TODAY at the Qatar
Day FIVE, Round Two
The men's and women's events
have caught up so today was round two - the last 16, or as
it's called by some the "pre-Quarter-Finals" - in both
Sixteen matches then, with the men again on the glass court
and the women vying for the right to play on there tomorrow
Women's Round Two:
 Nicol David
 Donna Urquhart
 Kasey Brown bt  Vanessa Atkinson
13/11, 5/11, 11/6 (67m)
Nour El Tayeb bt  Nour El Sherbini
4/11, 11/2, 11/4 (29m)
 Joelle King bt  Camille Serme
11/8, 11/13, 10/12, 11/8 (70m)
 Raneem El Weleily bt  Sarah Kippax
11/6, 11/7 (26m)
 Rachael Grinham bt  Isabelle Stoehr
11/5, 12/10, 11/4 (33m*)
 Laura Massaro bt Dipika Pallikal
11/6, 11/5, 15/13 (31m)
 Jenny Duncalf bt  Jaclyn Hawkes
11/8, 12/10, 4/11, 11/4 (41m)
Men's Round Two:
 Amr Shabana bt
 Adrian Grant
11/9, 11/9 (36m)
 James Willstrop bt  Laurens Jan Anjema
11/5, 11/8 (45m)
 Gregory Gaultier bt Omar Mosaad
11/7, 11/9, 11/4 (46m)
 Peter Barker bt  Mohamed El Shorbagy
13/11, 14/12, 12/10 (67m)
 Thierry Lincou bt  David Palmer
11/4, 11/5, 3/11, 11/5 (75m)
 Karim Darwish bt  Stewart Boswell
6/11, 11/3 (53m)
 Daryl Selby bt  Cameron Pilley
9/11, 11/5, 5/11, 11/9 (102m)
 Nick Matthew bt  Alister Walker
12/10, 11/4 (37m)
En Bref #2
Round Two ...
bt  Donna Urquhart
David still the mistress
Yes, she's well ahead in almost every measurable term -
rankings, points, titles etc etc - but Nicol David seems
to have an effect on most of the other women in that they never
seem to play to their potential against her.
It looks simple, she doesn't blast opponents off court, she just
manoevres them around, keeping the ball so so tight,
anticipating a lot of their shots, running down the others, and
even when she's in trouble she seems to return it with interest
- especially that lob that she seems to have perfected off her
opponent's dropshot, so slow, so deep, so tight.
Donna Urquhart didn't exactly play badly today, but she
certainly didn't play her best, a lot of unforced errors that
she'd never normally make, but that's what Nicol does to you.
Off to good starts in the first two games, the World Champion,
World Number One, Top Seed, etc etc etc closed both out
comfortably enough. A 4-1 deficit in the third certainly didn't
faze her - chances are even a 10-1 deficit wouldn't - as she
reeled off ten points in a row to reach the quarter-finals.
felt good today, I'm getting used to the court and playing it
"Donna didn't play at her best, she made a lot of errors in the
second and that gave me a bit of an edge, but she can be so
dangerous if you let her play her shots.
"The lob? I've practiced that shot a lot, after seven years it's
finally starting to come good!
"I'm feeling good, that's the main thing, looking forward to the
next round and to getting on the glass court ..."
Brown bt  Vanessa Atkinson
13/11, 5/11, 11/6 (67m)
Brown survives brutal encounter
"Did you see some of those rallies!" asked Kasey Brown
after coming through a brutal encounter with Vanessa
You couldn't miss them - for five games they hammered it
out, neither willing to give way, neither willing to give
up, both hitting the ball powerfully, retrieving
determinedly, and the crowd on court three enjoyed every
minute of it, which is probably more than can be said for
the combatants themselves.
Brown took the lead, coming from 2/6 to 9/6 in a single hand
along the way, but Atkinson held the advantage throughout
the second to level. After one particularly brutal rally
which Brown won on a mishit, Atkinson looked to be counting
to ten before exhorting herself, "don't swear!"
The third was close all the way, Atkinson got to game ball
first but Brown won it on extra points and you thought the
34-year-old might fade.
Not a bit of it, she stormed back to take the fourth with a
flurry of winners, and went 4/0 up in the decider with more
powerful, precise play.
