Aqeel upbeat of winning doubles title

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top tennis player Aqeel Khan paired up with Shahzad Khan has qualified for the final of doubles event and is hopeful that the pair would clinch title of the ongoing Serena Hotels ITF Futures Tennis Tournament in Islamabad.

Unseeded Aqeel and Shahzad defeated top seeded combination of David Perez Sanz of Spain and Kelsey Stevenson of Canada in straight sets by 7-6 (10), 6-4 score.

However, Aqeel and his partner will face another unseeded duo of Luka Pavlovic of France and Spanish Pere Riba in the event’s final on Saturday. Riba had elbowed out Aqeel in men’s singles first round and has also qualified for singles event semifinals after beating last surviving Pakistani player Samir Iftikhar in quarterfinals.

“Doubles event is a different game. I am hopeful we will win the title. My teammate Shahzad has also been playing well,” Aqeel told PPI.

He added they were upbeat after beating top seeded pair in the event. “The opponents were tough today but we defeated them. Hopefully we would do that again in the final,” he added.

However, their final’s opponents Pavlovic and Riba, who are also unseeded, defeated second seeded Peter Goldsteiner of Austria and Julian Onken of Germany by 7-6 (4), 6-3 score to cruise into the final.

Meanwhile, Riba, who has been seeded fourth, extinguished local interest in men’s singles event beating Samir Iftikhar by 6-4, 6-4 score. Iftikhar was the only Pakistan player to have qualified for the quarterfinals.

Top seed Ivan Nedelko of Russia overpowered seventh seed Peter Goldsteiner of Austria by 6-2, 6-1 score in quarterfinals. Another third seeded Russian Kristian Lozan beat eighth seed Alexander Lebedyn of Ukraine by 7-5, 6-3 score. Fifth Shalva Dzhanashia became third Russian to qualify for semifinals after beating second seed David Perez Sanz of Spain by 6-2, 6-3 score.