Macau Open 2015
15-20 Sep, Centro de Bowling,
Macau, China, $50k
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0  Nouran Gohar (Egy)
11/8, 11/3, 11/9 (40m)
 Max Lee (Hkg) 3-0  Fares Dessouki (Egy)
11/9, 11/6, 11/0
Massaro ends Gohar run
as Max makes Macau fans happy
Top seed Laura Massaro
ended the sensational run of Egyptian teenager Nouran Gohar with a
straight game win in the final at Friendship Square in the heart of
the world junior champion, had beaten second seed Nour El Tayeb and
home favourite Annie Au, the fourth seed, to reach the final but
Massaro, the former world senior champion, proved too strong in the
final as she claimed her 15th tour title.
was double defeat for the Egyptian finalists as Hong Kong's Max
Lee made the Macau fans happy with a straight game win over
Lee had beaten defending champion Tarek Momen in the semis while
Dessouki had taken out third seed Borja Golan on his way to the
final. It was Lee who was on top in the final, taking the three
games with increasing authority to claim his 11th and biggest tour
Alex Wan reports on the
Massaro wins first title since becoming World
Laura Massaro bagged her first title since winning the delayed
2013 World Championships in Penang, Malaysia back in March 2014.
She came into the todayís final, though seeded much higher,
somewhat as an underdog, given the form Nouran Goharís been in
since winning the World Junior title.
It was Gohar who started better between the two, always being in
front up to 6-5 in the first game. While Massaro seem to be
finding her way around the court, Gohar was somewhat fearless in
going for her shots and was catching Massaro off guard with her
forehand boasts. While many of them were returned, they were
loose and opened up more opportunities for the Egyptian to do
the Egyptian thing Ė put the ball in the front corner.
slowly found her touch and drew level at 6-6. She manages to get
another 3 points consecutively, starting with a low backhand
kill in the front that was sublime quality, then a serve that
sailed by the side wall so nicely it was unreturned and then
catching Gohar off guard with a forehand boast. Gohar manages
another 2 points before she tins at game ball down.
Massaro started from where she left off and started off really
well, winning the first 3 points by dictating the pace of the
rallies and then finishing off when an opening came. In the last
of the 3 points, Gohar was given a taste of Egypt when Massaro
delayed a shot so well before she flicked her wrist to hit a
boast, the Egyptian just stood and watch the ball go by.
Somehow, Gohar, who normally hits the ball with such power,
wasnít playing her game but instead was allowing herself to fit
into Massaroís game. Very quickly the 2nd game went by. Gohar
simply did not stand a chance in this game. It was either
Massaro sending Gohar around to force a loose shot before
finishing it, or the Egyptian would send the ball into the tin.
first rally of the third game was long and it was a display of
what this game could have been. Gohar was hitting the ball
through like how she did all week. The pace was upped and
Massaro had to do more work. It paid off as the Egyptian won the
rally and let out a rare roar just to show how much it meant to
her. Massaro then drew level with yet another delayed shot
finishing with a boast, something that has been working well for
her all night.
The pair would trade points, never more than 2 points separating
them. When Massaro won her 8th point, she let out a loud ďcome
onĒ and followed it up with a cross court drop that totally sent
Gohar the other way. Massaro loses the next rally through a lazy
looking forehand boast into the tin.
By now, the audience was cheering for Gohar, not because theyíre
genuinely supporting, but more so because they have not gotten
enough of action yet. But it was not going to make a difference
as Massaro stuck in there. At game ball up, she hit a very, very
tight drop but a let was given to Gohar, one which I suspect
wouldnít have been if it wasnít for match ball. Massaro was
obviously unhappy but kept her composure. Gohar sends a forehand
straight drive into tin in the next rally to hand Massaro her
first title since becoming world champion.
Massaro said :
I just knew going into the match today that she was playing
very well and that I would have to play well to even have a
chance. Maybe the little experience of playing in finals helped
me through today too. The 1st and 3rd games were really tough
and I had to stay strong mentally.
Itís my first title since winning the Worldís in Malaysia. It
does feel like a long time now. I guess everyoneís improved over
the year. Maybe, if I am being honest, I did not push hard
enough after that.
But I worked really hard over this summer. It feels good to have
confidence in my ability to play back to back matches. The hard
work (over the summer) has definitely paid off. Iím playing well
and I knew I worked hard , but I really donít know if Iíve
improved until now.
Nouran Gohar said :
Iím not really happy with the way I did today. But Iíve been
playing well the last two weeks. I basically played her game and
not mine. Thatís why I lost today. In Shanghai, I had two tough
matches against Nicol (David) and Camille (Serme).
Beating Nicol was such a big thing for me. And I was very tired
going into the final there. But this isnít the case today. I
just wasnít in there mentally today. Laura played really well
and it just wasnít my day today.
Lee clinches biggest title in front of adopted home
been a year Max Lee made a 50k final at the Malaysian Open,
losing to world number one Mohamed Elshorbagy. Earlier this year
he clinched the biggest title of his career, winning the HKFC
International on home soil.
Tonight, Lee, a first-time father of a six-week old baby girl,
bettered that by winning the Macau Open in front of a capacity
adopted home crowd. Having survived a first round encounter from
0-2 down, this was certainly not expected as Lee would say at
the post-match interview.
Lee started well, getting up to 4-1 as both players worked to
get their lengths and widths. At 4-3, Dessouki hit a tight
backhand which Lee missed completely. In the next serve, Lee
misses the ball again. Lead changes hands next when Lee tins a
boast. A few rallies later, the score tied at 7 a-piece.
next served to Dessoukiís forehand, one which gets slammed into
the front left corner. The players traded points and Lee got to
game ball 10-9, which was converted thanks to a tin from the
Egyptian, whom many commented is akin a navy seal in reference
to his built.
Lee was moving really well, akin a ballerina floating on court
tonight. The way he would move around the other player is
exemplary. Given his smaller frame, itís probably an advantage
he uses well, just as Nicol David uses hers.
The first 4 points of the second game went by lightning quick. 3
went into the tin and the other so tight it was not retrievable.
3 in favour of Lee and 1 in favour of Dessouki. In the next
point, Lee was sent to all four corners of the court as Dessouki
attacks. When changing direction, Lee clips the foot of Dessouki
and both players went crumbling onto the ground. Thankfully, no
one was hurt and the court attendants came in full force of 6 to
dry the courts!
stroke was awarded against Dessouki and Lee led 5-4. The next
rally was competitive, both players having to be on the
offensive and defensive. It ended with Dessouki tinning a boast,
to which he reacted by throwing his racket. As expected, a
conduct warning for racket abuse was given.
Dessouki started to look slower from hereon. He got to 6-6 and
never won another point. Some shots, he was forcing himself to
reach for it instead of taking the extra step. At 10-6, he
pretty much gave up chasing a cross court drive and his body
language walking out did not look good.
In the third, it was clear that Dessouki was not his usual self.
In the post-match interview, he had cited problems with his
quads and hamstring. He couldíve retired, but he did not and
credit to the young Egyptian for that. He soldiered on but never
won a point and in the last, he playfully hit the ball into the
Lee was ecstatic. He put his arms in the air, lets out a shout
and acknowledges the crowd. Not something you would normally see
from this quiet and private man of a few words.
Lee said :
I never thought I could get this far let alone win the
tournament. I was 2-0 down in the first round! Iíve played in
Macau so many times and Iíve never been this far. Itís also my
first time having gone far enough to play on this glass court,
so Iím very happy about it.
I came into this tournament with no real expectations. I just
came and focus on my game and to play my best. Itís my first 50k
win. I was in the final in the Malaysian Open (but lost to
Mohamed Elshorbagy). I hope this will carry me into the new
season with more confidence and motivation.
