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Blog on the Tyne


26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $70k+$50k

Finals:

[1] Karim Darwish (Egy) 3-0 [2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
        11/9, 12/10, 11/7 (54m)

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [5] Alison Waters (Eng)
          11/9, 11/7, 11/6 (44m)

Men's Final

The men's final was a repeat of the 2011 edition, an all-Egyptian matchup between Karim Darwish and Mohamed El Shorbagy, the top two seeds ranked #6 and #5 in the world.

The elder Darwish led 7-2 in their meetings, but Shorbagy had won their last clash at the world champs in Qatar.

There was little to choose between them in each of the three games, but each time it was the more experienced Darwish who finished the game better, taking the first two games from 9-all before pulling away from the middle of the third to claim a second KL Open title.

"I had to be good today, he beat me in three the last time we met," said Darwish.

Shorbagy was gracious in defeat: "He played very well and he deserved to win. Thank you everyone for coming and I hope to be back next year."

Women's Final
 
The women's final was a meeting between two Englishwomen who had met 26 times before - although no Englishwoman had previously contested a KL Open final.

Laura Massaro led Alison Waters 14-12 but their last ten meetings had been shared with Waters winning the last, February's British Nationals final 15-13 in the fifth.

It was Massaro who started the better though, edging a close first game then leading throughout the second to go two games up.

The world number three, who had ended Nicol David's hopes of a 9th KL Open title in the semis, continued to dominate in the third and final game to claim her second WSA world series title.

"Really happy with my performance this week," said a delighted winner. "Initially I was trying to get past the quarters having only ever made it to the semi finals here before. Proud to have found my form not sure where it has come from!"
  

Andrew Cross reports on the Finals

Darwish doubles up in KL

The top two seeds in the men’s event were taking on each other in the CIMB KL Open final 2013, Karim Darwish the top seed taking on his younger compatriot Mohammed El Shorbagy who was seeded second.

Shorbagy has just moved in front of Karim in the rankings and currently Shorbagy stands at 5th and Karim 6th in the PSA World rankings. Karim leads their head to head 7-2 but Shorbagy won the last time they played winning in three games in the World Open last December.

The opening exchanges are tight, lengthy rallies followed by a couple of shorter rallies. At 6.6 Shorbagy completely misses a return of serve to give Karim a one point lead.

A couple of lets follow but in the next rally Karim punishes Shorbagy with a low cross court backhand. Shorbagy responds with a forehand drop of his own and is awarded a stroke in the next rally to level at 8.8. Karim regains his lead but misses a forehand volley which he was slightly reaching for tied again at 9.9.

It is Karim who gets to game ball first after Shorbagy misses a backhand drop and on game ball again he clips the top of the tin with a backhand drop.

In the second it begins the same as the first but this time there is a few more unforced errors from Shorbagy but he was also hitting a few winners. Karim leads 7.6 but then Shorbagy is awarded two no let’s so Karim now leads 9.6. Karim though hits the tin with a backhand drop, Shorbagy thunders in a big winner back to 8.9.

A huge rally at 8.9 both players realising the importance of it, Karim plays a beautiful trickle boast Shorbagy dives for it gets it on the wall as Karim misses the volley with Shorbagy struggling to get to his feet.

Another big rally at 9.9 Shorbagy blocking out Karim for a low straight drive winner now its game ball Shorbagy. Karim plays a great trickle boast from the back forehand then Shorbagy puts an easy one in the tin to give game ball to Karim.

There is no fear though from Shorbagy as he aggressively goes for a return cross court nick but misses finding himself under pressure, with Karim eventually squeezing one tight drop on the backhand side.

Karim starts the third leading 3.0 but Shorbagy fights back to lead 5.4, Karim gets back to 5.5 as Shorbagy is awarded a no let. Karim gets his score moving forward again as Shorbagy clips a few more tins. Leading 9.6 he is only two points away from winning the title but Shorbagy isn’t done yet as he plays a forehand drop to stay in it.

Karim responds with a perfect backhand drive and then a forehand drop of his own to take the 2013 CIMB KL Open title.

Shorbagy: "Karim deserved to win all credit to him for putting me under more pressure. I would like to thank CIMB for their support in this event, the referees who have done a good job. Hopefully I’ll be back again."

Darwish: "I had to play extremely well last time he beat me in three, He is really tough to play. Happy that my wife and son are here it’s his first time watching obviously he has brought me a bit of luck so I will have to take him with me again."
 


Massaro takes World Series title

An all English final between two players that contested last month’s British National Final. Alison Waters and Laura Massaro played five games that day with Alison winning it in 78 minutes of play.

Today In the CIMB KL Open final the opening game was tight, never more than a couple of points between them. Alison took the first lead at 6.4 before Laura put 4 good points together to lead 8.6.

Alison though anticipating well wins the next two points to even up the game at 8.8 and another point to lead 9.8. Laura responds playing two volley drops in a row the second one being the winner. Laura gets to 10.9 game ball as Alison misses a forehand low drive. First game to Laura.

In the second game Laura got off to the better start leading 6.2 but Alison fights back to 4.6. This second game was key Laura wanting to maintain her momentum not letting Alison level the games score. Laura put together the better rallies managing to stay in front of Alison and won the game 11.7.

Alison began the third taking a 2.0 lead but Laura quickly wiped the lead out as she was hitting very good line and length especially down the backhand side. Laura leading 4.2 as the momentum looked to swing back in her favour.

From 4.2 Laura moves to 6.3 again though Alison fights back with two good volley drop shots but a trickle boast from Laura catches her out and the score is now 7.5 to Laura. Alison hits a straight volley into the nick back to 6.7 but Laura again gets back in front to 9.6 a straight forehand drive moves her to match ball, then a boast to win the title.

As Danny Massaro told me earlier no one had ever beaten Nicol David before the final and then gone on to win the title - that changed today.

Alison: "Laura played well. We always have tough battles but today she deserved to win, never really let me in."

Laura: "Really happy with my performance this week initially I was trying to get past the quarters having only ever made it to the semi finals here before. Proud to have found my form not sure where it has come from I haven’t really been playing that well so I didn’t expect to play like that."
 

