Moqaddas stuns Madina to reach Int’l Squash semis

LAHORE  –  Unseeded Moqaddas Ashraf stunned top seed Madina Zafar to reach the semifinals of the Faletti’s International Women’s Squash Championship 2018 while all the top seeds also squeezed into the semifinals here at the Punjab Squash Complex on Monday.

Unseeded Moqaddas of Pakistan proved too hot for compatriot Madina Zafar and tamed the top seed by 3-2 in a marathon match of 51 minutes. Madina was off to flying start as she won the first game 11/7. The highly-charged second game saw both the players busy in playing long rallies, classic shots and matching the speed of each other, thus leveling the score at 12/12. Moqaddas then changed the game plan and started playing aggressively, which paid dividend for her and she managed to win the second game 14/12 after a tough battle.

Madina then put in a great performance and made a strong comeback to win the third game 11/6 and was enjoying a good lead in the third game, but Moqaddas bounced back well to first level the score at 7/7 and then won the next 5 points in a row to take the game 11/7. In the fifth game, Moqaddas never allowed her opponent to play freely and kept her under enormous pressure, which helped her win the decisive game by 11/7 and also helped her book berth in the semifinals.

Another upset was witnessed during the international championship, when unseeded French player Melissa Alves shocked second seed Farah Momen of Egypt by 3-0. The French player was in superb form and good shape and played flawless squash with great pace and stamina and outclassed the Egyptian in the quarterfinal in just 19 minutes.

Melissa just conceded three points to win the first game 11/3 and similar glimpses of her powerful squash were witnessed during the second game, which she won 11/4 with utmost ease. Although the French player faced some resistance in the third game, but she overcame it to outlast the Egyptian player by 11/8 and confirmed her place in the semifinals.

Third seed Menna Nasser of Egyptian overpowered eighth seed Riffat Khan of Pakistan by 3-0. Menna had to struggle hard in the first game, where she utilized her international exposure and stamina to tame the local player by 11/8. After that, it was easy sailing for the the Egyptian player, who won the second game by conceding only three points and took the fourth by conceding just one point.

In the fourth quarterfinal, fourth seed Farida Mohamed of Egypt outclassed Areezosadat Mousavizadeh of Iran. Farida dominated the match right from the word it go, as she took the first game by 11/5, won the second game with utmost easy by 11/2 and took the third one by 11/5 to register an thrashing triumph in 24 minutes and booked berth in the semifinals.

The women’s semifinals will be played today (Tuesday) with France’s Melissa Alves taking on Egypt’s Menna Nasser in the first semifinal and local player Moqaddas Ashraf facing the challenge of Egypt’s Farida Mohamed in the second semifinal.

Meanwhile in the first men’s quarterfinal played here at the four-walled glass court installed at Faletti’s Hotel, Ivan Yuen of Malaysia thrashed Farhan Mehboob of Pakistan by 11/4, 11/2, retired in just 14 minutes. Top seed Ivan started the quarterfinal in great style and toppled the local player quite easily by 11/4. The Malaysian was even more severe in the second game, where he just conceded two points to win it by 11/2. Farhan, who was feeling pain due to injury, preferred to retire, thus gifting away victory to the guest player. Till the filing of this story, the remaining men’s quarterfinals were in progress.


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