Mikaeel wins silver medal to raise Pakistani flag in Dushanbe

The Nation  |  Apr 01, 2023

LAHORE      -      Pakistan’s upcoming tennis star Mikaeel Ali Baig has secured silver medal and proudly raised Pakistan’s flag at the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) Boys U14 Tournament held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Wildcard entrant and unranked upcoming young Pakistani tennis player, Mikaeel Ali Baig, has featured in his first U14 ATF Tournament in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

He had a great run in the tournament as he ousted No 3 seed in round two, and outpaced top seed in the semifinals to reach the finals. In finals, Mikaeel faced one of the top South Korean opponents and tried to put pressure on him from the beginning, but was unable to get the first set at 3-6. Mikaeel fought back hard in the second set and was able to get the set at 6-4. About 2 and a half hour long match had to go into a deciding third set, with long points back and forth between both players.

However, the South Korean player was able to take the lead and won the set at 6-1. In the doubles, Mikaeel and his partner Zohaib Afzal Malik had a great run into semifinals, where they lost to top seed Iranian player and his partner from South Korea. Talking to The Nation from Dushanbe, Mikaeel said: “My final was a really good and long match, exactly like how finals should be. I am very pleased with my run in this tournament. I had come with no expectations and wanted to just play my best. I am glad that I am the finalist and earned a silver medal for Pakistan.

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“I am also very happy to have reached the doubles semi-finals with my partner and friend Zohaib. I hope that I can be seen as an inspiration to other young tennis players in Pakistan. We need more support from privatesector and from the federation, when we travel internationally for such tournaments. I am at this tournament, thanks to the support of my family. They know that I want to play for Pakistan internationally and even this year and last year, I participated in many international tournaments to promote Pakistan’s name on my own with very little support from others.

“I hope someday this changes. I would also like to offer my congrats to our 14&U team for having a great performance this week in Malaysia as they have qualified for the final, where they will take on strong Japan team. My job isn’t done yet, I don’t celebrate or relax after the conclusion of a tournament. There is more work to be done, I have another tournament in Dushanbe next week and I know I have to work even harder for it to earn laurels for me and my country.

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