2012 Event  |  2011 Event  |  2010 Event  |  2009 Event

KL Open 2013
26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $70k
Round One
27 Mar
Round Two
28 Mar
Quarters
29 Mar
Semis
30 Mar
Final
31 Mar
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/6, 11/8, 11/6 (31m)
[Q] Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
[1] Nicol David
11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (46m)
 [14] Omneya Abdel Kawy
[1] Nicol David

11/8, 11/7, 11/2 (43m)

[8] Jenny Duncalf

[1] Nicol David

 

10/12, 11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (67m)

 

[3] Laura Massaro

[3] Laura Massaro

 

 

 11/9, 11/7, 11/6 (44m)

 

 

[5] Alison Waters

[14] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
11/7, 11/8, 8/11, 10/12, 11/9 (72m)
Aisling Blake (Irl)
[8] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
11/1, 11/3, 11/5 (23m)
[Q] Kylie Lindsay (Nzl)
[8] Jenny Duncalf
11/9, 11/5, 6/11, 11/4 (48m)
[15] Dipika Pallikal
[15] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (34
[Q] Lisa Aitken (Sco)
[3] Laura Massaro (Eng)
11/7, 11/4, 19/17 (30m)
Latasha Khan (Usa)
[3] Laura Massaro
12/10, 11/7, 11/7 (35m)
Line Hansen
[3] Laura Massaro

11/2, 9/11, 11/4, 11/5 (53m)

[12] Madeline Perry

[16] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
 12/10, 11/8, 11/7 (32m)
Line Hansen (Den)
[6] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (35m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng)
[6] Low Wee Wern 12/10, 7/11, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4 (96m)
[12] Madeline Perry
[12] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/2, 11/5, 11/3 (28m)
[Q] Lucie Fialova (Cze)
Emily Whitlock (Eng)
12/10, 11/9, 11/5 (50m)
[13] Kasey Brown (Aus)
[13] Kasey Brown  11/8, 9/11, 11/8, 11/5 (50m)
[5] Alison Waters
[5] Alison Waters

9/11, 12/10, 11/6, 10/12, 11/5 (51m)

[4] Nour El Sherbini

[5] Alison Waters

 

 12/10, 11/5, 12/10 (38m)

 

[7] Joelle King

Joey Chan (Hkg)
6/11, 11/3, 8/11, 11/8, 11/7 (45m)
[5] Alison Waters (Eng)
[Q] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
11/9, 11/5, 12/10 (40m)
[10] Annie Au (Hkg)
[10] Annie Au
  12/10, 11/9, 11/?
[4] Nour El Sherbini
Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
11/4, 11/5, 7/11, 9/11, 14/12 (63m)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
[Q] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
11/4, 11/3, 11/7 (30m)
[9] Camille Serme (Fra)
[9] Camille Serme 12/10, 13/15, 11/8, 10/12, 11/8 (90m)
[7] Joelle King
[7] Joelle King

11/9, 11/4, 8/11, 8/11, 12/10 (63m)

[11] Natalie Grinham

[Q[ Joshana Chinappa (Ind)
11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (35 mins)
[7] Joelle King (Nzl)
[Q] Zulhijah Azan (Mas)
11/3, 11/3, 11/2 (19m)
[11] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
[11] Natalie Grinham
11/6, 12/14, 11/8, 11/6 (48m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily
Delia Arnold (Mas)
11/8, 11/7, 5/11, 11/1 (28m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)

26-Mar, Qualifying (one round):

Zulhijah Binti Azan (Mas) 3-2 Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg)  12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 3-11, 11-7 (45m)
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) 3-0 Celine Yeap (Mas)                               11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (25m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) 3-0 Olga Ertlova (Cze)                          11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (42m)
Lisa Aitken (Sco) 3-0 Vanessa Raj (Mas)                                 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (34m)
Siyoli Waters (Rsa) v Siti Munirah Josoh (Mas)                        11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (25m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-1 Lisa Camilleri (Aus)        3/11, 11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (50m)
Lucie Fialova (Cze) 3-0 Rachel Arnold (Mas)                           11/6, 11/7, 11/5 (26m)
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-0 Coline Aumard (Fra)                   11/4, 11/1, 11/1 (25m)

KL Open 2013
26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $50k
Round One
28 Mar
Quarters
29 Mar
Semis
30 Mar
Final
31 Mar
[1] Karim Darwish (Egy)
 11/5, 11/4, 11/5 (33m)
[Q] Ivan Yuen (Mas)
[1] Karim Darwish
12/10, 11/5, 11/6 (38m)
Olli Tuominen
[1] Karim Darwish

11/9, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)

Nicolas Mueller

[1] Karim Darwish

 

11/9, 12/10, 11/7 (54m)

 

[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy

Olli Tuominen (Fin)
12/10, 11/8, 12/10 (40m)
[Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/5, 11/6, 11/4 (35m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
Nicolas Mueller
11/13, 11/9, 7/11, 12/10, 11/9 (81m)
Ong Beng Hee
[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
  9/11, 11/6, 11/6, 9/4 rtd (59m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
11/7, 8/11, 11/7, 11/4 (66m)
[4] Borja Golan (Esp)
[4] Borja Golan
11/9, 7/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/9 (95m)
Tarek Momen
[4] Borja Golan

 11/6, 11/5, 11/6 (46m)

[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy

Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/6, 8/11, 5/11, 11/6, 11/5 (57m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 11/9, 7/11, 11/7, 11/3 (57m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
Karim Abdel Gawad
11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (45m)
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy
[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
11/5, 11/9, 11/5 (32m)
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
27-Mar, Qualifying Finals:

Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-1 Martin Knight (Nzl)                 10/12, 11/4, 11/5, 11/4 (80m)
Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-2
Elvinn Keo (Mas)             9/11, 11/4, 9/11, 11/3, 11/9 (70m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-1 Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind)  11/8,11/5,5/11,11/9 (61m)
Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0 Peter Creed (Wal)                                  11/3,11/7,11/4 (35m)


26-Mar, Qualifying Round One:

Alan Clyne (Sco)                  bye
Martin Knight (Nzl) 3-1 Addeen Idrakie (Mas)            11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5 (60m)

Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-0 SeungYong Yoo Yoo (Kor)                  
11-2,11-8, 11-8
Elvinn Keo (Mas) 3-1 Leo Au (Hkg)                 13-11, 3-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 (61m)

Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) 3-1 Sanjay Singh (Mas)                  
11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5
Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 3-0  Gurshan Singh (Mas)                  
11-6, 11-1, 11-7

Peter Creed (Wal) 3-0 Muhammad Tarmidi (Mas)                          11-6, 11-7, 11-4
Max Lee (Hkg)                     bye
Semi-Finals ... Andrew Cross reports

Malaysian Squash has invited a lot of Malaysian Olympians from previous years to attend today’s matches as we try to get as many people as possible to back the bid.

Shorbagy breezes past Borja

52Mohamed El Shorbagy began today's proceedings by taking on Borja Golan from Spain. Shorbagy has so far been pretty ruthless throughout the tournament winning all six games without dropping any games. Borja has had a slightly tougher draw winning in five brutal games yesterday.

The opening exchanges were evenly contested both trying to get used to the humid conditions watched by a packed out crowd. At 5.3 there was a huge rally neither really looking to be too attacking until Shorbagy hit a reverse boast from the back corner.

In the next rally Borja held the ball pushing it to a length but Shorbagy takes the next few points to lead 8.4. Shorbagy is now using aggressive movement to get forward onto the ball extending his lead to 5 points. Shorbagy leading now 10.5 needed two attempts to take a one game advantage.

