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

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TODAY in Delhi - Wednesday 14th, Day THREE

Vanessa's Extras #3

Round Two, Top Half:                 Full Draw

[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Borja Golan (Esp)
             11/6, 11/8, 6/11, 11/7 (63m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Tom Richards (Eng)
              11/3, 11/4, 11/6 (37m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
             11/7, 11/6, 11/8 (39m)
[8] LJ Anjema (Ned) bt Omar Mosaad (Egy)
             11/4, 7/11, 11/7, 11/5 (60m)

Seeds sail into Masters Quarters
Day three of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi saw the four  seeded players through to the quarter-finals in the top half of the draw without too much drama.

Mohamed El Shorbagy beat Borja Golan in a tough four-game match and faces fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish, who brushed aside England's Tom Richards, in the last eight. France's Gregory Gaultier was equally impressive as he despatched Malaysia's Azlan Iskandar. LJ Anjema's four game win over Omar Mosaad in the final match of the day set up a repeat of his World Open thriller with Gaultier.


On the glass court, Mohamed was always going to feel more comfortable than he did in Kuwait two weeks ago, on a traditional and bouncy court. If Borja put him under pressure from the first rally to the last, the Spaniard still had more trouble containing the Egyptian. 3/1 to Mohamed.

For the second match, well, a few words come to mind, like Masterclass, Squash Lesson, Superb Exhibition... In other words, a superb accuracy and pace from the former number 1. Tom did his best, tried everything, stayed patient, and weathered the storm. But nothing worked enough to get Karim out of his comfort zone... 3/0 Karim.

A bit like Karim previously, Azlan didn't do much wrong, but the Frenchman was too good. Very relaxed and accurate, Greg was pretty much ahead the whole time, although Azlan still manage to surprise his room mate a few times, making this match a pretty nice one to watch,

And finally, LJ gets the better of Omar to reach another World Series quarter-final.

Malcolm reports from Delhi ...

[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Borja Golan (Esp)
         11/6, 11/8, 6/11, 11/7

Shorbagy safely into quarters

This was probably the most intriguing match of the last sixteen round, the most recent encounter ending in a tiebreak fifth in favour of Shorbagy.

A place in the quarter final awaited. Golan began as if trying to negate Shorbagy's preference for pace, but the young Egyptian found enough opportunities to lead 7-4 and later 9-5, before a demanding rally ended in a let, as they perversely often do. An off balance error from Golan meant 10-5 and a deliberate winner down the middle gave Shorbagy a 1-0 lead, a bit easier than might have been anticipated.

Golan, undeterred it seemed took an early 3-1 lead in the second, but Shorbagy was soon back on level terms at 3 all and 4 all and then led 5-4 with a perfectly paced straight backhand; 5 all, another cleverly disguised backhand volley straight gave Shorbagy a 6-5 lead, but an equally clever forehand cross court volley by Golan levelled the score at 6 all.

Then 8 all after Golan had held a 2 point cushion at 8-6, as Shorbagy crashed a forehand crosscourt into the nick .A monumental rally at this point ended in a backhand volley error from Golan.9-8 now, then 10-8 quickly and not long after 11-8 and 2-0 to Shorbagy-uphill now for Golan.

A giveaway error off the first return of serve was not a good omen for Golan, but he found himself 4-3 up after a couple of Shorbagy errors on the backhand. Two strokes and the Egyptian led 5-4;another stroke, this time the other way and 5 all-6-5 with another backhand error from Shorbagy,7-5 as Golan hit a forehand cross court winner; a forehand straight drop from half court gave Golan an 8-5 lead; yet another backhand error again from Shorbagy 9-5;a review by Shorbagy of no help to him meant 10-5 game ball and Golan was back in the match at 1-2,unfazed it seems from the 2-0 deficit.

Errors on the backhand were not helping Shorbagy and he made another for Golan to lead 2-1 in the fourth. What looked a stroke to me to Shorbagy, which would have given him a 4-2 lead, but led to 3 all, then 4 all, as Golan continued to resist with all his might.

From 6-5 to the Egyptian, aided by errors from Golan, he pulled quite quickly clear to 9-5.A fluke gave Golan hope to 7-9,but a forehand drop settled matters and it was Shorbagy who progressed to the quarter finals.

"Very happy to win..

I was ready from the first point ... and I was up for it .. the glass court suited me much more than when I played him in Kuwait in the normal courts where it was so bouncy..

I am still disappointed to lose the third .. in Kuwait I was always winning the first 2 games and losing the third ... when I lost that third yes I did think about my match with him in Kuwait about I am glad I got my concentration back again...

