Hurghada International Squash  

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Sun 29th March, Day TWO    

Six out of Eight
ain't bad ...

An Egyptian clean sweep was possible at the start of today's play, but in the event the hosts had to settle for 'only' six additional places in the main draws, taking their contingent to eleven in the men's draw and five in the women's.

Joey Chan and Dipika Pallikal were today's party-poopers (in Egyptian eyes), and they'll be hoping for repeat performances tomorrow as all the main draw players are just one win away from a trip to Hurghada.


Qualifying Finals:

Joey Chan (Hkg) bt Kanzy El Defrawy (Egy)
            11/6, 8/11, 11/4, 11/3 (38m)  plays Wee
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Olivia Blatchford (Usa)
            11/7, 9/11, 11/3, 11/8 (32m)  plays Grinham
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Nouran El Torky (Egy)
            11/7, 11/8, 11/8 (37m)  plays Duncalf
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Lucie Fialova (Cze)
            11/8, 11/4, 11/9 (25m)  plays El Weleily

Amr Swelim
(Egy) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)
             11/4, 11/9, 9/11, 11/4 (32m) plays Shabana
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
              8/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (65m) plays Gaultier
Mohammed Abbas (Egy) bt Mazen Gamal (Egy)
             11/6, 11/6, 8/11, 11/5 (49m) plays Shorbagy
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)
  11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (40m) plays Darwish

Joey Chan (Hkg) bt Kanzy El Defrawy (Egy)
                11/6, 8/11, 11/4, 11/3 (38m)

Joey too strong for now ...                 Steve

Kanzey El Defrawy is where Joey Chan was a few years ago - an up and coming junior playing in qualifying events to get experience at this level. It's not surprising that Joey, now 20, had too much courtcraft and experience in the end, but Kanzey gave a good account of herself, matching Joey all the ay for two games.

Once the Hong Kong player had worked out what she needed to do though, she did it very effectively, and imposed her own rhythm to win the last two games fairly comfortably.

Kanzey is some prospect though, she'll only get stronger, and ally that to her already impressive set of shots and she'll soon be qualifying for this class of event, just like Joey ...

"I played too much at the front at the start of the match, too many boasts which were giving her the chance to run and go for it. She plays very well for her age, her length is tight and she has a quick swing that keeps you guessing where the ball is going.

"From the third I started to play more lobs, and kept her pinned in the back corners when I could, trying to control her.

"I'm satisfied with my match, I played pretty well and I'm happy to qualify for the main draw ..."

"I think I played ok, I don't know why I was hitting too many tins. But I won so it's okay, I think she had a great improvement in her squash. Happy to qualify and looking forward for my match tomorrow."

Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Nouran El Torky (Egy)
                    11/7, 11/8, 11/8 (37m)

Dipika on form                                        Marwan

They haven't played before, they both started very nervous, they were hitting the tin a lot. First game was up and down at the beginning, they weren't patient at the start. In the second game Nouran started with too many mistakes, which gave the advantage to Dipika to take the lead and getting more confident.

When she was leading, she's always losing her concentration and that's what happened in the third and second as well. But at the end of each game Dipika was able to win it, and she finished the match with a great volley drop shot.

So Dips is the first player to qualify, she will play tomorrow first round in the stadium, one step from the Hurghada for her.

"I am not happy with my game today, I wanted to play better than that, I did too many errors in the crucial points, I didn't take any volleys which was going to help me a lot in my game.

"Hopefully I can play better next time when I play her.

Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Olivia Blatchford (Usa)
            11/7, 9/11, 11/3, 11/8 (32m)

Nour nicks it                                  Steve

These two are old foes, even at their tender age, and their matches are always tense, and entertaining. Olivia, having been in Egypt for ten days already was well prepared, and matched Nour for the first two games. The American seems to have added a little more power to her game, and was able to keep Nour under control and more at the back than the Egyptian would like.

But Nour thrives on chasing things down, and as Olivia's length shortened in the third Nour picked up the pace and started to play her usual run and hit game that is so hard to counter as she took the third fairly comfortably.

But it was only like that for one game, Olivia tightened up again and it was point for point in the fourth. In the end Nour won it, hitting a stupendous backhand crosscourt volley into the nick to reach match ball, and breathing a sigh of relief as Olivia put an easy one into the tin on the next point.

It could have different though, it could so easily have been different ...

"She's been my opponent since we were ten and she won the last time we played so I'm happy to get my revenge.

"It took me a while to get into my rhythm, I'm not sure why, but thank God I managed to hit that nick at the end, it was getting very close.