In the second game Shorbagy established himself a 6.3 lead, Golan clipped the top of the tin with a forehand drop then Shorbagy glued a shot down the backhand wall. Golan got warned for dropping his racket rather playfully rather than with any intent. Shorbagy now led 10.5 finishing the game with a forehand drop to lead two games to love.

In the third game Shorbagy started aggressively leading 6.2 but Borja fought back to 5.6. Shorbagy pushed again to 9.5, then one big rally Borja attacking as much as possible eventually hitting a cross court nick. Shorbagy throws the racket in the air, Conduct warning for Shorbagy again though there was no malice in it. Shorbagy won the match 11.6 to move in to another final here in Malaysia.

Shorbagy said: “Really good match, Borja played well, happy to be in the final, happy to be back in Malaysia thanking CIMB for their sponsorship. Thanks to the Egyptian crowd for coming today and the Egyptian Ambassador for coming to support and watch me play. I would like to thank CIMB for their support with the Olympic bid as I’m sure every squash player would.”

Waters takes advantage

Joelle King taking on Alison Waters was next on the centre court in Berjaya Times Square.

Joelle started the better taking a 6.3 lead but Alison quickly got herself back level at 6.6. The next four points were shared so we were level at 8.8. Joelle hit a big return of serve tight down the forehand, then Alison got one tight down the backhand.

A tin from Joelle off a boast that was pretty unnecessary gave Alison game ball at 10.9, a nice little hold and cross sent Alison the wrong way so we were level at 10.10. Alison held her nerve though to take the first game a nick in the front backhand corner.

In the second Alison got off to the better start keeping a few points advantage all the way. Alison doubled her game advantage taking it 11.5.

Joelle won the opening point of the third but then lost the next three as Alison looked to keep her winning run going. Alison extended her advantage to 5.3.

Joelle though was not done yet getting back into the game at 5.5. Alison held the ball the next two chances she had catching Joelle out to lead 7.5, Joelle responds with two winners of her own to square it up at 7.7. At 7.7 Alison rushes onto the ball in the front forehand to hit a cross court winner, then a little trickle boast on the backhand followed by a cross court backhand winner for her first match ball.

Joelle wins the first one with a backhand volley drop, in the next rally crunches a forehand volley down the line, Alison puts her forehand return into the tin and we are level at 10.10. Joelle sets up a backhand volley but misses it and Alison hits a straight drive for a winner to progress to the final.

Alison said: "Pleased to be in the final, Joelle had two tough matches coming into today so I knew I had to try and make it hard for her, Very warm on the court so good to get off in three games."
 
Darwish despatches Mueller

Karim Darwish taking on Nicolas Mueller was next on the court here in Berjaya Times Square. Karim is another player to have come through the draw so far without dropping a game where as Nicolas had a brutal five game match with Ong Beng Hee yesterday.

The opening exchanges were very evenly shared up until 5.5 when Karim broke clear but Nicolas fought back to 9.10 unfortunately the gap was a bit too big as he closed out the game 11.9.

In the second game both players were firing the ball in sharp low often short trying to catch each other out with deception. Nicolas who had been seen before the match icing his foot after yesterdays match just seemed slightly off the pace and not comfortable with the movement. The second was 11.5.

In the third game Karim raced off to 7.1 a long rally followed as Nicolas tried to work his way back into it but Karim won it to lead 8.1. Nicolas was not done just yet though fighting back to win the next three rallies, once catching Karim in the body then with a low forehand drive and a backhand winner. Two tins though moved Karim to 10.4 match ball as he finished it off with a forehand straight volley drop into the nick.

Karim said: "So far so good, I always love coming to KL, very happy that my wife and son have also followed me to this event. Its a dream for any athlete to be in the Olympics and for squash to be included in the games would be brilliant.

"Thank you to the Egyptian fans and Ambassadors that have come to watch. Tomorrow playing Shorbagy will be tough we played the final here three years ago so tomorrow will be good.”

Massaro denies David

62Dato Nicol David was the final match of the evening taking on Laura Massaro, an expectant home crowd had arrived wanting to see a glimpse of the nation’s national pride. First game was close neck and neck all the way again to 9.9 until Laura lobbed one out at the side, Laura squared it up at 10.10 but Nicol held on to win the game 12.10.

In the second Laura came out firing leading 3.0 then converting this to 5.1. At this point Laura caught the top of the tin with a forehand drop, then a stroke extended her lead to 6.3. Laura then converts this to 8.4 lead but Nicol fights back with a forehand volley drop that hit the nick.

Laura was playing with great touch holding the ball to great effect at 9.6 she punished a loose return with a backhand volley drop then Nicol clipped the tin to level the scores at one game all.

Nicol started the third game leading 4.1, at this stage a no let was awarded to Nicol then there was a few words exchanged between the ladies. Laura was then back to 3.4 then progressed to lead by a couple of points. Laura progressed to win the game 11.8 using lots of variation from the front of the court.

Laura now leading, the crowd can’t quite believe what is happening but Laura is playing well, really well exploring all parts of the court. With a big lead in the in the fifth Laura has a five point advantage leading 10.5 but Laura only needs one as she progresses to tomorrow’s final.

Laura said: "Played well today, I believed in myself, its always hard to beat Nicol in Malaysia, I have been wanting to do better than my previous events.
 

Quarter-Finals ... Andrew Cross reports

Nicol David 3-0 Jenny Duncalf               11/8, 11/7, 11/2 (43m)
Laura Massaro 3-1 Madeline Perry   11/2, 9/11, 11/4, 11/5 (53m)
Alison Waters 3-2 Nour El Sherbini   9/11,12/10,11/6,10/12,11/5
Joelle King
3-2 Natalie Grinham 11/9,11/4,8/11,8/11,12/10 (63m)

Karim Darwish 3-0 Olli Tuominen        12/10, 11/5, 11/6 (38m)
Nicolas Mueller 3-2 Ong Beng Hee 11/13, 11/9, 7/11, 12/10, 11/9
Borja Golan 3-2 Tarek Momen    11/9,7/11,9/11,11/9,11/9 (95m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy 3-0 Karim Abdel Gawad   11/7,11/6,11/9

Ladies : Nicol completes the semi-final lineups

44Final match of the evening saw Dato Nicol David taking on Jenny Duncalf from England.

The opening exchanges were close with Jenny leading in the opening part of the game and in the middle stages 7.4. Nicol is so good when she is behind and leveled the scores at 8.8, Jenny was playing very well yesterday and continued that into today's match using great variations from the front of the court sometimes holding then driving straight then holding and crossing the ball. Nicol took the opening game 11.8.

The second was very similar to the first with it being tight before Nicol put a small run of three points together to get ahead. In the third game Nicol moved off to a 5.2 lead a couple more points and Nicol moved to 8.2 a beautiful little trickle boast moved her to 9.2 then a good straight tight drive down the backhand side gave the match to Nicol.

