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• Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 2009 • 05-10 Dec • Mumbai •  

 

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TODAY in Mumbai ...          Fram in Mumbai, India, Steve in Saudi

Last eight in Mumbai -
Egypt v England final guaranteed ...


A first part of the night full of excitement and long matches, with Amr Shabana just strong enough physically to keep Mohamed El Shorbagy at bay, while Ramy Ashour comes back from 2/1 and a very long tie break in the second against David Palmer to clinch one of this toughest matches of the season...

The second part of the evening was more one sided, with Nick Matthew far to strong for a flat Thierry Lincou, and LJ Anjema prevented from using his volleying weapon against a patient and powerful Peter Barker....


[2] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt [12] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
                               11/5, 5/11, 12/10, 11/7 (53m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bat  [5] David Palmer (Aus)
                               11/8, 16/18, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8 (78m)
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt  [7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
                               11/8, 11/7, 11/4 (40m)
[8] Peter Barker (Eng) bt [13] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
                                11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (61m)

Tue 8th, Day4
Quarters:


Action photos
by Vishal Kelkar
 
Photo Gallery


MASTERS
D
IARY
Day Three
by Pradeep Vijayakar

EN BREF #2

At the Taj ...
Completely different ...
 


 

I wasn't nervous at all today, I thought I had a real chance of winning today.

Shabana is the PSA player I've been playing the most in PSA - we've played 6 times - and everytime, it gets closer and closer...



I was getting very tired in the 3rd, and I could see he was too. And it became obvious to me that whoever was going to win that game would win the match.

At 10/10, it was 50/50, and if yesterday, it went my way, today, it didn't! Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...

But I'm really happy with my tournament, and now, I'm going to train and work to prepare Saudi, the last tournament of the year, where I hope to do well...



[2] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt [12] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
                               11/5, 5/11, 12/10, 11/7 (53m)

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO…



It was to be expected, an all Egyptian final… They were bound to find some lovely winners, and boy they did! Flick away, I say, actually, with both trying to wrong foot the other one..

I know that Mohamed said he was not nervous at the start, but when you make 3 tins and 1 wrong footing within the first minute of the match, I think we can put it on the stress of wanting to do too well, can’t we?

The first was all about Shabana being all relaxed and Shorbagy chasing the ball, and the second, about Shabana being too relaxed, and Shorbagy catching the ball very early!

The third was a festival really, beautiful shots, excellent length and height, spectacular squash, like they both can play. But like Mohamed stated, whoever was going to take that one would win the cake, and with his experience of big points, PSA President imposed himself there, and went on in the 4th, carried by the same confidence momentum…

I lost my focus in the second, and let him get in front of me. That court is lethal if you can't get your ball to the back of the court, and mine did stand a bit in the middle, and allowed him to hit the right shot. And the third, well, it was point for point till the end really, I just tried and step in front of him to stop him playing his killing shots.

I was struggling a bit with my length today, since the World Open, I haven't played any matches for two weeks, so I was not as match fit that I wanted arriving here...



In the 3rd, when he hit me, the only thing I was thinking was, was I going to be able to come back and play! But it was an accident, he didn't mean it. We are playing a tough sport, sometimes it's an elbow, a racquet, that's part of the game.

I was surprised today that people were supporting me more than the 19 years old player! Normally, the audience likes the underdog to do well...

The more my career goes on, the more I'm enjoying it, and I'm trying to live to the best every day...


 

[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bat  [5] David Palmer (Aus)
               11/8, 16/18, 9/11, 11/4, 11/8 (78m)

DAVID, 33???
YOU ARE JOKING....


That's in substance what Ramy said at the end of his match... And the crowd and myself quite agreed. What the Marine produced today is just amazing of power, mental strength, talent, lucidity, and reading of the game...

Ramy was on fire in the first, and it looked like it was going to be a short encounter. But in the second, I guess the Egyptian relaxed a bit, and David started volleying, and volleying, with his famous feathery volley drop shot both forehand and backhand making carnage really.

Add to that the fact that he was moving incredibly fast on the ball - thanks to his reading ability - allowed him to put Ramy under a heck of a pressure.

Still, David was comfortably up 9/6 when Legend Ramy started finding both patience and winners. Lethal. He climbed back at 9/9, but it's David that drew first blood, 10/9. Cut a very long story short, we would have successively 5 game balls for David mixed with three for Ramy, with the Australian clinching the game 18/16 on a ball called not up.



"Somebody say something", stance Ramy, getting off court. " I swear to God that this ball is good". Nothing did, off course, the three refs didn't change their mind...

It took a whole game for Ramy to really focus back in the game, while David was playing better and better, no showing signs of tiredness, signs that appeared right at the start of the fourth, that he basically, gave to Ramy on a silver tray...

The 5th was absolutely classic of talent, invention, flair and tactical deceit from both players. But like in Qatar two weeks ago against Nick, David felt short, 11/8 in the 5th.