She had a chance to go 5/0 but snatched at a volley into the
open court, and Kasey, who was being made to do more of the
work but was more than willing to do it, grabbed the
lifeline gratefully as she levelled at 5-all.
Finally, something cracked, and Vanessa would make six
errors as a relieved and tired Kasey went through to the
was such a tough match all the way, but I sort of stepped
back after the third, and she just chopped me in the fourth.
"She started like that in the fifth too. I knew I had to
keep attacking, and then she started making errors, after
hitting like one tin in the first four games!
"I seem to have had about ten five-setters recently, I wish
I wouldn't, I'd much rather save some energy for the next
bt  Nour El Sherbini
4/11, 11/2, 11/4 (29m)
Tayeb on a roll
Faced with a second fellow-Egyptian opponent, Nour El Tayeb
played pretty much the same game she used with great effect
against Omneya Abdel Kawy yesterday to score a rare win against
her junior nemesis Nour El Sherbini.
Fast-paced, taking everything early, generally hitting low and
hard, taking it in short with tight drops and deceptive trickle
Not a bad plan, against anyone, and today it worked a treat
The opening exchanges were close, but Tayeb pulled clear from
7-all to take the lead. Sherbini dominated the second as Tayeb
deviated from the plan, and after 13 minutes we were level.
But Tayeb reverted to type in the third and fourth, dominating
both games as she once again harried her opponent into loose
returns and errors - and it's not many, especially juniors, who
can do that to Sherbini.
There was a little fist pump today, but that's all. As she says,
Nour's not finished yet ...
as yesterday, except for the second when I thought 'I'm one up
against Nour, that never happens', and I decided to go short too
early and she just killed me.
"In the third I remembered yesterday's match and started to pin
her to the back, and then I could win the points. There were
rallies, but not too many long ones.
"We played each other last Friday in a team match and I won 3-2,
from 10-6 down in the fifth, which was good, but to beat her
3/1, that never happens!
"I'm happy to be in the quarters, and I'm not done yet - to be
in the Qatar quarter-finals, that's something ..."
King bt  Camille Serme
11/8, 11/13, 10/12, 11/8 (70m)
King stops Serme comeback
Another five-setter in the women's last sixteen, and
although this one lasted four minutes longer than the
Brown/Atkinson battle, it was a touch more cerebral than
Not that Joelle King and Camille Serme weren't going at it
hammer and tong for much of they match, they certainly were,
but both also played more carefully when the situation
demanded, and the rallies generally didn't have the same
King had the edge in the first two games, but never by much,
pulling away from 7-all in the first and 6-all in the second
to take a well deserved two game lead.
Serme stopped the rot early in the third, opening up to 6/1,
but slowly King pegged her back, finally levelling at 8-all
as Serme lobbed out at the end of another punishing rally.
The Frenchwoman was careful not to make an error from that
point, spurning several opportunities for risky winners,
taking the safe option of a lob or lofted drive instead. The
Kiwi stuck with her though, levelled at 9-all, 10-all and
11-all, but volleyed into to tin at 12/11 to give Serme a
The fourth was similar - Serme in front, King exerting
relentless pressure but not quite being able to get ahead,
and again Serme denied her opponent a match ball as she took
it 12/10 with a brilliant pickup to put away a crosscourt
At 5-all the decider looked to be going the same way, but
Camille made three crucial errors which came as a surprise
because she wasn't going for winners, they just came out of
the blue, and Joelle found herself 10/7 up.
Camille could only save one match ball, with a lovely
blocked dropshot, but on the next rally Joelle's dropshot
was tight enough to elicit a loose return which was put
lost so many close matches, and so many from two-nil up - I
did that in Hong Kong last week - that I told myself in the
fifth I couldn't let it happen again, I wasn't going to get
a chance to play the match again in ten minutes.
"I played well at the start but then she played much better
in the third and fourth and made it hard for me. In the
fifth I was down the whole game and then she gave me a few
points, I just wanted to play steady and make her work to
get those points back.
"Winning the medals at the Commonwealths has given me a
confidence boost I think. The CWG are a big think in New
Zealand so when I get home there's usually just my Gran and
boyfriend waiting for me, but this time, coming back as the
most successful New Zealand athlete, it was just huge!
