Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II matches were scheduled to be played at the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex. The teams which were qualified for the round three were Pakistan and Thailand. Today, Pakistan defeated Thailand 3-2 in a series of 5 matches.
In the first two rounds, Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan (6-3, 6-4, 6-4) and Aisam ul Haq (6-1, 6-0, 6-4) defeated Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul and Kittipong Wachiramanowong respectively to take a lead of 2-0 over Thailand.
After the match winning performance, Aisam ul Haq said,
“Wachiramanowong played well and it was a good match. My strategy was to keep the points short. I wasn’t expecting it to be a three-setter, but it was a good match. Aqeel also played well against their top seed in the first match.”
“The 2-0 lead is a good thing. We can prepare a better strategy now. I’ll be with the team in the evening and we can decide how to go about the doubles rubber. It definitely gives us a cushion as to whether we can rest or not. We’ll see how the recovery process goes.”
On Saturday, Thailand bounced back in Davis Cup by defeating Pakistan in doubles. Thailand’s doubles team (Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana) outclassed Pakistan’s team (Muhammad Abid and Shahzad Khan) in the 3rd match of round three. The first set was led by Pakistan 6-4, then Thailand won the second set by the same margin to be alive in the match. Then Thailand continued their good performance by winning the last two sets by 6-1, 6-1. The match lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes. This win made the lead by 2-0 to 2-1 for Pakistan.
After the match, Pakistan’s non-playing captain Muhammad Khalid said that,
“We can show the good performance after the first set. They (Muhammad Abid and Shahzad Khan) got the first chance in the tournament that’s why they were in pressure. Aisam ul Haq and Aqeel Khan are our most successful team in the Davis Cup. We rested them because of single matches to be held on Sunday.”
He further added,
“Though we didn’t expect this type of result but hopefully we would do better on the last day.”
In the 4th round, Pakistan’s tennis star Aisam ul Haq faced Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul and lost the match by 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, which equalize the lead from 2-1 to 2-2. The decider match was played between Aqeel Khan and Kittipong Wachiramanowong, in which Aqeel Khan defeated opponent in a tough match by 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2.
Aqeel Khan once again helped Pakistan to beat Thailand. He once again proved himself as one of the finest player of tennis for Pakistan. Along with that, Aqeel Khan is the longest serving player of Pakistan tennis.
Aisam said that it is a great achievement for Pakistan to host the ties again and his stand against New Zealand last year seems to have paid off. Aisam had refused to play the tie in New Zealand in the Group II final as a protest that team Pakistan deserves a chance of a home-advantage. He added,
“It feels unbelievable that we are playing at home again. I took a stand against New Zealand and it paid off. We had been asking the ITF to reconsider their decision. I’m happy it has finally happened. We are playing among our people. I just want to thank the PTF and Pakistan Army as well for making it safe for the foreign players to come. They are doing a great job.”
At the end of the match, Aqeel said’
“I wanted Aisam to finish the final for Pakistan but I think it was written in my fate to do so.”
Aisam ul Haq also congratulated the nation on the victory. He said that,
“It had been a historic week for sports in Pakistan as Pakistan cricket team beat World XI in Lahore and we won the Davis Cup final”.
On this occasion, Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah announced a cash prize of Rs 500,000 for the team.