Fares Dessouki said :
Today I started very well in the first game. But I was
struggling mentally. I just felt very tired (mentally) and I
kept telling myself that Iím not. I had to keep pushing myself.
Then in the second game, I felt something in my leg, probably my
quads and also my hamstring. So I struggled with my movement
quite a bit and I wasnít comfortable in there.
But all credit to Max. He played a really good game and deserved
15-20 Sep, Macau, China, $50k
 Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/7, 6/11, 11/7, 11/4 (41m)
[Q] Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
 Omar Mosaad
7/11, 11/4, 11/8, 6/11, 11/7 (75m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan
 Nafiizwan Adnan
11/5, 11/3, 11/3 (40m)
 Fares Dessouki
 Fares Dessouki
11/9, 11/6, 11/0
 Max Lee
 Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
12/10, 8/11, 11/9, 11/7 (72m)
Leo Au (Hkg)
 Fares Dessouki (Egy)
11/9, 11/9, 11/1 (26m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
 Fares Dessouki
9/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8, 11/7 (98m)
 Borja Golan
 Borja Golan (Esp)
11/9, 9/11, 12/10, 11/4 (62m)
[Q] Greg Lobban (Sco)
[wc] Steven Liu (Mac)
11/3, 11/4, 11/6 (13m)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
 Marwan Elshorbagy
12/10, 15/13, 11/2 (48m)
 Max Lee
 Max Lee
13/11, 11/5, 11/4 (40m)
 Tarek Momen
[Q] Nasir Iqbal (Pak)
5/11, 11/8, 11/7, 10/12, 11/5 (58m)
 Max Lee (Hkg)
Shaun le Roux (Rsa)
11/6, 11/2 rtd (11m)
 Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
 Omar Abdel Meguid
11/4, 3/11, 11/5, 11/6 (38m)
 Tarek Momen
[Q] Rex Hedrick (Aus)
11/6, 8/11, 11/6, 11/8 (43m)
 Tarek Momen (Egy)
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) 3-0
Ivan Yuen (Mas)
11/4, 11/5 rtd (30m)
Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 Chi Him Wong (Hkg)
11/5, 11/4, 18/16 (53m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus) 3-1
James Huang (Tpe)
11/8, 11/4, 5/11, 11/2 (55m)
Nasir Iqbal (Pak) 3-2
Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg) 12/10, 13/15, 2/11,
11/7, 11/6 (66m)
Qualifying Round One:
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) 3-0 Valentino Bong (Mas)
11-6, 11-6, 11-8
Ivan Yuen (Mas) 3-0 Manuel de Oliveira (Mac)
11-2, 11-4, 11-5
Chi Him Wong (Hkg)
3-1 Tom Ford (Eng)
11-13 ,11-8, 11-7, 11-9
Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 Van Keng Hei (Mac)
11-1, 11-5, 11-4 (16m)
Rex Hedrick (Aus) 3-0 Nathan Lake (Eng)
9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (55m)
James Huang (Tpe) 3-0 Carlos Cornes (Esp)
12-10, 11-9 rtd (23m)
Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg) 3-0 Cheuk Yan Tang (Hkg)
11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (26m)
Nasir Iqbal (Pak) 3-1 Ahmad Alsaraj (Jor)
7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (38m)
15-20 Sep, Macau, China, $50k
 Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
11/2, 11/3, 11/8 (21m)
Delia Arnold (Mas)
 Nour El Tayeb
11/7, 11/8, 8/11, 6/11, 11/4 (50m)
 Nouran Gohar
 Nouran Gohar
11/5, 11/6, 8/11, 11/3 (41m)
 Annie Au
 Nouran Gohar
11/8, 11/3, 11/9 (40m)
 Laura Massaro
 Nouran Gohar (Egy)
13/11, 11/6, 11/2 (28m)
[Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)
 Joelle King (Nzl)
11/6, 6/11, 4/11, 11/7, 12/10 (54m)
[Q] Joey Chan (Hkg)
 Joelle King
13/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/9 (53m)
 Annie Au
 Annie Au (Hkg)
11/1, 11/2, 11/5 (20m)
[wc] Liu Kwai Chi (Mac)
[Q] Joshana Chinappa (Ind)
11/8, 8/11, 11/2, 11/4 (38m)
 Alison Waters (Eng)
 Alison Waters
11/6, 11/7, 11/4 (31m)
 Alison Waters
11/4, 11/9, 7/11, 11/9 (49m)
 Laura Massaro
Emily Whitlock (Eng)
12/10, 11/8, 11/5 (33m)
 Rachael Grinham (Aus)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
11/3, 7/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/7 (48m)
 Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
[Q] Donna Urquhart
11/8, 11/7, 11/6 (29m)
 Laura Massaro
Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11/9, 11/6, 11/6 (32m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng)
16-Sep, Qualifying Finals:
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-0
Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy)
11/9, 15/13, 11/9 (30m)
Joey Chan (Hkg) 3-0
Tesni Evans (Wal)
11/6, 11/9, 11/4 (35m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-1
Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn)
5/11, 11/2, 11/8 rtd (17m)
Donna Urquhart (Aus) 3-2
Victoria Lust (Eng)
9/11, 11/5, 10/12, 11/8, 11/9 (55m)
Qualifying Round One:
Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 Lee Ka Yi (Hkg)
11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-2 Vanessa Chu (Hkg)
5-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7
Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg)
11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 11-2 (42m)
Joey Chan (Hkg) 3-0 Ho Tze-Lok (Hkg)
11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-0 Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg)
11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m)
Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 3-0 Latasha Khan (Usa)
11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (17m)
Donna Urquhart (Aus) 3-0 Yeung Weng Chi (Mac)
11-2, 11-2, 11-1 (13m)
Victoria Lust (Eng) 3-0 Carmen Lee (Hkg)
19-17, 11-6, 11-2 (31m)
Wan on the semi-finals
Semi-final matches moved to the ASB all-glass court erected in the
heart of Macau Cityís Friendship Square.
With the legendary Grand Lisboa hotel and casino next to it, there
is no better central location in what they name the Sin City of the
East or City Of Dreams, depending on how you look at it.
Gohar grabs final spot
things off for the evening was the match between Annie Au of
Hong Kong, who has proven to be lethal on the new 17Ē tin and
Egyptian teenager and the current player on form Nouran Gouhar.
The world junior champion is playing with such confidence at this
tournament, it will take something very special out of Annie Au to
It was Annie Au who started better in the first, winning the first
point and then leading 4-1. But soon, Gohar found her momentum and
she was clinical. Whether it was a drop or a boast or a drive,
everything just worked her way. That explains the 9 points she won
in a row from 1-4 down. From a 3-point lead, Au found herself to be
game ball down. She saves one with a dying length at the back before
Gohar before Gohar hits a length that died in the back.
The second was pretty much the same story as the first. Only thing
being Au never had that lead. Goharís backhand cross court flick was
very effective in this game, winning her a couple of points. It
couldnít have been worse for Annie Au when a serve went into the
nick at the back wall to give her game ball, which she closed out in
the first opportunity.
The third saw Gohar opening up a 2 point lead with a dying length to
lead 2-0. An honest self-called not up pickup gave the Hong Kong
number one her first point. As the game progressed, Annie Au began
to feel her way into the match finally and things got more
competitive, though Gohar was always in front by a couple of points.
She had her biggest lead at 7-3 before the longest rally of the
match thus far turned things around for Au, who then took 7 points
in a row to go to game ball. Before that, Gohar had slipped and fell
while returning a serve, just to show how hard the Egyptian hits.
The last two rallies finished with a no let to Gohar and then a
stroke against her to close out the game, bringing loud cheers from
the adopted home crowd of Annie Au.