"It's funny, Nour and I played each other in qualifying here
last year, and now we'll be playing the quarter-finals ..."
 Raneem El
Weleily bt  Sarah Kippax
11/6, 11/7 (26m)
Error free Raneem
After a first game comprising 19 points in just six minutes and
one rally of any significance, it looked like this match could
be over very quickly.
El Weleily, double world junior champion and just starting
to make major inroads onto the senior scene, overcame an early
2/4 deficit to take the first, but Sarah Kippax was
always only ever a point or two behind.
The next two games followed the same pattern scorewise, Kippax
getting a couple of points ahead at the start, El Weleily
overtaking her at the midway point then pulling away towards the
Playwise though, they were very different - virtually every
rally was well contested, both moving the ball well and
utilising a wide variety of shots, both making very very few
errors, but the Egyptian always looked the more likely to finish
the rally off, the Englishwoman more on the defensive, but not
It would only have taken a couple of tins, a couple of lengths
that didn't die so nicely, and Kippax could easily have taken
one of those games, and then it could have been different.
In the event though, Raneem didn't tin, she did find those
perfect lengths, and even though Sarah played well, the Egyptian
was an impressive winner.
time we played I was 2/0 and 10/6 up and I lost, so I knew I
couldn't afford to relax for one second, she's a good player,
she has good basics and gets to everything.
"We had some long rallies after the first game, but I just
managed to stay ahead.
"It's good to get to the semi-finals, and for the first time
there will be two Egyptians in the last eight!"
Raneem El Weleily
Grinham bt  Isabelle Stoehr
11/5, 12/10, 11/4
Rachael lobs her way to the quarters
To be honest, I didn't see too much of this match, but what I
did see suggested we had two players intent on playing their
shots whenever the opportunity arose.
Rachael Grinham is a master at mixing it up, and
Isabelle Stoehr is pretty handy in that department, a recipe
for some fast, entertaining rallies.
You can see from the scoreline that Rachael was pretty much in
control in the first and third, and she also led 4/1 and 10/7 in
the second, Isabelle possibly a little unlucky not to take that
The rally that stood out though was at 9/7. First Isabelle
played it short into the front right corner, then Rachael lobbed
it crosscourt deep into the opposite back corner.
Isabelle lobbed it back crosscourt off the backwall and raced up
court for the inevitable drop. Rachael, seeing her coming,
lobbed it back to where it came from.
They went through this process at least four times, each time
Rachael looked almost embarrassed to do it again, but do it
again she did. And so did Isa. Great skill from both, and the
closest you can get to stalemate in squash I guess.
To be honest, apart from the fact that Rachael won the point I
can't remember how it finished - everyone was too busy chuckling
"You never know
how it's going to be with Isa, she changes tactics a lot, she
can come out hitting hard or playing slow, and change at any
time. All you do know is she's going to jump on anything loose
with her volleys, you just need to try to keep your own focus
whatever she's doing.
"She probably wasn't moving as well as she can, I was moving ok
but I wasn't too confident in my hitting, not sure if it was the
court, or the bouncy ball.
"On that lob rally, I kept checking to see whether she was
coming up for the drop, and she was so I just lobbed it back -
she might have guessed if I'd tried to drop or drive it, and
Isa's one that you're generally confident of getting a lob over
her, so I just kept playing it safe! I wasn't doing it to have
fun, I really wanted to drop it but I couldn't!
Raneem next - I lost to her last time we played. She was always
dangerous, but now she seems to have gone up a level, she's got
serious as if she's going for the top spot ... you're pretty
sure she's going to turn up these days ...
Massaro bt Dipika Pallikal
11/6, 11/5, 15/13 (31m)
Laura survives tense finish
England's Laura Massaro reached the quarter-finals with a
generally assured performance against Dipika Pallikal,
who created one of only two upsets yesterday.
Quickly onto the front foot in the first two games, she
controlled most of the rallies, and the scoreboard, limiting the
Indian teenager's opportunities to play the winners she so
It was a different story at the start of the third though, as
Pallikal found some lovely shots to go 7/2 up. Massaro steadied,
and worked her way back to 8-all with a low crosscourt kill,
only to see Pallikal regain the lead with one of her own. Great
retrieving from both on the next point but Massaro won the
counterdrop battle to level at 9-all.
