Nasir to face Tayyab in Pakistan Int’l Squash Tournament final

By: Mohsin Ali      Published: 03:51 AM, 11 Dec, 2020
Nasir to face Tayyab in Pakistan Int’l Squash Tournament final

Nasir Iqbal continued his giant-killing run in the $12000 Pakistan International Squash Tournament 2020, as he thrashed fourth seed Ammad Fareed 3-0 in the semi-finals played here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Thursday.

In the second semifinal, top seed and Pakistan number one Tayyab Aslam hammered Israr Ahmed 3-0 in just 24 minutes.

In the ladies $6000 event, sister’s duo of Faiza Zafar and Madina Zafar will clash in the final, as they registered contrasting victories against their respective opponents in the semifinals.

In the first semifinal, Nasir, former world number 35 and ex-Pakistan number one, was simply in sensational form as he wasted only 25 minutes to register yet another highly convincing victory against 4th seed Ammad.

Nasir started the first game on a slow pace, as he was struggling to adjust to the newly laid wooden floor, which was very fast compared to last time around, as Pakistan Squash Federation with the help of Serena Hotels has renovated all the squash courts at the Mushaf Complex.

Ammad was moving freely and putting a lot of pressure on Nasir. Ammad took 5-2 lead and it was soon 7-3 but Nasir never gave up and started to show glimpses of his past. Nasir slowly but gradually upped the tempo of the game and soon it was 7-7. Ammad again took two points lead but Nasir bounced back to first level the game at 9-9 and then took next two points to take the first game 11-9 in 10 minutes.

The second game started with Nasir in supreme control as he raced on to take 7-2 lead. Ammad was hitting the tin and was looking frustrated with some close referees calls, which went against him. He time and again yelled at the referee and wanted to know why the calls being made against him and why the point was not awarded to him.

Referee Sajjad, who was heavily criticized for highly poor refereeing in the recently concluded $1000 event in Quetta, urged Ammad to continue the match and stop arguments. Sajjad was unable to judge quite a few close calls as he awarded point to Nasir who was off the view that ball was good and the referee was left red-faced and had to declare let ball. It was time and again requested to the Pakistan Squash Federation to appoint reputed referees in the international and during local events, but no heed has been ever paid in the past. But now as director referees, Tahir Khanzada has been finally shown the doors, it is hoped that federation will not only appoint reputed referees in future events but also send them abroad for courses, as promised by the PSF Secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan.

Ammad closed the gap to 5-7 but Nasir was soon leading 10-5 before Ammad saved two game points. Before Nasir shut the doors and took the game 11-7 in 8 minutes. The third game started in a different manner as it was Ammad, who took 5-2 lead. The players were right behind Ammad urging and backing him to show fight. Ammad was responding in style and was playing top class squash but on the other hand, Nasir was not ready to let Ammad off the hook and continued to display top class squash.

Nasir soon reduced the margin to 4-5. Ammad once again lifted his game and took 7-4 lead, but that was all Ammad could take from the game as Nasir won next 7 points in a row to seal the game 11-7 in 7 minutes, thus winning the encounter in 25 minutes and booked the final meeting with top seed Tayyab Aslam.

In the first semifinal, it was Tayyab, who simply outclassed Israr and taught him a squash lesson. Tayyab took first game 11-4, won the second game 11-7 and third game 11-5 to register a thumping victory in just 24 minutes.

In the ladies semifinals, Madina Zafar came from two games down to beat top seed and national champion Amna Fayyaz 3-2 in 44 minutes of world class squash on offer. The entire arena gave a standing ovation to both players for displaying the class squash. Amna won the first game 12-10, she took the second game 11-3 before Madina staged one of the most remarkable and memorable comebacks as she won the third game 11-9 and 4th game 11-5. It was all Madina in the 5th and the deciding game as Amna ran out of gas and was looking completely hapless and Madina finished off the game in style by winning the game 11-4, thus registering highly stunning victory in 44 minutes.

In the second semifinal Madina’s elder sister, Faiza Zafar simply outclassed highly experienced and former national champion Muqaddas Ashraf 3-0 in just 8 minutes. Faiza was too much to task for Muqaddas, who was simply all over the court. Faiza took first game 11-8. She won the second game 11-5 and won the third game 11-4 to set yet another final date her with younger sister Madina.

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Mohsin Ali

Mohsin Ali is a seasoned senior sports journalist, analyst and writer from Islamabad. Mohsin Ali never hesitates to appreciate the new talent as well as point out their flaws. He keeps nudging sports federations and authorities without any concessions to make them realise their incompetence and wrong decisions and always strive for the betterment of Pakistani sports.