Dubai: Three UAE players were assured of places in the last 16 of 2012 Dubai International Open at the Dubai Snooker Club on Monday.
Young Khalid Kamali continued to impress the local fans when he put on another splendid show when he upstaged fancied Syrian Karam Fatima 4-1 to register his third straight victory in Group D.
Fatima, the silver medallist at the Arab Championship at the same venue in September, was heavily favoured to beat Kamali, but the young Emirati played out of skin and impressively defeated his rival. Mohammad Al Joker edged past Firas Kamil of Iraq 4-3 in his last Group C match to march into the next stage with a 3-0 win-loss record.
UAE’s top ranked Mohammad Shehab, seeded number two for the tournament, scored his second victory in Group H when he routed compatriot Ahmad Abdul Qader 4-0 to book his place in the last 16 round. Shehab was to face Laxman Rawat of India in a match that was to decide the group winner. Rawat has also qualified for the next round.
Meanwhile, Thailand succeeded in sending two of their three players — top-seeded Noppon Saengkham and teenaged Ratchayohin Youtharak — into the last 16 stage. Noppon finished his Group A matches with a 4-0 hammering of Saeed Abooyesani of Iran to take the top place ahead of Himanshu Jain, who moved ahead following a 4-2 victory over Saif Al Kitbi of the UAE on Monday afternoon.
Ratchayothin was equally impressive as he whitewashed host country’s Marwan Ebrahim 4-0 to grab second spot in Group B. Pramual Jantad, the third Thai player, needed a victory over Mohammad Asif of Pakistan in his last Group F match to have a chance of qualifying for the next round. Andy Lee of Hong Kong, despite a 4-2 loss to Asif in the afternoon, also stayed in contention for a place in the last 16 round from the group.
The last 16 stage, which got under way on Tuesday, will also be a round-robin affair with four groups of as many players each.