Very entertaining match to finish the evening which was witnessed by Pandelela Rinong who won a bronze medal in last year's Olympics games diving competition.

Massaro masters Perry

31Laura Massaro the current word number three and runner up in the World Open last year was taking, on Madeline Perry the current world number 11 were on court next.

Laura ran through the opening game winning it 11.2 but then in the second she dropped the first game of the tournament so far. Madeline now fighting for every point led the second 7.4 having trailed 3.1. They were level at 9.9 but Madeline took the last two points. The second game was close but Madelline just took it 11.9.

In the third game it was tight yet again Laura got off to better start leading 6.1 and then converted this game to 11.4.
 
In the fourth game they were point for point all the way until 5.5 when Laura put a string of points together to win six rallies in a row. Laura moves on to the semi finals after only making the quarters last year.

Waters slips past Sherbini

Alison Waters taking on Nour El Sherbini promised to be an interesting match up between the 4th and 5th ranked players in the world.

Sherbini was looking to progress to the semi finals as she had done last year but Alison played exceptionally well today.

What the audience in Berjaya Times Square witnessed was some very entertaining squash both players attacking at every opportunity.

Sherbini took the opening game 11-9, 10 minutes of very short sharp movements. Alison hit back to take the second game 12.10 in 11 minutes.

In the third game Alison got off to the better start holding a four point advantage eventually turning that into a two game to one lead. In the fourth game it was Alison reached match ball first at 109 but Sherbini was diving and skidding around the court to try and stay in the match.

Sherbini survived and forced a fifth game but a bad start and with winners flowing from Alison's racket, Sherbini was down 7.2. Alison quickly turned this into 10.5 match ball and she just needed the one to move to the semi finals.

This game was full of attacking squash with both players being really aggressive on the ball at every opportunity.

King survives Grinham fightback

9Joelle King who survived a marathon win yesterday was taking on Natalie Grinham who scored a huge win yesterday over Raneem El Weilely. The opening exchanges were tight but from 5.5 in the middle of the first Joelle took charge moving to 10.5. Natalie began to get back into it but at 8.10 Joelle was forced off with a blood injury. It looked as though she caught her hand on the rough floor forcing the finger to bleed. A few minutes passed before Joelle resumed to the court, Natalie took the next point to make it interesting at 9.10 but a crunching forehand from Joelle gave her the opening game.

In the second game Joelle was having a lot of success down the forehand side and Natalie down the backhand side. Joelle was winning slightly more points to take a 6.3 advantage. A tight backhand drop from Joelle and a tin from Natalie moved Joelle to 8.3. Joelle hit the next one out but a stroke down the middle and a good length, followed by a tin from Natalie gave her the second 11.4.

Natalie was quickly onto the court before the third began with it seeming to work as she moved in front marginally at 6.5. As she did yesterday she was moving the ball shorter a lot more moving Joelle all the way into the front two corners. Joelle conceding a few points in the front backhand as Natalie moved to 9.6. Joelle won the next two points to remain in it at 8.9. A long rally followed with Joelle forcing the boast but clipping the tin on a forehand drop and then hitting the tin with a boast on the backhand from halfway in the following rally. Game to Natalie as it gets interesting now.

The fourth started off even with players trading points to 4.4. A long rally followed with Joelle clipping the top of the tin on a low forehand drive then Natalie playing a beautiful backhand cross court drop to take a two point advantage. Joelle came back though to take the next two points and level at 6.6. It looked a stroke to move Natalie back in front but the referees decided only a let as the next four points were shared and we are level at 8.8. Natalie is gutsy though playing some superb backhand drops to win the next three rallies cancelling out Joelle's two game advantage.

Joelle started the fifth better leading 5.2 but all the rallies were evenly contested she then converted this to 8.3. Natalie though is never going to give up continuing to fight for every point she can get, the next two points were shared so the score is now 9.4. Natalie played a boast into the front corner which Joelle only just got slipping in a full lunge. Natalie played a beautiful cross court from the backhand to forehand then tried in it the next rally but tinned it.

Joelle now led 10.5 but two strokes down the middle and a beautiful backhand drop had Natalie at 8.10 one more stroke made it 9.10 and a tin made it 10.10. Since going 10.5 up Joelle had become more defensive. At 10.10 she resumed the aggression getting her reward, at 11.10 Natalie put a return into the bottom of the tin. Joelle survives but only just.

Joell said "very happy to be winning, moving onto the semi final, having lost eight five game matches last year this year I've won two five setters here! "
 

Men's Quarter-Finals    Andrew Cross reports

Shorbagy first through

Mohamed El Shorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad were the first two players to take centre stage in Berjaya TImes square. Shorbagy got off to the better start leading 6.2 standing so far up the court looking to take things as early as possible. Gawad fought back though to 5.6 but Shorbagy reasserted his authority onto the game to reach 10.6 hitting a good cross court length from backhand to forehand to win the game 11.7.

Gawad began the second game much sharper looking to move up the court matching Shorbagy's intensity and it worked as he led 5.1 forcing a few errors from his more established opponent. Shorbagy though decided he was going to take the pace to another level wing the next seven points in a row before Gawad got back on the board with a stroke. It was not enough though as Shorbagy reeled off the next few points to win 11.6.

After the second game Shorbagy requested a new ball obviously not wanting to let the pace drop and he was not messing around racing to 4.0. Gawad though who came back from behind yesterday in couple of games fought back to 5.6.

He left Shorbagy at the front of the court though and was punished with two low cross courts. A volley kill of his own and a trickle boast kept him in it at 7.8 but Shorbagy advanced to 10.7 a couple of points for Gawad back to 9.10 but he hit the tin as Shorbagy moves to the semis.

Mueller dashes home hopes

Ong Beng Hee and Nicolas Mueller were next onto the court with the crowd growing bigger and bigger to see a Malaysian player in action.

Mueller began better taking the score from 3.3 to 7.3 but Beng Hee fought back to level at 8.8, from then on it was neck and neck Mueller holding game balls but clipping the tin. Soon we were into the tie break with the Malaysian winning the opening game much to the delight of the home crowd.

Nicolas began the second with more intent two early strokes followed by a winning drop shot meant he led 3.0, Beng Hee responded with a tight backhand drop of his own. A long rally followed with Nicolas doing most of the scrambling, eventually Beng Hee managed to manoeuvre him out of position but Nicolas hit three winners in a row to take a 6.2 lead.

Beng Hee managed to pull back to within one point, Nicolas then required a blood time out to stop bleeding on his knee. After a couple of minutes were were back into it Nicolas took the first two points to lead 8.5, Beng Hee fighting back to win the next two points, now its 7.8. Nicolas got to game ball at 10.7 however with Beng hee playing well he was back to 9.10. A long rally followed with Beng Hee having his ball called down, game to Nicolas.

