KARACHI: Unseeded Mohammad Yousuf, and wild card entrant, Shehram Changezi, stormed into the pre-quarter-finals of the 4th NBP Ranking Snooker Championship 2012 by winning their last league matches here at the Defence Authority Creek Club on Thursday.
It was the fourth successive win in as many matches for Yousuf, a former world champion, which allowed him to become the Group G champion.
Shehram, staging a comeback in the national circuit, made it to the last 16 from the Group B.
Khurram Hussain Agha, a former Pakistan number one, also qualified for the knockout phase from the Group H.
All the eight seeds, Mohammad Asif, Sultan Mohammad, Mohammad Sajjad, Naveen Kumar Perwani, Abdul Sattar, Sohail Shahzad, Vishan Gir and Sharjeel Mahmood, had a rest day on Thursday. They will be returning to the table for their final league matches on Friday (today).
Second seed Sultan, third seed Sajjad, fifth seed Sattar, sixth seed Sohail and eighth seed Sharjeel have advanced to the pre-quarters from Groups B, C, E, F and H, respectively, but the top seed Asif, fourth seed Perwani and seventh seed Gir are struggling to make the cut.
The duo of Asif Toba and Asjad Iqbal is in contention for a place in the last 16 from the Group A, while Mohammad Akmal and Shah Khan are competing for the runners-up slot in the Group C.
The contest is wide open in the Group D with Perwani, Imran Shahzad and Shahid Aftab, all former national champions, alongwith Mohammad Ishtiaq in the hunt.
Abu Saim and Mohammad Bilal are eyeing the runners-up spot in the Group E, while Mohammad Imran is likely to make it from the Group F and Umair Alam is in pursuit of getting past Gir in the Group G.
Among the unseeded cueists, the experienced trio of Yousuf, Shehram and Khurram has been brilliant and on the basis of their consistent form they are being tipped to overcome the seeded youngsters in the knockout phase starting on Saturday (tomorrow).
Yousuf showed glimpses of his top form that has enabled him to win the highest number of national ranking events in the history of Pakistan. He became the first cueist to win all his four league matches in the nine-day competition.
Results: Mohammad Bilal (Punjab) bt Hunain Aamir (Punjab) 4-1 (57-73, 71-25, 64-26, 69-35, 59-35); Javed Ansari (Sindh) bt Abdul Raziq (Bal) 4-1 (76-32, 45-50, 50-49, 68-35, 57-40); Mohammad Yousuf (Punjab) bt Zahoor Ahmed (Bal) 4-1 (11-83, 65-30, 61-53, 57-46, 66-8); Farrukh Usman (Sindh) bt Abdul Rauf Kurd (Bal) 4-1 (69-32, 69-45, 48-76, 91-19, 56-33); Yasir Nadeem (Isb) bt Asif Toba (Punjab) 4-3 (81-27, 15-88, 58-38, 56-98, 33-64, 62-44); Shehram Changezi (Isb) bt Ali Raza (Punjab) 4-2 (73-31, 62-57, 14-63, 33-78, 70-14, 55-22); Mohammad Akmal (Sindh) bt Yasir Shehzad (KPK) 4-1 (66-9, 66-39, 45-77, 65-62, 63-33); Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh) bt Naeem Jaffer (Bal) 4-1 (74-43, 37-85, 117-8, 86-4, 64-16); Khurram Agha (Sindh) bt Umair Alam (Sindh) 4-0 (75-73, 76-13, 64-1, 79-32); Mohammad Javed (Punjab) bt Abu Saim (Punjab) 4-1 (22-67, 99-12, 71-44, 75-52, 60-54); Mohammad Majid (Punjab) bt Mohammad Imran (Punjab) 4-1 (31-95, 56-20, 72-35, 63-11, 94-0); Bilawal Agha (Sindh) bt Mohammad Afzal (Punjab) 4-2 (31-68, 28-44, 67-15, 62-20, 70-46, 66-30); Imran Shahzad (Punjab) bt Shahid Aftab (Punjab) 4-3 (41-79, 113-15, 68-47, 82-38, 0-88, 37-87, 58-6); Shafiullah (KPK) bt Farhan Noor (Punjab) 4-3 (23-61, 0-85, 69-39, 37-89, 78-23, 65-49, 63-53); Mohammad Nazir (Punjab) bt Shah Khan (KPK) 4-2 (70-34, 51-70, 13-61, 58-39, 58-11, 67-22).