Ruthless Asif in semis as Yousuf’s dream run ends
KARACHI: Pakistan’s top cueist Mohammad Asif brushed aside Sultan Mohammad 5-1 to reach the semi-finals of the fourth NBP ranking snooker championship at the DA Creek Club on Sunday.
Asif proved that his 8-2 victory over Sultan in the final of country’s premier snooker championship three months back was not a flash in the pan as he ruthlessly defeated his opponent in the best of nine frames battle.
Asif recovered after conceding the opener to inflict a convincing 0-77, 80-17, 131-1, 79-27, 56-32, 59-36 defeat on Sultan. He piled up two efficient breaks of 91 and 70 in the third and fourth frames.
It is, however, pertinent to mention that both the cueists who represented the country in the Asian snooker championship at Doha recently, failed to qualify for the knockout stage and have been issued show cause by the games controlling body.
Besides Asif, Mohammad Majid, Shehram Changezi and Asjad Iqbal completed the quartet.
Asif is set to meet the up and coming Majid in the first semi-final starting at 9:00am after the youngster overcame Punjab champion Mohammad Nazeer 5-3 with the scores being 54-28, 70-31, 27-70, 38-66, 78-32, 60-67, 75-53, 83-58.
Majid, the runner-up of this year’s national junior championship, enjoyed a firm grip taking 2-0 and 3-2 leads before being tied 3-all. He quickly picked up the next two frames to complete the rout.
Wildcard Shehram Changezi of Islamabad survived a scare before upsetting former national champion Shahid Aftab 5-4 in the fully-stretched encounter. Shehram won 63-24, 55-29, 75-13, 61-51, 1-101, 43-67, 56-65, 17-62, 64-22.Shehram was on song
when he surged to a commendable 4-0 lead and was just one set away from victory when last year’s national champion Shahid bounced back to brought the match on an even kneel. Shehram, though, had the last laugh when he won the decisive frame.
He faces Asjad Iqbal, a former national junior champion, in the other semi-final after the latter ended the winning run of veteran Mohammad Yousuf 5-2. This was Asjad’s third victory over Yousuf.
Asjad, who won a ranking event by getting the better of M. Asif Toba at Islamabad two years back, put up awesome performance to register a 63-25, 73-24, 64-65, 63-57, 71-107, 77-7, 48-28 victory.
Quarter-finals: Mohammad Asif (Punjab) bt Sultan Mohammad (Sindh) 5-1 (0-77, 80-17, 131-1, 79-27, 56-32, 59-36); Mohammad Majid (Punjab) bt Mohammad Nazeer (Punjab) 5-3 (54-28, 70-31, 27-70, 38-66, 78-32, 60-67, 75-53, 83-58); Shehram Changezi (Islamabad) bt Shahid Aftab (Punjab) 5-4 (63-24, 55-29, 75-13, 61-51, 1-101, 43-67, 56-65, 17-62, 64-22); Asjad Iqbal (Punjab) bt Mohammad Yousuf (Punjab) 5-2 (63-25, 73-24, 64-65, 63-57, 71-107, 77-7, 48-28).
Semi-finals (best of 11 frames):
From 9:00am onwards: Mohammad Asif (Punjab) v Mohammad Majid (Punjab); Shehram Changezi (Islamabad) v Asjad Iqbal (Punjab).