Beng Hee raced off at the start of the second to 5.2 which then turned into 7.4. Beng Hee hen moved ahead to 10.5 game ball. A drop just missed the top of then tin, Nicolas then got one winner but it wasn't enough as Beng Hee won the game on a stroke 11.7.

Beng Hee started the fourth game so well leading 5.1 hardly missing anything at all for the previous games then came three errors and it was back to 4.5. A good low drop that came at him quickly stopped the tie of points that had been going against him. Beng Hee was dominating the rallies though, Nicolas seemingly happy just still to be in there.

Nicolas had turned it around though leading 7.6, at 8.8 Beng Hee snatched a forehand followed by Nicolas clipping the top of the tin on a backhand drop. another tin from Beng Hee gave Nicolas a chance a small chance it proved to be as Beng Hee forced the error. Nicholas got a gift and then finished it off with a stroke. We were in for another fifth game.
 
The fifth started point for point to 4.4, Beng Hee hitting a short cross court followed by the fist pump, Nicolas setting up the rally to hit a straight winner followed by a cry of come on. Beng Hee misses the next one down the wall and it happens again to give Nicolas a crucial two point lead. Beng Hee squeezed in a tight backhand drop, a big rally where you could see the legs beginning to slow just as you would expect at this stage of the game.

The score is now 7.8 Beng Hee serving a home crowd holding their breath eagerly anticipating the next few rallies. Nicolas got to match ball first but wasted the first one, the second one though he finished with a backhand drop as Beng Hee was awarded no let. What we saw here was two men that have a huge amount of respect for each other, very honest, no arguing with the referee great for the sport.

Nicolas said "I felt nervous, Beng Hee played really well intercepting a lot of my cross courts but I kept on playing them hoping they would go past but they didn't. Little bit less pressure on me today as he was playing in front of his home crowd. Huge match for both of us but very happy to be moving on to the semi finals."

Darwish despatches Olli

39After the long brutal matches that we had so far today this match started two hours after its initial scheduled time. Karim Darwish, top seed in the event was playing Olli Tuominen from Finland in the final men's quarter final of the day.

Darwish started well leading 5.3 but Olli Turned it around into an 8.5 lead. Karim next registered a point with a sweetly struck low kill and was awarded a stroke in the next rally. Olli got another point leading now 9.7 but he missed an easy drop after working his way back into the rally on the forehand and then missed one on the backhand. Olli hits a good little boast to get to 10.9 but a beautiful hold and flick from Karim levels the scores as we move to the tie break. A backhand tin from Olli although it was tough to get gives Karim his first game ball, that's all he requires after a long rally he plays a perfect forehand drop.

The second game was tight up until 5.5 when Karim just seemed to up the pace a little bit as he put together six rallies in a row to double his game advantage.

Olli began the third with real intent moving onto Karim's shots well but Karim did the same to him in the next two rallies. Olli boasted one in to the nick to take a 3.2 advantage then played a tight backhand drop to extend his advantage to two points.

Karim bounced back to take the next three points, things just starting to get a bit interesting with the movement lots of little nudges and niggles on the way in and out of shots. Level now at 6.6 and then 7.7 then Karim put the next point together before Olli slipped in the front corner reaching for a boast. Karim then won the next point to move onto the semi finals.

Golan grabs semi-final spot

This promised to be a very tight match between the 10th and 11th ranked players in the world currently. Borja Golan led in the opening part of the game by a couple of points but Tarek Momen was fighting back trying to use his pace to move forward onto the ball as he fought back from 10.7 to 9.10. Borja the higher ranked player just held on to take the opening game 11.9.

The second started neck and neck with Tarek not wanting to give Borja a lead like he had in the first. It was level to 5.5 Tarek trying not to give any angles at the front of the court playing straight drops at every possible opportunity. Borja knowing that Tarek was looking for the cross off the straight drop was hitting extra width to get it past him. 5.5 soon became 7.7 before Tarek took the next two points to lead 9.7. Tarek was now using more variation from the front of the court flicking the ball around. Borja missed a backhand tin to give Tarek the second game.

Tarek started the third game much better leading 4.1 a couple of tins from Borja with some Tarek winners had moved Tarek to this score. A good forehand drop from Borja got him a point back but Borja lost the next rally when he lost a backhand drop exchange. Tarek now led 7.2 but Borja hit a good forehand winner and Tarek hit the floor with a drop. Very quickly it became 6.8 maybe a slight momentum change in Borja favor here as Tarek hit another tin as Borja is back within a point and then level. Tarek though got his backhand drop tight this time to get his nose back in front however Borja replied with one of his own. Now we are level at 9.9 a very good short forehand drop from Tarek got him to game ball first, all he needed was one chance as he place a backhand drop into a half nick which Borja almost got but not quite.

The fourth was a tense affair the same situation occurring no one really wanting to allow the other a lead. There were some huge rallies at the end of the game with both players twisting and turning each other. 9.8 saw a few lets happening in the front corners but both are so quick and fast that they are bound to get in each others way. At 10.9 Tarek seemed to lose the ball in the lights tinning a volley to level the match.

In the fifth Borja came out better leading 4.0 but Tarek managed to get back within a point at 3.4 in the next rally he was awarded a stroke to level the score at 4.4. at 5.5 Tarek put a simple forehand volley into the tin a couple more lets followed before Tarek needed a three minute injury break to have the medical team look at his ankle. Borja quickly moved to 9.5 with Tarek not really looking comfortable with a forward movement. Two tins from Borja trying to play too short too fast and then a great cross court flick from Tarek had him back at 8.9, one more tin made it 9.9.

In the middle of the rally at 9.9 Tarek's shoe came off, a few words with the referees about what actually happened a let was awarded. A huge rally followed before Borja finished it off and then Tarek hit a pretty unnecessary boast into the tin.

Borja said "with me and Tarek being ranked 10 and 11 in the word obviously it is always going to be a huge battle. He is so quick, probably the fastest guy on the tour, on the glass court you need to be so careful against him. Very happy to have made the semi final and with the points."

Round One ... Andrew Cross reports

Natalie ousts Raneem,
Bengy beats defending champ
Andrew Cross reports


The top sixteen players in both the men’s and women’s event were in action today at the National Centre, Bukit Jalil. Looking at the initial draw beforehand it seemed like each match would be evenly contested and so it proved to be.

First on in the women’s was Raneem El Weleily playing Natalie Grinham. The current world number two against a former world number two. Raneem played Natalie three times last year winning on all three occasions, most recently in the World Open. Natalie was playing some great squash today though pushing the current world number two all the way. Natalie took the opening game then consistently led by four points in the second at one stage leading 9.4.

Raneem started to play much safer moving Natalie around the court but Natalie was picking everything up. Natalie held game ball at 10.9 a huge rally with Raneem dominating the whole rally moving Natalie all over the court. So we were level at 10.10 then Natalie going for everything short as much as she could. Raneem hit a couple more tins but she just managed to sneak the game. Natalie though kept on pushing hard in the third winning the crucial third. In the fourth she took a five point advantage leading 10.5 before finishing the match with a stroke.

