Jordanian Khaled Al Azzouni's fairytale run in the 41st National Day Snooker Championship came to an end in the semifinals on Sunday night as he came a cropper against UAE No. 1 Mohamed Shehab at the Dubai Snooker Club.
Shehab recovered from a slow start to defeat Al Azzouni 5-1 to march into his fifth straight national event final of the year.
Veteran Eissa Ali Sayed qualified for the final of a national level tournament for the first time in more than two years.
Sayed put on an impressive show on Sunday night, recovering from a two-frame deficit to defeat UAE No. 2 Mohammed Al Joaker 5-3 in the semifinals.
Shehab, whose 107 is the highest break of the City Engineering-sponsored tournament so far, was a touch below par in the semifinals, but Al Azzouni still could not lift the standard of his own game to get the better of his illustrious rival.
It was not only the difference between the standards of game that mattered alone on Sunday night. At times when he missed, Shehab was still able to use his vast experience to dictate his terms by exhibiting a commendable cue ball control.
In the other semifinal, Al Joaker had everything going for him with the scoreboard showing 3-1 in his favour. However, Sayed then wrested the control of the game and carefully progressed to earn a 3-3 tie.
Al Joaker had a few chances to get back in the driver's seat but a few misses coupled with some strokes of bad luck tilted the balance in Sayed's favour.
Sayed, who has been a part of the UAE national snooker team for over a decade now, was equipped to make the most of any opportunity that was presented and he took two more frames in a row to move into the final.
The winner of the championship will receive a top prize of Dh41,000, while the runner-up will be rewarded with a sum of Dh15,000.
Al Joaker and Al Azzouni are entitled to receive Dh3,000 each and the highest break prize is Dh4,100.