It was Pakistanâ€™s less-famous menâ€™s tennis player who came through as Aqeel Khan famously pulled out a reverse singles win over Karim Alayli to give Pakistan a thrilling final day win over Lebanon in the Davis Cup competition. Earlier in the day, Pakistanâ€™s star tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi fell at the hands of Lebanonâ€™s number one, Bassam Beidas. Qureshi started strong, winning the first set 6-4, but went down meekly thereafter, losing 6-1, 6-2 in the final two sets.
Despite being more of a household name, doubles-specialist Qureshi is considered the number two player in Pakistan owing to Aqeel Khanâ€™s superior singles game. Khan won in straight sets against Ayali, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), to give Pakistan the Davis Cup tie victory three matches to two. The 32-year-old from Karachi gave one of his best Davis Cup performances to carry his team through to the second round.
Playing away from home after the International Tennis Federationâ€™s decision to switch the tie to Lebanon on security basis, Pakistan struggled against the Lebanese number one, Beidas and on the clay surfaces of the ATCL Club in Jounieh.
At the start of the third day, Pakistan held a 2-1 edge over the hosts after having one the doubles match on Sunday. The four-hour-five-minute match saw Qureshi and Khan beat Beidass and Patrik Chucri 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a historic, 50th Davis Cup win for Qureshi.
Earlier, Pakistan saw mixed results in the singles matches, where taking a lead through Qureshi (beat Ayali 6-4, 6-3, 6-0) they were tied at 1-1 as Khan lost his match against Beidas (1-6, 3-6, 2-6). Having progressed into the next round of the Asia/Oceania Group-II, Pakistan will now face Philippines, who swept aside Pacific Oceania 5-0. As per regulations, the tie should be scheduled in Pakistan, who have not played at home in over four years. The decision, however, lies with the ITF and the visiting team.