Day ONE

• 9th Qatar Classic Squash Championship  • 17-23 Nov 2009 • Doha •  

 

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TODAY in Doha ... daily reports              Framboise & Steve in Doha
Tue 17th, Day One

Women's Qualifying Round One:

Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Adel Weir (Rsa)
                      12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/2 (29m)
Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) bt Siyoli Lusaseni (Rsa)
                       11/7, 12/10, 9/11, 11/7 (33m)
Alana Miller (Can) bt Salma Nassar (Egy)
                       11/8, 11/8, 8/11, 11/7 (33m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) bt Nouran El Torky (Egy)
                       11/5, 11/13, 16/14, 11/6 (50m)
Christina Mak (Hkg) bt Kerri Lancaster (Irl)
                      11/5, 11/6, 12/10 (24m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Salma Youssef (Egy)
                      11/4, 11/7, 11/6 (20m)
Lucie Fialova (Cze) bt Mayar Aly Ezzo (Egy)
                      11/1, 11/4, 11/7 (25m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Sara El Noamany (Egy)
                      11/4, 11/4, 11/8 (19m)

Men's Qualifying Round One:

Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
                     12/10, 10/12, 11/4, 11/5 (41m)
Yasir Butt (Pak) bt Mohamed Hajeyah (Kuw)
                     7/11, 10/12, 11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (75m)
Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Jens Schoor (Ger)
                     11/3, 11/8, 11/5 (37m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Ali Al-Ramzi (Kuw)
                     11/6, 14/12, 11/1 (22m)

Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Danish Atlas Khan (Pak)
                     11/5, 11/4, 11/3 (29m)
Mansoor Zaman (Pak) bt Mazen Gamal (Egy)
                      11/7, 12/10, 11/1 (30m)
Chris Ryder (Eng) bt Ali Farag (Egy)
                     11/6, 11/9, 7/11, 11/8 (49m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
                      11/6, 6/11, 11/5, 9/11, 11/7 (81m)

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Stéphane Galifi (Ita)
                      5/11, 12/10, 8/11, 11/8, 11/3 (55m)
Eric Galvez (Mex) bt Ahmad Mohd Al-Tamimi (Qat)
                      11/1, 11/4, 11/4 (28m)
Mark Krajcsak (Hun) bt Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
                      11/7, 3/11, 9/11, 11/9, 12/10 (65m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
                      7/11, 11/3, 11/3, 7/11, 11/7 (83m)

Martin Knight (Nzl) bt Fallah Mohamed (Kuw)
                     11/0, 12/10, 11/9 (33m)
Renan Lavigne (Fra) bt Adil Maqbool (Pak)
                     11/3, 11/4, 11/7 (29m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
                      11/5, 11/8, 9/11, 11/3 (52m)
Tom Richards (Eng) bt Joe Lee (Eng)
                      11/9, 11/8, 11/9 (45m)

Women's Round One:      Steve Reports
It's those Egyptians again ...

Even though they lost more players than won through, it was still a good day for Egypt as qualifying got under way for one of the most valuable WISPA draws of the year at the Khalifa Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha, with three members of their all-conquering junior team - Heba El Torky, Nour El Tayeb and Kanzy El Dafrawy going through to contest tomorrow's qualifying finals.

It was far from easy for Tayeb and Dafrawy though, both up against South Africans. Nour was tested by Adel Weir, who took a game, almost two, before the Egyptian eased away to win in the fourth, and Kanzy was matched all the way through her four games against Siyoli Lusaseni, who just made a few too many errors at the death.

Elsewhere, Christina Mak, Lucie Fialova and Dipika Pallikal enjoyed straightforward enough wins, while Alana Miller and Emma Beddoes were both given tough times - unsurprisingly enough against two more young Egyptians, Salma Nassar and the terrier-like Nouran El Torky.

Today's eight winners go through to face fresh legs in tomorrow's finals (well almost, Beddoes plays Mak while Low Wee Wern plays Olga Ertlova, both of whom had byes due to the vagaries of the draw rules)

Christina Mak (Hkg) bt Kerri Lancaster (Irl)
                      11/5, 11/6, 12/10 (24m)

"I got sick yesterday, and I still feel a bit dizzy, I'm just glad that I managed to get through in three games!"



"It was getting pretty close at the end, but it just wasn't to be.

"That's probably my last WISPA match - I joined in 2006 so that I could play the World Open in Belfast, and I've played a few tournaments and had some good times since then.

