pakistan No 1 Sara Mansoor.

In the other quarterfinals, Sara Mansoor beat former Pakistan No 1 Mahvish Chisti 6-1, 6-3, ZTBL’s Noor Malik, daughter of living legend Rashid Malik, beat Esha Jawad 6-1, 6-3 and former national champion Sarah Mehboob Khan thrashed Mariam Mirza 6-0, 6-0. Sarah Mehboob will face Noor in the second semi final.

In the boys U-18 quarterfinals, M Shoaib beat Mahatir Muhammad 6-1, 6-1, Subhan Bin Salik beat Farman Shakeel 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, Aqib Hayat beat Huzaifa A Rehman 6-1, 6-1 and Hasheesh Kumar beat Faizan Fayyaz 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. In boys U-14 quarterfinals, Haider Ali Rizwan beat Abdullah Azhar 4-0, 4-1, Mahatir Muhammad beat Kashan Umar 4-0, 4-1, Huzaima A Rehman beat Haider Ali Rizwan 4-1, 4-0, Uzair Khan beat Hamza Asim 4-2, 4-2.

In boys/girls U-12 pre-quarterfinals, Ali Zain beat Hamza Ali Rizwan 4-2, 5-3, Abdul Basit beat Haziq Asim 2-4, 4-2, 4-2, Ahtesham Humayun beat Ammar Masood 4-0, 4-0. In boys/girls U-10 pre-quarterfinals, Zohaib Afzal beat Han Li De 4-0, 4-0, Hamza Roman beat Orhan Sohail 4-0, 4-1, Hamza Ali Rizwan beat Razik Sultan 4-0, 4-1. In men’s doubles 45 plus semifinals, Rashid Malik (ZTBL)/Hameed-ul-Haq beat Col Shahid/Col Aqeel 6-2, 6-1, Azeem Khan/Imran Ahmed beat Fazal Subhan/Raja Asif 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.

The parents of a lot of young female players were complaining against non-inclusion of U-12, U-14 and U-18 categories in such a big tournament, terming it very disappointing. They questioned that if there will be no age group categories in national tennis tournaments, how will the young female players get the confidence and opportunities to excel in their respective categories. They urged the Pakistan Tennis Federation to include all the age group categories in female events in all the national tennis tournaments, which will help in promoting female tennis in the country.