posted on 16/09/2012: 430 views
UAE snooker star Mohamed Shehab's form nosedived as the Seventh Arab Snooker Championships 2012 kicked off at the Dubai Snooker Club on Saturday, but he still managed to douse a spirited challenge by Qatar's Mohsen Bukshaisha and score a 4-2 victory.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Al Joaker, the other leading UAE title contender and the No. 2 seed, blazed on all guns as he routed Qatar's top bet for this year's top honours Ahmed Saif 4-1 in Group E.
Al Joaker was undaunted by the fact that his Qatari opponent has of late produced highly impressive results and had the control of the game most of the tie.
On the adjacent table, teammate Shehab's form however was in gross contrast to his heroics in the practice matches over the past couple of weeks.
Shehab had a fine start to his first match in Group A as he took the opening frame with ease, but Bukshaisha then tightened his safety further and evened the score by grabbing the tight second.
The top-seeded Shehab once again had his way in the third, but was made to work hard for a win in the fourth frame for a 3-1 advantage. Bukshaisha did not give in and bounced back to narrow the margin to 3-2.
Shehab recovered in time to get into his rhythm and some fine potting saw him through the sixth frame, giving him a 4-2 victory.
Shehab said: "It is strange that I was doing so well in practice matches and then fail to carry the form into the tournament. There is always some pressure on top ranked players in the opening matches and maybe this was the case today.
"Mohsen and I have played against each other many times and he knows well how to make things difficult for me. I didn't play well enough and it turned out to be a tough game. I hope it will prepare me for my remaining matches in the tournament.”
Both Shehab and Al Joaker were required to win their second group stages late on Saturday night to secure places in the knockout last 16 stage of the event, which is being sponsored by Apparel Group under the banner of popular Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop brand, the UAE National Olympic Committee and Dubai Sports Council. – Sport 360°
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