They traded points and shots for a while - a clinging straight
drive from Pallikal brought game ball, a similar one glued to
the backhand wall took it to extra points; Massaro's volley drop
for match ball was answered by Pallikal's from deep in the back
court, very brave that one.
A stroke for Massaro, followed by a tin, 13-all. Massaro's boast
was just too tight, bringing up a third match ball, and when
Pallikal's shot came down the middle on the next point everyone
except two (or maybe three) of the referees thought a let was
To her credit, Dipika didn't argue the point, but even her
opponent didn't think it was a stroke. A disappointing way to
finish, but a quarter-final spot for Laura nonetheless, and a
pretty solid performance overall too.
just wanted make a lively start today, I made sure I was ready
from the off, hitting through the ball with some pace as I made
a slow start yesterday. She started a bit sluggishly and made a
few mistakes, which helped.
"The third was much tougher though, I made a few silly shots at
the start and she punished me big time. I knew that if I could
just get a couple of shots back it could become tight, and
that's what happened. She went for and got a couple of great
shots when it was really tight, and was unlucky in the end.
"I've made my seeding so I have to be pleased with that, but
obviously you want to do more ..."
Duncalf bt  Jaclyn Hawkes
11/8, 12/10, 4/11, 11/4 (41m)
Duncalf finishes with a flourish
Defending champion Jenny Duncalf moved smoothly enough
into the quarter-finals, despite a third game blip against the
tenacious Jaclyn Hawkes.
The world number two was never completely in control of the
first two games, but kept her opponent working hard enough to
stay ahead, only when Hawkes levelled at 9-all in the second was
there a real scent of danger, but that was snuffed out, Duncalf
finishing the second with a stroke to take a seemingly
From the outset of the fourth though she was pressurised into
mistakes, and made more as she tried to recover, seven in all as
Hawkes pulled a game back with some comfort.
All that was put aside in the fourth though as the Englishwoman
took a 6/2 lead, and finished the match with five well
constructed rallies, all ending with winners.
never feel a million dollars on these outside courts anyway, and
Jaclyn picks up a lot of balls so you always have to play that
extra shot against her.
"At the beginning of the third I felt a little something in my
leg, it was nothing but I just backed off for a few rallies, got
a few points behind and tried to get them back too quickly.
"I regrouped after that, got moving and thinking again and
thought I was playing quite well at the end.
"It will be nice to get on the glass court with the men
tomorrow, it feels like it's been two completely separate
tournaments so far ..."
Round Two ... Fram reports
bt  Adrian Grant
11/9, 11/9 (36m*)
ADRIAN DIDN’T DO MUCH WRONG…
Shabana was on the war path today, hungry for victory. Only went
for “cheap” winners once per game, at the second rally. Apart
from that, length, patience, accuracy, and flair.
day at the Shabs office really.
Adrian didn’t do much wrong honestly. Nice length, good pace,
good hands, placing some great boast or slide drop shots.
this All Lefties battle, Shabana was just more strong all the
way through, never letting one rally go without fighting hard,
whereas Adrian seemed, as he does sometimes, to drift in and out
“People will expect me to fall off my focus, even if I’m playing
very well, they’ll just weather the storm”, noted Adrian after
That’s the time of
the tournament where you play well and stay, or not play well,
and lose! You can’t slack it off…
The court was a bit warmer than usual, which suited his game.
Adrian gets faster and faster as the match goes, and if you are
not careful, you can get sucked in his game plan. And he is very
hard to finish off, I’m happy to get off in 3.
was playing well in patches, playing well for 3 or 4 rallies,
pushing hard, then sitting back for 3 or 4. It’s the consistency
of the mental approach that I still got to work on, to try and
keep that level of game all the time.
And that’s the difference with the top 5 guys, they don’t drop
below that level of game, they don’t fall under that medium, if
anything they go higher.
But I felt comfortable on there, the pace was fine…
Willstrop bt  Laurens Jan Anjema
11/5, 11/8 (45m)
ERROR FREE SQUASH
Through the whole match, James made four unforced errors, and
LJ one. I know, I know, LJ thinks that it’s not the point in
his case. But it’s to point out the match quality those two
I’m not sure why LJ is so hard with himself. Maybe, after
the excellent performances he gave in KW in particular
against Ramy, he was expecting more of himself. But the
court conditions were completely different, as in, a burning
oven, compared to a fridge here!
