TODAY at the Qatar
Fram reports ... Steve in Italics
is complete for the men, and all 31 main draw matches will
take place on the all-Glass court. Today sees the top half
take their turn with second seed Amr Shabana opening
proceedings (original #1 Ramy Ashour withdrew injured).
For the women there's six qualifying finals on the outside
Men's Round One, top
 Amr Shabana (Egy) bt [Q]
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
14/12, 11/9, 11/7 (33m)
 Adrian Grant (Eng) bt
Joey Barrington (Eng)
10/12, 11/2, 11/1, 11/5
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt
[Q] Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11/9, 11/6, 11/5
 Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
 Gregory Gaultier bt [Q]
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
11/3, 11/4 (57m)
Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt  Wael El
11/8, 11/5 (60m)
 Peter Barker (Eng) bt [Q]
Simon Rosner (Ger)
5/11, 11/8 (62m)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
bt Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/6, 11/9 (49m)
Shock horror, all Egyptians out ...
Lucie Fialova (Cze) bt Anna-Carin Forstadius (Swe)
Lauren Selby (Eng) bt Salma Nassar (Egy)
11/4, 11/9 (42m)
Gaby Schmohl (Sui) bt Becky Botwright (Eng)
Olga Ertlova (Cze) bt Merhan Amr Mahmoud (Egy)
11/4, 11/7 (41m)
Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned) bt Sherif Esmat Youssef (Egy)
9/11, 11/7, 11/6,
Adel Weir-Nunan (Rsa) bt Mayar Aly Ezzo (Egy)
11/7, 11/0, 11/3
En Bref #1
"It was a good game, he is probably the fairest player on
the circuit, so we had hardly any contact.
"Still, a bit disappointed with the way games went, maybe if
I succeed to take the first, things would have been
"Physically, I was hitting well the ball, but I had game
balls in the first two games, and didn’t get any of them.
That’s why I need to keep on working, especially on my
crosscourt, as if they are not wide enough, those top guys
just cut them off in the middle…"
Shabana (Egy) bt [Q] Nicolas
14/12, 11/9, 11/7 (33m)
SHABANA NOT AS HIS BEST
Not sure what was happening today, but from the start,
Mighty Shabana was a bit wobbling, not moving at his best,
in particular on the backhand front corner, where he just
couldn’t get out fast enough – got penalised five times
there. But he adapted, and started trickle boasting in that
corner, to avoid being caught out. Clever man…
was experience versus youth today, and Experience prevailed.
Nico, who doesn’t play often enough on the glass court, will
benefit immensely from that match, I believe. He need to get
“glasscourt match fit”, put a bit more power in his shots,
succeed to read the ball and get used to the pace a bit
better. That is just practice;
Whereas for Shabana, not being at his best, he got out of
the potential banana slip. The number of players that were
actually looking at the match confirms it could have been…
the first time I've played him, he’s got good hands, good
reach, good movement, a clean technique, but I think he'll
be really dangerous once he gets the balance between
attacking and patience…
"Today, I feel that I was in and out of concentration, I
kept holding him back, and then, letting him back in again.
"He’ll be a good player, he is very fair."
Grant (Eng) bt Joey Barrington
10/12, 11/2, 11/1, 11/5
PAINFUL TO WATCH
I know a few people reproach me my emotional side. True,
true, I do react sometimes where others would shake their
shoulders, and shrug it off, but hey, how can you write with
emotion if you feel none????
today was a typical feeling for the player day… Hurting for
him I was for three games.
Everybody on the tour knows – yes, it’s like that, you can’t
hide your injuries here – that Joey has been injured. Both
calf and ankle. And during Kuwait, as he was commentating,
he must have been BOILING to play, dying to get on court and
hit the bleeping ball instead of just talking about it.
But if he played fine in the first game, from the second, it
became obvious to us all, that he was not fit to play, his
right side being really impaired, and his movement just not
good enough to compete.
