Pakistan No 1 tennis player Aqeel Khan and Sarah Mehboob Khan lifted the Men’s and Ladies singles titles of the 5th Shehryar Malik Memorial National Grass Court Tennis Championship 2021 that concluded at the Punjab Tennis Academy, Bagh-e-Jinnah.
In the Men’s singles final, longest serving Pakistan No 1 Aqeel Khan outpaced M Abid Mushtaq by 6-4, 6-1. High quality tennis was witnessed during the final when two national players Aqeel and Abid were engaged in long rallies, sterling serves and powerful shots. In the first set, Aqeel faced tough resistance from his opponent before winning it 6-4. But Aqeel started the second set in an authoritative manner and didn’t allow his opponent to play freely and won it 6-1, thus clinching the title for the fifth time in a row. “I am thankful to Allah Almighty for another national title and especially this grass court title, which I have defended for the fifth time in a row.”
Sarah Mehboob Khan, comeback queen who just returned to the national circuit after getting married, claimed the Ladies singles title when she overwhelmed spirited Noor Malik 7-5, 6-2. Sarah secured another title in the ladies doubles, when she, partnering with Noor Malik (Wapda) defeated the pair of Mariam Mirza and Zahra Suleman 6-3, 6-2.
Rashid Malik (ZTBL) clinched two titles as first he won the Seniors 50 plus doubles crown, when partnering with Fayyaz Khan, he beat the pair of Israr Gul (KP Police) and Arif Feroze 6-1, 5-7, 10-8. Malik, partnering with Aqeel Khan, then earned the seniors 40 plus doubles crown, which was also shared between the pair of Nasir Sherazi and Sheharyar Salamat. The seniors 60 plus doubles title was claimed by Rai Zahid Zafar and Inamul Haq, who beat Brig Ghazanfar and M Babar 6-2, 6-2.
Abdullah Adnan won the Boys U-18 title by outsmarting Semi Zeb 6-0, 6-4. The Boys U-18 doubles title was claimed by Ahmad Nael/Haider Ali Rizwan (LGS Paragon), who beat Hamid Israr/Hasam Khan 4-1, 4-2. The girls U-18 title was won by Zahra Suleman (LGS Defence), who routed Ashtafila Arif 6-3, 6-1. The boys U-16 title went to Bilal Asim (SICAS), who thumped Haider Ali Rizwan 6-2, 6-0.
The Boys U-14 title was earned by Ahtesham Humayun, who beat Asad Zaman 6-4, 3-0 (rtd). The boys U-14 doubles title was claimed by Ahtesham Humayun/Hussnain Ali Rizwan (LGS Paragon), who toppled Asad Zaman/Shehryar Anees 4-1, 4-1. The boys/girls U-12 final was won by Hamza Ali Rizwan (LGS Paragon), who beat Omer Jawad 7-6, 3-6, 10-7. The boys/girls U-12 doubles final, Hamza Ali Rizwan and Zohaib Afzal Malik beat Nabeel Ali Qayum and Abdur Rehman 1-4, 4-0, 10-6
Abdur Rehman (AAA Associates) beat Hajra 4-2, 4-1 to win the Boys/Girls U-10 title. The U-8 gold medal was secured by Mustafa Uzair Rana, silver by Aiman Rehan and bronze by Ahsan Bari. The U-6 gold medal was clinched by Ayesha Iqbal, silver by Daniyal Afzal Malik and bronze by Mamoon Bari.
Speaking on the occasion, Zaheer Abbas said: “I am grateful to former Davis Cupper and renowned tennis coach Rashid Malik for inviting me to the event, which has been named after his late son Shehryar Malik, who was also a good tennis player. Rashid Malik has great services for tennis as a player and a coach and organizer as well, which can’t be forgotten. I myself kept playing with this tennis legend, who is very dedicated and passionate about tennis and its promotion and especially busy in promoting junior tennis in the country, which will benefit Pakistan in the long run.”
Pakistan tennis star Aisam Qureshi, while sharing his views, paid rich tribute to Shehryar Malik, saying he used to play with him, who was a good tennis player. “Rashid Malik has been doing a great job by conducting tennis events in his name, which is a very good way to remember him and also to provide our national players to exhibit their prowess during the grass court event and win titles and good prize money in their respective categories. I have played good tennis this year and I am among the top 50. Next year, I will play two ATP events before featuring in the Australian Open. I am hopeful of doing well next year and winning laurels for my country.”