KARACHI: Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar won his first qualifying match of the Professional World Snooker Championship after defeating Welshman Jamie Jones 10-5.
Hamza, who is the first Pakistani cueist to participate in the Professional World Championship, did not have the greatest of starts as he lost the first frame. But he recovered and won five consecutive frames to build a strong 5-1 lead, which ultimately proved to be the launching pad for his success.
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Jones then cut down the deficit by winning the seventh frame to make it 5-2, but Hamza restored his four-frame advantage by winning the next set.
Jones’ only notable frame in the match was 11th where he struck a 125-point break and showed his class, but Hamza proved too hot to handle on the day as he won by overall scores of 45-67, 66-10, 64-22, 59-52, 48-14, 63-11, 42-68, 70-14(70), 17-53, 60-24, 0-125(125), 05-87(52), 63-07, 32-77 and 55-29.
He will next meet England’s Ian Burns in the second round of the qualifiers on April 10.
The Faisalabad-based cueist said that the journey only gets better for him. “It was unbelievable to become the first Pakistani to play in the Professional World Championship and now to win on debut as well is really a morale booster for me,” Hamza told The Express Tribune. “I want to thank everyone who backed me and prayed for me, and it’s because of them that I’ve been able to win my first match, and hopefully, I’ll do even better in my upcoming matches.”
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Hamza was forced to miss several tournaments due to paperwork issues and visa delays.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) President Alamgir Sheikh has revealed that this would be Hamza’s last tourney in this year’s professional circuit. “It’s good that Hamza has won the first qualifier in the World Championship as it will help him earn important points in his last event of the year,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “The championship is important and I hope Hamza would be able to triumph in his next match as well. The season ends after this competition and it’s important he finishes on a high before a five to six months break comes in. I’m hopeful that he would go into the main round.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2016.
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