ISLAMABAD

Pakistan's No 1 squash player Aamir Atlas Khan defeated defending champion M Nafizwan Adnan of Malaysia 3-2 to reach the semi-finals of the 17th FMC Asian Senior Individual Squash Championship 2013 here at Mushaf Ali Mir Squash Complex on Friday.

Nafizwan started the match as firm favourite and took the first game 11-7. Aamir, who had the backing of pack to capacity crowd, fought back and took the next two games 11-9, 11-9 to take a 2-1 lead.

Nafizwan forced the match into decider when he won the fourth game 11-3. Aamir went into the final game with a huge backing from the crowd and both the players did their upmost to take hold on the game but match remained tied at 5-5.

 It was Nafizwan took a 7-5 lead and looked settled to win the tie but Aamir fought back to make the score even. It was a see-saw battle as both players went neck on neck at 9-9 before Aamir splayed some aggressive shots to take the next two points in a row to win the game 11-9 and sealing the fate of the match in his favour after after 65-minute of highly entertaining squash.

Meanwhile, a huge controversy erupted before the start of the Nofizwan-Aamir match when, the Malaysian player objected to side referee Mahboob Khan and wanted him to be replaced with Jordan referee Ahmed.

Chief of referee Fayyaz of Hong Kong instead of ruling out such an unjust and unwanted demand by the player, who wanted to replace referee without any concrete reason about a person who had a vast experience of refereeing in many international events, bowed down to the pressure and replaced the side referee Mahboob with Jordanian official.

To the credit of hosts, they never objected to such a rough behaviour by the Malaysian and even Pakistan coach Jamshed Gul offered Nofizwan to have all the three referees of his liking. It is the duty of the PSF to lodge a strong protest with Asian Squash Federation (ASF) in this regard and plead the case with full voice, as such a treatment and that too with a man, who has a vast experience and produced three champions for Pakistan. The head of referee, Fayyaz, should explain his position as why the side referee was changed and that too on a player’s liking or disliking.

In the second quarterfinal, Abdullah Al Mezayan of Kuwait never looked in any trouble right throughout the match as he brushed aside Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 to book a place in the semi-finals as the match lasted for 38 minutes.

In the third quarterfinal of the day, Farhan Mahboob crushed Leo Au of Hong Kong in straight games 11-5, 11-5, 11-6. Farhan started the match as firm favourite as he was in command right from the start and raced on to a comfortable lead in the first game 7-2 before finishing it 11-5.

Farhan won the second game with the same score 11-5, but to the surprise of many, Leo Au took 6-2 lead in the third game. Farhan then bounced back and won next nine points in a row to take the match and booked a place in the semi-finals where he will face Abdullah Al Mezayan. In the fourth and last quarterfinal, M Asyraf Azan of Malaysia defeated Max Lee of Hong Kong 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9 as the match lasted for 62 minutes.

It was not a good day for the hosts as lone female player Maria Toor was beaten by top seed Low Wee Wern of Malaysia 11-9, 11-7, 11-7. Although Maria lost the match but it was a tremendous performance considering the fact, Maria was not 100 percent fit and was also playing against the top seed.

In the other female matches, Joey Chan of Hong Kong defeated Liu Tsz Ling of Hong Kong 11-4, 11-3, 11-3, Delia Arnold of Malaysia thrashed Tong Tsz Wing of Hong Kong 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 while Annie Au of Hong Kong downed Zulhijjah Azan of Malaysia 11-6, 11-3, 17-15.