Tremendous wins in the playoffs for Ireland, who beat
9th seeds Pakistan with Arthur Gaskin and Derek Ryan winning in
straight games at the top of the order, and Germany, who
finished off the day with a thrilling win over 7th seeds Canada.
Egypt 3-0 USA
A comfortable start for the defending champions as Karim
Darwish beats Julian Illingworth in straight games.
Mohamed El Shorbagy was made to work harder, but Chris
Gordon couldn't capitalise on a first-game lead, and the
Egyptian narrowly took the first two games before easing through
in the third.
showed out the play today, he obviously didn’t take Julian
lightly, and gave him all the respect possible. Julian played
well, but Karim played a brilliant game, and every question that
Julian was asking, Karim had an answer for, in particular he
played some stunning forehand drop shots and volley drop shots.
Chris Gordon played at a really high standard, the best I’ve
seen him play, he put Mohamed under some good pressure, the game
was close, to 9 in the first, to 7 in the second, and after that
he got tired.
We are extremely pleased, we came here with Gilly injured, he
played one game against Switzerland. So being one man down and
still getting to the quarters, we couldn’t be happier.
The number one French confirms that he’s in a devastating form
today. Azlan didn’t put a foot wrong, but Greg was just “on
A stunning start, 6/0, then 9/1, with Greg’s length, weight on
the ball, accuracy at the back, and timing of the ball close to
perfection, 11/4 to Greg.
regrouped very well in the second, the rallies were as long and
gruelling that they were in the first, and the score was pretty
close, 3/3, 4/4. But again, with a calm that I haven’t seen
coming from Greg for very long time, the Frenchman just seemed
to walk on the court, always at the right place at the right
time, despite the Malaysian’s drives clinching to the side wall,
and the counterattacks superbly feathery at the front. 8/4, then
9/5, and finally 11/6, Greg was two love up.
At the start of the 3rd, I could see that Greg has a slight drop
of energy, he went for a bit too short, and Azlan, who was still
don’t absolutely nothing wrong, was able to put more and more
pressure on the French. 3/3. 4/4.
But if at some point in his career, that drop of energy could
have shaken Greg’s concentration a bit, and maybe led him to
lose that game, none of that today. And probably by then, the
enormous work Azlan had to produce in the first 2 games was
heavy on his legs, especially after his hard match against Steve
Coppinger the day before. 11/4 to Greg, France 1, Malaysia 1.
I arrived here, I’m playing super squash! I didn’t lose my
concentration once during a match.
Yesterday, Azlan played a hard five games, and it must have been
playing on his mind, but although I won in three, to win against
Olli, I had to battle 100% of my game, especially on a
In Australia I was not comfortable with my game, whereas now,
here, I have the legs, the mental, and the racquet. I’m really
in good shape, I move well, I don’t have any aches or pain, I’m
If I can keep the same momentum, I think I can come back playing
even better than I did before, and I look forward to playing
against the two players I have in front of me…
There is a great atmosphere in the team, we are really
determined, and so far, so good, everybody is happy.
LOBBING THE MATCH AWAY
One thing needs to be said, Thierry and Beng Hee are very close
friends, the respect those two have for each other made both
their life pretty difficult I’m sure.
At no point, Thierry took for granted that France would be in
the semis tomorrow, and that was obvious at the start, when the
Frenchman served us with one of his typical “great start”, Beng
Hee up 5/1.
Mind you, yes, Thierry was holding his arm a bit, but by Jove,
Bengy was playing stunning and accurate squash, twisting and
turning his opponent, not letting him settling in the match at
such a deficit would probably discouraged a few players, but
Thierry has always dwelt on being down score wise, and today was
not exception. His length got better, his long volley drop shots
got closer to the tin, and he started to move better, faster,
while Beng Hee was still playing some stunning counterdrops and
beautiful crosscourt lobs.
On a lovely return of serve, the Malaysian set up his first game
ball, 10/8. Thierry, now perfectly focused and on the war path,
did his usual comeback, taking the game 12/10, and destroying
Beng Hee’s confidence in the process.
The second was all about Thierry being confident, and Beng Hee
probably thinking that he should have taken the first, and that
he shouldn’t be down, you know the drill. The game went pretty
In the third, Bengy was back mentally, and still extremely fresh
physically, ready to fight, but by that time, the Frenchman was
flying, relaxed, he was firing volley drop shots, and lobbing
away his mate who kept on running and running.
