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CCI International 2015
08-13 Sep, Mumbai, India, $35k

13-Sep, Final:

[1] Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 [2] Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 
                 11/6, 11/4, 10/12, 11/5 (68m)

Golan denies home hopes in Mumbai final

Match reports by Liesl Goecker; Photos by Nitesh Square
India's top player Saurav Ghosal had a tough week. His 5-game quarterfinal and semifinal matches might have been a delight to spectators, but they made for a grueling slog into today's final.

On the other hand, Spaniard Borja Golan had a run of 3-0 matches until the semifinal, when his opponent conceded midway through game two after an injury. How much strategy, how much luck of the draw is difficult to say.

In the end, it didn't seem to matter. One was left with the impression that Golan always knew what was going on in today's final. He came with a plan and stuck to it throughout, drawing in Ghosal with his short game before taking the point with a deadly kill to the back time and again.

The first game was fast, but unhurried, as both players showed patience in finding their openings. At 4-3, a lovely cross boast from Ghosal off the serve game him the edge, and a a lovely kill at 5-4 even had Golan applauding. But play heated up from there. Golan opened the second game with a couple of kills to get a quick lead, and the play took on a new urgency.

Golan played more varied shots, and ran Ghosal around the court until midway through game three. At 5-6 down in the third, after a long rally that saw him in all four corners, Ghosal took the point. Ghosal stayed with his opponent until an unforced error by Golan leveled it 9-9, and from there, Ghosal seized his chance, taking the game 12-10.

But the fourth saw Golan back in control. By 7-4 down in the fourth, when, Golan made a startling between-the-legs shot for the point, the writing was on the wall. Despite overwhelming support from the crowd, Ghosal could only scrape up one more point from a stroke. a call that left half the spectators groaning, half cheering, and Golan flabbergasted. Golan's answer was yet another dangerous kill, and the game and match ended his way 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 in 68 minutes.

"He was very sharp today," Ghosal said. "I couldnít get him into uncomfortable positions for long enough to do what I wanted. Credit to Borja, he played well. I had two hard matches this week, but, you know, thatís what you train for. I just couldnít play well enough, for long enough, to beat him. Congrats to him."

"The last final I played was in 2013. I havenít won a title in two years," Golan said. "I thought the final would be very difficult. I knew Iíd have to play my best squash to beat Saurav. He has had a tougher week. And I think maybe that was the difference today. Mentally, he was a bit more tired from the days before and maybe I took advantage of that.

"I dedicate this trophy to Carlos Cornes because heís always a great support and weíre great friends, but also to my wife, Chelo, and my future daughter, Manuela."


Draws & Results

CCI International 2015
08-13 Sep, Mumbai, India, $35k
Round One
10 Sep
11 Sep
12 Sep
13 Sep
[1] Borja Golan (Esp)
 11/6, 11/3, 15/13 (47m)
[Q] Mohamed Reda (Egy)
[1] Borja Golan
 11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (41m)
[5] Adrian Waller
[1] Borja Golan

11/7, 10/8 rtd

[8] Shaun Le Roux


[1] Borja Golan


11/6, 11/4, 10/12, 11/5 (68m)


[2] Saurav Ghosal

[5] Adrian Waller (Eng)
13/11, 11/4, 7/11, 11/5 (81m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
[8] Shaun Le Roux (Rsa)
11/9, 11/7, 12/10 (41m)
Raphael Kandra (Ger)
[8] Shaun Le Roux
 7/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/1 (51m)
Karim Ali Fathi
[3] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
7/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/5 (49m)
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
[wc] Harinderpal Sandhu (Ind)
5/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/5 (45m)
[4] Mazen Hesham (Egy)
[4] Mazen Hesham
7/11, 11/9, 11/3, 4/11, 11/7 (72m)
[6] Omar Abdel Meguid
[4] Mazen Hesham

11/7, 13/11, 9/11, 9/11, 11/9 (85m)

