ISLAMABAD - Farhan Mehboob continued his giant-killing run in the 2nd Serena Hotels-Chief of Air Staff (CAS) $25,000 International Squash Championship 2015, as he ousted fifth seed Danish Atlas Khan 3-1 in the first round match here at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex on Saturday.
Four Pakistanis made it to the quarterfinals of the event, after defeating their respective opponents in the first round of matches. Farhan was too strong for Danish, who just returned from US. Farhan, who had to play qualifying round of matches to earn the right to play the first round, has already told The Nation that playing in qualifying round would help him great deal and after qualifying, he would try his level best to win the title for the country. Now Farhan has to face biggest challenge of the event as he takes on top seed and defending champion Omar Abdel Meguid in the quarterfinals today (Sunday) at 1pm.
Danish settled down well and played first game aggressively. Farhan was nowhere in the game and was finding it really difficult to match pace and aggression of Danish, who wasted little time to win the game 11-7. After losing the first game, Farhan looked pumped up and hungry to bounce back. It was a treat to watch as Farhan was playing with full authority and dictating terms. Danish all of sudden looked a meager spectator, as he could hardly move, as Farhan was playing almost every master stroke, and took the game 11-4.
Same was the case in the third game where Farhan looked a genuine champion and played superb squash to win the game 11-5. Farhan dominated the fourth game as well and dropped only four points to take the game 11-4, thus completed victory in 46 minutes. Legend Jansher Khan has already tipped Farhan as the only Pakistani who can stop Omar from defending title and earn title victory for the country.
In the second first round match of the day, top seed Egyptian send warning signals to opponents as he demolished Farhan’s younger brother Waqar Mehboob 3-0 in just 28 minutes. Waqar had made huge upset in the qualifying round final as he ousted Asim Khan to earn place in the first round, but Omar then gave him a squash lesson. Omar won the first game 11-5, took the second 11-5 and third 10-12 to score win.
In the third match of the day, Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar thrashed Pakistan’s Kashif Asif 3-0 in just 18 minutes. Kashif was like a school-going kid playing against a fully grown man. Abouelghar won the first game 11-1, second 11-5 and third 11-4 to set up quarterfinal date with compatriot Shehab Essam. In the fourth match, Egypt Karim Al-Fathi beat Aqeel Rehman Austria 3-0 in 29 minutes. Karim won the first game 11-5, second 11-3 and third 11-8 to set quarters clash against Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam.
In the fifth match of the day, top Pakistan player Nasir Iqbal outclassed Khawaja Adil Maqbool 3-0 in 23 minutes to set up date with countryman wildcard entry Israr Ahmed in the quarterfinals. Nasir won the first game 11-1, second 11-7 and third 11-4. In the sixth match of the day, Israr Ahmed made huge upset as he ousted 8th seed Shahjahan Khan 3-0 in 42 minutes. Israr won the first game 11-9, second 11-7 and 12-10 to win the encounter. In the seventh match of the day, Tayyab Aslam thumped Sh Saqib Yousaf 3-0 in 29 minutes. It was highly surprising result, as Saqib was a member of Pakistan Asian Games squad and was a tough nut to crack, but he looked completely off colors, as Tayyab won the first game 11-6, second 11-3 and third 11-7.
In the eighth and last match of the day, Egyptian Shehab Essam beat Kiwi Lance Beddoes 3-2 in 49 minutes. Essam lost first game 8-11, but won the second game 11-6 before losing the third game 5-11. After going down twice, Essam regained his lost touch and played superb squash to win the fourth game 11-2 and fifth 11-6 to set up quarterfinal date with countryman Mohamed Abouelghar.
Earlier, the opening ceremony of the tournament was held. Serena Hotels General Manager Michel A Galopin graced the occasion as chief guest. It was a wonderful crowd witnessed on the opening day of the event, who remained busy in bucking up players. It was wonderful to watch such number of squash lovers turning up to witness the matches.