Dubai: Khalid Kamali of the UAE squeezed past senior compatriot Mohammad Al Joker to make the 2012 Dubai International Open quarter-finals with a better frame difference at Dubai Snooker Club on Wednesday evening.
The pivotal moment in the fate of the two players had been their second Group N encounter on Tuesday night, during which Kamali fired on all cylinders to defeat Al Joker 4-0.
The outcome left Kamali better-placed than Al Joker, needing just one frame to qualify for the quarter-finals.
And when, on Wednesday evening, Kamali went down 4-2 to Thai teenager Ratchayothin Yotharak, who remained unbeaten and topped the group standings, it was more than enough to carry him to the knockout last-eight stage of the tournament.
Al Joker signed off on a high note as he routed Indian Himanshu Jain 4-1 in his last group match, wrapping it up with a fine break of 89 in the fifth frame.
Mohammad Shehab, the only other UAE cueist left in the event, won his second match in a row by beating Pakistan’s Asjad Iqbal 4-2 in their Group P encounter.
Mohammad Asif, the second Pakistani in the same group, rekindled his chances of making it to the quarter-finals with an impressive 4-0 victory over Mohsen Bukshaisha of Qatar.
The results in the group on Wednesday afternoon made it a three-way race between Shehab, Iqbal and Asif.
Shehab, before the start of the last set of group matches on Wednesday night, was the only unbeaten man in the pack, but was still without any firm guarantees of a place in the quarter-finals.
The scenario wasn’t much different in Group Q as well.
Hong Kong’s Andy Lee, the surprise package of the tournament, defeated the 2012 Arab Championship gold medallist Omar Alkojah of Syria, but was also yet to be assured of a quarter-final spot.
Alkojah and India’s Laxman Rawat both remained in contention, with everything hinging on the results of their matches against Amir Sarkhosh of Iran and Lee respectively.