Asjad down second seed Shan to qualify for pre-quarter-finals

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Firing the highest break of the tournament so far unseeded Asjad Iqbal of National Bank downed second seed Shan Namat of Islamabad 4-1 to blast his way into the pre-quarter-finals of the NBP 48th National Snooker Championship being held at the NBP Sports Complex Karachi snooker arena on Thursday.
Asjad, the 32-year old cueist from Sargodha, engineered a break of 128 in the third frame in the fixture against Shan Namat, which is the so far highest break of the 37-cueists event.
Also qualified for the pre-quarter-finals were Sohail Shehzad, Abdul Sattar, Ahsan Ramzan, Mohammad Naseem Akhtar, Mohammad Sajjad, Aakash Rafiq, Abdul Javed and Babar Masih.
Haris Tahir had already entered the last 16. It means so far ten cueists have made it to the knockout stage.
The clash between Asjad and Shan Namat was a one-sided affair. Asjad kept a tight grip on the show. He lifted the first frame 62-34. He faced hiccup in the second frame when Namat grabbed it 52-60 but it dd not unsettle Asjad who showed the best he had and went on to win the next three frames 128-0, 79-19 and 70-44 to seal a fine victory.
The frames score was 62-34, 52-60, 128-0, 79-18 (78), 70-44.
Earlier in the day Asjad whacked an 11-year old Mohammad Sahil 4-0 of Sindh with the frames score being 72-13 (64), 65-15, 93-0 (93), 65-18 (64).
Asjad, with three wins in the five-man Group B, ensured his pre-quarter-finals spot.
Meanwhile in the four-man Group A Sohail Shehzad of Sindh defeated Fawad Khan of KP 4-2 to notch his third straight win. The frames score was 87-41 (66), 54-11, 61-16, 91-9 (67).
In Group F the country’s seasoned cueist Mohammad Sajjad romped to his third straight win to qualify for the knockout stage when he defeated Ali Raza of Sindh 4-1 with the frames score being 62-28 (54), 80-44 (50), 67-12, 23-68, 61-24.
In the same group Mohammad Naseem Akhtar of Punjab got walkover against Basit Ali of Balochistan, his third straight win which also enabled him to earn last 16 spot.
On Friday (today) both Naseem and Sajjad will clash in their final pool show which will determine the group winner as both cueists have won three matches each.
Former world champion and reigning Asian Under-21 champion Ahsan Ramzan of Punjab, who was shocked by rookie Mohammad Hasnain of Sindh on Wednesday, defeated Adil Khan of Balochistan) 4-3, his third win, which put him in the last 16. He also fired a break of 110 in the sixth frame. The frames score was 57-56, 56-41, 28-58, 64-35, 38-65, 13-116 (110), 66-54). Former world champion Mohammad Asif will play a crucial game against Awaisullah Muneer of Punjab which will also decide his fate in the event.
Asif has so far registered two hard-earned wins in the four-man Group C.
Other Thursday’s results: Rambail Gul (KP) bt Jahanzaib (Balochistan) 4-1 (54-40, 88-32, 41-61, 70-58, 48-44); Zaib Khan (Balochistan) bt Fazal Umar (Sindh) 4-0 (walkover); Babar Masih (Punjab) bt Ali Hamza (Sindh) 4-1 (03-56, 68-54, 105-26 (58), 71-27, 137-03 (113); Abdul Javed (Islamabad) bt Abdul Rehman (Punjab) 4-2 (67-37, 45-69, 52-45, 48-55, 82-36, 82-17(74); Sohail Shehzad (Sindh) bt Fawad Khan (KP) 4-2 (38-82, 28-71, 87-41 (66), 54-11, 61-16, 91-09 (67), Aakash Rafiq (KP) bt Saif Ali Khan (Balochistan) 4-1 (75-16 (69), 67-47, 33-49, 69-62, 66-27); Rambail Gul (KP) bt Sirbuland Khan (KP) 4-1 (9-64, 82-11, 78-30, 66-29, 64-15)

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