ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan duo of Aqeel Khan and Shahzad Khan overwhelmed Turkey’s Ergi Kirkin and Nikolay Vylegzhanin of Russia in the doubles semi-final of the Begum Kulsum ITF Futures tournament here at the PTF Complex on Saturday.
Playing brilliant tennis, Aqeel and Shahzad won the semi-final 6-4, 7-6(3). The Pakistan pair made their second final at the ITF Futures. They clinched the Serena Hotels ITF Futures event staged at the same venue recently.
Earlier on Saturday, the second seed pair of Anton Chekhov (Russia) and Alexandr Lebedyn (Ukraine) defeated third seeded Russian pair of Shalva Dzhanashia and Ivan Nedelko in the other doubles semi-final.
After losing the first set 2-6, the Chekhov-Lebedyn duo made an impressive comeback to claim the second set 6-4. The decisive third set proved a thriller as the battle extended to tiebreak which was clinched by the Chekhov-Lebedyn pair 10-8.
Meanwhile, top seed Ivan Nedelko of Russia subdued France’s Luka Pavlovic 6-1, 7-5 in the men’s singles semi-final.
The Russian, who is eyeing his second title in Pakistan after bagging the singles crown in the recently-concluded ITF Futures event, was not at his best but still proved too good for Pavlovic.
In the other singles semi-final, second seed Spaniard Enrique Lopez-Perez breezed past Russia’s fifth seed Shalva Dzhanashia 6-3, 6-1 as the former didn’t let the latter settle throughout the course of the match.
President of the Pakistan Tennis Federation Salim Saifullah Khan, who witnessed the ITF Futures matches, hoped the event would generate excitement among aspiring youngsters in the country.
“These matches featuring internationally-ranked players will prove to be a source of inspiration for upcoming [tennis] players. Hopefully we will witness more such events which will further improve the sports culture in Pakistan,” Saifullah said.
Results (prefix number denotes seeding):
Semi-finals: 2-Enrique Lopez-Perez (Spain) bt 5-Shalva Dzhanashia (Russia) 6-3, 6-1; 1-Ivan Nedelko (Russia) bt Luka Pavlovic (France) 6-1, 7-5.
Semi-finals: 2-Anton Chekhov (Russia)/Alexandr Lebedyn (Ukraine) bt 3-Shalva Dzhanashia (Russia)/Ivan Nedelko (Russia) 2-6, 6-4, 10-8; Aqeel Khan (Pakistan)/Shahzad Khan (Pakistan) bt Ergi Kirkin (Turkey)/Nikolay Vylegzahnin (Russia) 6-4, 7-6(3).
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2017