Squash: Khan denies blocking

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The Independent Online
Jansher Khan, the top seed, defeated Jonathon Power, the fourth seed, 14-15, 15-12, 15-7, 15-2 yesterday in an ill-tempered final of the Cathay Pacific-Hong Kong Open.

It was Khan's eighth victory in Hong Kong in 10 appearances, and came after a 64-minute battle with the Canadian that featured as many let and stroke calls as there were points won.

However, the experienced Khan was the superior player. He overcame the loss of the first game to control the points and rallies with his shot- making and speed around the court.

After winning the second game, Khan never looked as if he would fold in the same way that he had done against the Australian Rodney Eyles in last year's final.

"I've already won at least six of each major event, but I want 10 or 11 before I retire in four or five years' time," said Khan, who has won a record eight world titles and six British Opens. "Winning in Hong Kong is part of that plan and I am happy to have won eight already."

Power, however, said that the blocking tactics used by Khan made him unpopular with his fellow players. "He is a master of that. The referees cannot see it here because they are amateurs and only officiate at this tournament," he said.

"You really can't blame them... but it was not a great squash match. I like to have fun when I play but it's difficult when someone is playing like that.

"That is not to say Jansher has not got ability. But the thing is, he is good enough that he does not need to play like that."

Khan, however, said that he plays the game fairly, and he called on his fellow professionals to stop making excuses when they lose.

He insisted that he never blocks players: "The referee can see everything. All players have this problem, but that is how squash is. I think it is more of an excuse for losing,"' said Khan, who earned $11,200 (pounds 7,000) for his victory.

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