Day SIX in Hull ...                                  open reports in new window
Round TWO - men's bottom half, women's top half:

It was another good day for Egypt in Hull as Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour progressed to the men's quarter-finals, while Omneya Abdel Kawy edged past sixth seed Camille Serme to reach the women's last eight.

Elsewhere the day started and ended with English wins for Alison Waters and James Willstrop, while world number ones Gregory Gaultier and Nicol David also progressed to Friday's quarter-finals.

[5] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Tesni Evans (Wal)                            11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (31m)
[4] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 Joshana Chinappa (Ind)                     11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1 (43m)
[11] Omneya A Kawy (Egy) 3-2 [6] Camille Serme (Fra) 8-11 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 (62m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 [16] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)                    11-6, 13-11, 11-4 (40m)

[7] Amr Shabana (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Grťgoire Marche (Fra)            11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (55m)
[2] Grťgory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)            11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (48m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)           9-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-4 (51m)
[5] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1 Omar Mosaad (Egy)               11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 (90m)
  

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Iíve very happy with my tournament overall, Dipika is such a great player, and I was delighted to get a win there. Especially with the fact I hold my nerves, and that after having so many match balls, I still managed to win. It was very important for me.

Today, Iím happy with my pace, but I probably gave her too much balls on her forehand volley, she hit some great shots from there that I didnít have to crosscourt. But whatever I was going to do, she is such an experience/talented player, she was going to counteract on it.

But Iím very happy with the way I played.

[5] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Tesni Evans (Wal) 
                            11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (31m)

Waters through,
but Tesni makes her mark


ďI didnít take her lightlyĒ, said Ali at the end of the match to former player Vanessa Atkinson, MC.

And you know what, she was bleeping right not too!

I said it before, and Iím saying it again, world watch out, Tesni is coming, and Iím not sure they are ready for her.

Feisty, combative, fast (even faster since she lost the baby fat) and aggressive when she needs too, reading the game pretty well thank you, and hitting excellent accurate long drives.

She now needs a little more experience on the glass court. And sheíll be one to watch. Mind my words.

"After that first round win, I knew I couldn't take her lightly.

"This is a very special tournament - I remember going to see it when I was about ten. I would really like to get my hands on the trophy.

"I've always done well in the Nationals - so it would be nice now to get this international title."

[4] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 Joshna Chinappa (Ind)
                      11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1 (43m)

Joelle wins quick

A ďwin quick, lose quickĒ of a game, both girl loving to hit the ball in the front corner, not using the back of the court much.

In the third, Joelle seemed to relax a bit, slowing down the pace a bit, and losing control of the T. That was perfect for her opponent who rushed to the front and punished Joelle beautifully.

Excellent reaction from the NZ girl in the 4th, 5m for a 11/1 squash lesson.

Overall, good and fair match, shame that Joshana doesnít use her excellent length to backup her superb attacking game more often. She would be lethalÖ



When I first entered the British Junior Open, Joshna won it. She was two years old than me, and I always looked up to her, and consider her a top player.

So I knew I had to play my best squash, otherwise she would destroy me.

In the 3rd, I was trying to get my second wind, which I got in the 4th. I just come off the pace a bit, but once Iím stepped on it again, I was very happy with the way I played in the 4th.

Against Alison, weíve got a bit of the same game really, we like to hit the ball short, and take the ball early.

It will be all about who gets in front first and controls the T. Iíll have to play my best squash, and we will see what happensÖ


Omneya slams a second match ball serve into the nick



Last time we played, she beat me in Chicago, and if I was not playing too badly at the start of the match, I think I was playing better and better as the match unfolded, and my shots worked better and better, as the ball got deader.

Iím not sure why she was nervous, maybe the fact that I was very relaxed? Last time we played, yes she won but I was playing well still, so maybe the pressure was big on her? I could see she was not comfortable. Maybe because normally, I donít start well, whereas this time, I did. Also, I noticed she has shots she uses a lot and work well, but today, she didnít play them.

That shot on match ball 11/10 for Camille, I thought about it, and took the decision to go for it. It was all or nothing. Thank God it went it, but Iím not doing that again, well, I donít think I will anyway!!!