[2] Saurav Ghosal

[Q] Ivan Yuen (Mas)
11/4, 11/6, 10/12, 11/5 (45m)
[6] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
[Q] Ben Coleman (Eng)
10/12, 13/11, 8/11, 11/6, 11/3 (60m)
[6] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)
[6] Mohamed Abouelghar
11/9, 11/13, 11/5, 11/9 (56m)
[2] Saurav Ghosal
[Q] Kush Kumar (Ind)
11/2, 15/13, 11/4 (39m)
[2] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
09-Sep, Qualifying Finals:

Ben Coleman (Eng) 3-0 Tom Ford (Eng)                   14/12, 11/3, 11/5 (42m)
Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-1 Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)    12/10, 11/8, 9/11, 11/6 (60m)
Kush Kumar (Ind) 3-1 Mazen Gamal (Egy)       7/11, 12/10, 11/6, 11/9 (69m)
Mohamed Reda (Egy) 3-1 Carlos Cornes (Esp)   7/11, 11/4, 11/8, 11/4 (43m)

08 Sep, Qualifying Round One:

Ben Coleman (Eng) 3-0 Vijay Kumar (Ind)                    11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (31m)
Tom Ford (Eng) 3-1 Karim El Hammamy (Egy)  11/5, 11/8, 11/13, 13/11 (89m)
Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-1 Vikram Malhotra (Ind)         8/11, 11/4, 13/11, 11/5 (39m)
Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) 3-0 Ravi Dixit (Ind)                   11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (37m)
Mazen Gamal (Egy) 3-1 Peter Creed (Wal)         13/11, 11/6, 3/11, 11/7 (58m)
Kush Kumar (Ind) 3-0 Shehab Essam (Egy)                11/9, 11/8, 9/4 rtd (35m)
Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-0 Robert Downer (Eng)             13/11, 11/6, 11/8 (38m)
Mohamed Reda (Egy) 3-0 Sandeep Jangra (Ind)            11/3, 11/2, 11/6 (17m)
12-Sep, Semis:
Golan into final after Le Roux retires injured

Match reports by Liesl Goecker; Photos by Nitesh Square

A packed CCI crowd welcomed Borja Golan and Shaun Le Roux for the first semifinal. A large number of juniors swarmed the first few rows of seating, and the energy was palpable.

The nimble Golan and the razor sharp Le Roux traded early blows before Golan's greater consistency began to pay dividends. The court coverage was a masterclass for the juniors as Golan asserted his supremacy to win the opener 11-7.

In the second, Le Roux opened stronger racking up a 5-3 lead. The drops were more measured, the length impeccable, and it seemed like Borja had a battle on his hands. An attritional point at 4-5 resulted in a brief debate. As always, the referee's decision stood. Le Roux followed up with a stroke and another tight point and, in a trice, he led 7-4. This is when Borja played the point of the match thus far as he pulled level at 7.

Le Roux allowed himself to be distracted as he yielded his fifth point on the trot, 9-7 to Golan. But an on-court collision at 8-9 left Shaun was wincing. It looked like a hamstring, as an injury timeout was called.

The Physio attended to Le Roux as the packed house jostled for position. The crowd had begun to debate what the decision would be -- was it a let or 10-8 to Borja?

The Physio confirmed a pulled muscle -- a pity because it was turning out to be a cracker -- and Golan took the match 11-7, 10-8 rtd.

Ghosal wins electric face-off with Hesham

Two of the fastest movers on the tour stepped on court today to earn the spot in the final against Golan.

Saurav Ghosal had a boisterous crowd behind him as he took on the Egyptian magician. The two traded points to start, seeking the openings cautiously, before a brace of delightful points took Ghosal to 7-5. The racket skills on display were special as Mazen Hesham played a beauty to level the game.

No standing room in the house with the crowd gasping in marvel at some of the precision and pick-ups and cheering loudly as the first game went to Ghosal 11-7.

The second game saw nagging length and measured drops as both players used incredible variations on pace and height. Two superb finishes followed by an unforced error and Hesham led 3-0. The pace was incredible as Hesham looked a bit more assured at 5-2. But a nick on the return of serve gave Hesham 6-3, and another unforced error from Ghosal made it 7-4. They traded errors for 8-5 before Ghosal pulled out a beauty to narrow the gap 6-8. But two fabulous volley drops that Ghosal couldnít answer meant Hesham had four game balls.

