Round ONE

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

 

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TODAY in Doha ... daily reports              Framboise & Steve in Doha
Thu 19th, Day Three, Round One:

You don't get many days like this - only here and Hong Kong - men's and women's 32-draws, 32 matches between the world's best across four courts.

The men's draw saw a few notable upsets, while the women's featured a series of tough, tough matches ... read on ...

Full Draws

Photo Galleries

En Bref
 

Centre Court 2 Court 3 Court 4
Duncalf 3-0 Naudé
11/3, 11/8, 11/8 (19m)
Hawkes 3-0 Pierrepont
11/8, 11/5, 11/4 (27m)
Atkinson 3-0 Hansen
11/4, 16/14, 11/7
Momen 3-2 Walker
6/11, 10/12, 11/6, 11/5, 11/8 (60m)
Waters 3-0 Chan
11/3, 11/5, 11/8 (21m)
Massaro 3-0 Pallikal
11/9, 11/5, 12/10 (29m)
Brown 3-0 El Weleily
11/6, 11/2, 11/8 (26m)
Boswell 3-0 Lavigne
11/4, 11/6, 11/9
David 3-0 Low
11/3, 11/8,11/6 (22m)
Bailey 3-1 Miller
11/8, 9/11, 11/5, 11/4 (35m)
Au 3-0 Fialova
11/8, 11/4, 11/7 (25m)
Palmer w/o Galvez
back injury
Grinham 3-1 Beddoes
11/5, 10/12, 11/8, 11/4 (35m)
Chiu 3-2 Lloyd-Walter
8/11, 11/3, 11/9, 7/11, 11/6 (48m)
Pilley 3-0 Ryder
11/5, 11/6, 11/2 (35m)
Anjema 3-0 Krajcsak
11/1, 11/2, 11/6
Darwish 3-0 Selby
11/9, 13/11, 11/7
Kheirallah 3-0 Kawy
11/6, 11/7, 11/6 (30m)
Lincou 3-1 Rosner
9/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/4 (45m)
Tuominen 3-2 Shorbagy
11/5, 8/11, 7/11, 11/3, 11/8 (61m)
R.Ashour 3-0 Al-Malki
11/2, 11/2, 11/5
Stoehr 3-2 Urquhart
11/8, 9/11, 14/12, 8/11, 11/9
H.Ashour 3-1 Grant
11/7, 7/11, 11/8, 11/7 (51m)
Barker 3-0 Aziz
11/6, 11/3, 11/5 (33m)
Matthew 3-1 Kemp
5/11, 12/10, 11/6, 11/7 (46m)
Serme 3-1 Arnold
 10/12, 11/9, 11/3, 11/7 (42m)
El Hindi 3-0 Mehboob
11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (47m)
Khan 3-1 Ong
11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8
Gaultier 3-0 Barrington
11/7, 11/7, 11/4 (37m)
Perry 3-1 King
6/11, 11/9, 14/12, 11/6 (58m)
Willstrop 3-0 Ghosal
12/10, 12/10, 11/4 (44m)
Teran 3-1 Kippax
12/10, 11/9, 9/11, 12/10 (60m)


Photo Galleries

Women's Round One 

The day started with a few 3/0 wins and no upsets. Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters wasted no time on the glass court as the top English pair breezed past Annelize Naudé and Joey Chan in a combined 40 minutes of play.

On the outside courts Laura Massaro made it a hat-trick of early English wins as she staved off an attempted recovery from Dipika Pallikal, saving three game balls to close it out in the third.

Vanessa Atkinson did a similar thing against Line Hansen, saving five game balls before taking an extended second game, then easing through the third.

Jaclyn Hawkes found the warmer temperature and bouncy ball to her liking against Suzie Pierrepont, while Kasey Brown was in dominant form against Raneem El Weleily.

Top seed Nicol David didn't look in top form against compatriot Low Wee Wern, the world champion making a few more casual errors than we're used to, but she still came through in three.

Annie Au had too much guile for qualifier Lucie Fialova, but Alana Miller made Tania Bailey work hard for her four game win as she made it four Englishwomen through.

Rebecca Chiu stopped the English charge as she overcame Dominique Lloyd-Walter in a really tough five-game battle. The momentum swung one way then the other, but it was the Hon g Kong girl who pulled through at the end.

