ISLAMABAD - Time-tested champion pair of Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan once again came to rescue Pakistan, giving Pakistan upper hand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II final by carving out 3-1 victory against the Chinese Taipei in Izmir, Turkey on Saturday.

The doubles match lasted for almost 3 hours. Now Abid Ali Akbar is given the responsibility of winning the final for country as he will start the first reverse singles today (Sunday) against number 1 Chinese Taipei player Jimmy Wang. If Abid fails to win the match, then there are 99 percent chances Aisam will be handed over the responsibility of winning the final for Pakistan.

In the first set of the doubles match, Pakistan was dominating and enjoying comfortable position and won it 6-2. It was 2-2 in the beginning, after that, the Pakistani players managed to win four straight games and took the first set 6-2. The second set started well and Aisam-Aqeel pair broke their opponent’s third and took the set 6-3. They were 3-0 up in the third set, but at that stage, they committed unforced errors and allowed their opponents to stage a comeback, which could spell disaster for Pakistanis. From 3-0 up, Aisam-Aqeel failed to win a single game while their opponents were in cruise control, this won the next six games in a row to took the set 6-3.

In the fourth set, Pakistani pair played aggressive tennis and built up pressure right from the start. The tactics paid great dividend as they raced on to comfortable 5-2 lead. In the fourth set too, they were 2-2, as both teams manage to hold onto their respective serves. At that point, the green shirts managed to win next three games and were 5-2 up. The opponents held their serve to make it 3-5, before the Pakistanis finished it off by holding their serve, thus won the set 6-3, to register thumping victory.

Talking to The Nation from Izmir, Aqeel said: “I played more than three hours marathon match on the first and as it was earlier decided Abid Akbar would partner Aisam in the doubles, but sensing the importance of the match, I offered coach Hameed-ul-Haq that I was ready to partner Aisam, so Chinese Taipei also made a change and brought doubles specialist C Wang in place of Cheng Yu Yu to partner Jimmy Wang.”

“We made a quite few mistakes, otherwise, we could have easily won the match without conceding single set. It was a treat to watch Aisam and me playing in full flow, we were dictating things and our opponents were just looking meager spectators. I am quite confident although Abid Akbar had to play against Jimmy but Abid is quite tough lad, I know he would not go down without a fight.

In case Abid fails to win his reverse singles match, we have to put our trump card Aisam for the do-or-die second reverse singles. In case of Aisam plays, he will face their number two player Jui Chen Hung. I hope Abid will carve out victory and ensure Pakistan register the title victory and play in the Group-I next year. It will be a historic occasion as after almost a decade, we will be playing in the Group-I once again,” Aqeel concluded.