x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Maqbool resists Khan surge

The youngsters, both born here to Pakistani parents, provided an entertaining final to conclude the three-week long Abu Dhabi Open.

Adil Maqbool, right, beat Aamir Khan last night.
Adil Maqbool, right, beat Aamir Khan last night.

ABU DHABI // Adil Maqbool cemented his position as the top player in the country by claiming the Fugra Abu Dhabi Open last night. However, Aamir Khan, his vanquished opponent, had every reason to cheer and be confident he is making progress after taking a game off Maqbool for the first time ever.

"He [Khan] played really well by dropping the ball consistently well and for me to work hard for every point," said Maqbool, who won the super division final 15-10, 11-15, 15-6, 17-14 at the Rotana Beach hotel yesterday. "I haven't been training for more than two months because of my exams. "I was in my worst condition but I shouldn't take anything away from Aamir's play. "I took this game a bit easy and that was a mistake. He has really improved and I realised never to come under-prepared for a tournament."

The youngsters, both born in Abu Dhabi to Pakistani parents, provided an entertaining final to conclude the three-week long championship. Khan kept his shots hard and low in the first game but that only played to Maqbool's strength. But the champion was in for a big surprise in the next, as the 18-year-old matched him in the long rallies and won his first game. "He surely must be happy taking a game from me and he truly deserved it," said Maqbool, who is ranked 100th in the world.

Khan, who is ranked as high as No 10 in the world Under 19 rankings and is the Scottish Junior Open champion, had also come into the tournament under-cooked after a fractured wrist had kept him out of action for more than two months. Mubarak Mohsin, 16, another youngster who is following in the footsteps of Maqbool and Aamir, took the division one title with a 15-6, 15-4, 15-1 over Mohsen el Gezery.

El Gezery, who was in the top 24 in the world in the 1980s, was also beaten by Mike Dravitzki in the veterans Over 45 final. Moataz el Deeb took the division two final from Akram Chalich courtesy of a 17-16, 15-12, 10-15, 15-10 win. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae