Outside the Khalifa Complex
TODAY at the Qatar
Wed 19th, Day
Fram & Steve in
En Bref #3
Quarter-Finals in Doha
It was back to normal on quarter-finals day in Doha as,
after a day of upsets in round two, all the remaining seeds
won through to the semi-finals, with defending champions
Nicol David and Karim Darwish still on course to retain
 Nicol David
(Mas) bt  Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (27m)
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Emma
14/12, 11/4, 11/7 (30m)
 Madeline Perry (Irl) bt 
Low Wee Wern (Mas)
11/8, 11/5, 11/9
 Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Nour El
11/8, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11
 Karim Darwish (Egy) bt
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
2/11, 11/8, 11/5,
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt
Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 11/7
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt
 Peter Barker (Eng)
11/4, 13/11 (56m)
Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Cameron
11/8, 11/5, 4/11,
The main tennis court, squash centre on the right
Normal order restored in Doha
After a seemingly endless
succession of upsets in round two, normal order was restored
in the first session of quarter-final action in the XIth
Qatar Classic at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash
Complex in Doha.
Top seed and defending champion Nicol David, was
always in control against young Egyptian Raneem El
Weleily, who didn't help her own cause with numerous
unforced errors in each of the three games. Only in the
third did the Egyptian threaten to extend the match, but
David soon closed that opening to win 11/6, 11/4, 11/8 in 27
seed Rachael Grinham took just a little longer to end
the run of England's Emma Beddoes who had scored two
upset wins to reach this stage, but for the Australian it
was a case of taking the first game in the face of a stiff
challenge from Beddoes. Thereafter Grinham's shotmaking held
The first men's match promised another upset when unseeded
Swiss Nicolas Mueller raced into an 11/2 and 4/1 lead
against Karim Darwish, the third seeded defending
champion. Darwish settled, and dominated from that point on
to win 2/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/4 in 35 minutes.
Willstrop and Peter Barker had met at this stage
in the US Open just over a week ago, and just as then it was
Willstrop, the fourth seed, who won 3/1 after Barker had
taken the first game.
The match looked as though it was heading for a decider as
Barker led throughout the fourth, but his frustration grew
as Willstrop pegged back the lead, saved two game balls, and
took the match in extra points, 6/11, 11/7, 11/4, 13/11.
The evening session started
with a hard fought straight games win for Madeline Perry
over Malaysia's Low Wee Wern. Each of the games were
close to the midpoint but the Northern Ireland fourth seed's
experienced showed as she forged ahead in all three to win
11/8, 11/5, 11/9 in 26 minutes.
El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini met in a replay of their
recent World Junior and WISPA Alexandria finals. In a match
featuring dramatic retrieving and tremendous shotmaking from
both Egyptian teenagers, it was the elder of the two El
Tayeb who emerged the 3/1 winner this time, thus emulating
her achievement last year in making the semi-finals.
There was to be no further upset for Tarek Momen, who after
his explosive dismissal of top seed Nick Matthew last night,
found Gregory Gaultier a step too far.
Not that the sixth-seeded Frenchman had it at all easy -
despite winning in straight games 11/5, 11/8, 11/7 the match
took over an hour (some of it wasted with some, shall we say
confusion, over the video referral decisions) and the young
Egyptian had his chances in each of the last two games.
An upset of sorts finally arrived in the last match of the
day as Stewart Boswell got the better of fellow
Australian Cameron Pilley in four games, 11/8, 11/5, 4/11,
11/4. Both are unseeded, but if there were to be sixteen
seeds then Pilley, ranked #16, would have got the nod. On
the night however it was Boswell, who beat another
compatriot in David Palmer in the previous round, who won
Semi-finals begin at 17.30 on Thursday.
David (Mas) bt  Raneem El
11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (27m)
No sweat for Nicol
Defending champion Nicol David made it safely through
to the semi-finals for the Qatar Classic semi-finals for the
sixth year in a row without too much trouble against Raneem
world number one didn't do anything special, but in truth
she didn't need to, keeping the ball tight, aiming to force
loose returns and errors from the young Egyptian who duly
obliged often enough to dent her chances of seriously
From 5-all in the first five errors from Raneem - not all
unforced, to be fair, she was being pushed tight and deep by
her opponent - and it was 11/6 to the Malaysian.
From 4-all in the second it was more Nicol's precision that
did the damage, 11/4 for a two-nil advantage.
The third was closer, 3-all, 6-all, 8-all with Raneem now
starting to find the range with some of her shots.