Joelle King and Camille Serme were also playing at the same time, both players having progressed so impressively yesterday. Joelle and Camille are the current world number 7 and 9, so it was expected to be a very tight match and that is just how it turned out. Both girls went for this match point for point for a full 90 minutes with their never really being many points between them. Joelle it was though who survived progressing to the glass court tomorrow.

If there were a few long women’s games Nour El Sherbini taking on Annie Au was anything but with both of them looking to fire in the ball short at every opportunity. Annie was leading the opening game 10.8 but Sherbini soon turned that around. This was a repeat of the semi final from last year but not the same the winner. Sherbini will take on Alison Waters tomorrow after she defeated Kasey Brown. Alison needed 50 minutes to see of Kasey in four evenly contested games.

Madeline Perry survived the longest match of the tournament so far when she defeated higher ranked Malaysian Low Wee Wern in 94 minutes. Madeline took a tense opening game on the tie break however she lost the next two games. Lots of lets and frustrations beginning to creep in during the fourth game but Madeline held on to win 11.8. In the fifth Wee Wern beginning to cramp looking more and more in distress as the match progressed eventually lost 11.4. Madeline now faces Laura Massaro after she defeated Line Hansen in three games.

Jenny Duncalf taking on Dipika Pallikal was a real advert for the women’s game as both of them worked the ball around the court really well using all four corners to the full effect. Both players were hitting some great line, length using deception to try and catch each other out of position. It was Jenny though who got the better of her younger opponent.

Dato Nicol David needed 46 minutes to advance to the quarter finals after defeating Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy. The opening game was tight Nicol holding game ball at 10.8 however she missed a forehand volley drop but just managed to hold on to the game. In the second Nicol was leading 9.7 when Omneya dominated the rally from start to finish hitting some great shots that would have been winners against anyone else but Nicol showed all of her retrieval skills during this rally to move her to game point. Nicol closed out the game as one of Omneya’s shots hit the top of the glass. Nicol then won the third but I’m sure she will be expecting a tough match from Jenny tomorrow.

Bengy beats defending champ Mosaad

Ong Beng Hee pulled off the biggest upset of the men’s draw when he defeated last year’s champion Omar Mosaad in four games. Beng Hee and Mosaad were trading points in the opening part of the first game playing tight down the backhand side Beng Hee using height, Mosaad playing slighter flatter as soon as Beng Hee left one slightly off the wall Mosaad played a backhand straight drop never really allowing Beng Hee direct access to the ball.

Beng Hee managed to play with more variation in the next three games though using his holds to good effect and getting forward onto the volley. At 9.4 in the fourth game Mosaad shook the hand of Beng Hee so the Malaysian moves on.

Mohamed El Shorbagy the World Open runner up was taking on qualifier Alan Clyne in his opening match. Shorbagy at a career high of number five in the world got off to a strong start needing only 32 minutes to see of Alan Clyne. At 9-10 Alan serving from the left box he served into the wall very short leaving himself to be attacked with Shorbagy punishing him down the line followed by a block. A no let was awarded with a few words exchanged in the interval. Shorbagy was in no mood for messing around in the third though quickly closing it out 11.5.

Next up for Shorbagy will be Karim Abdel Gawad after he saw off hard hitting Australian Cameron Pilley. Pilley looking strong in the opening two games leading 6.2 in both however he could only convert the second. Gawad went on to win the next two games to advance to the quarters.

In the battle of two of the fastest players on the tour between Tarek Momen and Saurav Ghosal it was Momen that started the better to take the opening game. Momen catching Saurav in the face mid way through the first game which forced a slight medical time out. Tarek again started well in the second leading 5.2 but Saurav won the next five points to advance to 7.5 eventually winning 11.8.

The third was close all the way to 5.5 but then again Saurav put a little passage of play together to win the next six points. Tarek was now looking very animated between games but got it back in the fourth game winning it 11.6. In the fifth he was holding the ball so well in the front forehand racing out to a 7.2 lead and booking his place in the quarters with an 11.5 fifth game score.

Borja Golan needed all of his experience to see off a strong challenge from Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan. Borja just had the edge in the opening game but in the second they were neck and neck to 8.8. At this point there was an exchange of backhand drops in the front corner there must have been eight or ten drops before Borja eventually hit the tin. Borja had enough though to win the next two games to take on Tarek tomorrow.

Nicolas Mueller who probably almost considers himself a local here was playing a genuine local in Asyraf Azan. Nicolas who has been here for the last few weeks training played a very fast aggressive game to keep Asyraf guessing where the ball was going. Nicolas advances in three games to set up a rematch from last year with Beng Hee.

Karim Darwish who is probably the king of getting rid of qualifiers in the opening rounds managed to dispose of Ivan Yuen. Ivan was doing all he could to try and stay with the former World Number one but Darwish is immense in the opening rounds.

Olli Tuominen and Max Lee played out a great match of tactical awareness as both players moved each other around the court to maximum of their limits. Max was leading the first game 8.5 but Olli fought back to level at 8.8, Max got himself back in front at 9.8 but Olli just had enough to win it 12.10.

In the second game Olli started better leading 8.3 but with both of them moving each other around so much there was bound to be a slight momentum change at some stage and it came after one big rally which Max won. He managed to build on this to get back to 7.8 but Olli got his second win and won 11.8. Max began the third with real intent getting to 6.1 but Olli kept on running as each of them tested the other to the maximum efforts. Olli just had enough though to win the game 12.10.
 

FROGS' TALK



"Je savais que mon match contre Joelle allait être dur, et je ne
m'était pas trompée! Quelle bataille! Quel match!

J'ai un peu de mal à prendre du recul tout de suite, je suis quand même sur le coup de la déception...

Je ne suis pas passée loin, ça aurait très bien pu être moi la
vainqueur. Et comme Joelle m'a dit à la fin de la rencontre: "dommage
qu'il faut qu'il y ai une perdante", car dans ce genre de match, les 2
joueuses méritent de gagner.

Et les 90 min de match montrent bien l'intensité qu'il y a eu et la
bataille que ça a été!

On s'aperçoit que les matchs féminins deviennent de plus en plus longs et de plus en plus physiques. Tout le monde progresse et la
confrontation sur le circuit WSA devient de plus en plus relevée!

Donc j'espère que la prochaine fois se sera moi la gagnante! Mais pas de panique: malgré la défaite, il y a du positif et de bonnes pistes de travail.

Comme on dit en anglais: "all credit to Joelle". Aujourd'hui elle a très bien joué, très bien ramené mes amorties collées de l'avant du court, et elle a tenu physiquement tout le match.

Next time, my turn!

 

27-Mar, Day TWO:
15 seeds through in KL

Andrew Cross reports

The first round of the Women’s tournament began today with 16 matches taking place at the National Centre, Bukit Jalil. Towards the later part of the evening four men’s qualifying matches were also played as four men looked to progress to the main draw.