He still pushed – not sure he was right to do so to be
honest – but Adrian’s biggest effort today must have been to
make attraction of his opponent’s injury. And that’s never
Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Steve
11/9, 11/6, 11/5
COPPINGER’S NO FLUKE
those who thought that Steve was a bit lucky to catch Nick
in the first round of a tournament last week, well, they
were bitterly disappointed today, as the South African
fought hard with James today in a disputed match that
offered us superb attacking squash
Those two have the same build, give or take a few
centimetres, and luuuve the same game, drop shots from the
back of the court, nice attacks, stunning crosscourt lobs,
great retrieving, and fast runs in all directions.
They logically decided to play the same tactic, as in, twist
and turn. So we had a lot of movement on that court today,
lots of crosscourts, deception, wrong footing each other.
And if the score doesn’t tell you the whole story, I’m here
to tell you that James was soooo right to give Coppinger all
the due respect as there is a new kid in town boys, watch
didn’t underestimat him at all, and that’s maybe why I was
not too settled at the start, I knew how good he is, I knew
that was one of the toughest qualifiers draw I could have
"You hear everybody going on about getting through the first
round, getting it out of the way…. Well, you think you are
in a decent shape, had a good run of matches in KW, but you
arrive here, and it’s like starting from scratch again. Also
he must have had a nice week in KW, I had a few more
matches, he is probably a bit fresher in the legs…
"Those matches, at the time, you think whooaa, that’s a bit
intense, but afterward, you realise it’s good to have had
"He was too good… But I’m getting there ..."
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Ali
Anwar Reda (Egy)
I’ve seen that boy play for a long time now, and he is one
of the no nonsense boys of the circuit. There is no
complications with LJ. He says things as they are, and I
guess he’ll always be like that, I hope. Still, he is
maturing a bit, getting a bit more diplomatic – she says,
famous as she is for her talent in that domain – and still
as interesting to chat to as he was first time I met him in
I told you in KW, in particular in his match against Ramy,
his game is also maturing. It’s coming to fruition, like the
pieces of a puzzle finally coming together at the right
place. And if he keeps injury free, I feel that a lot of
good could come from Netherlands soon…
Today, his broader game did wonders against an up for it
Mohamed Ali, recovering from that injury I mentioned in his
match against Thierry last week. He was moving well, but
went in my opinion for a bit too much too soon, without
taking the time to set up his rallies first. And often, that
lead to tins or/and counter attacking that leave you on the
backfoot. Getting tired fast…
And that’s exactly what happened today, an LJ controlling
the T for most of the game, and Mohamed Ali shooting from
all corners, clipping the tin too many times…
short game has improved, but then again, not necessarily in
this game, as his shots are so good, mine, even improved,
may look a bit pale!
"I had a bit of a nervous start, as he can hit winners from
anywhere on the court, even from a bad position, so you’ve
got to be on your toes constantly!
"It’s so different when you are an up and coming player,
like he is, he is one of the players that can come out of
nowhere and beat a top 10 player, compared to a “Veteran”
like I am now! Not a long time ago, I was him, but now, I’m
trying to fight those new comers off!!!! And age doesn’t
matter, it doesn’t matter if I’m only 27. It’s role playing.
"You know, people always come to you and say, you should do
a little bit more of that, or a little bit less of this.
Well, yes, but changes take a long time to get implemented.
First, you’ve got to practice them in training, for one or
two years, then try and play during matches, but under
pressure, your natural game just comes back with a
vengeance. It’s a long and painful process to change one’s
"I’m happy today, of course, a loss is a loss, but I’m
moving better, and I feel no pain. I came early here, got
some good treatment, so I’m feeling good now.
"If I had taken the first, maybe I could have put a bit more
pressure on him, but all credit to him, he played a solid
all around game, and kept me well in the back, especially in
the last two games."
Gaultier bt [Q] Karim Abdel
MAYBE NOT FIT, BUT…
This was not the first time I saw Karim. I had that
privilege last year in Sky Cairo, and I remember writing a
little something like “watch out for this kid”.
I can confirm. Watch out for this kid!
is, how can I say, free with his racquet. It’s like his
movement is fluid, like running water. He is powerful when
needed, but it’s more a question of absorbing his opponent’s
strength and power, changing the pace at will, and a quick
eye to place the ball exactly where it’s going to hurt the
Greg, still not that secure on his leg after his injury a
few days back in KW, was not exactly at his top in the
beginning. A bit wary, he had to wake up his body fast, as
the boy was not letting him rest for a second, sending him
left right and centre from the first shot, forcing
uncharacteristic errors from the Frenchman.