"But I'm busy with my other work now, there's still some coaching work and I'll still play - I may join as a regional member in case there's some local tournaments, but that's it really!"

 

Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Adel Weir (Rsa)
                      12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/2 (29m)

"I was down in the first and had to come back, and all of the first three games were tough. I knew I needed to keep the ball to the back, but I just couldn't!

"Heba was a great supporter in between games - I know what I need to do most of the time, I just need someone to tell me ...

"I'm happy to get through to play Joelle tomorrow. She's a very good player so I know I'll have to play better ..."

 

Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) bt Siyoli Lusaseni (Rsa)
                       11/7, 12/10, 9/11, 11/7 (33m)

"It took me a while to get settled, she's the only Egyptian I've played and she beat me 3/0 in Alexandria so I was a bit nervous to start with.

"After that it was a close match, we were neck and neck most of the way, but I just made a few crucial errors at the end of games.

"In the fourth I'd pull back to level, then every time make a mistake to put her ahead again, it was frustrating, but she hung in there and played well.

"I'm playing in Sharm next, then in Athens, so it's a busy three weeks, hopefully towards the end of it I'll be able to cause a stir ..."

Alana Miller (Can) bt Salma Nassar (Egy)
                       11/8, 11/8, 8/11, 11/7 (33m)

"That was closer than I would have wanted - I didn't know what to expect other than you always have to expect a tough match against an Egyptian!

"I qualified here last year, beating Kanzy in four really close games, so it's good to win a similar match this time, and I'm looking forward to playing Joshna tomorrow.

"Retirement? No, not yet. Someone at the Meadowood tournament just asked me how long I might carry on - the body can't just keep on going forever - so I said that the Commonwealth Games in Delhi might be a good place to finish ..."

Men's Round One
Reports from Framboise

The men's draw featured a full complement of 32 players, and as ever the luck of the draw plays a major part, with some predictable tough all-German, all-English and all-Egyptian encounters.

The two 'matches of the day' saw Ryan Cuskelly and Nafiizwan Adnan both score upset wins in 80-minute plus five-setters. Karim Abdel Gawad also upset the seedings with a five-game win over Stéphane Galifi, and Yasir Butt looked like joining the casualties before mounting a fightback from two games down.

None of tomorrow's finals are 'local derbies', but there are some very interesting matchups in store ...

 

Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
                     12/10, 10/12, 11/4, 11/5 (41m)

TAREK ON FORM…

It’s true that Mathieu Castagnet had a tough week in London, reaching the semis and pushing Joey Barrington to a 5th game in 115m, and was not that fresh when he stepped on court.

But Tarek found his rhythm in the middle of the third, and looked bleeping good from then on, attacking a lot, volleying at will every cross court Mathieu was kind enough to put in his racquet.

And we could see why the young Egyptian upset David Palmer recently during the World Open: he moves well, plays tight, volleys superbly, and runs a heck of a lot. If he can cut the “junior tins” he still plays, that boy will be extremely dangerous for the top 10 very soon…

"I was a bit tired from London, but I thought I played well. I just gutted I drew Tarek in the first round, there were other players there I probably could have beaten…"



"My good result against David was a shock to me, as the two week prior to the tournament, I was working very hard on my studies, 9 hours per day, and had only one hour, between 7 and 8pm, per day to train. So I guess I arrived with no expectations in the World event, and that’s when you get your best results…

I felt very tired in the first game and a half today, I flew in last night, and didn’t have a chance to train on that court at all. I had the impression I was very heavy, not to mention that Mathieu was picking up everything, and made me do a lot of running.

So I decided to change my game plan, and started playing a lot of drop shots, and luckily enough, it worked. But I didn’t expect Mathieu to play that well, he gave me a hard time today…"

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Stéphane Galifi (Ita)
                5/11, 12/10, 8/11, 11/8, 11/3 (55m)

KARIM SURPRISES…

Stéphane Galifi, who know plays under the Italian flag – great, I can’t be accused to favouritism anymore, yipppeee – pushed Peter Barker hard in the first round in Santiago, not the easiest place to get to I'm told, last week, pushing him in five, and was playing French leagues on Saturday in Brest, again a place hard to reach, to only land in Qatar last night. Like he said to me, the travelling was the killer...

And to be honest, if he looked very comfortable in the 1st game, dominating his opponent largely, he soon showed signs of tiredness in the second, and his opponent, still junior Karim Abdel Gawad took full advantage of the situation.