James luuuuves this court, he won the Title here a few years
back, and I guess is pretty confident. And he went for not
too much, not too little, his balance was perfect really.
Game wise, this match was a pleasure, so much reach,
retrieving, attacking from both part, a few decisions, so
few if you think how those boys are tall and strong!
Honestly, an intense and fought hard match.
I can say is I prepared well for this match, mentally,
physically, tactically, but I didn’t play at all what I had
planned to do. It was a terrible, terrible performance
today. I made tactical errors, and it’s my lack of accuracy
that allowed him to play his good shots.
I’ve got to improve, and I can tell you that I played
terrible today. I tried to stay positive, but…..
And yes, he is very good on this court…
well, and I don’t think he played that badly at all, I had
to play very solid squash to win. I was pretty pleased
with my performance, it went as it was expected to go.
"It’s a very hard flooring, if you can stay as little as
possible on there, all much the better if you intend to go
far in the tournament, so a 3/0 is a good result really."
Gaultier bt Omar Mosaad
11/7, 11/9, 11/4 (46m)
OMAR HEAVILY STRAPPED
This was a match between a player with a recovering injury,
Greg, and one who just contracted one, Mosaad. During his
excellent match against Wael, the Egyptian injured himself, I
remember him telling me about his back right after.
He went to see the physio who strapped him like a mummy, bless
him, and he tried to play. From my point of view, I was
wondering why he was not attacking with his normal power, why he
was not volleying….
Well, that explains it!
In front, Greg did what he had to do, trying to find his marks
and body on there. A lot of unforced errors for the French, 7 in
the second game, but overall, the job that needed done was so….
happy. I’ve been impaired so much with my thigh injury since
last week, and I’m so grateful to Ronald (from the Malaysian
Corner) and Caroline Glain for the work they both have done on
Two days ago, I couldn’t move or run, and I knew I was going to
suffer for the first two rounds. But now, I guess it’s starting
to relax, and although I can still feel the pain, it’s not deep
as it was.
I didn’t play that well, but it will be coming, it’s so much
better than the first match, it’s all going to fall into place.
I guess it’s like in KW, in the first match, I was playing like
a blind goat, but as the tournament advances, must be something
on the mental side that just clicks….
I shouldn’t have
lost that match. I was up in each game, 10/8 in the 2nd, 10/8 in
the 3rd, and 6/1 in the 4th.
I was so unlucky, slipping at such crucial times in both the
2nd, that would have taken me to lead 2/0 up, and in the 3rd,
twice within the last 3 rallies. I don’t have the words to
describe it… So unlucky.
I tried to come back each time in the match, to stay positive,
but I feel he played the crucial points better than I did today.
Barker bt  Mohamed El Shorbagy
13/11, 14/12, 12/10 (67m)
All due respect for the enormous match Peter produced today,
but mentally and physically, Shorbagy is the unluckiest boy in
He started the match superbly, finding the ideal balance
between attack and length. After a very hard fought game –
where Peter realised that if Mohamed's shots were extremely
rewarding at the front, his could be too! – Mohamed
succeeded to take the lead, 10/8. But at 9/10, he slips into
a full splits in the left corner. Peter gives it a big push,
and takes the game, 13/11.
In the middle of the third, the Egyptian, feeling the floor
getting a bit slippery, asks the ref if Peter – who is
renowned to sweat rather a fair bit – to change his shirt.
Peter explains that he changed his shirt between games, and
that he can’t keep on changing shirts during the game! He
actually proposes to play naked, which I regret to say is
not picked up by the ref….
Mohamed comes back in the third. Both are neck to neck, 3/2,
but again, Shorbagy flies off, 6/2. Patiently, Peter scores,
one point, then another, but the Egyptian prevails, 9/5, and
sets himself another game ball, 10/8.
that point, the game becomes fast, furious, a bit scrappy,
with the two players not exactly letting each other clear
path of the ball, and chatting to each other between points,
not that happy with each other…
Mohamed gets his third game ball of the game, 12/11. And
slips miserably again in that back left corner, to find
himself on his bottom, unable to move. 12/12. Not happy, is
the poor boy. A looooong rally, that Peter clinches with a
stunning backhand drop shot, game ball, 13/12 Peter.