Au had a great start in the fourth, taking a 3-0 lead with some of
her deft drops. But Gohar manages to refocus and from then on, was
unstoppable. She had a run of 8 points in a row before dropping
another 2 and then booked her place in her second successive final,
following her feat in Shanghai.
Nouran Gohar said :
Itís my second consecutive final of a big event and Iím very
happy. I didnít expect to be in the final at all. The last time we
played, I lost 3-2 so I expected a really tough match. In the first
two games, I was playing very well. I was doing exactly what I
wanted to do. Annie came back and played well in the third and I am
lucky to have gained control again in the fourth.
Both Alison and Laura will be tough to play. I will just focus on my
own game and try to play my best and not think about winning or
losing at all.
Annie Au said :
I feel I played pretty OK. She was attacking very well and put
the pressure on me all the time. I started very slowly and it took
me a while to get into it. I only got the hang of the momentum in
the third game. Itís something I need to work on. Itís my first time
playing her on the glass court and I feel itís harder to play her
here (than conventional courts).
Massaro Muscles Her Way Through
number one Laura Massaro faced compatriot Alison Waters
in the next semi-final. Both are ranked 4 and 5 respectively in the
September rankings and judging from history, this could be a very
Massaro started the match very well, feeling her way into court very
quickly while Waters seem to still struggle. Massaro raced to a 4-1
and 5-3 lead, followed with two backhands the glued to the wall,
bringing her up to 7-3. She drops the next point after being denied
a let and then Alison Waters would make two errors in the form of
drop shots, first into the tin and the next to the floor. The game
ended with a rather harsh no let decision to Waters.
The second game was a lot tighter and it was Alison Waters who first
took the lead 2-0. Massaro then took 4 points in a row. Alison
Waters never led again in this game, but she was never more than 2
points behind. There were some good old school squash rallies in
this game, which drew some comments from the audience right behind
me on how ineffective the pair were compared to the previous match.
It was a good end to the second game as both girls hit a pair of
beautiful tight drops each on the backhand side, first Waters at 9-7
and then Massaro with one that got her to game ball. Waters saved a
game ball with a drive that died in the back but tinned the next
drop to go 0-2 down.
Just as what Massaro would say later after the match, Alison Waters
is not one who will go down without a fight. She came in firing in
the third, rushing to a 6-0 lead before Massaro slowly clawed back
to 7-4. But the damage in the beginning was already done and Waters
would ensure this game went her way. At 9-7, she sent a backhand
drop right into the nick, much to the crowdís pleasure before
closing out the game.
The first half of the fourth was very much similar to the second
game. There were some nice, long rallies from both the girls. A very
stubborn moth flying around interrupted play while Massaro was 2-1
up. Both girls tried to get it out, and the court attendants came to
help. And then the referee announced for someone to come get it Ė no
idea what was he thinking, did he expect someone to shoot it down?
For many reasons, Iíve found the referees in this event highly
The same canít be said about the second half as a majority of the
points were based on refereesí decisions. With Waters leading 5-4, a
no let was called against her, with another against Massaro next,
bringing score to 6-5 in Waters favour now. Waters slammed a
backhand into the nick for the next point to go 7-5 up, and then
another no let, this time against her and the score was 7-6. An
extremely generous stroke allowed Massaro to draw level 7-all. A
lucky mishit wins Waters the next point followed by yet another no
let against Massaro.
With the score now at 9-7 in Watersí favour, Massaro would win the
next 4 points, out of which 3 would be strokes, including the final
Laura Massaro said :
I felt good today and made a good start. Iím happy with how fast
I came out of the blocks. Alison is someone who never goes down
without a fight. In the third, I was disappointed I went 0-6 down.
And then in the fourth, it was all about being mentally tough. I
worked really hard over the summer and Iím happy to have come out
I expect a really tough match tomorrow. Nouran is having the form of
her life. Sheís beaten Nour (El Tayeb) and Nicol (David) in
Shanghai, so thereís really no pressure on me given her form.
Dessouki Makes His Biggest Final
have always felt that Fares Dessouki does really well against
the top players (Nick, Ramy, etc) but somehow struggles with equal
or lower ranked players. Tonight, he was nothing like that in his
demolition of Malaysiaís Nafiizwan Adnan, who had just a day
before deconstructed the Hammer of Thor, Omar Mosaad.
The first rally ended in 5 seconds. Wan went for the kill on the
third shot and got it. The next few rallies would go Dessoukiís way
who looked sharp with his kill shots. Both players are playing at a
slower than normal pace, seemingly trying to get into each otherís
It was 4-1 then 5-3, with the last point creating some confusion
when the referee called out 4-all instead. The next rally ended with
a decision that drew three difference calls from all three referees,
the central referee who held his card at ďNo LetĒ but making a final
Dessouki continued to hit winners beyond Wanís reach. It didnít help
the Malaysianís cause that his cross courts were nowhere near wide
or deep enough, creating many opportunities for the Egyptian. It
went to 7-4 and then 9-5. The next rally certainly woke the crowd
up, as Dessouki slammed a forehand really hard that completely
rolled flat out in the front right corner.
The second gameís pace was still rather slow. There were some
physical contact in the beginning which first drew a warning to
Dessouki and later a conduct warning for physical abuse came
complimentarily with a let decision for running into Wan. This game
was not pretty to watch, with too many points coming from decisions.
But still, the Egyptian was in total control all the while.
At 4-2 up, Dessouki gets a stroke to go 5-2, then a no let against
him allowed Wan to close to 5-3. A no let again, this time against
Wan and itís 6-3. The next point, Dessouki hit a shot against the
back wall that glued to the side wall to force a mistake from Wan.
The following rally was by far the most entertaining all game, a
long one with both players in offence and defence, which ended in
the Egyptianís favour, who then let out a huge roar. Dessouki
doesnít drop another point from here onwards and takes a 2-0 lead.
Wan did not look very competitive anymore at the beginning of the
third. It was 6-0 to Dessouki pretty quickly until a no let decision
against him turned things around for a little while. Wan won the
next rally and started to play more like himself. In fact, both
players are striking the ball well, but still the rallies went the
Egyptianís way. Dessouki drops just another point at 9-2 and a shot
into the tin sends him into the final.
Fares Dessouki said :
It wasnít easy in there for sure. It was very tough for me
mentally, especially having to compete after such a long match
yesterday. I was focussing 100% on my shots and not to make errors.
It was a good tournament for him. It will be my biggest final
tomorrow and I hope Max and Tarek will play for 200 minutes today!
Nafiizwan Adnan said :
I didnít play good squash today. I couldnít put him under any
pressure. Both of us are quite tired from yesterdayís matches, and
he played much better than I did. Today, my shots were all just not
Max Lee Continues to be Impressive
Lee, clearly a local crowd favourite here in Macau, had survived
a five-game battle against Nasir Iqbal in the first round and
deconstructed Marwan El Shorbagy in the quarters. He faced defending
champion Tarek Momen today, a man he lost to a year ago at
the same event having had match ball in hand.
An entourage of Hong Kong Squash officials and fans, including
former WSF Vice President Heather Deayton, ASF Chairman David Mui,
head coach Tony Choi and Hong Kong Squash Executive Director Emily
Mak, had made the one hour fifteen minutes ferry ride across the
channel to cheer on their top player.
Max Lee and Tarek Momen surely did not disappoint the crowd in the
first game. Both players gave a display of what top level squash is
all about with some smooth flowing rallies that included every shot
in the book made to look easy, some ridiculous retrieving and
winners that simply swept the audience of their feet. Both were
never more than 2 points apart and it ended that way too in favour
of Lee, 13-11.
