Farhan eyes title after reaching final

April 10, 2019

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PAKISTAN’S Farhan Mehboob (R) in action during the International Squash Tournament semi-final against Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt at the Mushaf Squash Complex on Tuesday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
PAKISTAN’S Farhan Mehboob (R) in action during the International Squash Tournament semi-final against Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt at the Mushaf Squash Complex on Tuesday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: Having missed out in the first attempt, Farhan Mehboob is out to make sure Pakistan ends up with a title in the international squash tournaments it is hosting this month.

After reaching the final of the Serena Hotels-Huawei International Squash Tournament here on Tuesday, the Pakistan number one said he had his sights firmly on the crown.

“I’m very hopeful that I’ll win,” Farhan told Dawn after stunning top-seeded Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 to set up a title showdown against Fathi’s compatriot Mohamed El Shirbini who ousted Spaniard Carlos Cornes Ribadas 11-9, 13-11, 11-3. “I have a game plan for the final and I will be enjoying the home support as well.”

Both the semi-finals didn’t last very long. World number 72 Farhan won in just 38 minutes while El Shirbini, ranked two places behind his final opponent, took just a minute more.

Last week, Farhan crashed out in the second round of the CAS International Squash Championship. On the sidelines of that tournament, a women’s tournament was also played and no Pakistani player made it to the final in either of those events.

Ranked 26 below Al Fathi, Farhan fell behind in the opening game but rebounded superbly and kept the Egyptian under pressure with some classic cross-court and drop shots.

“It [victory] has reinvigorated me really,” Farhan added. “This was a much-needed one for my confidence. After losing the first game, I changed my strategy and started playing short strokes to keep Al Fathi on his toes and that paid off.”

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2019