ISLAMABAD-Magician Farhan Mehboob Tuesda taught a squash lesson to wild card recipient Ahsan Ayaz in the first round match of the $25,000 President Gold Cup International Squash Championship 2017. Mehboob outclassed Ahsan 3-0 in just 33 minutes in the last match of the day played here at Mushaf Squash Complex.

It was a highly disappointing day otherwise for the local players as only three out of nine make it to the quarterfinals and that too courtesy of playing against home players. It left lot of questions needed to be answered by the federation as there is no national coach at all for the past two years or so. M Yasin was hired on temporary basis while Amjed Khan is also a temporary coach.

It was a bitter pill for the local fans to watch all the local players who were pitted against foreigners lost so cheaply. It also shows there is huge gap between Pakistan and rest of the squash world as local players can’t handle players ranked above 30 by the PSA.

Mehboob simply toyed with Ahsan, who was given a wildcard by the federation. It was too much ask for the young Ahsan as onsong Mehboob is too hot to handle for world’s top players. Ahsan was no match to the magician. Mehboob raced on to take 7-2 lead in the first game but he committed too many childish mistakes which allowed Ahsan to close the gap and it was 6-7 in favour of Ahsan. But Mehboob never looked in panic despite number of close calls went against him. He played cool and calm squash and took the first game 11-7 in 12 minutes. Same was the case in the second game as well, Mehboob took 4-0 lead before allowing Ahsan to stage mini comeback as it was 3-4 in Ahsan’s favour. Mehboob raced on to take 9-4 lead before Ahsan reduced the gap to 7-9. But it was all he could get from the game as Mehboob took the game 11-7 in 10 minutes to make it 2-0. It was all majestic Mehboob in the third game as he took the third game 11-1 in just 7 minutes to set quarterfinal date with Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip who defeated Sadam Ul Haq 3-0 in 28 minutes, winning 11-5, 11-6 and 11-3.

In the other first round matches, top seed Hong Kong’s Leo Au thrashed Egyptian Shehab Essam 3-0 in 26 minutes. Leo won 11-4, 11-6 and 11-2. Farhan Zaman beat compatriot Waqar Mehboob 3-0 in 26 minutes. Zaman won first two games easily 11-3 and 11-7. The real contest was witnessed in the third game as Waqar kept pilling pressure and could have won the game as he was leading 11-10 but he missed the opportunity and Zaman won the game 13-11 to set quarterfinal date with top seed Leo Au.

Israr Ahmad made a huge upset as he beat world number 62 Tayyab Aslam 3-1 in 42 minutes. Tayyab, who is still nursing his injury sustained almost a month back, was never in the contest. But to his credit he tried to put up decent show before going down fighting. Israr took the first game 11-3 before losing second 8-11. Israr won the third game 11-8 and 4th game also 11-8 to set quarterfinal date with Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi who defeated another young local player Asim lost 3-1. It was injury, which forced Asim out of the match otherwise he gave a tough fight. Fathi won the first two games 11-5, 11-2. Asim bounced back in style to take third game 11-5 and was leading 4-0 in the 4th game. But all of a sudden he started feeling severe pain in abdomen. He tried to fight through injury, but had to concede the game at 6-9. Mohamed Reda of Egypt beat Zahir Shah 3-0 in 35 minutes, winning 12-10, 11-7 and 11/7.

Egyptian Karim El-Hammamy beat compatriot Youssef Soliman 3-2 in arguably the best encounter of the day in 1 hour and 10 minutes. El-Hammamy was leading 2-0 before Soliman staged a remarkable comeback to make it 2-2. Hammamy won the first game 11-7, he took second game 11-6, before Soliman won next two games 11-6 and 11-6. But Hammamy never gave up and won the 5th game 11-6 to set all-Egyptian quarterfinal against Mohamed Reda.