I have been working on few things with Hadrian stiff in Bristol the past few months and he is making me understand things about the game so I am happy and enjoying my squash right now"

I'm really happy to be in the quarters after playing an up and coming Tom Richards. I'm really enjoying playing at the moment and felt good on court today. The schedule is very tough but it's the same for all the guys so we just have to get on with it.

Well that was a good old fashioned chopping! Darwish was far too good today...all that's left to do now is get home, preferably in style!

Tom Richards
 on Twitter @TomRichards86

[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Tom Richards (Eng)
              11/3, 11/4, 11/6 (36m)

Darwish dominant

This was always going to be a tough prospect for Richards especially considering the Darwish form of late. However, I think even Darwish may have been surprised at the quality of his play today.

In the first, he raced to a 6 love lead with Richards wondering what had just happened. Every ball hit its target in the back and the finish was equally devastating. Richards got his first point with a stroke only for Darwish to return his service with a cross court volley nick. At 10/3 another dead nick, this time a cross court drop, gave him the first comfortably.

Richards gathered himself well coming back on in the second and stayed with Darwish till 3 all, however from there Darwish raised the bar once again and reeled off 6 points in a row to go to 9/3. Richards clawed one back on game ball but a clinging backhand length gave Darwish the game 11/4.

The third followed a similar pattern with Richards doing all he could but the quality of the Darwish game was just too much for him today. Certainly an experience for the Englishman though and overall he should be happy with his tournament.

[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
             11/7, 11/6, 11/8

Gaultier at a canter

Two players, Gregory Gaultier and Azlan Iskandar, who have been in excellent form recently, Gaultier at a more exalted level, but Iskandar sufficiently to take him into the World's top ten were next to do battle.

Gaultier, assisted by errors from Iskandar, established early leads in the first two games and although Iskandar came stronger in the middle of the games it was Gaultier who finished the stronger in each of them. Playing slightly within himself.

Gaultier found himself 6-5 down in the third, but another backhand error brought him level and when the Malaysian hit it straight back to himself down the middle of the court it was 8-6, then 9-6, Gaultier at a canter, winning the game and match 11-8. Gaultier will be pleased enough :a solid workout without taking too much out of himself.

Laurens Anjema awaits.

I wasn't actually supposed to play Azlan, we were in different halves of the draw until Nick pulled out but then the draw changed and we realised that we could meet second round. So we still just spend time together and one hour before the match he goes one way and I go another.

He's a good friend of mine but once we step on the court I just shut off my mind, shut the door and play.

I'm happy with this match because it's a good preparation for my next one. Azlan plays a fast pace which helps me to get ready for the next round.

LJ and Omar played for 100 minutes last time. Yeah it would help me, but if they play for 100 minutes or 200 minutes it doesn't matter. I will enjoy the match.

Beat Mosaad tonight 3-1. Happy with that performance. Another rest day tomo. Give me a rest! No more rest days please

LJ on twitter

[8] LJ Anjema (Ned) bt Omar Mosaad (Egy)
             11/4, 7/11, 11/7, 11/5

Anjema resolute

Two big men Omar Mosaad and Laurens Anjema, with a heavy recent battle fresh in their minds, provided the last match of the evening.

Early rallies were surprisingly quickfire, both players very positive. A perfectly weighted forehand took Anjema to 6-3 and a backhand drop to 7-3 and at 10-4 he had total control of the first game, finishing it with another backhand drop 11-4,easier I am sure than he expected.

Mosaad was more competitive in the second and led 6-4 and 7-5,his clean striking of the ball more consistent now. Anjema, though, was back for more at seven all, as determined as he always is.

A call against a pick up of Anjema's that both he and I thought was good gave the Egyptian a 9-7 lead, then a stroke 10-7,a tin 11-7.

Mosaad had played a better second, which did not always run kindly for Anjema. One all and there could be a lot more to come.

Anjema was out of the traps quickly in the third, all purpose, and led 3-0 and with the aid of a couple of strokes, 4-2.Lots of lets now, expected with two such big men, but it didn't stop Anjema, busy and focused, leading 6-2 and 7-3.

Lets were tending to spoil the match overall, as Mosaad fought back to 6-7. It was Anjema who profited from a new ball at that point-the original one was lost - and he served at 10-6 for the game to win it 11-7 with a ball that died in the back.

Mosaad looked by no means beaten as he stepped out for the fourth. Despite three strongly contested games, neither player was looking in any way fatigued.

Anjema went 3-1 up on a Mosaad error,4-1 on a stroke; more disputed lets, even the taciturn Mosaad moved to talk. At 5-2 Mosaad hit a vicious forehand cross court kill; a fluke at the back gave Anjema a 6-3 lead, lets still spoiling the action, both players running into each other often.

It was the resolute Anjema, though, who took the fourth and booked his place in the quarters to face Gaultier on Friday.

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