Pakistan’s trio make it to World Snooker knockouts

By our correspondent
DOHA: Pakistan’s solid cueists Babar Masih and Mohammad Naseem Akhtar on Monday blasted their way into the knockout stage when they recorded their second successive wins in their respective groups in the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Doha.
Meanwhile Ahsan Ramzan also recorded a hard-earned 4-3 win against Alexander Widau of Germany to also carve a niche in the knockout stage.
Babar continued with his fantastic form as he downed Andrei Orzan of Romania 4-1 in Group K second round match to go to the group summit.
Babar looked solid in his approach and gave his opponent little chance to retaliate.
Babar had a super start to the show when he won the first frame 81-51 to take the lead. He also managed a break of 57 in the frame which he prevailed right from the start.
However Orzan handed a shock to Babar as the Romanian levelled the score 1-1 with a 68-37 victory in the second frame.
But it turned out to be the only trick which Orzan could use against Babar. The boy with stealy nerves brought discipline in himself and went on to win the third frame in commanding way with a super states of 101-1 to once again take the lead. Babar’s 78 break in this frame pulled the soul out of Orzan who only was seen seeing his Pakistani opponent with utter dismay.
Rawalpindi-based Babar enhanced his lead with a 64-46 triumph in the fourth frame before he managed a 70-10 victory in the fifth frame to seal a much-needed win, his second on trot.
Babar’s fifth frame win was embellished with a break of 64.
The win took Babar to the group summit and so he also confirmed a place in the knockout stage.
Abdulrahman Saif of the UAE is the other in this group which qualified for the knockout stage with two wins.
Babar on Sunday had conquered Husain Allawati of Oman 4-1 to take a solid start to a very crucial event.
Meanwhile Mohammad Naseem Akhtar also was able to record his second successive win to reach the knockout stage.
The 2017 Under-18 world champion Naseem, who on Sunday defeated Finland’s Esa Oikarinen 4-2, continued to add to his fine run when he defeated Mohammad Al-Binali of Qatar in straight frames 4-0.
Naseem took a splendid start when he won the first frame 53-41 to take the lead. Naseem then doubled it with an overwhelming 59-6 victory in the second frame.
Naseem then managed a 55 break to win the third frame 89-14 to stretch his lead to 3-0 in altogether a one-sided contest.
In the fourth frame Naseem was even more belligerent and lifted it 103-9 to seal a commanding victory.
He also managed a 91 break in this frame which is also the seventh highest break in the 71- cueists event so far.
Besides Naseem, India’s Shrikrishna Suryanarayanan is the other cueist who qualified for the knockout stage from this group with two consecutive wins.
“So far it was a fine run and I feel much better and inshaAllah will also do well in the knockout stage,” Naseem told this correspondet from Doha after his second victory.
On Tuesday (today) Naseem will meet Shrikrishna of India in the group’s last showdown which will also decide the group winner.
In Group J opener Pakistan’s Ahsan Ramzan defeated Germany’s Alexander Widau 4-3 after a gruelling contest.
It was almost a battle between the two equals. After winning the the first frame 67-21 Ahsan made some errors in the second frame which he lost 22-73. However he made a fine comeback by once again taking the lead with a 61-22 victory in the third frame. The German once again made a smart fightback with a 73-40 victory in the fourth frame which again squared the show 2-2.
Ahsan then applied himself and put into practice all he had to record a 63-21 win to go 3-2 ahead. Alexander kept showing huge resistance when he lifted the sixth frame 49-32 to bring parity again. However Ahsan retaliated again in the seventh and decisive frame and won it eventually 81-48 to seal a narrow win which also put him in the knockout stage.
Ahsan on Tuesday (today) will meet Seyang Heo of South Korea in his second show.
After the outcome of Tuesday’s results it will be decided whether Pakistani cueists will play in the last 38 or last 32.

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