Day ONE

Punj Lloyd PSA Masters   12-18 Dec 2011  New Delhi, India  

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TODAY in Delhi - Monday 12th, Day ONE

Round One, top half:                            Full Draw

Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt Chris Ryder (Eng)   8/11,11/3,11/7,11/9 (50m)
Borja Golan (Esp) bt Adrian Grant (Eng)      12/10, 11/6, 11/4 (51m)

[8] LJ Anjema (Ned) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)           11/7, 11/7, 11/9
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
                                                                       11/7, 13/15, 11/6, 11/5

Tom Richards (Eng) bt Hisham Ashour (Egy)     14/12, 13/11, 11/6 (35m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Siddharth Suchde (Ind)   11/4, 11/1, 11/6

[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)      12/10, 11/5, 11/4
Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)         11/6, 11/9, 11/8

Vanessa reports from Delhi

Golan and Richards upset the odds in Delhi
as race for World Series Finals places heats up ...


Day one of the 2011 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi, the final World Series event of the year, saw the top half of the 32-man draw in action. The four seeded players all went through comfortably enough, while Spain's Borja Golan and England's Tom Richards both beat higher-ranked players to progress to the last sixteen.

Richards still has an outside chance of making the top eight World Series points winners who qualify for the World Series Finals in January, but will need to overcome second seed Karim Darwish, runner-up in Hong Kong and Kuwait, to keep that chance alive. On the same points as the Englishman is Mohamed El Shorbagy, the sixth seed, who meets Golan in a repeat of their Kuwait clash which saw Shorbagy save two match balls before going on to record the win.

Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, currently in 9th place, did his chances no harm with a solid win over Ali Anwar Reda, and he next meets another Egyptian, Omar Mosaad.

Azlan Iskandar, currently in possession of the last spot in the World Series Finals,  won the latest of his all-Malaysian meetings with Ong Beng Hee, and he too faces a rematch from Kuwait, against fourth-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier.

World Series Events and Standings
 


H2H Round 1

Players Infos

Performance History

VANESSA REPORTS from Delhi ...

Omar Mosaad bt Chris Ryder        8/11, 11/3, 11/7, 11/9 (50m)

Mosaad first through

Chris Ryder
came out of the blocks well in the opening match, hitting his targets well and making his tall Egyptian opponent stretch into the back corners. However, after losing the first 11/8, Omar Mosaad started to find his rhythm in the next game. Always a threat from the middle of the court, he was finding more bite on his shots and a few unforced errors from Ryder helped him to draw level at one-all.

In the third, Mosaad raced to a quick 4/1 lead and managed to keep hold of that three point cushion, by controlling the mid court with powerful and accurate hitting. Although Ryder hung in well to stay in the game, cracks were starting to show and a couple of crucial errors secured the game for Mosaad, 11/7.

To his credit, Ryder came out positively in the fourth and it was neck and neck all the way. From 7-all, a couple of winners from the Egyptian and an unforced error on the forehand from the Englishman gave Mosaad three match balls. Ryder saved two but eventually lost out 11/9.

Ryder is a fluid player and nice to watch however the Egyptian's attacking game proved more effective on the glass. Mosaad has a tendency to manufacture decisions rather than play the ball at times however it wasn't a deciding factor in this match.

It's the first time I ever played Chris so I just tried to play my own game. I didn't really have any tactics.

I lost my concentration a bit at the end of the first game and he was playing really well. It was important to win the second because it's too hard to come back from 2 love down.

I like the court, it's nice and bouncy but I just needed to get used to it at the start of the match.

In the fourth I had to try hard and I wasn't happy with a few of the decisions from the referees but I managed to finish it off well.

I'm really happy because World Series events are very tough. It's good to beat Adrian, he's a very good and very experienced player. Although he maybe didn't play his best today, my game was working well.

The first game was a strange one, I was 10/6 down I think and then won 8 or 9 points in a row to take the first and lead in the second. That was important because it was mentally hard for him to lose the first after leading.

I like the court even though there were a few funny bounces during the match. but it's the same for both players.

Borja Golan bt Adrian Grant 12/10, 11/6, 11/4 (51m)

Golan stops Grant

This match was a potential one to watch looking at the draw and it certainly seemed ready to deliver in the first game. Adrian Grant led 10/6 and seemed in control, moving well as he always does. However Borja Golan, the tenacious Spaniard, fought his way back and saving four game balls he eventually won the game 12/10.

In the second, Golan continued in a similar vein, winning a string of points and opening up a big lead at 10/2. Adrian got back to within four points but his heart wasn't really in it and he eventually lost that game with a poor serve coming way off the back wall that Golan easily put away.

Grant never really seemed to recover from the loss of the first game and Golan raced home, taking the third 11/4.

These two players have very contrasting styles and demeanours on court and the tenacity and clever tactics of the Spaniard won out against what was a somewhat lacklustre performance from the Englishman.

Tom Richards (Eng) bt Hisham Ashour (Egy)
                  14/12, 13/11, 11/6 (35m)

Richards edges past Ashour

This match could really have gone either way. Hisham Ashour is an astonishing shot player and at times able to hit winners at will, however when contained he can be very error prone.

In the first game, Ashour seemed to start well, dragging Tom Richards into the front corners with some clever boasting. Richards hung in well though and forced some errors with a patient straight game, containing the Egyptian's incredible shot making ability.

From 7 all, two unforced errors gave Richards a 9/7 lead, however a wide crosscourt followed by a backhand nick drew them level. A no-let gave Ashour game ball only for him to tin a backhand volley drop to go into a tie break. From there Ashour traded winner with errors with the errors eventually winning out. Richards took the first 14/12.

