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Asad Zaman reaches semis in SBP Open Tennis Championship

LAHORE:  Pakistan’s rising junior star Asad Zaman reached the semifinals of the Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Open Tennis Championship after winning his respective semifinals of the U-18 and U-16 here at the SBP’s Tennis Academy Nishtar Park Sports Complex on Sunday.

On the third day of the prestigious event, total 24 matches were played and talented Asad Zaman won both of his quarterfinals to book berths in U-18 and U-16 semifinals.

First, Asad outsmarted spirited Abubakar Talha by 8-2 to earn a place in the U-18 semifinal. Then he played tremendous tennis against young Eesa Bilal and overwhelmed him by 8-1 to make into another semifinal of U-16.

After qualifying for the semifinals of two categories, Asad Zaman said: “First of all, I am thankful to Allah Almighty and then Mr. Tariq Zaman, CEO of Ali Embroidery Mills, for sponsoring me that is helping me emerge as top national U-18 and U-16 players and also winning titles one after another. I am also grateful to my mentor and coach Rashid Malik (Tamgh-e-Imtiaz) for training me so that I have been excelling in the national circuit and keen to doing well in the international circuit as well.”

SBP Head Coach and former Davis Cupper Rashid Malik also lauded the consecutive performances of Asad Zaman, terming him future international tennis stars, who can win international laurels for the country, if trained, groomed, sponsored and supported fully by government and corporate sector. “I am also thankful to Chief Minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi and Punjab Sports Minister Malik Taimoor Masood for their sincere efforts and support for the betterment of tennis in Punjab.

“Credit also goes to Sports Board Punjab Vice Chairman Rao Zahid Qayyum and Director General Sports Punjab Tariq Qureshi for their keen interest and passion for promotion of sports in the province which has started yielding fruit as many Punjab players have started shinning at national and international level and winning glories for Pakistan. Under their dynamic leaderships and vision, future of sports seems quite bright,” Malik asserted.

In the men’s singles quarterfinals, Heera Ashiq was in great form and outlasted Hassan Riaz by 6-1, 6-1. Imran Bhatti of Lahore Gymkhana played well against Ahmad Waqas Basit and outpaced him by 6-3, 6-3. Another emerging star Bilal Asim played well against veteran Sikandar Hayat and defeated him by 6-2, 6-4. Abdullah Adnan trounced young Hamza Jawad 6-1, 6-0 to earn a place in the semifinals.

The boys U-18 quarterfinals saw Raahim Khan doing well against Aized Khalil and toppling him by 8-2. Another promising player Hamza Jawad showed his skills against Aoun Raza by thrashed him by 8-0. Abubakar Khalil also utilised his experience against Zain Saeed well and won the encounter by 8-1.

In the boys U-16 quarterfinals, rising girls star of the country Amna Ali Qayum from Islamabad proved the power of women against a young boy Abdullah Pirzada and outshone him by 8-3. Abubakar Talha of Wapda didn’t allow his young and spirited opponent Abdur Rehman and outclassed him by a thumping margin of 8-0.

In the boys/girls U-14 quarterfinals, Omer Jawad taught a tennis lessen to young Bismal Zia 6-0 while Abdur Rehman (AAA Associates & SICAS) shone against Rehan Shahid and edged out him by 6-4. Another promising player Nabeel Ali Qayum played well against Hashir Alam and defeated him by 6-4. In the last quarterfinal, Abdullah Pirzada outsmarted M Sohaan Noor by 6-2.

In the boys/girls U-12 quarterfinals, Omer Jawad trounced Mauz Shahbaz 6-0, Hajra Suhail (AAA Associates & SICAS) beat Bismal Zia 6-2, Romail Shahid beat Hafiz Hassan Ali 7-5 and Abdur Rehman (SICAS) beat Ayyan Shahbaz 6-1.

In the boys/girls U-10 pre-quarterfinals, Hajra Suhail beat Aized Siraj 6-0, Mauz Shahbaz beat M Ahil Najoom 6-0, Mustafa Uzair Rana beat Taha Asad 6-1, Salman Fawad beat Ameen Abdullah 6-4 and Zayd Ahmad beat Ahsan Bari 6-1.

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