Rachael Grinham, elevated to second seed in the absence of her expectant younger sister Natalie, dropped the second game against qualifier Emma Beddoes before reasserting to win through in four games.

Engy Kheirallah created the first upset of the day, beating compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy in straight games before dashing off to support husband Karim. Engy has a good record against her compatriot, so maybe it wasn't that much of a shock to them, but nevertheless the sixth seed is out.

September's British Open marked the rise to prominence of Donna Urquhart, as the Aussie stunned Isabelle Stoehr to reach the quarters. The French girl was desperate for revenge today, but she had to earn it, ultimately prevailing 11/9 in the fifth.

Camille Serme followed Isabelle onto court, and found Delia Arnold something of a handful a handful. The Malaysian took a close first game, threatened to go two up, but Camille staved off the threat to win in four, doubling the French tally in the last sixteen.

Madeline Perry knew she had a tough draw in the vastly-improved Joelle King, and the Kiwi lived up to her billing, taking the first and narrowly losing the second against the Irishwoman.

The third was crucial - Madeline let a 10-6 lead slip, but rallied to take it 14-12, and although the fourth was far from easy the crisis was averted.

The last match of the day, starting after even the men had finished, was one of those 'could have gone either way' affairs, with Sarah Kippax making a couple of crucial errors at the end of the fourth of four very close games, as a relieved Samantha Teran went through to the last 16.

Women's Quote Box ... 
"This court is quite a lot different from most we play on, it's fast off the front wall but dead too, so it's good to get to play on it from the first round.

I'm happy with how I played, it was a bit scrappy at times but generally ok, and it's good to win in three."

"It's not as cold today, they only just turned the A/C on, so it suited me being a bit warmer and I tried to make the rallies long.

I thought I played pretty well, happy enough with that."

"Taking the second was crucial, it must have been quite demoralising for her being so far up and then going two games down. I just wanted to get on with it in the third and stay on top.

Qatar's been good to me, I won here in '04 and '05 but this year I'm just taking it one match at a time."

"I felt she played really well, everything she hit was very tight and she got so many winners going short. I got a bit impatient in the second, went for a few winners and it didn't work, so I had to go back to rallying. I feel stronger and fitter now, I don't die after a hard rally!

I want to get back into the top ten, but it will be tough, everyone seems so much fitter and and playing better than when I stopped with my injuries!"

 
"I knew she's played well against some of the top players so it was going to be tough, and she's a lot fitter than when I last played her. I was quite lucky in the end, she slowed down a bit for the last five points, after four and a half games where there was nothing in it.

Still, this tournament looks like being a good warmup for the East Asian Games next month …"

 
"I beat her in all our WISPA matches, but she beat me in the Nationals this year. I had nothing to lose, and I was really focused today, right from the beginning.

I was playing well, but it wasn't really her day, she made a lot of unforced errors in the first, tried to get back in the second but made more errors at the end. I'm happy to win, it's just a pity we had to play each other so early …"

"I hadn't played her before, and we spent the first game feeling each other out. From the second I played more disciplined, hitting my lengths and volleys better.

In the third she went for a few shots and I lost my length, and before I knew it I was 7-4 down. I managed to get my discipline back, and I'm happy to have closed it out in three."

"It was a tough draw, I was prepared for a hard match as I know she's playing a good way above her ranking. I felt good in the third, got to 10-6, but she picked it up a bit and suddenly we were 10-all.

Winning that game was crucial, it gave me confidence to press in the fourth."

"Sometimes I was good, sometimes I was bad, but she played really well, and either of us could have won that. It was good for me to win the first two games, but then I stopped volleying as much, I really needed to refocus.

I hit a tin to go game ball down in the fourth and told myself I had to just keep the rallies going then, no mistakes, and it worked. I'm really happy to be in the last sixteen …"

Tactically, I made the wrong choice at crucial times, but I never played her, I only worked on a video, and I was hoping to play on her backhand, but I couldn’t stick to my game plan in the first game.

In the second, she leads 6/2, but I succeed to be more patient, and that makes the difference. In the third, she was maybe surprised by my good start, and it seemed like she let that one go.

I thought it was going to be the same in the fourth, but she came back score wise, we battled, 6/6, 7/7, and I was able to take the lead again, and won the game and match…

Happy to get through, it was a tricky one…

I didn’t play that well at all.. In the third, I’m three points away from the match, and I get all tensed up.

