Qualifier Farhan Mehboob single-handedly carried Pakistani hopes through to the second round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open after upsetting England’s 13th seed Adrian Grant in today’s (Wednesday) first round of the $147,500 PSA World Tour squash event – the fifth PSA Super Series championship of the year – inHong Kong.
The 21-year-old from Peshawar went into the match 3/0 down on his career record against fellow left-hander Grant – but powered through to an 11-9, 13-11, 11-9 victory over the 29-year-old Londoner ranked 15 in the world.
“I was prepared for it,” the delighted winner told www.squashsite.co.uk later. “We played in Saudi last year, he won 3/1 but it was a very good game, I knew I had to focus and play well on each point this time.
“He played too much attacking for me in the second, but I still managed to win that one, and I played my best squash in the third.”
Mehboob, the world No30 celebrating his first time in the last 16 of a 2010 Super Series event, will now face Gregory Gaultier, the fifth seed from France who beat Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 11-3, 11-6.
“It’s great to reach the second round, having had to qualify,” added Mehboob. “I’m really looking forward to playing Greg now.”
Egypt’s defending champion Amr Shabana notched up his 26th successive win in the championship after beating Saurav Ghosal – but the third seed, looking for his sixth title in a row, was taken the full distance by the unseeded Indian before winning 14-12, 3-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3 in 53 minutes.
“That’s what it’s about, a win’s a win,” said the relieved 31-year-old from Cairo after dominating the decider. “He stepped up and kept in front of me in the second, he had a game plan and stuck to it. I lost my way in the fourth, and the fifth is always anyone’s, you just hope to get a few points ahead at the start and hang on to it.
“I managed to do that, and he lost his way a bit at the end.”
With the top four matches in the draw going according to the seeding, England is already assured of interest in Saturday’s semi-finals. Nick Matthew, the world number one from Sheffield seeded to win his sixth Tour title in a row in Hong Kong, brushed aside Italian qualifier Amr Swelim 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 – and will now face England team-mate Daryl Selby, the ninth seed who made up for a shock Australian Open first round exit two weeks ago, by overcoming Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.
Two further England team-mates will face-off to play Matthew or Selby: Londoner Peter Barker, the No8 seed, beat US No1 Julian Illingworth, a qualifier, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3, while 15th seed Alister Walker took four games to despatch Egyptian Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6.
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Amr Swelim (ITA) 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 (29m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (63m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (48m)
 Alister Walker (ENG) bt Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (50m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 14-12, 3-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3 (53m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 13-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 (76m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
[Q] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt  Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-9, 13-11, 11-9 (44m)
 David Palmer (AUS) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-2, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Dick Lau (HKG) 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (34m)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-8, 11-7, 14-12 (62m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (28m)
 Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7 (65m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-2, 11-1, 11-3 (23m)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (45m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)