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Asjad bounces back to set up final against Shehram

June 20, 2012


The 20-year-old Asjad took four-and-a-half hours to reach his second straight final. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Asjad Iqbal came from the jaws of defeat to turn the tables on country’s top cueist Mohammad Asif to reach the final of the third Jubilee Insurance ranking snooker championship at the Karachi Gymkhana on Wednesday.

Asjad, who won 6-4, proved that his victory over the same opponent in the NBP Cup final on May 29 was not flash in a pan.

The 20-year-old Asjad, a pupil of two-time former national champion Mohammad Sajjad, took four-and-a-half hours to reach his second straight final. The scores were 65-18, 10-72, 47-85, 70-64, 57-70, 52-61, 60-58, 94-8, 89-32, 66-62.

Asjad will meet Shahram Changezi for the title battle after the latter brushed aside Sindh’s Khurram Agha 6-1 in a one-sided second semi-final.

“Despite trailing 2-4 down in the best-of-11 frames duel, I did not lose my confidence and made a comeback to win the remaining four frames in one hand and the match,” Asjad told Dawn.

The former national junior champion, who has two ranking titles under his belt, said he was confident and looking forward to land another crown.

Asjad made an efficient start by taking the opening frame 65-18 but was soon at the receiving end as he lost next two frames 10-72, 47-85. He levelled the score by winning the fourth frame 70-64 only to lose the following two 57-70, 52-61 to fall behind 2-4.

But that proved to be the end for Asif as Asjad won the next four frames 60-58, 94-8, 89-32, 66-62.

Meanwhile, Changezi was quick in routing former Pakistan No 1 Khurram Agha in 90 minutes with a score-line of 79-0, 99-0, 62-30, 60-0, 81-4, 25-112, 83-26.

Results: Asjad Iqbal (Punjab) bt M. Asif (Punjab) 6-4 (65-18, 10-72, 47-85, 70-64, 57-70, 52-61, 60-58, 94-8, 89-32, 66-62); Shahram Changezi (Islamabad) bt Khurram Agha (Sindh) 6-1 (79-0, 99-0, 62-30, 60-0, 81-4, 25-112, 83-26).

Wednesday’s fixtures: Final (best-of-13 frames): Asjad Iqbal v Shahram Changezi at 10:00am.