Pakistan’s top four Imran Shehzad, Sohail Shehzad, Muhammad Asif Toba and Muhammad Sajjad got off to a winning start by carving impressive victories on the opening day of 36th NJI National Snooker Championship at Karachi Gymkhana Billiards Hall here on Monday.
Pakistan number one Imran Shehzad of Punjab, who had never won the national crown, bulldozed Muhammad Naeem Jaffar of Baluchistan 4-0. Imran made the break of 80 in third frame.
Second seed Sohail Shehzad of Sindh whipped Abdul Rehman of Baluchistan 4-0 in Rs.150,000 prize money event.
Asif Toba dropped two frames while coasting to 4-2 win over Zahoor Ahmed also from Baluchistan.
Pakistan’s ace cueist and Asian number two, looking for his third title in four years, recovered from a sluggish start to overpower Kamran-ur-Rehman 4-1.
Kamran making his debut in the event stunned the fancied cueist Sajjad by grabbing the first frame. However Sajjad slow down the tempo with safety to take the next four frames to seal victory.
Fifth seed Imran Qamar was extended to limits by former World and Asian champion Muhammad Yousuf before chalking an exciting 4-3 win.
Veteran Yousuf making a comeback on the circuit, took the 2-0 lead. But Imran showed his fighting qualities before overcoming Yousuf by grabbing the decider 76-46 after match tied 3-3.
Muhammad Asif who had won the National Championship in 2009 defeated former Pakistan Khurram Agha after exciting 4-3 tussle. Asif from Faisalabad showed nerves of steal in the final frame to emerge winner.
Besides the winner and Asian number two Muhammad Sajjad, a third cueists picked by Pakistan will represent Pakistan in the Asian Snooker Championship being held at Indore (India) in April.