The rallies were extremely intense in the first two games,
and Greg owes it to his experience for taking the second, as
he has been there so many times, and was able to play the
crucial points that much better.
And after that, although the young player was still
fighting, the hard work produced took its toll…
But was I impressed with Karim G? Bet your racquet I am. Do
I believe this boy is top 5 material? Oh yes.
his second time on a glass court, I must say he was
impressive, especially in the first game. I felt a bit
sluggish, and he went straight in from the word go. So I
just tried to stay focused and make it hard for him until he
would crack up physically.
"He is only 19, so only a couple of years, and he’ll be up
there. You just can’t relax against these young players,
they come on court to beat you! I remember when I was that
age, whoever I was playing, even the number one player in
the world, I would come to beat them, and give it all what I
"If you want to be the best, you have to put pressure on
absolutely everybody you play."
"I was injured during El Gouna, and I just couldn’t play at
all for 7 days. My first qualifying match was my first time
on court since then, so you can’t say that my fitness was at
the best on this tournament, and Greg is one of the fastest
guys on court, and I should be as fit as can be to try to
compete with him."
Mosaad (Egy) bt  Wael El Hindi
A few days ago, while in KW, I had a conversation with two
players – they will recognise themselves – who very strongly
were in favour of the “No Let/stroke only” squash. And I was
telling them that I thought that if the actual rules were
applied, these extreme changes of rules wouldn’t be
Today’s game sustains my claim…
It all started as a normal game of squash, with Omar
starting beautifully, attacking very well, and Wael, as can
happen to him, taking a bit of time to warm up and find his
rhythm, taking the game after being led for most of it.
In the second game, the decisions became more and more
frequent, I counted 19, with Omar making most of the asking
(I counted 6 for Wael). Just at 9/7 Wael serving, quite a
crucial time of the game, I counted 5. Mentally, the young
contender cracked a bit there, tinning it to give a game
ball, 10/7, that Wael took on a lovely drive that bounced
that game, the ref John Massarella explained very clearly
why the refs were giving out lets to Omar, answering Wael's
questioning. And the ref started warning Wael about his
movement, telling him to clear the ball, on several
The third was extremely close, if one would take the lead,
the other one would quickly catch up, until a crucial 8/7
for Omar, where a “harsh” stroke was given by the three
refs. Wael was stunned, and questioned them. “That’s what
I’ve been warning you about M. El Hindi. Please continue
play,” said the central ref.
The next point is played, and stroke again. Now the crowd is
starting to get it. This is not a normal decision. The Refs
are trying to send a strong message to Wael. And Omar takes
the game, 11/8.
“Is it a problem between us, John”, asks the Egyptian as he
leaves the court. “M. El Hindi, I gave you all the
explanations you required, no more about it, please.”
The fourth was, well, tense, that’s the very least we can
say. At 3/3, Wael got another stroke against him, and just
didn’t seem to know where to stand, poor thing! His mind
started wandering, it was obvious he was struggling with his
concentration, and a very mentally strong Omar took full
advantage of it, as you would…
so cold in here!!!!
"This match was always going to be tough, our head to head
was 2/0 up to last year in Mumbai when I took my first win.
So today, I was really up for it, as I wanted to confirm my
win last year.
"Also, a victory here would really help my ranking, I have
now entered the top 20, and I would hope to get top 16 with
"In the first I was leading, but he came back very strongly,
and took it. Then at the start of the second, I was serving,
and he made a movement as if he was stopping playing, I got
confused, and he got a nice drop shot in. It took me 4
points to recover!
