Islamabad - Aqeel Khan Saturday survived M Abid’s scare to clinch the Bank Al-Falah Subh-e-Nau National Clay Court Tennis Championship here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex.

Young Abid gave Aqeel a real run for his money, before going down fighting 2-1 in the more than two-hour long marathon. Aqeel was nowhere in the match and was looking just a meager spectator, as Abid was making giant strides. Aqeel was looking highly uncomfortable throughout the match, he must consider himself fortunate to remain in the first set, despite making a huge blunders and committing a series of unforced errors, which were never witnessed form the longest serving Pakistan No 1 player. After struggling in the first set, Aqeel serve was finally broken by Abid in the seventh game to take the first set 6-4 in 52 minutes.

Aqeel was looking highly frustrated and his serve was also not up to the mark. After losing the first set, Aqeel started the second set on a very low and hardly managed to win the first game, as he was 15-40 down, but Aqeel used all experience to win the game. But his third serve was once again broken by Abid, who was almost at the brink, as he was 40-15 up in the fifth game, but Aqeel came from behind to first level the score at 40-40 and then took the game and immediately broke the sixth game of Abid. After that both players managed to hold onto their respective serves to tie the set at 6-6. Aqeel took the second set 7-6 (2) on tiebreak in 56 minutes. Aqeel displayed some of the most memorable shots of his armory.

After winning the second set, Aqeel never looked back, a true champion was finally at his very best, while on the other hand after coming so close, Abid ran out of gas and started committing too many childish mistakes and Aqeel was all over Abid and completely demolished him in the third set to win it 6-2 in 28 minutes, thus won the encounter and title. Abid had given his all but only lack of experience cost him dearly, otherwise, he could have easily outplayed the country’s longest serving No 1 player. The crowd rose up and gave a standing ovation to Abid, who played best tennis of his life.

Maldives High Commissioner to Pakistan Ahmed Saleem was the chief guest and gave away trophy and Rs 40,000 cash to Aqeel Khan and runner-up trophy and Rs 25,000 cash to Abid. PTF president Salim Saifullah Khan and others were also present on the occasion. But Subh-e-Nau chairperson Shahida Kausar Farooq was notable absentee as she was not feeling well. Salim highly lauded her efforts for the promotion of tennis and tagged her as ‘saviour of tennis’.

Aqeel and Heera Ashiq clinched the men’s doubles title after an interesting contest against Shehzad Khan/Yasir Khan 6-4, 6-3. Aqeel and Heera received Rs 20,000 cash and shields while Yasir/Shahzad received runner-up shields and Rs 12,000 cash.

Sara Mansoor won ladies singles title after thrashing out-of-sort Ushna Suhail in straight sets in the ladies singles final. Sara won the first set 6-4, but she completely routed Ushna in the second set winning it 6-1. Earlier, Ushna outpaced Sara Mahboob in the second unfinished semifinal, as the match could not complete due to bad light. Sara was awarded Rs 30,000 cash while Ushna received Rs 18,000 cash.

Muzammil Murtaza outlasted Syed Nofil Kaleem to lift the boys’ U-18 title and received Rs 12,000 while Nofil got Rs 8000. Shoaib Khan clinched boys’ U-14 title and Rs 10,000 cash, while Aquib Umar got Rs 6000. Hameed Israr won boys’ U-10 title after beating Roman in the final.