ISLAMABAD     -    Pakistan’s super hero Murad Ali stunned top seed Canadian BR Sankeerth Yonex in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals of the Sunrise Pakistan International Series Badminton Tournament 2019 here at Rodham Hall, Pakistan Sports Complex on Friday.

The day started with massive crowd gathering at Rodham Hall to witness international players in action after a long time. It was wonderful to witness such pack-to-capacity crowd. The entire hall was jam-packed and there was hardly any seat available in the arena. Credit must be given to PSB DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah and his team for making the event such colorful and fruitful for the country. For such sincere efforts, IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza should announce cash awards for Agha Amjed and his team, who worked round the clock to ensure Rodham Hall present bridal look.

Capt (R) Ashraf and his team also deserve credit for providing top class security to the visiting players and spectators. The newly-installed Rs 4 million badminton mats were adding colours to the beauty of the hall, for this PBF Secretary Wajid Chaudhry and his team also deserve huge round of applause. IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza also deserves credit for not only releasing Rs 1.5 million for holding the event, but also ensuring to conduct the event according to the plan.

It was wonderful day for Pakistan as the country’s pride badminton player and former national champion, Murad Ali, gave perfect gift to the massive crowd. Murad started the pre-quarterfinal as underdog against the top seed as he was off to flying start and put his opponent under pressure right from the word go. He never allowed the top seed to settle down and took 13-7 lead. Later, Sankeerth fought back well to make it 12-13, but Murad managed to hold nerves and played superbly to win the first game 21-16.

Murad kept same pressure in the second game and raced on to take 13-8 lead. But once again he couldn’t continue his good show and let Sankeerth off the hook. It was more than enough for the top seed, who was playing for pride as he closed the gap to 11-13. Murad woke up timely and once again started dominating as he gained 17-12 lead, but once again Sankeerth bounced back and reduced the margin to 16-17, then it was 20-20. At this stage, Murad kept his cool and composure and completed the stunning victory against top seed by winning the second game 23-21.

Another upset was witnessed when Pakistan’s Amir Saeed beat Canadian Hussain Ali in straight games. Amir won the first game 21-3 and then went onto take the second game 21-5 to book place in the quarterfinals. In the other matches of the morning session, Thailand’s Saran Jamsri beat Raja M Zulqarnain Haider in straight games winning 21-10 and 21-7, Milan Ludik of Check Republic beat M Irfan Saeed Bhatti 2-1, Irfan stunned Ludik by winning the first game 21-19, but Ludik bounced back to win next two games 21-17 and 21-14 to move into the quarterfinals.

Awais Zahid beat Abdur Rehman in straight games winning 21-9 and 21-17, Dipesh Dhami Nepal beat Muhammad Ali Larosh in straight games winning 21-19 and 21-11, Georges Julien Paul Mauritius beat Muhammad Muqeet Tahir in straight games winning 21-11 and 21-13, Howard Shu of USA beat Pakistan’s Azeem Sarwar in one-sided affair, winning 21-12 and 21-12.

In men’s singles quarterfinals, Awais Zahid Pakistan beat Milan Ludik Czech Republic 21-19, 23-21, Jeorges Julien Paul Mauritius beat Dipesh Dhami Nepal 21-18, 22-24, 21-17 and Howard Shu USA beat Amir Saeed Pakistan 21-14, 21-13. 

In women’s singles quarterfinals, Soraya Aghaeihajiagha of Iran beat Fatimath Nabaha Abdul Razzaq 21-11, 21-11, in the second quarterfinal, Palwasha Bashir Pakistan beat Aminath Nabeeha Abdul Razzaq of Maldives 21-17, 21-13, in the third quarterfinal, Neela Najeeb Maldives beat Bushra Qayum 21-17, 17-21, 25-23, in the 4th quarterfinal Mahoor Shahzad beat Sehra Akram 21-12, 21-12.

In the women’s doubles quarterfinals: Aminath Abdul Razzaq Fatimath/Abdul Razzaq Maldive beat Palwasha Bashir/Saima Waqas 21-12, 22-20, in the second quarterfinal, Sehra Akram/Huma Javed Pakistan beat Rida Hanif/Rubab Imtaiz 21-11, 21-12.