The second was point for point up to 5-all. The great rallies
continued, both players still trying hard to pull away from each
other. It was Lee who manages to break away and win 6-points in a
row to wrap the game up, which included a stroke that got him to 9-5
which I feel was a highly controversial one. There was a discussion
between Momen and the referee, whether it was a let or no let in the
Egyptianís head. But it went to a stroke to Lee, much to Momenís
In the third, a clear dip in the competitiveness level of Momen is
evident. Max Lee took full advantage of it to forge ahead, build a
lead and he never looked back. It must be a real special evening for
the Hong Kong number one with his wife, 6-week old baby girl and
mom, in the audience together with his many other supporters. The
amount of people who came to congratulate him and pose for
photographs is a testament to his popularity here.
Max Lee said:
Iím very happy to have won. I never thought Iíd reach the final.
Last year I played Tarek and was game ball up and I lost. So
Iím happy and I won this time. The court is very warm and bouncy,
and both of us had to work really hard. I was lucky to win the first
and it was a close crucial game. After I won that, it was a lot
easier after I won the first.
I never knew it could have been a 3-0 score and I feel very good
about these two (and China) tournaments.
Tarek Momen said :
Iím disappointed obviously. I think I only played the first
game. I got very tired in the end. It didnít help that the
conditions were so hot and humid in there. But it was on both of us
and I think he handled it better than I have. I was ill just before
the tournament so maybe that affected my fitness a little. But
credit to Max, he played really well.
Alex Wan reports on the
The quarter finals of the 2015 Macau Squash Open turned out to be a
shocker as half of the eight matches played today ended in upsets.
Kicking off the evening were menís top seed Omar Mosaad against
Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia, and womenís second seed Nour El Tayeb
and Nouran Gouhar, the in-form world junior champion.
Wan Gets His Second Top Ten
Adnan and Omar Mosaad got the evening started with some ferocious
hitting, as youíd expect any match that featured the Hammer of Thor
Omar Mosaad. At a later point of the match, there was a conduct
warning for ball abuse at which I thought, it is very well abused
already in the last hour.
Mosaad came out firing, hitting most that came his way hard and low.
So much that Adnan seem to have taken a step back further from the T
as a precaution. But that meant every single drop or boast would
require an extra lunge. Mosaad saw that and took advantage of it in
the first half of the first game. In no time he was 7-3 up before a
stroke against him turned things around a little. Adnan manages
another 3 points before Mosaad slammed a forehand into the nick to
take the lead.
In the second game, Adnan controlled the pace a lot better, slowing
things down as it deemed fit. This proved to reap rewards as he won
6 points in a row to lead 6-1, 8-2 and 10-3. Mosaad slams the next
serve into the nick but Adnan was not going to let this game go any
The third was close up to 5-4, and then Adnan won 3 points in a row
to open up a gap. It went back to point for point and Mosaad tins at
game ball down to hand Adnan the lead 2-1 games. The pace was upped
once again in the fourth and after a lot of running, Adnan was
feeling the heat a little. A string of 4 points from 3-2 down did
the damage in this game to Adnan, who eventually lost 11-6.
In the decider, Adnan got to a good start with a 4-1 score. Whatís
not pretty about the start is that two of the first five points were
strokes. That pretty much did the damage to Mosaad, as no player too
more than 2 points in a row from there. After 75 minutes of play,
Mosaad tins a backhand volley to hand Adnan his second top ten
Nafiizwan Adnan :
This is my biggest win. Iím very happy with the results. I
played Omar here last year and I lost 3-0 in less than half an hour.
Iím a lot more patient this time round and Iím playing well I think.
Iím not thinking about tomorrow yet. Iím just letting this win sink
in and enjoy the moment. From experience, the more I think further
ahead, it stresses me out. Come tomorrow, Iíll just do my best.
Gohar Continues Her Killing
the court next door, two Egyptians battled it out. First, Nouran
Gohar, the current talk of town and the other, Nour El Tayeb, the
second seed. El Tayeb was already wary of Gohar the day before as
she mentioned during the post-match interview. She was definitely
right in feeling so.
It was El Tayeb who drew first blood, after Goharís forehand drop
found the tin. From 3-3, Gohar started to slowly pull away. It was
8-5 and soon after, 11-7 in 7 minutes. The second saw Gohar playing
with more confidence, probably from winning the first. She was
playing a lot more aggressively and striking the ball with such
aggressiveness and confidence. She manages a 7-3 lead at one point,
then 9-7 and allowing El Tayeb just another point before taking a
Gohar continued on from where she left off in the second, playing
some highly confident squash. But at the same time, El Tayeb had
found herself playing better too. Though El Tayeb trailed 5-7 at one
point, she did manage pump herself up enough to take the third 11-8.
Winning the third sure fired up El Tayeb, who is known to be a
fighter on the tour. She came in strongly and took a 6-1 lead. Gohar
tried to claw back from there. She gets nearer but it was never
going to be enough. El Tayeb closes the 11-6 and lets out a roar so
loud, nearly everyone at the menís court turned around.
In the fifth, El Tayeb took a small lead in the beginning and after,
it was all Nouran Gohar. The teenager simply was too good for El
Tayeb, who could find no answer to stop her. At 6-3 down, El Tayeb
did one of her famous dives to retrieve a ball in the front, and
even that did not work today.
For a teenager so young to be playing such matured squash amongst
the worldís best is really a marvel. Whatís more scary is she will
still be eligible to defend her world junior title the next round.
Nouran Gouhar :
This is one of the toughest match that Iíve played. Nour is a
very talented player and you never know where the ball is heading
with her. Itís always hard to play another Egyptian. I was 2-0 up
and 7-5 up in the third, and I lost a little concentration to allow
her back into it. Plus, sheís a real fighter. Iím really glad to
have pulled through.
Nour El Tayeb
Iím trying to look into the positive side of things. Iíve lot of
time raining all summer and I am seeing a little improvements here
and there. Itís the first tournament of the season and I was playing
a player who is very confident at the moment. My balls were more
loose than usual, just not tight and deep enough. That was the
Dessouki Comes Back From the
Brink of Defeat
second menís match on court turned out to be another cracker between
the young Egyptian Fares Dessouki and Borja Golan from Spain, the
third seed of the tournament. The pair had already met twice in
2014, with the Spaniard winning both in matches lasting 60 and 95
minutes, so a long battle seem to be on paper.
Long it was, but I doubt many wouldíve put their money on Dessouki
to be 2 games down to come back and win. Like Golanís match
yesterday, this one was filled with lots of drama involving the
referees as well. There were way too many disruptions, many
conversations with the referee.
The first two games were very equally matched, both never more than
2 points apart. But both times, it ended in the Spaniardís favour,
after a total of 45 minutes on court. In the third, Golan seem to
have shut down and had not much resistance to offer, losing tamely
The fourth was a much closer affair, but just around mid-game,
Dessouki manages to take 5 points in a row and earned himself a game
ball at 10-7. He then hit a lob out of bounds to allow Golan a point
to 10-8, before a no let call was given next, thus ending the game.
Fares Dessouki then went into overdrive in fifth as he quickly took
a 7-1 lead. However, Golan somehow manages to chase and got to 7-8.
Two consecutive rallies that ended with Golan asking for lets were
turned down and on both occasions, there was commotion from the
Spaniard. That certainly got under the skin of Golan, who didnít win
another point more.
At 8-2, a rather awkward situation unfolded. Golan had hit the ball
into Desoukkiís racket while attempting a cross court from the back.
Now this would be a simple stroke to Golan by the rule book, which
is what the referees decided anyway. But both Dessouki and Golan
decided it shall be a let and the referee allowed it to be one.
[I have seen cases such as double bounces which the referee calls
out but players think otherwise being overruled. But this is a clear
cut simple stroke. I am not sure if this should be allowed at all Ė
players overruling referees. Alex]
Itís my first time beating Borja and Iím very happy about it. I
was 2-0 down and it was tough mentally. I had to keep telling myself
I could do it. It was a bit physical but itís a test for me to know
I can last the whole five games. It was even more so a mental test.