I have trouble to keep consistent and focused at the crucial times. Also, I put myself under pressure, I then got trouble breathing, which leads me to waste a lot of energy there, whereas I just would need to let go of the arm. Tactically, I know what to do, and physically, I worked hard, I’m happy with that.

She is tall, fast, if you give him any opportunity to volley, she is very dangerous, you have got to play her very tight. And the last time we played, she beat me 3/2, so I knew what to expect, I know it was going to be tough…

Men's Round One ...        Framboise reports

[Q] Tarek Momen (Egy) bt [11] Alister Walker (Eng)
            6/11, 10/12, 11/6, 11/5, 11/8 (60m)

TAREK’S STARTLING COME BACK

From the second rally of the match – the first one was very long and tired Tarek for the rest of that game – I felt that Ali was not moving as he normally does, that he was not playing his normal game – hit hard at the back and then attack at will – that he was a bit nonchalant, to be honest.

He still won the first game “easily”, and was on his way to a easy second, 9/3, when the Giant Tarek woke up to go in one hand to 10/9 game ball! Alister just couldn’t stop him, just couldn’t stop the energy and the outburst of nicks and great shots pouring out of Tarek’s racquet. He somehow managed to still win that game, but it must have given Tarek a sniff at it. Big mistake….

And from that moment on, Alister seemed like he lost his way. He kept on fighting with Tarek at the front, instead of using his physical power to pin him at the back, and that give more and more confidence to the Egyptian that basically, was in a zone. I guess the same one that made him beat David Palmer in the Worlds….

In the fourth, Ali, against under enormous pressure, made far too many errors, all credit to Tarek. The Englishman fought hard, retrieved a lot, run even more, fought for every point, but Tarek was just flying way up there near the Gods of Squash to get anything gets in his way today. Ali saved 3 match balls, but Tarek takes another scalp, 11/8 in the decider. Good win, Tarek. Well played.

I’m happy and surprised. Alister is such a good player, last time I saw him play, he beat Shabana in Cairo and played amazing squash!

The first two games, I was freezing! I don’t know why, I work in that environment every day, but today, my arms, my toes were just freezing because of the AC, I couldn’t move. Until 9/3 in the second, out of nowhere, I started to find my shots, crosscourt drop shots, drop shots. In a flash, I was game ball up, and was soooo disappointed when I lost that one. I thought, that’s it, you had your chance to come back in the match, and you let it slip.

But somehow, I got my confidence back, and I kept telling myself, don’t lose 3/0, and that’s what pushed me in the 3rd. From that point on, it all went my way, even if in the 5th I was a bit nervous, and my shots were not as accurate as they were in the previous games.

Overall, I’m very happy..



"In all honesty, it was not a bad performance but not a winning one. He played very well and did exceptionally well to come back from 2-0 games down and caught me with shots at the front that i will deal with differently next time.

I am disappointed yes but not devastated. My preparation was good and it will be for my next event too."

[15] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt [Q] Renan Lavigne (Fra)
                  11/4, 11/6, 11/9

RENAN STILL DANGEROUS

Hard to believe that Renan is over 35 now, and still fighting till the last shot. It ain’t over till it’s over, really, is it Renan? Always that little chance to be seized. He is now the oldest on the circuit, and in the last game – his best today from far – one could only bow to the determination and experience he displayed.

Taking as much breathing time as he could, getting the cleaner in as soon as possible, serving as slow as he dared, Renan started to frustrate a bit Stewart, who at the end of the 3rd, was really worried it would go to a 4th. Well, the Australian, not that comfortable on that court, wasn’t able to get Renan out of his comfort zone, playing at mid pace, perfect for the French.

So, a few lets, some enormous rallies, a bit of up and down the wall of course, not the most exciting game ever, but a serious one, that Stewart was right not to overlook. The fight that is still in those tired legs of the French could have cause him a lot of trouble…

"I never thought this was going to be a sure thing, there are not many matches nowadays where I would allowed myself to think that!! Especially on a traditional court, Renan dwells on there, and I knew I would have to be extremely patient, that it would be hard…

I think he started the first game a bit slow, but he got better in the second, and the third, well, so close, until the last point, a hard battle.

I just couldn’t get pass him with my crosscourts, so I kept it as straight as possible. Probably not the prettiest squash ever…"

[16] Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt [Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
          11/5, 11/6, 11/2 (35m)



"I played well. Thing is, last year, he beat me in Macao, and I didn’t like it a bit. It was in the back of my mind, I wanted revenge, very badly, and he knew it!!!!!

