Hamza Akbar cues up against Asjad Iqbal. -Photo by White Star

KARACHI: Three outsiders - junior international Hamza Akbar, Babar Masih and Farhan Noor - all qualifiers from Punjab, made it to the last eight of country’s premier national snooker championship for the first time ever at Karachi Gymkhana on Friday.

They were joined by five other cueists – Imran Shehzad (Punjab), Abu Saim (Punjab), Abdul Sattar (Sindh), Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) and Shahid Aftab (Punjab).

Making his maiden appearance in national’s, Hamza, a former Pakistan junior No 2 in 2009, sent second seed Asjad Iqbal packing registering an emphatic 5-3 victory the scores being 58-40, 43-59, 57-67, 45-33, 30-110, 71-26, 101-13, 61-34. Asjad’s break of 110, the third century break of the event, in the fifth frame also went in vain.

This was Hamza’s second triumph over Asjad the previous being in 2011 in Punjab Cup.

Babar, the Punjab Cup champion who shocked world champion Mohammad Asif 4-2 the other day, put up another giant killing performance by getting the better of Sindh’s Umair Alam in the fully stretched battle 5-4 to cross yet another hurdle.

Babar won the battle of nerves 64-49, 78-11, 32-63, 71-51, 15-62, 72-26, 39-69, 7-58, 71-62.

Farhan, a former Punjab champion, stopped the unbeaten run of Sindh’s Mohammad Ishtiaq imposing to 5-4 victory. The former triumphed 56-1, 81-59, 21-55, 43-72, 77-31, 8-92, 69-1, 42-65, 69-24.

By now six of the top eight cueists have fallen prey leaving only Mohammad Sajjad and Shahid Aftab in contention.

Results:

Pre quarter-finals:

Imran Shehzad (Punjab) bt Amir Tariq (Punjab) 5-2 (71-51, 96-11, 51-62, 49-39, 52-65, 71-1, 60-44); Abu Saim (Punjab) bt Sharjeel Mehmood (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) 5-3 (87-27, 44-62, 67-44, 57-68, 2-97, 50-7, 70-7, 76-45); Babar Masih (Punjab) bt Umair Alam (Sindh) 5-4 (64-49, 78-11, 32-63, 71-51, 15-62, 72-26, 39-69, 7-58, 71-62); Abdul Sattar (Sindh) bt Mohammad Majid Ali (Punjab) 5-2 (94-8, 67-74, 84-14, 71-4, 62-2, 33-64, 61-1); Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) bt Mohammad Yousuf (Punjab) 5-2 (78-29, 32-73, 74-26, 90-8, 58-23, 44-49, 5-72, 80-32); Shahid Aftab (Punjab) bt Mohammad Javed (Punjab) 5-2 (47-52, 57-26, 64-12, 91-0, 69-53, 71-12(67), 80-32); Hamza Akber (Punjab) bt Asjad Iqbal (Punjab) 5-3 (58-40, 43-59, 57-67, 45-33, 30-110, 71-26, 101-13, 61-34); Farhan Noor (Punjab) bt Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh) 5-4 (56-1, 81-59, 21-55, 43-72, 77-31, 8-92, 69-1, 42-65, 69-24). Saturday’s fixtures: Quarter-finals (best of nine frames): Imran Shehzad v Abu Saim; Babar Masih v Abdul Sattar; Mohammad Sajjad v Shahid Aftab; Hamza Akbar v Farhan Noor at 10am.


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