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ISLAMABAD: Second seed Spaniard Enrique Lopez-Perez stunned top seed Ivan Nedelko from Russia 7-6 (1), 6-1 in the men’s singles final of the Begum Kulsum ITF Futures Tennis Tournament here at the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) Complex on Sunday.

Lopez-Perez’s experience and blistering form proved vital after he was tested by Nedelko earlier in the game to win in straight sets.

In the men’s doubles final, Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan and Shahzad Khan beat Anton Chekhov of Russia and Ukrainian Alexander Lebedyn 7-6 (5), 3-6, 10-6 for their second successive title,

Winning the first set in tie-breaks Aqeel and Shahzad saw their higher ranked opponents on top of them in the second.

“We won the first set after putting a lot of effort. But our opponents played impressively in the second set to level arrears,” an Aqeel said.

The veteran found the third and final set the most difficult one for the home pairing which took a 5-2 lead initially but but lost it in the super tie-breaks.

“After exhaustive efforts, we eventually managed to win the set,” Aqeel added. “It was not an easy task, but our strategy worked. It’s a big achievement, these two back to back title victory in ITF futures will give new boost to our tennis.”

Appreciating the game of Shahzad, Aqeel said that these victories will be helpful for the youngster and others as well.

The victorious pair’s coach and mentor, Hameed-ul-Haq appreciated the performance of both players and demanded that government and Pakistan Tennis Federation should announce a special award in recognition of services of both local boys.

“Winning two back to back, international titles is high achievement, these victories will leave highly positive impact on youngsters, who saw defeat of foreign players at the hand of local boys,” he said.

Agencies add: Governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Minister Inter-Provincial Coordination Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, president PTF Salim Saifullah Khan, ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Alizada, DG Pakistan Sports Board Dr. Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, diplomats and high profile dignitaries witnessed the matches.

The president PTF congratulated the winners of the finals and thanked the ITF and the government for their support.

He also commended the PTF Management and staff for their untiring efforts to make the event successful.

He also thanked the players and ITF officials from Iran and Pakistan.

“Next year we will try to hold six international tournaments in Pakistan out of which three will be held in Lahore,” he said.

He said sports must not be dragged into politics.

“We are a peace loving nation and we welcome our guests with full zeal and passion,” he said and added the visting foreign players were fully satisfied with the security arrangements here for the tournament.

IPC Minister Pirzada said it was a major achievement for the country to stage the tournamnent and development of grounds helped the cause.

“Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies have a great role in the revival of international sports activities in Pakistan,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2017