MOHSIN ALI

ISLAMABAD

Former Pakistan No 1 squash player Farhan Zaman recorded huge upset in the $20,000 Serena Hotels-Huawei Pakistan International Squash Tournament 2019 pre-quarterfinals by ousting Egyptian Mazen Gamal 3-2 here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Monday.

Farhan showed glimpses of his brilliance during the 56-minute marathon encounter. It was long overdue from Zaman to give such kind of performances, which used to be a trademark of the youngster. Zaman entered the court with new self-belief and enjoyed overwhelming crowd support, who were right behind him and expecting him to give joy to the locals.

Zaman displayed top quality squash in the first game, but Mazen was up to the task, who made it highly close game, which could be won by anyone, Mazen managed to control his nerves and took the game 13-11. The second game was also played on a high note. Both the players were involved in long rallies and kept each other on the run to all sides of the court. Zaman was lucky enough to hold his nerves and took the second game 11-9. After playing so well, Zaman was nowhere in the third game, which the Egyptian won quite comfortably by 11-3.

Sensing the situation, Zaman played the best squash of his career and stunned his opponent. He was simply playing like a true champion and didn’t allow his opponent to play freely, thus won the fourth game easily by 11-2. The fifth and decisive game was arguably the best of the tournament so far, as both the players were fighting for each and every point and it was see-saw battle between two champions. Mazen had chance to wrap up the game and match, but he failed to cash on while Zaman, who never required any second invitation, took the game 12-10 to book quarterfinal date with Pakistan’s top player Farhan Mehboob.

In other matches of the day, top seed Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim had to dig deep to overcome determined opponent from Hong Kong, Chi Him Wong, who played out his heart and was so close to inflict huge upset on the Egyptian, but went down fighting 2-3 in 41 minutes. Youssef lost the first game 9-11 and lost the second game 6-11. But he bounced back in great style and won the next three games in a row by 11-3, 11-5 and 11-4 to make it to the quarterfinals, where he will meet Pakistan’s Asim Khan, who beat Curtis Malik of England 3-0 in 36 minutes, as he won the encounter by 11-5, 11-7 and 11-9.

Farhan Mehboob beat Amaad Fareed 3-2 in a nerve-racking encounter of 40 minutes. Mehboob lost the first game 7-11 but fought back well in the second game, winning it by 11-5. He again couldn’t maintain his rhythm and lost the third game 5-11 but he bounced back well in the fourth game to win it 11-7 and took the fifth and decisive one by 11-5. Tayyab Aslam thumped wildcard recipient Noor Zaman 3-0 in just 25 minutes. Noor was no match to experienced Tayyab, who won the match 11-8, 13-11 and 11-5. Now Tayyab will take on Egyptian Yahya Elnawasany in quarterfinals.

Yahya Elnawasany of Egypt beat Hong Kong’s Tsz Kwan Lau 3-1 in 25 minutes, as he won the match by 12-10, 11-8, 8-11 and 11-7. Portugal’s Rui Soares routed German Yannik Omlor 3-0 in 37 minutes, winning 12-10, 11-8 and 11-8. Now in quarterfinals, Rui Soares will face Egyptian Mohamed ElSherbini, who overpowered Hong Kong’s Tang Ming 3-0 in 26 minutes, winning the encounter by 11-7, 11-6 and 11-7.

While in the $12,000 Serena Hotels-Huawei Pakistan International Squash Tournament 2019, all the Pakistani girls’ journey came to an end on the second hurdle, as all were bowed out without any resistance. In the first pre-quarterfinal, Egyptian Hana Moataz beat Hong Kong’s Tsz-Wing Tong 3-2 in 35 minutes, winning the match by 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5, and 11-7, Egyptian Farah Momen thumped compatriot Shahd El Refaey 3-1 in 33 minutes, winning the match by 11-9, 10-12, 11-8 and 11-4, Malaysian Waen Li Lai beat Moqaddas Ashraf 3-0 in 17 minutes, winning with the score of 11-3, 11-7 and 11-7.

Egyptian Farida Mohamed beat Pakistan’s Saima Shaukat 3-0 in 13 minutes, winning 11-9, 11-2 and 11-4, Egyptian Meena Hamed beat Faiza Zafar of Pakistan 3-0 in 17 minutes, winning 11-7, 11-9 and 11-2, Switzerland’s Cindy Merlo beat local girl Anam Mustafa Aziz 3-0 in 16 minutes, winning 11-1, 11-3 and 11-2, Swiss miss Nadia Pfister beat Amna Fayyaz 3-2 in 33 minutes, winning 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11 and 11-5, American Sabrina Sobhy beat Pakistan’s Madina Zafar 3-0 in 20 minutes, winning 11-9, 11-4 and 11-1.