And as Mohamed is going to a simple crosscourt in that same
damn left corner, he slips exactly the same way. Again. Game
“You know, I can’t believe this”, Shorbagy says to the ref
as he leaves the court…. Neither can we.
In the fourth, Peter plays as well as I ever saw him play.
He is accurate, fast, determined, and reads his opponent’s
shots like a clairvoyant. Mohamed, although he fights for
every shot, his spirit is broken, and quite understandably,
But the Egyptian is a tough trouper. He goes up 6/1, is
caught up at 7/7. Peter has 3 match balls, from 10/7. All
saved by Mohamed. But the young man can’t save the last one,
and hands the match to his opponent at 12/10…
Heart breaking for one, superb fighting spirit reward for
"I played him
only once before, in Saudi last year, and he took me by
surprise, his speed, especially for a big guy, is just
excellent. I wanted to win, to get back on parity, and I was
expecting a tough match, it didn’t disappoint!
He played incredibly well in the first game, and made it
very tough for then on. I’m pleased I was able to come back
each time, I was down in every game, I didn’t panic, just
kept to my game plan, and keep it straight.
It’s so unfortunate that he slipped at the end of the games,
he is so tall, it’s the same for James, they have bigger
strides than I have, that must come into it as well.
Needless I’m happy to win, and I’m glad to say it was played
in a pretty decent spirit, which every game of squash should
be played in."
Lincou bt  David Palmer
11/4, 11/5, 3/11, 11/5 (75m)
I’m happy with that one… Double entendre I think you English
Yes, it was a game between two Vets of the game, who have been
around for so long, and will make a biiiiig empty space when
They didn’t exactly start at 200m/h, it was a slow paced game,
gruelling, with a lot of moves around the court. 18mn to be
exact, with Thierry’s game plan rather obvious – make it as hard
as possible for the Australian.
And he lost the game, the Frenchman, but won the next two, quite
comfortably, 4 and 5, with still long rallies, accurate squash
from both of them, but a David just a bit late on the ball, and
a Thierry control most of the court.
In the 4th, the Frenchman just relaxed a fraction, and David was
in there in a shot, taking an excellent start, 5/1 then 9/2, to
get equal, 11/3…
The 5th was all about Lincou really, 6/0, then 9/4. At 9/5,
Thierry was awarded a stroke that David was not too happy about,
and on match ball, David’s ball was called down. The Australian
was not happy AT ALL with that decision, nor with one of the
side refs who kept on laughing apparently, which really really
wasn’t to the Marine’s taste.
After a handshake and a bit of wobbly discussions, Thierry gave
David a let, and Thierry served again for the match. David
couldn’t return a drop shot, and it’s with a great handshake
they sealed the Frenchman’s victory, his 12th out of 21 matches
those two Legends played.
I felt relaxed, especially after yesterday’s match, I was able
to let go of the stress. And I did feel that I could develop my
game, and I had the will to show a different style of squash
I played well, sometimes I even fell in the trap of playing a “
Beautiful Squash”, but at that game, David is one of the best
players, with his volleying and attacking skills, and I got
Globally, I was able to keep the level of intensity today, and
vary from that base. But it has to be said that I benefitted
from a Palmer just back from injury, and probably not at his
best, either physically or mentally.
he was just too good, far too good, and I didn’t have enough
control of the ball to make enough damages to him…
Things haven’t really gone my way this year, and I haven’t hit
the ball enough since the CWG, it showed today. Physically, I
was fine, but Thierry was in total control, and that’s his
My shots were too loose, I wasn’t sharp enough, and I wasn’t
confident with my shots, neither to the front nor to the back! I
played better in the 4th, but he came strong in the 5th.
Darwish bt  Stewart Boswell
6/11, 11/3 (53m)
STEWART A BIT SHORT…
The match lasted less than an hour, which is for a dour game
match not that long, especially when Bozza is playing in it!