A boast that left Raneem for once flatfooted for 9/8, then
after Nicol had determinedly chased down a couple of short
balls from the Egyptian, Raneem clipped the tin with an
attempted crosscourt counter-drop for match ball.
One attempt was all it took, a floated ball deep into the
back corner never looked like coming back and Nicol was
the third, I didnít want her to take any shred of
confidence, so I kept on pushing, those last three shots
Today, I played a bit defensive to start with, because I was
trying to get used to the court, and you canít just go out
at the front if you are not confident. You need to get your
timing right first. Then, when I got a bit more confident, I
Raneem can hit shots from everywhere, but fortunately for
me, she makes a few errors as well. But my job is to make
sure that I put enough pressure on her to prevent her from
adjusting her shots.
Plus, she reads the game very well, like most Egyptians I
have to say. Itís like a gift, they just know where itís
coming, and the do what feels rightÖ
I have been working even harder after my defeats. When you
lose, you want to make sure that you are putting things
right, and my way is to make sure that my body is reacting
the way I want it to react. So, year after year, Iíve been
working harder and harder, and even more recentlyÖ
The Malaysian Press can be a bit harsh with us sometimes,
but then again, theyíve helped tremendously with Squash
promotion in our country. And also, itís up to us athletes
to take notice or not, and to make sure that whatever went
wrong doesnít happen again.
And may I add that the reports on SquashSite have helped
them to understand how tough the competition is nowadays at
the top, what the feelings of the players are, what they go
through, and they now understand and feel the game better.
I was really pleased with the way I came up in the first
game, after my hard match yesterday.
But she is so experienced, she is at home on the glass
This is my best tournament so far, Iíve learned so much, and
hopefully itís going to push me forward and help me in the
ranking too. Very happy.
Grinham (Aus) bt Emma Beddoes
14/12, 11/4, 11/7 (30m)
Rachael's shots beat Emma's running
asked to predict how this match would go before the start,
the answer would have been: "Rachael will be going for
everything, throwing in her lobs boasts drops an angles, and
Emma will chase down everything Rachael throws at her."
And that's pretty much how it was. The elder Grinham can
have the odd shocker - here two years ago in the semi, in
Philadelphia just over a week ago - but the bad news for
Emma was that this wasn't one of them. The Aussie was mixing
up the shots and the pace like only she does, and the
Englishwoman had no choice but to chase every shot until
Rachael played a winner, Emma got one loose enough to put
away or could chase no more.
took Emma a while to get into it, to get used to the very
different conditions on the glass court, but once she did
she recovered from 6/3 down in the first to level at 7-all,
saved two game balls to force extra points and even had a
game ball herself at 11/10. But Rachael put in one of those
drops that only she knows where it's going before taking the
The second was quicker. Rachael took a 6/0 lead helped in
part by some untypical unforced errors from Emma, and was
never going to lose it from there.
Emma made a better start to the third, leading 4/1, but
Rachael, still giving the ball enough air to give Emma
something to go for - which of course she did, willingly -
but also playing with enough deception and tightness when it
mattered to keep the scoreboard ticking over, levelled at
The third seed moved ahead to 8/6 then 10/6 and closed it
out with a volley drop for 11/7 on the half-hour mark.
It was a good, entertaining match with plenty of variety,
thoroughly enjoyable too, as long as you're not the one
doing all the running!
came from the back court, so the ball today felt much
heavier and dead. I was not feeling that confident on there,
made a few errors, a few lob attempts, but I thought that
she had a couple of hard matches, first round, she beat
Omneya, and yesterday, Joe Chan in the tie-break in the 5th,
so she was bound to be a bit tired today.
And in the second, I could see she was not moving too well
to the front, and I thought that if I could keep making her
working hard, I should be fine. And after I took the first
game, I knew that mentally, she would find it hard to come
That first game was really important, it changed everything.
Madeline Perry (Irl) bt  Low
Wee Wern (Mas)
11/8, 11/5, 11/9
Perry pips Wee Wern
third women's quarter-final saw Northern Ireland's Madeline
Perry come through in straight games against the
ever-improving Malaysian Low Wee Wern, although it took the
fourth seed 42 minutes of solid work to squeeze out the
From the outset the rallies were long, both players hitting
solid length and taking it short only when a good
opportunity presented itself.
The first was tight up to 5-all, then a couple of errors
from Low followed by three winning shots from Perry took it
to 10/6, finishing it off 11/8
pattern of the game continued in the second, but Perry,
having taken an early lead extended it to 6/2 then 9/4 and
there was no way back for Low as Perry closed it out 11/5
with a low crosscourt that died in the deep.
