anisuddin khan

KARACHI  - Reigning amateur world champion Hossein Vafaei Ayouri of Iran proved why he holds the world title when he performed an unbelievable act of fortunate great escape at the hands of challenger M Sajjad of Pakistan to reach the final of the Jubilee Insurance seven nation snooker championship here on Thursday.

Vafaei came back from the edge and recovered to turn the tables on his Pakistani opponent who was just one frame away from glory. Sajjad was enjoying 5-3 lead at one stage in the best of eleven frames pre finals and needed just one frame from the remaining three to record almost a historic epic victory against a sitting world champion. But the Iranian wriggled out of an impossible situation to win the next three frames to win six frames to five to enter the final. The final score in favour of the Iranian was 5-90, (54), 61-14, 00-80, (80), 81-00, 5-70, 9-108, (55), 78-54, 7-69, 88-17, (80) 69-56, 76-15

Vafaei escaping the defeat which was staring him in the face was an amazing act that would even put to shame the great escapist of the world magician Houdini.

As Sajjad grabbed 5-3 lead his supporters and the Pakistani officials were on their feet expecting a victory for the Pakistani. But little they knew the fighting spirit and the ability of the Iranian who poured cold water on the expected victory celebration of the Pakistani supporters who under estimated the fighting quality and skills of the world champion.

Vafaei did not surrender to the situation and kept his cool, showed nerves of steel under tremendous pressure situation and sharply focused on his next 9th frame which he won to narrow the gap to 4-5 and went on to clinch the next two to stun the Pakistani fans. Sajjad relaxed after taking the winning lead, was wayward in potting and playing crucial balls to bring the opponent in tighter situations. This cost him dearly as he lost the semi final and the glory of winning against a world champion.

In the other semi final second seed Thepchaiya Un-Nooh of Thailand outsmarted M Asif (Pakistan) by six frames to two to set up a final clash against the world champion on Friday.

Un Nooh won  (85-48, (85), 55-44, 79-42, 89-13, 73-53, 37-86, 0-136, (136), 63-36. As the second semi final followed the first in which Sajjad put up an epic fight, the Pakistani supporters were expecting Asif to put up the same fight that his compatriot had put up against the world champion.

But Muhammad Asif lacked the skills to counter an intelligent Thai. The only saving grace for Asif in the one sided contest was a beak of 136 the highest of the competition that he recorded in the seventh frame. Asif did not use all the skills that he had at his command and went down timidly.

Results. Semi finals.

Hossein Vafaei Ayouri (Iran) bt M Sajjad (Pakistan) 6-5 (5-90, (54), 61-14, 00-80, (80), 81-00, 5-70, 9-108, (55), 78-54, 7-69, 88-17,(80) 69-56, 76-15)

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand) bt M Asif (Pakistan) (85-48, (85), 55-44, 79-42, 89-13, 73-53, 37-86, 0-136, (136), 63-36)