Dubai: The UAE’s top two players Mohammad Shehab and Mohammed Al Joker both recorded victories in their respective opening matches of the 2012 IBSF World Snooker Championship in Sofia on Saturday night.
Shehab, a semi-finalist at the same event in 2007, vanquished Marcin Nitschke of Poland 4-1 in his first Group R outing, while Al Joker scored a 4-2 victory over Mustafa Eldalli of Libya in their Group U match.
Shehab had a sluggish start to the match as he conceded the first frame to the Poland No 1 70-14, but he recovered by taking the next 62-18 to tie things up.
From then on, Shehab dominated his rival and soon gained a 3-1 advantage, capturing the third and fourth frames 87-17 and 74-15. He wrapped up the best-of-seven frames match in style, restricting his rival to only two points and scoring a break of 98, which is the third highest of the tournament.
The highest break of the event so far is 112 by Duncan Bezzina of Malta, followed by a 104 by Gary Wilson of England.
Al Joker, on the other hand, had a tough game against Eldalli, who edged the first frame 55-46. Al Joker, ranked No 2 in the UAE, hit back by grabbing the second 61-20.
A break of 87 gave the third frame to Al Joker and he went on to take the fourth 52-16 for a 3-1 lead.
Although Eldalli recovered to pocket the fifth frame 66-40, Al Joker held his nerve to pinch the sixth 64-56 on the final black.
A total of 102 players from 47 countries are taking part the men’s event of the World Championship, with the participation of the two UAE cueists being sponsored by Al Habtoor Motors.