ISLAMABAD -  Wonder kid M Faraz outclassed Egyptian Mazen Gamal 3-1 in the $25,000 COAS International Squash Championship 2016 first round match played here at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex on Thursday.

It was a not a good day for Pakistan squash, as the country’s highly rated player Farhan Mehboob was simply outclassed by second seed Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi, while Farhan Zaman and Shahjahan Khan must consider themselves highly lucky to play the quarterfinals, while Israr Ahmed was also beaten by Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip. Pakistan is guaranteed semi-final place as Tayyab and Shahjahan Khan will play against each other in the quarterfinals today (Friday).

Once again when ships were down and Pakistani players were facing elimination for the COAS event, it was young gun Faraz, who was badly injured in the third game and had to take medical break for 15 minutes, but the lion-hearted Navy guy was not ready to hand his boots, and he displayed remarkable game to register a tremendous victory and showed others how to fight for honour of the country.

Faraz didn’t even stand outside chance of staging victory against the Egyptian giant, who had higher PSA rankings than Faraz. Mazen started the first game on a very high tempo and took it 11-7. Losing the first game put new energy in Faraz, who was being backed by strong home crowd, who were cheering for him. Faraz responded in style and won the second game 11-6.

In the third game, Faraz was trailing 3-4, when Mazen’s racket accidentally hit his rips and he started crying with pain and doctor rushed to help him and took him off the court for treatment. Faraz showed tremendous fighting spirit and determination and he was given standing ovation by the crowd upon his return to resume the third game. The Pakistani lad forgot about all the pain and agony and played with a lot of courage and won the third game 11-6.

The fourth game started in highly whirlwind fashion, as Mazen sensing Faraz’s injury, kept the youngster on the run in all sides of the court. The Egyptian was enjoying comfortable lead and was all set to clinch the fourth game, but Faraz, from nowhere, bounced back and first reduced the gap and then won the game 14-12 to win one of the most memorable matches of his entire career. Faraz will now face stern test of top seed Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid in the quarterfinals.

In the second match of the day, Omar Abdel Meguid thumped Chi Him Wong of Hong Kong 3-0 in 31 minutes, winning the match 11-4, 11-6, 11-9. Tayyab Alsam outpaced wildcard recipient Bilal Zakir 3-0 in 40 minutes, winning the encounter 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 while Shahjahan Khan beat Egyptian Muhamed Reda 11-6 (retried hurt).

Tsz Fung Yip of Hong Kong beat Israr Ahmad 3-1 in 39 minutes. Israr must blame himself for the defeat as he was leading 9-5 in the third game, but allowed Fung too much room and liberty to bounce back, which he fully utilised and won the match 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11/8,. Highly fortunate Farhan Zaman beat Frenchman Geoffery Demont 3-2 in 31 minutes. Had Geoffery not got injured as he pulled hamstring, Farhan could have thrown out of the event. Geoffery was leading 2-0, when he pulled hamstring, but the French player courageously played the match, but Farhan got benefit of his opponent injury and won the match 9-11, 8-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-5.

Malaysian Ivan Yuen beat compatriot Adeen Idrakie 3-1 in 53 minutes, winning the match 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11/9. Tsz Fung Yip will face Farhan Zaman and Ivan Yuen will take on Karim Al-Fathi in the remaining quarterfinals today (Friday).

In the last first round match, second seed Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi outclassed Farhan Mehboob 3-0 in 35 minutes. Farhan started the first game on a high and took 4-0 lead, but after that, it was just one-way traffic as Mehboob was nowhere near to his game and was badly trapped by Al-Fathi, who was in awesome mood and won the match 11-6, 11-4, 11-4.

Talking to The Nation, Farhan Mehboob said that he was carrying rip injury for the last one month or so and in the first game, after being hit by Al-Fathi racket in the back, he never recovered and was hardly moving. “I just tried to put up decent fight, but it was hard for me to bend, anyhow, my focus in now on Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) International Championship starting from mid of October.”