ISLAMABAD            -        Muzammil Murtaza thrashed Aqeel Khan 2-0 to win the men’s singles title in the 5th Shaheed Benazir Bhutto National Ranking Tennis Championship 2019 here at Islamabad Tennis Complex (ITC) on Sunday.

While Mahin Aftab hammered seven-time former national champion Sarah Mehboob Khan 2-0 to lift the ladies singles title. Senator Farhatullah Babar graced the occasion as chief guest, while Senator Taj Haider, the family members of Senator Dilawar Abbass (late), Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) officials, ITC MD Fazle Subhan and fans were also present there.

The men’s singles final started on a high tempo, as Muzammil stunned Aqeel by breaking his very first serve. However, Aqeel bounced back in style to break his opponent’s third game and hold his serve. It was a tough encounter for Aqeel, as he was struggling hard to adjust with bounce of the court. He was looking frustrated and his majority of drop shots were hitting the net. On the other hand, Muzammil was comfortably holding his own serves and giving tough time to his opponent. When the set was tied at 6-6, Muzammil started attacking his opponent and took crucial lead of 4-1. The entire arena was buzzing with Muzammil’s name, as they were cheering him with passion. After some battle, Muzammil finally held his nerves and took the set 7-6 (8), which lasted for more than an hour and 35 minutes. However, Muzammil was so frustrated from his mistakes that he broke the strings of his racket by hitting it to the net. The chair umpire noticed the incident and gave him conduct and racket abuse warning.

When the second set started, Muzammil comfortably held his serve and broke Aqeel’s serve to take 2-0 lead. Aqeel never showed any sign of weakness, but immediately bounced back to break the third game of his opponent to stay in the final. Then the game turned in the youngster’s favour and Aqeel became down and out. Muzammil grabbed the opportunity and went onto to win the second set 6-1 to clinch the title in style.

In the ladies singles final, Mahin once again proved that she is the future of the country, as she won the first set 7-6 (3) and went onto to take the second set 6-3 to grab the title. Mahin’s tennis skills were highly applauded by the spectators. M Shoaib Khan won the boys’ U-18 singles title by defeating Hasheesh Kumar, 6-3 and 6-3; Hamid Israr won the boys’ U-14 title by outclassing Mahatir Muhammad, 7-5 and 6-4, and Hamza Roman won the boys/girls U-12 and U-10 titles by defeating Haider Ali Rizwan, 6-2 and 6-3, and Haniya Minhas, 6-2 and 6-1, respectively.

Senator Farhatullah Babar distributed cash prizes, shields and certificates amongst the position holders. While speaking at the concluding ceremony, Senator Taj Haider praised Muzammil for his outstanding performance and announced starting of two academies in Islamabad and Karachi. He said: “Islamabad Academy will be established at Islamabad Tennis Complex, while Aqeel will look after the Karachi Academy. The next year’s edition of the championship will be held in more befitting manner and international players will be invited. Subhan and his team members worked hard to ensure excellent arrangements for the event. The special kids put up wonderful show and I promise that Senator Dilawar Abbass Trophy will be a regular feature of the championship in future.”