Yes, thatís the trick, to read the game and move before she hits the ball. Maybe because of my weight, I developed my brain and the reading of the game more than other girls? And now, my movement is better, since Iíve lost some weight. Iím working now on a nutritional program, and I also changed my fitness routine. Iím lucky, because my body adapts very quickly to changes, so, my body is going to get even better hopefully.

Tomorrow, quarters. Iím going to enjoy it, happy to get there, no pressureÖ

[11] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-2 [6] Camille Serme (Fra)                      8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 (62m)

OMNEYA, ABSOLUTELY SUPERB

What a performance from the 28 years old, that came overcame several injuries to come back to her best level. Down to 13 (not bad though), she used to be number 4 in the world. And today, Iím not afraid to say thatís the level she played at.

She was helped by a very nervous Camille. I know my compatriot enough to see when she is not playing at her full potential. Was she unconsciously trying to save energy for tomorrow quarters?

Was she just nervous playing Omneya, as she knows how lethal her game is? Not sure. Only thing I know: Despite taking the first two games Ė very close, 8 and 9, Camille never looked comfortable or at ease on there. And all credit to Omneya who made pretty sure she never settled in the match.

Camille made a lot of errors during this match, the highest, 6 in the third. Thatís a lot. It was due to her nervousness, but also to the high pressure that Omneya was applying throughout by retrieving soooo well. I am truly amazed, always was, by how fast Omneya manages to be there where the ball is.

Simple.

She is such a clever lady, she reads the game so well, she starts going onto the shot as the body of her opponent tells her where she is going it the ball. And in the same token, she will surprise you and wrong foot you, because she knows where you are going, and zoom, she sends the ball away fom you. And thatís what she kept doing to Camille the whole match. Pressure, forcing Camille to play lower and lower shots. Pressure preventing Camille to move freely as she was always a bit on the backfoot.

Lethal combination.

Camille took the first two, but only just. Lost the 3rd badly, 6/0, 10/4, even if she comes back at the end, 11/6. I could hear in Philippe Signoretís voice his inquiťtude, his worry. He knew how Camille was feeling. You could hear itÖ

The fourth is better from the Frenchgirl point of view. She forces a few errors out of Omneya, that looks a bit tired. And itís close the whole way, 3/3, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7.

But at the end of the game, again, Omneya moves superbly on her opponentís shot and finds some lovely winners, 10/8, to finally level it at 2/2, 11/9 on a stroke that looked a bit harsh (reviewed and confirmed).

Fifth game is Homeric. 4/1 for Camille, surely, the Egyptian lady is now tired and gone. She comes back 4/3. Again Cam head off with the score, 6/3, 7/4. A few nervous shots from the French, Omneya feels it and go for it. 8/8, 9/9.

Camille gets her first match ball, saved on a return of serve, 10/10. A backhand volley nick, and hop, another match ball for Cam, 11/10. Omneya plays the bolder nick you ever can play at such a crucial time (ďwho plays that kind of shotsĒ asks Vanessa, ďShabana and Ramy AshourĒ she smiles, a SquashTV hotshot for sure. 12/12.

A stroke gets Omneya match ball. And a quick tin from Camille makes it official.

Omneya is in the quarters of the British Open for the third time and the second year in a row.
 

[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 [16] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)
                      11-6, 13-11, 11-4 (40m)

Nicol makes Perry pay in the end

Four-time British Open champion Nicol David made it through to the quarter-finals, but was given a really good test by birthday girl Sarah-Jane Perry, for two games anyway.

The young Englishwoman held her own with her illustrious opponent through to 6-all in the first, but then succumbed to s series of errors, mostly at the end of patien rallies that David was crafting.

So, 11-6 to David and at 6-1 in the second it looked as if the end might come quickly, but to her credit Perry stopped fighting the pace , learned to live with it instead, and clawed her way back into contention, forcing a few errors out of David along the way.

She levelled at 7-all, went on to lead 9-7 and saw two game balls go begging - the first of which sheíll have nightmares about missing - before David squeezed home 13-11.