In the fifth I was 8-2 up and I started to think about winning. That
got me a little sluggish. Then at 8-7, I played two good shots.
Overall it was hard mentally more than physically and needing to
control my emotions.
It was a difficult first two games and I was lucky to win it.
In the third I relaxed a little and I realised he was getting
better. He just kept getting better and better. I lost some
confidence in the fourth while he was getting even better. I was
down in the fifth and I realised he was struggling physically so I
told myself, if I was going out I would try to make him work. It was
good till 7-8 and I had two bad decisions go my way. But all credit
to Fares. He played so well and truly deserves this win.
Annie Au the
First Seed in Semis
After 3 upsets, Annie Au of Hong Kong was the first seeded player to
check into the semi-finals. Her opponent today was Joelle King, who
is using her last pegged ranking in this event. Going by the
rankings, Annie Au is certainly the favourite. But for many, it is
The first game opened up right from the start in Auís favour, who
raced to a 5-1 lead after dropping the first point. Slowly, King
pulled back and saved 3 game balls before succumbing. The second
game was closely contested. King would be using the pace while Au
would be trying to slow it down as how she always does so well. But
at 8-all, Au manages to win 3 points in a row to take a two games
Au came firing in the third and established a 5-0 lead. But Joelle
King herself did the same at the end to win 4 in a row from 8ó9 down
to win 11-9. She even started off well I the fourth, opening up a
4-point lead to 6-2. But at the end, the Hong Kong number one
manages 5 points in a row to go 9-7 up. King did draw level at 9-all
but it was not enough to save the game, sending Au into the glass
court to face Egyptian sensation Nouran Gohar.
I played pretty well today. I think sheís a little tired
physically. Overall Iím quite satisfied with my game today. But I
still had a couple of mistakes here and there. Tomorrow, itís going
to be tough against Nouran, who is playing very well at the moment.
I was a bit up and down. I probably let a few refereeing
decisions get under my skin. I feel a little flat coming in to a
group of events. Iíll be heading home to rest for a week now before
going to the US.
Two weeks ago, Max Lee was the talk of town when he ousted world
number one Mohamed Elshorbagy in Shanghai, but only to fall to his
younger brother rather easily in the next round. Today, Lee has a
chance to turn things around and he took it in a rather brilliant
The first two games was beautiful squash from both players. The Hong
Kong number one displayed quite a few times what a great retriever
he is and this definitely worked to his favour, as it forces
Shorbagy to play that shot just a little better. This would of
course mean the chances of making a mistake is higher too. Having
every winner being retrieved would unsettle even the worldís best,
and here it was getting to Elshorbagy.
The first two were dead close, both ending up in Leeís favour
through tie-breaks. The third was rather anti-climatic after the
first two games. Lee needed only two hands of serve to book his
place in the glass court.
I felt pretty good out there. I had a discussion with my coach
on how to play Marwan, having just lost to him in Shanghai.
Basically I had to do much better lengths and cut down on my
mistakes a lot more, which were aplenty in Shanghai. Iím a little
surprised to win in three as heís not an easy player to play with.
Playing either Tarek or Omar will be tough tomorrow and I hope it
will be good.
Faheem Khan (Max Leeís coach):
Obviously it feels good coming out of such a win. Max already
had confidence in himself after beating Mohamed in Shanghai. But he
did badly against Marwan there on the glass court. He simply
couldnít keep it tight and get the lengths in. We decided he needed
to keep the rallies going as long as possible. I am very pleased he
stuck to the plan today. Iím not surprised that he won really. Heís
a very talented player but heís not peaked at his maturity level
The first two games were tight. It couldíve gone either way. I
had a couple of game balls in the second. Max played better on the
bigger points. In the third, he was just everywhere and I couldnít
get into the game. Itís a good tournament here but the level of
refereeing needs to be improved. I will still look forward to come
top two womenís players Laura Massaro and Alison Waters both won
their matches in straight games, the former against Aussie
left-hander Donno Urquhart and the latter against team mate Emily
did struggle more than Waters, especially in the first two games.
When questioned, she mentioned about Urquhart being left handed,
making her harder to play. Both spent about half an hour of play, so
tomorrow should see a close match between the pair which is likely
to mess up the schedule.
I felt pretty OK today. Itís always hard to play someone like
Donna whoís a left hander. She throws a few shots into the nicks
too. We havenít played for a while, so it took a while to recognise
the different patter of play. I felt that she kept changing tactics
throughout the match so it was hard to read a pattern. Iím glad to
come through in straight games and Iím looking forward to the glass
court tomorrow. It should be a good match, both of us are ranked
four and five in the world this month. Hopefully I can play my best
Itís always disappointing to lose. Laura played better than me
today. I feel I was in it today actually. The small difference could
be the last two matches I had (both went to five). Iím really happy
with my performance though. Itís my best results in the last 12
months since coming back from the injury.
I thought I played well. Emily is a tough opponent as you can
see. I knew that coming in and I had to do well to control the pace.
Iím enjoying Macau very much and itís going to be good in the semis
on the glass court tomorrow.
Square Off with Each Other
Defending champion Tarek Momen and Omar Abdel Meguid both found it
hard to be playing each other, as both are close friends. Momen had
a good start taking the first games 11-4, 11-3. With Such a
scoreline, who wouldíve thought Meguid will seriously be mounting
back a challenge.
He did just that, winning the third game but Momenís experience saw
him through in a fairly one sided fourth game.
I think my game was good today. Itís hard to play Omar because
weíre close friends. We train and play together very often and itís
hard to feel like Iím playing in a tournament. Itís easy to lose
concentration sometimes. Last year I played Max in the quarter
finals and I was match ball down before winning in five. I hope I
can put up a good performance tomorrow and win again.
Omar Abdel Meguid:
Itís never easy playing someone youíve been training with since
7 years old you know. I feel I played well in patches. But I made
too many mistakes and he played well. Iíve had my best results here
in Macau. I got into the semis two years ago, so yeah, I hope I will
be back next year.
16-Sep, Round One:
Whitlock and Urquhart gatecrash the quarters
The first round of the Macau
Open saw most of the seeded players progress to the quarter-finals -
eight out of eight in the men's draw, but a couple of significant
upsets in the women's as Emily Whitlock and Donna Urquhart
progressed to the last eight.
It was a good day for the Egyptian contingent as they
provided five of the men's winners, and are guaranteed a women's
Draws & Results
Whitlock takes out Grinham in
"Iím happy with my game. I just went in and played well. This is my
second time here in Macau. I qualified the last time and I have a
good track record here."
"She played better. I shouldíve won the first game as I was 9-4 up.
Iím frustrated because a lot of the rallies, I got to the ball but
it just didnít get back. That was my day today."
Itís Au v Liu Again
The pair were drawn against each other once again after the re-draw
(due to Nicol Davidís withdrawal), having played last year at the
same event. Local wild card Liu Kwai Chi had the worst
possible start when Annie Au served her an ace.
She didnít do any much better in the game and the following one,
earning just 1 and 3 points.
Liu did start well in the third, as she took 3 points in a row after
dropping the first point to go ahead 3-1. Annie Au served out at
3-all to give Liu the lead once again after she drew level. The
Macau top womenís player manages another point before going out in
"I didnít play well today," said Ivy. "Only in the third did I feel
I played alright. I played Annie last year as well. At least I feel
that I played better than I did last year. But Iím still not very
happy with my game."
Marwan Outguns Liu
There was not much of a fight on paper in this match, but Steven
Liu, the local wild card in the menís event, had a good start.
After that Marwan Elshorbagy controlled the rallies well and
went short in most of them, and often enough, wins them.
