Farhan Mahboob made the biggest upset of the day as he ousted top seed and Pakistan number 1 squash player Aamir Atlas Khan 3-0 in the first quarterfinal of the PSF-AVT Pakistan International Squash Circuit-IV Championship here at Musaf Ali Mir Squash Complex Friday.
The championship carries a $10,000 prize money. Aamir was a clear-cut favourite to win this particular tie with utmost ease and comfort, as he has just returned from US after participating in PSA events.
Aamir started the match as per expectations and raced on to a commanding 7-0 lead in the first game. Things were fast slipping out of the hands for Farhan, but to his great credit, he not only managed to cut the deficit but also took the game 14-12.
Farhan never let Aamir off the hook as he raced on to win the second game 11-7. Aamir tried to show some resistance in the third game but Farhan played some exceptional drop shots and powerful strokes to unsettle Aamir and took the third and final game 12-10 and inflicting a highly unlikely defeat on Aamir in 58 minutes.
In the second quarterfinal, Nasir Iqbal, arguably country’s brightest future hope pf the country, was pitted against Waqas Mahboo and it was expected that this would be a cakewalk for the powerful and experienced Nasir, but to the utmost surprise of Nasir and crowd, it was Waqas who was dictating the terms in the initial stages of the match.
Waqas was at one stage leading 6-2 in the first game, before Nasir changed the gear and took the first game 11-9. The second game was almost the repeat of the first one, as Waqas take a commanding 8-1 lead. But he let the lead slipped out again and allowed Nasir to stage a tremendous comeback into the game. Nasir fought hard and took the second game15-13.
Waqas was looking like a man on a mission and wanted to prove his critics wrong when he stepped into the court for the third game. Waqas played some unbelievable strokes as Nasir was finding it almost impossible to match shot after shot and stroke after stroke and Waqas was on verge of taking the third game as he was leading 9-3. But once again Waqas let Nasir to not only stage comeback but also take the third game 12-10, thus taking the match 3-0 in 46 minutes.
In the third quarterfinal of the day, second seed Danish Atlas Khan beat Kashif Shuja of New Zealand 3-0 in 41 minutes. Danish won the first game 12-10, second 11-3 and third 11-9. Although experienced Kashif lost the match in straight games, but it was a classic match by all means. Kashif, who is at the twilight of his career, gave a real run for his money to Danish. Kashif used all his experience and forced Danish to commit unforced errors, but the age factor finally catches Kashif otherwise it was a wonderful match for the spectators, who enjoyed every bit of the match.
In the fourth and last quarterfinal of the day, Yasir Ali Butt beat Sh Saqib Yousaf 3-0. Yasir won 11-8, 11-8 and 11-9 in 37 minutes. It was a relatively an easier match for the experienced Yasir who had just returned from US after a busy season.
In today’s semi-finals action, Farhan Mahboob will take on Nasir Iqbal while Danish Atlas Khan will face Yasir Ali Butt. Pakistan Squash Federation Senior Vice President Air Vice Marshal Syed Razi Nawab will grace the occasion as the chief guest.