ISLAMABAD-All the Pakistani players bowed out of the $20,000 International Squash Tournament at quarterfinals stage with only exception of Farhan Mehboob, who will carry Pakistan’s hopes forward.

It was once again highly disappointing day for Pakistan squash, but Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is keeping mum and is not bothered at all with these worst results. Not a single major international player is taking part in the event and it was a golden opportunity for local players to excel and win a PSA tournament, but none of the Pakistani players could take advantage. The responsibility once again lies on the shoulders of Farhan Mehboob to salvage some pride and carry forward slim hopes of winning title for Pakistan.

In the first quarterfinal at Mushaf Squash Complex, Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam, who is ranked world number 52, was playing against Egyptian Mohamed ElSherbini. It was not more than a cake walk for Tayyab, as his opponent was seeded 74. Tayyab started the first game on a high note and was leading against ElSherbini. It was close first game and could have gone on either’s way, but Tayyab controlled his emotions and took it 13-11.

After losing first game, the Egyptian fought back well and won the second game 11-9. He went on to take third 11-2, as Tayyab had no ideas what was coming next. But just when ElSherbini was thinking about finishing Tayyab off, he bounced back in style and won the fourth game 11-6 to force the match into fifth and decisive game.

Both the players showed tremendous fighting skills and were fighting for each and every point. Both weren’t ready to go down, Tayyab was enjoying crowd’s support, who was urging him to fight and win the encounter, but ElSherbini was playing very sensibly and fully focusing on upstaging Tayyab. At last, the Egyptian managed to come out in flying colours, as he won the nail-biting fifth game 13-11, thus won the marathon encounter in 1 hour and 31 minutes and set semifinal date with Spanish Carlos Cornes.

In another quarterfinal, Egyptian Karim Al Fathi overpowered Pakistan’s Asim Khan 3-0 in 42 minutes. Although the score-sheet shows Asim lost 0-3, yet he gave his all and went down fighting. Karim won the first game 11-9, and took the second 12-10. After playing two tough games, Asim ran out of steam in the third, which Karim won 11-5, thus set semifinal date with Farhan Mehboob.

In the third quarterfinal, Carlos Cornes of Spain beat Ammad Fareed 3-2 in 56 minutes of top class squash on offer. Carlos lost the first game 9-11, but made a strong comeback and won the second game 11-5 and third 11-8, before losing the fourth 4-11 and won the fifth 11-4.

The only joy of the day was provided by maestro Farhan Mehboob, who simply thumped Kuwaiti Ammar Altamimi 3-0 in just 20 minutes. Farhan was in commanding position right from the word go and put his opponent under enormous pressure to win the first game 11-5, second 11-4 before facing some tough resistance in the third game, which he won by 12-10.