LAHORE - Pakistan’s ITF Seniors Champion Rashid Malik defeated India’s Pawan Jain to qualify for the final of the ITF World Tennis Masters Tour being played in Pattaya, Thailand. In the 60 plus men’s singles semifinal, Malik (of Ali Embroidery Mills) was up against top seed Pawan Jain of India. The Pakistani champion played extremely well and comfortably won the first set by 6-2. In the beginning of the second set, the Indian top seed retired due to injury, thus Malik earning a place in the final against China’s Xiao Li, who thumped Japan’s Akira Iwami by 6-0, 6-3 in the second semifinal. Meanwhile in the 55 plus men’s doubles semifinals, Rashid Malik (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) and partner Dr Dipankar Chakravarti defeated the German pair of Peter Schubert and Ralf Stelzer 6-2, 6-3. They will now take on the pair of Yurii Kudinov and Jirachart Thangsiri, who had to struggle hard to beat spirited Indian duo of George Varghese and Paul Varghese 6-2, 3-6, 10-6. Talking to The Nation from Thailand, Rashid Malik said: “I am prepared hard for this prestigious event and performing up the mark despite suffering from groin injury recently in India. The other thing is that the competition level is very high as top ranked senior players are featuring in this event but thanks to Almighty, I have succeeded in qualifying for the finals of the 60 plus singles and 55 plus doubles.
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“I am now keen to give my best and try to win the prestigious titles for my country. At this crucial stage, I also need prayers for my people that can help me hold Pakistani flag aloft in Thailand at ITF World Tennis Masters Tour,” the Pakistani seniors champion added.