Dubai: UAE-based former Asian champion Aamir Khan clinched the White Nights Squash Open that concluded in Saint Petersburg, Russia, over the weekend.
Considered one of the elite events at the PSA Satellite Level, Khan was stretched to a maximum before shutting out a hard-fought 3-2 (11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11- 6) win over Alex Severny of Russia in the final. Earlier in the semi-final, Khan, nephew of squash legend and former world No. 1 Jansher Khan, had battled past Russian No. 1 Roman Fetisov 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6.
“It’s a great sense of relief to hold an international champion’s trophy after four long years,” the 28-year-old told Gulf News.
“This was not an easy task as it was a tough field of 180 players from all across the world. But this time I was keen and focused on the title after a close call last season. In the end, all six rounds of the competition were intense and close, but in the end was the satisfaction of being announced as the champion,” he added.
Khan, who became the first Pakistani in 14 years to claim the Asian Squash Championship in 2013 after beating Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Mezayan, had come close to the title at the 2018 Saint Petersburg Cup held in November.
However, Khan — trained by his father Iqbal Khan, the head squash coach at Abu Dhabi Country Club — fell short by a whisker when he went down to Dutch player Pedro Iceman in the third place play-off.
“This year, I was focused on the title, and to my good luck, I got going with two quick wins against a couple of Russians. That gave me a lot of confidence and desire to go all the way,” Khan related.