Obviously disappointed with losing the first after having 3 game balls, Ashour came out more patient in the second (for him anyway!) To his credit though, Richards stuck with his game plan of patient depth alternated with straight drops and the odd boast. The tactic was working and frustrating the flamboyant Egyptian.

Once again it was 7 all with Richards pulling away this time ... a perfect BH drop gave him 10/8 however Ashour pulled back to 10 all. A dying forehand length gave Richards a second game ball at 11/10 which was awarded to him by Ashour with yet another crucial unforced error.
Losing the first two in the tiebreak seemed to have mentally broken Ashour and Richards got a cushion and kept it, eventually winning the game 11/6. All in all, it was a tactically mature performance from Richards against an extremely difficult opponent.

I'm really happy with that win. My game plan was really important because he's so dangerous with his shots and plays so fast. That's my natural game as well so I had to curb my natural instincts and keep it really straight and be patient.

There were a few minor blips tactically but overall I think I stuck the game plan well and it paid off.

Winning those first two games in the tie break was crucial because they really could have gone either way. They weren't actually that long but they were really intense because they were so close.

He knew he had a lot to do to get back into the match so I tried to make it really hard at the start of the third.

[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)   11/7 13/15 11/6 11/5
 



I'm really happy to win my first round, which is always tricky, especially against a player like Coppinger who volleys so well across the middle of the court. He was forcing me into a game plan that I don't really like. I was having to make the rally's long and try to move him around. I think I only hit 1 nick the whole match!

Tomorrow I play Borja who I played in Kuwait and I won 12/10 in the fifth so it's going to be very tough. He played really well against Adrian today.

Overall I think I played well today. I was really up for and I stuck to my game plan.

For the first time in a first round, I actually felt really relaxed and calm today.

I usually have the clinched 'scrappy' first round and just feel relieved to get it over with but today I felt I controlled the game from the start. It might have something to do with it being the last tournament of the season and feeling a bit knackered which has forced me to focus while still remaining relaxed. Even though I felt calm on there, I was hyper alert at the same time.

Tomorrows match against Mosaad is a great opportunity to make another quarter final of a World Series event. I've got a good record against him but only squeezed through 13/11 in the fifth the last time we met!

[8] LJ Anjema (Ned) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
                                         11/7, 11/7, 11/9 (45m)

Anjema too good ...

LJ Anjema
was just too good today. He put in a remarkably solid performance against a dangerous opponent. Ali Anwar Reda played well but LJ was relaxed and accurate, never wavering from his game plan to control the T and patiently wait for his opportunities.

The games were relatively close but it was only in the third that Reda looked like he might have a chance, almost forcing a tie break with some high quality squash. LJ kept his cool however and secured the victory 11/9 in the third.

Using his physicality well to control the mid court, LJ was impressive today and he seemed to have added some extra touch to his game with some well paced drops in the front of the court.

His match on Wednesday against Mosaad is certainly one to look forward to going on their previous results.
 

Gregory Gaultier beat Siddarth Suchde
          11/4, 11/1, 11/6 (46 mins)

Gaultier shows his class

This was a repeat of their second round match in Qatar in October with Gregory Gaultier in control for most of the match. Siddarth Suchde is an improving player and matches at this level will provide vital experience.

He certainly put up a fight in front of the home crowd and after a quick second he could have easily lost faith and capitulated in the third, however he dug in and stayed within a few points only allowing Gaultier to pull away at the end of the game.

It was a confident performance from the Frenchman who looks in great form as he has been all season.

We played recently in Qatar which was a great result for him after qualifying to make it to the last 16. He is a good player and it's great that there are other Indian players following Saurav's example. It was nice to play against an Indian player in front of their home crowd.

I'm happy with my performance. I really tried to raise the pace and make him uncomfortable. It was a good win.

I might have looked relaxed on there but body language can be deceptive and it didn't always feel easy, I had to stay focussed to win.

 

Karim Darwish bt Ryan Cuskelly
     12/10, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)

Darwish clinical

A tough prospect for the young Aussie. Darwish has been in great form lately, making it to the final of the last two World Series events. Cuskelly started positively with some accurate and controlled hitting, containing the Egyptian with his straight game. The game was level and Cuskelly was close to sneaking it, however the Egyptian showed his class in the tie break, eventually taking it 12/10.

From there Darwish took over, controlling the mid court and punishing any loose shot especially on the forehand.

The court has seemed relatively slow so far and takes the shot well, which suits the Darwish game. His experience in these conditions started to show. His weight of shot was spot on and although Cuskelly never gave up, it was all Darwish from the second onwards.

A very clinical performance from the number 2 seed.

 

Azlan Iskandar bt Ong Beng Hee
        11/6, 11/9, 11/8  (61m)

Azlan battles through
all-Malaysian matchup

The final match of the evening session between the top two Malaysians was a rather physical affair, with the flow of the rally's too often being interrupted by lets. Iskander made the better start of the two, playing with more intent than his opponent. They stayed level for much of the first game, however Iskandar played the big points towards the end of the game well and eventually took it 11/6.

Iskandar kept the momentum into the second and looked like he would run away with it but a contentious decision against Ong seemed to fire him up and he stepped up the court, playing with more intensity and purpose. Iskandar responded well to the challenge and managed to consolidate his lead, narrowly taking the game 11/9.
 
Ong really needed that second game and although the third was still tough, the outcome seemed inevitable at that stage. Iskandar was consistently strong on the crucial points and finished the match 11/8.

A well contested match although slightly marred by the traffic issues on court. Both players were quite rightly warned at one stage to play through the minimal interference. A good sign that the refs are picking up on the tendency of some players to ask too easily.
 

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Day ONE

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