KARACHI: Prolific Mohammad Sajjad and Asjad Iqbal stormed into the final of the 42nd National Snooker Championship at Karachi Gymkhana on Monday to set a repeat clash after almost seven years.
Third seed Sajjad disposed of former Pakistan No 1 and qualifier Khurram Agha in convincing fashion 6-1 while eighth seed Asjad ended the giant killing run of Nadir Miraan by the identical scoreline of 6-1 in the semi-finals that turned out to be one-sided affairs.
The spectators who were expecting some fireworks returned disgusted as Agha and Miraan who have come all the way to the semis bowed out without showing any resistance against their opponents.
The two-time former national champion Sajjad, who failed to win any of the three national ranking titles last year, conceded second frame but then never say die cueist did not give any chance to his opponent winning the next five frames in a row.
Sajjad, a former world No 2, also hammered a century break of 111 in the fourth frame as he won 97-7, 52-69, 63-44, 117-8, 82-17, 69-35, 67-2.
It is pertinent to mention that Sajjad annexed his second national title by getting the better of Asjad 8-2 in the final of the 35th national snooker championship at the same venue in 2010. He won his first title in 2008.
Experience prevail as Asjad halted the impressive run of Miraan while registering an emphatic 6-1 victory the scores being 61-10, 102-0, 86-44, 75-48, 23-79, 68-50, 53-40. He also chalked up a break of 102 in the second frame.
Punjab’s Miraan has turned out to be the find of national championship. For him making it to the last four of the national’s for the first time in presence of top guns, is no mean achievement.
This is the second time that Asjad has made it to the final of the country’s premier snooker championship after 2010. He has got a chance to avenge his last defeat.
He is a former national junior champion and three-time winner of the NBP Cup in his decade old career.
The best of 15 frames final between Sajjad and Asjad will be played on Tuesday at 10am. The prize distribution ceremony is set to take place at 4.15pm. Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair will be the chief guest and give away the prizes.
Asjad Iqbal (Punjab) bt Naddir Miraan (Punjab) 6-1 (61-10, 102-0, 86-44, 75-48, 23-79, 68-50, 53-40); Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) bt Khurram Agha (Sindh) 6-1 (97-7, 52-69, 63-44, 117-8, 82-17, 69-35, 67-2).
Final (best of 15 frames) Asjad Iqbal v Mohammad Sajjad at 10am.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017