"I’m happy with my game today, I want to thank Wael for this
match, I’m so happy that I could beat somebody as talented
as he is. And that’s all thanks to my squash coach and my
Barker (Eng) bt [Q] Simon Rosner
5/11, 11/8 (62m)
Barker wins Paderborn derby
"Don't assume that because this young German's come
through qualifying that the world number seven is going to
jump all over him," compere Robert Edwards warned the crowd
in the introductions to this match. Peter Barker needed no
such warning, he knew exactly how tough his Paderborn
team-mate would be.
match opened with a long rally - let - followed by an even
longer one, and when Simon Rosner hit the tin to put the
first point on the board four minutes had already elapsed.
The first game continued in that pattern, long testing
rallies, but the Englishman was generally finishing them,
off better, and after 10 minutes he led 7/3. A few too many
errors from the German racket and Barker was one game to the
good after 12 minutes.
Rosner started the second better though, opening out to 4/1
but Barker soon levelled. As they matched each other to
9-all some of the exchanges were rapid, frantic almost, but
again it was Barker who finished better, doubling his
advantage on his third game ball, 12/10.
Another fast start from Rosner in the third, 4/1 again, and
this time he extended it to 7/2 and 9/4, no way back for
Barker this time.
The Englishman didn't allow his opponent to get a third
start though, but they matched each other up to 7-all in the
fourth, both mixing winners with errors as the rallies
Perhaps going for too much, it was Rosner who cracked, four
errors - with one from Barker - putting paid to his chances
as Barker made it three English wins on the day.
got to know Simon quite well over the last 18 months as
we've been playing for the same team in Germany, so I knew
"I certainly didn't take it for granted, but I played into
his hands a bit too much, putting the ball onto his racket
and he punished me.
"I tried to play at too fast a pace too often, and that
suited him, so I needed to try to slow it down a little and
play my own game.
"I'll need to do that tomorrow too ..."
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt
Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/6, 11/9 (49m)
RIGHT GAME PLAN FOR MOHAMED
We knew from the start that the match wouldn’t be long. Both
just out of juniors, both Egyptians, I was not expecting
But when Tarek attacked all the shots, opening the court a
lot for Mohamed to kill or counter drop, Mohamed was hitting
deep in the corners, and that paid off in the end….
The first game, well, 16/14, was no joke, and they both had
their share of game balls (four for Mohamed, two for Tarek),
played at a fast and furious pace, as you may imagine.
Mentally down, Tarek went on to make five tins within the
first ten points of the second, that obviously helped his
opponent to take the game easily. The third was very close
again, not much with a player, and if one was up score wise,
it wasn’t for long!
At 8/8, then 9/9, everything was still possible for Tarek,
but once again, Mohamed found some great length on the two
last points, both drive and crosscourt, and forces two
errors from Tarek.
A great 3/0 win, never easy on a cold court against Tarek…
so happy I win this match 3/0, this is my third tournament
in a row where I win 3/0 in the first round, and that’s not
my usual, so, really happy.
"The first one was crucial. With Tarek, you’ve got to make
sure you force him out of his comfort zone, that you make
him play at your pace. Because if you play at his, you’ll
lose. If you force him to play yours, he sticks to his game
plan normally, so you’ve got to try and beat his plan A!
"Last time we played in Malaysia, I played that well against
him, I was 1/0 up, and 9/6 up, and I lost concentration, and
never found it again! And I know that’s my problem, my loss
"So today, I make sure that I kept my concentration for the
three games. And I think the 3/0 wins comes from there.
"It’s nice I have a day of rest, and after that, I’ll play
Peter, the only time we played was in Saudi, a tough match
that I won 3/1. I’m so looking forward to it, I’m sure it
will be very hard again, and I’m sure going to try to play
my best as I’m sure he’ll try and play his best!"
"It wasn’t a matter of fitness today, more the lack of
motivation. I was playing well in the first game, I had game
balls, but went for weird shots and blew it really…
"After that, I had some good patches, but I had so many
things on my mind, like my studies, and I feel that tonight,
he wanted to win more than I did…"
Fialova (Cze) bt Anna-Carin Forstadius (Swe)
Lucie through again
first women's match of the event (after three no-shows
yesterday) saw Lucie Fialova become the first player
through to the main draw.
The Czech left-hander always seemed to have the upper hand
against Sweden's Anna-Carin Forstadius, but as the
11/7, 7, 7/ scoreline suggests, it was never that easy.
