KARACHI: Continuing from where he had left the DHA Cup, fast emerging unseeded Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim and Pakistan’s seventh seed Shahjahan Khan made surprise entries into the semi-finals of the 13th CNS International Squash Championship here at the PN Roshan Khan-Jahangir Khan Squash Complex on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Ibrahim, who shocked compatriot and second seed Mohamed Reda in the fully stretched quarter-final before losing to eventual champion Ivan Yuen of Malaysia in the DHA Cup semis, again proved his mettle while overpowering top seed Mexican Arturo Salazar 9-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6 in a 45-minute duel.
Left-handed Ibrahim, who is ranked 71st in the world, had won five PSA Tour titles this year including four straight and has now emerged as a strong contender for the CNS crown.
The defeat is a severe blow to world No.45 Salazar who was a losing semi-finalist of the Pakistan Open where he had lost to Peru’s Diego Elias.
Ibrahim is slated to take on Shahjahan who pulled off another upset while disposing of fourth seed Ammar Altamimi of Kuwait 5-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-2 in another quarter-final lasting 30 minutes.
Second seed Asim Khan and third seed Farhan Mehboob stayed in contention by winning their matches in contrasting styles.
With back-to-back Malaysian Tour titles under his belt this year, the DHA Cup quarter-finalist and Pakistan Open first round loser, Asim survived a scare while getting the better of fifth seed Rui Soares of Portugal in an agonising one-hour battle. Asim was home 6-11, 4-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9.
Asim takes on compatriot Farhan, who accounted for Tsz Kwan Lau of Hong Kong 11-2, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 in their last-eight clash.
Quarter-finals: Youssef Ibrahim (Egypt) bt Arturo Salazar (Mexico) 9-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6; Shahjahan Khan (Pakistan) bt Ammar Altamimi (Kuwait) 5-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-2; Farhan Mehboob (Pakistan) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (Hong Kong) 11-2, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4; Asim Khan (Pakistan) bt Rui Soares (Portugal) 6-11, 4-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9.
Youssef Ibrahim (Egypt) vs Shahjahan Khan (Pakistan) at 2:45pm; Farhan Mehboob (Pakistan) vs Asim Khan (Pakistan) at 4:15pm.
Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018