ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s top U-18 tennis player, Syed Nofil Kaleem added another feather to his already decorated cap as he won the prestigious ITF doubles title partnering Japanese Yusuke Nishitani on Friday. They defeated Youcef Rihane and Faris Zakaryia, who were third seeds, 2-1 in Aman, Jordan.

While talking exclusively to The Nation on Friday, a highly delighted Nofil, who is the first Pakistani to win ITF doubles title in more than a decade, said: “It was more than welcome victory for me as injuries have forced me to miss major part of 2015 and 2016. I was only Pakistani to become Asian number 1 U-14 player and was aiming high. But wrist injury hampered my dreams. Now I am fully recovered and hoping to win more laurels for the country. It was a highly tense battle keeping in mind they were third seeds and we were highly underdogs.”

Pakistan’s tennis prodigy and his Japanese partner outclassed their opponents in a highly well-contested and interesting match. Nofil’s powerful ground strokes and his partner’s tactical net-game, made for an incredibly resilient duo throughout the championship.

Nofil and partner lost the first set 4-6, but bounced back to win the second set 7-6 (3). In the super tiebreak they win the set 10-7 to land Amman International World Ranking Tournament 2 tiltle.

Earlier in the first Nofil/Yusuke beat Abdullah/Abdulaziz 7-5 2-6 [10-7], in quarterfinals Pak-Japanese duo caused a major upset by defeating the top seeds, Mousa Alkotop/Adam Nagoudi pair 7-6 (4) and 6-3 and in the semi-finals  they had a nail biting victory over Bora Sengul/Osmancan Soyler, winning 7-6 (4) 1-6  and 10-7.

Syed Nofil Kaleem is considered to be one of best junior tennis players in the country; he is presently ranked 771 in the ITF circuit.

Amidst the ongoing sports crisis in the country, Nofil’s victory is indeed a joyous moment for sports lovers and worth celebrating. Nofil’s performance is attributed to his coach Asim Shafik who has worked diligently on the lad to enable him to rise to his potential.