TODAY in Kuwait
Fram in Kuwait, Steve in Manchester ...
En Bref #2
Fri 29th, Day TWO
Qadsia Club, from 12.00:
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/9, 13/11, 11/2
 Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz
Green Island, from 18.00:
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
11/4, 11/4 (33m)
 Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
6/11, 11/5, 11/5 (42m)
 Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt [Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (30m)
 Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)
Session One at Qadsia Club
 Mohamed El
Shorbagy (Egy) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/9, 13/11, 11/2
ALL OVER THE PLACE…
I didn’t see Mohamed play for a while now, but this introductory
match will not stay in my memory as one of his best performance.
Sorry, but all over the place he was in his head, he was
complaining that he could hear the people talking while he was
playing, which proves how not focused he was….
I guess that he is a bit looking for his game at the moment, and
he wants to win quite badly. Meaning, a bit too much pressure on
himself, trying to finish the point too early, instead of
accepting the rally. So, of course, as he went for cheap shots
while he was ahead, he quite logically found the tin, again and
again, which meant losing his lead every time. But still, he
managed to clinch the first two games, with stunning winners
right at the end…
Beng Hee was fighting well today, there was nothing between the
players for most of the two games. And the Malaysian changed his
game in the second, trying to speed up the pace and hit harder.
It nearly worked, but when Mohamed took that crucial second game
on a “lucky” – the more I practice, the luckier I get – bounce
off the left side wall, we could see that Beng Hee had used all
the fuel he had in the tank. The Egyptian just finished the job
in the third within minutes…
thought I played well, it’s been a long time since I’ve played
that well in a first match of a tournament. Still I think I had
a poor concentration at times, and I let a few good leads go,
6/1 in the 1st, 8/3 in the second, and against as experienced as
Beng Hee, I shouldn’t have done it. The two games could have
gone either way, and I was very lucky to get those games…
"If I play James tomorrow, I’ll be enjoying playing against him,
the last time I did was in India, last December. I’ll know his
game better, but on the other end, he’ll know mine too! But I’ll
try to play better than I did today, and use what I’ve learned
from last time."
"I think I was a bit unlucky, I needed at least one game,
"I wish I didn’t have that sandwich a couple of
days ago, I had food poisoning, which is no excuse, but against
Shorbagy, you need to be at your top physically.
"And I feel that today, especially in the end, my body let me
down a bit….
"I wish that he would take a bit less space when he plays, he is
such a good player that he doesn’t require that much space to
put the point away.
"Anyway, the best player won today…"
with the loss. I felt like I was in the games but couldn't win
any. Wael is very experienced and he is tough to play. Hopefully
I can learn from this and come back stronger."
 Wael El Hindi
(Egy) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
WAEL IN CONTROL
guys, missed the first game. What I could see after that was a
Saurav that never gave up, who tried the best he could, run like
a lunatic, found some stunning attacks, and fought hard,
especially in the 3rd, when all appeared lost. He kept fighting
till the last ball, and I’m sure the Egyptian was relieved not
to lose that third.
In passing, I was impressed by Wael’s concentration. He never
let his mind wonder, which can happen to him sometimes, leading
him to lose one or two games to finally win in 5. None of that
it was good today, I tried tokeep my focus. These first round
matches are always the toughest, because you are trying to get
used to the conditions, to the court.
"Today, I tried and stayed positive, and make things go my way
than his way!!!! Good thing a 3/0, I’ll be fresh for tomorrow,
and looking forward to play on the glass court."
 Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
The first two games were pretty straight forward, with an Abbas
as dangerous as ever with a racquet, finding those lovely drop
shots so few people in the world play as well. But physically,
mentally, Azlan was all over him. Playing faster, in front of
him, the Malaysian was in control.
Well, till the third, when the Egyptian, maybe getting used to
the pace, was stopping to find the tin at the end of long
rallies, again and again. The match became tighter, when
suddenly, at 5/3, Abbas clipped that tin one more time. And
within a second, had broke his racquet on his knee!!!! I hardly
ever saw that done that quickly, and that strongly!
Of course, got a conduct stroke for that one, 7/3 we were. And
right at the same time, Azlan goes “Aie, Aie, Aie, my knee!”.
Out of nowhere, his knee was hurting like hell, no fall,
nothing. It was all happening, racquet, knee…
Abbas gave it a big push, Alzan hang in there like a man lost on
a little piece of wood in the middle of the ocean. And made it
to the harbour safely.
Shame to see Abbas go out so quickly, but lovely to see Azlan so
strong mentally today, as I didn’t see him for around 18months
now. Always a great player to have around on the tour….
