ISLAMABAD - Young Asim Khan made the biggest upset in the $30,000 Serena Hotels Chief of the Air Staff International Squash for Men 2018, as he ousted third seed Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi 3-2 in 80 minutes of high-voltage second round matches played here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Tuesday.
Tayyab Aslam also made another huge upset as he ousted 5th seed Egyptian Muhamed Reda 3-1 in a highly memorable day for Pakistani players. However, seasoned campaigner Farhan Mehboob failed to find his magic and bowed out at the second hurdle, after losing to Malaysian Nafizwan Adnan 3-0 in just 35 minutes.
Asim was highly underdog in the match against vastly experienced Karim who also has far superior PSA rankings than Asim. But Asim never showed any signs of emotions and just focussed on his powerful game and staged one of the most remarkable comebacks as he came from behind to beat the Egyptian. First game started with Karim fully dominating and winning the game 11-7. Asim won the second game 13-11. It was anybody’s game and Asim controlled his nerves to take the game. Asim backed by thin Pakistani players especially the females, started to show his class and why he was rated so highly by his fellow players. Asim took the third game 11-2, as he completely outclassed the tall and lanky Karim. Asim lost 4th game 10-12 before winning the 5th 11-9 to book a place in the quarterfinals against fellow countryman Tayyab.
In another huge upset of the day, Tayyab, who survived close scare against Shahjahan in the first round, simply hammered Muhamad Rida 3-1. Tayyab lost the first game 1-11. He took second game 11-2, third 11-6 and 4th game 11-7 to stun the Egyptian, who was seeded 5th for the event. It also ensures at least one Pakistani will play in the semi-finals.
While in the other matches, top seed Hong Kong’s Leo Au was given a real run for his money by Malaysian Ivan Yuen, who lost 2-3 in 81 minutes of sensational squash.
Pakistan Squash Federation’s hesitation to allow masses to witness the event is giving a gloomy look to the courts as entry was not allowed and even journalists had to go through tough security checks at three different places before making it to the complex.
It was arguably the best match of the day, as Leo Au, fresh from winning the Asian Games Individual gold medal had to face the reality check as he lost first two games 5-11 and 1-11 before staging remarkable comeback and took third game 11-9, 4th 11-6 and 5th 11-8. Egyptian Mazen Gamal beat compatriot Ahmed Hosney 3-0 in 17 minutes, winning 11-3, 11-3 and 11-6. Omar Abdel Meguid beat Shehab Essam 3-2 in 75 minutes, winning 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 10-12 and 11-9. Youseff Soliman beat Pakistan’s Ahsan Ayaz 3-0 in 29 minutes, winning 11-7, 11-0 and 11-2. Mostafa Asal beat Karim El Hammamy 3-1 in 65 minutes, winning 11-3, 11-9, 3-11 and 11-4 while Malaysian Nafizwan Adnan thrashed Farhan Mehboob 3-0 in 35 minutes. It was like cakewalk for Nafizwan, who took first game 11-7, second game 11-0 and third game 11-7.
In the $10,000 Pakistan International Squash Tournament for Women, foreign players continued to dominate. Top seed Egyptian Rowan Elarby outclassed Anantana Pasertratanakul 3-0 in 15 minutes, winning 11-2, 11-3 and 11-2. Faiza Zafar beat Amna Fayyaz 3-2 in 32 minutes, winning 11-2, 11-4, 6-11, 12-14 and 11-1. Farida Momen beat Farah Momen 3-1 in 32 minutes, winning 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 and 11-6. Menna Hameed beat Muqaddas Ashraf 3-0 in 16 minutes, winning 11-4, 11-5 and 11-4,
Tong Tsz-Wing beat Zoya Khalid 3-0 in 21 minutes, winning 11-4, 11-7 and 11-0. Madina Zafar beat Zahab Kamal 3-0 in 20 minutes, winning 11-5, 11-7 and 11-4, Tessa ter Sluis beat Areesoosadat Mousavazadeh 3-0 in 17 minutes, winning 11-5, 11-4 and 11-5. Nada Abbas beat Riffat Khan 3-0 in 16 minutes, winning 11-3, 11-2 and 11-7.