Then a string of unforced errors from Hesham let Ghosal get his foot in the door. A 'not up' call and the game went to extra points. The players traded two classy shots for 11-11. But another unforced error from Hesham, his fifth of the game, and still another, and the Indian took it from under Heshamís nose 13-11, leading 2-0.

Ghosal stayed composed as Hesham alternated between the brilliant and the inconsistent in the third. The two stayed even until 6-7 Heshamís lead, when it got a bit untidy. Hesham played two steady points 9-6. Then it was dťjŗ vu as Hesham hit self-destruct, giving three easy points to allow Ghosal to level it at 9-9. A superb two-wall boast, and Hesham pulled one back 11-9.

Three games and it was already 53 minutes on the clock.

There was more urgency from both players at the start of the fourth. A stroke to Ghosal made it 3-3, then Hesham raised the level a bit for 6-3. The crowd was on edge, and at 7-6 to Hesham, some started visualising a decider. At 7-7, the crowd got louder. But it didnít shake Hesham. Two gems in a row from the Egyptian made it 9-7, before he started to appear cramping. Still, he closed it out 11-9.

The energy was special, electric, akin to a bullfight. Hesham pulled ahead 2-0 in the fifth, before Ghosal played a beautiful drop and forced an error to level at 2-2, heralding a nail-biter. The shots became outlandish; the players appeared to have saved the best for last. 4-5 Ghosal as he sent a searching length deep into the back hand corner. Then, 5-5 with another Hesham error.

An unreal rolling nick made it 7-6 Hesham, before he gifted one back. Clearly no cramping anymore, as Hesham moved well. A brutal rally ended in a no let for Hesham, and it became 8-7 Ghosal. They sent each other in different directions before Ghosal drew the error at 9-8. Then, match ball, Ghosal. The referee called for quiet.

There it was. Ghosal won the slugfest 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9 in 89 minutes.
Draws & Results


  Match reports by Liesl Goecker; Photos by Nitesh Square

Ghosal keeps Indian hopes alive

Mohamed Abouelghar might be an adept at misdirection, but in the end, that's what lost him the match against Saurav Ghosal in today's quarterfinal.

Just as often as Abouelghar showed flashes of brilliance, he made an error, and Ghosal's more straightforward play carried the day. Ghosal stayed on top of some tricky pick-ups throughout, forcing some overeager errors from Abouelghar.

But while Ghosal wore his opponent down, he didn't seem fully in control of play until the very end of the match, when a couple of lovely shots of his own gave him the points he needed to win 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9 in 55 minutes.

"It was just a barrage," Ghosal said. "There was some ridiculous shot-making by him. I was just telling myself I have to stick in and make it hard for him and hope he can't keep up making the shots he wanted. I had to dig pretty hard to get him frustrated. There was no rhythm whatsoever. I tried to make it as hard as I could."

Hesham triumphs against Meguid in gritty match

Mazen Hesham took a tough match against Omar Abdel Meguid that could have gone either way at several points in the play.

"I felt like I got everything from within," Hesham said. "I really tried in the fifth game. I was panicking a bit because of the injury earlier in the match.

"But I was really lucky to win this match. This is my first tournament as a top 20 player, so I need to earn my place. I tried my best and am happy with my fighting spirit. I played with all my heart. That's what it takes to win against someone like that."

Golan one match closer to final

Adrian Waller, last week's NSCI Open top-seed and champ, saw the world turn full circle today as he lost to top-seed Borja Golan in a quick 3-0.

Golan, who has lost to Waller the last two times the players faced off, clearly came in with a plan to keep Waller off the T, and it worked in the first two games. By the third, Waller seemed stymied and an unusual string of unforced errors helped send the game and match to Golan.

"The match today was really important," Golan said. "I tried to find a good length and tried to take him off the middle of the court. He was tough to beat. I tried to move him all the time."

Le Roux takes testy match against Fathi

Shaun Le Roux enters tomorrow's semifinal off a testy match against Karim Ali Fathi in which the referee repeatedly admonished the players not to address each other.

Much of the first two games was fought in the front court corners. Fathi's short game was tighter in the first; Le Roux's trumped in the second. The third game saw the play lengthen and the players grow more frustrated.