The scoreline of 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 is certainly respectful but the
match duration of just 13 minutes pretty much sums up how ruthless
the younger Shorbagy was today.
"I had a good game against their local player Steven. I feel heís
getting better and better each year. I hope theyíll have more and
more juniors in years to come as they have good facilities here.
"This tournament will be interesting for me, as I did well in
Shanghai two weeks ago. But thereís no pressure on myself and no
Top Seed Impressive
Laura Massaro, the former world champion, had a good game
today as she took out Indian Dipika Pallikal in straight
games. The first was tight, with Massaro winning 11-.9. The next two
games ended with similar 11-6 scores.
"I thought I played well. It was really even in the first all the
way to 9-9, then I played a couple of good rallies. In the second
and third, I felt more comfortable. Itís the first match of the
season. Itís a little unknown how Iíd feel. I started to use the
full court a lot more in the later parts."
"I think she played well. She looked like she enjoyed herself.
After the summer, you never know how the first game will go. Sheíll
be happy with today and sheíll probably say the same to you."
"My game was OK. I havenít played in the last four months so itís
a good game to start off again. I leave for America soon and I look
at the positives I gained from this match."
Two Each for England and Egypt
In the last four matches of the day, Rachael Grinham was the
other seed to fall, going out in three games to 21 year old Emily
Whitlock. Third seed Alison Waters and Joshana Chinappa played
next, with the latter winning 3-1.
Egyptian pair Omar Abdel Meguid and defending champion
Tarek Momen went through too. While Momen was tested by
Australiaís Rex Hedrick, Meguid spent just 11 minutes on court as
Shaun Le Roux retired with an abductor injury.
Alex Wan reports
main draw of the 2015 Macau Open kicked off with Borja Golan
taking on Greg Lobban on one court while the ladies took
centre stage in the show court next to it between Joelle King
and Joey Chan. As the Macau Squash Association and Hong Kong
Squash have a close working relationship, Joey Chan is very much
considered a local player on this island.
Joelle Breaks ďLocalĒ Hearts
the first match that started a long day at the office, Joelle
King faced ďlocalĒ girl Joey Chan on the centre court.
The Kiwi started strongly and took the first 4 points in succession
before Chan got into the game to close the gap to 5-3. The pace at
which King controlled the game troubled the petite Chan, who in no
time found herself 9-3 down. She does manage to string 3 points in a
row, all with accurate drops before losing the next 2 to the wrath
of Kingís backhand drops.
In the next game, Joey Chan came in a much more composed player,
controlling most of the rallies. She took a small lead and built it
up from there by keeping up with Kingís pace and choosing the right
moments to finish the rallies off with her deft touch. From 4-all,
she strings a series of 6 points to get to game ball, dropped 2
points and finishing off the game with a backhand volley into nick.
Now we have a game!
The third was pretty similar to the game before, but it started in
Joelle Kingís favour. However, halfway through, Chan went on
overdrive and the 17-inch tin was definitely being fully used to her
advantage. From 3-3, she strung another 6-point streak with her
volleys and drops to lead 9-3 and finishing the game off with yet
King turned the tables around in the fourth, pulling away from 2-2
to 9-3. Chan seemed to have lost a little patience in this middle
part of the game but a broken strings allowed her a short break to
regroup and close the gap to 9-6. But it was a little too late as
King holds on to force a decider.
Chan did not have the best of starts I the fifth, tinning a boast on
an already lowered tin. But she quickly raced into a 6-2 lead and
the local crowd had already smelt victory at this point. But she
next tins a loose shot with an attempted drop and that turned things
around, allowing King to draw level 7-7. It went point for point
from hereon. Joelle King reached game point thanks to a volley lob
that went out of bounds, Chan saves it with yet another drop shot.
But the comeback Kiwi won the next 2 points with a very low backhand
drop and a ball sent out of court by Chan.
"Iím happy to be on
the winning side. Joey played really, really well today. I had to
figure out a way to stop her. I was 6-2 down in the fifth and then
Joey tinned. That switched the momentum. She was playing well to her
advantage with the 17Ē tin. Every match for me in this year is
finding back my confidence."
"I feel I played very patiently today. Perhaps my focus in the
middle was a little up and down. But overall Iím happy with my
performance in this tournament. I feel I was very into the game
Golan Tested by Lobban
world number 5 Borja Golan was put to the test by Scotlandís
Greg Lobban in a rather memorable match, one marred with
questionable decisions that went against both players. While the
match duration states 62 minutes, it was definitely much closer to
90, including an injury time out and multiple discussions with the
referee. Despite all this, credit must be given to Lobban whom I
feel played well above his ranking of 44.
The first was close in the earlier stages, until at 5-5, Golan had
accidently stepped on Lobbanís foot, who was then denied a simple
let. The decision affected Lobban who then lost 5 points in a row to
face game ball. He saves 2 of them but thatís all he manages in the
game. As he walks out, he is still unsatisfied with the decision of
the referee, who has now refused to entertain him any further.
The second started close. Both players were trading points equally.
Itís deja vu as this time, it was Golan who runs into Lobban and
denied a let when the score was at 6 a piece. The same thing
happened, the decision affected Golan, and the Scot taking advantage
of it to move up to 10-7. A not up call moved Golan to within 2
points and then another controversial no let decision against him
wins the game for the Scot.
The third and fourth games, both won by Golan, had far too many
disputes with the referee. The squash had simply gone downhill and
the protests were loud. In the end, Golan walked out the victor and
Lobban the (literally) bleeding, battered one.
"It was a really tough
match. Itís my first match in this tournament so it was hard for me
to find my shots at first. Iím happy that I played better as the
match progressed. Greg was playing really well as well today.
The referees have a difficult job. They try their best and perhaps
today is not a good day for them."
"I felt I played well. I played Borja before and it was 3-1 to him
too. But today definitely felt a lot closer. The third game was
pivotal. Had it gone my way, perhaps things could be different.
Refereeing decisions always make a difference. And I guess Borja
dealt with them better than I did today.
Olli Ousted by Young Egyptian
Finn Olli Tuominen and Egyptian youngster Fares
Dessouki took to court next in the menís court just as their
match was initially scheduled to finish.
The first two games were close, Though Tuominen was controlling most
of the rallies but in the end it was Dessouki who played the last
few critical points better, with both games finishing 11-2 to the
The rallies were of high quality as one would imagine coming from
this pair. It was a clean and fair contest, with minimal decisions,
making it a much nicer match for the spectators.
Sadly, the veteran sustained a calf injury in the beginning of the
third and credit to him, he continued to the end without conceding
"I was struggling the
two games and he was controlling it mostly. Olli is a good player
and very experienced. Iím glad to be through. Itís my first time in
Macau and I like it, itís a nice place. If I do well, Iíll come back
every year. I hope Macau will be nice to me.
I played OK in the beginning, but then I hurt my calf and I couldnít
push it. It wouldíve been nice if I could play the whole match in a
Gohar Continues to Impress
off a historic win over Nicol David and prior to that winning the
World Junior title, did not perturb the young Nouran Gohar,
who took on her senior compatriot Heba El Torky.
The first game had some high quality rallies and the scoreline
between the both players were always close, with Gohar eventually
The second game was a lot more comfortable for Gouhar, who
practically controlled most of the rallies. She drops 6 points in
the game and in the third, it got even more comfortable as she won
11-2. The manner and maturity of her game is simply astonishing and
it will be really interesting to see how she fares against second
seed Nour El Tayeb tomorrow.
"I played well today.
Itís hard to play a good friend. Sheís been my roommate for the last
few tournaments. Iím trying not to pressure myself (on her good run
of results) but just enjoy and focus fully on my game. "
"I wasnít happy with how I played and I expected to do better. She
played well today, like she has been recently. I started with a game
plan, but I didnít stick to it till the end.
