ISLAMABAD   -  Pakistan’s lone international fame ladies tennis player, Ushna Shuail thrashed former Pakistan number 1 Sarah Mehboob Khan in straight sets to become the crowned champion of the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed National Ranking Tennis Tournament-2018 here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex on Friday.

It was back-to-back titles for Ushna as she had also defeated Sarah in the last week’s final as well. Ushna started the first set in awesome mood and simply outclassed her vastly superior opponent with wonderful backhand and down the line winners. It seems like a school-going girl was playing against a true champion as Ushna was not allowing Sarah any room and pace to settle down in the first set. Ushna raced on to win the first set 6-0 without conceding a single game. Sarah did show up some fighting skills and tried to match fire with fire, but it was mission impossible for the veteran Sarah, who had no clues and answers to the speed, agility and power of the Pakistan’s arguably most decorated ladies player of the modern era. Both girls fought hard and it was 4-4, but Ushna realising the danger, upped the tempo of her game and simply played some unbelievable ground shots. Her serve was also too hot to handle for out of sorts Sarah, as Ushna broke the 9th game of Sarah and then easily hold onto her 10th serve thus winning the set 6-4 and the title in around 1 hour.

In the other matches in U-18 boys singles semi-finals: Shoaib Khan beat Abdullah Adnan 6-3, 7-5; Ahmed Kamil beat Ahmed Asjad 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. In the boys singles U-14 final, Sami Zeb beat Hamza Roman 6-2, 6-3. In the U-10 boys/girls singles final, Hamza Roman beat Ali Zain 4-0, 4-0.

In the $15,000 4th Benazir Bhutto Shaheed ITF Futures (F3) Championship-2018, played at Islamabad Tennis Complex, it was smooth sailing for top seed players as both Kai Wehnhelt and Rio Noguchi booked their places in the men’s singles final.

In the first semi-final, third seed German Kai Wehnhelt hammered Uzbekistan’s Saida’lo Saidkarimov in straight sets. Kai was in sublime form in the first set and simply outclassed his opponent by winning the first set 6-0. He had to face stiff resistance in the second set before winning the set 7-5. In the second semi-final, crowd favourite Iranian Hamidreza Nadaf played his heart out before bowing out in three hard fought sets against the second seed young Japanese Rio Noguchi. The first set was one-way traffic, as Noguchi stunned Nadaf by his awesome passing shots and down the line winners. Noguchi was dictating terms and wrapped up the first set 6-0 in just 22 minutes. Watched by his mother and massive local supporters, Nadaf bounced back in style in the second set and raced on to take 3-0 lead before Noguchi finally win first game. But Nadaf kept the pressure and take the set 6-3 in 33 minutes to square off things.

After playing so well in the second set, Nadaf lost the way in the third and deciding set and was trailing 0-3, before he showed some fighting kills. But it was too little too late as Noguchi won the third set 6-3 in 28 minutes to reach the final. After losing the match, Nadaf bowed down to pay thanks to almighty and also thanked the local crowd for bucking him for the entire tournament, while his mother also thanked the PTF, ITC and all those who supported her son.

In the men’s doubles final, top seeds pair of Anton Chekhov (RUS)/Kai Wehnelt (GER) beat Ken Onishi (JPN)/Rio Noguchi (JPN) 6-3, 7-5. The men’ singles final will be played today at 1:30pm.

It was expected that like other events and keeping in mind huge international participation and above all event named after former two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, national broadcaster will telecast at least the men’s singles final live but owing to new management orders, national broadcaster demanded at least Rs300,000 for telecasting the final live. When Dr Nauman Niaz was the in charge of PTV Sports, even local tournaments were broadcasted live or at least on aired, but now under new government, which had raised the slogan of promotion of sports is least bothered to care about the image of the country and more busy in charging money. Had the national broadcaster telecasted the match, it would have sent a highly positive and soft sports loving image of the country. Senator Taj Hadier and ITC administration kept on requesting PTV administration to consider it as it is about national interest, but no one bothered to pay any heed. They have requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into the matter and order PTV Sports to telecast the final live.