LAHORE  -  Egypt's Youssef Soliman annexed the FMC International Men's Squash Championship 2018 title after defeating Malaysia's Ivan Yuen by 3-2 in the final played in four-walled glass court installed here at a local hotel on Friday night.

In the closely-contested final, world number 37 and top seed of the tournament Youssef Soliman underlined his intention to challenge world number 65 and second seed Ivan Yuen for the title with a clinical display that saw him nullify the Malaysian’s power and pace to prevail an 8/11, 11/6, 11/8, 9/11, 11/8 winner.

There was little to separate the pair as they battled it out for 63 minutes of spell binding action, trading points tit-for-tat during a series of physically punishing rallies to the delight of the crowd. But it was Ivan who settled quicker, using his attacking style to edge a tight opening game 8/11. Youssef replied in style to dominate the second game 11/6 and third 11/8 before Ivan once again enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the fourth to take it 11/9.  The crucial fifth and final game began with a series of cat-and-mouse exchanges with little to separate them but from 4-4, Youssef turned the screw to set up match ball at 10-4. A series of sumptuous winners saw Ivan threaten to extend the match to 10-8 but Youssef finally prevailed 11/8 and sealed the match and title in great style.

FMC Managing Director Farooq Shahid graced the occasion as chief guest and gave away trophies and shields to the winner, runner-up and top performers. Winner Youssef received US$27,00 while runner-up Ivan got Us$1960. Also present on the occasion were Punjab Squash Association (PSA) President Dr Nadeem Mukhtar, Secretary Sheraz Saleem, Treasurer Tariq Siddique Malik, Vice President Tariq Farooq Rana, Tournament Referee Tahir Khanzada, players and their families and squash enthusiasts.

 

AZHAR KHAN