"I was very nervous," said the winner, "especially at the
start of each game, but once I settled down it was ok.
"I qualified here last year so it feels good to reach the
main draw again. I haven't even looked at who I might get,
any match will be really good experience for me, I'm just
excited about the prospect!
Selby (Eng) bt Salma Nassar (Egy)
11/4, 11/9 (42m)
time for Lauren
"I'm really pleased to get through in my first time in
Qatar," said England's Lauren Selby after coming from
a game down to beat Egyptian Salma Nasser in a
well-contested four games.
never easy playing an Egyptian in a hot climate," Selby
added, "and she's had a few good wins lately, but when I
stuck to the game plan that my Dad and Brother gave me in
the game intervals it worked - when I didn't it let her back
Nasser threatened to come back from substantial deficits in
the second and fourth games, but Selby held on to confirm
her place in the main draw.
"I don't like to look too far ahead," she admitted, "so I
don't know who I might get drawn against, I just know it's
not Nicol because Emma [Beddoes] is playing her!"
Schmohl (Sui) bt Becky Botwright (Eng)
Schmol so pleased
Gaby Schmol gave out a great big "YES" as she secured
the last point in her match against 'local' girl Becky
Botwright and a place in the main draw.
"I'm only really playing once a week," admitted Becky, the
former world #26 who has been based in Qatar fro three years
now. "I'm doing more running, which doesn't help, but I
thought I'd enter as it's just 20 minutes down the road and
it's good to see all the girls again."
seemed to be getting into her stride as the match went on,
getting closer each game after losing the first 11/2, but a
determined Schmol hung on to bring more success for the
"That was tough at the end, really close," said the winner.
"It's the first time I've entered such a big tournament, I
played Monte Carlo last month which was the next biggest.
"My goal was to get through qualifying, I was just focusing
on this match. I've done that, so what comes next is great
Ertlova (Cze) bt Merhan Amr Mahmoud (Egy)
11/4, 11/7 (41m)
Olga doubles Czech currency
never played an Egyptian before," Olga Ertlova
admitted after she'd just made it two Czechs in the women's
main draw by beating Merhan Amr Mahmoud in four
"In the first I didn't know what was going on, it was fast,
the ball was bouncy and flying all over the place.
"I just needed to calm down and start getting her to the
back, once I got her there I could finish it at the front,
but if I gave her time to get to the front I was lost.
"I lost out in final qualifying here last year, so it's
great to make it through this time, it's definitely the
biggest tournament I've played in and to have a game with
any of these girls is just so exciting for me ..."
Der Heijden (Ned) bt Sherif Esmat Youssef (Egy)
9/11, 11/7, 11/6,
Milou & Adel complete Egyptian rout
It's not very often these days that you can report that all
the Egyptians in qualifying lost, so we'd better make the
most of it as it's unlikely to happen again any time soon
(to be fair, there's plenty of them in the main draw by
Van Der Heijden continued the trend of losing the first
game before advancing as she beat Sherif Esmat Youssef,
while Adel Weir-Nunn won a tough first game against
Mayar Aly Ezzo before taking the next two quite comfortably.
"She was just hitting hard, hard, hard at the start and I
tried to join in with her," admitted Milou. "Vanessa told me
to be more patient and play a better length, and when I did
that - which is when I'm at my best anyway - it worked.
"It's my first time in Qatar, so I'm very happy to qualify,
I love this tournament already!"
Weir-Nunn (Rsa) bt Mayar Aly Ezzo (Egy)
11/7, 11/0, 11/3
who has been a resident here in Qatar - "just ten minutes
down the road" - for almost three years, was equally
"It's the first time I've managed to qualify in four
attempts, so I'm delighted and relieved," she said.
"It was tough in the first game but I just tried to keep it
uncomplicated, keep to basic squash. I think she was a bit
nervous, she's not played many WISPA tournaments, but she's
going to be a good player and she has many more years in
front of her."
"I'm still loving it in Qatar, although I try to get away
for two or three months in the heat of the Summer, but it's
going well and I hope my sponsors Ramada Plaza Hotel, Go
Sports and Adidas are happy!"