Amin Fikri staged a miraculous fightback on the opening day of the prestigious 2012 GCC Billiards Championship at the Ezone Club in Dubai to edge Ali Alobaidli of Qatar 7-6 to move into the 8-ball pool quarter-finals on Saturday.
The other UAE player to cruise through the quarter-finals of the 8-ball competitions was Salah Al Rimawi, who defeated Kuwaiti ace Omar Alshaheen 7-4.
Fikri was staring at a loss at the hands of his young Qatari opponent as he trailed 6-3. However, the UAE player clawed his way back into the match and eventually stole the game away from Alobaidly. .
Earlier in the opening round, Fikri had beaten Abdullah Eissa of Bahrain 4-2.
Defending champion Mohammed Alhosani and Khalid Esbaitah remained in contention for places in the quarter-finals despite suffering setbacks in the first round on Saturday morning.
Alhosani was beaten 7-6 by Abdullah Al Yousuf of Saudi Arabia in the first round but the double elimination format gave him a new lease of life and he went to score a hard fought 7-6 win over Abdulwahid Al Awwad, also from Saudi Arabia, to stay in the running.
Esbaitah also sustained a 7-6 loss to Mohammed Albannai of Qatar but he followed it up with a fine 7-3 triumph over Omar Ashiq of Bahrain in the losers bracket.
The final of the 8-ball singles will be staged on Sunday afternoon at the same venue and will be followed by the 8-ball team competitions. The 9-ball pool singles and team events will be contested later.
Meanwhile, in the Stage Two of the City Engineering & Contracting LLC sponsored 41st National Day Snooker Championship, which is offering an attractive sum of 41,000 AED to the winner, UAE's top ranked player Mohamed Shehab stormed into the last 16 round after beating Shaker Mahmoodi 4-0 for a 3-0 win-loss record. Shehab is yet to concede a frame in the tournament.
Former Pakistan international Mohammad Shafiq also moved to the last 16 stage after scoring a 4-0 victory over Shahnawaz Khan and Ahmed Shehab topped the Group C charts with the help of a 4-1 win over Adel Mohammed Ali on Saturday.
The last 16 battles will be contested using a round robin format and get underway at the same venue. The final will take place on December 17.