"I have my ITband
rather tight, but I think I’ll be alright. I just don’t know
"Abbas was the hardest qualifier I could have got really…
"I got a good start in the first two, it was 1/1, 2/2, and then,
I ran away. In the 3rd, I tried to make it as hard physically
as I could, and it was working fine, till that injury occurred
at 7/3. I completely lost my concentration, and mentally, I was
afraid to rally it up.
"At the end, just got lucky, that backhand drop shot at 10/8 to
get match ball, and at 9/10, he tins a crosscourt drop.
"I had a bad season last year, dropped out of the top 16, and
decided it would be good for me to win a few smaller
tournaments. This year, I’ve been playing fine, and I’m enjoying
playing injury free, touch wood! And to be honest, I’ve probably
been out of the Super Series for as long as you, Fram!!!!"
"I’m hitting well the ball, but the body is still not perfect,
I’m recovering from planta fascia trouble, it’s getting better,
but not quite there yet. But next tournament, I should be fine.
"LJ was controlling the T too well today, he played better, much
better than me, and was concentrated from the first rally…"
 Laurens Jan
Anjema (Ned) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz
A BIT ONESIDED…
Although those two players gave their 100%, I could see that LJ
was a man with a mission. His level of game has come up a notch
I feel, since I haven’t seen him. For me, he was always, how can
I say, nearly there. Strong physically, determined, clever
player, but his attacks were lacking sharpness.
Now I feel he is there.
He attacks much more than he used to, or, let me put it another
way, his short game is much more dangerous than it used to be.
Allied with his physical power, his court coverage, and his
volleying ability, I trust he may cause a few upset pretty soon,
if he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself.
Omar was so quiet today, only went intense against a decision
once, as in, VERY quiet bless him. We could see he was still a
bit struggling on the movement level, and the furious
pace/volleying that LJ put him under surely didn’t help…
are right, Fram, I think I hardly did anything wrong today. Last
week, I lost in the first round, and some things I’ve been
working with Lucas didn’t work too well. It was an upset really,
but I learned a lot from it.
Today was a good example of how I can play, of how I should play
all the time. And sorry for the cliché, but it’s really great to
win your first round match, and to do it 3/0. It will give me
the confidence for the rest of the year!!!!!
Session Two at Green Island
James Willstrop (Eng) bt
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (33m)
If Aamir didn’t last more than two games fitness wise, he still
worked extremely hard, following James point by point, and
sustaining long rallies with the Englishman, deserving fully his
Speedy Gonzales nickname…
But James’ shot just went in like knife in warm butter, and even
if Aamir found some lovely shots and counter attacks, the
Englishman had all the answers tonight.
To be noted that at the start of the 3rd, when he was still
fighting hard to come back in the game, Aamir’s drop shot was
called good, but he fairly gave it back. Doesn’t happen often
enough not to be mentioned….
fitness is not as good as it’s been. I was injured at the
beginning of the year, and against those top players, it’s just
not good enough. I have to work on that…
thought I played pretty well. Everybody is going on about
getting through the first round, which is not as simple as that
these days, because the level in PSA is so high, you’ve got to
find your rhythm…
"It was pretty hot and warm on there, the court was very bouncy
for a glass court that we normally expect to be more dead than a
"He is fast, and as he picks up a lot, I had to make sure that my
shots were really accurate – well, you can say that for every
game I guess. And although he is not a real attacker player, he
will surprise you once in a while, by attacking a serve, when
you don’t expect it. It’s a good tool to have when you are a
squash player, that occasional bounce of attack….
"After the operation I had last year, it takes a lot of time to
get the confidence back. And you keep on having treatments, and
making the adequate exercises, to make sure you get that ankle
strong, and to allow your body to play that so demanding sport
"Now, going to go to the official function, which is the duty of
a squash player, and as I don’t have a full 24h, getting as much
sleep and refuelling as I can..
"Strange existence of ours really…"
 Karim Darwish (Egy)
bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
6/11, 11/5, 11/5 (42m)
MARK IS NOW EGYPTIAN
happened???? I go away for 10 months, and Mark changes his
The Hungarian just was stupendously good tonight, and attacked
every ball under the sun. Karim had all
the trouble in the world to shake him off. In the 1st already,
the Egyptian was under a lot of pressure, 7/7, but the energy
left to put Karim away from the ball was just a bit too much for
But in the second, Karim tried too much, wanting to finish this
off quickly. Big mistake. Out of nowhere, came some amazing
shots from Mark racquet’s, I mean, really stunning!!!!!