And that was that. David quickly went 6-0 up in he third, and with Perry breathing heavily and beginning to struggle to get to relatively simple balls, David closed it out 11-4 in 40 minutes.
 

No doubt she played really well, plus she was playing in England, and the crowd was very supportive, it was a great match.

It was the first time to play her, so itís was a question of getting used to her shot selections, she varies her shots a lot, and has got very quick hands. Once I knew what she was doing, which shots she was using, I adapted the space to that, and I got a bit more comfortable.

First time on the glass court, felt ok, only when you start, and you are not as accurate you should be, it can clip the side wall. But after that, really felt good on there. I just had to make sure she knew I was there, and I just kept going. Fine tuning, but overall, very happy to be in the quarters.



Itís tough, he keeps coming back!!!!

I knew he is a good mover and has sweet hands

I had a game plan and I thought it would be enough, that he would eventually get tired and fold, but in the 2nd, I allowed him to dictate the game. The court is warmer, and I got carried away hitting the ball too hard, and got sucked in his game plan. I tried and came back at the end, but it was too late.

Iím very lucky in the 4th, at 5/3, I get that lucky shot, that gives me a bit of a cushion! Yes, very lucky, and you are never too old to be lucky, I take that any day!

Itís been a nice season, Iím enjoying the fact I can compete. Tomorrow, happy to be back in the quarters hereÖ


[7] Amr Shabana (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Grťgoire Marche (Fra)                  11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (55m)

FREE FLOWING AND FAIRÖ

This was a very pleasant squash indeed.

It took about a game for Little Greg to get used to the pace of the 4 times world champion. Are you surprised?? Iím not! The Frenchman still fought hard 10m to try and get his head round what Shabanaís wrist was all about!

But slowly, he managed to get the rallies to last a bit longer, and sticking to the score pretty well, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, took an advantage 8/5, only to be caught up again, 8/8, and gave it a big push, simply managing to return the un-returnable really, putting Shabana under huge pressure, and finally taking the game fully deserved I have to say, 11/9.

Nice mix of pace for my compatriot, squeezing on the way 4 unforced errors out of the Godfather. That was the longest game, 17m.

But after that, Shabana learned the lesson, and started to expect the ball to come back, and was ready for it. Still, great rallies, fully enjoyed it, especially as the refs had little work to do Ė always appreciated! 6/1 in the third, 11/4 in 11m, and 5/0, 7/3, 10/4 match ball

A little bit of ďI won the point and match I can relax nowĒ from Shabana, that allowed us to enjoy a few more ďrun and save Ē from Grťgoire, but the Egyptian Legend takes the game 11/6 to set up a quarter with another French Greg ...
 

[2] Grťgory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Miguel Rodriguez(Col)
                           11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (48m)

Greg keeps Miguel in check

World number one Gregory Gaultier moved into the quarter-finals with a straight-game win over Colombiaís Miguel Angel Rodriguez that will leave the Frenchman suitably fresh for tomorrowís enticing matchup with Shabana.

Rodriguez loves a fast, frantic pace, but Gaultier was abvle to deny his opponent the opportunityto play trhat sort of game. It was precice, patient squash from Gaultier kept a lid on his opponent's exuberant instincts very effectively.

Gaultier started out well, converting a 4-0 lead to take the first game 11-3, then pulled clear from 6-all in the second with Rodriguez still not able to develop any madcap rallies which he, and no doubt the crowd, would have loved.

He made one fruitless dive towards the end of the game, but thatís all - even when the Columbian let a serve come off the back wall between his legs before hitting it, Gaultier responded to his own error by merely quizzing the referees "is that allowed," before getting back down to business.

Gaultier kept his control in the third, moving from 3-1 to 7-3 then 9-4 and the end looked nigh.

Four unforced errors in a row brought grimaces to the Frenchmanís face as he dropped his racket in disgust, and a glimmer of hope to his opponent.

At 9-8 Rodriguez put a simple drive out for two match balls, then Gaultier amazingly tinned again. No mistakes second time around though as he fired in a short kill to slam that lid firmly shut.



