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Adel El Zarka Nets Novartis Open Title

Egyptian teenager Adel El Zarka claimed the first PSA World Tour title of his career when he beat unseeded local hero Ahmad Alzabidi in the final of the $3,000 Novartis Open at the Al Hassan International Squash Center in the Jordan capital Amman.

The sixth seed from Alexandria made his breakthrough in the quarter-finals where he ousted Slovenia’s Martin Mosnik, the third seed, in straight games. A tough five-game battle with fifth-seeded Frenchman Florent Pontiere took 18-year-old El Zarka into his first Tour final.

But, appearing in only the second PSA Tour event of his life, Jordanian Ahmad Alzabidi grabbed the headlines by battling against the odds through to the final. Ranked 389 in the world, the unseeded 21-year-old beat the seventh and eighth seeds – in addition to Englishman Robert Downer who removed the top seed – to line up against El Zarka in the climax.

Boosted by a capacity crowd which included Princess Rahmah Al-Hassan, the Egyptian ambassador to Jordan, El Zarka battled for 48 minutes before finally emerging triumphant with an 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10 title-winning victory.

Final:
[6] Adel El Zarka (EGY) bt Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR)     11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10 (48m)

Semi-finals:
Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt [7] Muhammad Saqib Yousaf (PAK)     11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 (50m)
[6] Adel El Zarka (EGY) bt [5] Florent Pontiere (FRA)     12-14, 11-4, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9 (52m)

Quarter-finals:
Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt Robert Downer (ENG)     11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8 (54m)
[7] Muhammad Saqib Yousaf (PAK) bt [Q] Waqas Mehboob (PAK)     7-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9 (50m)
[6] Adel El Zarka (EGY) bt [3] Martin Mosnik (SLO)     11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (23m)
[5] Florent Pontiere (FRA) bt [2] Ahmed Hawas (EGY)     7-11, 11-1, 15-13, 10-4 ret. (36m)

1st round:
Robert Downer (ENG) bt [1] Mohammad Reza Sadeghpour (IRI)     11-6, 11-4, 12-10 (40m)
Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt [8] Maekawa Kosuke (JPN)     11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (20m)
[Q] Waqas Mehboob (PAK) bt [4] Basem Makram (EGY)     8-11, 11-7, 11-3 ret. (32m)
[7] Muhammad Saqib Yousaf (PAK) bt Mohammad Mhaisen (JOR)     11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (34m)
[6] Adel El Zarka (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamad Alzabidi (JOR)     11-3, 11-9, 11-6 (25m)
[3] Martin Mosnik (SLO) bt [Q] Ahmad Al-Saraj (JOR)     4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (41m)
[5] Florent Pontiere (FRA) bt [Q] Mohd Abu Hammad (JOR)     11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (40m)
[2] Ahmed Hawas (EGY) bt Masoud Gharehzyaldini (IRI)     11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (20m)

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