Noor stuns top seed to make CAS final all-Pakistan affair

December 04, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Noor Zaman sprang a big surprise on Sunday, upsetting top-seed, and world No 62 Egyptian Ibrahim Elkabbani in straight games to set up an all-Pakistan men’s final in the Chief of the Air Staff-Serena Hotels International Squash Championship at Mushaf Squash Complex.

The young Pakistani will take on local No. 1 Asim Khan who stopped Nasir Iqbal (Pakistan) 12-10, 2-0 (retired hurt) midway in the second semifinal. Nasir had been carrying an ankle injury.

Pakistan'sNoor Zaman takes a shot duringthe Chief of the Air Staff-Serena Hotels International Squash Championship at Mushaf Squash Complex on December 3, 2023. — X/Noorzaman2004

Noor Zaman was seen toying with the top seed in patches in the second and third games. He ultimately defeated Ibrahim Elkabbani 13-11, 11-6, 11-4. The match lasted 40 minutes.

Following an extended first game where Ibrahim led most of the way, Noor proved too dominating and was even seen leading 6-0 in the third game. The array of shots Noor unleashed was too brilliant and often left his opponent stunned. His boast shots backed by the top-of-the-court drops were too exciting. With a sizeable crowd fully backing Noor, the youngster exhibited his talent to perfection, making the Egyptian run for every point. The Egyptian got so frustrated that he threw his racket twice, getting a racket abuse warning.

“It was never in mind that I would be able to beat the No. 1 seed so easily. What I wanted was to do my best against a much-experienced player. I played my best squash here against a player who is expected to break into the top fifty in a few months’ time,” Noor told The News following his thrilling show.

Ibrahim Elkabbani had no answers against the quality display unleashed by the young Pakistani ranked 121st in the world. Noor’s fast-paced game kept the Egyptian in hunt for points which eluded him most of the time especially in the second and third games.

“This is the second best win of my short career as a few months back I won against world No 40 Malaysian. This win will definitely help me make even better efforts in coming international circuit events,” he said.

Noor’s coach Fahim Gul said that youngsters required regular international exposure. “He has made a big claim here by taking out world No. 62 in a way as if he was of no match to him. Now Noor needs more tournaments to hone his skills and temperament,” Fahim said.

In an all-Egyptian women’s semifinal, Nadien Elhammamy prevailed easily against Nour Ramy 11-2, 11-6, 11-2 while Amina el Rihany prevailed over Nour Khafagy 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8.

Results:

Men: Noor Zaman (PAK) bt Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) 13-11, 11-6, 11-4, (40 min), Muhammad Asim Khan (PAK) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 12-10, 2-0 retired hurt (18 min)

Women: Nadien Elhammamy (EGY) bt Nour Ramy (EGY) 11-2, 11-6, 11-2 (20 min), Amina el Rihany (EGY) bt Nour Khafagy (EGY) 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (48 min)