KARACHI: Muhammad Sajjad clinched the Jubilee Insurance 42nd national Snooker Championship 2017 by defeating his pupil Asjad Iqbal 8-6 at Karachi Gymkhana on Tuesday.
In a rollercoaster of a final that lasted for more than seven hours, Sajjad triumphed 66-54, 31-70, 7-93(62), 44-83, 108-25 (60), 66-32, 78-57, 35-76, 75-61, 79-35 (50), 54-58, 1-109(109), 71-47, 80-47(63).
“I’ve finally got the national championship title, something I've been chasing for seven years,” Sajjad told The Express Tribune.
“I knew it was not going to be easy for me to win because Asjad is a great player; he knows my game very well. In fact, we both know each other very well as we practice together at the same club, so at the end of the day it was a battle of nerves.”
The crucial moment in the best-of-15 frames final came when the tie was equally poised at 6-6 and Sajjad's greater experience saw him prevail.
“It would’ve been tough to lose to my student,” said Sajjad. “But more importantly, this win was about my comeback; it was about making it to the top. I feel Asjad would've won easily had it been someone else in front of him than me. He kept on overcoming the lead I was taking.
"It was truly a marathon match. I’m tired, but I'm happy that both of us are at the top of the crop and among the most talented cueists in the domestic circuit.”
Sajjad, however, said that he isn't going to rest on his laurels; he is already thinking ahead.
“I can’t afford to lose anymore,” he said. “I had reached the final of the World Championships in 2015, but I missed that opportunity so I want to make the most of this chance. I will prepare harder than before.”
With the win, Sajjad bagged Rs100,000 and Asjad took home Rs50,000, while both of them also booked their places in the 33rd Asian Championship that will take place in Doha on April 22.
Meanwhile, Zulfiqar Qadir received Rs10,000 for hitting the highest break (138) in the tournament.
Governor Muhammad Zubair also announced cash rewards of Rs300,000 for Sajjad and Rs200,000 for Asjad at the closing ceremony.
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