Of course, of course, the former world number one reassessed,
analysed his opponent’s game like a computer does, and found a
better way to handle his shots. But come on, Mark will be
DELIGHTED with the improvement he’s made in his game…
really well tonight, he had nothing to lose. He normally runs a
lot and takes the ball to the back, but tonight, he went for
shots, and in the warm conditions tonight on there, it put me
under a lot of pressure.
"In the second game, my shots were pretty short, I went for too
much too early, but in the third, I got my length back, and took
the control back."
"I’ve been training this summer for the first time ever away
from home, and I worked for a month with Greg Gaultier, down in
Aix en Provence. And that made all the difference really.
"I’m also much more organised with my training now. You know,
I’m 26, and I’ve got to make it soon!!!!
"Greg is a role model for me, and a good friend too. I hope I
will keep training with him, his game is so good for me to train
with. That made the difference tonight I think."
 Thierry Lincou
(Fra) bt [Q] Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (30m)
MOHAMED ALI NOT AT HIS BEST
Egyptian who is improving every tournament I feel, has suffered
a bit of a set back I fear. And today, against the experience of
Thierry Lincou, he just couldn’t shake off a hamstring injury
that prevented him from moving forward that freely.
Add to that maybe too much pressure on himself, trying to
reiterate his good performance in Manchester a few weeks ago,
and you have far too many errors…
Thierry played really well today. Well, apart from his normal,
“I’m going to wake up soon” 1/5 start. He was lobbing well,
played a few deceptions, was moving pretty well, despite a weird
bandage on the left knee, which kept sliding down.
Tactically, Mohamed Ali was playing well, and you could see the
thought pattern well in place. But he just couldn’t execute too
well, and found the tin too many times to worry the Frenchman
"I think that
there was something wrong with Mohamed tonight. Last time we
played in Manchester, it was a very close game, and I won only
just. And yes, I changed my game, I was more aggressive, I took
him to the front much more, but I could feel that he was doing
far too many mistakes compared to his normal game.
"These are courts like I love them. Very rewarding, and the warm
temperature is perfect for my old joints! Also, because we were
in much harder conditions temperature wise, more humid, in El
Gouna, this week, I’m suffering less I feel, and I’m moving much
"Some days, I have to fight against my body, but considering my
long career, I can’t complain. I always kept good care of it,
and now, I’m having the dividends….
"Why do I still compete? Because I love the game, it’s
addictive. I still love the game, I still love the training,
although my knees don’t anymore! And wining is unique. And I
would like to feel that feeling again and again… And I really
enjoy playing different generations of players, I really do.
"Here in KW, we are spoiled, everybody is taking so good care of
us, and Kuwait has a great image around the world.
"My eldest daughter is 7, she knows what Dad is doing, the
youngest doesn’t have a clue! But it’s ok for them, Mum is home.
And because Mum is home and looking after them, I’m able to do
my work. And I’m ever so grateful for that."
 Ramy Ashour
(Egy) bt Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (33m)
Omar just said “his shots… he is so fast… he is just too good”.
And to be honest, that’s all that can be said. Yes, Omar gave it
best, perfect gentleman on court, it has to be stressed, but
whatever he was throwing at Ramy, he would still lose the point
on a stunning nick…
"Before, I used to
act on the spot, I didn’t think, I just played on pure instinct.
But nowadays, I fell I’m preparing too much. And that’s why
sometimes, I get so angry when I make a mistake. Because I feel
I should let go of things, let thing go free out of my mind,
instead of thinking too much. I prepare too much now, and it’s
not good. Well I think it’s not good. I’m not sure!!!!!!
"I know, I beat up myself too much, I’m thinking too much. But
thank God I’m still playing well, and I’m still wining. But you
know one thing? I’m more desperate to win than ANYBODY at the
moment. Before, I wanted to win, but not that much. Bt now, I’m
really really REALLY want to win.
"I know, I’ve got to let go, and to loosen up…"
Thu 28th, Day ONE
 Daryl Selby (Eng)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11/3, 11/3, 11/6 (26m)
 Adrian Grant (Eng) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
5/11, 11/9, 11/8, 4/11, 11/8 (85m)
 Peter Barker (Eng) bt [Q] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/6, 7/11, 11/3, 11/7 (75m)
 Alister Walker (Eng) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (44m)
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
11/5, 11/5, 6/11, 11/2 (44m)
 Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Stewart Boswell (Aus)
7/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/6 (59m)
 Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/7, 11/2, 11/8 (53m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/9, 13/11, 11/6 (49m)