Karim plays a typical Egyptian game, lots of flair, good legs, a few unforced errors too many, and today, just outran Galifi, who just didn’t have the legs to fight with a young hungry player…

"I never even saw him play before, so I was asking people about how he plays and that was useful to me, and my coach did a great job during the match!

"I think fitness was the main reason I won that. During the third I could see he was looking tired, so even though I lost that I knew I had to push a lot more, make him do more running than he'd done earlier in the match, and it paid off."

"I’m not a professional, I’m an auditor, and I find the time to train about two hours per day with my coach Bilan Zaman at my club.

"I’m trying to get a bit of experience playing PSA events, but my matches in PSA can be counted on two hands!

"Yasir is a very good player, he’s got much more experience than I have, and was able to finish the points better. Still, I had a great time on there today…"

Mohamed Hajeyah

Yasir Butt (Pak) bt Mohamed Hajeyah (Kuw)
                     7/11, 10/12, 11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (75m)

YASIR, ONLY JUST…

I must admit that when I saw the lineup of the matches, Yasir Butt against a KW local, I didn’t take much notice. But as I sat down back from the press room, somebody told me, “2/0 up”. Yep, I said. “For Mohamed”. Ah…

From that moment on, the Kuwaiti had all my attention!

Honestly, that 27 year old player has all the shots in his racquet. He is patient, so gifted at the front, a good timing and analysis of the game, he just lacks a bit of fitness bless him, from the middle on the third, he was running on fumes really.

But he never gave up, let a few points go to catch up his breath, and in the fifth, it nearly worked! At 4/4, the poor man just couldn’t move anymore, and found himself 10/5 within seconds. But suddenly, he found his “fifth wind”, and saved four match balls to threaten Yasir at 9/10.

You know the rest, but a good scare for the Pakistani, who must have been surprised by the intensity of the Kuwaiti game, and got an narrow escape…
 

   

Mark Krajcsak (Hun) bt Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw)
                      11/7, 3/11, 9/11, 11/9, 12/10 (65m)

FLIP OF A COIN…

This could have been a good day for Kuwait, with Mohamed losing only just 11/9 in the 5th, and Abdullah up 10/7 match ball in the decider in this match.

If I’d had to bet, my money would have been on Abdullah actually. He’s improved a lot recently, his game is getting more and more threatening to the professional players, he is “home”, or nearly… But Mark is no push over. He just hang in there, finding the right shot at the right time, never lost neither patience nor game plan. And the result is there. Saving two match balls, the Hungarian took the 5th 12/10…

"The difference today was experience only…

"Abdullah is much fitter than he used to be, but like I did a few years back, once he got to match point, he tried and finish it too quickly, and lost his focus in the end.

"I was refereeing his match during the World Open, and he was there too 8/5 up and 10 something up in the 5th, and lost. So I knew that if I was able to not open the court too much, and not give him too many opportunities, I could turn things round.

"But he is so difficult to read, he never plays the shot you expect him to play, you can never predict his next move…"

Mark Krajcsak

Simon Rosner (Ger) bt
Jens Schoor (Ger)
      11/3, 11/8, 11/5 (37m)



He was a better player today, way better. Faster, fitter, more precise…

Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Ali Al-Ramzi (Kuw)
                     11/6, 14/12, 11/1 (22m)

"I didn’t play my best today, that’s for sure, and he on the other hand, played very well. I was playing the wrong tactical game, I was playing everything at the front, and he could read all my shots. Plus, as all the Kuwaiti, he is pretty good at the front too!

The second was crucial really, I think I would have been in a lot of trouble had I lost that game! But thankfully, he was tired in the 3rd…

I wish I’ll qualify tomorrow, it would be the first time I do for a major. It would be the first time I’d beat Simon too! Actually, Simon was the first ever played to win 27/0! We were what, 11 or 12. And I never managed to beat him… yet…"

Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Danish Atlas Khan (Pak)
                     11/5, 11/4, 11/3 (29m)

COPYCAT
It was funny… As I was watching Saurav play against  Danish,  I noticed how similar game those two one have.

Basically, the Pakistani plays like Saurav used to play, 2, 3 years ago. Running like a rabbit all around the court, picking everything up, finding some stunning winners, but a bit of lack of consistency.