Forced to attack from the wrong position, Bengy tinned far too
many balls for his self confidence, and Thierry got match ball
at 10/4. The Malaysian saved three, offering us some beautiful
squash rallies in the process, but on a harsh no let, Thierry
took the game and match, 11/7.
the start of the match I couldn’t make up my mind, I didn’t know
if I was to hit hard, or to let him take the initiative, but
once I got him behind me, it was easier.
There we are in the semis, once again, for the fifth time in a
row, which proves that France is still on the map, up there with
the best teams in the world, which is very important for us, and
I’m very happy, because I haven’t played many matches since I
came back, I’m not comfortable on there, so today, my tactical
approach was good, and I’m happy with my performance. My racquet
skills were fine, I could feel my opponent.
I was able to vary the pace, and to play the shot I wanted when
I wanted. For me, this match is a good step forward.
I gave all my energy for the team, and so did Greg. He was
impressive today. On this tournament, he is showing an excellent
team spirit, he’s shown his will and determination, and he was
impressive against Azlan, showing us the way…
I played pretty
well in the first game, but I needed the first game to get a bit
of confidence, you know what it is against Thierry, once he
relaxes, he is very hard to beat, and once he had the first game
under his belt, he played better and better.
Greg gave France an excellent start I thought. Team matches are
so difficult you know, you are watching your team mate, you feel
for him, then he loses, and you have to go on and play against
Thierry played really well, his lob in particular was
exceptional today, it was not a normal one, that floats away,
it’s one that really dies at the back, I’ve been learning from
him for years on that one, it was a great weapon for him today…
Yes, he played an excellent game.
The French View
Andre Delhoste reports
Greg vs ISKANDAR
starts the first game with a rare intensity, and takes a 6/0
lead. The next rally will be a real test, as ISKANDAR makes 4
perfect attacks which should have all been winners. Only Greg
seems to have legs of dynamite today, and pick them all up, but
he will finally clip the tin after an excruciating rally. The
stage is set, it will be very hard to score a point against Greg
today. Greg flies away on the scoreboard to lead 9/2 and ends
the game with a superb forehand volley kill which ends in the
The second game is tight until 4/4, as Greg tinned 3 times. Then
Greg moves a bit more forward onto the T and steps the pace up a
bit more. ISKANDAR is looking to intercept Greg on the volley,
but Greg’s crosscourts are very accurate and powerful, which
provide almost all possible interception. Greg will again end up
the game with a forehand volley drop.
The third game starts with the same intensity. As in the second,
at 4/4, Greg increases the pace. His shots are just a bit more
powerful and precise as ISKANDAR’s. Greg will take a few points
lead, and will not falter, as he finishes the last 3 rallies
with holds on the front left hand corner which will wrongfoot
his opponent, to give France it’s first point against Malaysia.
Thierry vs BENG HEE
Thierry starts the match shyly, hitting the tin 5 times in the
first 6 rallies. He will have to put a lot of efforts to come
back in that game. He manages that, varying beautifully the
paces. Thierry’s crosscourts are so precise, BENG HEE has to
turn on almost every one of them and ends up playing them from
the back of the court. Led 8/10 Thierry saves 2 game balls to
win the first game 12/10.
Thierry plays an almost perfect second game, both technically as
tactically. He works his opponent beautifully along both side
walls untill he gets a loose ball on the backhand which he drops
perfectly. The ones BENG HEE can counterdrop, Thierry follows
with a perfect crosscourt lob that his opponent has to use the
back wall a lot of times to bring the ball back. Thierry will
win the second game 11/2.
The third game is tighter than the second, but thierry has the
tactical momentum, and he decides the pace of most rallies. BENG
HEE starts to show signs of physical and mental exhaustion, as
he clips the tin 4 times almost in a row. Thierry wins the game
11/7 and gives France its second point to put France in the semi
finals for the 5 times in a row.
Mathieu vs ADNAN
As yesterday, Mathieu will only come onto he court today to keep
in the rythm of the competition. He will play his leg in a best
of 3 games as stimulated in the championship’s rules in case the
match between two nations is already won after the first 2
Mathieu seems to have no difficulty against the n°46 in the
world, ADNAN understandably doesn’t have a heart to put in the
batlle. Mathieu is in control of the game, and uses the second
game to go for winners, most of which will end up winners.
