TODAY in Delhi -
Monday 12th, Day ONE
Round One, top half:
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)
 LJ Anjema (Ned) bt Ali Anwar Reda
11/7, 11/7, 11/9
 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
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Siddharth Suchde (Ind) 11/4,
 Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 12/10,
Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/6, 11/9, 11/8
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
World Series Events
Mosaad first through
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
Anjema too good ...
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.
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
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.
Darwish bt Ryan Cuskelly
12/10, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)
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.
Iskandar bt Ong Beng Hee
11/6, 11/9, 11/8 (61m)
Azlan battles through
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.