The game opened up in the third, both more willing to attach
short now, but this seemed to suit Perry better, who again
pulled away from 5-all to earn three match balls at 10/7.
A tin and a stroke brought a nervous moment but a loose
volley from Low was driven straight down the backhand wall
and Perry was in the semi-final.
happy with a 3/0 there, Wee Wern is always a tough
competitor and even when she loses 3/0 it's usually long.
"I got a bit excited at 10/7 in the third, played
differently to how I had been as I tried to finish it off,
but thankfully I go there.
"It's strange seeing lots of the seeds going out, it's good
because it opens up opportunities for you but it put a bit
of pressure on you not to be the next one!
"The semis is the best I've done here, so I've at least done
that, although I've never played either of the Nours so
we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next
"I thought I hung in well until about 5-all in a couple of
the games but then she stepped it up to go ahead, she's much
more experienced at this level than me.
"I started to come back but it was always too late.
"I play her again in the first round in Rotterdam so
hopefully I've learned something from that!"
We always have
very tight matches, nobody can pick a winner, last time, I
won, this time, I feel she was the better player, and
therefore, deserves to win. And I wish her the best of luck
for the rest of the tournament.
El Tayeb (Egy) bt Nour El Sherbini
11/8, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11
It's Tayeb this time
Well, what a contrast from the previous match this one was.
A repeat of the World Junior Open final in July, and the
Alexandria Open final at the end of last month, here we had
two young Egyptians who know each other and each other's
game so well, playing a game of speed chess on a squash
wasn't too much in the way of rally building, there was
precious little in the way of defence, but there was plenty
of quality squash as both tried to prise an opening and went
for it as soon as any chink appeared.
There wasn't really a pattern as such, each of them could
win a handful of points in a flash, or make a couple of
crucial errors just as quickly. There was fantastic
retrieving of course, and quality shotmaking - a lot of it
totally unorthodox but so, so effective.
In the end it probably came down to a little bit more desire
on the part of El Tayeb today, who was on the floor half a
dozen times during the match, and a couple of crucial errors
late in the third and fourth games from El Sherbini, tinning
while her opponent was hopelessly floundering, on the floor.
the record the first two games were shared, first Tayeb then
Sherbini getting on top. Then it was Tayeb who pulled away
from 5/7 down to take the third. She did the same from 6-all
in the third, going to 9/6 only to be brought back to level
by a determined Sherbini.
An even more determined Tayeb needed two match balls to win
it - the second one was a stroke, although we had to wait
for confirmation from the video referee. It came, sure
enough, and El Tayeb was in the semis just like she was last
Tayed won the world final, Sherbini won in Alexandria, this
time it was Tayeb's turn. What does that mean for the next
time they play? Absolutely nothing.
so hard to play Nour, we are good friends, we know each
otherís game so well, and we have always tough battles her
and I. Plus, she is my room mate here, itís difficult to
find the aggression in me in those circumstances!!!! Plus,
our head to head is now 3/3, to show how close we always
I feel a bit lucky, as she made a few errors, that gave me
confidence to keep pushing and pushing because I wanted to
win, I wanted to win so much, one to take my revenge from
last time she beat me, but most of all, because I so much to
play another semi-final here, itís a special tournament for
Nour is so good in the middle, any shot you give her in the
middle, she kills at the front, both forehand backhand. And
I could kick myself every time I was giving her a chance to
do that, when my ball was not deep enough.
Darwish (Egy) bt Nicolas Mueller
2/11, 11/8, 11/5,
NOT TONIGHT NICKI
looked to start with that Qatar 2011 was going to have
another seed casualty, when Nicolas walked away with the
first game after only 5m38seconds, Karim having scored 2
The image of Tarek must have flown over Karim, and he
probably thought, ah no, not me mate, I want my third Qatar
And he decided to put the clock back on the right time, as
we say in France.
And that, he did. From that moment on, Karim speed up the
pace Ė yes, if that possible Ė and I had the impression of
watching a match in forward mode. Fast, to the front, to the
back, attacking, retrieving, anticipatingÖ. They were both
playing their life on there. With the edge for the Egyptian.
Today, Karim had more experience, and it showed in
particular in the 4th. Going for too much, not thinking
things through too well, Nicki lost a few opportunities and
went a bit junior on us. But itís all part of the learning
progress, and Karim was extremely complimentary on the young
man, and he meant it.
the first game, he was playing every shot into the nick and
taking every opportunity.
Itís so hard to play a young player like that, he is full of
confidence, he just beat Shabana and Azlan, he knows he is
playing well, and it makes him really dangerous.
