ISLAMABAD-Tennis queen Ushna Suhail won the second consecutive Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) Championship after brushing aside top seed and Pakistan No 1 Sara Mansoor in straight sets here at the Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex on Saturday.

In the final of the Begum Kalsoom Saifullah Khan Memorial ATT Tennis Championship 2016, awesome Ushna achieved the remarkable feat in front of her proud father and mother, while her aunt and uncle Mr and Mrs Ehtesham Ul Haq Qureshi, parents of ace tennis star Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi, were also amongst the spectators.

It was a very close affair in the first set as Ushna, a well-known slow starter, was finding it very difficult to control her serve on bright sunny day, while Sara, having the advantage of playing majority of her tennis on the same courts, was enjoying complete control. But after initial period, Ushna got rhythm and started playing powerful serves and her volleys down the line were too hot to handle for Sara. Ushna managed to break down 9thgame of Sara to take 5-4 lead and then comfortably held her serve to take the first set 6-4 in 35 minutes.

It was all Ushna in the second set, as the lone international WTA points holder star, never allowed Sara any chance to show the game, which she had displayed in the first set. Ushna broke 2ndgame of Sara and then 4thgame as well to ensure title is going nowhere. Ushna took the second set 6-2 to grab the prestigious title. It took her only 23 minutes to complete landslide victory against Sara. Ushna was awarded a beautiful crystal trophy and Rs 40,000 cash, while Sara received runner-up trophy and Rs 25,000 cash.

One thing, which is quite strange, is the point system of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), as at one end, international player Aisam is given exemption from trials and considered Pakistan No 1 player just because of his superior international rankings, despite the fact that Aisam had never played tournaments in Pakistan since long, but on the other hand, Ushna is not getting the same treatment despite she is the one and only Pakistani to have WTA ranking points. The federation must come up with clear policy and give Ushna the status, she deserves.

Pakistan No 1 junior player Muzammil Murtaza once again proved that he is future of Pakistan tennis, as the youngster hammered Yousaf Khan in straight sets to lift the U-18 singles title. Muzammil won the first set 6-2, breaking 2ndand 4thgamesof Yousaf, but he was in dire strides in the second set, as Yousaf broke his 7thserve to take 4-3 lead. But Muzammil bounced back in style to win the next game to square the things at 4-4, thenhe comfortably held onto his serve to make it 5-4. Yousaf was comfortably placed at 40-15 and was serving to level the set at 5-5, but Muzmamil saved two game points to make it deuce and then again twice Yousaf had chances to win the game, but Muzammil twice leveled the game and then broke 10thgame of Yousaf to take the set 6-4, thus won the title.

Speaking on the occasion, PTF president Salim Saifullah Khan said: “The PTF hosted 10 international events this year in Pakistan, which was witnessed before in one year. The federation is ready to host Fata youth and it’s up to KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra to send 12 or more kids. We will not only provide accommodation, coaches but also impart them best tennis and education as well.”

The PTF chief said the sacrifices of government and armed forces ensured that Davis Cup tie would be held in Pakistan after 12 years. He especially thanked ITF president for recognising Pakistan’s services and turning down Iran’s illogical appeal of moving the tie from Pakistan. “Islamabad is recently placed on one of the safest cities in South Asia and being our brothers, Iran should have not appealed against holding tie in Pakistan. I request Imran Khan not to announce sit-in before the Davis Cup tie, as Iran and others are looking for an excuse not to come to Pakistan. Any negative impression will give them and ITF reason of refusing to stage Davis Cup in Pakistan.”

Sharing his views, KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra said he was very busy and would have said sorry to the PTF president, despite enjoying highly cordial relations between both families spanning over 70 to 80 years back, but when he informed him that the tournament was named after the great lady Begum Kalsoom Saifullah, whom he rated so highly for her matchless contributions, he had to come. He appreciated the winners and losers and lauded the PTF president’s efforts for promoting tennis at grassroots level and also ensuring Davis Cup tie played in Pakistan. Healso announced grant of Rs 1 million for the PTF.


 ISLAMABAD: Winners of Asian Tennis Tour pose for a photo with chief guest KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and others at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex.–Photo by Staff Reporter