KARACHI: Defending champion and second seed Asjad Iqbal met with double disaster on the opening day of the Jubilee Insurance 3rd Ranking Snooker Championship 2013 here at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel on Friday.
The high-flying Asjad was tamed by Mohammad Bilal and Mohammad Ishtiaq, who had come close to toppling world champion Mohammad Asif earlier in the day.
Asjad was off to a flying start, chalking up a break of 98 in the very first frame of the day, but was kept quiet in the other six frames with Bilal pulling off the most notable win of his career yet.
The defending champion couldn’t pull it back against Ishtiaq after conceding the first couple of frames.
Sixth seed Abdul Sattar also met a defeat at the hands of unseeded Aamir Tariq in his opening game but the other seeds, Imran Shahzad, Hamza Akbar, Shahid Aftab, Mohammad Sajjad and Abu Saim, besides Mohammad Asif, started their campaign on a winning note.
Seventh seed Asif, who will be defending his world crown later this year, was tested to his limit by Ishtiaq, one of the most promising local cueists, who snatched the first couple of frames. Asif’s comeback began with a break of 87 in the third frame and he went on to win the seven-frame thriller after a few anxious moments.
Top seed Imran Shahzad, aiming to win the title in order to earn a berth in the upcoming World Championship, did his chances no harm by overpowering Ayaz Khan, the lone entrant from Islamabad.
He then produced a magnificent break of 131 while outclassing Mohammad Javed later in the evening.
Third seed Hamza Akbar began on a more impressive note, whacking Aamir Rasheed in straight frames but he was undone by Aamir Tariq in his second match.
Fourth seed Shahid Aftab outwitted the threatening Mohsin Amin but fifth seed Mohammad Sajjad faced few difficulties in taming Umair Alam.
Eighth seed Abu Saim, however, was extended to full seven frames by the dangerous Mohammad Javed.
The encounter between the seasoned campaigners Mohammad Yousuf, a former world champion, and Khurram Hussain Agha, who remained the top ranked cueist of the country for a very long time, produced high quality stuff in which the latter pressed home the advantage with a series of big breaks.
Naveen Kumar Perwani, another vastly experienced cueist, was unable to force the issue against Sharjeel Mahmood of Kybher Pakhtunkwa.
Sultan Mohammad, who represented the country in the Asian Championship last year, got off to a nightmarish start, getting blanked in straight frames at the hands of Farhan Noor as well as Mohammad Sajjad.
Results: Imran Shahzad (Pjb) bt Ayaz Khan (Isb) 4-2 (54-60, 63-26, 78-38, 68-2, 26-59, 73-43); Mohammad Bilal (Pjb) bt Asjad Iqbal (Pjb) 4-3 (8-127, 74-22, 81-19, 50-59, 72-11, 46-62, 80-5); Hamza Akbar (Pjb) bt Aamir Rasheed (Pjb) 4-0 (62-54, 67-8, 66-11, 59-7); Shahid Aftab (Pjb) bt Mohsin Amin (Pjb) 4-2 (68-12, 80-8, 14-70, 27-62, 63-26, 57-8); Abu Saim (Pjb) bt Mohammad Javed (Pjb) 4-3 (73-16, 47-60, 57-29, 55-72, 28-69, 68-14, 79-44); Mohammad Asif (Pjb) bt Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh) 4-3 (38-60, 40-69, 87-0, 66-30, 85-0, 65-66, 55-24); Aamir Tariq (Pjb) bt Abdul Sattar (Sindh) 4-2 (41-73, 69-54, 72-35, 82-24, 22-59, 72-23); Mohammad Sajjad (Pjb) bt Umair Alam (Sindh) 4-1 (78-17, 69-22, 86-1, 16-82, 98-19); Khurram Agha (Sindh) bt Mohammad Yousuf (Pjb) 4-2 (120-0, 102-0, 64-78, 1-67, 67-46, 62-23); Sharjeel Mahmood (KPK) bt Naveen Perwani (Sindh) 4-2 (64-59, 41-81, 59-28, 51-64, 62-32, 64-9); Farhan Noor (Pjb) bt Sultan Mohammad (Sindh) 4-0 (66-51, 52-18, 74-11, 78-18); Imran Shehzad (Pjb) bt Muhammad Javed (Pjb) 4-1 (76-33, 64-71, 65-9, 72-42, 131-0); Aamir Tariq (Pjb) bt Hamza Akbar (Pjb) 4-1 (54-31, 59-18, 67-41, 41-67, 76-55); Shahid Aftab (Pjb) bt Umair Alam (Sindh) 4-3 (20-67, 82-57, 14-74, 73-19, 15-94, 69-57, 67-13); Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh) bt Asjad Iqbal (Pjb) 4-3 (43-64, 0-69, 69-48, 110-24, 57-63, 65-57, 66-27); Mohammad Sajjad (Pjb) bt Sultan Muhammad (Sindh) 4-0 (93-1, 80-16, 69-42, 65-27).