KARACHI: Pakistan number one Muhammad Asif advanced to the final of the Dubai International Open, thumping Hong Kong’s Andy Lee 5-0 in their last-four fixture yesterday.
Asif won with frame scores of 52-38, 89-41, 119-0, 64-9 and 70-17 to enjoy an easy run to the final where he will face Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham in the best-of-nine match today.
However, Asif said his impressive performance will count for nothing if the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) does not release the grant for the country’s cueists to take part in the IBSF World Championship to be held in Bulgaria.
“All my good work will go down the drain if I don’t get a chance to play in the world championship,” Asif told The Express Tribune. “The main purpose of this event was to get competitive match practice but this confidence will be of no use if we don’t play at the mega event. I hope the PSB releases the grant.”
The PSB was asked to grant Rs700,000 by the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) to send Asif and Asjad Iqbal for the event.
Meanwhile, Asif was pleased with his show in Dubai. “I’ve been able to translate my good form at the domestic level on the international stage.”
Known for compiling big breaks, Asif was confident of winning the final.
“I want to win this title for my country because we’ve very few things to cheer back in Pakistan and I hope I’m successful.”
Saengkham has already broken Asif’s record of the highest break in the event, registering 125 points, six more than the Pakistan cueist. However, Asif said he was not focusing on records and was more intent on ensuring a win.
“The aim is to become the champion even if it means cutting down on adventurous shots.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.
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