Syed Khalid Mahmood
KARACHI: The quartet of Mohammad Asif, Asjad Iqbal, Shehram Changezi and Khurram Hussain Agha reached the semifinals of the Jubilee Insurance 3rd Ranking Snooker Championship 2012 here at the Karachi Gymkhana’s Snooker Hall on Tuesday.
In the best-of-nine-frame quarters, top seeded Mohammad Asif blasted Sharjeel Mahmood 5-2, second seed Asjad Iqbal whipped third seed Sultan Mohammad in straight frames, Shahram Changezi edged out Sohail Shahzad 5-4 and Khurram Agha defeated Mohammad Jawed 5-3.
The top two seeds, Mohammad Asif and Asjad Iqbal, will clash in the first semifinal due to start at 10 am on Wednesday (today). The other semifinal featuring unseeded duo of Shehram Changezi and Khurram Agha will follow it.
The final will be held on Thursday (tomorrow). Both semifinals as well as the final will be telecast live by Geo Super.
Unlike the league matches there was not much element of surprise in the result of the quarter-finals with the fancied cueists having the last laugh.
Second seed Asjad Iqbal, who had won a national ranking tournament here last month, extended his brilliant form and hammered third seed Sultan Mohammad with remarkable ease in what was the only quarter-final tie between two seeded cueists.
Asjad, a promising talent from Sargodha, tutored by two-times national champion Mohammad Sajjad, who himself failed to make the last eight, gave no chance to Sultan, who had represented the country in the Asian Snooker Championship earlier this year. There was a close battle in the opening frame but it was a one-sided affair soon afterwards with Asjad showing his class during the course of a superb century break in the third frame. He won the match 5-0 with the frame scores of 63-60, 98-1, 110-0, 59-29, 56-27.
Top seeded Asif, the reigning national champion from Faisalabad, did not encounter much trouble while demolishing Sharjeel 5-2 with the frame scores of 25-67, 98-16, 25-56, 78-23, 105-10, 57-51, 74-48. He fired breaks of 76 and 70 in the fourth and sixth frames, respectively. Sharjeel was leading 2-1 after three frames but he did not have much opportunity once Asif got into this elements.
The encounter between Shahram Changezi from Islamabad and Sohail Shahzad from Karachi was the only one going to the full distance of nine frames with the former winning it 5-4 with the scores of 75-36, 71-15, 66-52, 38-55, 47-66, 19-58, 67-34, 40-80, 57-6. Shehram held the upper hand initially by grabbing the first three frames, but Sohail came back strongly to take the next three frames to draw level. Shehram made it 4-3 by pocketing the crucial seventh frame but Sohail fought back again to make it 4-4 and it was down to the ninth frame.
Khurram Agha, the most experienced cueist to have made the quarter-final line-up, survived some anxious moments to tame Mohammad Javed 5-3 with the frame scores of 76-12, 50-68, 8-85, 112-9, 77-56, 59-16, 2-65, 71-57.
Javed did not show any nervousness while taking on the former Asian number three as went into 2-1 lead with a break of 77 in the third frame. Khurram, however, returned the compliment with a break of 111 in the very next frame and also won the next two frames to make it 4-2. Javed snatched the seventh frame but Khurram brought all his expertise into play to seal the fate of the match in the tensely fought eighth frame.