So after losing the opening game, I just kept pushing him in
the back and try and stay focused. I thought he was bound to
lose a bit of concentration, he had good wins, not that used
to that freezing court, because itís really freezing on
In the 3rd, we were 1/1, 5/5, and we were both running like
lunatics. That was the turning point I think. And I was
trying to get him tired, but he didnít seem tired!
Overall, he played superb squash, and if he goes on like
that, heíll go to the top.
The first game
is the best game I ever played in my life, up to 4/1 in the
second. I was very sharp and taking the ball very early, and
thatís surprised him a bit maybe.
But after that, he tightened things up, straightened his
shots, and didnít give me any more angles anymore. I did try
and keep go for it, but itís was not as easy. And I kept
trying to take advantage of the freezing conditions, it
worked in the 1st game, but by then, he had sharpened his
game, and maybe I shouldnít have kept attacking that way, as
he played superbly the last three games.
Not the longest match, 3/1, 35m, but still very happy with
my week and tournament.
Willstrop (Eng) bt  Peter
11/4, 13/11 (56m)
PETER, SO MUCH MOREÖ
Today, the court is freezing. Actually you could wrap me in
the glossy bag and sell me as an ice cream. So, the logical
set up was: cold court, attackerís delight, James 3/0.
two factors. 1. That court needs a master at length to get
the ball to the back, which Peter is, and 2. Peter has
adding that much depth to his game he is now lethal at the
front as well as the back.
And James was just completely outplayed in the first game.
Canít say he didnít see a ball, as it was still 12m long and
he scored 6 points, but he didnít see muchÖ
The second, well, was crucial. James had to re-establish his
authority as the shot maker if he wanted to take his
confidence away from his team mate. Quickly, James went 3/1,
but couldnít shake Peter off, 4/4.5/5. 6/6. Then followed a
series of flicks that wrong footed and frustrated his
opponent. Happy when he went off court, Peter was not,
mentioning to the ref that James didnít seem to move at all
away from the shot.
Maybe a bit of fatigue, maybe a bit of dropping of focus
from Peter, James basically dominated the 3rd from beginning
to end, 11/4.
the 4th, wellÖ That was anybodyís game at the end, although
Peter took a flying the start, 6/1 then 8/3. James, not
happy with having to play a 5th, just dug in, point by
point, eating away Peterís lead, to shrink it to 8/9.
Needless to say that the rallies were so fast, furious, and
at time, ridiculous squash really.
A tin gives Peter his first game ball, 10/8 but a stunning
drop shot from James that wrong foots him again. A tin takes
the second one, 10/10. A low drive glued to the wall gives
his third, 11/10, but James saves it with a kills, and with
a straight drive that dies in the back, sets up his first
match ball. One will be enough, and with another straight
drive glued ot the wall, on the backhand this time, James
takes the game and match.
Peter must have been extremely disappointed, to put it
mildly, as he disappeared in the wings, I just never found
him. Whereas James, well, relieved is the word I think.
was a match like against Adrian in Manchester, a bit
frenetic, and itís difficult to take the game out of that.
And that is mostly due to the condition of the court.
Peter played a really good game for that court, he did
surprised me, I didnít expect that game from him, taking the
ball that early, going that short. He is really adding to
his game all the time.
Some people think of him as a player who keeps the rallies
going, but he is proving that he can play in any conditions
now, and thatís what you want to be doing when you are like
he is in the top 8.
Today, I had to dig in deep to turn it around.
Gaultier (Fra) bt Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 11/7
GREG READY FOR TAREK
I can tell you that the Frenchman didnít take the young
Egyptian lightly and was waiting for him with a racquet
fully loaded! And you could see from the start that Greg was
on each and every ball, short, side, back, he just didnít
let much go by him. In his mind, it was crucial not to let
the young man, full of confidence after his superb win, no
pressure Ė get any kind of belief he could repeat his
previous night exploit.
second, well, started extremely well for the Frenchman,
leading 7/3, but suddenly, Tarek got more confident, his
shots started to hurt Greg more and more, who suddenly made
a few errors, giving even more oomph to the Egyptian, who
caught up 7/7. And the game was tight, long rallies, tough,
fast, lots of running for both, lovely lovely squash, and
then we arrive at 8/7 Greg serving.
Thatís when confusion arose, thanks to the Central Ref who
didnít seem that comfortable with the Video referral system,
to say the least. I had during the week already noticed he
wasnít sometimes on the ball as much as we would expect a
ref at that level to be. But you think, everybody has got to
learn, so, you give him the credit of the learner.