Natalie Grinham wasted no time advancing to the last 16 when she defeated local and qualifier Zulhijjah Azan. Zulhijjah finding it difficult to cope with the variation in pace that Natalie was effectively using.

Tomorrow Natalie will face Raneem El Weleily after she needed four games to see off wildcard Delia Arnold. In the opening game Raneem always had a couple of point’s advantage managing to see off a good challenge from Delia in the opening two games. Delia came out strong in the third taking a big lead at 9.4 eventually closing out the game 11.5. If the Malaysian crowd had any hope that Delia was going to square it at two games that quickly disintegrated as Raneem eased through the gears for an 11.1 win.

Joelle King was extremely dominant in her match against Joshnna Chinappa never really allowing the ball to get past her and it was very similar next door as Camille Serme used very good variation of pace to see off Nicolette Fernandes.

If the opening games were rather short the next set of matches were much more evenly contested. Nour El Tayeb almost created a huge upset when she held five match balls to beat last year’s semi finalist Nour El Sherbini.

Sherbini only needed one match ball of her own to progress to the second round, when El Tayeb who had an ample amount of time to hit the ball anywhere clipped the top of the tin whilst trying to play a cross court drop. Sherbini who had held a two game advantage found herself pegged back to two games all by a very determined El Tayeb. In the fifth game Sherbini was hitting a lot of tins handing the advantage to El Tayeb who had a 10.7 lead.

At 10.7 El Tayeb had created a great opportunity to win the point when she had moved Sherbini all over the court however on the last shot she seemed to change her mind and hit a cross court drop which changed the outcome of the match. From this point on she seemed to lose a bit of momentum losing the next two points rather cheaply.

She held a further two match points but Sherbini was deadly on the backhand side hitting low and tight very impressively. On paper it looked a tough draw I’m sure Sherbini will be happy she survived a tough match.

Dipika Pallikal will be happy to see off a very spirited performance from Lisa Aitken. Lisa led 7.3 in the second game but Dipika Reeled off the next 8 points to take a two game advantage and from there she was in control. Lisa however is never going to give up on any point and continued to fight to the death. Jenny Duncalf used lots of holds and deception to keep Kylie Lindsay guessing where the ball was going as she progressed in three games.

Low Wee Wern was made to work very hard in the opening game against Lauren Briggs before taking the next two games more comfortably. Briggs held a few game balls in the opening game but couldn’t quite finish it off and Wee Wern capitalised on it. Wee Wern will play Madeline Perry tomorrow after she defeated qualifier Lucie Fialova.

Line Hansen was the only non seeded player to make it into the second round when she defeated Rachel Grinham. Line has been here the last few weeks winning the NSC series one title and sparring with the locals in preparation for this event. All three games were closely contested but Line progressed to take on Laura Massaro.

Massaro seemed to get through the opening two games fairly well but Latasha Khan made her work hard in the third holding a few game balls before succumbing 19.17. Laura who held a fantastic little clinic with the juniors yesterday discussing how life is on the tour, which hopefully they learned something from and can make use of. We would like to extend our appreciation to her for preparing something really special yesterday.

Alison Waters needed five games to see of Joey Chan which set up a match with Kasey Brown. Kasey had three very tough games with Emily Whitlock, Kasey recovering from 6.0 down in the second to win 11.9 and move on in three games.

Dato Nicol David delighted the home crowd with a win over Siyoli Waters. As usual I find it extremely difficult to explain to the readers how many people come to see her play. Camera crews, Reporters and supporters all come just to get a glimpse of this amazing superstar.

Siyoli was not put off by the crowd and played really well. Nicol moves on to play long time rival Omneya Abdel Kawy after she needed all five games to see off newly crowned Irish National Champion Aisling Blake.

Men's Qualifying Finals

Max Lee who moves the ball around the court so well with minimal effort made the court too big for Peter Creed today. Peter who in the middle of one rally must have done three pirouettes to stay in the rally before eventually winning it was never really allowed into the match. Max will now play Olli Tuominen in the first round.

Nafiizwan Adnan booked his place in the main draw in four tight games with Harinder Pal Sandhu from India. Harrinder playing much better than he was a couple of weeks ago on his last visit to Malaysia but was a little unlucky with a few decisions. Wan will not mind though and I’m sure he will relish taking on Borja Golan tomorrow.

Ivan Yuen again needed five games to see off compatriot Elvinn Keo, this time though it was much tighter with Elvinn almost pulling off his second successive upset. The opening four games were shared in the fifth Ivan always had a couple of points advantage but Elvinn recovered to 9.9. Ivan got back the advantage to 10.9 and ended a long rally with a cross court nick to take the match advancing to the main draw. Ivan pulled a tough draw taking on top seed Karim Darwish tomorrow.

Alan Clyne from Scotland and Martin Knight from New Zealand played the final match of the evening and it was a brutal match. The opening rally lasting 6 minutes 40 seconds to which national coach Paul Hornsby could no longer hold his ipad and decided it was better off back in the bag!

The opening game lasting 32 minutes with Martin taking it but at what cost. In the second game it was tight to three all taking 12 minutes to get to that stage. At 3.3 Alan got ahead to 9.4 now using more variation getting onto the ball better than Martin.

Alan was now becoming more dominant winning the next two games for a chance to play World Open Runner up Mohammed El Shorbagy.


CIMB backing for WSF bid

Malaysia woke up to the great news today that CIMB will back the World Squash Federations (WSF) bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics.



CIMB have agreed to help financially with the campaign looking at whatever is required to make sure that squash makes it into the Olympics. CIMB stating that Dato Nicol David had done so much to try to make people realise what a wonderful sport we have here. With this in mind they are ready to help in any way they can.

Malaysian squash is very fortunate to have such wonderful backers in CIMB who have been very supportive of squash for the last few years helping run a very successful junior programme and these two great events. YHBG Dato Sri Nazir Razak a keen squash player himself is fully behind the bid and that is great news for squash.

 

26-May, Day One:
Mixed success for locals

Andrew Cross reports

The CIMB KL Open 2013 got underway today at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil with a mixed day for the locals.

Rachel Arnold, a runner up in the NSC Series one a couple of weeks on these courts, couldn’t quite get back to those standards when taking on Lucie Fialova. The opening game was going to be key with it going the way of the Czech player. The youngster found herself playing too many boasts and clipping the tops of the tin rather too often. In the second set Lucie was moving Rachel around the court well and a 10-5 a serve out from Rachel handed the game to Lucie. In the third Lucie got a big lead and was never going to be caught, a slight run of winners from Rachel but it wasn’t to be as Lucie progresses to the main draw. Lucie’s reward is a match with Madeline Perry.

Joshana Chinappa was too strong for Coline Aumard in the initial qualifying match. The opening exchanges were pretty scrappy with lots of lets but eventually Joshnna got into her rhythm to win the second and third game 11-1. Joshnna who put in a good performance in the opening round last time will take on Joelle King in the first round.