Le Roux did a better job of channeling it into his play, and - after a conduct warning for comments to Fathi - took the third and fourth games, helped by some key unforced errors by Fathi at the end.

Draws & Results

10-Sep, Round One:
Fathi joins seven seeds in the Quarters

It was generally a good day for the seeds in Mumbai as seven of the matches went the way of the higher-ranked players, the exception being Karim Ali Fathi's win overthird seeded Swiss Nicolas Mueller.

Fathi was one of four Egyptian winners, with home hopes resting with second seed Saurav Ghosal, who beat fellow-Indian qualifier Kush Kumar in straight games.

Match reports from Liesl Goecker
Mangaonkar misses revenge on Waller

Revenge had to be on the mind of Mahesh Mangaonkar going into today's Main Draw match against Adrian Waller), who beat him in last week's final of the NSCI Open. But it wasn't Mangaonkar's day.

Waller won 3-1 again on Mangaonkar's turf to enter tomorrow's quarterfinal. Waller played a very tight game that kept Mangaonkar out of the middle from the start. Mangaonkar held is own, and enjoyed a brief lead at the end of the first game, but gave up two game balls at 10-8 and perhaps his best chance as Waller won it 13-11.

Waller continued to dominate in the second, while Mangaonkar worked for openings. But a loose short game on Mangaonkar's part sent the game to Waller again. The third game saw a reversal, though, as Mangaonkar shot ahead 5-0, then 9-1 thanks to some careless shots by Waller. Waller managed to steal five game points from Mangaonkar, closing the game to 10-7 before Mangaonkar managed to it home.

Waller was back on top for the fourth game, though, frustrating Mangaonkar at every turn to carry the match 13-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 in 82 minutes.

"It was almost exactly the same as Sunday," Waller said. "It was a tough first game, very important for me. I saved two game balls and that gave me momentum to go on and win the second game too. Mahesh came out absolutely firing in the third. I managed to come back and get momentum. And even though I lost it, I carried the momentum into the fourth and managed to close it out. I'm happy to win again."

"It's a terrible feeling to lose in the same way two times in two weeks," Mangaonkar said. "I don't know if I played better (than in the NSCI Open final) but I definitely got more points off him. As the match progressed, my accuracy became lower and lower; that's where he got me. I was always on the defending end. I need to work on being calm and composed on court, but also tactically smart."

Top-seed Golan shoots into quarterfinal

Tournament top-seed Borja Golan had the edge in today's match against qualifier Mohamed Reda.

Golan sailed through the first two games, barely leaving the T for his returns. But at 3-8 down in the third, Reda seemed to realize it was now or never. He sent Golan on a bit of a scramble at 4-8 before getting in the way of a return and replaying the point.

His short game tightened and he mixed up his shots, and, benefiting from some errors by Golan, went on a run to take the lead 10-8. But Reda gave up two game points and the match descended into a nail-biter.

An unforced error by Golan tied up the game 11-11, before Reda tied it again 12-12 with a lovely drop. An overeager return by Reda on the next point gave Golan the lead, balanced by a stroke to Reda at the end of the next rally.

The game and match ultimately ended with a whimper, not a bang, with an unforced error from Reda that sent it Golan's way 11-6, 11-3, 15-13 in 47 minutes.

India's hopes on Ghosal for tournament win

Matches between countrymen can be more mental than physical, but today it was both between Saurav Ghosal  and Kush Kumar.

Ghosal dominated at the start, closing out a quick first game from the middle, 11-2. But Kumar came back with a plan in the second, mixing up shots to send Ghosal scrambling. Kumar settled into a better accuracy that forced several key errors from Ghosal, who otherwise played a tight game throughout. But the extra time spent chasing extra points in the second cost Kumar in the third. Kumar seemed to tire, and many of Ghosal's shots came from his opponent's unforced errors, sending the match his way 11-2, 15-3, 11-4 in 39 minutes.

"I'm happy to have won," Ghosal said. "I played Kush two months back in Nationals and it was a really hard 3-1 win. I think I played better today. It's good to start the tournament with a 3-0 win. The second game was tight. Full credit to Kush, he fought really well and had some good counterattacks. All in all a good day's work."

