ISLAMABAD: Taking quite a huge step towards regaining the lost glory in the sport, Pakistan’s Farhan Zaman and compatriot Farhan Mehboob on Sunday overcame their high-ranked opponents in their respective semi-finals of the Chief of Air Staff International Squash Championship here at Mushaf Squash Complex to set up all-Pakistan final. World number 52 Farhan Zaman moved into Monday’s final after defeating top seed and world number 30 Leo Au from Hong Kong in a five-game thrilling clash while Farhan Mehboob, who is ranked 105, outclassed his Egyptian opponent second seed and world number 41 Mohamed Reda in four games. “The achievement is simply tremendous,” the legendary Jahangir Khan declared while expressing the hope Pakistan players “will exhibit such refined skills in their future matches.”
“Our squash is on right track and considering this feat I could easily say that there is a lot more in the store for us,” added the squash icon while talking to Dawn. Jahangir, who during his super career played many finals against his compatriot Jansher Khan, said that Pakistan players could achieve further successes in future by improving their fitness level. In the first semi-final of the day, Farhan Zaman caused quite a stir when he defeated Leo Au 11-6, 3-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 in a thrilling contest lasting 62 minutes. He dominated the first game easily winning 11-6 within seven minutes with the next game seeing him falter to lose the game 3-11. Farhan Zaman kept on making mistakes in the third game and thus ended up in losing the third game 7-11. In the fourth game, Farhan Zaman initially failed to recover leading earlier to a 4-0 lead by Leo Au. However, Farhan Zaman changed his strategy, engaging his opponent in rallies that paid off with some crucial points.
Ultimately, Farhan Zaman got two required points to push the game into the final game. The squash lovers present in Mushaf Complex enjoyed every shot in the thrilling match and kept supporting Farhan Zaman throughout the game. The final game lasting 17 minutes saw Leo Au earn early lead but could not maintain it with Zaman responding equally good and consolidated his grip by keeping the opponent engaged in rallies to win the game 11-7. In the second semi-final, Farhan Mehboob stunned his opponent 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 with high speed and brilliant cross court shots. In the first game, Rida earned three early points but Farhan Mehboob played very well and succeeded in reducing the lead by keeping his opponent on the move. Both players played very well as it was four-all then six-all and then eight-all but it was Farhan Mehboob’s day who finished 11-9. In the next game, he played more aggressively outclassing 11-7 his opponent with the third game seeing the local player fail to come up to expectation and lost it 9-11. However, Farhan Mehboob made a comeback playing superbly in the fourth game and thus succeeded in defeating his opponent 11-7.