Peter Creed set up a qualifying final round match with Max Lee after he defeated local junior Hannan Tarmidi. Max receiving a first round bye.

Harinder Pal Sandhu got the draw that nobody wanted when he drew Azlan Iskandar in the opening round of qualifying but he was rather fortunate as Azlan decided not to play. This forced a slight redraw where Harinder was drawn against Gurshan Singh. Harinder seemed in no mood for messing around on this visit to KL as he was rather relaxed on his last visit.

Harinder will take on Nafiizwan Adnan after he defeated Sanjay Singh in a rather tense affair. Wan stormed through the opening game but Sanjay fought back to take the second. Leading 8.7 in the third game Sanjay was playing well, putting his more experienced opponent under pressure, at 9.9 Wan played a great forehand low shot which Sanjay couldn’t retrieve. Wan then served at the body a return which Sanjay put in the floor. In the fourth Wan looking the more aggressive took a hold of the game from 3.3 winning four straight points. That was a lead that Sanjay would struggle to get back as Wan eventually won 11.5.

Nicolette Fernandes who had a dream run in the World Open in the Cayman Island last year defeated Lisa Camilleri from Australia in four very well contested games. Lisa having been here for the last couple of weeks was a last minute replacement for the injured Donna Urquhart. Lisa taking full advantage of her chance was pushing Nicolette all the way in each game.

The third was crucial - at 7.7 it could be any ones game but it was Nicolette who got it. Lots of diving for shots, followed by some improvised shots behind the back from Lisa kept her in the game. In the fourth Nicolette held a 10.7 advantage, serving from the backhand side Lisa returned with a cross court nick not a bad way to reply to a match ball. However on the next point Nicolette finished it off to advance to the main draw. Interesting match on the cards with Camille Serme tomorrow.

Siyoli Waters defeated Siti Muniroh in three very straight forward games never really allowing the local player into the tournament. Siyoli I’m sure will relish the chance to take on Dato Nicol David in front of a very vocal crowd.

Emma Beddoes, a former world number 21 before her injury, was taking on Olga Ertlova from the Czech Republic. The opening game was tight but in the second Emma stepped up the court looking to take the ball on the top of the bounce and it proved to be effective as she raced off to a 9-2 lead. Olga wasn’t going to catch up from there as Emma led 2-0. The third was tight at the beginning but again Emma began to impose herself on the game winning 11.5. Emma now plays Annie Au tomorrow who was the runner up last year.

Lisa Aitken from Scotland was too strong for Vanessa Raj, moving the ball around the court well, never giving up on any shot even when Aitkin was match ball up she dived for a ball not wanting to give the Malaysian any hope or any points which is a great way to play the game. Lisa moves on to play Dipika Pallikal.

Ivan Yuen made light work of Seung Yong Yoo winning in three comfortable games as he set up a match with Elvinn Keo. Keo recovered from losing games two and three to play some of the best squash he has ever played in his life probably. Elvinn won the opening game 15.13 but Au who was a quarter finalist here last year was never going to let him have it all his own way storming back to win games two and three. In the fourth game Elvinn was competing for every point using good height to allow himself time to get back to the T. Elvinn won the fourth game 11.9 when he played a very good rally to create space to hit a cross court winner. In the fifth game Elvinn had a better middle part of the game getting a four point advantage which was too much for a very defensive Au. Elvinn who lost to Ivan a couple of weeks ago in the NSC Series one in a very tight five sets will look for revenge tomorrow.

Kylie Lindsay booked her main draw place with a win over local Celine Yeap. In the women’s last match of the evening sprung the only surprise when Zulhijah Azan beat Liu Tsz- Ling in a match that was full of errors from both players. Zulhijah was the one that prevailed though to make it to the first round for the first time ever. Her reward is a match with Natalie Grinham tomorrow.

In the final match of the night Martin Knight defeated Addeen Idrakie in four close games but it was not as straight forward as their match was a couple of years ago here. Addeen who is having an upsurge in form played well in the second game to take it 11-4 having lost the opening game. The third was tight but the Malaysian seemed tired however he was not going to go down without a fight. Each rally was competitive but the Malaysian seemed to get more tired with Martin making the court nice and big.

CIMB backing for WSF bid

Malaysia woke up to the great news today that CIMB will back the World Squash Federations (WSF) bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics.



CIMB have agreed to help financially with the campaign looking at whatever is required to make sure that squash makes it into the Olympics. CIMB stating that Dato Nicol David had done so much to try to make people realise what a wonderful sport we have here. With this in mind they are ready to help in any way they can.

Malaysian squash is very fortunate to have such wonderful backers in CIMB who have been very supportive of squash for the last few years helping run a very successful junior programme and these two great events. YHBG Dato Sri Nazir Razak a keen squash player himself is fully behind the bid and that is great news for squash.

 

Preview:
David looking to home advantage
for first 2013 win

World No.1 Nicol David will be looking to kick-start her 2013 campaign in two weeks in the first WSA World Series event of the year, the CIMB KL Open.

For the first time, the $70,000 World Series Gold event, held at the Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall, Kuala Lumpur, boasts a 32-player draw and features 24 of the top 30 WSA World Tour players.

The top three seeds in the men's $50k event are all Egyptian - Karim Darwish, Mohamed El Shorbagy, and defending champion Omar Mosaad.

Having experienced defeat in the final of her first event of the WSA calendar in February’s Cleveland Classic, the seven-time World Open champion will see this event in her home country as the ideal springboard onto a seventh successive year at the top of the women’s rankings.

Despite the home advantage, David will face stern challenges as she looks to win the title for the ninth time in ten final appearances. Her closest competitor Raneem El Weleily is seeded second for the event, and the Egyptian will be confident having beaten David in Cleveland. The world No.2 also saw success on Malaysian turf last year, clinching the Malaysian Open title against the top seed back in September.

El Weleily will face home hope Delia Arnold in the first round, and could meet seventh seed Joelle King or ninth seed Camille Serme in a potential quarter-final clash.

Number three seed Laura Massaro will face American stalwart Latasha Khan in the top half of the first round draw, and could face sixth seed Low Wee Wern or Madeline Perry in the quarters.

Last year’s surprise package in the KL Open was qualifier Nour El Sherbini, who made it through to the semi-finals by beating Jenny Duncalf and Rachael Grinham. This year the seventeen-year-old is seeded fourth the event, and will face fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb in the opening round. The teenager could then face last year’s runner-up Annie Au in round two followed by fifth seed Alison Waters in a potentially difficult draw.

Waters will start her KL campaign against Hong Kong international Joey Chan, whilst sixth seed Low, also of Malaysia, will face Donna Urquhart. King, Duncalf, Serme and Au, along with top seeded David, will face qualifiers in their opening matches.


David and Mosaad win in 2012

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