Seasoned Pakistani tennis player Rashid Malik secured victory over compatriot Hameed-ul-Haq in a hard-fought final at the ITF Masters Championship in Pattaya, Thailand. The match concluded with Malik prevailing 6-7, 6-1, 3-0 (retired hurt).
The scorching conditions, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, set the stage for a challenging 60+ singles final. The first set saw both players engaging in fierce rallies and showcasing impressive finishing shots. But a strong performance from Hameed-ul-Haq helped him secure 7-6. However, Malik’s superior fitness proved decisive in the subsequent sets, as he comfortably claimed the second set 6-1. In the final set, Malik took a commanding 3-0 lead when Hameed-ul-Haq retired due to injury, allowing Malik to clinch the coveted 60+ singles title.
The intense match drew the admiration of spectators, players, officials, and guests who praised the players’ efforts and skill. Following the conclusion of the match, the Manager of Royal Cliff Hotels presented trophies and certificates to both players. Mr. Gap, the owner of Royal Cliff Hotels and Group, expressed pleasure in meeting the Pakistani players and extended an invitation for future ITF tennis tournaments at their facilities.
Reflecting on his victory, Rashid Malik (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) stated, “The first tournament was tough, but I gave my best and succeeded in producing the best results, winning titles in both singles and doubles events. In the next tournament, I will focus on doubles due to a groin injury.” Notably, Rashid Malik is the first player from Pakistan to win the ITF Masters 700.
This accomplishment is a source of pride for the nation and the Pakistani tennis community. Despite being 62 years old, Pakistani seniors continue to excel at the international level, defeating top players worldwide and bringing honor to the country. The government is urged to recognize and incentivize these athletes who selflessly represent Pakistan on the global stage. Their contributions should be acknowledged and supported in the best possible manner.