He improved an immense lot since he is training with David Palmer. He is known for his retrieval skills, but when he is playing fast, he is hard to beat, plus he is playing a much more tighter game that he used to. Heís got some weird reversed shots at well that make it hard to make a point!!

I was confident in the first game, but maybe I became a bit too passive after that. I think that the day off didnít help actually, having a day off after 2 or 3 rounds would make more sense maybe. I didnít practice yesterday to try and keep a certain freshness more mentally than anything else, maybe I shouldnít have.

Yes, getting married in July, so many things to think about. So yes itís good, because it can take your mind off squash, but also, as weíve been working on it for the past 6 months, and that things just donít all go the way you want them to, it can distract you from whatís important. But actually, Iím truly happy in my life and now, whatís paramount for me is the happiness of my family. The rest is not that important anymoreÖ

Tomorrow, Shabana. Iíll have to get my tactic right. You know, the conditions vary a lot. Two days ago, I could play very fast on there because it was cold. Whereas today it was very warm, and I just did what I could on the day. So today, Shabana did probably the same, he did what he had to do, and maybe he couldnít play his shots as well as he would like, because of the conditions. And donít be fooled.

Maybe today Shabana didnít play as well as he can but tomorrow, he can play the best match of his life! Sometimes, we just adapt to the conditions, the opponent, and we keep the best of when we truly need to. Last time we played, he beat me in New York, so looking forward that match, and happy to get through fairly freshÖ

I think I should have varied my game a bit more, I was keeping on his forehand a lot, sometimes you are in a mindset, and donít realise you can change your tacticÖ

I always have great battles with LJ, maybe tonight it was just a bit less of a battle, I knew what I was doing, I was more organised. He was very sharp, and very relaxed, thatís something Iím working on.

You know, I always have the same feeling in the earlier rounds. Like I need to be more prepared, because you have not yet take your habits on the court, on the conditions, on the atmosphere, on the crowd, you havenít felt the energy yet. When you get to the final, you have like absorbed all those elements. But sometimes in the first rounds, you can go down energy wise. So you are a bit more weary.

And itís all about making sure that you donít put too much pressure on yourself, that fear not to live up to the occasion. For me, itís not about the rankings, or the title, or this or that. No, for me, itís all about the expectation I have of myself. Not anything or anybody else than my own. So you need to stay vigilant, and itís a constant battle with yourselfÖ

Tomorrow, either Mosaad or James, two big guys, wonít be able to see much of the ball either way!!!! No, with James Ė if itís him Iím playing, we had some amazing matches, we know what we are doing on court, it should be a great match.

I have been pushing my body, and pushing and pushing, since Iím 9 years old, and Iím now 26. But I think my body is more one of a 34, 35.

But Iíll keep squeezing everything I can for my love of squash, as long as I can, and just keep goingÖ

[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
                          9-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-4 (51m)

LJ SO SHARP

I was impressed by the level of squash accuracy, sharpness and positivity that came out of LJís racquet and squash today. He truly took Ramy to the throat in the first and third game, very few people can achieve that.

First game, strangely enough, Ramy takes a good start. I say strangely because Ramy, like his adviser Thierry Lincou, is not the fastest to get out of the blocks bless him. He normally take three quarters of a game to a full game to find his marks on the court, feel his opponent, the conditions.

Today, none of that, well, not for the first 5 points, 4/1 Ramy. Then the normal scenario, looking for his marks while LJ has found them already! LJ is blistering his shots wonderful well, finding great drives, hitting his targets at the front and basically outplaying Ramy. Six points in a row,7/4.

Ramy sort of gets more positive, still canít find his length, but scores 4 points from 5/9 down to equalise 9/9. But like I said, LJ is on something verrrrry strong, and just wins the two next points beautifully, 11/9 in 13.

Ramy doesnít like it a bit. 11/1 in 5 minutes in the second. Ca, cíest fait, as we say in French. Check.