Still the standing ovation that the numerous crowd game to David as he was replying to a few questions showed how much he won the knowledgeable audience's heart tonight.

God you were good David, and Ramy, you kept your head and concentration. Well done to you both really...



The court is very slippery, and I had to sort of think before every shot to be careful where I put my feet, not to get injured!!!

I thought he was going to get tired, but he didn’t. But I’ve been in that situation before, where it was very close, and I’ve learned from experience that when I lost, it was sometimes because I didn’t push hard enough. So today, I made sure I kept pushing and pushing…

Today, my victory comes from different factors, a bit like when you go to a buffet dessert, you take a bit of this, a bit of that… So, a bit of luck, a bit of physical strength, a bit of shot making..

This is probably the toughest match I’ve played all year, that’s David, 33, for you. He is amazing….

I loved the crowd, they were amazing tonight, thank you thank you thank you…


 


Disappointed? Yes and no. Of course, always disappointed to lose, but since he’s been at the top, that’s the closest I’ve come to beat him, so happy in that way.

I just lacked a bit of physical strength and fitness here and there, maybe 10% off, and that made the difference.



I got incredibly tired in the 4th, and for the first time ever, I let a game go, but I needed 10m to recover and freshen up really…

He is so good, you can put him under pressure, and force a few errors out of him, but people don’t realise how fast he is, and that he is the best of the world to pick up shots!!!

We came here last in ’97, and for a first time tournament, it’s amazing really. I’m about to retire next year, but for the other guys, I hope this tournament keeps going for many years, it’s really a great setting…

I gave it my best, but it was just not good enough… Now, I’ve got to regroup and to give one last big push for Saudi…



Nick was really too strong today, I had a very hard match yesterday, and I kept on drifting in and out of the match, only playing well in patches…

Nowadays, it’s so hard to get through the first two rounds, so when I get to the quarters, I’m not that fresh anymore.

But the motivation is still there, I’m still enjoying doing the hard work at the training, and I try and enjoy every day spent on the tour….

This is an amazing location, I was born in an island, la Réunion, and it reminds me a lot home, the same vegetation, the same temperature… It’s a very well organised tournament, congratulations and thank you to the people in charge…

It’s always a good surprise to have so many spectators to support us, it’s not always the case, so I hope that the audience will keep coming back and support the rest of the tournament…

It’s so good to get to play the young players as well, they bring on something new, a new style of play, and are a real inspiration for us...


 

[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt  [7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
                               11/8, 11/7, 11/4 (40m)

COMPLETELY FLAT

Although Nick was very careful about not underestimating his opponent – he knows how Thierry can be down badly score wise, and still win a match – he quickly realised that the Frenchman just wasn’t in the match tonight.

First of all, Thierry didn’t have any marks on the glasscourt, which, according to Nick himself, is pretty unforgiving. That probably didn’t help. But the real problem for my compatriot tonight was actually Beng Hee, and the superb performance he produced yesterday on the traditional court, forcing the Frenchman to stay on court for 104 minutes of a gruelling and stunning match it has to be said.



Thierry was like mentally absent. I don’t think it was a physical exhaustion really, but more of a mental “I don’t want to go through that pain barrier again tonight” shut down. Could be wrong, what do I know about squash anyway…

Nick played again superbly tonight. Like yesterday, he varied pace and shots, accelerating when needed, and being patient when he had to. Thierry would have need to be at his 150% to beat him, and although he played some great combination to score some lovely points, there was always be only a winner tonight…

I feel really lucky tonight, because Thierry had a very long match yesterday, and it was also the first time he was playing on the glass court, very lucky indeed. I have the greatest of respect for what he brought to the game…

I’m really careful about being carried away in thinking that I’m playing so well, because normally, when you start thinking you are playing well, that’s when you stop playing well!

[8] Peter Barker (Eng) bt [13] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
                     11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (61m)
 


LJ lost to a better player today. Peter was very consistent, and had an answer for everything. He was better in all aspect of the game.

Maybe LJ could have gone for a few more risks, like he did in the 3rd, but that didn’t work either…

LJ will be disappointed, but he should be happy that he was able to play his best performance against Daryl especially after having been injured last week at the Dutch Open…

We are working on a few things at the moment, and it will take a few months before they are in place. What LJ does is really good, but we feel that he would benefit from a bit more variety of pace in his shots. But this tournament proves that we are on the right tracks…


(LJ's Coach)


It’s my second Platinum event semi in 2 weeks, Qatar last week…

Today, my concentration was good. I think I was able to nullified LJ, keeping him at the back of the court, he is so dangerous when he volleys. I was making the effort consciously to go short just a bit quicker to keep him moving…Yesterday, he beat Daryl, and Daryl was playing very well, LJ played better.

I’m very happy, it was my first time on the glass court, I didn’t know what to expect, but I actually felt very comfortable on there… I’m very happy indeed…

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