Tennis: Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq to Play in U.S. Open Finals, Twice

Posted on September 9, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Sports
45 Comments
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Adil Najam

Pakistani tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi will feature in two different finals at Flushing Meadow’s – the home of U.S. Open Tennis – this week: Aisam has reached the finals in both the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles categories!

(Photos: Picture on left is Kveta Peschke and Aisam-ul-Haq; picture on right is Aisam-ul-Haq and Rohan Bopanna; during US Open 2010)

He will be playing the first of those finals today (Thursday, September 9, 2010) – US Open Mixed Doubles – where Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and his Czech partner Kveta Peschke will play the World Number 1 ranked pair of Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan, both from USA.

This is by far the best performance by a Pakistani in a grand slam tournament, and to be playing in two different  finals in one of the most important (possibly, second only to Wimbledon) tennis tournament in the world is a major achievement. In any doubles game credit should go equally to both players in the team, Aisam-ul-Haq has blossomed into a doubles player of great skill and merit and has been steadily improving his world standings in doubles tennis (now ranked No. 34 in World Doubles rankings).

We have followed with fascination the rise of the 30 year old from Lahore and written about him in different contexts (here, here, here). His rise in this year’s US Open Doubles tournaments has been particularly heartening, and all the more impressive since he is playing both categories side-by-side.

In the Mixed Doubles, the road to the Finals looked like this:

Kveta Peschke (CZE) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) BEAT
Semi-Finals: 7-6, 7-6
Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) and Mark Knowles (BAH)
Quarter-Finals: 3-6, 6-2, 1-0
Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Pablo Cuevas (URU)
Round 2: 5-7, 6-3, 1-0
Yaroslava Shevedova (KAZ) and Julian Knowle (AUT)
Round 1: 7-5, 4-6, 1-0
Vania King (USA) and Horia Tecau (ROU)

In the Men’s Doubles, the road to the Finals looked like this:

Rohan Bopanna (IND) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) BEAT
Semi-Finals: 7-6, 6-4
Eduardo Schwank (ARG) and Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Quarter-Finals: 7-5, 7-6
Wesley Moodie (RSA) and Dick Norman (BEL)
Round 3: 6-3, 6-4
Daniel Nestor (CAN) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)

Round 2:
6-4, 6-4
Michael Kohlmann (GER) and Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
Round 1: 6-3, 7-6
Brian Battistone (USA) and Ryler DeHeart (USA)

In both the finals, Aisam will be playing against American Bob Bryan. In the Mixed Doubles Final, Aisam and his Czech partner Kveta Peschke will play against Bob Bryan and his fellow-American Liezel Huber (ranked World No. 1) while in the Men’s Doubles Final Aisam and his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna will be pitted against the American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan (also ranked World No. 1 in the doubles).

His stellar streak, coming at a time when just about everything in Pakistan- from floods to cricket – seems to be going terribly wrong gives some solace to Pakistani fans. The first of his Finals will be played later today (Thursday, September 9) and we wish Aisam and Kveta  the very best of luck, as we do to Aisam and Rohan  who will feature in the Men’s Final later this week.

45 responses to “Tennis: Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq to Play in U.S. Open Finals, Twice”

  1. Anwar says:

    @ Ahmed

    Your comments, though not worthy enough to be responded, begs to be given some enlightenment. Tennis is, unlike cricket, a true global sports. Your view on doubles being inferior to singles is ridiculous as these games , though need the same equipments, are almost two different sports. While singles is more about one’s ability to produce unreturnable shots, the doubles game is a team game where foxing the opponents are more important showing individual brilliance. It has different values..needs different set of skills. Your other comment that the authorities were actually trying to scrap doubles speaks about your sheer ignorance. Instead they tried to make it more exciting by introducing a new rule for the deciding set. By the way do you know that the William Sisters are the ladies best doubles pair? And you thought that doubles players are mediocre! Well Did you see the greatest singles player Federer’s tears after winning the Olympics Gold in doubles?

    And u say Aisam is low-calibre? By d way I am not surprised that you didn’t mention your chosen field… ‘ve seen too many “High-calibre ” people first-hand to distinguish them from hypocrites… that too the cyber ones..

  2. MK says:

    I watched his post match interview and I am proud that he is a Pakistani.

  3. Watan Aziz says:

    “Bilkul” and totally.

    And I agree with everyone.

    I think sometimes the point does not become quite clear in written form, especially, if the post is done on the fly. I sometimes wind up reading my very own and disagreeing with myself as what I wrote was not exactly what I meant. It is the nature of hurried communication.

    And on a larger note, I think it is wrong to start assigning the “role” of ambassador or “role model” to individual people. There is no need to put people up on the pedestal and then drag them down over their human failings. And we all have our human failings.

    When they are doing well, it is good to feel happy and go gaga over it, but the success is their own achievement. And it also makes it a safe bet that there will be no need to have national headlines of “shame”. After all, the money they earn, does not go in national treasury.

    That said, anyone who makes it to any of the finals, quarter, semi, or the the real one, in any competitive sport should feel good about themselves. They have met a certain standard and made the cut.

    BTW, can anyone share what exactly did Aisam said that everyone is going gaga over it?

    But back to “bilkul”, I just realized we were totally hip with bilkul long before totally became hip with “totally”.

    Totally bilkul!

  4. Aqil says:

    Well said Eidee man

  5. Kamran says:

    @Ahmed

    There is more risk involved in Sports than a research or teaching career. Asaim took a big risk when he went into sports, and the one which hardly gets any recognition in Pakistan. He worked hard at his game for over 10 years, went against the the tide by pairing up with what many may call enemy states. Kept a sane head all this while, thanked others for his success. Made it to the double’s final for two categories, all the time promoting Pakistan and peace. Went into the finals which were watched by millions and said a few words which a lot of Pakistanis wanted to say for a very long time.

    Hyping too much to him? not at all. Only a cynic will see it any other way.

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