Former Asian number two Mohammad Sajjad said that the ongoing Jubilee Insurance 38th National Snooker Championship was the “most competitive event” he has participated in recent years.
IBSF world champion and Pakistan number one Mohammad Asif crashed out during the group stage, while second-seed Asjad Iqbal faced an embarrassing exit as well.
In addition, players like Sultan Mohammad, Naveen Perwani, Khurram Agha, Sharjeel Mehmood and Mohammad Yousuf were also beaten, which has thrown the event wide open for Sajjad and Imran Shehzad — the two semi-finalists.
“This national championship has been one of the toughest I’ve played in recent time,” Sajjad, who will face Humza Akber in the semi-final, told The Express Tribune. “Junior players have really improved their game but I’m aiming for a win and I’ve got a tricky match against a talented Humza.”
In the quarter-final, Sajjad recorded a convincing win over Shahid Aftab 5-1 with frame scores of 67-20, 75-05, 10-69, 68-08, 118-13 and 58-09, while Humza edged-past Farhan Noor 5-4 with scores of 12-69, 88-60, 73-06, 59-73, 69-44, 32-67, 07-91(79), 59-58 and 69-55.
Imran, who will face Abdul Sattar in the other last-four encounter, beat Abu Saim 5-3 in the quarter-final. Sattar beat Babar Masih 5-2.
Meanwhile, on the defeat of world champion Asif, Sajjad said that things got difficult for him after he lost his first match against Mohammad Ishtiaq. “There’s immense pressure on a player once he achieves a certain milestone,” said Sajjad. “I’ve gone through this phase as well and I failed to pick myself up.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2013.