There were some really long rallies, but again and again,
the Australian just clipped the tin and it must have been
mentally exhausting to be at the wrong end of some many
I didn’t play much, so it was good today to have a good run
on the court, especially as my squash always gets better
after a few matches, my shots are getting sharper…
He played really well today, in particular in the third, I
thought I had him, I relaxed for a second… But he is so
experienced, and as I didn’t put enough pressure on him, he
walked away with the game.
After that, I was able to send him to the back corners and
keeping him moving around…
I played some OK attacking squash, but I kept catching the
side wall, and that gave him the ball at ¾, right into his
racquet… I think that was the main problem today.
Selby bt  Cameron Pilley
9/11, 11/5, 5/11, 11/9 (104m)
ONE HUNDRED and TWO MINUTES
Guys, going to have to make it quick, as this has been a long
day, and I have very little time.
First game went rather comfortably to Daryl, who didn’t seem to
suffer from his 90m encounter against Olli the night before. But
in the second, Cameron seemed to settle, find his game and
accuracy, and he takes it only just though, after a series of
In the third, we had an Englishman who dominates the game to a
point that frustrated Cameron big time, and at 10/5 game ball,
he says something between his teeth, but loud enough to be heard
by the ref, conduct stroke for obscenity, 11/5 Daryl.
The way the match/rallies were going, I must say I expected
Cameron to fold, but none of that. It’s quite the opposite, and
it’s Daryl who seemed to have a big drop in energy – not exactly
surprising – in that game.
And as some mobile ring tone played the Titanic theme, rather
appropriate, Cameron equalised at 2/2.
At the end of the 5th, it was Daryl’s turn to get a nice conduct
stroke for dissent. It was all happening I tell you!
Cameron seemed to take the upper hand, leading 5/2 and 6/5, but
Daryl’s momentum was not to be stopped. From 6/6 he went in one
hand to 10/6 match ball. Cameron gave it a last push, spilled it
all out, hit, run, pushed Daryl to the end of his tether, saving
three match balls.
But Lady Luck chose Daryl tonight, and it’s a lovely deep
backhand crosscourt that just rolled off the side wall, giving
the victory to an ecstatic Englishman.
I've worked pretty
hard this week I would say….
I hung in there. The court was a bit warmer tonight, and it
shows on the length of the match…
Cameron hits the ball so well, he is such a great player. He’s
got one of the best forehands on the circuit, and everybody
knows that… He played some stunning winners tonight, but
luckily, I managed to weather the storm.
My length was good, I feel I moved the ball in the right areas,
and I think he was pretty tired by the end of it! So was I….
He’ll be gutted to lose today, pretty gutted, but you win some,
and you lose some, tonight it was my turn.
I want to apologise if I shouted out there, it’s all about
passion coming out on court, but I apologise if I went a bit
This match was a lot about mental strength, and maybe we don’t
practice or work enough in that area. We concentrate on the
physical side of things. But when it comes to hard matches, I’m
not too bad, I thing…
I did it the hard way, maybe not the prettiest one, but I'll
Matthew bt  Alister Walker
12/10, 11/4 (37m)
NICK HAD ALL THE ANSWERS…
Ali will kick himself from here to the Airport after this
If Nick was pretty much in control in the first game,
Alister played some stunning squash, fast, accurate,
inventive, that took Nick completely unaware, to lead the
second game 9/2 and 10/5. Yes, you read correctly.
But Nick isn’t world number two for nothing, and patiently,
little by little, he started to infiltrate the doubt in
Ali’s mind. And little by little, the young man
disintegrated… to finally lose the game 12/10.
Needless to say that it was impossible for him to mentally
overcome the loss of that game, and Nick continued applying
the pressure where it hurt, suddenly reading Ali’s game as a
gifted clairvoyant, to take the match in less than
not as awkward it was to play Ali, as we don’t train 3-4
times a week anymore, so he surprised me with a few things I
forgot he did, then I surprised him with a few things I did!
The second was crucial, I think that if he’d won that one,
he would have taken a lot of confidence, and it would have
become a hard match.
From the start, I tried not to let him settle, I saw his
So I guess I was playing a bit too fast, and I probably got
a bit too complacent in the second, but in the third,
settled into my game again.
I know we all say that, but it was so nice to get through in
three, especially after the long matches today.