Pakistan had a mixed day in their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone group II campaign against Sri Lanka yesterday as Aqeel Khan registered a win but there was disappointment for Aisamul Haq Qureshi.
Aqeel was given the win against Dineshkanthan Thangarajah 4-6, 6-1, 4-2 as the later retired due to exhaustion, while Aisam lost to Harshana Godamanna 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(3).
With the tie level at 1-1, the Pakistan duo will play their doubles match against Godamanna and Rajeev Rajapakse today hoping to gain an advantage in the five-match tie before the reverse single fixtures.
Pakistan have never lost to Sri Lanka in the Davis Cup and Aqeel hopes they can continue the winning run against their Asian counterparts.
“Sri Lankan players are very competitive and extremely difficult to beat, especially on home courts,” Aqeel told The Express Tribune. “I had a slight advantage though. I believe that I won the match because I played in Sri Lanka for two months with these players last year so I know their game well. Also, my opponent just got tired and conceded the match.
“Our record against Sri Lanka is very impressive. We have previously beaten them fairly comfortably, but they are improving as well. It won’t be easy this time around.”
Aqeel also had words of praise for his partner Aisam who lost a tightly-fought match.
“Aisam played very well today and he put up a good fight, but again red clay is something all of us Pakistanis struggle with and that’s what happened in the match today.
“For us, the deciding factor in this tie will be the doubles match. If we win that I’m sure we will get the edge over the hosts. We will progress into the next round. We always get past the first round so I’m hoping for the best.”
Pakistan’s last tie with Sri Lanka was in 1993, when they won 4-1 on grass in Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.