"Itís my second time in Macau and Iím happy to be here again. I hope
the event goes on and grows more, maybe into a World Series event."
Max Lee Squeezes Through
Iqbal of Pakistan payed his second successive 5-setter today in
his loss against Hong Kongís top male player Max Lee, the
tournament fifth seed. It was Iqbal who drew first blood when he won
11-5 in the first game.
Lee then took the next two games, having better ends in the later
halves of both the games to go ahead 2-1. In the fourth, Lee opened
up a small lead but Iqbal eventually caught up and forced the tie
break which he won to bring it to a deciding game.
But the brutality of the fourth had done damage to Iqbal who was a
lot less competitive in the fifth. Lee, having beaten world number
one two weeks ago, inevitably has some expectations placed upon him,
and he delivers (just) today to justify his seeding.
"I played just
average. There were quite a number of mistakes. I shouldíve won the
fourth game. I pulled away and allowed him to catch up again. In the
fifth I opened up a lead. But it was a really tough game."
"Iím happy with my game. Max is a good player and he just beat the
world number one. I played the first game really well and then I had
a problem with my foot. Iím happy overall with how I did in Macau."
El Tayeb Unsettles Delia
Nour El Tayeb and Malaysian Delia Arnold, who is
riding high with a career-high ranking of 12 this month, have both
never faced each other. This was used effectively by the Egyptian in
the first two games by playing at an inconsistent pace, mixing some
hard hitting and soft touches, which troubled the Malaysian badly.
The scoreline of 11-2, 11-3 is a clear indication of how things
In the third, Arnold finally seem to have gotten the hang of it and
raced to a 5-1 lead. But this lead was cancelled out as quickly,
starting with a stroke to bring her to 5-2. Three volleys in a row
would win her the next three points to draw level.
From here on, it was point for point up till 7-all. A lucky nick on
the backhand side on the sidewall gave El Tayeb the advantage for
the first time in this game. The next three points was then gifted
to the former world number five as Arnold lost focus and gave them,
and the match away rather easily.
"Iím very happy to get
through. I knew Delia have been doing upsets lately. Itís always in
my mind and I knew I had to start strong. I was worried about her
good form and I was tensed before the match. I had to stay focused
and maybe in the end I was a little too confident. The last game was
tricky, if she won it, things couldíve been different. I am glad to
get through in three. Macau is very nice but it would be nicer if I
"I had a slow start in the first two games. I have never played her
before and I couldnít read her game well. In the third I got used to
it and was controlling it a lot more. It was just that I hit too
many loose shots in the beginning.
Urquhart Creates First Upset of the Day
Donna Urquhart served the first upset of the day when she
edged out Englandís former world number two Jenny Duncalf in
five games. The left hander started off well to take the first game
11-3 with some power hitting. Duncalf then came back to take the
second in a closely fought game, 11-7.
The third had some questionable calls by the referee in the second
half of the game. A decision that went against Duncalf, plus a few
lucky nicks from the Australian, had rattled her, and the last few
went in Urquhartís favour quickly. She came back to win the next
to force a decider, but it was Urquhart who had the final say.
"Iím happy to be
through. So stoked. Iím a little disappointed that I was
inconsistent. At times I was playing well, and at times I just
wasnít. Good thing is it means I can improve more. Jenny is a tough
opponent as you can see right to the last point. Even though I think
I can play better, Iím still just happy to go through."
"I felt patchy. I struggled to find a rhythm. I havenít played Donna
for a while so itís a little hard to read. Iím disappointed at the
end of the third. I let a bad decision get to me and I was feeling
sorry for myself. "
Hammer Of Thor Through
seed Omar Mosaad, whoís appearing in the event for the fifth
time, booked his place in the quarter-final after ousting team mate
Karim Ali Fathi. Both Egyptians, who like to hit through their
shots, provided great entertainment for the audience, which was by
this time, pretty big. The power hitting and strong volleys of the
pair were a joy to watch.
The first two games were shared. In the third, it was the big
Egyptian who slowly built up a lead from 5-3 and maintaining it up
to 7-5. He next produces two backhand drops that were tight which
Fathi could not keep the ball in play. Mosaad eventually closes out
The fifth game saw Mosaad build a lead at the start, then slowly
opening up a much bigger lead to 10-6, after which Fathi had already
"It was a bit
difficult being the first match of the tournament. Iím still not at
100% having travelled to China and back to Egypt and now back to
here again. Itís a little tough on the body. Karim is also a
talented player and we have pretty similar styles.
"We both like to strike the ball. The first game went well and I
lost some concentration in the next. The third was important as I
wanted to be up and then the fourth was smooth for me.
"Tomorrow, itíll be hard to tell. There are so many players here.
Itís not about ranking anymore. Itís about whoever plays well on the
day will win."
Adnan Gets a Little Help
pair of Nafiizwan Adnan and Leo Au are no strangers to
each other, and it clearly shows in their matchup. The familiarity
with each otherís games meant longer rallies and both these boys
showed some great athleticism in the rallies.
Au narrowly lost the first in a tie break but took the next game.
Adnan then got lucky in the end of the third as he was awarded a no
let decision against Au, which was heavily disputed. The decision
threw Auís focus away for a bit. The fourth game, like the previous,
unfortunately, ended in a decision. This time, being a stroked
"Iím happy with how I
played, especially now that Leo is in good form. He beat me 3-1 the
last time we played. I managed to put pressure on him and especially
in the fourth. Tomorrow I play Omar (Mosaad), who is in the top ten.
I will just want to play well and try my best."
"I think I was playing alright, but Nafiizwan was playing very well
today. I think the third game was crucial and especially with the
decisions in the last point, I lost a bit focus. "
16-Sep, Qualifying final
Top men's seeds through to Main Draw
Alex Wan reports
Top four seeds in the menís qualifying all justified their seeding
by beating their Asian opponents to make it into the main draw.
seed Karim Ali Fathi beat a second successive Malaysian in as
many days when he ousted Ivan Yuen, the world number 95. After going
down 4-11 and 5-11 in the first two games, Yuen conceded the match.
When contacted later, the Malaysian explained he wasnít feeling well
due to food poisoning.
The win sets the world number 42 up against fellow Egyptian and top
seed Omar Mosaad. The pair last met at the 2014 World Championships
which Mosaad won comfortably.
yesterdayís upset, Hong Kongís Wong Chi Him continued to impress.
Scotlandís Greg Lobban won their encounter in straight games,
but was kept on court for 53 minutes with the third game stretching
to 18-16. Lobban plays Spainís former world number 5 and third seed
Borja Golan tomorrow.
Rex Hedrick next took to court against James Huang, the first
player from Taiwan to join the PSA Tour. Hedrick took the lead with
a close-ish 11-8 first game, before dominating the second. Huang
managed to pull one back but ran out of steam and conceded the
fourth game, winning only two points. Hedrick drew second seed Tarek
Momen, and both have never played each other in the last two years.
last match of the menís proved to be a cracker in an all-Asian
match-up. Pakistanís top men Nasir Iqbal eventually coming
out victorious against Hong Kongís Yip Tsz Fung after a 66-minute
battle. The first two games both went to tie-break and shared
between them. Iqbal seem to have ran out of steam in the third,
losing for just two points, but came back to take the next two.
Nasir Iqbal will play yet another Hong Kong player Max Lee.
Chinappa and Urquhart upset the odds to qualify
Chinappa celebrated her 29th birthday by crashing into main draw
after beating Egyptís qualifying top seed Salma Hany Ibrahim in
three closely contested games. While it may be an upset on paper,
only four ranking places separated the pair, who both have a highest
world ranking of 19. The reward for the Indian will be a clash
against Englandís Alison Waters, the third seed.
