Maqbool takes record 11th Abu Dhabi Open title
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Abu Dhabi: UAE’s number 1 squash player, Adil Maqbool, extended his record national unbeaten run in the country by winning the Abu Dhabi Squash Open for an unprecedented 11th time.
World No. 102, Maqbool, looked in fine form as he defended his title, breezing past India’s Sandeep Ramachandran in straight games in the final of the $5k PSA National Closed Satellite event which was held at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
“I was born in Abu Dhabi and was very pleased last year when I won it for a record 10th time, but winning it again and this time without dropping a single game has left me recharged and motivated to do even better,” said the 28-year-old of Pakistani origin.
Unbeaten in the UAE since 2004 and ranked number one for the past 13 years, Maqbool has won the UAE’s longest running tournament 11 out of 12 times, losing only once to Ben Rickby of England in the final of the 2004 edition.
“I have been training very hard for the last three months with my father/coach Maqbool Khawaja, and Gary Nisbet on the physical side of my game. The results have been very promising,” added Maqbool, who is sponsored by Sahara Group and Harrow. “This is the first national title in the last few years that I have won without dropping a game.”
With the two trading early points, Maqbool broke free midway through all three games to take leads and then held on to capture the title he first won at the tender age of 12 in 2000.
“I was able to apply more pressure on him during the second half of every game which he struggled to cope with and made some unforced errors. I played the crucial points in the third a bit better and am happy to have come through with a 3-0 victory.”
Maqbool defeated Egypt’s Mohamed elRamly (3-0) in the first round, England’s Youssef Abdalla (3-0) in the quarter-finals and then Iraq’s Ahmed Al Kiremli (3-0) in the semi-final to set up the title decider with ex-Indian National Junior team member Ramachandran, who also made his way to the final without dropping a game.
‘I will now take a rest for a week and then start my summer training for the upcoming PSA circuit season. I am currently ranked just outside the world’s top 100 and hopefully in the coming season can break back into the top 100 and move towards my career best of 66.”
Adil is looking forward to the PSA World Series Finals coming to Dubai next week and (hint to the PSA) would love the chance to have a hit on the glass court.
ADIL MAQBOOL: FACT FILE
Age: 28 years old.
UAE born/based Pakistani professional squash player.
Highest Junior International Ranking: #1 (ESF U13, U15 & U17)
Highest Senior World Ranking: #66
Current Senior World Ranking: #102
UAE Men’s No. 1 since 2003 (unbeaten since 2004).
• Youngest Winner of an Open Championship in UAE at the age of 12
(Abu Dhabi Open).
• Highest UAE born World Ranking player, in both the Junior World Circuits
(Int. ESF Ranked No. 1 in U13, U15 & U17) and Senior World Circuit (World
• National record of winning the most National Junior Titles (40+ titles).
• National record of winning the most National Senior Titles (35+ titles).
• Winner of 11 Abu Dhabi Open titles. and 2 UAE Opens
• UAE No.1 since 2002/03 season (unbeaten since 2004).
• No. 1 in the International ESF Rankings Under 13,
• No. 1 in the International ESF Rankings Under 15,
• No. 1 in the International ESF Rankings Under 17,
• Winner of 17 International Junior Titles in various age categories.
Titles won include the USSAR Junior Olympics (U13), Hong Kong Junior Open
(U10 & U13), Scottish Junior Open (U11, U13 & U15), Austrian Junior Open
(U13), Malaysian Junior Open (U13), Belgian Junior Open (U15), French Junior
Open (U15), Singapore Junior Open (U13), Nordic Junior Open (U13 & U15),
Spanish Junior Open (U13 & U15), German Junior Open (U17), Kentucky
Junior Open (U19).
• Started International Senior World Circuit (PSA) at the age of 16 with a world ranking of 300+ and broke into the World’s Top 100 within a year,
• 65+ Top 16 finishes on the PSA World Tour,
• 14 Top 8 finishes on the PSA World Tour,
• Three semi-finals (2 in 2016) and one final on the PSA tour,
• Achieved a career high World Ranking of 66 (June, 2009).
• Ranked in the World’s Top 100 for 50 months.
Pictures by SULEMAN KHAN