Sandhu loses to Egypt's Hesham

Harinderpal Singh Sandhu came out swinging at the start of his match against Mazen Hesham. The wildcard had an almost-perfect game plan against the fourth-seed, staying even with Hesham till 6-5 before running away with the game. Hesham answered by pushing up the pace in the second game, and between his own nice touches and some errors on Sandhu's part, leveled the match.

The third game proved crucial, and at 7-3 Sandhu's lead, the crowd settled in for one of Sandhu's typical five-game matches. But Hesham managed to turn the tables mid-game, going on a run and taking the game 11-8. In the fourth game, Hesham's tight short game kept the pressure up on Sandhu.

But while the game and match ultimately went to Hesham 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 in 45 minutes, what will keep people talking tomorrow was a blindingly fast, behind-the-back reaction return by Sandhu at 6-4 that drew gasps and applause from the crowd mid-rally.

"I think I had the upper hand till the third game," Sandhu said. "The first game is crucial. I was up 6-2 in the third, then I lost my consistency there. Mazen drew level and he got the confidence. He went for all the attacking shots and got everything."

09-Sep, Qualifying Finals:
Kush makes it four for India

Ben Coleman, Ivan Yuen, Mohamed Reda and  Kush Kumar qualify for the main draw in Mumbai, which now features five Egyptians and four Indians ...

Both Kush Kumar and Mazen Gamal had much to prove in today's match, with both players' first 35k tournament on the line.

But Kumar perhaps wanted it a bit more, after a first round loss in last week's NSCI Open, compared to Gamal's run into that tournament's semifinal.

Gamal seemed to take Kumar by surprise with a high-pressure attacking game in the first game, which went his way 11-7. But Kumar returned to basics in the second before mixing up his front court shots.

The third saw some errors from Gamal and some well-timed flicking from Kumar, and he took the lead 12-10, 11-6. Kumar started strong in the fourth, racking up a 6-1 lead and sending Gamal all over the court.

But Gamal tightened his game and had his chance when he took the lead at 9-8. But a lovely drop from Kumar tied it up and two unforced errors from Gamal gave the match away to Kumar 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 in 69 minutes. Kumar joins Indians Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, Mahesh Mangaonkar, and Saurav Ghosal in tomorrow's Main Draw.

"This is my first 35k, the highest tournament in my career," Kumar said. "I'm really happy to qualify. I'm really excited to play tomorow."

No surprises for Ben Coleman, today, in his second qualifying match against Tom Ford. The top-seed commanded the 3-0 match from the start.

Ford had his chance in the first game, pushing it into extra points, but failed to close. Coleman kept up the pressure to win 14-12, 11-3, 11-5 in 42 minutes and enter tomorrow's Main Draw.

"I'm happy with how I played," Coleman said. "It as a tough first game, really tight. I managed to gain control for the rest of the match, but credit to Tom. He played well, particularly that first game. I'm looking to cause an upset tomorrow, whomever I play."

It started to look like quick work for Ivan Yuen, who was sending Jaymie Haycocks to all four corners in the first two games of their final qualifying match. Haycocks gave as good as he got, pushing the first game into extra points, but couldn't quite keep up under the pressure of Yuen's cross nick shots.

But as Yuen relaxed in the third, letting slip a string of unforced errors, Haycocks turned up the heat, taking it 11-9. The fourth saw Yuen refocus and reassert, carrying the match 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 in 60 minutes.

"I started off well in the first two games," Yuen said. "In the third game, it slowed down and Jaymie took advantage of it, put pressure on me. In the fourth, I regained my focus and went point by point. And I managed to play a few winners in the last few points and won the game."
Egyptians out in force for in Mumbai

With four players in the main draw and a further four in qualifying, Egypt has a strong presence in the $35k CCI Internationals which gets under way in Mumbai today. The previous two editions were both won by Egyptians - Mazen Hesham in 2013 and qualifier Ali Farag in 2014.

Top seed is Spain's Borja Golan, with home hopes resting on Saurav Ghosal, seeded two.
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