ISLAMABAD - Farhan Mehboob overwhelmed high-flying Abbas Shoukat in the final qualifying round match in 2nd Serena Hotels-Chief of Air Staff (CAS) $25,000 International Squash Championship 2015 here at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex Friday.

Abbas was enjoying dream run in the event last time around and this year too, he started his campaign upsetting world number 258 Egyptian Basem Makram 3-1, but as predicted by this scribe, it would take more than a miracle for Abbas to even think about upsetting highly experienced Farhan Mehboob. Farhan’s younger brother Waqar Mehboob made a huge upset as he eliminated third seed in qualifying round Asim Khan 3-2 in tensed-battle, continued for around one hour and 10 minutes.

The eyes were set on the match of the day between Farhan Mehboob and Abbas Shoukat. The match started at 3pm and it was jam-packed arena with hardly there was any seat available to sit. Former world squash champion Jansher Khan was also sitting and watching the players, who were looking clearly upbeat and a point to prove to the living legend, who is just appointed as advisor to Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) president.

Abbas started the first game on a high tempo, as he tried to seal early initiative, but Farhan was cool and composed and never looked in any sort of bother. Farhan started dictating his terms and kept Abbas on a run throughout the first game to win it 11-5. The real battle was witnessed in the second game when Abbas was trying his level best to at least put up a decent show. At one stage, he managed to take 5-2 lead, but Farhan bounced back in style and first leveled the score at 5-5 and then won it 11-8.

Abbas started the third game knowing anything less than securing the game would signal the end of the road, so he tried every trick in his pocket to disturb Farhan, who is well known for losing his temper, but a very positive change was witnessed in Farhan’s attitude, as he was least bothered about Abbas’s tactics and remained focus on his game plan. Farhan used his special weapon drop shots to best of his abilities, but Abbas was up to the danger and returned low volleys. The game kept on level terms for the majority of time before Farhan changed gears and shut doors on Abbas, as he outclassed him 11-8 in the third game to book first round place against compatriot Danish Atlas Khan.

In the second match of the day, Farhan’s younger brother Waqar Mehboob pulled off sensational 3-2 victory in 70 minutes against Asim Khan, who just started playing again after recovering from deadly Hepatics disease. Both the players were evenly matched it was a battle of the fittest to survive. Waqar came out with flying colors and took the first game 11-9 in 17 minutes. In the second game, Waqar had 9-6 lead and was looking all set to wrap up the game, but Asim responded in style and first leveled the game at 9-9 and then took it 11-9 in 12 minutes.

The momentum was very much shifted in Asim’s favour, and it was expected he would now dictate terms and easily win the match, but Waqar, fully realizing uncle Jansher was watching him playing, started the third game in different frame of mind and raced on to take 7-3 lead, before Asim reduced the gap to 5-7, but Waqar again built up 9-5 lead, before Asim reduced it to 7-9, but Waqar played superbly to win the game 11-7 in 13 minutes.

In the fourth game, Asim was enjoying 9-2 lead, but then he started committing a number of errors, but he was very lucky, as Waqar didn’t take any advantage from his mistakes. Waqar was badly tired and Asim advantage of it winning the fourth game 11-4 in nine minutes to force the marathon match into fifth and deciding game.

Both the players started the final game very cautiously knowing mistakes could spell disaster. It was 2-2, before Waqar took commanding 9-2 lead, Asim reduced the gap to 5-9, but Waqar then played superbly to clinch the game 11-5 in 13 minutes and staged an upset victory against third seed in qualifying round to set up royal battle against the top seed and defending champion Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid.

In the third match, Kashif Asif beat Ahsan Ayaz 3-1 in 64 minutes, with the scores of 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 and set first round date with Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar. In the fourth and last match of the day, M Saqib Yousaf beat Shoiab Hassan 3-0 as he won 11-9, 11-3, 12-10 to set date with Tayyab Aslam.