"Las year in this tournament was my best ever, making the quarter-finals, so I'm really happy to qualify again. There's no pressure on me now, I'll just go out and play my hardest tomorrow ..."

Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Lucie Fialova (Cze)
            11/8, 11/4, 11/9 (25m)

Heba in control...                        Marwan

Heba is playing well until now, she was controlling most of the match today with the right tactic, she was trying to slow the pace as she could, because if she played at high pace Lucie is better at that game.

Lucie was losing her concentration a lot today, she couldn't move at the front of the court... Heba has qualified now to the main draw so she did better than last year....

"I think I played the right game, I was slowing the pace and that was the right game to play against Lucie, anyway I am happy to qualify and looking forward for my match tomorrow."

Heba El Torky

Amr Swelim (Egy) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)
             11/4, 11/9, 9/11, 11/4 (32m

Experience tells ...                    Steve

At 24 you'd hardly call him one of the elder statesmen of Egyptian squash, but Amr Swelim had a touch more experience that his young opponent today, who couldn't quite reach the standards of yesterday when he took qualifying top seed Tom Richards to the very limit.

Swelim opened sharply and took the first game handily enough, then pulled back an early deficit to double his lead. He was behind in the third too, but this time couldn't quite make the comeback from 6/9, but made no mistake in the fourth as he opened up a 6/0 lead which effectively sealed the match.

"I played ok in the first two, I felt was was probably a bit tired from yesterday's match, but he recovered and started to play a fast game which took me a little by surprise.

I lost confidence in the third, but managed to get back in control in the fourth. He's a good up and coming prospect though.

"All the qualifiers have hard matches in the main draw, so I don't mind who I play, I'm just glad to be there ..."

Mohammed Abbas (Egy) bt Mazen Gamal (Egy)
             11/6, 11/6, 8/11, 11/5 (49m)

Abbas mainly in control ...      Marwan

Mohamed Abbas just came back from an injury, his leg is getting better day by day, which makes him happy. He has qualified today and will be dangerous for any player in the main draw.

Mazen was a bit tired from yesterday's match against Rob Sutherland which he won in five games which was affecting him today. Abbas was completely in control in the first two games, but he wasn't concentrating all the match because of lack of matches through his injury, his confidence is getting better as well.

In the third game Mazen was leading at the beggining of the game, and he was really concentrating and he was able to win that game. But in the last game Abbas concentrated again and came back to win the match and to qualify, and lets see who he is playing tomorrow...

"As I said yesterday I am not expecting anything from this tournament, I am just trying to play, my leg is getting better day by day which makes me happy. My concentration on the game wasn't 100% because of lack of matches, I need to be mentally better than that.. hopefully my leg will be fine and this is the most important thing for me now."

"He played very well, he is a very talented player, but on the other hand I started very loose underestimating his injury. I began to understand him at the third game but maybe It was a bit late.

"Overall I am happy with my performance this month and thanks to my brothers so much and to my coach Mohamed Reda ..."

Mazen Gamal

Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
              8/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (65m)

Reda still reigns                          Steve

This was another case of a good old 'un beating a good young 'un - age being relative of course as the two products of the Egyptian production line clashed in the lon gest match of the day.

Reda was BJO U17 champion in 2006, Gawad followed in his footsteps in 2008, and again it was the older player who just had the edge after a shaky start.

"It's happened in the last few matches that I played bad in the first game, I must do something about that, although he played very well in that game.

"He was moving me around and playing tighter than me, so I had to try to mix up the pace and play more on the backhand as his forehand is very strong, then take my chances when they came, putting in a drop. I had to play a very basic game today.

"I'm pleased to get to the Hurghada main draw for the first time, and I hope not to play Darwish!"

Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Robbie Temple (Eng)
  11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (40m)

Robbie not                                   Marwan
patient enough...

He wasn't patient enough to win today, you need to be patient when you play against the fastest man in squash, Omar Abd El Aziz, who was getting to every ball.

The court is so fast, hard to play in that court. Abd El Aziz had a good start in each game, which was helping him a lot in the rest of the game. Robbie didn't play his best, and I thought the match would be tougher than that, e did too many errors.

In the third game Abd El Aziz was leading 6/2 then Robbie came back to 7/6 with some good shots but Abd El Aziz managed to win that game at the end, and he qualified again to the main draw.

"The court is so fast, it's so different. I was hitting lots of good shots and I was trying too keep him at the back as I can. I managed a good start on each game and hopefully I will get a good draw."

"I didn't play well, I don't know what happened. I couldn't move today and I was seeing the ball too late. I was a bit slow today. I couldn't make the pressure on him. I am very disappointed, I thought I would play much better..."

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