Needless to say that Saurav couldn’t relax for a second, as he would get punished quickly. And don’t be fooled by the score, the rallies were very disputed and fierce. I guess that Saurav’s lob made the difference today, and got him out of a few difficult rallies…

Martin Knight (Nzl) bt Fallah Mohamed (Kuw)
                     11/0, 12/10, 11/9 (33m)
Renan Lavigne (Fra) bt Adil Maqbool (Pak)
                     11/3, 11/4, 11/7 (29m)

RENAN AND MARTIN IN THREE

Those two matches I could see very little of I have to confess.

I set up myself to watch Martin’s game, but as I saw him dominating the rallies so comfortably by playing on what appeared to be Fallah’s weakest point, the back hand, and wining the first game 11/0, I thought I would disappear and concentrate on Campbell/Wan on another court.

Of course, by looking at the score sheet now, I realise that the rest of the match was far from being a piece of cake for the New Zealander, 12/10, 11/9. The Kuwaiti must have settled in the match then!

For Renan, I only arrived in the third game, as the Frenchman was up 2/0, but heavily down 7/3. It seemed that we were going for a 4th game, when Renan closed up the angles, played tight, found some stunning length that frustrated his opponent…. who never got another point in… Experience against hunger, I would call it…
 

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
                      7/11, 11/3, 11/3, 7/11, 11/7 (83m)

UPSET OF THE DAY…

In my book anyway. I would not have given Ryan as the winner. Ali Reda has been playing consistent good squash, and maybe, maybe, didn’t expect such a good performance from Ryan.

There was nothing between the players, and Ali will be upset with the outcome. So close…

"Last time we played, he beat me 3/1. He seems to be been playing well recently, he had a few very good wins, but a couple of weeks ago, I won a tournament in China, and I got a lot of confidence from that.

I felt comfortable throughout, my length was fine. This court is pretty dead, it’s a good court, and you get rewarded if you play well. I’m very happy with the win…

I’ve been going for as much, playing more basic squash, I find that I actually do less work and create more opportunities when I do that. Also, I did a lot of work during those past months, and I’m glad to see it’s paying off…"

Tom Richards (Eng) bt Joe Lee (Eng)
                      11/9, 11/8, 11/9 (45m)

"Although we train together every day, we are also rooming together here, of course, we don’t actually play too many competitive games, conditioning stuff more like.

The first game was really tough, it was long and we both did a lot of work in it, all the rallies were pretty disputed, at a very fast pace. And it was a lot of hard work to come back especially from 2/0 down…

Still, Joe hung in there, and was up 9/7 in the third. I started playing more disciplined squash, I was not going to give away any game, keeping in mind I was going to have to play at least two more games, hopefully..."

Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
                      11/6, 6/11, 11/5, 9/11, 11/7 (81m)

GRINDING GAME…

That match between Wan and Campbell has got to be the match of the day – probably a tie with Ryan/Ali Reda. The Malaysian and the New Zealander have a similar sort of game, good basic game, good balance attacking retrieving, nice shots at the front, and good defence lob, and both, both, extremely patient…

Wan looked terribly good in the first and third game, but Campbell just kept weathering the storm, and fighting back. The fourth was so close, and the New Zealander won it with one of those “the more I practice, the luckier I get” kind of shots, wining himself the right for a decider.

Again, the fifth was all about patience, grinding each other up, building the rallies up to create the opening. But at 7/6 for Wan, while there hadn't been a word or a bad gesture during the whole match, Campbell got a penalty stroke which he thought was outrageous, made his opinion rather clear to the refs, and got penalised with a conduct stroke for bad language – rules are rules I guess, and certain words are not well received…

Still, from a very close 6/7, poor Campbell found himself 9/6 down in one split second, and mentally, I guess it must have been quite unsettling. Within seconds, the match was over…

That incident apart, I thought that Wan’s game is getting more and more “refined” if you pardon me the expression. He is playing tighter, cleverer, brighter squash. He is on the right path, that’s for sure…

"So lucky…

"I was playing very well in patches, like in the first game, I was up 5/0, keeping the pace up, playing tight squash. In the second, Campbell started to play really well, and prevented me from playing, but I got it back in the third, by being more patient. In the fourth, again, he played very well, and I was a bit off physically.

"In the fifth, I kept pushing myself, and repeating to myself I would win it.

"It was very difficult to play against Campbell, he is a very good friend of mine, we know each other since we are very young, and we are actually sharing a house here. Still of course, I’m happy to beat him today, especially as we were 3/3 in victories, which means that now, I’m leading 4/3….

"Never easy to play a close friend ..."

    

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