Aqeel wins 6th Serena Hotels National ranking Tennis Championship 2021
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Champion of champions, Aqeel Khan has added yet another feather to his already decorated cap, as he brushed aside Shoaib Ahmed in straight sets to win the 6th Serena Hotels National ranking Tennis Championship 2021 in the final played here at Senator Dialwar Abbas PTF Complex Sunday.
In the ladies singles final, Pakistan’s top player Ushna Suhail thrashed former national champion Sarah Mehboob Khan 2-0.
Hasheesh Kumar won the U-18 singles title as he defeated Abdullah Adnan 2-1 in a keenly contested final.
Hussain Odhwani, Senior Manager Marketing & Communication, Serena Hotels, who is a sports lover and remained highly instrumental in helping raw talent, graced the finals as chief guest and distributed cash and trophies among the positions holders while PTF SVP Iftikhar Rashid was guest of honour.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s longest serving number 1 tennis player, Aqeel Khan was previously at the receiving end at the hands of youngster Shoaib as he was beaten thrice by the former junior top player.
Talking exclusively to 24Digital Web a relatively calm and somewhat relaxed Aqeel said: “Honestly speaking I was not training hard enough, which resulted in that I lost thrice against Shoaib. People know me very well. I will never hesitate to call it a day when I feel it is enough and I can’t match these youngsters. I still feel like I have fire left in me. I can still not only match them but also can beat them at will. Only thing that I need is to train properly, or else I won’t enjoy the same success and I have to admit that age is fast catching me, while these youngsters are also preparing tough.”
“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, if people think Aqeel is finished then it is their thought and I can only say I am not done and dusted yet. I can prove these critics wrong.”
The first set started with a highly motivated Aqeel looking in the same old mood as he was not ready to let his crown slip and was not ready to allow these youngsters to dictate terms to a living tennis legend. Aqeel immediately broke the second serve of Shoaib and then again broke his 4th serve before taking the first set 6-2 in just 25 minutes.
The second set started in a completely different fashion. Shoaib was fully backed by the crowd, mainly comprising of Pakhtoons, who were urging Shoaib to show fight and repeat the same game, which helped him defeat Aqeel thrice most recently in the semifinals of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Memorial National Ranking Tennis Championship, which concluded at Islamabad Tennis Complex last week.
It was battle royal witnessed in the second set as Shoaib was matching fire with fire. He almost had answers to all the questions thrown at him by the undisputed king of Pakistan tennis Aqeel and had golden opportunities to break Aqeel’s serve but failed to break the resolve of the champion. Aqeel was not showing any signs of melting down as the longer the game was going, the hotter Aqeel was looking.
Aqeel after some tough resistance from Shoaib managed to break the 12th game of Shoaib and took the set 7-5, thus winning the highly tense encounter and final in 1 hour and 20 minutes of top class tennis.
While in the ladies singles final, two old rivals were once again up against each other. Ushna, who beat Sarah in last week’s final of the Benazir tennis event, was in a devastating mood. She simply outclassed Sarah in all departments of the game. Her down the line winners, backhand volleys, powerful serves, passing shots were proving too hot to handle for Sarah as the former national champion was looking stunned the way Ushna was treating her. Ushna won the first set 6-0 without dropping a single game and in the second set, Sarah did manage to win one game, but that was all she could get from the set and match as Ushna managed to win the second set 6-1, thus adding yet another ladies singles title to her collection of trophies.
In the U-18 boys singles final, a hot battle was witnessed between Hasheesh Kumar and Abdullah. Hasheesh won the first set 6-2 but Abdullah bounced back to take the second set 6-3 before Hasheesh fought back to take the third and final set 6-3 to land the title.
Hussian Odhwani lauded the federation for holding such a wonderful event in such tough times when the world is fighting Covid-19. He assured Serena Hotels resolve and commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in helping the country in hosting different sporting events. “We have initiated Sports Diplomacy just to encourage different sports and help individuals, who want to enlighten Pakistan’s name world over.” He lauded all the players for putting up a tough fight.