France will go in the semi finals against Egypt tomorrow with an
astounding spirit and still a full tank of physical energy and
they always say, it might look easy on paper but on court it's a
And for two games Nick Matthew and Stephane Galifi
gave yet another capacity crowd a high quality, well contested
The crowd didn't like it when, late in the first game, the
Italian was denied a let, but to warm applause Matthew agreed
with his opponent and the crowd and requested a let be played.
His generosity went no further though, as he closed out the
first two games and moved clear early in the third to put
Davide Bianchetti, making just his second appearance so
far, similarly extended James Willstrop in their first
game, but the Englishman didn't allow his opponent to get close
in the next two as the top seeds secured their place in the
At virtually the same moment at the other end of the venue,
Stewart Boswell added to David Palmer's win to despatch India
and set up another Australia v England clash tomorrow.
After two Yorkshire wins for England, there was no Yorkshireman
in the Italian lineup today, with Marcus Berrett taking a
well-earned break after his heroics of the last two days,
So Amr Swelim took on Daryl Selby in an
entertaining dead rubber, which went the way of the Italian
12/10 in the third (after Selby, on match ball himself, lost the
ball out of court after hitting it back at himself to concede a
stroke, and proceeded to lose the next three points with the new
was the song we could hear between the 2nd and 3rd game… Rather
appropriate, I would say. As in my opinion, Saurav, bless him,
didn’t play for India, he bleeping ran for it today!!!!
It took a little while to David to adapt to Saurav speed, moves
and shots, especially after playing LJ the day before, not
exactly the same style…
Once the Australian sussed out his Indian’s opponent tactic, he
started to volley every freaking ball that he could put his
racquet on! To the point I thought he had like a dollar every
time he would hit a volley…. Excellent!
loved Saurav’s comment “I couldn’t keep with him physically”.
You bet he couldn’t!!!!
David was doing three steps to get to the ball, and Saurav about
35!!!! Not to mention that from the middle of the second game,
more than once, the Indian was kind enough to put everything at
the front for David not to have to move too far. Nice of you
Joke apart, Saurav played out of his skin, and David was a bit
the Wall of China, very hard to pass through. And it was a bit
of an exhibition at the end, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
against LJ, I sat back too much, and I didn’t volley enough. LJ
played well, I couldn’t get him off the T, and I wasn’t looking
for the ball enough. And I thought, hold on, that’s the way I
used to play.
So today, I decided to use my height, and I always play much
better when I volley a lot. It was a tough game, I thought we
both played really well, he is so quick to the front.
In the first game, I was not patient enough, but once I extended
the rallies a bit more, I took control of the game.
I’m happy to win for Australia, it takes the pressure off the
He is so good at volleying that’s why he is twice world champion
and won everything under the sun, he steps up the court so well,
and really, it’s difficult to get pass him, especially if you
can’t find your length, like I did today.
I had my game plan set, but there are only subtle things you can
do against those guys, and physically, I couldn’t keep up with
him physically, I could follow a game and a half, then drop off
again, and on again, then off… I need to be a bit more
FAST AND FURIOUS
two are rather tall, they luuuuuuve their volleying, they both
try to pierce the front wall with shots, and they don’t know how
to spell the words lobs or slowing down the pace…
The result: two players playing more or less the same game, but
Cam slightly better than his opponent today. Three games very
very close indeed, not a walk in the park for the Australian.
India defended their honour very proudly today, I really enjoyed
those two matches, the spirit in which they played.
As for the Australians, they had a job to do, they did it.
Tomorrow, they won’t have any pressure. And that’s when they are
the most dangerous…
we are both tall, we like to counter-play, hard hitting, and we
like to volley. The last two times we played were very scrappy,
all over the place.
Today, I thought I was cool, calm and collected compared to our
Today, I think I took advantage of his loose shots more than he
took advantage of mine.
Saurav gave his best against the top player that is David
Palmer, who gives you very little opportunities. Saurav always
gives his 100%, he run a lot, and I’m very pleased with the way
he played. Saurav is top 10 material, still a bit of work to do,
Sid was not at his best today, he can play so much better than
that, in particular on his forehand drop shots. But he also gave
his 100%, as always. Cameron played a very good game truly.
We lost against a better team, and we wish them the best of luck
in the semis.
In the first match, Saurav played a superb game of squash,
putting David under a lot of pressure. After that, David was
really strong and Saurav run out of ideas. And it was good to
get that victory under our belt.
Cameron did a very solid match I thought, our boys played really
well, and found themselves again among the top four. Two years
ago, they shown what they could do, so, we are looking forward
to playing on the glass court at last tomorrow!