ISLAMABAD, December 23, 2017
Ivan Nedelko of Russian and Enrique López-Pérez from Spain are the champions of the first two ITF Pro Circuit events of a three weeks clay court swing in Pakistan this month.
Top seed Nedelko beat Spaniard Pere Riba 6-3, 6-4 in the singles final of the $15,000 Serena Hotels ITF Futures Championships held at the S. Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex in Islamabad from 4 to 10 December 2017. The 31-year-old lifted his third trophy of the season following his triumphs in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, and Antalya, Turkey. Nedelko did not drop a set en route to the title.
The following week, Nedelko advanced to the final again but lost to Pérez-López 7-6, 6-1 at the $15,000 Begum Kulsum Saifullah ITF Futures Championships. The second favourite from Madrid edged past Alexander Lebedyn from the Ukraine, Ageel Khan of Pakistan, Austrian Peter Goldsteiner and Shalva Dzhanshiya from Russia to reach the title match. It was the sixth ITF Pro Circuit title for López-Pérez this season.
Khan/Khan Triumph On Home Soil
Aqeel Khan and Shahzad Khan won the doubles competition at both events. The Pakistani duo defeated Luka Pavlovic of France and Pere Riba 7-6, 7-6 in the final of the first week, followed by a 7-6, 3-6, 10-6 triumph over Russia’s Anton Chekhov and Alexander Lebedyn.
“Our opponents also played brilliantly. But we eventually prevailed. It’s a good experience to win an international title in front of home crowd,” said Aqeel, who is Pakistan’s top tennis player, after he clinched his very first doubles trophy.
A lack of financial support has kept away players like Aqeel from appearing in international tournaments. The ITF Pro Cirucit events held in Pakistan could help Aqeel and his teammate Shahzad to improve their doubles’ rankings. The pair is the first in Pakistan’s history to win ITF Futures Tennis Tournament.
“Next year, we will try to hold six international tournaments in Pakistan out of which three will be held in Lahore,” Pakistan Tennis Federation President Salim Saifullah Khan stated. A third consecutive tournament for this season is taking place this week.