The third is bleeping crucial. Very close indeed, even if Ramy dominates the first half of it, still hardly touching the backwall and playing everything on LJís forehand, his strength. Oh well. Ramy up 3/1 then 5/3. But JL has found his second wind. 5/5. 6/6. 7/7. Ah, LJ tries to escape, 9/7, but he is caught up again, 9/9. A no let and a tin later, Ramy is up 2 game to one. Game was 17m.

Ramy is now in full control, still not much length, and has finally switched to LJís backhand. The beginning of the game is very disputed, 1/1, 2/2, but the Dutch is tired, and with reason, as he made an awful lot of work retrieving Ramyís attacks for 4 games. Ramy takes the 4th in 8 minutes, 11/4.

Solid performance from LJ, excellent response from Ramy. Bring on James/Mosaad..

[5] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1 Omar Mosaad (Egy)
          11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 (90m)

I DIDNíT SEE IT

Letís be frank. I was sitting front row left, and I didnít see what James talks about. Yes, I saw a few blocks here or there, but truly nothing more (rather less) than I see on other players/matches. And yes, one or two blocks got a no let. Thatís bad. But nothing that I saw shocked me.

What I saw was two big guys, with tremendous physical abilities, James, on top of his stunning short game, retrieving ďdu feu de DieuĒ, ďamazingly wellĒ, and thatís the key to the match as so often with Jamesí, while Omar twisted and turned him as much as he could with tremendous hitting and drop shots.

I also saw James very annoyed, which doesnít look like him. So I have to assume something went on out there. But I honestly didnít see it.

Rewind.

James squeezed out the first in 14 minutes, 11/5. That shows you how hard they both worked. And it looked like it was going to be a quick affair.

Well, quick is not the term appropriate for what was to follow! 37 minutes second game, lots of decisions, James speeding up the pace compared to the first game (he was playing a slow and accurate squash that worked for a while, but ended up not putting enough pressure on Mosaad, who then had time to adjust his killing shots).

To describe the game, the word furious comes to mind. James is not happy with Mosaad asking for lets, Mosaad is unhappy with James being in the way, the Egyptian also a bit edgy as he break 3 strings in a single game. Itís all happening, and to make a story short (itís 1.30 am, sorry, Iím knackered), Mosaad gets 2 game balls at 10/8, but itís James that takes the cake on his second game ball.

Pfew. Itís now past 11pm, surely Omar is going to fold and call a cab. Yeah right. He is jumping up and down, bursting with energy, while James is dropping fast. The Englishman will make 5 errors in that game only.

To give you an idea of the level of the squash up to there, he made none in the 37m game, while Omar did 1! But as ever, James digs in and itís neck to neck from the first point to 9/9. Tin for James, then a stroke for the Egyptian, 11/9. We have been playing for over 75 minutes for three games.

James will finally get back the control of the T in the 4th, 9/2 then 11/4, but Omar doesnít die quietly, heíll still make James work tremendously hard for each point. But after 13m of intense work, James finally is in the quarters.

I didnít like the way I played tonight, this is not the kind of squash I want to play.

There are subtleties that very few people can see that Mosaad does on court. Even for squash experts itís difficult, even Malcolm couldnít see it. Itís very subtle, a little hip movement here or there, the way he moves, the way he asks for things. Iím not expecting people to see it. Itís not just me, a lot of players are unhappy with his movement. Iím not trying to make a fuss, Iím just trying to be honest.

Now, he is a very nice guy, and Iím not saying Iím an angel. Far from it. His manners on court tonight were much better than mine, Malc was not happy with me, and he was right not to be. I shouldnít have let my emotions get over me like that. I was speaking too much, and Iím not happy with my performance. And I know that in the past, other players have said the same about me.

And Iím not saying itís the Refs fault either. Tonight, when I did appeal, I realised that I was wrong, and that their decision was the good one. And when the video ref was turning the decision against me, I realise they were right too.

As for Ramy tomorrow, we have the greatest respect for each other, we always have huge battles, and we always seem to play well against each other. So, it should be a great match.



It was a great match, we played very well, we did our best. And you know, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I am so sorry to read what Willstrop said, because that is not the way things were!!! You can see it in the referees decisions, the reviews and I think I did a great job.

Thanks everyone for supporting me.

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