"Mentally, I think I’ve improved recently, I’ve been working on it. But it also comes with the fact I’ve worked on my fitness, and that I can now back up hard match after hard match after hard match… I don’t think my shots got better, but I’ve improved my shot selection of winners…"



In the first game, I was able to keep the pace up, to step up the court and to play short, but after that, Thierry changed his game completely, showing once again the great player he is, it’s amazing… He was just too good afterwards.

It was so nice to play against Thierry, it’s not every day I get to play against a top 10 player, especially with somebody as experienced as him…

In the first game, I didn’t know what to expect, so he surprised me a bit with his attacks, his opportunism and his shot variations. After that, I was able to read his game a bit better, therefore counterattack him better, and move him more. Which in time gave me the advantage both physically and tactically.

[8] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt [Q] Simon Rosner (Ger)
          9/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/4 (45m)

THIERRY STILL THERE…

After Renan, Thierry is the oldest player around, but still going is the former world number one. It was a bit of a typical Lincou match really. First round, discovering his opponent, analysing his tactics, strength and weakness, while making him work as hard as possible, even if it means losing that opening game.

Which he lost, of course… Lincou loses the first game, hold the press!!!

Simon paid the hard work he did for the next two games, and just wasn’t able to have any influence on the rallies at all, nor he could in the 3rd. But bless his little German socks, Simon found his second wind in the fourth, and fought valiantly, making the French work much harder, and more consistently than in the two previous games.

Several times, Thierry backhand crosscourted the ball so flat that Simon just couldn’t volley it, and if it frustrated him, it also made him smile –how many times is he going to pass me with that one kind of thought…

Thierry will be happy to win against Simon, who is in my eyes, a good hope for the top 20, if he can maybe work a bit more on his fitness under heavy pressure, which will strengthen his mental too….
 

Olli Tuominen (Fin) bt [13] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
       11/5, 8/11, 7/11, 11/3, 11/8 (61m)

INTENSE…

Strange. Squash is strange. At the start of September, while Mohamed was fasting for Ramadan, the Egyptian beat Olli 3/0 in Cairo. And today, where as he is full blast, he loses against Olli in a close 3/2.

Go and figure….

I didn’t see the whole match, so I won’t do a full report. What I could see immediately though was that Olli was up for it. And that was good to see, as for the few past events I’ve seen the Fin, I had the impression he was going through the motion more than anything else.

And although the match was a bit tense – discussions with the ref, a bit of chatting between the players, well, I don’t think those two will spend the Easter Break together, let me put it this way, it never got out of hand. But yes, it was tense, yes, the two players wanted to win very badly, and yes, the atmosphere could have been friendlier…

An Hollywood ending, with suspense till the end, in the decider, with 4 lets on match ball 10/7, that Olli finally put in the tin. 10/8. Was Mohamed going to be able to make a come back? Olli wouldn’t have it, and jumped up and down, expressing with loud YES, YES, YES, his contentment to have got his revenge.

"Today, I started better than I did against him last time we played, I passed him a bit better, and the bad things I did then I still did them today, but I just did less of them. And I didn’t crosscourt too much, I played tight enough….

At the end, I kept my patience, well, during the rallies I mean!!! I think I did pretty OK under the circumstances. I’m glad it was my good day…"

Hisham Ashour (Egy) bt [10] Adrian Grant (Eng)
      11/7, 7/11, 11/8, 11/7 (51m)

"I wouldn’t dare to say Qatar, Qatar, Qatar, but then again, you never know….!!!!!

Adrian is one of the most gifted players out there, he’s keep his hands hidden, he delays his shots, which mean you are always a step late to get to the ball. Plus he is very strong physically, and mixes fast and slow pace to perfection. So I’m really happy to beat him today…

Honest to God, I don’t mind the result anymore when I play. I just want to make sure that I play well, that I give everything I have, that I let out all the squash I have in me. I know that one day, I’ll play a game, and all my squash will come out, I just wait for that day. No matter the result now, I just want to play my best.