Chan ensured there will be additional home representation in the
main draw (joining team mate Annie Au) as she beat Welsh number one
Tesni Evans in 35 minutes. The left hander will next play New
Zealandís Joelle King, who will be competing in her fourth event
since coming back from a ten-month injury layoff.
was third time unlucky for Misaki Kobayashi as she was forced
to retire with a leg injury while trailing 1-2 games against Egyptís
Heba El Torky, who also beat her at the China Open qualifying finals
two weeks ago. The loss marks the third successive time the Japanese
has lost in the qualifying finals of a $50k and above event. El
Torky will be playing Nouran Gouhar, her compatriot who is currently
in stunning form, having won the world junior crown and following it
up with a win over Nicol David in China.
the menís final match of the evening, the ladies one too went the
distance. Donna Urquhart, the left-handed former world number
13, took out Englandís Victoria Lust, having to come back from 1-2
down and will next play Jenny Duncalf in the main draw.
Draws & Results
Check out travel stories from Latasha Khan and the players
15-Sep, Qualifying round one:
Wong Chi Him stars in opening day upset
Alex Wan reports
Kongís Wong Chi Him provided the only upset of the opening
day of the Macau Squash Open as he took out Englandís Tom Ford in
four games in men's qualifying round one.
After losing a close first game 11-13, Wong, the world number 130,
bounced back to win the next three games. The win earns him a shot
in the main draw when he plays Scotlandís Greg Lobban
tomorrow, who was hardly troubled by local Hei Van Keng.
In an all-Hong Kong clash, Yip Tsz Fung defeated his much
lower ranked compatriot Tang Cheuk Yan in 26 minutes. Yip will next
play Pakistanís Nasir Iqbal, who won the last match of the
evening, defeating Jordanís 20 year old Ahmad Al-Saraj in four
in the afternoon, there were mixed fortunes for the Malaysian camp.
Ivan Yuen, who celebrates his birthday today, dropped just 11
points in his straight games victory against local junior Manuel de
compatriot Valentino Bong did not have such good fortune as he was
sent packing by qualifying top seed Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt.
The Egyptian will play the 95th ranked Malaysian Yuen, who has
dropped to his lowest ranking since breaking into the top 100.
It was certainly not a great day in the office for Spainís Carlos
Cornes, who after losing two very close games 10-12, 9-11, was
forced to retire injured in his match against Taiwanese James
Huang. The 30 year old from Taipei next faces Rex Hedrick,
the 26 year old from Melbourne, who had had to come back from a game
down before edging out Englandís Nathan Lake 9-11, 11-8, 1-1-8,
Joshana and Salma survive Hong Kong challenges
Indian campaigner Joshana Chinappa survived a major scare to
come through the first round of women's qualifying. The former
Indian number one was trailing two games down before clawing her way
back into the match to win 5-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7 against Hong
Kongís Vanessa Chu, who is ranked 40 places below.
Chinappaís opponent tomorrow will be Egyptís qualifying top seed
Salma Hany Ibrahim, who was given a tough challenge by another
Hong Kong player Lee Ka Yi, winning in four games.
Tesni Evans edged out Hong Kongís Tong Tsz-Wing 3-1 in 42
minutes. She was 2-0 up before the 23 year old Tong pulled one back.
But in the fourth Tong went out tamely, winning just two points. Her
compatriot Joey Chan had a straightforward victory against Ho
Tze Lok, winning in just under half an hour.
Heba El Torky and Japanís top player Misaki Kobayashi
will fight for a main draw slot after both won in straight games, El
Torky putting out Hong Kongís Liu Tsz-Ling and Kobayashi taking out
American veteran Latasha Khan in straight games.
Urquhart played the shortest match of the day when she easily
put out Macau junior Yeung Weng Chi in just 13 minutes with the loss
of only 5 points. The Australian will square off with Englandís
Victoria Lust, who came through a 31-minute battle with Hong
Kongís Carmen Lee. After a close first game that ended 19-17, Lust
simply cruised through the next two.
Draws & Results
Check out travel stories from Latasha Khan and the players
Macau Open 2015 Launch
The Macau Squash Open 2015 is organised by the Macau Squash
Association and sponsored by the Macau Sports Development Board (MSDB).
Present at the opening press conference were Director of Sports
Association & Training Support Division of MSDB Mr. Wu Iao Ut,
President of Macau Squash Association Kuan Vai Lam, Tournament
Director of Macau Squash Open Kenneth Lei Kam Fai, Tournament
Referee Victor Hoi and Macau players participating in the event,
Steven Liu Tsun Man, Liu Kwai Chi, Yeung Weng Chi, Van Keng Hei and
Manuel Chan Gassmann De Oliveira.
Held annually, the Macau Squash Open continues to be one of the
high-profile tournaments on the PSA World Tour that have always been
regarded as the opportunity to enhance the local squash standard and
as a platform to demonstrate the skills of both local and
The menís and womenís event is a four-star tournament with a total
prize money of US$50,000 for each category. The tournament has
attracted five men and ten women from the worldís top ten, including
defending champions Tarek Momen of Egypt and Nicol David of Malaysia
[update - David out with injury].
This year's six-day event will be held from 15 to 20 September, with
qualification scheduled on 15 and 16 September. The main draw
matches will follow on 17 to 18 September at the Bowling Center
located at Avenida da Nave Desportiva, while matches from the
semi-final onwards will be played at the glass court of Amizade
To celebrate the launch of Macau Squash Open 2015, there will be a
Macau Squash Carnival on 19 and 20 September. All Macau citizens are
entitled to enjoy free entry throughout the tournament and tickets
are distributed on a first-come first-served basis. For more
details, please call the ticketing hotline on 6579 4873.
The Macau Squash Open 2015 is sponsored by the Macau Sports
Development Board and supported by the Coca-Cola Beverage Company
David out with injury
Defending champion Nicol David has withdrawn from the Macau Open
with a calf injury. Laura Massaro becomes top seed, with Nour El
Tayeb elevated to second spot.
David's withdrawal guarantees that Raneem El Welily will stay as
world number one next month.
Draws & Results
Check out travel stories from Latasha Khan and the players
Momen and David mount Macau defences
The draw for the 2015 Macau Open has been confirmed with defending
champions Tarek Momen, the world #9 from Egypt, and
Malaysia's world #1 Nicol David returning to defend their
crowns at the Centro De Bowling in Macau.
is aiming to retain a title for the first time in his career after
becoming the fourth Egyptian in a row to taste victory in the
tournament courtesy of his triumph over compatriot Omar Mosaad
in last year's final.
Mosaad, who claimed success at this event in 2013, is seeded number
one as he looks to build on the form that saw him end the 2014/15
season with victory at the Sporta Internacional in Guatemala.
Third seeded Spaniard Borja Golan is likely to meet Mosaad in
what could be a mouth-watering semi-final match-up if both players
make it that far while Momen could do battle with fellow Egyptian
Marwan Elshorbagy as the duo bid to reach the final.
World No.1 Nicol David heads a superb looking field in the
Women's event, in a draw that also contains highly-renowned players
such as England No.1 Laura Massaro and the dangerous Egyptian
Nour El Tayeb.
David is seeded to face El Tayeb, the third seed, in the semi-final
as she bids to retain the title she won last year, while Massaro
could face fourth-seeded compatriot Alison Waters in the
Massaro may also have a difficult tie against Annie Au in the
quarter-finals should both players win their opening fixtures.
ďThe Macau Open has attracted a
number of the world's greatest players in recent years and this year
looks to be no different with the draw hosting a wealth of talent,Ē
said Tournament Promoter Kenneth Lei.
ďWith no less than 17 of the world's top 20 players taking part
across both the Men's and Women's events, we look set to see some
intense matches take place on court.Ē