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Noor beats Asim to win CAS title

December 05, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Noor Zaman beat second seed and Pakistan No 1 Asim Khan in the second game to win the $9000 CAS-Serena Hotels International Squash men’s title at the Mushaf Ali Mir Complex Monday.

In the ladies final, fourth seed Amina el Rihany (EGY) stamped her authority, toppling top seed Nadien Elhammamy (EGY) 13-15, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7.

Much was expected from an all-Pakistan men’s final which ultimately ended up in disappointment for the crowd. Once Noor came out all guns blazing, Asim threw the towel in the second game, citing fever as the reason.

This representational image shows a racket and a ball. — Unsplash/File
This representational image shows a racket and a ball. — Unsplash/File 

By that time Noor had one game in pocket (11-8) and was comfortably leading 8-2 in the second. Just before his surrender, Asim was hit by a ball which resulted in a warning for Noor and also a stroke as the Pakistan No 1 was blocking his path.

When Asim entered the arena, he did not look all that disturbed and was seen giving his heart out in the first game. Noor however kept his much experienced opponent at bay, making him run for every stroke. The fast paced first game took away all the stamina Asim could offer. He was seen just struggling in the second, ultimately conceding the final to the disappointment of a packed crowd which was expecting a close contest.

Noor was seen in top rhythm and continued his game where he left off against top seed Egyptian in the semis the other day. Some neatly played nicks backed by timely boast shots was the hallmark of his short stay at the Centre Court.

“I was mentally prepared for a tough final and started the way as if I had to play five full games. But it turned out to be a short lived affair,” Noor Zaman said while talking to The News.

It was the first ever $9000 title for the young Pakistani player. “Yes, it was my first over $6000 PSA title. Earlier, I had won the $6000 event in Bangladesh but this is the highest prize money title I have won,” Noor said.

He hopes to continue with the same vein in days to come. “I don’t know which event will be next but I desperately want to continue playing the circuit in order to improve my game, confidence and ranking. Without playing continuously on the circuit it will be hard for me to improve in all departments,” Noor, who hopes to get a 30 ranking boost in PSA ranking, said.

For Amina el Rihany the CAS international was her second title following her recent victory at the Swiss event. “It is big news for me as here I won my second PSA $ 6000 title which would help me improve my rankings,” she said.

The men’s title winner got richer by $1805 while $1140 was pocketed by the runner-up. The women’s event winner received $902 while runner-up got $570. Air Marshal Irfan Ahmed, HI (M) graced the final as chief guest.

The chief guest expressed gratitude to Serena Hotels for hosting the Championship. PSF Secretary Air Cdr (rtd) Amir Nawaz extended congratulations and appreciation to the players from around the world for their participation and making the event a real success.

Results:

Women: Amina el Rihany (EGY) bt Nadien Elhammamy (EGY) 13-15, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7 (48 min)

Men: Noor Zaman (PAK) bt Muhammad Asim Khan (PAK) 11-8, 8-2, retired hurt (18 min).