But on this particular occasion, the poor man was out of his
depth to be honest, got the players confused calling one
score, then changing his mind twice bless him, not exerting
enough authority on the players Ė in my opinion anyway.
was started with Greg missing a volley cross court, and
getting it at the back. Tarek thought he actually touched it
on his first attempt, and stopped. Discussions, lively ones.
Very lively. A let is given. Greg goes wild. Tarek, who want
the point given to him, asks for a video review. And a no
let is given.
The central ref bless him first read it giving the point to
Greg, only to change his decision after Tarek argued his
case, point to Tarek. Only to be explained the situation
again, and changing his mind, again.
By that time, Tarek has lost his focus, is not happy, and
quite understandably. Greg takes the game, finally, but what
a mess, boys and girlsÖ.
All credit to both players, they just kept their heads down,
and worked hard at their game, playing yet again superb
squash until the last shot. Well done to Tarek for his
remarkable progression since he is full time professional,
and to Greg to have contained the talent of this young manÖ.
think that if one could measure the speed of Tarek on the
court, they would find out he is actually fast than I am!!
He is so talented, good hands, feathery shots. When he gets
the ball to the front, itís so difficult to retrieve them,
and any chance you leave me, he kills the ballÖ. He has done
a fantastic tournament, he is young, and Iím sure heíll be
threatening all the top seeds on a regular basis, me
I like the video reviewing, when you get a good ref up
there. You know, when you are on court, you are so focused
on your own game, sometimes, you donít see clearly whatís
going on, so when I see the video, and I realise Iím wrong,
I apologise to the ref. But when I see Iím right, I think
the ref should apologise to me!
Now, for the ball Tarek thinks Iíve touched, honestly, I
didnít feel anything, and even when I looked at the video, I
didnít see the trajectory of the ball change whatsoever, or
the racquet touch the ball. If I had, I would have given the
It was really not easy tonight, I really had to dig in and
dig in, 3/0, but 60m! He goes and picks all the balls, I was
working extremely hard to push and tire him, but he didnít!
At no time I saw him getting tired, or starting to make
unforced errors. He virtually didnít do any at the front,
and I really had to push to my maximum to win that one.
I was happy to take the first, because even if the score
doesnít show it, it was a pretty tough one. But I was never
comfortable on there, even if I had a few points cushion, he
was constantly trying to come back, he never ever let go,
and was constantly a threat.
I donít think I played that bad today, I thought I even
played well, it was almost a repeat of my performance last
night, but Greg was too sharp, too focus for me tonight. I
must say that he surprised me, there were shots I thought I
won, but out of nowhere, he was able to retrieve themÖ
In the second, I really got completely confused with the ref
decisions and announcements, it was really a close game, and
if I had taken that one, I think that the match could have
lasted much longer, but all credit to him, he played really
I may have given him a few openings that he took advantage
of, but overall, Iím happy with my performance.
Boswell (Aus) bt Cameron Pilley
11/8, 11/5, 4/11,
SUPERB PERFORMANCE FROM BOSWELL
That is without contest the best match that I ever saw
Stewart play. From the start, he took his opponent to the
throat, forcing him into a false security, nice pace, but in
fact, preventing him from any attack, containing his power,
and annihilating his talent.
course, in the third, Bozza had a little let down energy
wise. Are you surprised?? After beating his mate Palmer last
night in 80m for the first time in exactly 10 years, you are
allowed to feel a bit tired at some point, both mentally and
But all credit to him, Stewart took the control of the 4th
from the start. There was again a bit of a strange Video Ref
moment when Bozza got a let, asked for the Video review,
expecting a stroke, and got a no let!!!
A blond moment.. Anyway, after a funny line from Bozza,
ďIíll have the let thenĒ, we all went back to Boswell
controlling the game, with Cameron getting more and more
frustrated, while his opponent was controlling the ball
better and better, finding in the last part of the match
some of the best volley drop shots I ever saw him play.
was a bit worried that I would be a bit flat tonight, after
having such a long match against David, so I really was
focusing up from the start. Tonight, I think I played as
well as I could, I controlled the ball really well, which is
the key to Cameronís game.
In the 3rd, he varied his pace more, and that put me under a
lot of pressure, added to the fact I was a bit tiredÖ. In
the 4th, that awful video reviewing call actually helped me,
giving me a little break after his quick win of the thirdÖ
Overall, Iím really happy with the way I contained him,
because if you try and have a shoot out of a game like
Cameron likes, youíll lose, he is too good at it. So I had
to try and impose my boring, methodical gameÖ
The Khalifa Complex