I’m physically stronger, mentally, I just need to make sure that I’m relaxed, completely relaxed. My arm is still shaking at the moment when I play, I just need to find a way to let go, to enjoy it. I have to admit that my girlfriend, Farida, is really helping me settling down…

One day, one match, my squash will come out. I’m just waiting for that day…"

[12] Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
             11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (47m)

WELL DONE GUYS

I had trouble believing my eyes today, when I saw Wael and Farhan. Not a word from Wael, who finally zipped it, bless him, and no wasting 4, 5 rallies in a row for Farhan… What’s going on there??? What happened???

We were blessed with a great match between those two rebels. They played patient, mid pace/fast pace squash, stunning and very long rallies, intensity without the drama, what a pleasure that was…

Honestly, each game could have gone either way. A few errors from both, with unfortunately for him, a bit more from Farhan, and that makes the difference. But such a slight one, really impressive match…

"I realise that I play better both tactically and physically when I’m relaxed, and the fact I’m much fitter helps me to be confident in my game too. Farhan played very well, it was good squash, great movement. I’m happy with my concentration level today.

"And win or lose, I’m looking forward to playing Ramy tomorrow."



"I’ve decided to change myself on court now, I stay more focused…

"I played well, but he played really well too. I think I played my best, and I hope I’ll play even better for my next tournament in Saudi…"

"Beng Hee surprised me terribly today, he picked up all my shots, and sent it back with a lot of speed too, which he doesn’t normally do, and that put me under a lot of pressure, that made me nervous and forced a few errors too many out of me.

"I’m so happy with the result, it was a fantastic match I thought…

"Tomorrow, I’m so glad I’m playing the World number 1. Last time we played, it was in Macao last year, in the semis actually, but I was really tired from the win against Nick the day before. Greg is such a great player, I’ll try and do my best against him…"

Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
        11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8

A FIRST FOR BENG HEE

I’ve seen the Malaysian play so many times, in difficult and good times, I never ever EVER saw/hear him argue. I won’t be able to say that anymore.

The fact that he got a pretty bad blood injury on the right eye at the start of the 2nd, has maybe something to do with it…. After a 10m/15m interruption to get his eye sorted, he came back on court, and at the end of the following rally, he thought that the ball was clearly down. A ball then confirmed good by the 3 refs.

Beng Hee got out of court, and really challenged the centre ref. That my friend, was a world first for me. He was not happy, Beng Hee was, and made it pretty clear, still with extreme good manners and smile, but he got his point across. In vain…

He still lost the game, not really surprising, a combination of the blood delay, the tin/no tin upset, plus an Aamir playing at his best, but he took the third, on guts really.

It was a strange match. The Malaysian seemed tired from the second game, he didn’t put much weigh in the ball too often, and as his opponent, also know as Speedy Gonzales for a darn good reason, was close to the front, and a step away from the ball… A bit like if Beng Hee’s tactical brain was not totally connected.

Still, the Malaysian did an awful lot of running, up and down, he retrieved an awful lot, and never ever gave up. But Aamir was that more strong today, both physically and tactically. A logical ranking wise, but I thought, after Beng Hee's great performance against James in HK, that the Malaysian could create an upset here…
 

[7] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
        12/10, 12/10, 11/4 (44m)

"I played well, but I went a bit defensive on the game balls. James, well, you know James, he just dug in, he kept going, and unless you get a roll, it was impossible to get pass him.

And I think I didn’t attack aggressively enough.

The first two games was a excellent quality squash, that the good thing I can take out of this defeat, although I’m really disappointed I didn’t take either of those first two games.

To be positive, James is playing so well at the moment – I hope he’ll do really well here and then in India and Saudi, he deserves it – and if I can do what I did today against somebody of James’ calibre, getting so close, in the first round of the Qatar Classic, I can do it anywhere and against anybody.

I’m sad I couldn’t win either game today, but I’m just dead now, I gave everything I could…"




"Well, today was just a Tuesday morning in Pontefract really, playing Saurav, with Mick [Todd, James’ manager and Ponte’s owner] and Lee [Beachill] watching at the back. It just needed Malcolm to make it all complete!!!!

It was the first time ever Saurav and myself played competitively, we avoided carefully up to now, but it had to happen sometime…

When you play somebody that regularly, you are able to get the feel of the other, it’s a bit of a telegraphic squash, but strangely enough, it doesn’t make any better, I still had to be on my toes the whole match…

Saurav played extremely well today, he is playing well enough to worry the top guys, he just doesn’t realise it yet. But the day he does, he’ll be a great danger to everybody out there.

He just needs to believe he can do it. Because he is that good now…"

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Round ONE

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